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11.20.18

Links 19/11/2018: Linux 4.20 RC3, New Fedora ISO, GNU OrgaDoc 1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Windows 10’s October Update Breaks Apple’s iCloud

      Windows 10’s October 2018 Update has more bugs. Microsoft won’t offer the update if you have iCloud installed, and Apple won’t let you install iCloud if you’ve already upgraded. You’ll also have trouble if you have F5 VPN software installed.

      This information comes from Microsoft’s own Windows 10 Update History page, where Microsoft is publicly tracking the October Update’s bugs.

      According to Microsoft, Apple iCloud version 7.7.0.27 has an incompatibility with the latest update. You’ll have trouble updating or synchronizing Shared Albums after upgrading. If you try installing iCloud on the October Update, you’ll see an error message saying “iCloud for Windows requires Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 (April 2018 Update) and earlier.”

    • Microsoft limits functionality for older versions of the Office: Enterprise users to suffer additional subscription costs

      Initially launched as a whole suite for businesses of all kinds, Microsoft Office 365 came out back in 2011, introducing a cloud based software service. Before this, Microsoft only focused on corporate software on the cloud, which was very limited. Since then, Office 365 has gained quite the customer satisfaction, considering it is used in almost all universities for education, in corporate firms, in households, with their sharing plans and otherwise. While this was a good way of revenue generation, Microsoft went a step further, when it launched the new Office 2019 this past September.

      While this new Office opens up features for the users, it also puts a nail in the way for Corporations that have found ways around office subscriptions, limiting them to an older version in order to get full functionality. Microsoft steps in this time around, with the release of their latest version of the Office platform.

  • Server

    • Silicon Sky enhances its managed Linux service

      Silicon Sky, an IT infrastructure provider, has enhanced its managed Linux service for customers who require Linux management and administration skills.

      The Linux managed services will benefit customers that have limited Linux skills.

      Silicon Sky provides the necessary skill set to manage Linux workloads on-premises or in a hosted environment. This service is a remote managed service, operated out of Silicon Sky’s Network Operation Centre.

    • Three Things IBM Must Do To Keep Red Hat Acquisition From Sinking The Company
    • Quickly try Red Hat Decision Manager in your Cloud

      It’s been some time since I last talked with you about business logic engines and using them in application development cloud architectures. At that time, I showcased running JBoss BRMS in a container on Red Hat OpenShift. This gives you the cloud experience, one that’s portable across private and public clouds, but on your own local laptop using Red Hat Container Development Kit.

      The world continues to move forward, a new product has been released which replaced JBoss BRMS with the Red Hat Decision Manager, so now I want to provide a way for you to install this on OpenShift, in the same easy to use demo format.

    • Open for Good: How open source software can unlock the world’s potential for humanitarian good

      In August 2017, I participated in a cross-departmental design thinking session with our Global Services vice president, John Allessio, our vice president of marketing communications, Leigh Day, and numerous other leaders from our design, brand and marketing teams. After a face-to-face, all-day session where ideas burst out of our collective heads left and right, one thing was certain: we were collectively passionate about using open source technology, along with Open Innovation Labs’ focus on people and process, to help solve the world’s grand challenges and to positively impact people in need. We just needed to find the right project to prove it would work.

      Fast-forward to New York City, late that same year. I was attending Red Hat Forum, an amazing event where our customers, partners and communities come together to share what we’re doing, and find new ways to leverage Red Hat to great advantage. I presented on Open Innovation Labs and talked with Red Hat users from Cigna, Marriott, Deutsche Bank, and more.

    • What being a catalyst looks like when you’re CIO

      Last month, along with more than 12,000 Red Hat co-workers across the globe, I celebrated We Are Red Hat Week. It’s a special time for us to recognize and honor the values and spirit that make Red Hat truly unique.

      At Red Hat, our mission is to serve as the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners making better technology the open source way. We’re unabashedly an open organization, which means we excel by – as our CEO Jim Whitehurst puts it in his book, “The Open Organization” – “engaging participative communities both inside and out.”

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Enters Beta with Hardened Code and Security Fixes

      Red Hat Inc. announced the availability of the beta version for its upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 operating system series, which will be available for sale sometime next year.

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is the next major step in the evolution of Red Hat’s Linux-based, enterprise-ready operating system, promising lots of new features and numerous improvements, along with much-needed hardened code and security fixes to make RHEL more stable, reliable, and supported across all infrastructures.

      “In the four years since Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 redefined the operating system, the IT world has changed dramatically and Red Hat Enterprise Linux has evolved with it. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta once again sets a bar for how the operating system can enable IT innovation,” writes Stefanie Chiras for Red Hat.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Hits Beta With Improved System Performance

      It has been three and half years since Red Hat last issued a major new version number of its flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform. A lot has happened since RHEL 7 was launched in June 2014, and Red Hat is now previewing its next-generation RHEL 8 platform in beta.

      Among the biggest changes in the last four years across the compute landscape has been the emergence of containers and microservices as being a primary paradigm for application deployment. In RHEL 8, Red Hat is including multiple container tools that it has been developing and proving out in the open-source community, including Buildah (container building), Podman (running containers) and Skopeo (sharing/finding containers).

      Systems management is also getting a boost in RHEL 8 with the Composer features that enable organizations to build and deploy custom RHEL images. Management of RHEL is further enhanced via the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Web Console, which enables administrators to manage bare metal, virtual, local and remote Linux servers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux as a Library: Unikernels are Coming

      If you think about it, an operating system kernel is really just a very powerful shared library that offers services to many programs. Of course, it is a very powerful library, but still — its main purpose is to provide services to programs. Your program probably doesn’t use all of the myriad services the kernel provides. Even a typical system might not fully use all the things that are in a typical kernel. Red Hat has a new initiative to bring a technology called unikernels to the forefront. A unikernel is a single application linked with just enough of the kernel for it to execute. As you might expect, this can result in a smaller system and better security.

      It can also lead to better performance. The unikernel doesn’t have to maintain devices and services that are not used. Also, the kernel and the application can run in the same privilege ring. That may seem like a security hole, but if you think about it, the only reason a regular kernel runs at a higher privilege is to protect itself from a malicious application modifying the kernel to do something bad to another application. In this case, there is no other application.

    • Linus Torvalds Comments On STIBP & He’s Not Happy – STIBP Default Will End Up Changing

      It turns out that Linus Torvalds himself was even taken by surprise with the performance hit we’ve outlined on Linux 4.20 as a result of STIBP “Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors” introduction as well as back-porting already to stable series for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 protection. He doesn’t want this enabled in full by default.

      All of the benchmarking I’ve been doing the past few days to shine the light on the Linux kernel’s STIBP addition appears to be paying off. My tests have found Linux 4.20 to incur significant performance penalties in many workloads — in fact, more so than some of the earlier Spectre and Meltdown mitigations — and STIBP is already being back-ported to stable series like Linux 4.19.2. PHP, Pythom, Java, and many other workloads are measurably affected and even the gaming performance to some extent.

    • Linux 4.20-rc3

      The only unusual thing last week was my travel – not any code issues.
      That caused a few pulls to be delayed by a day or two, but nothing
      else.

      And now I’m back home, and 4.20-rc3 is out there.

      The changes in rc3 are pretty tiny, which means that the statistics
      look slightly different from the uysual ones – drivers only account
      for less than a third of the patch, for example. But that really isn’t
      because of anything odd going on anywhere else, it all looks like just
      random noise in the distribution of patches. So we have about one
      third driver updates, one third arch updates, and one third “core”
      (kernel, mm, fs, networking).

    • Linux 4.20-rc3 Kernel Released
    • Feral Interactive Announces Total War: WARHAMMER II to Be Released for Linux Tomorrow, Uber Joined The Linux Foundation, Security Bug Discovered in Instagram, Fedora Taking Submissions for Supplemental Wallpapers and Kernel 4.20-rc3 Is Out

      Linux kernel 4.20-rc3 is out. Linus says the only unusual thing was his travel and that the changes “are pretty tiny”.

    • There Is Finally A User-Space Utility To Make EROFS Linux File-Systems

      Back when Huawei introduced the EROFS Linux file-system earlier this year, there wasn’t any open-source user-space utility for actually making EROFS file-systems. Even when EROFS was merged into the mainline tree, the user-space utility was still non-existent but now that issue has been rectified.

    • The State Of Heterogeneous Memory Management At The End Of 2018

      Heterogeneous Memory Management is the effort going on for more than four years that was finally merged to the mainline Linux kernel last year but is still working on adding additional features and improvements. HMM is what allows for allowing the mirroring of process address spaces, system memory to be transparently used by any device process, and other functionality for GPU computing as well as other device/driver purposes.

      Jerome Glisse at Red Hat who has spearheaded Heterogeneous Memory Management from the start presented at last week’s Linux Plumbers Conference on this unified memory solution.

    • An attempt to create a local Kernel community

      Now I am close to complete one year of Linux Kernel, and one question still bugs me: why does it have to be so hard for someone in a similar condition to become part of this world? I realized that I had great support from many people (especially from my sweet and calm wife) and I also pushed myself very hard. Now, I feel that it is time to start giving back something to society; as a result, I began to promote some small events about free software in the university and the city I live. However, my main project related to this started around two months ago with six undergraduate students at the University of Sao Paulo, IME [3]. My plan is simple: train all of these six students to contribute to the Linux Kernel with the intention to help them to create a local group of Kernel developers. I am excited about this project! I noticed that within a few weeks of mentoring the students they already learned lots of things, and in a few days, they will send out their contributions to the Kernel. I want to write a new post about that in December 2018, reporting the results of this new tiny project and the summary of this one year of Linux Kernel. See you soon :)

    • Linux kernel Spectre V2 defense fingered for massively slowing down unlucky apps on Intel Hyper-Thread CPUs

      Linux supremo Linus Torvalds has voiced support for a kernel patch that limits a previously deployed defense against Spectre Variant 2, a data-leaking vulnerability in modern processors.

      Specifically, the proposed patch disables a particular Spectre V2 defense mechanism by default, rather than switching it on automatically. And here’s the reason for that suggested change: code runs up to 50 per cent slower on Intel CPUs that use Hyper-Threading with the security defense enabled.

      For those not in the know, Hyper-Threading is Chipzilla’s implementation of simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), which splits individual CPU cores into two hardware threads. Thus, each core can mostly run two strands of software at the same time. That means a, say, 12-core processor would have 24 hardware threads, effectively presenting itself as a 24-core chip to the operating system and software.

    • Linux 4.20 kernel slower than its previous stable releases, Spectre flaw to be blamed, according to Phoronix
    • Spectre Patches Whack Intel Performance Hard With Linux 4.20 Kernel
    • Linux Foundation

      • Uber joins Linux Foundation in further nod to open source commitment

        Uber has joined the Linux Foundation as a gold member, firming up a long-standing commitment to open source technologies.

        The ridesharing firm, which is working on more than 300 open source projects, said it was looking forward to collaborate with other open source leaders to solve problems and further promote open source adoption globally.

      • Uber Joins Linux Foundation

        Uber has joined the Linux Foundation as a Gold member, making an annual contribution of $100,000. In addition it has become a member of the TODO Group, an open group of companies that run open source programs.

        Uber may seem an odd recruit to the Linux Foundation but it is in fact an active and committed member of the open source community and is well-known for making use of open source in its core tools.Data provided by company records that it is working on over 320 open-source projects and repositories with 1,500 contributors making over 70,000 commits. The Uber Open Source page at GitHub has details of some of its most important projects.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Vulkan 1.1.93 Released With Two New Extensions, Adds ID For Google “Pastel”

        Continuing to make Sunday mornings more entertaining are new Vulkan documentation updates on their weekly-ish update cycle.

        Vulkan 1.1.93 brings a lot of the usual fixes/clarifications to the growing documentation. There are though some interesting bits: two new extensions and the driver ID being added for “Pastel”.

      • Wayland Secure Output Protocol Proposed For Upstream – HDCP-Like Behavior

        Collabora developer Scott Anderson sent out a “request for comments” patch series that would add a Secure Output Protocol to the Wayland space.

        The Secure Output Protocol is for allowing a Wayland client to tell the compositor to only display if it’s going to a “secure” output, such as for HDCP-like (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) configurations, but there is no mandate at the protocol level about what is the definition of secure — if anything.

        This does not impose any DRM per se by Wayland but is mostly intended for set-top-boxes and other closed systems where a Wayland client can reasonably trust the compositor. The Wayland Secure Output Protocol is based upon the work done by Google on their Chromium Wayland code.

      • RADV Lands Another Fast Clear Optimization, Helping An Operation 18x

        Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s open-source Linux graphics driver team has landed a patch providing another optimization around fast clears for the Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver within Mesa 19.0.

        This latest nearly 300 line patch allows for fast clears on the depth part of a surface or the stencil part when HTILE is enabled. For now though it’s only enabled on Vega/GFX9 due to no testing on GFX8 hardware.

    • Benchmarks

      • 20-Way AMD / NVIDIA Linux Gaming Benchmarks For The 2018 Holidays

        If you are hoping to pick-up a new graphics card during the upcoming holiday sales, here is a 20-way NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon Linux gaming benchmark comparison using a wide assortment of GPUs while using the very newest graphics drivers and a variety of OpenGL/Vulkan titles.

        In preparation for the Radeon RX 590 launch this week, I’ve been re-testing my available graphics cards on the latest AMD/NVIDIA drivers and newest kernel (unlike some Windows sites that may regurgitate their existing data points for months at a time, Phoronix tests are always done fresh on the current/latest components). But with the Radeon RX 590 currently being a dud on Linux with the current AMDGPU kernel code, I decided to keep testing including some older graphics cards to make for this twenty-way comparison ahead of Black Friday sales and the holidays.

      • Void Linux, Solus, Manjaro, Antergos, Sabayon & Clear Linux Put To A Performance Battle

        Given last week’s new images release of the rolling-release, systemd-free, original-creation Void Linux I decided to take it for a spin with some fresh benchmarking as it had been two years or so since last trying out that Linux distribution with its XBPS packaging system. For seeing how the performance compares, I benchmarked it against some of the other primarily enthusiast/rolling-release/performant Linux distributions including Antergos, Clear Linux, Debian Buster Testing, Fedora Workstation 29, Manjaro 18.0, Sabayon Linux, Solus, and Ubuntu 18.10.

        These nine Linux distributions were tested on the new Intel Core i9 9900K eight-core / sixteen-thread processor. The i9-9900K was running at its stock speeds with the ASUS PRIME Z390-A motherboard, 2 x 8GB DDR4-3000 memory, Samsung 970 EVO 256GB NVMe SSD, and Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Best Linux Desktop Environments: Strong and Stable

      A desktop environment is a collection of disparate components that integrate together. They bundle these components to provide a common graphical user interface with elements such as icons, toolbars, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. Additionally, most desktop environments include a set of integrated applications and utilities.

      Desktop environments (now abbreviated as DE) provide their own window manager, system software that controls the placement and appearance of windows within a windowing system. They also provide a file manager which organizes, lists, and locates files and directories. Other aspects include a background provider, a panel to provide a menu and display information, as well as a setting/configuration manager to customize the environment.

      Ultimately, a DE is a piece of software. While they are more complicated than most other types of software, they are installed in the same way.

    • eDEX-UI: A Fully Functioning Sci-Fi Computer Interface Inspired By TRON Legacy

      eDEX-UI is an application that resembles a Sci-Fi computer interface, which creates the illusion of a desktop environment without windows. It’s inspired by the DEX-UI project (which hasn’t been updated since the beginning of 2015), and the TRON Legacy movie effects. The application uses Electron, and runs on Linux, Windows and macOS.

      eDEX-UI runs a real terminal and displays real, live system information like the CPU and memory usage, temperature, top processes, public IP address and a live network traffic graph, and more, on top of a movie-like futuristic desktop interface. A file browser is included, which is synchronized with the embedded terminal: navigating to any folder in the embedded file browser makes the terminal navigate to that folder, and vice-versa.

      An on-screen keyboard is also incorporated in its GUI, because eDEX-UI is meant to be used with a touchscreen, though multitouch doesn’t currently work. The application works without any issues with regular displays – when using a physical keyboard, pressing keys will illuminate the virtual keyboard.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • libqaccessibilityclient v0.3.0

        Hi, I’ve been asked to make a new release of libqaccessibilityclient, which seemed like a good idea. So here we go: https://download.kde.org/stable/libqaccessibilityclient/ – version 0.3.0 is now available. I’d like to say thanks to the KDE sysadmins for being super fast.

        Now if I wasn’t involved with the accessibility project, I’d have no clue what this is about… so What is libqaccessibilityclient?

      • Video Editing for foss-gbg

        Editing videos for foss-gbg and foss-north has turned into something that I do on almost a montly basis. I’ve tried a few workflows, but landed in using kdenlive and, when needed, Audacity. I’m not a very advanced audio person, so if kdenlive would incorporate basic noise reduction and a compressor, I stay within one tool.

        Before I describe the actual process, I want to mention something about the hardware involved. There are so many things that you can do when producing this type of contents. However, all the pieces that you add to the puzzle is another point of failure. The motto is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Hence, we use a single video camera with an integrated microphone. This is either an action cam, or a JVC video camera. In most cases this just works. In some cases the person talking has a microphone and then we try to place the camera close to a speaker. It has happened that we’ve recorded someone whispering just by the camera…

        As we don’t have a dedicated microphone for the speaker, we get an audio stream that includes the reaction of the audience. That is in my opinion a good thing. It captures the mood of the event. However, we also get quite a lot of background noise which is bad. For this, I rely on this workflow from Rich Bowen. Basically, I extract the audio stream from the recording, massage it in Audacity, and then re-introduce it.

      • KDE Plasma, Dolphin & Discover Pick Up More Features Ahead Of The Holidays

        It’s been another busy week in the KDE development space ahead of the holidays and developer Nate Graham has done another great job detailing all of the changes made over the past week for this open-source desktop environment.

      • KDE neon upgrade – From 16.04 to 18.04

        I am quite happy with the KDE neon upgrade, going from the 16.04 to the 18.04 base. I think it’s good on several levels, including improved hardware support and even slightly better performance. Plus there were no crashes or regressions of any kind, always a bonus. This means that neon users now have a fresh span of time to enjoy their non-distro distro, even though it’s not really committing to any hard dates, so the LTS is also only sort of LTS in that sense. It’s quite metaphysical.

        On a slightly more serious note, this upgrade was a good, positive experience. I semi-accidentally tried to ruin it, but the system recovered remarkably, the post-upgrade results are all sweet, and you have a beautiful, fast Plasma desktop, replete with applications and dope looks and whatnot. I’m happy, and we shall bottle that emotion for when the need arises, and in the Linux world it does happen often, I shall have an elixir of rejuvenation to sip upon. KDE neon, a surprisingly refined non-distro distro.

      • Contributing to the kde userbase wiki

        This is the story about how I started more than one month ago contributing to the KDE project.

        So, one month ago, I found a task on the Phabricator instance from KDE, about the deplorable state of the KDE userbase wiki. The wiki contains a lot of screenshot dating back to the KDE 4 era and some are even from the KDE 3 era. It’s a problem, because a wiki is something important in the user experience and can be really useful for new users and experienced ones alike.

        Lucky for us, even though Plasma and the KDE applications did change a lot in the last few years, most of the changes are new features and UI/UX improvements, so most of the information are still up-to-date. So most of the work is only updating screenshots. But up-to-date screenshots are also quite important, because when the user see the old screenshots, he can think that the instructions are also outdated.

        So I started, updating the screenshots one after the other. (Honestly when I started, I didn’t think it would take so long, not because the process was slow or difficult, but because of the amount of outdated screenshots.)

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Unite Shell: Making GNOME Shell More Like Ubuntu’s Unity

        If you are/were a fan of Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment, Unite-Shell is one of the most promising efforts to date for making the current GNOME 3 stack more like Unity.

        The Unite Shell is an extension to GNOME Shell for configuring it to look just like Ubuntu’s Unity 7. While it made waves a bit earlier this month, a Phoronix reader reported in over the weekend just how good it looks and works that it’s worthy of an extra shout-out.

      • GNOME 3.32 Mutter Should Perform A Lot Better For DisplayLink/USB-Display Type Setups

        An improvement was merged today to GNOME’s Mutter compositor / window manager that should allow it to perform much better in multi-GPU setups, particularly for scenarios where the display is driven via a USB-based DisplayLink adapter.

        The change to Mutter’s renderer code uses Cogl for the CPU copy path rather than the OpenGL glreadPixels() function. Plus it adds some pixel format conversion tables between DRM and Cogl formats.

  • Distributions

    • Fedora

      • Testers needed for New Fedora 29 updated isos

        The Fedora Respin Sig has been working on being able to produce Fedora 29 updated isos. This past week we have been able to produce updated isos. We are looking for Testers to help test the isos for release. If you are willing to help please join us in #fedora-respins on the Freenode irc network tomorrow 20181119.

      • Video: Container Security

        Red Hat’s Dan (Mr. SELinux) Walsh gave a talk about Container Security at the USENIX LISA 2018 conference.

      • Submissions now open for the Fedora 30 supplemental wallpapers

        Each release, the Fedora Design team works with the community on a set of 16 additional wallpapers. Users can install and use these to supplement the standard wallpaper. Submissions are now open for the Fedora 30 Supplemental Wallpapers, and will remain open until January 31, 2019

        Have you always wanted to start contributing to Fedora but don’t know how? Submitting a supplemental wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to start as a Fedora contributor. Keep reading to learn how.

      • F29-20181119 updated isos released

        The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F29-20181119 Live ISOs, carrying the 4.19.2-200 kernel.

        This set of updated isos will save about 850MBs of updates after install. (for new installs.)

    • Debian Family

      • Lars Wirzenius: Retiring from Debian

        I’ve started the process of retiring from Debian. Again. This will be my third time. It’ll take a little while I take care of things to do this cleanly: uploading packages to set Maintainer to QA, removing myself from Plant Debian, sending the retirement email to -private, etc.

        I’ve had a rough year, and Debian has also stopped being fun for me. There’s a number of Debian people saying and doing things that I find disagreeable, and the process of developing Debian is not nearly as nice as it could be. There’s way too much friction pretty much everywhere.

        For example, when a package maintainer uploads a package, the package goes into an upload queue. The upload queue gets processed every few minutes, and the packages get moved into an incoming queue. The incoming queue gets processed every fifteen minutes, and packages get imported into the master archive. Changes to the master archive get pushed to main mirrors every six hours. Websites like lintian.debian.org, the package tracker, and the Ultimate Debian Database get updated at time. (Or their updates get triggered, but it might take longer for the update to actually happen. Who knows. There’s almost no transparency.)

        The developer gets notified, by email, when the upload queue gets processed, and when the incoming queue gets processed. If they want to see current status on the websites (to see if the upload fixed a problem, for example), they may have to wait for many more hours, possibly even a couple of days.

      • Derivatives

        • deepin 15.8 GNU/Linux Download Links, Mirrors, and Torrents

          On 15 November 2018, deepin 15.8 has been released. The ISO size is now reduced one more time to 2.1GB compared to the previous release of 2.5GB. It includes new design on the dock and the right panel. Here’s download links with mirrors and torrents. Enjoy!

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Linux: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will be supported for a full decade

            Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for ten years. Long Term Support releases of Ubuntu usually enjoy just five years of support, so this doubling is highly significant.

            Shuttleworth — the founder of Canonical and Ubuntu — made the announcement at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, and the change is a tactical maneuver that will help Ubuntu better compete against the likes of Red Hat/IBM. It is also an acknowledgement that many industries are working on projects that will not see the light of day for many years, and they need the reassurance of ongoing support from their Linux distro. Ubuntu can now offer this.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes with 10 years of support

            If you are worried about the manufacturer of your operating system not providing Long Term Support (LTS) it might be time to ditch it and jump over to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS which will be supported for 10 https://www.geeky-gadgets.com/ubuntu-18-04-lts-19-11-2018/years into the future. The 10 year support cycle has been created by the development team at Canonical to make Ubuntu a more attractive option for hardware developers creating Internet of Things appliances and specific industries including financial services and telecommunications, says Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth.

            “Ubuntu is an open source software operating system that runs from the desktop, to the cloud, to all your internet connected things. From home control to drones, robots and industrial systems, Ubuntu Core provides robust security, app stores and reliable updates. Ubuntu makes development easy, and snap packages make Ubuntu Core secure and reliable for widely distributed devices.”

          • Mark Shuttleworth Says Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Will Be Supported for 10 Years

            Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth announced last week at OpenStack Summit Berlin 2018 that his Linux company will support the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system for no less than ten years.

            During a keynote at the OpenStack Summit 2018 conference, which took place last week in Berlin, Germany, at CityCube, from November 13th to 15th, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth revealed the fact that the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series will be supported with software and security updates for 10 years, until April 2028.

            “I’m also delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years. In part because of the very long time horizons in some of those industries, financial services and telecommunications, but also in the IoT where manufacturing lines are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade,” said Shuttleworth.

          • OpenStack 2018: Mark Shuttleworth chats to The Reg about 10-year support plans, Linus Torvalds and Russian rockets

            Mark Shuttleworth delivered an unashamed plug for Ubuntu while cheerfully throwing a little shade on the competition at the OpenStack Berlin 2018 summit last week.

            If Nick Barcet of Red Hat had elicited gasps by suggesting the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) might consider releasing updates a bit more frequently, Shuttleworth sent eyebrows skywards by announcing that the latest Long Term Support (LTS) edition of Ubuntu, 18.04, would get 10 years of support.

          • Tuning your Intel Graphics Card in Ubuntu 18.04

            In the computing world things move at a brisk pace. To appeal to business users and conservative types like me Ubuntu releases the Long Term Support (LTS) versions of Ubuntu the latest of which is Ubuntu 18.04 which came out early this year. Ubuntu 16.04 for which I wrote the guide, is the LTS version prior to 18.04.

            It’s a little bit late to say this now but Ubuntu 18.04 came with a lot of changes including the infamous switchback to GNOME and the subsequent death of Unity. Another not so famous change was the fact that Intel drivers now ship with the kernel. This is not an Ubuntu specific change per se which explains why it was more of a footnote and not a headline in the Ubuntu world.

          • 4 Best open source & free YouTube Downloader for Ubuntu Linux

            Downloading YouTube Videos on Ubuntu Linux is not that much difficult as it appears. Lots of newbies think that Windows is the only platform to download online Youtube videos due to the availability of tons of free YouTube downloader software for it. However, after going through this article their opinion would be changed forever because not only normal videos but 4K videos can be downloaded on the Linux platforms as easy as on Windows.

          • Beginner’s Guide: How To Install Ubuntu Linux 18.10
          • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Available for Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 ESM (Precise Pangolin) on 32-bit, 64-bit, Raspbbery Pi 2, AWS (Amazon Web Services), GCP (Google Cloud Platform), and cloud environments, the new Linux kernel security updates fix multiple issues that might put your computer and data at risk.

            Affecting both Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) releases, the kernel security patch address just one issue, namely a vulnerablity (CVE-2018-15471) discovered by Felix Wilhelm in Linux kernel’s Xen netback driver, which improperly performed input validation under certain circumstances, thus allowing an attacker to crash the vulnerable system via a denial of service (DoS attack) or possible execute arbitrary code.

          • Running Ubuntu 18.04 on the One Mix 2S Yoga mini laptop

            The One Netbook One Mix 2S Yoga looks nearly identical to its predecessor, the One Mix Yoga. But the new model supports USB Type-C charging, has a fingerprint sensor, and sports a much faster processor and speedier storage — and the upgrades result in significantly better performance.

            It turns out that’s not the only thing that’s different — the new model also has slightly better out-of-the-box support for Ubuntu 18.04 Linux.

          • egmde: a project that uses Mir

            Display servers solve a large and complex problem. Mir provides a broad and powerful library to solve those problems, but there is a learning curve to use Mir effectively. It is really helpful to have a step-by-step example that covers enough of the issues to get a decent start.
            To address this need there’s a set of blog posts based around the development of “egmde” [Example Mir Desktop Environment]: a very simple shell that can either form the basis of further development or provide a platform for experimentation. Note that egmde is not a complete desktop: the tutorials (and the code in egmde) don’t cover aspects of a desktop environment that are not related to using Mir. Missing functionality includes: integrating into the system for screen locking & suspend, policy kit integration, internationalization, etc.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 554
          • Ubuntu 18.04 Gets 10 Year Lifespan Ahead of Canonical IPO

            At a keynote in Berlin, Canonical’s founder Mark Shuttleworth said that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is getting a 10 year support period, which is 5 years longer than normal. This extension is specifically aimed at the IoT, financial services and telecommunications market, where products will often operate for many years without significant changes. He also reiterated “Canonical’s promise to easily enable OpenStack customers to migrate from one version of OpenStack to another,” and promised to support versions of OpenStack from 2014 and on. Interestingly, these promises come ahead of Canonical’s planned IPO in 2019. Mark seems to think that Ubuntu is a real competitor with Red Hat now, which IBM just recently acquired, and he’s quite enthusiastic about the future of Ubuntu. The full Canonical keynote can be seen on Ubuntu’s blog here. Thanks to dgz for the tip.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Development Setup: Ubuntu MATE 19.04 + Ayatana Indicators

              This is a quick HowTo that shows how to setup a Ubuntu MATE 19.04 development setup in which Ubuntu System Indicators [1] get replaced by Ayatana System Indicators [1].

              The current development strategy is to use nightly DEB packages provided by the Arctica Project and Ayatana Indicators upstream on top of Ubuntu MATE 19.04 and see what details still require work.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenCV 4.0 Released As The Overhauled Computer Vision Library, Adds Experimental Vulkan

    OpenCV 4.0 is now officially out as the widely-used real-time computer vision library.

    This is a big update for OpenCV and also marks converting it into a C++11 library. Besides shifting more to a C++ focus, OpenCV 4.0 also has performance improvements, DNN improvements, a QR code detector, a Kinect Fusion module, and various other additions.

  • Google’s Move To Open Source BERT May Change NLP Forever

    In 1954, with the success of the Georgetown experiment in which the scientists used a machine to translate random sentences from Russian to English, the field of computational linguistics took giant strides towards building an intelligent machine capable of recognising and translating speech. These models were even used in translations during the Nuremberg trials. Nonetheless, the future of machine translation was nowhere close to the forecast due to sluggish computational devices and scarcity of data to train on.

    [...]

    Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers or BERT, which was open sourced earlier this month, offers a new ground to embattle the intricacies involved in understanding the language models.

    Pre-training a binarised prediction model helps understanding common NLP tasks like Question Answering or Natural language Inference.

    Unidirectional models are efficiently trained by predicting each word conditioned on the previous words in the sentence. However, it is not possible to train bidirectional models by simply conditioning each word on its previous and next words, since this would allow the word that’s being predicted to indirectly “see itself” in a multi-layer model.

  • Stumbling into Linux and open source from Vietnam to Amsterdam

    Since the beginning of time… no, really, just the beginning of Opensource.com in 2010, our writers have shared personal stories of how they got into open source or Linux (many times both).

    Some had friends in school remark “You don’t know Linux? What’s going on with you, dude?” Some came in through the gateway of gaming, and others were simply looking for alternatives.

    When I came on the scene in 2012 as a newcomer to open source and Linux, I saw these stories as pure gold. They get to the heart of why people are so passionate about it and why they love talking about it with other people who “get it.” Now I’m one of those people, too.

  • Open Source 2018: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

    Recently, IBM announced that it would be acquiring Red Hat for $34 billion, a more-than-60-percent premium over Red Hat’s market cap, and a nearly 12x multiple on revenues. In many ways, this was a clear sign that 2018 was the year commercial open source has arrived, if there was ever previously a question about it before.

    Indeed, the Red Hat transaction is just the latest in a long line of multi-billion dollar outcomes this year. To date, more than $50 billion dollars have been exchanged in open source IPOs and mergers and acquisitions (M&A); and all of the M&A deals are considered “mega deals” — those valued over $5 billion.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Reading News In 2019

        The internet is the major source of news for many of us, and we spend a lot of time reading articles to stay updated. There are many news sources available that offer various categories of news. However, it is a time-consuming task to open each of those websites.

    • Mozilla

      • Daniel Stenberg: I’m leaving Mozilla

        It’s been five great years, but now it is time for me to move on and try something else.

        During these five years I’ve met and interacted with a large number of awesome people at Mozilla, lots of new friends! I got the chance to work from home and yet work with a global team on a widely used product, all done with open source. I have worked on internet protocols during work-hours (in addition to my regular spare-time working with them) and its been great! Heck, lots of the HTTP/2 development and the publication of that was made while I was employed by Mozilla and I fondly participated in that. I shall forever have this time ingrained in my memory as a very good period of my life.

        [...]

        I had worked on curl for a very long time already before joining Mozilla and I expect to keep doing curl and other open source things even going forward. I don’t think my choice of future employer should have to affect that negatively too much, except of course in periods.

        With me leaving Mozilla, we’re also losing Mozilla as a primary sponsor of the curl project, since that was made up of them allowing me to spend some of my work days on curl and that’s now over.

        Short-term at least, this move might increase my curl activities since I don’t have any new job yet and I need to fill my days with something…

      • 6 Essential Tips for Safe Online Shopping

        The turkey sandwiches are in the fridge, and you didn’t argue with your uncle. It’s time to knock out that gift list, and if you’re like millions of Americans, you’re probably shopping online.

      • Elementary Bugs

        Mozilla is a well-known open-source organization, and thus draws a lot of interested contributors. But Mozilla is huge, and even the more limited scope of Firefox development is a wilderness to a newcomer. We have developed various tools to address this, one of which was an Outreachy project by Fienny Angelina called Codetribute.

        The site aggregates bugs that experienced developers have identified as good for new contributors (“good first bugs”, although often they are features or tasks) across Bugzilla and Github. It’s useful both for self-motivated contributors and for those looking for starting point for a deeper engagement with Mozilla (an internship or even a full-time job).

        However, it’s been tricky to help developers identify good-first-bugs.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Google, Amazon and Facebook Embrace Open Source Software As Future

      Open source coding lets users collaborate on software code, giving them the ability to store and edit code independently. It is designed to make projects built with its software publicly accessible, and has been the key to success for companies like Airbnb and Uber, which have made their fortunes by offering services, rather than the software itself.

      “The previous generation of developers grew up in a world where there was a battle between closed and open source,” said GitHub’s Ben Balter, a researcher with the web-based hosting service for source code and open source software projects. “Today, that is no longer true.”

    • AWS Developing New Services Amid Open-Source Tensions

      Companies that manage open-source software have a message for cloud computing providers like Amazon: pay up, share your code or stop using our technology for free.

    • AWS develops new services amid open-source pushback

      Last month, MongoDB changed its licensing to put the Community Server software under a SSPL license, which lets cloud providers offer MongoDB as a service but only if they open source all of the related code or create a commercial agreement.

    • Urvika Gola: Attending ReactConf’18 in Henderson, Nevada

      Day 2 of React Conf, started with talking about how performance is integral to UX. Code Splitting, a concept were instead of sending the whole code in the initial payload, we send what’s needed to render the first screen and later, lazily loading the rest based on subsequent navigation. A most common problem while implementing code splitting can be ‘what do you display to the user if the view hasn’t finished loading?’ Maybe a spinner, loader, placeholder…?? But lot of these degrades the UX. Then came Concurrent React into the picture, Concurrent React can work on multiple tasks at a time and switch between them according to priority. Concurrent React can partially render a tree without committing the result and does not block the main thread.

    • OpenStack Rebranding Infrastructure Team as OpenDev

      OpenStack is one of the largest open source efforts in the world, with a large infrastructure that is used to build, develop and test the cloud platform. The infrastructure effort is now being rebranded as OpenDev as OpenStack continues to evolve.

      In a session, at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Germany last week, Clark Boylan team lead for the OpenStack Infrastructure team outlined how things are set to change as OpenStack moves beyond its core project to embrace a broader group of Open Infrastructure efforts.

      “We basically act as beta testers for the infrastructure and make sure things work,” Boylan. “If it works for us, it’ll probably work for you too.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.2 Enters Beta with New User Interface Design Called “Notebookbar”

      Expected to arrive next year on February, LibreOffice 6.2 will be the second semi-major update to the LibreOffice 6 office suite series, bringing a bunch of enhancements and new features to make your daily office tasks easier and more enjoyable. One of these new features is an optional UI design called the Notebookbar.

      The Notebookbar UI is included in the beta version of LibreOffice 6.2 if you want to take it for a test drive (details below), along with the KDE Plasma 5 integration and numerous other improvements we talked about in a previous article. Of course, LibreOffice 6.2 will also include lots of stability and reliability updates.

    • LibreOffice 6.2 Branched, The Beta Dance Begins & x86 32-bit Builds Are Deprecated

      LibreOffice 6.2 was branched from master this weekend and the first beta release tagged for this open-source, cross-platform office suite.

      LibreOffice 6.2 Beta 1 is now being spun while a possible second beta may come in early December. At least three release candidates will be coming over the next two months while these open-source office suite developers hope to have out LibreOffice 6.2 either at the very end of January or in early February.

      The beta one tag and latest 6.2 bits are available from libreoffice-6-2. The branching also marks the hard feature freeze for this release. LibreOffice 6.2 was branched from master this weekend and the first beta release tagged for this open-source, cross-platform office suite.

      LibreOffice 6.2 Beta 1 is now being spun while a possible second beta may come in early December. At least three release candidates will be coming over the next two months while these open-source office suite developers hope to have out LibreOffice 6.2 either at the very end of January or in early February.

      The beta one tag and latest 6.2 bits are available from libreoffice-6-2. The branching also marks the hard feature freeze for this release.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Review: NetBSD 8.0

      NetBSD, like its close cousins (FreeBSD and OpenBSD) does not do a lot of hand holding or automation. It offers a foundation that will run on most CPUs and we can choose to build on that foundation. I mention this because, on its own, NetBSD does not do much. If we want to get something out of it, we need to be willing to build on its foundation – we need a project. This is important to keep in mind as I think going into NetBSD and thinking, “Oh I’ll just explore around and expand on this as I go,” will likely lead to disappointment. I recommend figuring out what you want to do before installing NetBSD and making sure the required tools are available in the operating system’s repositories.

      Some of the projects I embarked on this week (using ZFS and setting up file sharing) worked well. Others, like getting multimedia support and a full-featured desktop, did not. Given more time, I’m sure I could find a suitable desktop to install (along with the required documentation to get it and its services running), or customize one based on one of the available window managers. However, any full featured desktop is going to require some manual work. Media support was not great. The right players and codecs were there, but I was not able to get audio to play smoothly.

      My main complaint with NetBSD relates to my struggle to get some features working to my satisfaction: the documentation is scattered. There are four different sections of the project’s website for documentation (FAQs, The Guide, manual pages and the wiki). Whatever we are looking for is likely to be in one of those, but which one? Or, just as likely, the tutorial we want is not there, but is on a forum or blog somewhere. I found that the documentation provided was often thin, more of a quick reference to remind people how something works rather than a full explanation.

      As an example, I found a couple of documents relating to setting up a firewall. One dealt with networking NetBSD on a LAN, another explored IPv6 support, but neither gave an overview on syntax or a basic guide to blocking all but one or two ports. It seemed like that information should already be known, or picked up elsewhere.

      Newcomers are likely to be a bit confused by software management guides for the same reason. Some pages refer to using a tool called pkg_add, others use pkgsrc and its make utility, others mention pkgin. Ultimately, these tools each give approximately the same result, but work differently and yet are mentioned almost interchangeably. I have used NetBSD before a few times and could stumble through these guides, but new users are likely to come away confused.

      One quirk of NetBSD, which may be a security feature or an inconvenience, depending on one’s point of view, is super user programs are not included in regular users’ paths. This means we need to change our path if we want to be able to run programs typically used by root. For example, shutdown and mount are not in regular users’ paths by default. This made checking some things tricky for me.

      Ultimately though, NetBSD is not famous for its convenience or features so much as its flexibility. The operating system will run on virtually any processor and should work almost identically across multiple platforms. That gives NetBSD users a good deal of consistency across a range of hardware and the chance to experiment with a member of the Unix family on hardware that might not be compatible with Linux or the other BSDs.

    • 2018 LLVM Developers’ Meeting Videos Now Online

      For those wishing to learn more about the LLVM compiler stack and open-source compiler toolchains in general, the videos from October’s LLVM Developers’ Meeting 2018 in San Jose are now online.

    • OpenBSD in Stereo with Linux VFIO

      Now, after some extensive reverse engineering and debugging with the help of VFIO on Linux, I finally have audio playing out of both speakers on OpenBSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU OrgaDoc 1.0 Released

      I am pleased to announce GNU OrgaDoc version 1.0, a stable release. Version 1.0 is the first release of a rewrite from Eiffel to C89.

    • GNU OrgaDoc 1.0 Released For Managing Documents Between Computers

      GNU OrgaDoc is a means of copying and maintaining a pool of documents between a set of computers. Document synchronization is handled by rsync or unison and is done without needing a database server or other components.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open Source Cloudify 4.5 Extends its Cloud Native Orchestration to the Network – from Core to Edge [Ed: Another example of proprietary and "Community" edition for openwashing purposes]
    • Why some open-source companies are considering a more closed approach

      “I would put it in a very blunt way: for many years we were suckers, and let them take what we developed and make tons of money on this.”

      Redis Labs CEO Ofer Bengal doesn’t mince words. His company, known for its open-source in-memory database, has been around for eight years, an eternity in the fast-changing world of modern enterprise software.

      Cloud computing was very much underway in 2011, but it was still a tool for early adopters or startups that couldn’t afford to bet millions on servers to incubate a promising but unproven idea. Most established companies were still building their own tech infrastructure the old-fashioned way, but they were increasingly realizing that open-source software would allow them to build that infrastructure with open-source components in ways that were much more flexible and cheaper than proprietary packages from traditional enterprise software companies.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Envoy and gRPC-Web: a fresh new alternative to REST

      Personally, I’d been intrigued by gRPC-Web since I first read about it in a blog post on the Improbable engineering blog. I’ve always loved gRPC’s performance, scalability, and IDL-driven approach to service interaction and have longed for a way to eliminate REST from the service path if possible. I’m excited that gRPC-Web is ready for prime time because I think it opens up some extremely promising horizons in web development.

    • RcppMsgPack 0.2.3

      Another maintenance release of RcppMsgPack got onto CRAN today. Two new helper functions were added and not unlike the previous 0.2.2 release in, some additional changes are internal and should allow compilation on all CRAN systems.

      MessagePack itself is an efficient binary serialization format. It lets you exchange data among multiple languages like JSON. But it is faster and smaller. Small integers are encoded into a single byte, and typical short strings require only one extra byte in addition to the strings themselves. RcppMsgPack brings both the C++ headers of MessagePack as well as clever code (in both R and C++) Travers wrote to access MsgPack-encoded objects directly from R.

Leftovers

  • Sole and Despotic Dominion: Fiction
  • Hardware

    • New iPad Pro Reportedly Suffering From Bending Issues

      It has not been one month since Apple launched its latest iPad Pro models. It has been found that the nearly bezel-less iPad Pro models are prone to bending issues.

      In a durability test video by the famous YouTuber JerryRigEverything, iPad Pro models bent when a slight force was applied to it. Many new iPad owners also took to MacRumor’s forum to complain about the bending of the latest iPad.

    • How Apple tricked me into buying a new MacBook Air

      I have been using MacBook Air laptops for several years now and I like them much better than anything in the Windows space. However, my experience has been far from problem-free and I am angry at what I believe is a deceptive business practice designed to screw money out of loyal users.

      [...]

      So for $175 I got my computer completely fixed after being told by both Apple and an Authorised Apple repairer that it could not be salvaged. Furthermore, I subsequently discovered through online inquiry that this particular keyboard had a design fault and that I was not to blame at all for the damage. I had been tricked into buying a new computer needlessly.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Anti-Choice Politicians Are Taking Direct Aim at Roe v. Wade

      Anti-abortion politicians wasted no time going after Roe v. Wade after the midterm elections. Last week, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a ban on abortion starting at six weeks in pregnancy, which would effectively ban almost all abortions given that most people don’t know they are even pregnant at that time.

      The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to pass. If it does, the outgoing governor could veto it, but the legislature may have enough votes to override it. And if the legislature doesn’t override the veto, the incoming governor has said he would sign it.

      The bill is blatantly unconstitutional. If it passes, we will challenge it, and it will likely be blocked by the lower courts. But make no mistake: This bill is designed to directly challenge the fundamental constitutional right to abortion. As the bill’s author said, “We literally crafted this legislation to be the arrow in the heart of Roe v. Wade. It is made to come before the United States Supreme Court.”

      In other words, the bill’s supporters know this bill is unconstitutional, but they passed it anyway in hopes that it will make its way through the courts, eventually arriving at the Supreme Court.

      Anti-abortion politicians at the state level are clearly emboldened by the Trump administration’s extreme anti-abortion and anti-woman policies. Just like Ohio, the Trump administration wasted no time to unleash more attacks on reproductive health care access after the midterms.

  • Security

    • 50 countries vow to fight cybercrime – US, Russia don’t

      Fifty nations and over 150 tech companies pledged Monday to do more to fight criminal activity on the internet, including interference in elections and hate speech. But the United States, Russia and China are not among them.

      The group of governments and companies pledged in a document entitled the “Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace” to work together to prevent malicious activities like online censorship and the theft of trade secrets.

    • Researchers Find Critical Vulnerability In Optical In-Display Fingerprint Sensors, Allowed Attackers To Unlock Devices Instantly

      In-Display Fingerprint sensors seem like an upcoming trend in smartphones. Conventional fingerprint sensors have become quite reliable over the years, but it’s still limited by design. With conventional fingerprint sensors, you need to locate the sensor and then unlock your phone. With the scanner placed under the display, unlocking the device feels much more natural. The technology is still in its infancy and hasn’t really matured yet, but a few companies like OnePlus have already put out phones with In-Display fingerprint sensors.

      Optic sensors used in most of the In-Display fingerprint scanners these days aren’t very accurate and some researchers even discovered a big vulnerability in them, which was patched recently. The vulnerability discovered by Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab gave attackers a free pass, allowing them to bypass the lock screen completely.

      Yang Yu, a researcher from the same team stated that this was a persistent problem present in every In-Display Fingerprint scanner module they tested, also adding that the vulnerability is a design fault of In-display fingerprint sensors.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 123 – Talking about Kubernetes and container security with Liz Rice

      Josh and Kurt talk to Liz Rice about Kubernetes and container security. How did we get where we are today, what’s new and exciting today, and where do we think things are going.

    • New Instagram Bug Raises Security Questions
    • Instagram’s Data Download Tool Accidentally Leaked Users’ Passwords

      As reported by The Information, the photo-sharing app had a security flaw which unknowingly led to the revelation of some users’ passwords. The new bug seems to have affected a recently-introduced security tool by Instagram- ‘Download Your Data’ which allows users to download his or her data from the app.

    • You Know What? Go Ahead and Use the Hotel Wi-Fi

      This advice comes with plenty of qualifiers. If you’re planning to commit crimes online at the Holiday Inn Express, or to visit websites that you’d rather people not know you frequented, you need to take precautionary steps that we’ll get to in a minute. Likewise, if you’re a high-value target of a sophisticated nation state—look at you!—stay off of public Wi-Fi at all costs. (Also, you’ve probably already been hacked some other way, sorry.)

      But for the rest of us? You’re probably OK. That’s not because hotel and airport Wi-Fi networks have necessarily gotten that much more secure. The web itself has.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Beyond Passwords: 2FA, U2F and Google Advanced Protection
    • Dependencies in open source

      The topic of securing your open source dependencies just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. I always expect it to get less attention for some reason, and every year I’m wrong about what’s happening out there. I remember when I first started talking about this topic, nobody really cared about it. It’s getting a lot more traction these days, especially as we see stories about open source dependencies being wildly out of date and some even being malicious backdoors.

      So what does it really mean to have dependencies? Ignoring the topic of open source for a minute, we should clarify what a dependency is. If you develop software today, there’s no way you build everything yourself. Even if you’re writing something in a low level language there are other libraries you rely on to do certain things for you. Just printing “hello world” calls into another library to actually print the text on the screen. Nobody builds at this level outside of a few select low level projects. Because of this we use code and applications that someone else wrote. If your business is about selling something online, writing your own web server would be a massive cost. It’s far cheaper to find a web server someone else wrote. The web server would be a dependency. If the web server is open source (which is probably is), we would call that an open source dependency.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Drone could have caused police helicopter ‘catastrophe’ in Guyhirn as man sentenced in first UK case

      A drone which passed narrowly under a police helicopter could have brought about ‘catastrophic’ consequences similar to the recent tragedy in Leicester which killed five people, a court heard.

      Sergej Miaun became the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for flying a drone which interfered with a police vehicle after he disrupted a search for a missing woman in the River Nene in Guyhirn.

    • A Tale of Two Marines

      These two young men may have an infinite number of things in common, but the actions they took this week do not.

      One used a pro-war ceremony at a professional basketball game to reject the celebration of militarism, and to protest war-profiteering advertising in sports.

      One became the latest “mass shooter” — which I put in quotation marks only because he had already been a mass shooter, but he had been an acceptable kind of mass shooter.

      On Tuesday evening, former U.S. Marine Josuee Hernandez was scheduled to be honored for his so-called service at a Portland Trailblazers game. He unzipped his jacket to reveal a shirt with a protest message shaming the team for accepting money from a weapons dealer. He rejected the bag of prizes being given him. “We should not feel honored by being gifted a bag of trinkets and then paraded in front of an audience,” Hernandez said. He acted righteously and bravely, and perhaps (I know nothing about him, but have known a lot of veterans) therapeutically as well.

    • Yemen’s Houthis say ready for ceasefire
    • Yemen’s Houthis halt missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, UAE; say ready for peace
    • Yemen’s Houthis Halt Missile Attacks on Saudi Coalition
    • Life in fear: Report says 1 in 3 US drone-strike deaths in Yemen are civilians, including children
    • Yemen war: Houthis ‘halting drone and missile strikes’

      Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they are halting drone and missile strikes on the Saudi-led military coalition after a request from the United Nations.

      The move comes after the coalition ordered a halt in its offensive on the key Yemeni port of Hudaydah.

      The UN is attempting to revive talks to end a three-year war which has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

      So far, the war has killed thousands and pushed millions more Yemenis to the brink of starvation.

    • Yemen’s Houthis say they are ready for a ceasefire

      Pressure has mounted on warring parties to end war that killed thousands and pushed the country to verge of starvation.

    • Ottawa, Yemen and Guardian

      One has to admire the Canadian government’s manipulation of the media regarding its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Despite being partners with the Kingdom’s international crimes, the Liberals have managed to convince some gullible folks they are challenging Riyadh’s rights abuses.

      By downplaying Ottawa’s support for violence in Yemen while amplifying Saudi reaction to an innocuous tweet the dominant media has wildly distorted the Trudeau government’s relationship to the monarchy.

      In a story headlined “Trudeau says Canada has heard Turkish tape of Khashoggi murder”, Guardian diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour affirmed that “Canada has taken a tough line on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record for months.” Hogwash. Justin Trudeau’s government has okayed massive arms sales to the monarchy and largely ignored the Saudi’s devastating war in Yemen, which has left up to 80,000 dead, millions hungry and sparked a terrible cholera epidemic.

    • The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace

      Are we forever doomed to be warriors, wired from birth to be belligerent? Or is there, deep inside our species, an equal propensity toward peace?

      I found a tentative answer to these questions that have vexed humanity through the ages when I was no more than a child growing up in Queens in the late 1940s. At about the time when it turns out that Donald Trump, a mile or so away, was taking his first steps in life, I found myself at the age of 7 or so, fiercely engaged in a street-level cult of war that he would might well approve of today, given his militaristic posturing and bellicose language.

      But Trump’s Queens was, in that era of rampant discrimination, almost entirely white, whereas I resided — thanks to my Argentine father’s work for the fledgling United Nations –in an apartment complex called Parkway Village, a multicultural, multinational, multiethnic enclave. And the most unlikely place in the world for any sort of conflict between children or adults, for that matter, to find fertile ground, because it was thought of as a unique experiment in diversity — international, linguistic, racial — supposedly projecting a utopian vision of planetary harmony.

      Alas, it was not harmony I sought as I roamed the gardens and open spaces of Parkway Village where confrontations had broken out between rival groups of the young sons of diplomats and staff, who were so fervently dedicated to amity among nations and cultures. The clashes had started with an insult of some kind, soon escalating to fists and stones and, eventually, sticks.

      The pugnacious kids were recent immigrants to the States, perhaps eager to hold onto some form of nativist identity by bashing the heads of anyone who spoke strangely or looked different.

    • Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry

      Poets are all too human, and some of them are moral and political imbeciles. Some poets, however, are so deeply troubled by their times that that they both extend and challenge the culture they inherit.

    • Declassified 1949 CIA manual gives warning to disinformation on social media

      No need for Google — it turns out that finding a blueprint to launch an effective disinformation campaign on social media can be found in a CIA manual from 1949.

      Declassified in 2012, “Strategical Psychological Warfare” was written in response to World War II. While the CIA did not predict a medium like social media, the communication strategies it outlines are eerily similar to what the U.S. has witnessed from Russia during and since the 2016 election.

      As a refresher, a 2017 U.S. intelligence community report concluded that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” U.S. intelligence also concluded that a major goal for the Kremlin was to undermine public faith in the American democratic process.

    • The Fatal Flaws in a Congressional Resolution to End US Support for the Saudi-Led Yemen War
    • US will be hostage to partisan bickering for next two years – CIA veteran

      As the rift between the US and the rest of the world grows wider, at home, Democrats are now in control of Congress. How big of a game changer is the result of the US midterms for the rest of the globe? We talked to two-decade CIA veteran Rolf Mowatt-Larssen.

    • Shattering Europe? Why Trump’s Paris Fiasco Really Matters
    • Bullhorns: CIA confidence

      Brexit and high drama – the saga continues. Also, the CIA says it has high confidence they know who killed Khashoggi. And is it high noon for Julian Assange?

    • Report: 1 in 3 Deaths Caused by US Drone Strikes this Year in Yemen Were Civilians

      SANA’A, YEMEN — At least one third of those killed by U.S. drone strikes in the war-torn country of Yemen over the past year have been civilians, according to a recent Associated Press investigation.

      The troubling statistic comes amid a three-year-long bombing campaign of Western Yemen led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which the U.S. aids by providing weapons as well as targeting and logistical assistance despite the fact that the airstrikes frequently target civilians and civilian infrastructure. The recent AP investigation reveals that U.S. drones are yet another deadly but often overlooked threat to Yemen’s civilians.

      The investigation begins by noting that a comprehensive count of civilian deaths caused by drone strikes is nearly impossible, given the difficulty in confirming the identities and allegiances of those killed. However, examination of the available information on U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, allegedly conducted to combat the presence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), found that at least 30 of those killed by the strikes this year were not al Qaeda members but civilians, including a 14-year-old boy and five members of a family looking for their lost child.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Pursuing Julian Assange – and the President

      When the history of American foreign policy and the misery Washington has caused throughout its tenure as world policeman is written, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks will have many entries in the footnotes, not to mention the index. The publication of Chelsea Manning’s treasure trove of US diplomatic history – thousands of cables describing the interactions of US decision-makers with world leaders through the decades – alone gives WikiLeaks the title of most important journalistic outlet of the new millennium. And that is just the crown jewel in a diadem of journalistic triumphs – stinging exposures of the War Party and their corrupt enablers — no other outlet can hope to match. It is therefore with very little surprise that one reads the news that the Justice Department has secretly indicted Assange – and please pay special attention to how that has been revealed.

      The New York Times had the scoop: in an unrelated case, the geniuses over at the Justice Department had mistakenly copied phrases from the secret indictment in publicly available court documents.

      Really? That doesn’t seem very credible, and the specific document the Times refers to throws the whole matter into serious question: the mention of Assange is simply inserted into text that is about someone who is alleged to have coerced a child, and asks for the documents in the case to be sealed. The insertion reads:

      “Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

    • Who is Julian Assange? Everything you need to know about the WikiLeaks founder

      Julian Assange, 47, is a computer programmer and hacker best known as the founder of WikiLeaks, which publishes confidential and classified government information. Assange founded Wikileaks in 2006, and the site drew headlines in 2010 for publishing secret U.S. military information related to the Iraq War, which had been provided to Assange by Chelsea Manning.

      Assange was born in Australia and now resides in Ecuador’s embassy in London under political asylum. He became an Ecuadorean citizen in 2016.

    • Julian Assange Isn’t Worth It

      If the U.S. government can prosecute the WikiLeaks editor for publishing classified material, then every media outlet is at risk.

    • Prosecuting Wikileaks, Protecting Press Freedoms: Drawing the Line at Knowing Collaboration with a Foreign Intelligence Agency

      The inadvertent disclosure of the likely existence of a sealed indictment against Julian Assange raises the question of what the constitutional implications of such an indictment might be. Only an indictment narrowly focused on knowing collaboration with a foreign intelligence agency, if in fact the evidence supports such a finding, would avoid the broad threat that such a prosecution would otherwise pose to First Amendment rights and press freedoms.

      Any prosecution for the publication of the Chelsea Manning disclosures (war logs; embassy cables) or for involvement in the Edward Snowden disclosures would meet the same constitutional difficulties that arose at that time. As I argued in detail in 2011, and then as a witness for the defense in the Manning trial, for purposes of constitutional protection it is impossible to distinguish Wikileaks from more traditional media on stable grounds that cannot be leveraged against all manner of media organizations over time, including both partisan and mainstream media. No distinguishing line can usefully be drawn in organizational terms. Central to this discussion are federal cases concerning journalists’ privilege under state law, as well as the Supreme Court’s clear statement that “Liberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer who uses carbon paper or a mimeograph just as much as of the large metropolitan publisher who utilizes the latest photocomposition methods” from Branzburg v Hayes.

    • US has filed secret charges against Julian Assange, reports say

      The Committee to Protect Journalists is closely monitoring news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has secretly filed charges against the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.

      “We are closely monitoring reports that prosecutors have prepared a sealed indictment against Julian Assange,” said Alexandra Ellerbeck, CPJ’s North America program coordinator. “While the charges are not known, we would be concerned by a prosecution that construes publishing government documents as a crime. This would set a dangerous precedent that could harm all journalists, whether inside or outside the United States.”

      In 2010, CPJ sent a letter to the Obama administration urging officials not to charge Assange for the publication of classified materials. This year, CPJ reported on experts’ concerns over a civil lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee, which argues that Assange and WikiLeaks were involved in a criminal conspiracy to hack the committee’s servers during the 2016 election.

    • We can detest Assange but don’t lock him up

      As his lawyers might put it, Julian Assange’s best defence against extradition to America is that there is no law yet against being really annoying. Remarkably it is now a little over six years since he went into the embassy of Ecuador — the longest anybody like him has spent out of the sunlight since they last bought a particularly gripping computer game.

    • Court Filing Suggests Prosecutors Are Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange
    • Bokhari: Rise of the Western Dissidents

      We’re used to Russian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and Saudi Arabian dissidents. But those who rightly believe the west is superior to authoritarian regimes must now contend with a troubling trend — the rise of the western dissident.

      Chief among them is Julian Assange, who for a half-decade has been forced to live in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed political asylum since 2011. Assange claimed that he would be extradited to the U.S. to face charges over his work at WikiLeaks if he left the embassy, and was routinely mocked as paranoid for doing so.

      This week, we learned that Assange was right and his critics were wrong. Thanks to a clerical error by the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, reporters were able to confirm the existence of sealed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Appears To Have ‘Been Charged’ In Federal Court
    • Secret Charges Against WikiLeaks Chief a Threat to Free Press

      In a case with potentially massive implications for freedom of the press and government secrecy, federal prosecutors have seemingly filed secret charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (shown), court filings suggest. It was not immediately clear what exact charges the advocate of transparency may be facing. But some conspiracy theorists making allegations about a supposed link between President Donald Trump and the Kremlin — many of whom claim to believe Russian authorities delivered incriminating e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign to WikiLeaks — are hyping the case as a potential turning point in the Special Counsel “investigation.” More than a few experts and insiders have suggested the leaked Democrat e-mails were actually released by a campaign insider, potentially even murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. But so far, the actual source remains a mystery to the public. Assange denies it was a state source at all. But he is facing the wrath of Deep State outrage either way.

      From across the political spectrum, a wide range of voices — including some traditionally associated with the Left, the far-left, and even the establishment — have vigorously protested the effort to prosecute and destroy Assange as an all-out assault on free speech, freedom of the press, and government transparency. The biggest concern among critics, perhaps, is that the prosecution of Assange could set a precedent that would eventually be used to prosecute anyone publishing government secrets. Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, for instance, noted that the precedent against WikiLeaks could “easily be turned around” and used against more conventional and “mainstream” reporters. “Hard to overstate how dangerous it would be for press freedom,” he added, echoing concerns by free speech and free press advocates across America and worldwide.

    • The Case Against WikiLeaks Is a Crisis for the First Amendment
    • 5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Julian Assange founder of Wikileaks

      From TV appearances to surprising supporters here are five facts you didn’t know about the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

    • Did a copy-paste error reveal the US’s secret case against Assange?

      What a rough few weeks it’s been for WikiLeaks founder/Ecuadorian embassy poltergeist Julian Assange: Ecuador told him that if he wants to stay wrapped up in his asylum cocoon, he needs to shut up about politics, clean his own damn bathroom and scoop the poop from his cat’s litter box lest the kitty be given to somebody who knows how to take care of it.

      Then last week there were rumours that the US finally, after six long years, filed charges against him for publishing stolen information.

      It’s a big “maybe.” The supposition that the US secretly charged Assange comes from a mistake on a court filing that could have been a slip-up or might have been just a copy-paste error.

    • Julian Assange must be brought to justice [Ed: “brought to justice” means being brought back home to Australia to be with family and friends. Jealous corporate media against Wikileaks and Assange because the latter do a better job.]

      I remember groaning a few years ago when the pale Australian hacker weirdo accused of sexual assault was winning awards left and right from so-called human rights groups and peace foundations, prestigious journalism prizes, and gushing tributes from Michael Moore and Oliver Stone. It didn’t matter that Assange was an obvious charlatan — what kind of sane person trademarks his name? — and that the so-called philosophy of radical transparency undergirding WikiLeaks was just the teenaged nihilism of a million pimply 4chan users applied to politics. He was a cool guy, and the Obama administration’s half-hearted attempts to bring him to justice like the terrorist he is were doomed to fail thanks to the public-spiritedness of the Ecuadorian government.

    • Assange Charges Worry Free-Press Advocates

      The revelation that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been secretly charged has prompted fears among free-press advocates that the Justice Department is targeting those who publish classified information

    • Criminal Charges Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Are Sealed But Not For Long

      WikiLeaks is the Robin Hood-type tech company that exposes dark and hidden government secrets. WikiLeaks spills the corrupt beans so people around the world can understand how corrupt some political actors and their agendas can be. But that Robin Hood image doesn’t fit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Sasse thinks Assange should go to prison for life. Senator Sasse believes WikiLeaks spreads foreign propaganda in order to compromise the government of the United States.

      But Donald Trump didn’t share that description of WikiLeaks when Assange was working behind the scenes to expose Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump told his followers he loved WikiLeaks. Mr. Trump wasn’t the only conservative singing the praises of WikiLeaks. Conservatives came out of the woodwork back in 2016, and they all thought Julian Assange was on their side. They gave Assange the title of whistle-blower, and Fox News congratulated Australian-born Assange for showing the world how phony, dishonest, and corrupt the American government is.

    • Why the Trump administration stepped up pursuit of Julian Assange

      Soon after he took over as CIA director, Mike Pompeo privately told lawmakers about a new target for US spies: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

      Intent on finding out more about Assange’s dealings with Russian intelligence, the CIA last year began to conduct traditional espionage against the organization, according to US officials. At the same time, federal law enforcement officials were reconsidering Assange’s designation as a journalist and debating whether to charge him with a crime.

    • DOJ Mistake Reveals Secret Assange Indictment
    • EXCLUSIVE: Lawyer for Wiki leaks founder Julian Assange speak out on possible US government charges

      Jennifer Robinson, lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speaks exclusively with MSNBC’s Keir Simmons about his possible arrest and extradition to the U.S.

    • Justice Dept. filing alludes to charges against WikiLeaks founder Assange

      The assistant U.S. attorney wrote the other suspect’s charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.” The document did not explain any connection or association between Assange and the other man.

    • The Dangerous Rush to Judgment Against Julian Assange

      After years of speculation, we now know that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been accused by the Justice Department of committing crimes against the United States. We know this because an assistant U.S. attorney named Kellen S. Dwyer screwed up and inadvertently disclosed in a motion filed on Aug. 22 in an unrelated case that Assange has been secretly charged in an accusation that has been placed under seal.

      The unrelated case is pending in the Eastern District of Virginia against Seitu Sulayman Kokayi, 29, who, according to The Washington Post, is linked to international terrorism and whose father in-law has been convicted of committing terrorist acts.

      What we don’t know about the prosecution of Assange is virtually everything else.

    • Evidence the Australian government knew of US charges against Assange since 2010

      Charges could include “conspiracy, theft of government property or violating the Espionage Act”. Regarding the latter, former CIA director Mike Pompeo explained that WikiLeaks had allegedly “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States”. And the late Michael Ratner (Assange’s US lawyer) was certain that the most likely charge Assange could face was “conspiracy to commit espionage”.

    • Pamela Anderson lashes out at Scott Morrison over ‘smutty’ comments

      Actress Pamela Anderson has taken a swipe at Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, accusing him of making “smutty, unnecessary” comments about her.

      The former Baywatch star made the remarks in an open letter which she posted to twitter today, after Mr Morrison reportedly laughed about her plea to help bring WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange back home to Australia.

    • Government’s contempt for a free press on display with Assange

      In case you missed it, last week Julian Assange and his decision to remain within the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012 was vindicated — entirely so.

      Assange and his legal team have always argued that his refusal to leave — even after the dropping of prosecution for sexual offences in Sweden — is because of the threat of the US government seeking to extradite him based on charges relating to WikiLeaks’ release of US government information. So central was this argument to his case that opponents, like Bob Carr, (briefly Australia’s foreign minister under Julia Gillard) tried to dispute it, insisting in the face of extensive evidence that the Americans had no prosecutorial interest in Assange.

    • The Australian government needs to protect its citizen: Assange Lawyer
    • Pamela Anderson criticises Australia PM for ‘smutty’ comment

      Earlier this month Ms Anderson, a former Baywatch star and long-time advocate for Mr Assange, had called on the Australian government to help him.
      “Get Julian his passport back and take him back home to Australian and be proud of him, and throw him a parade when he gets home,” she told Australia’s 60 Minutes programme.
      Mr Morrison’s comment was made soon afterwards on a radio programme. He also reiterated Australia’s position that it would not intervene in Mr Assange’s case.
      On Sunday, Ms Anderson wrote in an open letter: “You trivialized and laughed about the suffering of an Australian and his family.

    • Netizens Back Anderson in Crushing ‘Smutty’ Australia PM for Abandoning Assange

      Appearing on a radio program, the Australian prime minister publicly chuckled at the Baywatch icon’s proposal, claiming in response that he has a number of “envoys” close at hand who would eagerly deal with the Pamela issue.

    • Pamela Anderson accuses Scott Morrison of making ‘smutty’ comments about her
    • All The Weirdest Auspol Vs Celebrity Fights
    • Lisa Wilkinson: Why ScoMo Should Apologise To Pamela Anderson. And Every Woman.
    • Australia PM slammed for ‘smutty’ comment

      Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced criticism following his “smutty” remarks about actress Pamela Anderson, after she asked him to help Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
      Anderson had urged Scott Morrison to bring Assange to Australia. Rejecting her plea, Morrison said he had “plenty of mates who have asked me if they can be my special envoy to sort out the issue with Pamela”.

      Several politicians backed the actress slamming the politician saying it was high time men stopped using a woman’s sexuality and appearance to denigrate her political arguments.

    • Pamela Anderson criticises Australian prime minister’s ‘lewd’ and ‘smutty’ comments in Assange spat

      Pamela Anderson, the American actress, has attacked Australian prime minister Scott Morrison for his “lewd” and “smutty” comments about her after she asked him to assist Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      Following Anderson’s appeal to Mr Morrison to help Mr Assange return to Australia, the prime minister discussed the request on commercial radio, saying: “Well no, first of all, but next, I’ve had plenty of mates who’ve asked me if they can be my special envoy to sort the issue out with Pamela Anderson.”

      Responding to the comments, Anderson, a former Baywatch star and Playboy model and a friend and supporter of Mr Assange, wrote an open letter to Mr Morrison and condemned his “unnecessary” comments.

    • Female MPs blast Scott Morrison over ‘smutty’ Pamela Anderson remark
    • Pamela Anderson slams Australian PM Scott Morrison for ‘smutty’ comments
    • Pamela Anderson is trying to rescue from prison, Julian Assange

      Now the star of Playboy living in Paris with footballer Adil Rami, but your ex still remembers, even tries to participate in his life. For six years the ex-beloved star of “Baywatch” hiding from law enforcement. It is published on the website WikiLeaks has provided him with a prison sentence in many countries.

      Many prominent figures, including politicians and colleagues, spoke out in defense of Assange. They were joined by Pamela Anderson. She tries to rescue a former lover from prison. Celebrity encourages the Australian government to rescue Julian from prison and drop charges against him. However, members of the government “Green continent” the actress refused and even laughed at her attempts. Among the mockers was and 50-year-old Scott Morrison. Directly on one of the Australian TV show he was denied Pamela’s request.

    • Report: Mueller Will Meet Again With Roger Stone’s Alleged Link To WikiLeaks

      Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to meet again with Randy Credico, the New York comedian who was revealed this week as having tipped off Trump confidant Roger Stone to WikiLeaks’ plans to release information that would harm the Clinton campaign.

      Credico’s attorney, Martin Stolar, told The Daily Beast that his client will meet with Mueller’s team at some point after Thanksgiving.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change Is the Product of How Capitalism “Values” Nature

      Climate change is the greatest existential crisis facing humanity today. Capitalist industrialization has led us to the edge of the precipice, and avoiding the end of civilization as we know it may require the development of a view in direct opposition to the way in which capitalism “values” nature, according to John Bellamy Foster, professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and editor of the socialist magazine Monthly Review.

    • How to Help California Wildfire Survivors

      California’s grim year of record-breaking wildfires continues this month. The Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County claimed 113,000 acres and 42 lives and counting as of Tuesday morning, while the Woolsey Fire in Southern California tore through 96,000 acres. Watching these fires race through the landscape can be scary, especially when it may feel like there’s nothing you can do.

      Fortunately, a lot of people are working on the ground to fight these fires and support survivors as they return home — or find new housing, in the case of thousands who have lost their residences.

      Whether you’re a local or live across the country, there are a number of ways to help.

    • Louisiana Teachers Mobilize Against ExxonMobil Tax Exemption

      Sometimes the boss offers us a fight that directly exposes the destructive effects of corporate power.

      In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that moment came when ExxonMobil asked for yet another handout from taxpayers—property tax exemptions totaling $6 million.

      For the ninth-largest corporation in the world, it was a routine request. ExxonMobil is accustomed to receiving such perks from obedient state officials. But teachers saw it differently: as a $6 million theft from the local schools budget.

      Educators and other school employees voted 445-6 on October 23 to stage a one-day walkout the following week. Teachers planned to pack a hearing on ExxonMobil’s requests.

      Within hours of the union vote, the company’s exemption bids were off the Board of Industry and Commerce’s agenda.

    • Yellowstone investigating illegal drone photo taken in park

      Yellowstone National Park officials say they’re investigating after a photo was posted online showing one of the park’s geothermal features from a drone, which is illegal.

      The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Wednesday the photo of Grand Prismatic Spring was posted on Instagram and then deleted after criticism from other users.

      Drones are banned in Yellowstone and many other parks.

    • Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires

      With the shocking loss of thousands of homes and dozens of lives in the Camp and Woolsey fires in Northern and Southern California, people are looking for answers as they try to understand how a tragedy such as this can be prevented in the future.

      As people struggled to evacuate, President Donald Trump in a tweet blamed the fires on poor forest management and repeated the claims before his visit to California. While Trump did not explicitly call for an expansion of logging in his latest response, he has previously touted this strategy as a way to curb fires. Meanwhile, the federal government is moving to allow commercial logging in areas such as the Los Padres National Forest outside Santa Barbara, claiming it will prevent fires. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has also blamed “environmental terrorist groups” for preventing the government from properly managing forests.

      It is deeply troubling that Trump and his administration would support logging as a way to curb fires when studies have shown it’s ineffective. In the most comprehensive scientific analysis conducted on the issue of forest management and fire intensity — which looked at more than 1,500 fires on tens of millions of acres across the Western United States over three decades — we found that forests with the fewest environmental protections and the most logging actually tend to burn much more intensely, not less.

    • Protest Song Of The Week – ‘MutterERT’ By Chuck D (Featuring Jahi)

      Chuck D recently released his fourth studio album, “Celebration of Ignorance.” The album is rooted in a classic 1980s throwback style. The lyrics are as hard-hitting as ever, and he tackles subjects such as racism, toxic masculinity, gun violence, dangers of technological advances and the hateful rhetoric of President 45.

      “MutterERT” addresses the issue of climate change and the damage we are doing to the planet. Lyrics such as “Forgetting future generations gonna be regretting” highlights how future generations will suffer from the sinful short-sighted greed of those in power.

      The song also features contributions from Jahi of P.E. 2.0, who on his verse adds the pointed observation, “The land of my birth. Some treat her like a prostitute. Some know her worth. Some help her stay clean. Some shelling out the hurt.”

    • Making Visible the Globe-warming Gases of the Permian Fracking Boom

      There is an LED sign at a Chase Bank in downtown Midland, Texas, the heart of the Permian Basin, which quantifies the current oil boom. It alternates between current rig count, the price of oil, and the price of gasoline. On October 30, the day I arrived, the sign informed me there were 1,068 drilling rigs across the United States, of which 489 — nearly half — are in the Permian Basin.

      Though the flashing sign is meant to celebrate the fracking boom, Sharon Wilson, Texas coordinator of Earthworks, sees it as a warning sign of the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change.

  • Finance

    • Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security

      In the surreal alternative reality world of the US Congress, there are many bills passed each year that on the surface may sound like good ideas — they even give them high-sounding names like the US PATRIOT ACT or Better Care and Reconciliation Act, that in fact are the opposite of what they claim to be (the former actually being an unpatriotic undermining of the Bill of Rights and the latter actually being an unsuccessful attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (itself a deceptively named bill that forced middle-income families to buy hugely expensive insurance plans or pay a tax penalty).

      But few of these deceptions are as egregious as one being pushed by embattled incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is advocating a bill that would require any legislation that would raise taxes on incomes in the bottom 80% to be passed with a 60% majority of the House.

      That bill, while promoted by Pelosi as protecting the middle class from future tax rises, actually would make impossible passage of any bill expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, creating a kind of Canadian-model national health system, and might even prevent efforts to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits as called for by progressive Democrats.

      The thing is, a broad majority of Americans, including many Republicans, and an overwhelming majority of Democrats, favor Medicare-for-All, a program that would extend and expand Medicare coverage making it a government insurance plan for covering all medical care for all Americans of any age — exactly what Canadians have had since 1971, and which they have overwhelmingly supported through both Liberal and Conservative governments since then.

    • “Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers

      Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, wouldn’t seem to need the money. Nonetheless, huge sums of money will be diverted from social needs to line his pockets — a cost that won’t stop there, as gentrification will be accelerated still more in New York City and the Washington area.

      In all, Mr. Bezos scooped up nearly US$3.7 billion worth of subsidies this week. Does someone worth $112 billion and owner of a company that has racked up $7 billion in profits for the first nine months of 2018 really need such largesse? Corporate subsides are hardly unique to Amazon, but this to all appearances represents the most blatant example yet seen.

      Incredibly, these astronomical sums of money don’t represent the biggest giveaway offers, even in the “winning” areas’ metropolitan areas. The state of New Jersey, then under the governorship of Chris Christie, offered $7 billion to Amazon to build its second headquarters in Newark, and the state of Maryland offered $8.5 billion to Amazon to build in Montgomery County, which borders Washington on the opposite side of the Potomac River from Arlington, Virginia.

      Many other locations across the United States offered gigantic subsidies, as Amazon did all it could to initiate a bidding war. But as the two locations chosen (splitting in two the original proposal to create a single “second headquarters”) were picked because of the available workforces and city amenities, were these gargantuan subsidies necessary? It would seem not, making them all the more hideous. One strong clue is that Google is rapidly expanding its presence in New York City without, as far as the public knows, any subsidies.

    • What Amazon Taught the Cops

      The future of policing, it seems, will look a lot like the present of policing, just faster and with more math. Instead of using inherent bias and simplistic statistics to racially profile individuals on a street, cops of the future will be able to use complicated statistics to racially profile people in their homes.

    • European lawmakers ask Amazon to stop selling Soviet-themed merchandise

      The MEPs point out that “the total number of victims of the Soviet Regime is estimated at more than 60 million” while the Soviets also deported “over 10 million people” to camps in Siberia where they endured “inhumane living conditions, forced labour, starvation and physical violence”.

    • Amazon Doesn’t Just Want to Dominate the Market—It Wants to Become the Market

      The problem wasn’t so much that customers had made a conscious decision to buy their running gear elsewhere, Lampen-Crowell says. Rather, a number were doing more of their overall shopping on Amazon—and as the online giant became a pervasive, almost unconscious habit in their lives, they had started dropping into their Amazon shopping carts some of the items they used to buy from Gazelle Sports. Lampen-Crowell’s initial response was to double down on marketing his company’s own website. But while that helped, there were many potential customers who still had little chance of landing on it. That was because, by 2014, nearly 40 percent of people looking to buy something online were skipping search engines like Google altogether and instead starting their product searches directly on Amazon.

    • Postal-Service Workers Are Shouldering the Burden for Amazon

      Amazon was able to make a deal to ship its packages through USPS at cut-rate prices, because the company preemptively sorts and labels packages by postal route. But transporting and distributing these packages still takes clerks like Amanda much longer than sorting letters, which can be fed through a machine. If the clerks are delayed, the station’s carriers will be delayed in starting routes, which are already longer than ever thanks to the packages filling up their satchels and trucks. Many won’t deliver their final box until well after the sun has set.

      “If there’s a lot of Amazon, it just gums up the works,” Amanda said. “Things get backed up by two, three hours.”

    • A Socialist Response to Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers’ Report

      In October, the Council of Economic Advisers, which counsels the president on economic matters, published a far-from-moderate report attacking socialism. Producing large-scale economic studies about socialism can be considered to be progress on the Washington establishment’s part, considering its usual practices of invading countries and instituting embargos that force entire populations into starvation (as in the cases of Nicaragua and Cuba).

      Ultimately though, the report reveals conservative, bourgeois economists’ ignorance about constructive political discourse. These economists — the very people who have much to lose from a transition to socialism — employ a paternalistic attitude toward the “careless masses,” one that resembles economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek’s approach in his bestselling book The Road to Serfdom. They desperately aim to prove that, as Hayek stated, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

      These conservative economists, Trump and all the other members of the Washington establishment are ignorant of current political discourse. Their blurry definition of socialism and incoherent comparisons between the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong’s China, Nordic social democracy and Bernie Sanders’s proposals throughout the report demonstrate as much. More specifically, they enmesh “here-and-now” demands with transitional socialist demands. In turn, they call the “here-and-now” demands “socialist” (as opposed to social-democratic) and focus their criticisms on them. This is evident on page 39 of the report where they refer to Medicare for All as a “socialist proposal.”

    • How Tammy Baldwin, Target of $14 Million in Outside Spending, Sent the Koch Brothers and Their Minions Packing

      Baldwin, the top target of early Koch Brothers attack ads, won big in the state of Wisconsin, crushing her opponent Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir by 11 points. She also garnered 150,000 votes more than Tony Evers, the Democratic nominee for governor who beat Scott Walker by 31,000 votes. This, in a state that had elected Walker three times and gave Trump the 23,000 votes he needed to capture Wisconsin and the White House.

      By February, Baldwin had already been the target of $4.5 million in ads from just one Koch front group, Concerned Veterans of America, claiming she dropped the ball on the over-prescription of opioids at the Tomah veteran’s clinic, which resulted in the death of a U.S. Marine. The group ladled on another $1.5 million in July, claiming that she failed to attend important committee meetings. Other ads by the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners groups attacked Baldwin over taxes and for “rigging the system against us.”

    • Poverty Isn’t Neglect, But the State Took My Children Anyway

      As I write this, I’m sitting in a small, humid room in Plantation, Florida. I’m from Seattle, and I know almost nobody in this area, but I can’t leave. That’s because my three- and four-year-old daughters were taken from me by the state last April. Until that case is overturned, or my parental rights are restored, this is where I’ll stay.

      When most people hear “the state took my kids,” their minds jump to the worst conclusions. These cases are quiet and the courtrooms are closed, so I don’t blame you for assuming I was beating them up, or looking the other way while they were abused, or some other such nightmare scenario you see on the Lifetime channel. Those kinds of cases happen, but far more common are the ones where parents do their very best but still come up short on money for the heat, or the rent, or a licensed babysitter. My case is one of those, in which a little more cash and sympathy would have kept my daughters with me.

      Three-quarters of substantiated child maltreatment cases are related to neglect, and the kind of neglect that triggers a CPS case is almost always the result of poverty. Although each state gets to set its own specific definitions for neglect, they typically center around deprivation of things like food, shelter, clothing, or medical treatment, which are problems almost totally exclusive to poor people.

      The accusation that brought child services into my family was related to drug use. My mother-in-law, with whom I’ve never really gotten along, called the child abuse hotline and told them she suspected I was out using heroin while she watched the kids. After a series of urine and hair panels tested negative, child protective services broadened their investigation. They raised concerns about the fact that I was living with my in-laws, and that I had been unable to attend trauma therapy for a month while I waited for my new state insurance to go into effect.

    • Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer

      For decades, shoppers for sex-related products and services were mostly men, often dubbed the “raincoat crowd,” who slinked into XXX-rated shops in a down-market part of town to purchase a risqué magazine, porn flick, a vibrator, a special costume or hookup with a sex worker.

      Those days are over!

      The commercial sex industry is now mainstream. Old-time sex toys have been rebranded “sex-wellness products” and are available at specialty outlets like Gotham’s Pleasure Chest, San Francisco’s Good Vibration and Seattle’s Babeland as well as major retailers, ranging from high-end specialty chains like Nordstrom and Brookstone, to mass-market outlets like Walgreens and Target, and even crusty down-market Wal-Mart.

      But the big one is Amazon! It’s the nation’s largest retailer of sex-wellness products offering around 60,000 items.

      And its sex-toys business will become even bigger with the support of the New York taxpayer.

    • Don’t Be Duped by Corporate Spin: Regulation Protects Us All

      High regulatory standards protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. They safeguard our homes, workplaces, wallets, health, environment and economy from corporate recklessness, greed and lawbreaking.

      Yet every year, regulated industries, trade associations, corporate PR firms and industry-funded lobbying groups spend billions to turn lawmakers and the media against regulation. Much of their spending is aimed at making journalists unwitting accomplices in their decades-long campaign to dismantle the US’s system of public protections. That is why it is crucial for journalists to be aware of the vast amount of misinformation spread by regulated industries aimed at distorting the debate, and for news outlets to avoid editorial choices that carry water for big corporations and harm the public.

      Consider that the financial crisis of 2008 was caused by weakening and repealing regulations, leading to the Great Recession, which cost Americans up to $14 trillion, destroyed 8.7 million jobs and caused pension funds for workers to lose nearly a third of their value.

      Meanwhile, weak drilling safety standards resulted in the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers, cost nearly $62 billion and disrupted small businesses, working families and ecosystems all along the Gulf Coast.

    • Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?

      The right would like us to believe that the inequality we see in the United States, and increasingly in other countries, is a natural outcome of market processes. Unfortunately, many on the left seem to largely share this view, with the proviso that they would like the government to alter market outcomes, either with tax and transfer policy, or with interventions like a higher minimum wage.

      While redistributive tax and transfer policies are desirable, as is a decent minimum wage, it is an incredible mistake to not recognize that the upward redistribution of the last four decades was brought about by conscious policy, not any sort of natural process of globalization and technology. Not recognizing this fact is an enormous mistake from both the standpoint of policy and politics.

      From the policy standpoint, we give up a huge amount by not examining the policies that have caused before-tax income to be redistributed upward. As a practical matter, it is much easier to prevent all the money from going to the top in the first place than trying to tax it back after the fact.

      On the political side, we should never have our argument be that somehow the big problem is that the Bill Gates of the world were too successful. The big problem is that we have badly structured the rules of the market so that we gave Bill Gates too much money. With different rules, he would not be one of the world’s richest people even if he had worked just as hard.

      Since we’re on the topic of Bill Gates, patent and copyright rules are a good place to start. For some reason, it is difficult to get people to accept an obvious truth: there is a huge amount of money at stake with these rules. By my calculations, patent and copyright monopolies could well direct more than $1 trillion a year, a sum that is more than 60 percent of after-tax corporate profits.

    • Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs

      Plato has a bad reputation in many circles because his most famous work, The Republic, appears to defend all sorts of ideas that are unpalatable to most contemporary readers, ideas such as that people need to be protected from the truth, that large-scale censorship and even the deliberate dissemination of false and misleading information by governments is defensible as a means of ensuring order in a society. I believe, however, as I have argued elsewhere, that such a view of Plato is mistaken.

      There’s a lot of talk these days about the positive value of a liberal arts education. I couldn’t agree more. There is much we could learn, for example, from Plato’s Republic. Despite the fact that it disparages what it calls “democracy,” the democracy it describes is not one that I believe would be recognizable as such to any Enlightenment thinker. More importantly for the purposes of the present reflections, the Republic takes nearly as dim a view of societies that value money above everything else. Such societies are generally referred to as “plutocracies,” which literally means “government by the wealthy.” Interestingly, however, Plato calls them “oligarchies” which means “government by the few,” because he believes that societies that value money above everything else will inevitably end up concentrating the wealth in the hands of a very small number of people.

      I love teaching The Republic for many reasons. It is a beautiful and deeply moving book. One of the things that makes it such a joy to teach, though, is how it engages students. The city on which the book focuses is what Socrates calls an aristocracy, or “government by the best individuals.” Even this city, he acknowledges, however, in Book VIII, will inevitably succumb to a process of dissolution into a series of increasingly degenerate states, first to a timocracy, or “government in which love of honor is the ruling principle,” then to an oligarchy, which values money above everything else, from there to a democracy, which according to Socrates, values nothing at all except freedom from restraint, and finally, to a tyranny.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • “Senator, Why Are You Being Arrested?”

      The morning of Tuesday, November 13, started out like many others for Nikema Williams. The Democratic state senator, who since 2017 has represented a diverse district covering a broad swath of Atlanta, showed up to work at the Georgia State Capitol for a special legislative session. A few hours later, the day became one she’ll never forget. “I keep replaying this in my mind over and over,” she told me. “Never did I imagine my day was going to end in jail.”

      [...]

      On her arrest: Shortly thereafter, my arm was pushed behind my back and I was placed in the same zip ties that I just asked the officers about upstairs, and they put me in restraints. There were so many cameras and people—even media was present—and they said, “Senator, why are you being arrested?” [The police] knew I was a senator and it didn’t matter to them that I was there for a special session, that I was supposed to be in the building, that I wasn’t even a part of the protest. I came down to monitor and make sure that my constituents have the right to voice their concerns with what happened around the election.

      I was taken out of the building in handcuffs, escorted by Capitol police, and put in a van. The vans had been out there waiting. They were waiting to arrest people all day. I was taken over to the Fulton County Jail where I was held for hours without ever [knowing] what I was being charged with or why I was being detained.

      On almost being strip searched: I had on a dress, and I didn’t know that if you wear a dress that you are asked to remove your clothes. But that’s what happened to me. An officer at the Fulton County Jail actually told me to remove my dress because she needed to make sure that I was not hiding anything in my vaginal cavity. I refused, because at that point I told her I didn’t even know if I was being lawfully detained. And this felt incredibly invasive, and I was not stripping in front of everyone standing here. I went in and I saw all the other people that were arrested with me sitting there all waiting to know what they were actually charged with and why they were escorted out of their state Capitol. We finally learned that everyone there, including me, got one charge of disrupting the General Assembly. But apparently I was special and someone wanted to make a point with me because I got two charges: Disrupting the General Assembly as well as obstruction.

    • Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections

      Well, the mid-term elections are over, but the fallout from them, the constant verbal diarrhea from newscasters, pundits and other self-proclaimed experts, continues.

      And what are they saying? For many of them on whatever passes for ‘leftist’ in the U.S. today (there is really no such thing in the two major parties or the so-called ‘mainstream’ news media), the glee is overwhelming. Democrats won control of the House and now, finally, we are told, much needed brakes will be applied to the speeding Donald Trump train wreck-in-the-making.

      Ho hum. Is there really any cause for thinking people in the U.S., or anywhere in the world, for that matter, to suddenly think that the U.S. has begun to climb out of its long decline? Does any reasonable person actually think that Democrats controlling the House of Representatives will change anything?

    • Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss

      The Irish just elected their President. But who cares? No one – least of all the Irish. History has ruthlessly disappeared the Irish nation state, so the idea of an Irish President is anachronistic.

    • Authoritarian Rule to Revolution: What Can the US Learn From Mexico?

      The distinct features of our current moment in politics have left many grasping for analogies. Are we living in the second iteration of the Weimar Republic? A new Cold War? The return of high-imperial great power competition?

      The problem with this is that it often represents more an exasperated flailing for solid guidance about what to do next than an authentic assessment of historical similarities and differences.

      If there is a consensus on anything, though, it is that the pronouncements made in the immediate post-Cold War period about the “end of history” having been decided in a definitive fashion were simply wrong. The socioeconomic form of what was once called “democratic capitalism” has not definitively triumphed over all others, with many who live under it now questioning its systemic legitimacy.

      The key indicator of a crumbling socioeconomic form is whether certain questions, which were previously not politically operative, now are. In this respect, the doors have been thrown open to radical solutions to systemic problems that were previously not even considered as such. For instance, in recent years, income inequality has been defined as an issue worthy of political concern such that even United Nations bodies now consider it a global challenge.

    • Nearly 3,000 Votes Disappeared From Florida’s Recount. That’s Not Supposed to Happen

      Nearly 3,000 votes effectively disappeared during the machine recount of Florida’s midterm races, according to election records, calling into question whether officials relied on a flawed process to settle the outcome of three statewide contests.

      With extremely narrow gaps separating candidates in the still-undeclared races for both governor and United States Senate, the results of the machine recount of all votes cast in the Nov. 6 election, posted by the Florida secretary of state’s office, showed 900 fewer votes than those reported in the original statewide tally.

      The discrepancy was expected to grow by an additional 2,000 votes when updated numbers from Broward County, whose results initially were disqualified because they came in two minutes late, are added to the statewide results on Sunday.

    • How Newly Elected Attorneys General Could Thwart Trump’s Worst Moves

      Election Day, it might have been overlooked that there were attorney general races in key states. Attorneys general can make a real difference, particularly if they are willing to consistently bring lawsuits against the presidential agenda both to protect their state and the country as a whole. The election of several progressives last week means that might soon be in the cards.

      We’ve already seen the power of progressive attorneys general banding together. On Election Day, the attorneys general of 18 states sent a joint comment on proposed U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations that would undermine the settlement agreement in Flores v. Reno. Flores requires the federal government to favor the release of immigrants who are minors, even if they arrive with their parents. After 20 days, the children must be released and placed in foster or shelter care. The administration has proposed undercutting the Flores settlement so drastically as to render it defunct.

      Similarly, attorneys general in Maryland and Washington, D.C. are the plaintiffs in an emoluments lawsuit against President Donald Trump. A federal court recently ruled that lawsuit could proceed, which means the litigation discovery process might soon lay bare one facet of Trump’s corruption.

    • How Workers Of Color Helped Democrats Defeat Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

      The midterm elections may have been a mixture of jubilation and disappointment for progressives, but Wisconsin was certainly a story worth celebrating, as voters ousted Republican Governor Scott Walker, who was notorious for his attacks on labor unions.

      Walker’s attempt at a third term was thwarted by Democratic challenger Tony Evers. Organized labor strongly backed his campaign.

      The most striking component of Walker’s loss was the turnout. Almost 60 percent of eligible Wisconsin voters made it to the polls, which is about 2.6 million people. That’s more than any previous midterm in the state and more than the amount that showed up for the recall election in 2012, which Walker won.

      However, record numbers certainly did not produce a slam dunk for Evers: he beat Walker by a mere 1.2 points, a little more than 30,000 votes.

      Wisconsin’s exit polls point to yet another noteworthy election take away—that black and Latino voters likely were a definitive force in electing Evers.

      Although such polls are never completely accurate, it seems clear that black voters outperformed white voters proportionally. This fact is even more staggering when one considers that the state’s black voter turnout declined by 19 percent in 2016, over four times the national average.

    • Native Voters Made Decisive Impact on Elections in Battleground States

      Nearly a week after ballots were cast in contentious midterm elections primarily seen as a referendum on the Trump administration, the race for Arizona senator was called in favor of the Democratic candidate, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (now senator-elect) — the first Democratic win for this seat in three decades. In the final tally, Sinema won by about 53,000 votes out of more than 2.36 million votes cast — an incredibly close race that fell well within the reach of Native American voters in the state to deliver. The bulk of these Native American voters reside in just three counties (Coconino, Navajo and Apache Counties) that encompass the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the United States, with a reservation that is slightly larger than New England and extends into three states. Based on US Census 2017 population estimates for those counties and 2010 Census ethnic/racial statistics, some 40,000 of the 65,858 votes cast for Sinema in those counties likely came from Native American voters.

      Sinema’s victory points to a larger pattern shaping elections: In counties with Native American-majority populations in North Dakota, Montana and Arizona (all states that had closely contested Senate races this year), Democrats won upwards of 80 percent of the vote. Contrasted with neighboring white-majority rural counties which vote overwhelmingly Republican, Indian country is indeed another country. Moreover, in battleground states in the West where the push and pull between historically rural red voters and a growing population of urban blue voters leaves contests as close as a few thousand votes, the Native American electorate is often left to choose the winner.

    • Judge Blocks White House From Pulling Jim Acosta’s Press Pass, But The Battle Continues

      Last week I wrote about the case that CNN and its reporter Jim Acosta had filed against the White House for the removal of his press pass over some trumped up claims that he had “assaulted” a White House intern (he did not, he simply resisted returning the microphone to her after she attempted to grab it from him). As we noted, the removal of the pass was clearly based on the content of his questioning and it seemed fairly obvious that the White House would lose the lawsuit, especially based on the existing precedent in Sherrill v. Knight, which gave CNN clear basis under both the 1st Amendment and the 5th Amendment.

      Perhaps not surprisingly, a bunch of Trump supporters quickly ran to the comments to screech at me about how wrong and biased I was against them. Let’s be clear: this is bullshit. I would have written the same article had Obama removed the press pass of a Fox News reporter under identical circumstances (and, frankly, the Trump supporters here should learn to think beyond their obsession with defending “dear leader” in everything he does, because the same rules will apply when other Presidents are in charge, and they may not always like it in the other direction). The Constitutional elements here are pretty clear. The White House is allowed to set non-content-based rules for who gets a press pass, but once they do that, they absolutely cannot remove a press pass for anything having to do with content, and they can’t simply make up rules to remove someone without any form of due process.

    • ‘We Need New Leaders, Period’: Embracing Primary Challenges and Bold Agenda, In-Coming Progressives Did Not Come to Play

      “All Americans know money in politics is a huge problem, but unfortunately the way that we fix it is by demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce campaigns ourselves,” said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the representative-elect from New York, on the call organized by Justice Democrats. “I don’t think people who are taking money from pharmaceutical companies should be drafting health care legislation. I don’t think people who are taking money from oil and gas companies should be drafting climate legislation.”

      Becky Bond, a political strategist and veteran of the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, applauded Justice Democrats as being” founded by some of the best strategists in the progressive movement” and said she believes “the group’s young, vibrant leaders are going to recruit and usher in the next generation of diverse working-class leaders into Congress.”

    • Shithole Countries: Made in the USA

      In two years, the world has become accustomed to being shocked by the words and actions of United States President Donald Trump. In January of this year, he again showed his lack of diplomacy, tack and common decency, when he referred to many poorer countries as “sh*ithole countries”, asking “Why do we want all these people from sh*thole countries coming here?” Former member of the House of Representatives Cynthia McKinney, in her new book, How the US Creates ‘Sh*thole’ Countries, has gathered a collection of essays, including one of her own, that clearly shows that it is the U.S. that is responsible for the poverty and suffering in these very nations.

      The first series of essays describes U.S. foreign policy, and its true motives. In the essay, “The End of Washington’s ‘Wars on the Cheap’,” The Saker sums of U.S. foreign policy as follows: “Here’s the template for typical Empire action: find some weak country, subvert it, accuse it of human right violations, slap economic sanctions, trigger riots and intervene militarily in ‘defense’ of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ and ‘self-determination’ (or some other combo of equally pious and meaningless concepts).” The hypocrisy of such a policy is obvious. A weak and vulnerable nation is victimized by a far more powerful one. The U.S. has done this countless times in its ugly history, and there appears to be no appetite in the government to change.

      This introduction and explanation of U.S. foreign policy is followed by essays on some, but certainly not all, of the countries that have been victimized by the United States, usually following the ‘template’ previously mentioned. As McKinney states in her essay, “Somalia: Is Somalia the U.S. Template for All of Africa,” “…while mouthing freedom, democracy, and liberty, the United States has denied these very aspirations to others, especially when it inconvenienced the US or its allies. In Mozambique and Angola, the US stood with Portugal until it was the Portuguese people, themselves, who threw off their government and voted in a socialist government that vowed to free Portugal of its colonies.”

    • Filipino Reporter Maria Ressa on Duterte’s Targeting of the Press & How Facebook Aids Authoritarians

      As Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte amps up his attacks on the free press, we speak with renowned Filipino journalist Maria Ressa about Duterte’s deadly “war on drugs,” his affinity for Donald Trump, and his weaponization of social media. Ressa is the CEO and executive editor of the leading independent Filipino news site The Rappler, which Duterte has repeatedly tried to shut down. Last week, the Filipino government indicted her for tax evasion in what is widely seen as the government’s latest attack on the website. We speak with Maria Ressa in New York City. She has received the 2018 Knight International Journalism Award and the Committee to Protect Journalists 2018 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.

    • An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections

      Henry Wallace said the 20th should be the ‘century of the common man’. It wasn’t. Nor is this one.
      This one opened with a ‘war on terror’ whose only legacy (and perhaps, only goal) was to curb whatever rights and protections the common man had secured before September 11, 2001. Including privacy, free-speech, trial, and status as civilians.

      Wallace was a sincere and able politician. So the alleged party of the common man -then, the Democrats- made sure it wasn’t his century, either. Trump, in contrast, is as fake and incompetent as it gets. He rules by tantrum, and thinks the world should pout with him. And he’s willing to gas us all for a few coal-dollars more. Despite what they say, the Democrats want to let him cry it out. After all, he’s only there because he appealed to the common man. It’s easier just to clear the room (particularly the chat room), than upstage him.

      Of course, Democrats prefer their stalled occupation, to the Right’s total war. Paradoxically, the last few weeks they spent all they could, convincing us these midterms would decide, in absolute terms, the future of democracy, perhaps even -with our climate-chances narrowing- humankind, itself. So, show faith in the stalled party?

      This remarkably-indecisive war to end all wars just happened to coincide with the anniversary of peace in WWI. With the midterms now over, the trenches seem as much advanced now as in 1918. The ‘Blue Wave’, which I doubt anyone really expected, gently rocked the House -the ‘lower’ branch. Meanwhile, the Senate got worse, the court and cabinet had already, hence, so can Trump.

      Mind, a Pyhrric loss is still a win for the DNC, as it highlights their only excuses for running -Trump and the Republicans- without raising hopes that a Democratic majority also wouldn’t fulfill. But what sucks is all the liberal hype about him marching us up to 1939 does 1) squat to contain the horror he actually brings. 2) invites the few horrors he doesn’t. Namely, the ones the Democrats had mastered, already.

    • Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America

      If they’re Latinos and Hispanics, as they go to the polls they are aware their choice is either Trump Republicans who consider them enemies, criminals and drug pushers; or Democrats who, in the past under Obama, deported their relatives in record numbers and repeatedly abandon programs like DACA (‘Dreamers) as a tactical political necessity, as they say. Who will they trust least? One shouldn’t be surprised if they too largely sit it out, harboring a deep sense of betrayal by Democrats and concern they may soon become the next ‘enemy within’ target of Trump and his White Nationalist shock troops who are being organized and mobilized behind the scenes by Trump’s radical right wing buddy, Steve Bannon, and his billionaire and media friends.

      If they’re African Americans, they know from decades of experience that nothing changes with police harassment and murders, regardless which party is in power.

      If they’re union workers in the Midwest, they know the Democrats are the party of free trade and job offshoring, while Republicans are the party favoring low minimum wages, elimination of overtime pay, privatization of pensions, and cuts to social security.

      All these key swing groups of Millennials, Hispanics, African-Americans, and union workers in the midwest—i.e. those who gave Obama an overwhelming victory in 2008, gave him one more chance in office in 2012 despite failure to deliver, and then gave up on the unfulfilled promises in 2016—will likely not be thinking about the real ‘issues’ as they go to the polls. For the ‘Great Distraction’ is underway like never before.

    • Trump’s Military Deployment to the US-Mexico Border Is Illegal

      Donald Trump’s decision to send thousands of troops to the US-Mexican border to intercept migrants who intend to apply for asylum is not just a bald-faced political stunt — it is also illegal.

      Passed in 1878 to end the use of federal troops in overseeing elections in the post–Civil War South, the Posse Comitatus Act forbids the use of the military to enforce domestic US laws, including immigration laws. For this reason, Trump’s decision to deploy the military to the border to enforce US immigration law against thousands of desperate migrants from Central America — who have undertaken the perilous journey over 1,000 miles through Mexico to the US border in order to apply for asylum — is an unlawful order.

      Kathleen Gilberd, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild’s Military Law Task Force, told Truthout, “The deployment of US troops to the Southern border is an illegitimate political ploy and a serious misuse of the military. This action casts shame on a government that treats refugees seeking asylum as enemies.”

      The illegality of Trump’s order to the military opens the door to the possibility that service members will resist it: Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Nuremberg Principles and Army Field Manuals, service members have a duty to obey lawful orders and a duty to disobey unlawful orders.

      Before the midterm elections, pandering to his nativist base, Trump began the deployment of 5,200 active duty troops to Texas, California and Arizona at the southern US border, with the promise of nearly 10,000 more. On October 29, describing the impending arrival of migrants seeking asylum as an “invasion,” Trump tweeted, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”

    • What We Must Do Now: Abrams, Georgia & Something Extraordinary

      Abrams, in her I-won’t-concede speech on Friday, cited one victim of the purge: 92-year-old Christine Jordan. I filmed Jordan on Election Day at the polling station she’d voted at for fifty years. Until this year, when her name was simply wiped off the voter rolls.

      That should give “Governor-elect” Kemp pause. Because that’s the signal that this heartbreaking story will become the hammer to smash the Kemp-created Jim Crow machine.

      (And Ms. Jordan is up to the task, telling me she’s willing to take the fight into federal court, “If somebody will help me walk there.”)

      The immediate weapon will be litigation against the State of Georgia to show that the election was hopelessly tainted, which, under Georgia statute, could result in a court throwing out the whole rotting dung-heap of an election. That is why Abrams technically did not concede, but rather dropped her claim to office. (Lawyers will understand that she has to maintain “standing.”)

      Abrams vocally took up the issue of the massive purge of voters — and intends to defend those purged. This is what’s really historic about her candidacy. Yes, Abrams is the first African-American woman nominated for governor by the Democratic Party. More revolutionary is that she is the first Democratic candidate to demand an end to racist ethnic cleansing of the voter rolls. (If Al Gore had taken that stance in 2000, maybe Stacey would be Governor today — and, hey Al, they’d be calling you Mr. President.)

      Our investigation produced the facts — and the names and addresses of the 340,134 voters wrongly purged for supposedly moving out of Georgia or out of their congressional districts — but never moved an inch.

      We are now free to hand over those lists to the Abrams litigation team, the NAACP, the SCLC, ACLU and others who are opening courtroom fronts. We are working with them all.

    • Donald Trump’s fascist politics and the language of disappearance

      In an age when speed overcomes thought, a culture of immediacy blots out any vestige of historical memory and markets replace social categories, language loses its critical moorings and becomes what Chris Hedges has called “a gift to demagogues and the corporations that saturate the landscape with manipulated images and the idiom of mass culture.”

      No longer a vehicle for critique, doubt or possibility, language in the age of Donald Trump upholds the cultural and political workstations of ignorance and paves the way for a formative culture ripe with the death-saturated practices and protocols of fascist politics. As a species of neoliberal fascism eradicates social bonds and democratic communal relations, vulgarity parades as political wisdom and moral cowardice becomes a mark of pride. In a neoliberal age that has a high threshold of disappearance, the sins of a Vichy-inspired history have returned and are deeply rooted in a Republican Party that is as criminogenic as it is morally irresponsible and politically corrupt.

    • What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” in California?

      Will the victories of the Democrats in 2018 be the beginning of a brighter and more hopeful period? One might have doubts given that large majorities of Democrats in both the House and Senate recently voted for a defense budget that is more than $80 billion higher than the previous one, and higher than what was requested by the Trump regime.

      Looking at what Democrats do when they are in power, as they have been in California during the last eight years, might reveal what they will do if they gain control of Congress and the Presidency in 2020. Since 2011, the Democrats have had close to total dominance of California’s politics–holding every executive office and having large majorities in both houses of its state legislature, a time when a simple majority vote in each body is needed to pass the state budget. Have California Democrats robustly funded public education, an issue presumably dear to the heart of supporters of the Democrats? No.

      Among all states, in 2015-16, California ranked 41stin spending per K-12 student, 37thin spending as a share of the economy, and had the highest number of students per teacher in the nation.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Prosecutors Charge Suspect With Evidence Tampering After A Seized iPhone Is Wiped Remotely

      Grant now faces three felonies: two counts of evidence tampering and one count of hindering prosecution. One count of evidence tampering related to the alleged phone wipe. The other two counts listed are related to concealing the shooter’s identity and disposing of the weapon used.

      Grant purchased a new iPhone some time after her other one was seized. It could be her logon from a new device erased files on her old one, but that seems unlikely and the dates don’t really line up. Her lawyer says she got a new phone “days after” the cops took her first one, but the documents alleging evidence tampering says it happened less than 24 hours after the alleged drive-by. Supposedly, Grant isn’t a “computer-savvy person,” according to her attorney, but it’s not all that tough to do even for someone with limited tech skill

      The easiest method for remote wiping would be using Apple’s “Find My iPhone” feature, which has “Erase iPhone” right on the landing page. This seems to be the likeliest explanation for what happened, although it may be Grant herself did not trigger the remote wipe.

    • After Being Hit With A ‘Motion For Return Of Property,’ Gov’t Agrees To Delete Data Copied From A Traveler’s Phone

      A couple of months ago, Rejhane Lazoja, an American Muslim, sued (sort of… ) the DHS over the search of her iPhone at the border. According to her allegations, CBP officers detained her and demanded she unlock her phone for them. She refused. The CBP seized her phone and searched it anyway, copying all the data it could from her device. It returned the phone to her over three months after it had taken it.

      Lazoja didn’t allege civil rights violations in her courtroom motion. In fact, it wasn’t even technically a lawsuit. Instead, with the help of CAIR, Lazoja filed a Rule 41(g) motion — something normally used to challenge seizures and forfeitures. In this case, Lazoja wanted her data back — the data CBP had copied from her phone.

      Lazoja leveraged CBP’s own policies against it, pointing out its internal guidelines say seized data must be destroyed unless it is determined there’s probable cause to retain it. Since this search occurred at the border, it’s safe to say the CBP did it because it could, not because it could be justified under the more-stringent standard required further inland.

      Apparently, the CBP agrees with this assessment. Or, at least, it has decided this isn’t the hill it’s going seek precedent on. As Cyrus Farivar reports for Ars Technica, the government has agreed to delete — i.e., “return” — Lazoja’s phone data.

    • Yet Another GDPR Disaster: Journalists Ordered To Hand Over Secret Sources Under ‘Data Protection’ Law

      When the GDPR was being debated, we warned that it would be a disaster for free speech. Now that it’s been in effect for about six months, we’re seeing that play out in all sorts of ways. We’ve talked about how it was used to disappear public court documents for an ongoing case, and then used to disappear a discussion about that disappearing court document. And we wrote about how it’s been used against us to hide a still newsworthy story (and that leaves out one other GDPR demand we’ve received in an attempt to disappear a story that I can’t even talk about yet).

      When I wrote about all of this both here on Techdirt and on Twitter, I had a bunch of “data protection experts” in Europe completely freak out at me that I had no idea what I was talking about, and how any negative impact was simply the result of everyone misreading the GDPR. I kept trying to point out to them that even if that’s true in theory, out here in the real world, the law was being used to disappear news stories and was creating massive chilling effects and burdens on journalists. And the response was the same: nah, you’re reading the law wrong.

      And now we have an even more horrifying story of the damage the GDPR is doing to journalism. There’s a Romanian investigatory journalism publication called RISE Project that has reported on corruption in Romanian politics. Not surprisingly, not everyone is happy about that. OCCRP — the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project — a partner to RISE Project has the worrisome details about how the very Romanian government that RISE Project has been breaking corruption stories on has magically found the need to use the GDPR to demand the journalists turn over their sources.

    • Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality
    • With Facebook at ‘War,’ Zuckerberg Adopts More Aggressive Style

      Mark Zuckerberg gathered about 50 of his top lieutenants earlier this year and told them that Facebook Inc. was at war and he planned to lead the company accordingly.

      During times of peace, executives can move more slowly and ensure that everybody is on board with key decisions, he said during the June meeting, according to people familiar with the remarks. But with Facebook under siege from lawmakers, investors and angry users, he needed to act more decisively, the people said.

    • Things Are Really, Really Bad At Facebook; Zuckerberg Turns Aggressive

      A report by The Wall Street Journal has pointed out that Zuckerberg’s new aggressive approach has forced many top executives to leave the company. Facebook CEO also blamed Sheryl Sandberg for the public fallout over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and reportedly got her to wonder about the security of her job at Facebook.

    • The Next Data Mine Is Your Bedroom

      If this sounds invasive, it’s important to recognize this is already happening, just online. Google and Facebook both record and analyze user behavior, use it to sort people into categories, then target them with ads and other content. Facebook likely knows your race and religion, while Google uses your emails and search history to sort you into ad-ready brackets. Netflix infers all types of data on users based on what they watch, then serves back hyper specific movie and TV categories. This patent simply expands the areas in which your behavior is already mined and recorded from your phone and laptop to your bedroom.

      And your children’s bedrooms. The second patent proposes a smart home system that would help run the household, using sensors and cameras to restrict kids’ behavior. Parents could program the device to note if it overhears “foul language” from children, scan [I]nternet usage for mature or objectionable content, or use “occupancy sensors” to determine if certain areas of the house are accessed while they’re gone— for example, the liquor cabinet. The system could be set to “change a smart lighting system color to red and flash the lights” as a warning to children or even power off lights and devices if they’re grounded.

    • Why are people so poor at making privacy choices? What can be done about it?

      Privacy News Online explores a rich mix of information about privacy. Things like threats to privacy, privacy wins, ways to enhance privacy. One common thread is how bad people are at protecting their privacy. So why is that? That’s not a topic explored much, which makes a recent feature in the Harvard Business Review particularly valuable. It goes beyond pointing out that people make poor choices when it comes to protecting their personal data, and attempts to understand the key reasons for that failure. Here are the main categories discerned by the article’s author, Leslie K. John, who is an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘We are capitulating to extremists’

      Asia Bibi is currently in a state of limbo. She had spent eight years in prison, on death row, by the time Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned her conviction for blasphemy. But since her acquittal, protests have erupted across Pakistan. The government has prevented her from leaving the country until a petition calling for her acquittal to be overturned can be heard in the courts.

      Even if Bibi does manage to leave, there is one country that has refused to offer her asylum: Britain. Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association, who is in contact with Bibi and her family, revealed last week that British officials had fears of unrest if Bibi came here. spiked caught up with Chowdhry to discuss the ramifications of the Bibi case in Pakistan and Britain.

    • Meet the Prisoners Being Paid $1 an Hour to Battle the Deadly Climate-Fueled Fires of California

      As the death toll from the Camp Fire rises to 77, California is combatting its deadliest fire in state history using prison labor. Some 1,500 of the 9,400 firefighters currently battling fires in California are incarcerated. They make just a dollar an hour, but are rarely eligible to get jobs as firefighters after their release. According to some estimates, California saves up to $100 million a year by using prison labor to fight its biggest environmental problem. In September the Democracy Now! team traveled to the Delta Conservation Camp in Northern California, a low-security prison where more than 100 men are imprisoned. We interviewed incarcerated firefighters who had just returned from a 24-hour shift fighting the Snell Fire in Napa County.

    • Indiana State Police Turn Down Elkhart Mayor’s Request for Broad Review of City’s Police Department

      The Indiana State Police have declined a request by Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese to investigate his city’s Police Department in the wake of reporting by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica that revealed a handcuffed man’s beating by Elkhart officers and examined the disciplinary records of higher-ranking officers.

      Capt. David Bursten, a state police spokesman, said in a statement Monday the agency would not participate in the criminal case against officers Cory Newland and Joshua Titus, or in the type of broader review of the Elkhart police that Neese requested last week. He instead suggested that the mayor approach the U.S. Department of Justice.

      Elkhart County prosecutors have filed a single misdemeanor count of battery against each officer in the Jan. 12 beating of Mario Guerrero Ledesma.

      The prosecutor’s office was “very well engaged” in the case and there was no reason for an investigation by the state police, Bursten said.

      The mayor also called Thursday for a “very thorough and far-reaching” investigation by the state police of any patterns of excessive force and “anything that relates to the Elkhart Police Department.” At the time, Neese said he had spoken with Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter about his request. But on Monday, Bursten said in his statement the state police had declined to undertake such a review.

    • Police Misconduct, Data Breaches, And The Ongoing Lack Of Accountability That Allows These To Continue

      Two of the most damaging breaches in recent years involved millions of people who were given little or no choice in how much personal data of theirs was held by these entities. One was the Office of Personnel Management. Those seeking government jobs turn over a lot of info to the government, which then handles it carelessly.

      The other — Equifax — was even worse, at least in terms of consent. There was none. No one voluntarily hands information to Equifax. It’s gathered by Equifax which sells access to any number of companies seeking credit records. No one opts in and, more importantly, there’s no way to opt out.

      No one can hold these entities accountable, at least not to the extent it will deter future breaches. Because of that, the only thing we’re guaranteed is more breaches. These companies and agencies will continue to exist, hoovering up even more personal data, and, eventually, leave it exposed where criminals can make the most of other people’s finances.

    • The Institutionalization of Social Justice

      A few months ago, mathematician Theodore Hill described in a Quillette essay how progressive groups were able to get a research paper of his on a biological phenomenon known as the “Greater Male Variability Hypothesis” removed from two separate journals, as well as to intimidate his co-author into silence.

      Hill’s article was published just a week after another article by endocrinologist Jeffrey Flier, former dean of Harvard Medical School, who described how social justice activists had managed to get an academic journal to initiate a review of an already-published research paper by Brown University medical researcher Lisa Littman on gender dysphoria. Brown also deleted a reference to the paper from its website.

      Both Hill and Flier point out that they’ve never experienced anything like this before. Hill wrote: “In my 40 years of publishing research papers I had never heard of the rejection of an already-accepted paper.” Flier noted: “In all my years in academia, I have never once seen a comparable reaction from a journal within days of publishing a paper that the journal already had subjected to peer review, accepted and published.”

    • What a Portrait of General Robert E. Lee Means for One Man’s Capital Trial

      Racial bias can affect a capital punishment case at every legal step. The result of that bias can be deadly.
      Anyone walking into the sole courtroom in the town of Louisa, Virginia, is met by an array of portraits covering nearly every square inch of the walls. Overwhelmingly they feature white men. Though on first glance, most of them are not recognizable, one is unmistakable. It’s a looming image that dominates the back wall of the courtroom, directly across from the judge. The portrait is of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, in uniform, sword unsheathed at his side.

      The presence and prominence of Lee’s portrait in a courthouse in Louisa County speak to the kinds of bias found in courts of law across the country, and it demands reflection on and analysis of those biases.

      Since the end of the Civil War, Lee has come to symbolize a society premised on white supremacy that intrinsically promotes the dehumanization of people of color, specifically of Black people. Lee’s image and name blemish public spaces throughout the United States, but they are particularly prevalent in the former slave states of the Confederacy. When a symbol of white supremacy appears in a public space charged with the administration of justice, it visually endorses a two-tiered legal system premised on differentiating the value of lives based on race.

      This warped weighing can have a particularly disastrous consequence in a case where the death penalty is on the table. In Louisa, Darcel Murphy, a Black defendant, is facing a trial for his life in the courtroom housing this menacing reminder of our nation’s legacy of racialized violence. As Murphy’s attorney argued last week, in support of his previously filed motion, he should not be forced to endure a proceeding tainted by the insidious effect of Confederate symbols, memorials, and iconography.

      Unless the judge grants the motion, Murphy will be tried in an environment ripe for improper considerations of race.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cord Cutting Sets More Records, Yet Many Cable Giants Still Refuse To Compete On Price

      Despite the obvious realities that ratings are sharply down and consumers are cutting the cord, there’s a vibrant and loyal segment of cable and broadcast executives and analysts who still somehow believe cord cutting is a myth. Every few months, you’ll see a report about how cord cutting is either nonexistent or overstated. Often, they’ll try to claim that cord cutters are just lame weirdos they didn’t want anyway, or that this is just a temporary trend that stops once more Millennials procreate.

      Newsflash: it’s not stopping.

      The latest data from Kagan indicates traditional pay TV providers lost another 1.3 million subscribers last quarter as users continued to flock to streaming alternatives, embrace the use of over the air antennas, or embrace piracy (something analysts traditionally never mention, as if acknowledging this fact somehow condones it). A big part of this latest surge in losses were courtesy of Dish Network, which saw a record 367,000 departures as its satellite TV customers flocked to greener and cheaper pastures, including Dish’s cheaper Sling TV alternative.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Koh rules Qualcomm is Obligated to License SEPs to Competitors

      On Tuesday, November 6th, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California entered an order in the antitrust case brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against San Diego, CA-based semiconductor developer Qualcomm Inc. Judge Koh’s order granted a motion filed by the FTC for partial summary judgment on the issue of whether a pair of industry agreements obligates Qualcomm to license its standard essential patents (SEPs) to competing suppliers of modem chips.

      This case was initiated by the FTC in January 2017 when the trade regulator filed suit against Qualcomm alleging antitrust claims including exclusionary tactics in violation of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) obligations which Qualcomm is subject to under agreements signed with standard-setting organizations (SSOs). The FTC alleged that Qualcomm is a dominant supplier of modem chips, holds several SEPs which are essential to widely adopted cellular standards and has violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. § 45). These alleged violations include Qualcomm’s refusal to sell modem chips to a customer unless the customer pays what the FTC termed “elevated royalties” for a license to Qualcomm’s SEPs, Qualcomm’s refusal to license SEPs to competing modem chip suppliers and Qualcomm’s “exclusive dealing arrangements” with consumer tech giant Apple.

    • The Bumpy Road To Selection Patents In India [Ed: IP Watch has been reduced to propaganda platform of law firms today. Or "patentability of selected novel species."]

      The patenting of selection inventions is not plain sailing in India. The patentability of such inventions must be determined in accordance with the general provisions of the Indian Patents Act, as there is no separate provision for the same in the Act. Of the said general provisions, the assessment of inventive step and testing under section 3(d) of the Indian Patents Act can be perceived as the most critical to patentability of selected novel species. Additionally, the concepts of ‘implicit disclosure’ and the contrasting views on ‘coverage vs disclosure’ frequently makes it challenging for applicants to defend their novel selection under the Indian scenario. Given the lack of enough precedents in India on this aspect, to date the fate of selection patents depends mostly on the judgement of the patent controllers. Not all hope is lost, however, since not only the Indian Patent Office, but also the IPAB and higher Courts have time-and-again acknowledged the existence of selection patents in India.

    • Trademarks

      • Red Bull Fails To Block Trademark Registration In EU Over Logos That Aren’t All That Similar

        While it is by no means the most litigious beverage company ever, Red Bull is not a complete stranger to trademark bullying. The last we heard from the iconic energy drink company, it was making legal arguments over bovines and their castrated status somehow rising to the level of trademark infringement. It seems that Red Bull typically likes to do its bullying during the trademark application status rather than in legal proceedings, but the universe is currently running an experiment to see just how hard and fast a rule this is for the company.

        That experiment takes the form of Red Bull attempting, and failing, to oppose the trademark registration for a beverage company called “Big Horn” over the following logos.

      • MAJOR DEFEAT FOR RED BULL

        Red Bull has suffered a painful defeat. On 23 May, the Opposition Division of European Trademark Office EUIPO ruled that the device mark Big Horn did not infringe Red Bull’s logo and could therefore be registered as a European trademark for energy drinks.

    • Copyrights

      • Cyberpolice Raid Pirate Site For Infringing Universal’s Copyrights

        Officers from Ukraine’s cyberpolice unit have raided the home of the alleged operator of a pirate streaming portal suspected of infringing the rights of Universal City Studios and many other entertainment companies. A 24-year-old man, who is also believed to be behind another 10 pirate sites, now faces up to six years in prison.

11.18.18

Links 18/11/2018: Cucumber Linux 2.0 Alpha and Latest Outreachy

Posted in News Roundup at 9:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Coreboot Support Taking Shape For Intel Icelake

    Intel developers have been punctual in their bring-up of Icelake support within Coreboot.

    Intel’s open-source developers have already been busy for more than a year on bringing up bits of Icelake CPU and graphics support within the Linux ecosystem from new instructions for the GCC compiler, enabling the “Gen 11″ graphics, adding the new device IDs, and other kernel and user-space for preparing for this exciting generation of Intel hardware.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 12.0-RC1 Released, Fixes Ryzen 2 Temperature Reporting

      Arguably most user-facing with this week’s FreeBSD 12.0-RC1 release is updating the amdsmn/amdtemp drivers for attaching to Ryzen 2 host bridges. Additionally, the amdtemp driver has been fixed for correctly reporting the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX core temperature. The 2990WX temperature reporting is the same fix Linux initially needed to for a 27 degree offset to report the correct temperature. It’s just taken FreeBSD longer to add Ryzen 2 / Threadripper 2 temperature bits even though they had beat the Linux kernel crew with the initial Zen CPU temperature reporting last year.

    • MeetBSD 2018: Michael W Lucas Why BSD?
  • Public Services/Government

    • Goa to train teachers in new open-source software apps for cyber security

      After working with Google India for wider adoption of internet safety in schools two years ago, Goa education agencies will implement another project to train computer, information and communication technology school and higher secondary teachers in new open-source software applications for cyber security integration.

      The State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education and Goa State Council Educational Research and Training (GSCERT) have decided to begin the second programme with over 650 computer teachers from December 4 to 18, Mr. Ajay Jadhav, Board of Study member and coordinator of the first project with Google, said on Friday. The cyber security training syllabus has been worked out and 18 resource persons are ready for the project.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Radeon GCC Back-End Updated For Running Single-Threaded C & Fortran On AMD GPUs

      Back in September Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics posted the Radeon GCC back-end they have been developing with the cooperation of AMD. This is for allowing the GCC compiler to eventually offload nicely to Radeon GPUs with its different programming languages and supported parallel programming models, particularly with OpenMP and OpenACC in mind. But for now this patch series just works with single-threaded C and Fortran programs. The second version of this port was posted for review.

      Hitting the GCC mailing list on Friday was the updated version of this AMD GCN port targeting Tonga/Fiji through Vega graphics hardware. Code Sourcery will post the OpenACC/OpenMP support bits at a later date while for now the code works with single-threaded C/Fortran programs with C++ not yet supported, among other initial shortcomings. For now the AMDGPU LLVM back-end is far more mature in comparison, which is what’s currently used by the open-source AMD Linux driver compute and graphics stacks.

    • AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler 1.3 Brings More Zen Tuning

      Earlier this month AMD quietly released a new version of their Optimizing C/C++ compiler in the form of AOCC 1.3. This new compiler release has more Zen tuning to try to squeeze even more performance out of Ryzen/EPYC systems when using their LLVM-based compiler.

      The AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler remains AMD’s high performance compiler for Zen compared to the earlier AMD Open64 Compiler up through the Bulldozer days. AOCC is based on LLVM Clang with various patches added in. Fortunately, with time at least a lot of the AOCC patches do appear to work their way into upstream LLVM Clang. AOCC also has experimental Fortran language support using the “Flang” front-end that isn’t as nearly mature as Clang.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Building houses that grow with us

      Of course, the premier example of a house designed for stuff is the McMansion, which, as I have argued at length elsewhere, is designed from the inside out. The reason it looks the way it does is because of the increasingly long laundry list of amenities (movie theaters, game rooms) needed to accumulate the highest selling value and an over-preparedness for the maximum possible accumulation of both people (grand parties) and stuff (grand pianos). This comes at the expense of structure, skin, and services. The structure becomes wildly convoluted, having to accommodate both ceilings of towering heights and others half that size, often within the same volume. Because of this, the rooflines are particularly complex, featuring several different pitches and shapes, and the walls are peppered with large great-room windows (a selling feature!), and other windows on any given elevation consist of many different sizes and shapes.

    • The Lie Behind the Lie Detector: how to beat the pseudoscientific polygraph

      George writes, “AntiPolygraph.org has released the 5th edition of its free ebook, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, which provides a thorough debunking of the pseudoscience of polygraphy and explains how to pass or beat a polygraph test.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Industry studies show evidence of bias and misleading conclusions on widely used insecticide: Scientists

      Researchers who examined Dow Chemical Company-sponsored animal tests performed two decades ago on the insecticide chlorpyrifos found inaccuracies in what the company reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compared to what the data showed.

      And, according to internal EPA communication, agency scientists also had issues with the study interpretations, yet the agency approved the compound for continued use anyway.

      “EPA staff scientists and staff were telling management there were problems,” said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who was not involved in the current study but has worked on issues related to toxics, including chlorpyrifos, for decades.

      “And management disregarded it.”

  • Security

    • Security News This Week: Japan’s Top Cybersecurity Official Has Never Used a Computer
    • SuperCooKey – A SuperCookie Built Into TLS 1.2 and 1.3

      TLS 1.3 has a heavily touted feature called 0-RTT that has been paraded by CloudFlare as a huge speed benefit to users because it allows sessions to be resumed quickly from previous visits. This immediately raised an eyebrow for me because this means that full negotiation is not taking place.

      After more research, I’ve discovered that 0-RTT does skip renegotiation steps that involve generating new keys.

      This means that every time 0-RTT is used, the server knows that you’ve been to the site before, and it knows all associated IPs and sign-in credentials attached to that particular key.

    • Information Breach on HealthCare.gov

      In October 2018, a breach occurred within the Marketplace system used by agents and brokers. This breach allowed inappropriate access to the personal information of approximately 75,000 people who are listed on Marketplace applications.

    • Tens of millions of private text messages and security codes exposed

      The database of text messages, used by companies to send password reset information, shipping notifications and security codes, was left exposed by communications company Voxox.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US Officials: CIA Concludes Saudi Prince Ordered Journalist’s Killing

      The assessment by the CIA, first reported by The Washington Post Friday, contradicts that of Saudi Arabia, whose top prosecutor one day earlier exonerated the crown prince in the killing.

    • Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution

      Can you imagine a “democracy” in which the president handpicks a council that proceeds to dismiss the Constitutional Court, the Judicial Council which oversees the judiciary, the National Electoral Council, the Attorney General, the ombudsman, and all six major regulators (superintendents)?

      Unfortunately, that is the current situation in Ecuador. Abusing participatory democracy, and deceiving the public with the complicity of a corrupt press, on February 4 of this year they called an unconstitutional referendum.

      Several articles in our constitution stipulate that the Constitutional Court must rule on the legality of any referendum questions, but, given the clear unconstitutionality of several questions, the government knew that a ruling would not go its way and called the referendum by decree. For the first time in its history, Ecuador had a nationwide referendum without a ruling from the Constitutional Court.

      With the approval of the tricky and confusing question 3, they seized the so-called Council of Citizen Participation [CPCCS in the Spanish acronym], whose members were selected through national competitions, and which, according to the Constitution of Ecuador, is responsible for overseeing competitions that elect about 150 control authorities. [1]The unconstitutional referendum gave a “Transitory” CPCCS (which I’ll refer to as the CPCCS-T) the “power” to evaluate and, if applicable, dismiss these control authorities. The dismissal of authorities is an exclusive constitutional power of the National Assembly. The Constitutional Court, which is not even selected by the CPCCS , cannot be dismissed by anyone else.

      At present, Ecuador does not have a Constitutional Court. The President’s handpicked CPCCS-T [after dismissing the court] declared a two month absence of the court which expire this week and will surely be extended. Throughout this lapse, Ecuadorians have no one to guarantee our constitutional rights.

      The illegally dismissed authorities had to be replaced by their [already selected] alternates, as the law demands, but the “Transitory” CPCCS-T directly appointed its replacements. Not even the unconstitutional referendum gave it the power to directly appoint authorities.

      Ecuador is presently a “Transitory Republic”. We have a transitory CPCCS, a transitory Judicial Council, a transitory National Electoral Council, and similarly with the Prosecutor General, Ombudsman, Comptroller General, and all superintendents – all transitory and practically all open enemies of my government. All were illegally and arbitrarily appointed by the CPCCS-T and under its complete control.

      The Ecuadorian state has five branches: the Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Electoral, and the Transparency and Social Oversight branch. Three of these five branches are in the hands transitory officials directly appointed the Executive’s handpicked CPCCS-T.

      The temporary authorities were sworn in before the CPCCS-T, violating article 120 of the Constitution which states that they must sworn in before the National Assembly. I hope you understand what it means to be pursued by an “acting” prosecutor directly appointed and sworn in before a “transitory” Council whose president – a personal and political enemy of mine- publicly insults me every day and says that I must go to prison.

    • Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty of genocide in landmark ruling

      Two top leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime were found guilty of genocide on Friday, in a landmark ruling almost 40 years after the fall of a brutal regime that presided over the deaths of a quarter of the population.

      The Khmer Rouge’s former head of state Khieu Samphan, 87, and “Brother Number 2” Nuon Chea, 92, are the two most senior living members of the ultra-Maoist group that seized control of Cambodia from 1975-1979.

      The reign of terror led by “Brother Number 1” Pol Pot left some two million Cambodians dead from overwork, starvation and mass executions but Friday’s ruling was the first to acknowledge a genocide.

      The defendants were previously handed life sentences in 2014 over the violent and forced evacuation of Phnom Penh in April 1975.

    • US could lose in war with China or Russia, warns bipartisan panel [Ed: “Great Power competition” they call it; glory of empire delusions. In nuclear war everyone loses. The whole planet dies from starvation and cancer, firearms after fallout apocalypse.]

      US could lose in war with China or Russia, warns bipartisan panel – Congress had tasked the National Defense Strategy Commission to look at President Donald Trump’s sweeping National Defense Strategy (NDS), which highlights a new era of “Great Power competition” with Moscow and Beijing.

    • White House covering for bin Salman: Ex-CIA officer

      A former CIA case officer is claiming that the Trump administration is helping cover up the involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in last month’s killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

      Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, Bob Baer, who worked at a CIA case officer primarily in the Middle East, said the U.S. has purposely muted its response to Khashoggi’s murder.

    • Trump Administration Helping Saudi Crown Prince Cover Up Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder, Former CIA Officer Says
    • Ex-CIA operative argues that the Trump White House is covering up Saudi crown prince’s killing of Jamal Khashoggi
    • A former CIA officer says the White House is helping cover up Jamal Khashoggi’s murder
    • CIA believes Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s death, report says
    • How An American Spy Predicted the Cold War

      ON AUG. 23, 1944, A young Eastern European king in his early 20s was arresting the head of his government and switching sides from fighting with the Germans in World War II to joining the Allies. History credits King Michael of Romania with having changed the course of his country’s history and shortening the war by months.

      With the Germans now depleted of oil resources in the Carpathian region, the Soviets were slowly taking over the Eastern European country, changing key people in the government and replacing them with Communist figures. America and the U.K. were far away, and both were keen on keeping their alliance with the Soviet Union, regardless of signs that Moscow was about to take over much of Central and Eastern Europe.

    • The Murder of a CIA Agent In an Unruly Post-Soviet Country Prompted A Texas Attorney To Seek Answers

      Georgia was a lawless nation at the time. Several years earlier, the country had emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union and was still overrun with Russian intelligence agents. Crime was rampant and electricity sporadic as rival gangs and paramilitaries competed for influence. Georgia was fighting a separatist insurgency in the breakaway region of Abkhazia. The CIA had also identified the country as a major drug smuggling route.

      After Woodruff was shot and killed, then-CIA director James Woolsey traveled to Georgia personally to claim the dead body. Georgian officials determined that the murder had been an accident and Woodruff had been killed by a stray bullet shot by a drunken soldier who was unaware that there was an American in the car. A trial was held in 1994 and a young man named Anzor Sharmaidze was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for the murder.

    • 16 years into U.S. drone war in Yemen, civilian deaths keep mounting

      The United States has waged a drone war in Yemen for 16 years, trying to suppress al-Qaida’s branch here. But the campaign has had a hidden cost: civilians cut down by the drones’ missiles.

      There is no comprehensive count of civilian deaths because of the difficulty of confirming identities and allegiances of those killed. But in an examination of drone strikes this year alone, The Associated Press found that at least 30 of the dead likely did not belong to al-Qaida.

      That is around a third of all those killed in drone strikes so far in 2018. The Pentagon does not release its assessment of the death toll, but an independent database considered one of the most credible in tracking violence in Yemen counted 88 people — militants and non-militants — killed by drones this year.

    • In Yemen, a race to save a boy from al-Qaida and a US drone

      Al-Qaida was giving away motorcycles up in the mountains — that’s what the kids in town were saying the day Abdullah disappeared.

      Early that morning, Mohsanaa Salem woke her 14-year-old son to go buy vegetables. The sun had just risen above the mountain ridge, and winter light filled the ravine where their mud brick house sat at the foot of a slope. “Let me sleep,” Abdullah groaned from a mattress on the floor, surrounded by his brothers and sisters.

      One word from his father, though, and the boy was up and dressed, trudging out of the house to the market in a neighboring village. Three hours later, when he still hadn’t returned, Mohsanaa and her husband began to worry.

      They were a family trying to get by in Yemen, a nation at war with itself that has become a battleground for more powerful countries.

    • Drone pilot could have caused ‘catastrophic’ helicopter crash akin to Leicester City disaster, court hears

      Owner of iPad-controlled craft becomes first in UK to be convicted of interfering in police operation

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Group seeks details of Assange charges after leak

      American journalists’ grouping Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has filed a motion in the eastern district of Virginia to unseal the US Government’s criminal charges against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

    • Mistake in Filing Suggests WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Has Been Charged

      Following an earlier report that the Justice Department was looking to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Washington Post has now reported that Assange may have been charged under seal in a revelation that appears to have stemmed from a mistake in a court filing.

      The circumstances by which this information was disclosed, if indeed true, involved a filing in an unrelated case by a lawyer also assigned to the WikiLeaks case. Per the Post, the August filing related to a case involving national security and sex trafficking in the Eastern District of Virginia. The name Assange appeared at least twice in the filing: [...]

    • Possible Indictment Of Wikileaks’ Assange Prompts Press Freedom Concerns
    • Lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Assange says he would fight charges

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not willingly travel to the United States to face charges filed under seal against him, one of his lawyers said, foreshadowing a possible fight over extradition for a central figure in the U.S. special counsel’s Russia-Trump investigation.

      Assange, who has taken cover in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum, has speculated publicly for years that the Justice Department had brought secret criminal charges against him for revealing highly sensitive government information on his website.

    • The Radical Evolution of WikiLeaks

      While the revelation of an apparent indictment against Julian Assange sets an ominous precedent for news organizations, it also serves as a reminder of his group’s stark transformation.

      [...]

      Then, in 2010, WikiLeaks posted a graphic video depicting the killing of perhaps a dozen Iraqis, including two Reuters journalists, at the hands of the U.S. military. The video brought the organization acclaim from civil libertarians and transparency advocates, and infamy within the U.S. military and elsewhere. Soon after its release, WikiLeaks posted its largest-ever cache of leaked material: a set of diplomatic cables and Army documents, many of which concerned the conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If WikiLeaks began as a mere internet curiosity when it was founded in 2006, within four years, national-security officials in the United States were publicly depicting it as a threat.

      Now it looks as if the U.S. government is preparing its most direct action yet against Assange. On Thursday, an unrelated court filing referred to secret charges against Assange for unspecified crimes. Assange, who has been living in London’s Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden in connection with an unrelated, now-dropped investigation of rape allegations, had long voiced the fear that the U.S. would seek to charge and possibly extradite him if he ever left the compound.
      The revelation put a new twist on the saga of an organization that, after becoming famous in 2010, became notorious in 2016 for its role in publishing hacked emails apparently obtained by Russian intelligence in an effort to sway the U.S. presidential election. Today the WikiLeaks story isn’t just about the line between transparency and security, but about the question of when the mere act of releasing information becomes information warfare.

      The video of the killings of the Iraqis, dubbed the Collateral Murder video, appeared on the WikiLeaks site in the spring of 2010. It records, through a helicopter’s gun-sights, the moment in 2007 when the crew fired on a group of Iraqi men walking down a street in a Baghdad suburb, killing perhaps a dozen people—including two Reuters journalists whose camera gear they had mistaken for weapons.

    • Week 78: Will the Left Get Its Revenge on Assange?

      Having conditioned the press corps to think that he loves nothing better than to spend his Fridays filing criminal indictments, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had Washington reporters fidgeting all week long in the expectation that Roger Stone or Jerome Corsi or someone else connected to the scandal would get slapped in the kisser with criminal charges. Late on Thursday, news of a criminal indictment did bring joy to the press, but it wasn’t what they expected at all. News dribbled out that—thanks to a clip-and-paste flub into a court filing by federal prosecutors—international man of mystery and WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange stands secretly charged with something or other.

    • The CIA College Tour: The case of the “Jabberwocky 13”

      On October 15th, 1981, then-Central Intelligence Agency Director William Casey traveled to Brown University’s campus in Providence, Rhode Island. Invited by CIA administrator turned Brown professor Lyman Kirkpatrick, Casey was to speak as part of the Olin Lecture Series, funded by ultra-conservative chemical and munitions baron John M. Olin in his quest to combat leftism at elite universities.

      Campus activists united to plan a protest of Casey’s speech, wanting to draw attention to the CIA’s track record of overthrowing democratically-elected governments (among other things) and Olin’s role in supplying the US military. “We were tired of the everyday picket with signs,” explained Mark Toney, then an undergrad at Brown, saying the group wanted something special, “to show how absurd all the lies were from William Casey.”

    • Pamela Anderson gives ‘smutty’ Scott Morrison a double-barrel blast over Assange comments

      Anderson, a former Baywatch star, appeared on 60 Minutes Australia earlier this month, sharing details of her friendship with Mr Assange and urging Mr Morrison to “defend your friend, get Julian his passport back and take him back to Australia and be proud of him, and throw him a parade when he gets home”.

      Mr Assange, who published thousands of classified United States documents, has been living in political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition.

    • Pamela Anderson accuses Scott Morrison of making ‘smutty’ comments about her
    • Pamela Anderson blasts Scott Morrison for ‘smutty’ comments after Assange plea
    • Pamela Anderson slams ‘smutty’ PM for rejecting Assange calls
    • Pam Anderson knocks PM’s ‘lewd’ comments
    • Pamela Anderson knocks PM’s ‘lewd’ comments
    • Pamela Anderson Slams Australian PM’s ‘Smutty’ Remarks Refusing Her Request To Aid WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange
    • Pamela Anderson is not happy with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

      Pamela Anderson has spectacularly blasted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, calling him “smutty” and “lewd” in an open letter.

      She penned the missive — which was published on the Daily Beast website on Sunday — after the PM rejected her calls to help WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange come home to Australia.

    • Pamela Anderson slams ‘smutty’ PM for rejecting calls to help Julian Assange

      Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has hit back at Prime Minster Scott Morrison after he rejected her calls to help WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange come home to Australia.

      In an open letter published in the Daily Beast on Sunday, Anderson slammed Morrison for comments she describes as “smutty”, “lewd” and “unnecessary”.

      The 51-year-old had previously urged the prime minister to lend his support to Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years over sexual assault allegations.

    • Pamela Anderson accuses ‘smutty’ Scott Morrison of abandoning Assange

      Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has penned a furious open letter to the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, calling him “smutty”, “lewd” and questioning his “strength and conviction”.

      Writing on the US website the Daily Beast, Anderson criticised Morrison’s response to her calls for the government to help WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange return to Australia, accusing him of trivialising the issue.

      Anderson – a close friend of Assange’s – appeared on 60 Minutes Australia earlier this month to urge Morrison to “defend your friend, get Julian his passport back and take him back to Australia and be proud of him, and throw him a parade when he gets home”.

      Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since seeking asylum in 2012, is under investigation by US law enforcement agencies for publishing classified diplomatic cables and other secret government records.

    • Pamela Anderson: My Open Letter to Australian PM Scott Morrison on Julian Assange

      Your comments following my appeal to you on 60 Minutes were disappointing.

      You trivialized and laughed about the suffering of an Australian and his family. You followed it with smutty, unnecessary comments about a woman voicing her political opinion.

      We all deserve better from our leaders, especially in the current environment.

      Following the show, 60 Minutes canvassed the views of Australians online. People responded in the thousands, overwhelmingly—92% of more than 7000—in favour of bringing Julian home.

      Rather than making lewd suggestions about me, perhaps you should instead think about what you are going to say to millions of Australians when one of their own is marched in an orange jumpsuit to Guantanamo Bay—for publishing the truth. You can prevent this.

      Julian Assange will soon face his seventh Christmas isolated from family and friends, after 8 years of detention without charge.

    • How A ‘Court Records Nerd’ Discovered The Government May Be Charging Julian Assange

      One minute, Seamus Hughes was reading the book Dragons Love Tacos to his son. The next minute, he stumbled on what could be one of the most closely guarded secrets within the U.S. government.

    • The Theory of Prosecution You Love for Julian Assange May Look Different When Applied to Jason Leopold
    • Assange speculation shows why charges should be public

      The word-processing error that unintentionally revealed the Justice Department’s sealed charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is fascinating, not least because analogous mistakes can be found in texts going all the way back to the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh.

      It also raises important legal policy questions: In a free, open society, what justifies the use of secret indictments? Are they a nefarious tool of the deep state, like secret trials? Or are they a valuable mechanism for allowing law enforcement to do its job?

      The accidental disclosure of an Assange case originated with a federal prosecutor who was filing a motion with a federal court in Virginia to seal the criminal complaint against one Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. Twice in the short document, the name of the person whose charges were supposed to be sealed was given as “Assange” rather than “Kokayi.” The Kokayi case was recently unsealed, and the error was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert who monitors court cases.

      Anyone who’s ever worked as a lawyer or a paralegal can tell you how this happened. Law firms and legal offices keep copies of sample documents containing boilerplate language — like the language prosecutors use to explain why a sealed criminal complaint is necessary.

      The lawyer drafting the document has the job of changing the names from the sample. The prosecutor in the Kokayi case was most likely in too much of a rush — and didn’t proofread.

    • Post op-ed: Charging Assange would be very bad for press freedom

      Press-freedom advocates got a rare chance to celebrate Friday, with a federal judge’s ruling that the White House must restore the credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

      But an unrelated case should keep them from breaking out too many bottles of Dom Pérignon.

      Julian Assange has been charged with an unspecified crime in a separate government case, and – while the WikiLeaks founder is an unsympathetic and unsavory figure – that raises troubling questions about the right to publish stolen material.

      “It very much depends on what the charge is,” the prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams told me by phone, recalling that the Obama administration came close to indicting Assange years ago.

      The Obama Justice Department backed off – wisely, Abrams believes.

      They did so because of concerns that a successful prosecution of Assange would mean traditional news organizations could be punished for publishing stolen material.

      The New York Times’ publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 fits that description.

      If publication of government secrets – however they were obtained – can be treated as a crime, there could easily be a chilling effect on investigative journalism. And citizens are then deprived of crucial information they would never know about otherwise.

    • Feds Say Suspected CIA WikiLeaker Spilled New Files From Prison

      One day after criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange were mistakenly confirmed in a court filing, a newly public transcript reveals that the man suspected of providing the website with classified CIA files may have leaked additional information from federal prison.

      Joshua Adam Schulte, believed to be behind the WikiLeaks “Vault 7” and “Vault 8” tranches, had multiple contraband cellphones – including at least one heavily encrypted device – recovered his cell inside New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center searched in October. The FBI said it also found approximately 13 email and social media accounts and other electronic devices that he used to “communicate clandestinely with third parties outside of the MCC.”

      [...]

      Marcy Wheeler, an investigative journalist who provided the FBI with evidence relevant to the Russia probe, has argued that Schulte’s case could provide prosecutors with an opening to charge Assange with conduct unrelated to acts of publishing.

    • Julian Assange Charge Raises Fears About Press Freedom

      The disclosure that federal prosecutors have brought an unidentified criminal charge against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, follows years of government deliberations over the dilemma raised by competing desires to put him out of business and fears that doing so could create a precedent that would undermine press freedoms.

      Many crucial details about what prosecutors have done remain unclear, including when the criminal complaint was filed, what specific charge or charges it contains, and what facts it is based upon. Depending on the answers, the Justice Department’s move could have very different implications for the traditional news media and First Amendment protections.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • BP accused of causing a ‘slow motion genocide’ in one of the world’s poorest regions

      Posing as a doctor, British investigative journalist Michael Gillard snuck into occupied West Papua to hold BP (British Petroleum) to account for alleged human rights abuses. Though the region is one of the most dangerous in the world for reporters, Gillard managed to reveal that BP’s activities appear to be causing a “slow motion genocide” while the company is extracting “high speed profit”.

    • The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us

      Climate breakdown could be rapid and unpredictable. We can no longer tinker around the edges and hope minor changes will avert collapse

    • California Wildfires: Where Is the Climate Change Outrage?

      Unprecedented droughts, fires and floods are not the “new normal”: Climate change gets nonlinearly worse from here on out. Like an avalanche, the physics of warming determines that a little more warming doesn’t create a little more extremeness, but a lot more. Until we reduce greenhouse gas warming, it gets a lot worse every year. Reducing emissions alone does not reverse warming until after 2300. To reduce warming, we must eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, plus remove near 1,000 gigatons of already emitted greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, according to the new 1.5°C report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change.

      Meanwhile, a third unprecedented wildfire in California has happened in the last 12 months. At the time of writing, nearly 12,000 structures and 71 lives have been lost in Paradise, California, to the “Camp Fire” that began November 8. Before that, the July 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire burned 459,000 acres and set a record for the state’s largest fire. But the largest fire record before that was set by Thomas Fire, which burned 281,000 acres in December 2017. More than 10,000 structures have been lost in 2018 so far in the state, and more than 9,300 structures were lost in 2017.

      The record-setting increases of these unheard-of extreme weather events continues to horrify the public. What will it take to allow us to treat climate change like it is the most important issue our society has ever faced, as top scientists say it is?

    • Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today

      The Woolsey Fire jumped the freeway and scorched Bell Canyon in the West Hills area of LA, where I scrambled up El Escorpión Peak with the late Galen Rowell and a few others back in the early 90s. I had taken a fistful of magic mushrooms that September day, anticipating how they might enhance a tangerine sunset brewed up from fires in the Topatopa Mountains near Ojai. I don’t recall the sunset, but I can’t still shake memory of the three rattlesnakes I nearly stepped on during that climb. You don’t think of rattlesnakes, when you think of LA. But they are there and I hope they remain so, long after the ashes from this fire cools and the chaparral springs back to life …

    • The New Abnormal

      Thousand Oaks, California: a city torn apart by wildfire and gunfire. Both are unnatural disasters.

      “This is the new abnormal,” Gov. Jerry Brown said this week at a press conference, talking about global warming and the three voracious fires that are tearing up his state, one of them — the Camp Fire, in Northern California — the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history.

      “Unfortunately, the best science is telling us that dryness, warmth, drought, all those things, they’re going to intensify,” Brown said.

      In Thousand Oaks, northwest of Los Angeles, the new abnormal met the new abnormal. On Nov. 7, a gunman entered the Borderline Bar and Grill in that city and started shooting, killing 11 patrons and a police officer. He then shot himself. Several of the patrons, including one of the victims, had survived the mass shooting a year earlier at a Las Vegas concert.

      There was no time to grieve. A day later, as the Washington Post reported, “catastrophic twin blazes had formed a ring of fire around this Southern California community. The second tragedy of the week had somehow dwarfed the first.” Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes.

      Gunfire and wildfire. This is a country at war with itself in multiple ways.

    • Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California

      In a victory for the ocean, a federal judge on Friday, November 9, ordered the Trump administration to cease issuing permits for offshore fracking and acidizing in federal waters — waters over 3 miles from shore — off the coast of Southern California.

      U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez ruled that the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act when it allowed fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and acidizing in offshore oil and gas wells in all leased federal waters off Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

      Gutierrez issued an injunction prohibiting the two responsible federal agencies, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), from approving any plans or permits for the use of well stimulation treatments (WSTs) off California.

      The court concluded that the Federal Defendants “satisfied their obligations” under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) in preparing the environmental assessment that is the subject of the suit.

      “But theCourt also concludes that the Federal Defendants violated the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) by failing to consult with the relevant federal services and violated the Coastal Zone Management Act (“CZMA”) by failing to prepare a consistency determination and submit it to California for review as required by that statute,” Gutierrez wrote.

      Hydraulic fracturing is a well stimulation technique that uses a pressurized liquid to fracture rock. Acidizing is another well stimulation technique that entails pumping acids into a well in order to dissolve the rock, increasing the production by creating channels in the rock to allow oil and natural gas to reach the well.

    • Drone footage shows helicopters dousing cars with water as they escape inferno on Californian highway

      Cars are driving on the wrong side of the road, hugging the median, staying as far away from the fire as possible. A big cloud of grey smoke fills the air.
      In some parts of the motorway cars and trucks are bumper to bumper and down to one lane as they drive past the fire that looks to be just metres away from them.

    • Here’s why Montana officials are scaring birds on purpose

      The Berkley Pit in Butte, Montana is an old copper mine and the water is toxic to birds.

      Two years ago 10,000 geese were killed at the site when they landed there.

    • Sympathies to drone-infested areas that will no longer enjoy peace

      Good luck dear Gungahlin residents. Say goodbye to the peaceful amenity of your homes and suburb, and hello to flight paths being opened over your houses, noisy aircraft with recording devices on them, and goodbye to your birdlife.

  • Finance

    • Cryptocurrencies’ Seven Deadly Paradoxes

      John Lewis of the Bank of England pens a must-read, well-linked summary of the problems of cryptocurrencies in The seven deadly paradoxes of cryptocurrency. Below the fold, a few comments on each of the seven.

    • The seven deadly paradoxes of cryptocurrency

      Will people in 2030 buy goods, get mortgages or hold their pension pots in bitcoin, ethereum or ripple rather than central bank issued currencies? I doubt it. Existing private cryptocurrencies do not seriously threaten traditional monies because they are afflicted by multiple internal contradictions. They are hard to scale, are expensive to store, cumbersome to maintain, tricky for holders to liquidate, almost worthless in theory, and boxed in by their anonymity. And if newer cryptocurrencies ever emerge to solve these problems, that’s additional downside news for the value of existing ones.

    • ‘Demonetisation biggest scam in history of independent India’: Rahul Gandhi

      Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday termed demonetisation as the biggest scam in the history of independent India, adding it would be proved that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “robbed the poor of their hard-earned money and given it away to a few rich”.

    • 5 Surprising Reasons Actors Turned Down Major Movie Roles

      Seraph was originally written for Michelle Yeoh, who turned it down, after which it went to Li (or as he’s known in the industry, “the male Michelle Yeoh”). Although excited about the role, Li eventually backed out after realizing that the process of being motion-captured for CGI would’ve meant that, much like the fictional Matrix, taking the job (or “plugging in” as they probably called it) would have required surrendering his digital personhood. As Li tells it, Warner Bros. wanted to keep him doing martial arts in front of a green screen for six months in order to “record and copy all [his] moves to a digital library,” after which they would own them forever. Fearing that his style would end up being used by Daffy Duck or something, Li said no.

      This probably sounded like a bizarre reason to walk away from a generous payday, but it’s not exactly outside the realm of possibility. [...]

    • Betsy DeVos Faces Another Lawsuit Over For-Profit College Loans

      Even though a court ordered the Department of Education to discharge — otherwise known as forgive — student loans taken out by people who attended for-profit colleges that were later shuttered, the agency has been slow to comply.

      And now, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos faces yet another lawsuit over the situation, highlighting her historically cozy relationship with these institutions.

      The controversy in this case surrounds the Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule, instituted under the Obama administration. Students who attended schools that misled them or engaged in other forms of misconduct before closing down are eligible for loan forgiveness. If implemented as designed, the policy could wipe out $250 million in debt for 106,000 students who took out loans to finance educations that never materialized or didn’t come with the benefits they promised.

    • In the Pacific Northwest, the First Paraeducator-Led Strike of the Teacher Uprising

      Paraeducators in Port Angeles, Washington, are on strike. In this year’s wave of teacher strikes, it’s the first one led by paraeducators.

      Teachers have refused to cross their picket lines, shutting down the district’s schools Thursday and Friday.

      The 115 paradeucators in this small coastal city, just across the water from Canada, assist with everything from reading lessons to recess. Paraeducators play an essential role in today’s schools, offering extra attention and care to students who need it—especially those with disabilities.

      Besides solidarity, another reason teachers were reluctant to cross the paras’ picket lines was “a lot of safety concerns,” said Eric Pickens, president of the Port Angeles Education Association. “They’re trained to help out our most fragile students, students with special needs.”

      The strikers are pushing the school district to grant wage increases they say they’re owed from state money.

    • Ex-CIA Cryptography Expert Bill Barhydt: Bitcoin Fully Capable of Bringing Competition to The Man

      Ever since the end of the World Wars, there has been a growing level of frustration with how the government for the people, by the people is seemingly working against the people. This has led to radical movements around the world. Some gaining a little success but most are repressed in the end. Therefore, there is an increasing sense of alienation and a strong dislike for authority or “the Man”. And Bill Barhydt would know a thing or two, having seen both sides of the coin. The ex-cryptographer for the Central Intelligence Agency is now the founder of Abra, a cryptocurrency investment platform. He hopes to be able to work out how to legally work a crypto bank, outside the regulatory environment.

      [...]

      All this extensive knowledge with a wide base will undoubtedly help Bill to formulate plans and strategies best suited to leverage cryptocurrencies and help reinvent modern banking in the way he desires. He explains how this all will come together, “When you’re putting fiat into your Abra wallet, the experience looks like Venmo, like a Venmo deposit, but what you’re really doing is you’re depositing money at an exchange which then automatically buys Bitcoin for you, and then, in the case of Ripple, enters into that multi-sig contract where you effectively short Bitcoin versus Ripple. And Abra takes the long position on that contract versus Ripple. All of that happened in the background without you having to know.”

    • Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction

      Since the mid-1970s I see four main trends shaping the world and the country. Big capital in the U.S., for the most part, has moved to the right in reaction to each of them. Each of these trends has also invigorated rightwing populism.

      First, while the U.S. and Europe are still the most powerful bloc, political and economic power is shifting to other parts of the world and international and national capitalist competition has intensified. These processes have been clear since the 1970s but have recently reached a new tipping point: Symbols of this changing balance of forces are the immediate as well as structural economic crisis of the European Union, the displacement of the Group of 8 by the Group of 20 (which includes the BRICS) and the failure of U.S. militarism in the Middle East. However, the U.S. is the still the only world superpower and its competitors and opponents have many divisions among them.

      Second, since the 1970s the current system of financialized, high tech capitalism has generated a dramatic increase in capitalist wealth and economic inequality, a marked division between the wealthy and the struggling sections of working and middle classes, growing economic and political differentiation within those each of those classes and an explosion of homelessness. The Great Recession exposed the deep contradictions internal to contemporary capitalism.

    • ‘A Staggeringly Bad Idea’: Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would ‘Kneecap the Progressive Agenda’

      According to a list of Democratic proposals obtained by the Washington Post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—who is currently fighting back against efforts to prevent her from becoming House Speaker—is pushing for a rule that would “require a three-fifths supermajority to raise individual income taxes on the lowest-earning 80 percent of taxpayers.”

      In response, MoveOn.org called the proposal “a staggeringly bad idea.”

      Though the proposed rule is framed as an effort to protect the financial well-being of middle class Americans, Eric Levitz of New York Magazine pointed out that “while progressives are committed to increasing the discretionary income of the bottom 80 percent, that does not necessarily mean keeping their tax rates frozen at historically low levels.”

      “A bill that required those households to pay a new, smaller monthly sum to the government—so as to fund a single-payer system that would actually reduce their cost of living by delivering radically cheaper healthcare services—could hardly be called regressive,” Levitz notes. “And the same can be said for legislation establishing universal child care, paid family leave, or any other program aimed at easing the middle class’s financial burdens.”

    • Green New Deal? Bring It! But Don’t Forget Your Union Card.

      Fifty young people affiliated with the Sunrise Movement were arrested on November 13 in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office, following a sit-in demanding that Democrats use their new majority in the US House of Representatives to launch a comprehensive plan to confront climate change — a Green New Deal.

      Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not only attended the protest, but the same day posted on her website draft language to establish a Select Committee on a Green New Deal.

      Ocasio-Cortez’s willingness to embrace the dynamic and confrontational mobilization of the Sunrise Movement and their reinvigoration of a public discourse on a Green New Deal signals that the next legislative session will present opportunities to create and elevate an ambitious left agenda.

      Ocasio-Cortez’s draft proposal for a Green New Deal Committee contains bold provisions for achieving 100 percent renewable energy, a federal jobs guarantee, a commitment to mitigate racial, regional, and gender-based wealth and income inequalities, and a plan to use innovative public financing to achieve these goals. While these are all important aspects of a Green New Deal, what’s missing are any terms for protecting — let alone strengthening — the right to organize.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook Is Now Critical to Democracy. That’s a Problem.

      In short, these messages targeted people’s interpretation of their democracy. But the manipulative methods in which they traveled — Facebook among them — were largely taken for granted. And that manipulation isn’t over.

    • Where Did the ‘Freedom From Facebook’ Campaign Really Come From?

      The point here isn’t to question Freedom From Facebook’s intentions. Their efforts seem to stem from genuine concern over Facebook’s outsized role in the world. But the labyrinthine relationships and shadowy catalysts of the efforts on all sides of that debate show just how little involvement actual Facebook users have in the fight over reining the company in.

    • Children’s show is propaganda for Putin, say critics

      A programme about a mischievous girl and a bear watched by millions of British children is accused of being a “soft propaganda” tool for the Kremlin (Mark Bridge writes). The English-language Masha and the Bear has more than 4.18 million subscribers on YouTube and, in various languages, the animated series has gained 40 billion views across 13 channels.

    • Historic Wave of Women Candidates Sweep to Power on Guam

      On November 6, voters in the US territory of Guam elected their first female governor, first openly gay lieutenant governor and a 15-person legislature in which 10 senators are women. Guam also elected its first senator of Chuukese descent (an ethnic minority from Chuuk, Micronesia). Another candidate, a transgender woman, wasn’t elected, but had a strong showing in an election that has energized Guam’s progressive community.

      “After you’ve had 16 years of Republican governors on Guam, I think people were ready for something different,” said Michael Lujan Bevacqua, an assistant professor at the University of Guam who specializes in Chamoru Studies — the study of Guam’s Indigenous people and culture.

      “I think that we are seeing a shift,” he told Truthout. “I doubt it’s irreversible but it’s definitely shifting.”

      Now, with eight of 15 candidates having expressed interest in the possibility of independence from the US, Bevacqua said the new legislature “could lead to tangible steps toward a change in political status.”

      Guam, which is part of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific, has been a US territory since it was acquired in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. But 500 years of colonialism and over a century of US military occupation have left many on Guam hungry for self-determination. The results of this month’s election are, for many on Guam, a glimmer of hope.

    • Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens

      Never underestimate the disingenuousness of top U.S.-American politicos. They truly have no shame.

      Notice how little the fascistic president Donald Trump has to say any more about the big bad Central American Caravan that was supposedly menacing the United States with a great criminal “invasion”?

      The U.S. military “heroes” sent down at great taxpayer expense to “defend our border” will be missing Thanksgiving with their families thanks to this fake threat to “national security.”

      Gee, what happened? It was all a dog-wagging, white-nationalist ruse!

      The bogus peril was transparently concocted by the neo-Know Nothing president to rally his “blood and soil” electoral base for the midterm elections.

      That’s standard, crudely duplicitous procedure for the pathological liar Trump, who has spent years casting doubt on the reality of global warming (a “Chinese hoax”) even as he has built walls to protect his golf courses from rising seas resulting from the climate crisis he has acted as president to exacerbate.

    • Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management

      Talk about a bunch of sad sacks that really stink in the sack. The Trumpocalypse is ruining sex for the rest of us.

      Starting at the top with the bottom-feeding Pussygrabber-in-Chief, the “Charles Manson of American Politics” whose scary hair, odious toadstooland garbage-spewing shithole under his snout are such a turn-off there’s a type of PTSD (Post-Trump Sex Disorder) named for him, and moving on through our newest, lying, crying Supreme (who at least no longer coaches girls’ basketball), gangs of racist wife-beaters, creepy ass-grabbers, Proud Boy sucker-punchers, muscle-bound MAGA-bombers and U.S. military-trained, unabashedly misogynistic mass murderers, it’s a veritable frat house of walking, squawking, gawking, stalking, toxic and yes, killeranti-aphrodisiacs. As on most points, the Dems are not quite so Repugnican, but not exactly encouraging; how about that Keith Ellison?

      It’s enough to make even a woman who really likes sex sign up for the convent, except… oh no—priests!

    • When Depravity Wins

      It is a fact of political life that in the United States, what Michelle Goldberg in a recent New York Times article referred to as the “bottomless depravity” of Donald Trump, can also be applied to at least three members of Congress who emerged triumphant from the recent election. One of them, to his credit, was not an indicted criminal.

      The re-elected, but unindicted congressman, was Steve King of Iowa. He was re-elected for the 9th time on November 6, 2018. Mr. King almost certainly takes great pride in the fact that he has not been charged with any criminal activity-only racism and fascism. He is credited over the years with countless racist rants. In one of his many tweets he said: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” Commenting on the activities of illegal immigrants, he said that for every illegal immigrant who becomes a valedictorian of his or her class, there are 100s of others who “weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

      In a recent back and forth with a supporter in an Iowa restaurant, he repeatedly referred to people he needed to hire as farm workers as: “dirt from Mexico” and, referring to the caravan that has bedeviled Trump, Mr. King said: “It’s the most dirt we’ve ever seen.” In other events he has compared immigrants to dogs, endorsed a white nationalist mayoral candidate who questioned whether immigration is causing “white genocide,” and attacked the National Republican Congressional Committee for backing a gay candidate. Voters in Iowa were not deterred. He has been reelected. And, as observed above, he has not been indicted for any criminal activity. The same cannot be said for his New York and California reelected colleagues.

    • Trump Weighs Replacing Chief of Staff John Kelly in White House Shake-Up
    • Melania Trump’s dangerous move
    • Deputy NSA Ricardel may be fired after clash with First Lady: report

      Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel may be fired,The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unnamed White House official. Ricardel had clashed with First Lady Melania Trump over issues including seating on the trip to Africa as well as the belief Ricardel was the source of negative stories. Earlier the First Lady’s office had issued an unusual, public statement saying Ricardel “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.” According to the report, she also repeatedly clashed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

    • This Was No Vote Accident

      Here in the West Village, in beautiful downtown Manhattan, Election Day morning was overcast, with an autumn chill and some mist in the air. It was early and I was surprised by the number of people waiting to vote – a line about as long as in 2016 – which was great but seemed a little odd because in this very, very blue neighborhood there were plenty of names on the midterm ballot but no contests of any great contention.

      That had all been taken care of during the last primary in September, when Cynthia Nixon ran against Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and lost, although she did manage to shift Cuomo a bit left on a number of issues. Now that he’s been reelected we’ll be watching closely—very closely—to see if he follows through.

      No, the people I saw standing in line clearly were doing so as an act of defiance and political conscience, casting their ballots as a symbol of their desire for decency and democracy. It was a protest fueled by the need to send a message that was loud and clear: that as voters they would try at every level, local, state and federal, to keep America from under the thumb of authoritarianism. They wanted to make sure strong opposing voices remain shouting in government.

      As you know well by now, nationwide, there was great success. Although Republicans held onto the US Senate, Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, perhaps by as many as 40 seats, more than any midterms since the post-Watergate election in 1974. And that new freshman class is filled with women, blacks, Latinos, the first two Muslim-American women, the first two Native American women. (In fact, when the House and Senate convene in January at least 128 womenwill be members.) And the newcomers are young, lowering the median age of Congress by at least a decade.

      Progressive ballot measures passed, Democrats flipped the governorships of seven states with no losses, and as Emma Green at The Atlantic reports, “pulled out big victories across state legislatures, flipping six chambers, turning others purple, and shoring up its supermajorities in still more.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • DOD takes initial steps in separating CYBERCOM from NSA

      The Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman the “first of several” planned contracts to build out the “Unified Platform” for military cyber operations, a capability critical to eventually separating U.S. Cyber Command from the National Security Agency.

      The separation of CYBERCOM from NSA was an idea initiated during the Obama administration and was included in defense authorization legislation for fiscal 2017.

    • Over half the top free VPN apps on iOS and Android are linked to China

      According to a new investigation from Metric Labs – the company behind Top10VPN – the majority of the top-ranking free VPN apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store are either based in China, or have some kind of Chinese ownership.

      If that doesn’t immediately raise a flag as red as China’s, this is why it should: the Chinese government has been clamping down on VPN software in recent years, and any private data funnelled through them may well not remain private for long.

      In all, 17 out of the 30 apps analysed had links to China, and 86 per cent had huge privacy issues to boot. Some simply provided no information about whether data was logged or shared with third parties, while others used generic privacy policies with no relevance to VPNs. Others had no policy at all, but several explicitly revealed sharing information with China.

    • Your Drone Can Give Cops a Surprising Amount of Your Data

      With drones more regularly getting caught up in criminal activity, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has assembled an archive of digital readouts from 14 commercial drones, with the goal of helping law enforcement officials learn how to best extract this little-used trove of data. The NIST reference manual gives step-by-step instructions on how to physically remove the individual SD memory chips from each drone, and what to look for once an agent plugs the card into a computer.

    • What Diane Greene’s Departure Means for Google Cloud

      Greene’s announcement Friday morning that she will move on in January is being read as the latest evidence that the project hasn’t gone as well as planned. Greene said she wants to spend more time mentoring and investing in women tech entrepreneurs. She will retain her Alphabet board seat.

      The new head of Google Cloud in January will be Thomas Kurian, who until September was a top executive at Oracle.

    • Facebook Morale, Hurt by Share Drop, Suffers Another Hit

      Most discussion at Facebook happens on the company’s workplace version of the social network, in various company groups. But when the news is about Facebook’s leadership, some employees have found it easier to talk when they’re unnamed. They used Blind, the anonymous employee chat app, to raise their concerns, according to screenshots obtained by Bloomberg. On Thursday, the conversations were full of outrage. How could Sandberg – and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg – have failed to see the threat to the company? And how could they have managed all of this so poorly?

    • For $20, you can make a DIY Stingray in minutes, using parts from Amazon

      One upshot of the law enforcement reliance on cellular mass surveillance is that it has created a perverse incentive to maintain the insecurity of our mobile devices; this insecurity, combined with the inevitable decline in price for electronic components, means that more and more people are able to spy on your phones (sometimes it’s criminals, sometimes it’s foreign spies, sometimes it’s a mystery).

      If you want to get in on the action, you can order $20 worth of parts from Amazon, plug them into your laptop, paste a few commands into your terminal and you can start spying on your friends and neighbors.

    • With $20 of Gear from Amazon, Nearly Anyone Can Make This IMSI-Catcher in 30 Minutes

      Surveillance takes on different character when it trickles down to more ordinary, everyday users. The significance and threat from IMSI-catchers is multiplied when a lot more people can deploy one using cheap tech from Amazon and free code from Github.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Media Rights Group Indignant Over Detention of its Employees in Tanzania

      In a statement Monday, CJP said both women were traveling on valid visas, as part of a fact-finding trip to better understand local press freedom conditions in Tanzania.

      CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said “we are outraged by their treatment at the hands of Tanzanian authorities,” and said CPJ has “concluded that the intention of Tanzanian authorities was to harass and intimidate our team.”

      Simon said CPJ is also disappointed that South Africa’s foreign minister repeated falsehoods about the detention after helping to assist the journalists in Tanzania.

    • Terror as disappearances follow Chinese student communists’ solidarity with striking workers

      Now the state has struck back: Chinese communist student activists and leaders have gone missing, often after public kidnappings at the hands of presumed state enforcers who drive up in black, unmarked cars and force the students inside. Some of these students have not been heard from since.

      The disappearances have created a wave of terror among the activists and their friends, who say that the retaliation is arbitrary and untargeted, sometimes aimed at prominent leaders and sometimes at young people who were essentially just bystanders during meetings and strikes.

    • Young Marxists are going missing in China after protesting for workers

      Since August at least nine young Chinese labor advocates have been forcibly detained in major cities across the country, a sharp escalation in Beijing’s campaign against student activism on university campuses.

    • Beware Turkey’s Dangerous New Refugee Role
    • Telangana: Attacked by Imam for playing devotional songs on loudspeaker, Hindu priest succumbs to injuries

      According to the reports, the shocking incident occurred on the early hours of 26th October, when Satyanarayana Sharma was playing devotional songs on loudspeakers at a local Shiva Sai temple in Pochamma Maidan, Warangal. Sayeed Sadhiq Hussain, an Imam at LB Nagar mosque approached the Hindu priest and demanded him to switch off the loudspeaker. When the priest refused to do so, the angry Imam suddenly assaulted the age-old Satyanarayana mercilessly.

    • Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it.

      Since the Saudi dissident’s death on October 2, one thing has become painfully clear: President Donald Trump will do anything but severely reprimand the Saudi government.

      [...]

      Trump, it seems, just doesn’t want to risk losing incoming Saudi cash. Beyond the arms deals, Riyadh said it would invest about $20 billion in US infrastructure projects. Trump has consistently promised to rebuild much of America’s crumbling roads, bridges, and airports, but would rather not use much taxpayer money to do so. And the Pentagon support Saudi Arabia’s military mission in Yemen with intelligence support.

    • Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!

      On November 14, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives blocked a resolution that its supporters say would end U.S. participation in the war and famine in Yemen. It is unclear, however, what effect this resolution would have on the ground even if it were passed into law. It imposes no limits on arms sales to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. It does not propose any oversight or limitation of activities CIA or of private contractors from the U.S. in Yemen. The resolution is based on a time table that does not reflect the dire urgency to end the war in Yemen, where almost two months ago the United Nations’ humanitarian chief warned “We may now be approaching a tipping point, beyond which it will be impossible to prevent massive loss of life as a result of widespread famine across the country.” Further, the resolution provides exemptions for continued hostilities conducted directly by U.S. with drones and Special Forces.

      Limited as it is to removing “U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities,” one might even agree with Republican leadership that with the mutual decision that the U.S. stop refueling Saudi war planes, the resolution is moot, even as the war and famine continue. If the resolution were allowed to pass, there would be a 30-day window between the date when the bill might be signed into law and when it would take effect, in which time millions of Yemenis might succumb to famine.

      House of Representatives Concurrent Resolution 138, introduced in the House, “Directs the President to remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in Yemen, except for Armed Forces engaged in operations authorized under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, within 30 days unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization for such use has been enacted into law.” Senate Joint Resolution 54 is even more explicit and generous in its exception allowing U.S. aggression to continue in Yemen: “This joint resolution directs the President to remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting Yemen, except those engaged in operations directed at Al Qaeda, within 30 days unless: (1) the President requests and Congress authorizes a later date, or (2) a declaration of war or specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces has been enacted.”

    • Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?

      One has to admire the Canadian government’s manipulation of the media regarding its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Despite being partners with the Kingdom’s international crimes, the Liberals have managed to convince some gullible folks they are challenging Riyadh’s rights abuses.

      By downplaying Ottawa’s support for violence in Yemen while amplifying Saudi reaction to an innocuous tweet the dominant media has wildly distorted the Trudeau government’s relationship to the monarchy.

      In a story headlined “Trudeau says Canada has heard Turkish tape of Khashoggi murder”, Guardian diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour affirmed that “Canada has taken a tough line on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record for months.” Hogwash. Justin Trudeau’s government has okayed massive arms sales to the monarchy and largely ignored the Saudi’s devastating war in Yemen, which has left up to 80,000 dead, millions hungry and sparked a terrible cholera epidemic.

    • Saudi Arabia: Rights Abuses Under Scrutiny

      Country representatives gathering in Geneva for the periodic review of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record made recommendations that included the immediate release of Saudi activists – including women driving activists – jailed solely for peacefully advocating reform. They also called for an end to discrimination against women and justice for the slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, including assuring accountability for his killers.

      “Many countries have problematic records, but Saudi Arabia stands out for its extraordinarily high levels of repression, which have come into focus in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Saudi Arabia should respond to international criticism of its human rights record and make meaningful changes, including the immediate release of jailed human rights defenders as a first step.”

    • US Congress Should Not Be Fooled By Egypt’s Platitudes

      Congress, on the other hand, has a long, bipartisan history of supporting human rights in Egypt. At the time of the NGO law’s signing in May 2017 Senators John McCain (R-AZ), recently deceased, and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), called for strengthened democracy and human rights benchmarks on Egypt aid. US budget bills have, for years, included restrictions on military aid to Egypt related to improvements on democracy, human rights, and rule of law.

      But Egypt’s draconian NGO law is on the books now and no review, without tangible action by the government, should be seen as a positive move. The only meaningful sign of progress would be repeal of the law.

    • Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?

      Attracted by the sun, sea, glamour and glitz many British people visit or choose to live and work in Dubai. With over 700 luxury hotels, some neck-creakingly tall buildings, tax-free salaries, futuristic design, high-end malls the appeal is obvious. At any given time, approximately a 100,000 British people live and work in Dubai and the UAE, and on average anywhere between half a million and one million British tourists visit annually.

      However, the glamour and seductive appeal of Dubai (and the Emirates generally) disguises a dark side: it’s legal system and laws. An increasing number of British people are often unsuspectingly falling foul of these laws with at times devastating consequences. The UAE’s legal system is founded upon civil law principles (mostly influenced by Egyptian law) and Islamic Sharia law, the latter constituting the guiding principle and source of legislation. The laws are, however, often vague, confusing and arbitrarily applied.

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Offices (FCO) British behaviour abroad report (2014) found a 30 per cent rise in the number of Britons arrested in the UAE between 2012 and 2014 and this despite a drop of more than a third in the number of British tourists to the UAE in the same period. The report found that the UAE was the fourth most likely country in which UK citizens would require consular assistance. The mere accusation of wrongdoing can have serious consequences; as Scottish electrician Jamie Harron discovered. He was sentenced to 3 months in jail for public indecency after he accidentally touched a man in a bar.

      Afsana Lachaux, a former British civil servant, had her son taken from her while living in the UAE. Having moved there for a new life, events soon took a nasty turn. Her husband became abusive, and she felt that she had no choice but to flee with her son. However, instead of supporting her she found that the authorities and the legal system favoured her husband. The women’s shelter that she fled to told her husband where she was, and the courts dismissed her protestations and witnesses.

      I connected with Afsana via twitter she tells me she ‘left the UAE in 2014 and is in the midst of legal proceedings here and in France to try and get the Dubai sharia divorce overturned and have some rights to see and speak to Louis. So far the U.K. has refused me jurisdiction.’ For her ‘the most despicable thing is that UK courts endorse the UAE legal system.’ I can’t imagine anything much worse for a mother to experience than to have her child taken from her.

    • Hypocrisy of Dubai’s World Tolerance Summit

      But to paint the UAE government as tolerant is laughable. The summit’s website conveniently makes no mention of the UAE’s sustained assault on freedom of expression since 2011, where the authorities detain and forcibly disappear people who criticize the government, and imprison for long periods those deemed guilty of such vague acts as “undermining national unity” and “insulting state symbols.”

    • All hail the UAE Tolerance Summit…or else

      But don’t take my word for it. Ask Naser bin Ghaith or Ahmed Mansoor or Tayseer al-Najjar. Oh sorry you can’t, they are all in jail for having the temerity to criticise the authorities, along with dozens of others deemed to be a threat to the security of the state.

    • Solidarity Abolishes Borders

      Borders are imaginary lines that have very real, violent implications. These dividers of nations block movement in the name of security and sovereignty, but they’re often a threat to the very things they’re theoretically supposed to protect, including people. Rejecting borders, instead of people, should be a top priority.

      Many of us who reject borders seek out real ways to abolish them in our daily lives, as we work toward a broader movement for border abolition. One way we can reject the violence of borders is by being fully aware of what’s happening outside of the ones that have been drawn around us. In addition to this, it’s important to know what’s happening at them and because of them. This awareness can provide us with the necessary tools to develop a worldview that challenges state violence at its core.

      Many members of the public sincerely do not understand what would drive people to risk their own lives or those of their family to trek across harsh terrain toward uncertainty. If anything is guaranteed along the way, it’s danger and suffering. That tells us a lot about what sorts of situations people are leaving if they’re willing to take such a risk.

      Caravans and large groups of people making their way to Western nations have recently drawn publicity. In Europe, the so-called “migrant crisis” has driven a variety of reactions ranging from state violence to “reception centers” (places where migrants, immigrants and refugees are detained) to right-wing vigilante efforts. The violence and destruction that the Global North has inflicted on the home countries of those fleeing is hardly an afterthought in the mainstream narrative. What we know to be true about how European military aggression, economic exploitation, and climate change are pushing people from their homes regularly gets left out of the conversation. The same can be said regarding the US.

    • The CIA gave Congress a report on the JFK assassination that was edited to remove human rights violations – and mention of JFK

      As a result of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, the Central Intelligence Agency ostensibly produced a copy of the Hart Report, more famously known as the “Monster Plot,” which was intended to be a definitive account of the Yuri Nosenko affair and a takedown of disgraced spymaster James Angleton. What the CIA actually released, however, resembles Hart’s actual report as much as the television edit of The Big Lebowski resembles the actual dialogue.

    • CIA director John McCone covered up JFK assassination truth

      Former CIA director John McCone has long been suspected of withholding information from the Warren Commission, President Lyndon Johnson’s investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

      Editor’s note: Throughout November, IrishCentral is commemorating Kennedy month, in honor of the famed Irish American political dynasty and their legacy. In the countdown to the anniversary of JFK’s assassination on November 22, 1963, we look at the events surrounding his death. including the investigation into the crime.

    • At Gitmo 9/11 trial, prosecutor gives lurid details of CIA prisons. Defense says: Not enough

      A Sept. 11 trial prosecutor on Thursday read aloud ghastly descriptions of what the CIA did to its prisoners: An alleged plot mastermind was taken nude from interrogation to a medical officer, who put fluids up his rectum then returned him nude to interrogation. Some captives were kept like “cowering dogs,” subjected to standing sleep deprivation, abdominal and facial slaps, in what one CIA agent called a “nightmare.”

      Prosecutor Jeffrey Groharing read the descriptions from various material his team had provided defense attorneys in a bid to get a new 9/11 trial judge, Marine Col. Keith Parrella, to restore the FBI interrogations of the alleged plotters that Parrella’s predecessor had excluded from the trial.

    • Release of Top Secret CIA Document Reveals Deeper Medical Complicity in Torture Program

      With the release of a previously top secret document – made public thanks to a legal victory by the ACLU – disclosing the role of the Office of Medical Services (OMS) in the CIA’s torture program, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) reminds health professionals that torture, in all its forms, is one of the most serious human rights violations and is absolutely prohibited under U.S. and international law, and that any collusion in its implementation – from planning through monitoring – is a gross violation of professional ethics.

      The 90-page document provides a chilling account of how CIA health professionals willingly participated in torture. The “Summary and Reflections” of an unnamed chief of CIA Medical Services narrates the decision-making process that led to health professionals signing off on, and participating in, interrogation and detention practices that clearly constituted torture. The document provides a cascade of self-justification and minimization of the risks and harm to detainees.

    • CIA considered use of anti-anxiety drug in terror suspect interrogations: report

      A federal court ordered the 90-page CIA report, which details the existence of “Project Medication,” to be provided to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which spent more than two years in court fighting the Obama and Trump administrations over it.

    • CIA interrogators sought ‘truth serum’ for 9/11 prisoners
    • CIA interrogators sought ‘truth serum’ for 9/11 prisoners

      CIA interrogators sought a truth serum to use on Al-Qaeda prisoners in addition to waterboarding and other torture techniques after the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to formerly top secret documents released Tuesday.

    • CIA explored using potential truth serum drug for post 9/11 interrogations
    • Donald Trump says torture ‘absolutely works’ — but does it?
    • ‘Project Medication’: CIA weighed using ‘truth serum’ drug on terror suspects after 9/11
    • The CIA explored using a ‘truth-serum’ on terrorism detainees after 9/11, newly released report shows
    • Ex-CIA Officer Blasts Plan to Use ‘Truth Drugs’ by US Gov’t as ‘Shameful’

      Giraldi also lamented that “there has been no accountability for the crimes” committed by the CIA, and that the people responsible for approving the techniques in question now work “for intelligence community contractors at high salaries.”
      Commenting on the recent revelations about US Central Intelligence Agency mulling the use of truth serums for interrogations in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Philip Giraldi, a former CIA case officer and US Army intelligence officer who currently works as executive director of the Council for the National Interest, told Sputnik that the use of drugs on a prisoner is “generally considered to be a war crime.”

      As Giraldi remarked, “it is shameful that the United States government and CIA were considering administering so-called ‘truth drugs’ to detainees”, noting that “context is everything”.

    • Report shines light on CIA’s ‘Project Medication’
    • CIA used ‘truth serum’ on 9/11 suspect after waterboarding failed

      Desperate agents explored giving Abu Zubaydah – and several other alleged terrorists – the drug after believing he held vital information about possible future terror attacks.

      The CIA maintained he was one of Al-Qaeda’s top operatives who helped plot the attacks on September 11, 2001.

      A newly released 90-page account details the existence of a drug research program called “Project Medication” and discloses how the CIA’s Office of Medical Services maintained a key role in the development of detention and interrogation practices.

    • British involvement in torture questioned again following CIA truth serum revelations

      A newly-released report, which reveals that the US considered using ‘truth serum’ in the CIA’s torture programme, raises fresh questions about British involvement in torture and rendition, according to human rights group Reprieve.

    • CIA Considered Administering “Truth Serum” to 9/11 Detainees

      And a newly declassified report reveals the CIA considered using a so-called truth serum drug to interrogate terror suspects in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The report, released Tuesday, details a research program known as Project Medication, in which the CIA worked with medical professionals who ultimately decided against asking the Justice Department to approve the use of any such drugs. Attorney Dror Ladin of the American Civil Liberties Union says the program led doctors to violate their Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm.” And he said the CIA has a history of experimenting with drugs on detainees.

    • Dave Searles: CIA should consider truth serum for Donald Trump
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Congress wants harsher penalties for robocallers

      The TRACED Act, sponsored by Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), would dramatically increase the penalty per robocall to up to $10,000. Previously, violators were charged with up to $1,500 per call. Currently, the Federal Communications Commission can only prosecute violators over inauthentic calls that were placed in the past year. This bill increases that time frame to three years. In previous letters to the senators, the commission said that “even a one-year longer statute of limitations for enforcement. . . would improve the Commission’s enforcement efforts against knowing and willful violators.”

    • A New Senate Bill Would Hit Robocallers With Up to a $10,000 Fine for Every Call

      Democrats and Republicans can agree on at least one thing: The spam robocall situation has gotten entirely out of hand.

      Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, and Senator John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, introduced a bill on Friday that aims to ramp up the penalties on illegal robocalls—and stop them from reaching your phone in the first place.

      The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, raises the penalty for robocalls from $1,500 per call to up to $10,000 per call, and allows the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action on illegal robocalls up to three years after the calls are placed, instead of a year.

    • U.S Senate Bill Cracks Down On Robocalls, Offenders Face Up To $10,000 In Penalties

      U.S Senators John Thune and Ed Markey introduced a bill this Friday which cracks down on illegal spam robocalls. Illegal automated telemarketing calls could now result in up to $10,000 in penalties for offenders.

      The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) act aims to reduce the amount of spam robocalls by increasing the time during which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can take action against illegal robocalls. The TRACED act raises the statute of limitations for action against offenders from one year to three years after an illegal spam robocall is placed.

      As Gizmodo notes, blocking service provider YouMail records that approximately 5.1 billion robocalls made in the month of October.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Platform providers should pay attention to the moves of Japanese regulations

      In Japan, a platform business has been considered just a vehicle for service providers and users, and assumed no responsibility. However, in response to recent trends in regulations on platform businesses in Europe, Japan has commenced studies toward tightening of regulations since July 2018, and published the draft interim report on November 5 2018 to invite public opinion until December 4 and commence to discuss detailed regulations after the turn of the year.

      [...]

      Market manipulability based on algorithmic profiling and opaqueness of the technologies. The necessity of disclosure of code or algorithm will be discussed.

    • Turkey Consults On Proposed Amendments For Geographical Indications And Patents

      The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (“TPTO”) has announced proposed amendments to Industrial Property Law Number 6769 (“IP Law”) and sent these to related ministries and organizations to receive their opinions and comments. The proposed amendments relate to geographical indications and patents.

    • Copyrights

      • Netflix Dominates Internet Traffic Worldwide, BitTorrent Ranks Fifth

        Nearly 14% of all internet traffic worldwide is generated by Netflix, new data from Sandvine shows. This makes the streaming giant the dominant traffic source. BitTorrent is listed in fifth place, which is driven in large part by traffic from the Asia-Pacific region, where the file-sharing protocol even beats Netflix.

      • US Court Lists ‘DNS’ and ‘Routing’ Services in Broad Anti-Piracy Order

        Most people have probably never heard of the BTV set-top box but it’s one of many services currently accused of copyright infringement. A recent order, issued by a New York federal court, requires the associated company to pay over $6 million in damages. More concerning to the general public, however, is that the order also opens the door all sorts of blocking.

      • Google Meets Russian Govt Body to Discuss Ongoing Piracy Issues

        Google has been officially invited to become a signatory to the anti-piracy memorandum signed in Moscow earlier this month. During a meeting with government telecoms body Roscomnadzor on Wednesday, Google’s recent violation of Russian law was also discussed. The search giant is facing a fine after it displayed links to permanently banned sites within its search results.

11.17.18

Links 17/11/2018: Mesa 18.3 RC3, Total War: WARHAMMER II, GNOME 3.31.2

Posted in News Roundup at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • FAIL!!! Windows 10 October Update (1809) Still Has Multiple Flaws

      Microsoft has acknowledged this issue and suggested a few workarounds, but they aren’t exactly useful. In fact, those solutions could lead to more problems for businesses that mostly rely on their mapped network drives.

      The company admitted that “mapped drives may fail to reconnect after starting and logging onto a Windows device.” Microsoft says it is working on a solution, but also made it clear that a fix won’t be arriving before 2019.

    • If at first or second you don’t succeed, you may be Microsoft: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update

      The 1809 build of Windows 10 and Windows Server is fast becoming infamous. Microsoft pulled it shortly after release when it started deleting people’s files, and stumbling in other ways. Redmond reissued the software on Tuesday, and today it’s clear you shouldn’t rush into deploying it, if installing it at all, in its present state.

    • Microsoft Just Crammed Ads Into Windows 10 Mail. When Will They Stop? [Ed: With Vista 10 the users are the product. The spies from Microsoft spy on them (sometimes illegally, but these people are above the law) and their real clients are advertisers.]

      Whether it’s pre-installing Candy Crush Saga, showing full-screen ads on your lock screen, or displaying banner ads in File Explorer, Microsoft has been shoehorning ads into every inch of Windows 10. The Mail app is getting them next.

      Update: Microsoft’s head of communications, Frank Shaw, just backpedaled on Twitter. He said “this is an experimental feature that was never intended to be tested broadly and is being turned off.” As Mehedi Hassan notes over at Thurrott, this is a strange claim because Microsoft has a detailed support page explaining these advertisements.

    • Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for ‘large scale and covert’ gathering of people’s info via Office

      Microsoft broke Euro privacy rules by carrying out the “large scale and covert” gathering of private data through its Office apps.

      That’s according to a report out this month [PDF] that was commissioned by the Dutch government into how information handled by 300,000 of its workers was processed by Microsoft’s Office ProPlus suite. This software is installed on PCs and connects to Office 365 servers.

      The dossier’s authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. That’s a no-no.

      Those actions break Europe’s new GDPR privacy safeguards, it is claimed, and may put Microsoft on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines. The Dutch authorities are working with the corporation to fix the situation, and are using the threat of a fine as a stick to make it happen.

    • How old were you when you first started using Linux?

      Whether you switched from another operating system, or are one of the lucky few who knew no OS before it, all of us were beginners at some point.

      How old were you when you started using Linux? Do you remember that time clearly, or is it so far in the past that it’s but a faint memory?

      Regardless of the answer, let us know when it was, and maybe, a bit about what that experience has meant to you.

    • macOS vs.Windows: Which OS Really Is the Best?

      If you’re truly gung-ho on interface customization, I recommend Linux, which offers a selection of completely different user interface shells.

      [...]

      Those looking for the ultimate in stability, though, should check out Linux.

  • Server

    • Migrating to Linux: the basis of digital transformation

      SAP is moving HANA exclusively to Linux – Sabine Soellheim explains why

    • Red Hat Ties Kubernetes Platform Closer to OpenStack

      Red Hat this week moved to tie application development and deployment environments based on Kubernetes closer to the latest version of the OpenStack cloud computing framework.

      The Red Hat OpenStack 14 release is based on the Rocky distribution of OpenStack. With this release, Red Hat is making it easier to automate the deployment of its distribution of Kubernetes on both virtual machines and bare-metal servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

      Other capabilities added include automated deployment of production-ready, high-availability Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform clusters based on Kubernetes and the ability for OpenShift container-based and OpenStack workloads based on virtual machines to share the same virtual network using the open source Kuryr container networking software developed under the auspices of the OpenStack Foundation.

    • Ruby in Containers

      Software changes environments from a development machine to a UAT (user acceptance testing) server environment or even from a test environment to production. It is required that the software runs consistently and reliably in these environments in the process.

      There was a time when deploying software was an event, a ceremony because of the difficulty that was required to keep this consistency. Teams spent a lot of time making the destination environments run the software as the source environment. They thereafter prayed that the gods kept the software running perfectly in production as in development.

      With containers, deployments are more frequent because we package our applications with their libraries as a unit making them portable thereby helping us maintain consistency and reliability when moving software between environments. For developers, this is improved productivity, portability and ease of scaling.

      Because of this portability, containers have become the universal language of the cloud allowing us to move software from one cloud to another without much trouble.

      In this article, I will discuss two major concepts to note while working with containers in Ruby. I will discuss how to create small container images and how to test them.

    • Kubernetes co-founder on the container revolution and the future of VMs

      Containers have exploded in popularity in recent years. To help with the deploying, scaling, and managing of containerized applications, Brendan Burns co-founded Kubernetes – a production-grade container orchestration system. In this episode, Brendan shares how he and his co-founders came up with the idea, how they got started, and what containers mean for the future of Virtual Machines.

    • FOSS Project Spotlight: BlueK8s

      Kubernetes (aka K8s) is now the de facto container orchestration framework. Like other popular open-source technologies, Kubernetes has amassed a considerable ecosystem of complementary tools to address everything from storage to security. And although it was first created for running stateless applications, more and more organizations are interested in using Kubernetes for stateful applications.

      However, while Kubernetes has advanced significantly in many areas during the past couple years, there still are considerable gaps when it comes to running complex stateful applications. It remains challenging to deploy and manage distributed stateful applications consisting of a multitude of co-operating services (such as for use cases with large-scale analytics and machine learning) with Kubernetes.

    • How to choose the right storage solution for your containers

      We talk to many shops that are adopting, or have adopted, DevOps practices. For many companies, staying ahead of disruption means not only delivering new applications but also optimizing (or changing!) current processes and systems. They are moving to team-based cultures, working in smaller increments, and automating their environments to try to increase the velocity for software development and deployment.

      Having a common storage underpinning that is “self-service” for developers to provision and manage storage for their applications means teams have less friction in developing and shipping applications.

    • Red Hat releases Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 beta; deprecates Btrfs filesystem
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta Offers Stratis and Yum 4 with Efficient Linux Networking
    • Red Hat Names Carahsoft 2018 Public Sector Distribution Partner of the Year; Natalie Gregory Quoted

      Red Hat has selected Carahsoft Technology as a recipient of the Public Sector Distribution Partner of the Year award for the fifth year in a row.

      Carahsoft said Thursday the award recognizes its efforts to drive net revenue and support for Red Hat’s public sector partner program.

    • Why IBM’s purchase of Red Hat makes their future mostly cloudy

      IBM’s purchase of Red Hat is getting mixed reviews and the implications for the IT world remain to be seen. I talked with James Sanders about the acquisition and reaction to the news. The following is an edited transcript of our interview.

    • First beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 now available with security updates, new features

      As the dust settles from the announcement of IBM’s pending acquisition of Red Hat, work continues undaunted in delivering new products. This week sees the first beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, Red Hat’s venerable enterprise distribution, which also serves as the basis for CentOS and Oracle Linux. For reference, RHEL is based on Fedora, which just celebrated the release of Fedora 29.

      In terms of security, the biggest changes in RHEL 8 are support for OpenSSL 1.1.1 and TLS 1.3, which a press release notes “[enable] server applications on the platform to use the latest standards for cryptographic protection of customer data.” Likewise, the new release includes “System-wide Cryptographic Policies” allowing for cryptographic configuration using a unified interface, rather than needing to work with specific applications.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • Acumos Project’s 1st Software, Athena, Helps Ease AI Deployment

        The LF Deep Learning Foundation on Wednesday announced the availability of the first software from the Acumos AI Project. Dubbed “Athena,” it supports open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning.

        This is the first software release from the Acumos AI Project since its launch earlier this year. The goal is to make critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere.

        Acumos is part of a Linux Foundation umbrella organization, the LF Deep Learning Foundation, that supports and sustains open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning. Acumos is based in Shanghai.

      • Uber is the latest firm to join The Linux Foundation

        The Linux Foundation has announced that Uber has become the newest Gold member of the non-profit organization. The announcement came during the Uber Open summit which runs for one day where developers and community leader hold talks and workshops on advancing open source collaboration and innovation at scale. Uber is just the latest big name to join the group, other members include Deutsche Telekom, Valve, and Microsoft.

        As part of the move, Uber has also joined The Linux Foundation’s TODO Group, an open group where firms can collaborate on tools and practices to successfully maintain “effective” open source projects.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack Hitting Problems With The Radeon RX 590

        While the Radeon RX 590 that launched this week is just yet another Polaris refresh, it turns out the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack isn’t yet playing well with retail RX 590 graphics cards. This is quite a surprise considering the PCI ID was picked up months ago and the mature Polaris Linux driver support for quite a while now, but could be like the rough Raven Ridge Linux experience where the production cards with the shipping vBIOS isn’t what the developers encountered during their pre-production driver enablement.

        [...]

        Long story short, it looks like at least one initialization issue is blocking the Radeon RX 590 Linux support. Hopefully the workaround ends up being trivial enough that it can be quickly back-ported to existing stable Linux kernel series. Once the Radeon RX 590 is running well on Linux, I’ll be through with a ton of benchmarks that I have already been working on this week with other graphics cards using the newest Linux driver stacks. This situation is sadly reminiscent of the Raven Ridge launch earlier this year where the open-source driver team was working on support for months in advance, but the production hardware/BIOS ended up varying a lot from their hardware bring-up that is was very shaky support at launch. The Raven Ridge support improved a lot on Linux since launch, but even to this day some hardware still seems to be problematic both of hardware in my labs as well as reports by users. Hopefully it won’t take nearly as long for the RX 590 support to be in shape.

      • mesa 18.3.0-rc3

        The third release candidate for Mesa 18.3.0 is now available.

      • Mesa 18.3-RC3 Released With RADV Fixes, Drops Zen L3 Thread Pinning

        Mesa release manager Emil Velikov has announced the latest weekly release candidate of the upcoming Mesa 18.3.

        Mesa 18.3 has a number of Meson build system updates, several RADV driver corrections, a few NIR updates, fixes video API support for Raven 2 APUs, and back-ports the change to drop the AMD Zen L3 thread pinning functionality.

      • Radeon ROCm 1.9.2 Released – Brings SDMA/RDMA Support For Vega 20, HIP/HCC Improvements

        While we know ROCm 2.0 is coming out before year’s end and that will have many improvements like complete OpenCL 2.0 support, ROCm 1.9.2 is out today as the latest stable release for this Radeon Open Compute stack.

        ROCm 1.9.2 brings some notable changes for just being a point release ahead of the big ROCm 2.0 milestone. Vega 20 remains one of the big areas for AMD’s driver/software developers for what will begin shipping next year as the Radeon Instinct MI50 / MI60 accelerators.

      • Mozilla Now Ships Firefox Nightly Builds With Wayland Enabled

        After what feels like an eternity in waiting years for Mozilla to ship their Firefox web-browser with native Wayland support enabled, their latest Firefox Nightly builds have achieved this milestone.

        There have been Wayland patches for Firefox going back years but the Wayland support hasn’t been enabled in the official Firefox binaries up until now. Starting yesterday, the Mozilla.org Firefox Nightly packages have Wayland support built-in and when launching Firefox if GDK_BACKEND=wayland is set, should now work with native Wayland rather than XWayland.

    • Benchmarks

      • Bisected: The Unfortunate Reason Linux 4.20 Is Running Slower

        After running a lot of tests and then bisecting the Linux 4.20 kernel merge window, the reason for the significant slowdowns in the Linux 4.20 kernel for many real-world workloads is now known…

        This latest Linux 4.20 testing endeavor started out with seeing the Intel Core i9 performance pulling back in many synthetic and real-world tests. This ranged from Rodinia scientific OpenMP tests taking 30% longer to Java-based DaCapo tests taking up to ~50% more time to complete to code compilation tests taking measurably longer to lower PostgreSQL database server performance to longer Blender3D rendering times. That happened with a Core i9 7960X and Core i9 7980XE test systems while the AMD Threadripper 2990WX performance was unaffected by the Linux 4.20 upgrade.

      • More Benchmarks Of The Performance Pullback In Linux 4.20

        Last night I published some benchmarks after finding Linux 4.20 is regressing in several workloads compared to Linux 4.18/4.19 and at least was affecting Intel Core i9 “HEDT” boxes. Here are more affected workloads regressing on Linux 4.20 and it’s not just limited to high-end hardware.

        This morning I decided to check in on my automated bi-daily kernel benchmarks on LinuxBenchmarking.com. It’s all automated and thus don’t necessarily have the time to look at the data too often (even though PTS’ LinuxBenchmarking.com does also provide email notifications when auto-detecting possible regressions), but in looking back at the archived data it too captured a significant performance pullback on multiple systems on Linux 4.20.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Talking about Qt and Computer Vision at QtCon Brasil 2018

        I had the opportunity to participate in QtCon Brasil 2018 as a speaker during the last weekend. It happened in São Paulo, which is a city that I haven’t visited for a long time. My talk was about the integration of Qt applications and Computer Vision, specially focused on the mobile environment with QtQuick and QML.

        During my presentation, I was focused on introducing some concepts to the people who just have heard or never had contact with Computer Vision. I talked a little bit about OpenCV, including an brief explanation about its modules and how they work, and I presented a little example of object recognition application made with QML (the code is available in the repository).

      • Qt Quick Performance Improvements with Qt 5.12 LTS

        Qt 5.9 LTS already shows a great improvement of the overall performance compared to the previous long-term supported Qt 5.6 LTS release. These are summarized in a blog post about Performance Improvements with Qt 5.9 LTS and Qt Quick Performance Improvements on 64-bit ARM. With Qt 5.12 LTS we have continued to tune these further and taken a deeper look into the areas of QML engine memory consumption and JavaScript performance.

        Qt 5.9 LTS already shows a great improvement of the overall performance compared to the previous long-term supported Qt 5.6 LTS release. These are summarized in a blog post about Performance Improvements with Qt 5.9 LTS and Qt Quick Performance Improvements on 64-bit ARM. With Qt 5.12 LTS we have continued to tune these further and taken a deeper look into the areas of QML engine memory consumption and JavaScript performance.

      • Qt 5.12 Lowering The QML Memory Consumption, Better JavaScript Performance

        As part of The Qt Company’s ongoing improvements to their tool-kit and with Qt 5.12 being an LTS release, this cycle they focused a lot on improving the performance.

        Qt 5.12 LTS will be releasing in the next few weeks and as part of their performance push they have been working to lowering the memory consumption of the QML engine. The QML data structures have been optimized to reduce their size and better handling around cached objects.

      • Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.8.0 Beta2!

        This release comes with the many fixes that we have done since our first Beta release.

        Additionally we upgraded the LLVM for the Clang code model to version 7.0, and our binary packages to the Qt 5.12 prerelease.

      • KDE Itinerary @ Paris Open Transport Meetup

        I have been invited by Kisio Digital to present the work we have been doing around KDE Itinerary at the Paris Open Transport Meetup next week. The meetup is near Gare de Lyon and starts on Thursday at 19:00. Feel free to come by, I’m looking forward to discuss ideas on how to move KDE Itinerary forward.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.31.2 released

        GNOME 3.31.2 is now available. This is the second unstable development release leading to 3.32 stable series. Apologies that it’s slightly late: there were some technical snafus.

        If you want to compile GNOME 3.31.2, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot. Thanks to BuildStream’s build sandbox, it should build reliably for you regardless of the dependencies on your host system…

      • GNOME 3.31.2 Desktop Released
      • Plata Is A New Gtk Theme Based On The Latest Material Design Refresh

        Plata is a new Gtk+ theme based on the latest Material Design refresh. The theme comes in 3 variants, regular (mixed), Lumiere (light) and Noir (dark), each with regular and compact versions.

        The theme, which mixes black, indigo and grey with bits of red and purple, supports Gtk+ 3.20.x, 3.22.x and 3.24.x, as well as Gtk+ 2, and a multitude of desktop environments like Gnome Shell (and Flashback), Cinnamon, Xfce, Mate, LXDE, and Budgie Desktop.

        Patheon (elementary OS), Unity 7 and “Gnome Shell customized by Canonical” (the Ubuntu session) are not officially supported by Plata theme. I’ve used Plata in Ubuntu 18.10 with Gnome Shell and I didn’t notice any issues other than the theme GDM theme not being used, but this is only after about an hour of usage.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Manjaro Linux 18.0 – Review and Features

        Manjaro has finally released a stable version of Manjaro 18.0 also codenamed “Illyria“. Manjaro always provided a lot of lot of emphasis on a user-friendly experience and Illyria is lived upto that to a great extent. The open source operating system is designed in such a way that it work completely out of the box straight away as it comes with a lot of pre-installed software. So once complete the installation of Manjaro 18.0, you don’t need to go installing other software that is needed for your day to day tasks. And Manjaro 18.0 has come out with fixes for a lot of issues and some improvements as well. Manjaro Linux 18.0 is certainly one of the easy-to-use and simple Arch Linux desktop version.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora lifecycle: Problems, solutions, and a proposal

        I’ve been talking with a number of Fedora leaders, principals, and team members about the issue of Fedora lifecycle. Lifecycle here means the way we manage, schedule, and populate Fedora releases. I started the Lifecycle objective and proposed it as a lead to the Fedora Council to house what I hope will be improvements to Fedora lifecycle.

        One of the most important goals is to diversify the community ownership of our releases. This involves a fairly extensive set of changes in Fedora. It will need effort from a number of teams that work on release processes and services. For that reason, I’m proposing we pause the release cycle after the release of Fedora 30.

        I posted this morning to the devel list to start gathering feedback and input from a wider group on the ideas around the ideas in the writeup. The most important feedback comes from those who are involved in those processes and services. But constructive feedback is welcome from any part of Fedora. Please take the time to read the whole document and understand the goals and benefits for Fedora.

      • FPgM report: 2018-46
      • Fedora 29 : PyQt5 with Qt5 Designer tool.
      • Bodhi 3.11.0 released
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Raspbian 2018-11-13 Brings Hardware-Accelerated VLC Media Player

          After releasing the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ yesterday, the Raspberry Pi Foundation today announced Raspbian 2018-11-13 as the latest update to their Debian-based Linux distribution for these low-cost ARM SBCs.

          Most notable with the Raspbian November 2018 update is shipping VLC as its default media player application. The VLC build in Raspbian comes with working hardware acceleration using Broadcom’s VideoCore engine for H.264 / MPEG-2 / VC-1 video formats. But the MPEG-2 and VC-1 support requires purchasing the codec licenses.

        • Raspberry Pi software update brings VLC media player (with hardware-accelerated video playback)

          The Raspberry Pi line of single-board computers can run a variety of operating systems, but there is one operating system that’s officially supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It’s called Raspbian and it’s GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian.

          This week the Raspberry Pi team released a new version with a new Python development tool called Thonny, and some under the hood tweaks to things like the Appearance menu.

          But one of the most interesting updates is the inclusion of VLC as the default media player.

        • How to upgrade the Raspberry Pi in your Kano Computer

          Upgrading the Raspberry Pi in your Kano Computer can sound a little scary, especially for folks out there who have no idea how to do so. There’s no need to worry, since it’s actually quite simple, even if you’re not sure what Raspbian or Debian even is.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Will Get 10-Year Support (Instead of the Usual 5 Years)

            The long-term support (LTS) releases of Ubuntu used to get support for five years. This is changing now. Ubuntu 18.04 will now be supported for ten years. Other LTS releases might also get an extended support.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Extended to 10-Year Support as Shuttleworth Predicts 2019 IPO

            At the latest OpenStack Summit, the founder and CEO of Canonical Inc / Ubuntu mentioned that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support) will be receiving up to 10 years of support. This is of significant news, since most LTS releases receive only 5 years of support – although Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04 also received extended supports. Shuttleworth also mentioned that while 16.04 is technically reaching the end of its lifespan in April 2021, it too will be given extended support.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS support is now extended for up to 10 years
          • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish – Reasonable-ish

            We mentioned consistency, remember? Well, in this regard, Ubuntu MATE is consistent. Lots of tiny visual bugs, average battery life, an occasional crash or three, and network connectivity issues. These were my top complaints with Beaver and they remain so with Cuttlefish. Ubuntu MATE 18.10 is more or less identical to its LTS predecessor. The changes aren’t really big, with some extra hardware problems – the phone side is a big, big disappointment, but you get better overall theming and a more streamlined package manager.

            I would like to see this project succeed, but the energy investment from going hobby to pro is exponential, and it can’t be done easily. But this is exactly what Ubuntu MATE needs. A super-strong QA process, and more focus on getting things tightly integrated. Power management is another issue. In the end, you should stay with the LTS edition of course, but hopefully, the problems we see here will be resolved in the next version. This reminds me of the situation Xfce was in two years ago. Gaining momentum, becoming better, and then … we’ll see.

            Because, speaking of energy, there does seem to be a limited, finite amount of it, and the mojo pendulum seems to have swung away from Xfce to MATE. There are a lot of excellent and unique new ideas in this project, but the glue (gluons in nuclear physics, if you will) isn’t strong enough. Grade, about 7/10. I really want to see everything working like clockwork. Having a modern, majestic Gnome 2 reincarnate would be super fun. Take care, Borgians.

          • Mastering the upgrading of OpenStack

            This past week the OpenStack Summit has been in Berlin with thousands attending the last of its name, given that it will soon be renamed the Open Infrastructure Summit.

            Canonical, as a founding member of the OpenStack community, was of course in attendance, speaking with attendees, hosting talks, presenting demos, and on stage delivering a keynote.

            At this Summit, Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, spoke about a number of topics, from 10 years support for Ubuntu 18.04, to why price performance is critical when operating in a world where AWS, Microsoft and Google are all competing for the CIOs attention, and the Ubuntu AI story from the cloud to the edge with perfectly portable AI.

            One topic, which is perhaps not as buzzworthy or ‘sexy’ as AI but is fundamentally important, is that of upgrading OpenStack.

            Upgrading OpenStack for Canonical, means being able to support every single OpenStack release with upgrades. That means when Stein and Train are released, we will deploy, as part of the test process, Icehouse on 14.04, then deploy workloads on Kubernetes on Icehouse. With that running in the cloud, and without losing a workload, the version is then upgraded up to Mitaka. We then take the running cloud and upgrade to 16.04 under the hood, then upgrade to Queens, then upgrade to 18.04 and on to Rocky, Stein and beyond, as standard.

          • Ubuntu Mir’s EGMDE Desktop Getting Experimental XWayland

            Ubuntu’s little known EGMDE example Mir desktop that is mostly a proving grounds for Mir development is now receiving support for XWayland for being able to run X11 applications within this example environment.

            Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths posted about initial XWayland support for EGMDE but that it is “highly experimental, and can crash the desktop.” This support is available via the “edge” EGMDE Snap.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Delver devs release their tech publicly under open source license

    As an added bonus, it’s always nice when developers open source their tech to share with others.

    The source release doesn’t contain or cover the game data from Delver, and the game data remains subject to original copyright and applicable law.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the source code release is licensed under the GNU General Public License v2.0, meaning the software can continue to be shared, edited, and distributed for free, and can be used for commercial use as well.

  • How open source makes lock-in worse (and better) [Ed: Troll Mac Asay at it again]

    For open source companies desperate to figure out a business model that scales with the adoption of their ostensibly free software, Amazon’s recent troubles getting off Oracle’s database could be instructive. One way to look at Amazon’s struggles is through the lens of “proprietary software creates lock-in,” but this isn’t actually helpful. Why? Because open source creates similar lock-in, and that’s something open source entrepreneurs might want to consider.

  • At Acquia Engage, CTO talks of open source WCM, Red Hat buy

    Dries Buytaert: No, [because] 18 to 19 years ago, mobile didn’t exist. Google was a private company. I remember AT&T launching text messaging a month or so before. Social media didn’t exist. I think less than 10% of the world had internet.

    I started Drupal; it was very much an experimental platform for me, just to have some fun. I was fascinated with the web, and I didn’t have any grand plans. Obviously, that changed over time. I made it open source, [and] it started growing, slowly.

    Drupal started to grow, so I started my plans for Drupal and [followed] my conviction of us being onto something. We made a bet-the-farm bet on cloud [in about 2008], and that turned out to be the right bet, because we pioneered a new business model for open source, delivering [it] in the cloud. And a lot of companies are doing that now — Elastic Path, MongoDB — and I’m very proud of that.

  • Openstack moves one step closer to the edge

    The second Openstack Summit of the year drew to a close in Berlin yesterday, and it will be the last of its name as it rebrands as the Open Infrastructure Summit in 2019, a move that seems largely in line with the evolution of the open source cloud platform as it shifts further into edge and builds out a series of related pilot projects with Openstack as the core proposition.

    Many of the keynotes this time around showed the progress that the community had made in building out the pilot projects announced at the Vancouver Summit earlier this year. One in particular, the first release of StarlingX, might well help cement the open infrastructure platform in edge.

    StarlingX is branded as an open source edge platform, with telecom and IoT use cases in mind. According to the Foundation it “leverages components of Ceph, Openstack and Kubernetes and complements them with new services including configuration and fault management”, in particular to address technology challenges around high availability and ultra-low latency compute.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Mycroft

    Companies are looking to provide better experiences with their customers, which has given rise to the popularity of chatbots. Yet assistants that use voice tend to be only associated with tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google. Mycroft is an open-source voice assistant that is aiming to make voice assistants more attainable for everyone.

    “We believe the future of AI should be open, not a cryptic black box only few understand and have control over. Building this new technology together, collaborating, sharing ideas and building on top of each other – that’s how we see it,” Mycroft’s website states.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity That You Should Use In 2019

        Google is the most popular browser around and supports a vast number of extensions as well. Since there are a lot of Chrome addons available in the Chrome Web Store, picking the best Google Chrome extension can be quite a task.

        Also, it is quite easy to get distracted on the web and lose track of time. Thankfully, several good extensions for productivity are available that can help you focus on your tasks, save time by prioritizing them and skillfully manage your to-do list. So here is a list of excellent Google Chrome extensions for productivity for the year 2019 that will assist you in your work in.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Fights On For Net Neutrality

        Mozilla took the next step today in the fight to defend the web and consumers from the FCC’s attack on an open internet. Together with other petitioners, Mozilla filed our reply brief in our case challenging the FCC’s elimination of critical net neutrality protections that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally.

        The fight for net neutrality, while not a new one, is an important one. We filed this case because we believe that the internet works best when people control for themselves what they see and do online.

        The FCC’s removal of net neutrality rules is not only bad for consumers, it is also unlawful. The protections in place were the product of years of deliberation and careful fact-finding that proved the need to protect consumers, who often have little or no choice of internet provider. The FCC is simply not permitted to arbitrarily change its mind about those protections based on little or no evidence. It is also not permitted to ignore its duty to promote competition and protect the public interest. And yet, the FCC’s dismantling of the net neutrality rules unlawfully removes long standing rules that have ensured the internet provides a voice for everyone.

        Meanwhile, the FCC’s defenses of its actions and the supporting arguments of large cable and telco company ISPs, who have come to the FCC’s aid, are misguided at best. They mischaracterize the internet’s technical structure as well as the FCC’s mandate to advance internet access, and they ignore clear evidence that there is little competition among ISPs. They repeatedly contradict themselves and have even introduced new justifications not outlined in the FCC’s original decision to repeal net neutrality protections.

      • Virtual meeting rooms don’t have to be boring. We challenge you to design better ones!

        Mozilla’s mission is to make the Internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all, including innovators, content creators, and builders on the web. VR is changing the very future of web interaction, so advancing it is crucial to Mozilla’s mission. That was the initial idea behind Hubs by Mozilla, a VR interaction platform launched in April 2018 that lets you meet and talk to your friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in a shared 360-environment using just a browser, on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones.

        Since then, the Mozilla VR team has kept integrating new and exciting features to the Hubs experience: the ability bring videos, images, documents, and even 3D models into Hubs by simply pasting a link. In early October, two more useful features were added: drawing and photo uploads.

      • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support

        Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: “Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh.” Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added “a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach”. See the Mozilla blog for details.

  • CMS

    • WordPress Update 5.0 Introduces The Gutenberg Editor, A Brand New Theme and Much More

      WordPress, an open source platform for managing content which is built up and based around MySQL and PHP. Often used for blogging purposes and publishing content on websites, WordPress happens to be one of the pioneer class in what it does. With that, building up on its current platform, the latest update for is arriving sooner than later. The 5.0 update, dubbed as the biggest update in quite a while.

      While minor updates will be followed and coupled with the main deal, WordPress developers and publishers have been keen to reiterate the two new additions brought towards it, this time around. Firstly they emphasis on the Gutenberg Editor, a new way to edit text rather than the usual classic WordPress Editor that people normally use. The second one happens to be the theme for the updates platform. Dubbed as the Twenty Nineteen theme, this will be the style suite enveloping the WordPress user interface this time around.

      Firstly, Gutenberg. This is not a new feature for those ‘Pro’ WordPress users who may have seen the update as a form of the testing phase in the update version 4.9.8. It allowed for users to try out this new form of the text editing platform. The look of the entire editor window seems ot be revamped and can be seen here below. Apart from that, interacting with it has been changed, the true depth of which would be completely known when the full version is available to the end users and is tested out.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Programming/Development

    • Free Online Java EE Development Course From Red Hat Available Now

      The Red Hat Training team is pleased to announce the release of Fundamentals of Java EE Development. This free training is hosted by our partner edX. edX is an open online course provider that now hosts three Red Hat courses, including Fundamentals of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fundamentals of Containers, Kubernetes, and Red Hat OpenShift.

      Enterprise Java (Java EE is now known as Jakarta EE) is one of the most in-demand and marketable programming platforms. With Fundamentals of Java EE Development, students learn the foundational skills needed to develop modern applications. Serving as an introduction to enterprise Java development using Red Hat Developer Studio and Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, this course builds on students’ Java SE skills to teach the basic concepts behind more advanced topics such as microservices and cloud-native applications.

    • New Rust Course – Building Reuseable Code with Rust

      This course is about the Rust programming language, but it’s not those general introductory course on basic Rust syntax. This course focus on the code reuse aspect of the Rust language. So we won’t be touch every language feature, but we’ll help you understand how a selected set of features will help you achieve code reuse.

      [...]

      snippet is not enough. What comes next naturally is to define a clear interface, or internal API between the modules (in a general sense, not the Rust mod). This is when traits comes in handy. Traits help you define and enforce interfaces. We’ll also discuss the performance impact on static dispatch vs. dynamic dispatch by using generics and trait object.

      Finally we talk about more advanced (i.e. you shouldn’t use it unless necessary) tool like macros, which will help do crazier things by tapping directly into the compiler. You can write function-like macros that can help you reuse code that needs lower level access. You can also create custom derive with macros.

    • What is the MEAN stack? JavaScript web applications

      Most anyone who has developed web applications knows the acronym LAMP, which is used to describe web stacks made with Linux, Apache (web server), MySQL (database server), and PHP, Perl, or Python (programming language).

      Another web-stack acronym has come to prominence in the last few years: MEAN—signifying a stack that uses MongoDB (database server), Express (server-side JavaScript framework), Angular (client-side JavaScript framework), and Node.js (JavaScript runtime).

    • RcppGetconf 0.0.3

      Changes are minor. We avoid an error on a long-dead operating system cherished in one particular corner of the CRAN world. In doing so some files were updated so that dynamically loaded routines are now registered too.

    • The performance impact of zeroing raw memory

      When you create a new variable (in C, C++ and other languages) or allocate a block of memory the value is undefined. That is, whatever bit pattern happened to be in the raw memory location at the time. This is faster than initialising all memory (which languages such as Java do) but it is also unsafe and can lead to bugs, such as use-after-free issues.

      There have been several attempts to change this behaviour and require that compilers would initialize all memory to a known value, usually zero. This is always rejected with a statement like “that would cause a performance degradation fo unknown size” and the issue is dropped. This is not very scientific so let’s see if we could get at least some sort of a measurement for this.

    • GitHub alternative strives to be all open source, only open source

      A new software service for hosting and managing open source projects, Sr.ht, aims to be an entirely open source alternative to existing services like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket, recreating many of their features.

      Created by Drew DeVault and written in a mixture of Python and Go, Sr.ht is now available for public alpha testing by developers. Users can create an account with the hosted version provided by DeVault, or set up the exact same code on cloud or on-prem hardware.

Leftovers

  • Death by PowerPoint: These talks break the mold

    You could even ditch Keynote, PowerPoint, or LibreOffice altogether and use your projector to display other content.

    At Linux.conf.au 2011, Florian Haas presented Roll Your Own Cloud: Enterprise Virtualization with KVM, DRBD, iSCSI and Pacemaker while Tim Serong drew the slides live in front of the audience.

    For a more “pre-prepared” style, Christopher Pitt proved you can present a talk in Minecraft in his Dutch PHP Conference talk, Zombies and Binary. He uses a simple game modification to add images to signs in the game, changing slides by moving his avatar through the game. This talk centers on teaching logic gates by showing the crafting of Minecraft’s redstone circuits.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why Delhi is so polluted

      Delhi does not have the dirtiest air in the world. According to the 2018 ranking of 4,500 cities by the World Health Organisation, that distinction goes to Kanpur, another of the north Indian towns that occupy the top 14 spots on the list. But with 25m people Delhi is far bigger than the others, so its pollution endangers more lives. Dirty air kills some 30,000 Delhi-wallahs a year—and that is a low estimate, some doctors say, if you count for effects as varied as higher rates of lung cancer, diabetes, premature births and, according to recent research, even autism. Delhi’s daily average level of suspended PM2.5—fine dust—is six times what the WHO regards as the maximum safe concentration. In winter it is higher and in the weeks after Diwali, an autumn festival of lights (and firecrackers), it can rise above 50 times the WHO limit. Why is Delhi so polluted?

    • Researcher: Michigan’s PFAS threat went unheeded for five years

      Robert Delaney told a Grand Rapids hearing Tuesday with Sen. Gary Peters that he was “concerned and angry” in 2010 about the class of dangerous chemicals called PFAS. With the knowledge of the threat Michiganians faced, Delaney said he “felt like I was at the edge of an abyss looking into hell.”

      But his 2012 report to former DEQ Director Dan Wyant recommending ways to combat the dangerous effects of PFAS went unheeded for five years, a fact that disturbed the scientist.

    • The Democratic Republic of Congo Has Humanitarian Crises Leaving Millions of Children In Danger

      The violence that engulfed Tche is part of a constellation of conflicts affecting the DRC, a country the size of Western Europe that sits on $24 trillion in natural resources but is, nonetheless, one of the world’s poorest nations. While it has received a fraction of the media attention and aid response it needs, Congo’s many conflicts have led to a humanitarian crisis that rivals any — from Syria to Myanmar — on the planet. And DRC’s youth have borne the brunt of the hardship.

    • Rebel attacks threaten Ebola response in Congo

      Salama said many of the cases are spreading through interactions at private health-care facilities, which do not register with the local government and where basic services like running water and safe needle handling do not exist. There are several hundred such facilities in Beni alone, some of which are located in private residences.

      “The majority of transmissions, we believe, is occurring in private health facilities,” Salama said.

    • DR Congo Ebola outbreak ‘worst’ in country’s history

      A vaccination programme has so far inoculated about 25,000 people.

    • The Risk That Ebola Will Spread to Uganda Is Now ‘Very High’

      That means that the best, perhaps only, way to contain an outbreak like the one currently ravaging the Democratic Republic of Congo is by obsessively tracking infected individuals—monitoring their social circles and their movements, and limiting their exposure to other people for weeks at a time. But containment is proving so difficult in DRC that last week, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggested an alarming possibility. The current Ebola epidemic could be beyond control, he said, and may—for the first time since the deadly virus was first identified in 1976—become persistently entrenched in the population.

    • Former Flint Mayor Walling says state alone made decision to use Flint River

      But while Walling and the City Council publicly supported Flint’s partnership in the Karegnondi Water Authority, neither had the power to reverse the decision to use the river for drinking water.

      Emergency managers appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder were in charge of city business from 2011 until 2015.

    • Gov. Snyder made personal pitch to keep Flint on Detroit water, former mayor says

      Walling — as have state official since — said he did not know emergency managers in Flint would go on to make separate decisions that led to the city using the Flint River as its source of drinking water until the KWA pipeline was put into service.

    • Parents Deliver Ashes of Diabetic Children to Price-Gouging Insulin Manufacturer

      Nicole Holt-Smith arrived at pharmaceutical giant Sanofi’s research facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Friday carrying a powerful testament to the consequences of price gouging essential medicines under a for-profit health system: the ashes of her son, Alec.

      Alec Raeshawn Smith lived with Type 1 diabetes and lost health coverage under his parent’s insurance plan when he turned 26. He died last year after attempting to ration his insulin supply by cutting doses to make it last longer. Along with Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, Sanofi is one the three major insulin manufacturers accused of gouging diabetes patients worldwide who use the blood-sugar regulating hormone as a prescription drug in order to stay healthy.

      “Sanofi’s high prices are killing people like my son Alec,” Smith-Holt said in a statement before the action. “I’m sick of them listening to my story and then doing nothing. I’m not asking them to lower prices anymore, I’m demanding it.”

      Along with parents of two other young people who died rationing insulin, Holt-Smith attempted to deliver Alec’s ashes to Sanofi officials during a protest at the research facility on Friday. The parents were flanked by dozens of local diabetes patients, doctors, nurses and students affiliated with the Right Care Alliance, a grassroots group fighting for a health care system that puts people over profits. The Democratic Socialists of American and Physicians for a National Health Program also organized the action.

      Police blocked protesters from approaching the Sanofi office, but organizers negotiated with them to allow the parents to deliver the ashes of Alec and Antavia Lee-Worsham, who also died while rationing insulin last year. Security guards then turned the parents away at the front door, threatening them with arrest. All of Sanofi’s employees had been sent home for the day, according to Right Care Alliance spokesperson Aaron Toleos.

    • A Look At The Proposed EU IP Exception To Promote Generic, Biosimilar Industry Competitiveness

      The European Commission has proposed an exception to the extended period of patent protection that the European Union provides to original drug manufacturers for certain products, in order to boost the competitiveness of EU generic and biosimilar industries in global markets. The exception will allow EU generic and biosimilar companies to manufacture protected drugs for export during this patent extension period. Stakeholders are so far unhappy with the exception. Meanwhile, studies analyse its potential economic impacts and legal implications, and the Commission remains confident that safeguards it is putting in place will keep the lower-priced medicines from making their way back into the EU.

  • Security

    • 5 Easy Tips for Linux Web Browser Security

      If you use your Linux desktop and never open a web browser, you are a special kind of user. For most of us, however, a web browser has become one of the most-used digital tools on the planet. We work, we play, we get news, we interact, we bank… the number of things we do via a web browser far exceeds what we do in local applications. Because of that, we need to be cognizant of how we work with web browsers, and do so with a nod to security. Why? Because there will always be nefarious sites and people, attempting to steal information. Considering the sensitive nature of the information we send through our web browsers, it should be obvious why security is of utmost importance.

      So, what is a user to do? In this article, I’ll offer a few basic tips, for users of all sorts, to help decrease the chances that your data will end up in the hands of the wrong people. I will be demonstrating on the Firefox web browser, but many of these tips cross the application threshold and can be applied to any flavor of web browser.

    • A leaky database of SMS text messages exposed password resets and two-factor codes

      A security lapse has exposed a massive database containing tens of millions of text messages, including password reset links, two-factor codes, shipping notifications and more.

      The exposed server belongs to Voxox (formerly Telcentris), a San Diego, Calif.-based communications company. The server wasn’t protected with a password, allowing anyone who knew where to look to peek in and snoop on a near-real-time stream of text messages.

      For Sébastien Kaul, a Berlin-based security researcher, it didn’t take long to find.

      Although Kaul found the exposed server on Shodan, a search engine for publicly available devices and databases, it was also attached to to one of Voxox’s own subdomains. Worse, the database — running on Amazon’s Elasticsearch — was configured with a Kibana front-end, making the data within easily readable, browsable and searchable for names, cell numbers and the contents of the text messages themselves.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Google: Android Pie Updates Will Be A Lot Faster With Project Treble
    • Frustrating spammers
    • Popular AMP Plugin for WordPress Patches Critical Flaw – Update Now
    • Why aren’t chip credit cards stopping “card present” fraud in the US?

      Chip cards work by creating a unique code for each transaction, and (ideally) require a customer to enter a PIN to verify that they want to make the purchase. This doesn’t make it impossible to steal information from chip-based cards, but it does make it much harder to reuse a stolen card. By contrast, using a magnetic stripe to swipe a card simply offers all the relevant information to the merchant’s card reader, which is much easier for a bad actor to steal.

      Gemini Advisory now says that 60 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen in the US in the past 12 months, and most of those were chip-based cards.

    • Encryption bill: US academic questions what law is trying to achieve

      American cryptography fellow Riana Pfefferkorn has questioned what end the Federal Government’s encryption bill is trying to achieve, asking whether the ends of keeping crime under control could not be achieved by other means.

    • Encryption bill: ‘systemic weakness’ eludes definition

      The Federal Government is yet to properly define in its encryption bill what a systemic weakness means, and the question came up more than once for discussion during the second hearing on the bill before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Security and Intelligence.

    • Minister in Charge of Japan’s Cybersecurity Says He Has Never Used a Computer

      But one is. Japanese lawmakers were aghast on Wednesday when Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, the minister who heads the government’s cybersecurity office, said during questioning in Parliament that he had no need for the devices, and appeared confused when asked basic technology questions.

    • Former Facebook security chief: ‘I failed to prepare my employer’ on Russian disinformation

      While Stamos took some blame, in a tweet thread he also took at aim at other groups he felt were partially responsible for enabling Russian election interference and credited Facebook for going public with information about misinformation campaigning on its platform when other companies did not.

    • Companies keep losing your data because it doesn’t cost them anything

      Why does this keep happening? Because it’s affordable. In 2014, Home Depot breached more than 50,000,000 credit-cards; in 2016, they paid less than $0.34/customer in restitution.

    • Massive Data Leaks Keep Happening Because Big Companies Can Afford to Lose Your Data

      When criminal [crackers] keep breaking into big company networks to grab consumer data, the reason comes down to dollars and nonsense.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Knife-crime in Britain is rising almost everywhere

      Yet the biggest increases in knife crime have been outside London (see chart). Since 2010-11 it has risen by a tenth there, and by a third in the rest of England and Wales. During the same period, knife crime leapt more sharply than the national average in the patches around Sheffield, Leeds and Liverpool. The number of stabbings began to tick up in North Wales, Norfolk and Essex well before they did in London.

    • Sending the US Army to the Border Creates ‘a War Atmosphere’

      President Donald Trump has deployed 5,600 active-duty US troops to the border with Mexico as part of the mission formerly known as Operation Faithful Patriot. According to leaked documents received by The Nation, the Army will provide Customs and Border Protection officers with anti-riot weapons and protective equipment, further blurring the line between military and civilian law enforcement.

    • The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference

      Historians debate to what extent the Treaty of Versailles was responsible for Hitler’s march to World War II, but there can be little doubt that the treaty ending the “War to End All Wars” continues to be a major factor in our ongoing “War Without End.”

      On November, 11, 1918, Europe laid exhausted and nearly bled dry. Just months before the war ended on that date, fresh, motivated U.S. troops entered the fight and assured an Allied victory. As a result, President Woodrow Wilson played an oversized role in the fateful redrawing of borders across half the globe.

      Wilson was the primary proponent of American Exceptionalism, an idea promoted by the U.S. elite ever since. The myth that somehow America would always advance humanitarian interests attracted many, particularly the dispossessed encouraged by Wilson’s “Fourteen Points.” The president took to his messianic mission in Paris with paternalistic passion but as the record shows, imperialism infected not only European powers, it also drove Wilson. Nonetheless, millions were mesmerized by this outspoken advocate of some vague form of self-determination. He was an empty vessel into which whole nations poured their hopes for a better life.

      True, there was a stated effort at Versailles to rise above the centuries-old tradition of “to the victor goes the spoils” by introducing plebiscites and theoretically grounding decisions more frequently on justice than revenge. However, plebiscites were omitted when troublesome and justice often morphed into “just us.”

    • The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist

      The reporter on TV has just detailed his “chilling” encounter with the killer in a Pittsburgh courtroom. I was present in the courtroom as well, and I have no idea what the hell he is talking about.

      It was the initial court appearance of Robert D. Bowers, the individual who killed 11 and wounded several others at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Bowers, who received 29 federal and 36 state charges, was pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair. With his gray sweatpants, blue sweatshirt, dollar store black plastic slippers and thinning hair, he could be any problem drinker at a local Pittsburgh bar; except that his arms and legs were shackled to his wheelchair. He looked around the courtroom as he entered, but nothing appeared to register for him. It’s not that he wasn’t alert—just that he was possibly a bit of a “dull blade,” if you know what I mean; certainly, he was in over his head. When asked if he would waive his right to bail, he said, simply, “yes.” When asked if he needed a public defender, he said, “yes.” That was about the extent of the hearing, although to hear David Begnaud of CBSN relay the hearing to his TV audience, the killer’s appearance was “chilling,” something out of a horror film or an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

      Perhaps Begnaud wanted to perceive evil in the presence of Bowers, because at least that would go some way towards explaining how such a tragedy might have happened. The reality of the situation is that Bowers didn’t live in a white nationalist compound somewhere in remote Idaho wilderness—he lived in a crappy apartment in the same building as a plumbing and heating company, in a neighborhood lined with modest single-story brick houses. Sitting on the pavement outside his apartment door was a rusted out barbecue smoker with an upturned Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup on the top; an empty bottle of Bud Light was on the ground between the smoker and the front door. The building was near an old coal patch where, according to a neighbor named Terrance Holleran, “there’s been a couple homicides” in the last few years. He didn’t know Bowers; none of his neighbors seemed to. In Holleran’s words, it “is just unfortunate that this asshole chose to live here.”

    • ‘Tell Your Boss’: Recording Is Seen to Link Saudi Crown Prince More Strongly to Khashoggi Killing

      Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated last month, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to “tell your boss,” believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, that the operatives had carried out their mission, according to three people familiar with a recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence.

      The recording, shared last month with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist whose death prompted an international outcry.

      While the prince was not mentioned by name, American intelligence officials believe “your boss” was a reference to Prince Mohammed. Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis dispatched to Istanbul to confront Mr. Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate there, made the phone call and spoke in Arabic, the people said.

    • CIA links Saudi Crown Prince to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder
    • CIA chief ‘seen all proof’ related to Khashoggi murder
    • Australian special forces combat spread of Islamic State in Philippines

      This increased number of foreign fighters in Mindanao is more than double the estimate made by Philippines intelligence in January 2018.

    • Islamic State finds safe haven in the Philippines

      The three neighboring nations share broad maritime borders in what is considered the second busiest shipping trade route in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

      “The FTFs regard Mindanao as the new land of jihad, safe haven and alternative home base,” Banlaoi said. “They join local groups to wage jihad in the Philippines on behalf of the Islamic State.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Clerical error reveals charges against Assange
    • Court filing cites charges against Assange
    • Julian Assange charged in secret, mistake on US court filing suggests
    • Filing indicates indictment prepared for Julian Assange

      A court document filed by mistake has revealed that the Justice Department is preparing to criminally charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    • The USA is ready to prosecute Assange

      The General Prosecutor’s office of the United States is ready to start a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to informed sources, the newspaper the Wall Street Journal. According to information obtained by this newspaper, the likelihood of transfer Assange to American justice increases.

      Ecuador has granted political asylum to Assange in 2012. Then assange took refuge in Ecuador’s Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was persecuted on charges of rape and since then is in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

      The growing optimism of Americans about the prospects of Assange’s extradition based on the fact that his relationship with the Ecuadorian authorities deteriorated after coming to power last year of President Lenin Moreno. The new head has called Assange a “thorn in the side of Ecuador” and has repeatedly stated that his stay in the Embassy cannot last forever.

    • WikiLeaks founder ‘may have been charged in secret’

      The US Department of Justice has inadvertently named Julian Assange in a court document that suggests the WikiLeaks founder may have been charged in secret.

      A court filing from a prosecutor in Virginia in a case unrelated to Mr Assange mentions his name twice.

      The document, which urges a judge to keep the matter sealed, states that the charges “would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition”.

    • WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

      The Justice Department inadvertently named Julian Assange in a court filing in an unrelated case that suggests prosecutors have prepared charges against the WikiLeaks founder under seal.

      Assange’s name appears twice in an August court filing from a federal prosecutor in Virginia, who was attempting to keep sealed a separate case involving a man accused of coercing a minor for sex.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange charged, court documents show
    • Court document suggests US preparing to indict WikiLeaks’ Assange

      Assange’s WikiLeaks website has leaked thousands of secret U.S. documents, and the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the U.S. Justice Department was “increasingly optimistic” about the chances of prosecuting Assange in a U.S. court.

      Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for six years after being granted political asylum by the South American country.

    • Unrelated Case Suggests US Prepared Charges Against WikiLeaks’ Assange
    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could see charges, and 9 more things to know for Friday
    • Need 2 Know: Snowstorm Snarls Commutes, Assange Charged
    • Court document refers to U.S. charge against Julian Assange; source says prosecution planned

      The supposed charge was revealed by a reference to it in an unrelated case against someone named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer.

    • U.S. Prepares Charges Against Wikileaks’ Assange, Document Shows
    • WikiLeaks founder could face criminal charges
    • Julian Assange: U.S. prosecutors accidentally reveal secret charges against WikiLeaks founder

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal in the U.S., prosecutors have appeared to reveal by mistake in a court filing unrelated to his case.

      The accident was first reported on Twitter by Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, and confirmed by The Washington Post.

      The text was discovered in an August 22 filing by assistant U.S. attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, as part of an ongoing case in the Eastern District of Virginia. Dwyer is also probing WikiLeaks.

      Dwyer wrote that “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” The filing added that charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.” Sources confirmed to The Washington Post that the disclosure was accurate but “unintentional.”

      It remains unclear what charges the U.S. is bringing against the WikiLeaks publisher. It was previously reported a Justice Department case into WikiLeaks dated back to at least 2010 for leaks from the government, including diplomatic cables and secret military files. Leaks during the 2016 presidential election are being probed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

    • ‘Error’ Reveals Secret Assange Charges

      Julian Assange has often claimed that the US has secretly filed charges against him—and an apparent error in a court filing for an unrelated case suggests he is right. The document, filed by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of an unrelated sex-crime case, asks for charges against somebody living overseas called Assange to be kept secret, the Guardian reports. It asks for a criminal complaint and arrest warrant “to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” A US Attorney’s office says the “court filing was made in error,” and Assange “was not the intended name for this filing.” Analysts suspect prosecutors copied and pasted parts of the documents from Assange’s case and forgot to change the name.

    • ‘Dangerous Path for Democracy’ and Dire Threat to Press Freedom: Trump DOJ’s Secret Charges Against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Revealed

      The charges, Dwyer continued, “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

      Though it is not yet clear what specific charges have been filed against Assange, press freedom advocates immediately raised alarm at the dangerous prospect of an individual being prosecuted for publishing classified information—something journalists and major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post do all the time.

      “I hope people see how precedent the Trump administration wants to get against WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act can easily be turned around and used on mainstream reporters,” Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, wrote on Twitter. “Hard to overstate how dangerous it would be for press freedom.”

      “If Assange is charged by the U.S. government in relation to the Manning leak and WikiLeaks, the implications for U.S. journalism, and the chilling effect, would be extremely serious,” added Christian Christensen, an American professor of journalism at Stockholm University in Sweden. “Dislike of Assange should not blind people in the U.S. to this fact.”

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange charged in US, court document accidentally reveals

      Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been charged under seal in the US, prosecutors have accidentally revealed.

      American prosecutors obtained a sealed indictment against Mr Assange, whose website published thousands of classified US government documents, a US federal court document showed on Thursday.

      The document, which prosecutors say was filed by mistake, asks a judge to seal documents in a criminal case unrelated to Mr Assange, and carries markings indicating it was originally filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August.

      [...]

      The error first emerged after Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter.

    • US Is Reportedly Preparing To Indict WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange
    • Lawyers for Julian Assange hit back at US ‘charges’

      Jennifer Robinson, Mr Assange’s lawyer in the UK, added: “The US indictment of Assange is a grave violation of press freedoms. The Trump administration is seeking to extend US law worldwide, claiming it is a criminal offence for a publisher in Europe to reveal evidence of US government abuses. How long until China, Russia or Saudi Arabia follow suit, citing the US example?” Alastair Dalton: What Edinburgh’s new 100-seat monster buses say about public transport

    • US has charged Julian Assange: reactions and coverage

      Figliuzzi’s statements reflect the the US government’s intent to prosecute Assange for publishing all along, as his tenure with the FBI long pre-dates alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. The fact that the “entire intelligence community” was working on an Assange prosecution signals the amount of surveillance Assange and other members of WikiLeaks have been under. Ecuador has admitted to having spent 1 million pounds per year, most of it reportedly on the “security” inside the embassy which it has been revealed is tasked with spying on Assange’s activities.

    • If You Want The Government To Hand Over Documents, You Might Want To Retain A Lawyer

      Fifty years after the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, the letter of the law lives on but its spirit has been crushed. While it’s definitely preferable to having no opportunity to demand government agencies hand over requested documents, it’s not the significant improvement it was promised to be.
      As was noted here four years ago, the government has pretty much adopted a presumption of opacity that necessitates the filing of lawsuits. This contradicts the law’s intentions, as well as proclamations made by President Obama, who declared his administration the “most transparent.” This assertion fell flat when government agencies engaged in FOIA business as usual and Obama did nothing to hold them accountable.

    • Press freedom threat seen in prosecuting WikiLeaks’ Assange

      Many Democrats seethed when the radical transparency activist humiliated Hillary Clinton by publishing the content of her campaign chairman’s inbox. Most Republicans haven’t forgiven Assange for his publication of U.S. military and intelligence secrets. Much of the American media establishment holds him in contempt as well.

      But academics, civil rights lawyers and journalism groups worry that an attempt to put Assange behind bars could damage constitutional free speech protections, with repercussions for newsrooms covering national security across the United States.

      “This isn’t about Julian Assange, this is about the First Amendment and press freedom,” said Elizabeth Goitein, who co-directs the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center in New York. “You can’t support First Amendment freedoms and still support the government chipping away at those freedoms of people you don’t like.”

      U.S. officials clearly have been itching to get their hands on the 47-year-old ex-hacker for some time; he has been a thorn in Washington’s side for almost a decade. And Assange’s longtime claim that prosecutors secretly were preparing charges against was vindicated late Thursday when his name accidentally surfaced in an apparently unrelated legal filing.

    • If Assange Is a Villain, What About Zuckerberg?

      Now that we know, apparently thanks to an error by American prosecutors, that Julian Assange has been secretly charged with a crime in the U.S., it’s interesting to revisit an eight-year-old column by Time magazine’s managing editor, Richard Stengel, that compared the WikiLeaks founder to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

      In 2010, Time named Zuckerberg Person of the Year, though its readers had voted for Assange. To explain the magazine’s decision, Stengel draw a parallel between the two men.

      [...]

      Assange, for his part, has gone on publishing leaked documents. There’s evidence that WikiLeaks has solicited hacks to obtain the data, and it probably hasn’t been straightforward about its methods (it claims to only collect information volunteered by whistle-blowers). Nonetheless, the gadfly has remained committed to its original goal of publishing authentic documents.

      According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, both Facebook and WikiLeaks served as conduits for the Russian propaganda effort to influence the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. But while WikiLeaks published genuine, and not particularly incriminating, emails apparently stolen by Russian intelligence from leading Democrats’ computers, Facebook that allowed paid trolls and other propagandists to make that material look sinister. The social-media site facilitated the spread of lies and disseminated posts that called for fake and divisive protest rallies.

    • Prosecutors get indictment against Wikileaks’ Assange
    • WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Faces Criminal Charges, Prosecutors Accidentally Reveal
    • Counterterrorism expert who found Assange court filing: ‘I just thought it was a typo’
    • DOJ Accidentally Reveals Indictments Against WikiLeaks’ Assange

      The Justice Department has inadvertently revealed it has prepared an indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an unusual development, language about the charges against Assange was copied and pasted into an unrelated court filing that was recently unsealed. In the document, Kellen S. Dwyer wrote, “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” The news broke on Thursday night just hours after The Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department was planning to prosecute Assange.

    • Wikileaks’ Julian Assange charged in US, court documents suggest
    • WikiLeak’s Founder Julian Assange Might Be Prosecuted By The US Justice Department, Revealed In an Unrelated Case Filing

      A lot of people think confidential information and state secrets are exclusively leaked in some dingy Deep Web websites, but Wikileaks would beg to differ. Wikileaks is an organization that leaks confidential documents, state secrets and other related information. Many of their revelations have caused waves in both global and local politics. Some of their notable works include documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afganistan War and leaking files related to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Wikileaks also leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, which according to some analysts cost her the Presidential elections.

    • How the Trump Administration Stepped Up Pursuit of WikiLeaks’s Assange

      Soon after he took over as C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo privately told lawmakers about a new target for American spies: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

      Intent on finding out more about Mr. Assange’s dealings with Russian intelligence, the C.I.A. began last year to conduct traditional espionage against the organization, according to American officials. At the same time, federal law enforcement officials were reconsidering Mr. Assange’s designation as a journalist and debating whether to charge him with a crime.

      Mr. Pompeo and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions unleashed an aggressive campaign against Mr. Assange, reversing an Obama-era view of WikiLeaks as a journalistic entity. For more than a year, the nation’s spies and investigators sought to learn about Mr. Assange and his ties to Russia as senior administration officials came to believe he was in league with Moscow.

      Their work culminated in prosecutors secretly filing charges this summer against Mr. Assange, which were inadvertently revealed in an unrelated court filing and confirmed on Friday by a person familiar with the inquiry. Taken together, the C.I.A. spying and the Justice Department’s targeting of Mr. Assange represented a remarkable shift by both the American government and President Trump, who repeatedly lauded WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign for its releases of Democratic emails, stolen by Russian agents, that damaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
      A prosecution of Mr. Assange could pit the interests of the administration against Mr. Trump’s. Mr. Assange could help answer the central question of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III: whether any Trump associates conspired with Russia to interfere in the presidential race. If the case against Mr. Assange includes charges that he acted as an agent of a foreign power, anyone who knowingly cooperated with him could be investigated as a co-conspirator, former senior law-enforcement officials said.

    • Court Filing Suggests Prosecutors Are Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange

      The U.S. government may be preparing criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to suggestions in a document filed in an unrelated case.

      Assange’s name appeared at least twice in papers filed in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, both times appearing to say that Assange has already been made the subject of his own case.

      Prosecutors in Virginia say the court document was an error.

      The filing alludes to the need to keep paperwork in the case under seal because “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

      It’s not clear whether any possible charges against Assange would relate to the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election or earlier materials that were released by WikiLeaks.

      It also isn’t clear whether any charges actually have been filed. The Justice Department said it had no comment about the case.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange faces charges; lawyer says he’d fight
    • Has Robert Mueller Just Revealed His Next Target?

      Exactly what charges Assange is facing remains unclear. In the past, prosecutors have considered conspiracy, violating the Espionage Act, and theft of government property. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department held back on going after Assange amid concerns that doing so was similar to prosecuting a news outlet. (Charging someone for publishing accurate information, Assange’s lawyer Barry Pollack told The Guardian on Thursday, is “a dangerous path for a democracy to take.”) The recently ousted Jeff Sessions, however, took a more Draconian stance on government leaks, and prosecutors were reportedly told over the summer that they could start compiling a complaint. So far, the D.O.J. has not offered further details. “That was not the intended name for this filing,” Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, told The New York Times, explaining that “the court filing was made in error.”

    • Assange Speculation Shows Why Charges Should Be Public

      The word-processing error that unintentionally revealed the Justice Department’s sealed charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is fascinating, not least because analogous mistakes can be found in texts going all the way back to the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh.

      It also raises important legal policy questions: In a free, open society, what justifies the use of secret indictments? Are they a nefarious tool of the deep state, like secret trials? Or are they a valuable mechanism for allowing law enforcement to do its job?

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces charges under seal
    • Free speech for CNN, but not for Assange: The media’s double standard

      Two journalists on the bad side of Donald Trump were vindicated this week. One had his White House credentials restored. Another got proof that Uncle Sam wants him behind bars. Guess which one had all the support from the MSM.
      CNN’s Jim Acosta was kicked out of the White House because the US president didn’t like the way the journalist bombarded him with confrontational questions. Less than a week later, a Trump-appointed judge ordered his access restored, at least for the time being. A big win for the freedom of speech in America.

      WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is in a self-imposed confinement in Ecuador embassy in London because he believes that if he leaves the British will snatch him and ship to the land of the free to be prosecuted as a spy. His situation did not change much this week, except that his suspicions of a secret indictment were collaborated an Assistant US Attorney, in an apparent slip of the pen.

    • What’s Going On With This Julian Assange Indictment?

      Now that the midterms are over, the White House has reportedly shifted its focus to panicking over the Mueller investigation. We know Trump has, at least. The special counsel went quiet in the months leading up to last Tuesday’s elections, and there have been indications that indictments could be coming soon. Former Trump adviser Roger Stone, Stone ally Jerome Corsi and Donald Trump Jr. are among the figures many believe could be charged. Speculation has also surrounded Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, which during the 2016 campaign released thousands of hacked Democratic emails. It’s no longer speculation. On Thursday night, it was revealed that Assange, who has been in the Justice Department’s crosshairs for years, has been indicted. The problem was that no one was supposed to find out about it Thursday night.

      Prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia revealed the indictment by mistake in an unsealed court filing unrelated to Assange. “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged,” wrote U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, who is also assigned to the WikiLeaks’ case. She continued to argue to the judge that the charge needed to remain sealed until “Assange,” whom the filing noted was a public figure who would need to be extradited, was arrested. Assange is currently living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and would indeed need to be extradited to be arrested. Because of how suddenly the filing about an unrelated pedophilia case pivoted to discussing Assange, it appears that the reveal was the result of a copy-paste error.

      The slip-up was first identified by George Washington University’s Seamus Hughes, who posted the relevant portion of the filing on Twitter Thursday night.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Has Been Charged

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged by federal prosecutors. The move suggests the U.S. government is determined to pursue his extradition (Source: Bloomberg)

    • This prosecutor’s cut-and-paste mistake revealed a case against WikiLeaks founder
    • Lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Assange says he would fight charges

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not willingly travel to the United States to face charges filed under seal against him, one of his lawyers said, foreshadowing a possible fight over extradition for a central figure in the U.S. special counsel’s Russia-Trump investigation.

      Assange, who has taken cover in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum, has speculated publicly for years that the Justice Department had brought secret criminal charges against him for revealing highly sensitive government information on his website.

      That hypothesis appeared closer to reality after prosecutors, in an errant court filing in an unrelated case, inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges. The filing, discovered Thursday night, said the charges and arrest warrant “would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”
      A person familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case had not been made public, confirmed that charges had been filed under seal. The exact charges Assange faces and when they might be unsealed remained uncertain Friday.

    • Assange lawyer: US indictment would threaten press freedom

      A lawyer for anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warned on Friday (Nov 16) that an apparent US indictment against him poses a grave threat to press freedom both inside the United States and internationally.

      The possible indictment suggested that Washington will seek Assange’s extradition if he leaves Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he took refuge in 2012 over fears he could be prosecuted for WikiLeaks’s previous revelations of US national security secrets.

      “A criminal investigation into WikiLeaks sets a dangerous precedent for all the media … Everyone ought to be concerned about what this potential indictment means,” lawyer Jennifer Robinson told the Democracy Now news program.

    • WikiLeaks Helped Hackers Rifle Through Stolen Company Emails, Leaked FBI Docs Show
    • Booting Jim Acosta from the White House was bad for press rights. Charging Julian Assange might be worse.
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty

      As my wife Chelsea and I drove through Arizona on our annual pilgrimage from California to Montana, orange smoke billowed along the darkened horizon, signals of hearts shattered and landscapes scorched. Days earlier nineteen hotshot firefighters died together as they battled the intense blazes near the mountain town of Yarnell. It was the most lethal wildfire America had witnessed in 80 years.

      The Yarnell flames were so erratic and intense the team became suddenly trapped, and despite each of the men deploying their individual fire shelters, all fighting the flames that day perished.

      The lone survivor was out fetching a truck for his crew, only to return to the gruesome scene. It was the single deadliest incident for firefighters since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

      [...]

      As humans continue to spew more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the world’s climate will continue to be altered. In fact, as many scientists believe, there may already be no turning back. Warmer winters, hotter summers, drought and burning forests (and the homes built in them) may soon be the new norm for the Western United States. The signs are already all around us. If you don’t believe me just take a little road trip through the Rocky Mountains to see the travesty first hand. Just remember to take your camera, it’s all going fast.

    • Trump’s Department of Interior Prioritizes Extractive Industries, Systematically Disarming Environmental Protections

      Katherine Benedetto, a senior advisor for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under President Trump’s Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, “scheduled roughly twice as many meetings with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups, public records requests have revealed,” according to Jimmy Tobias, writing for the Guardian.“Many of these meetings were followed by official decisions that benefited the private companies or trade groups in question, as in the case of Twin Metals Minnesota, a company that has long sought to build a copper and nickel mine near the famed Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota.”

      At the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, his administration did not renew Twin Metals Minnesota’s lease on land connected to the BWCA, opting instead to review the necessity of mines in that protected area. In December 2017, Twin Metals Minnesota is the mining corporation that proposed the mine, and in December of 2017, they were granted access to part of the area by the Trump administration. This directly contradicts BLM’s mission statement: “The Bureau of Land Management’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”

  • Finance

    • Rich People Pay for Private Firefighters While the Rest of Us Burn

      Trump notably halted American payment into the Green Climate Fund, a UN-organized fund designed to help economically vulnerable countries that have contributed little to climate change abide by the terms of the Paris Accord. Recently, he expressed doubt about the veracity of a United Nations report, which said that global governments would need to fundamentally restructure their economic systems in to mitigate the worse effects of climate change. This month, the EPA removed its once climate change dedicated page entirely, under the instruction of Trump and his administration.

    • Why Future Congresswoman Can’t Afford the Rent

      Like many millennials, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, cannot afford to pay the rent in Washington, D.C.

      But Ocasio-Cortez isn’t your average twenty-something. The New Yorker was just elected to the U.S. Congress, where she will earn an annual salary of $174,000. But that money won’t start coming in until she takes office in Washington this January. In the meantime, Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times she hopes her savings will tide her over for the next three months.

    • Finnish Software Company Basware Explores Sale

      Basware, the Finnish software company backed by hedge fund Arrowgrass Capital Partners, is exploring a sale after receiving a takeover approach, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Why the draft withdrawal agreement may be the only responsible option

      British politics is currently exciting, with resignations and the prospects of leadership challenges. But when the excitement passes, there are certain brute facts about Brexit and the draft withdrawal agreement which will still be there.

      First, there will still be the mandate of the referendum result. One may contest that there was a real mandate and point to the irregularities and the unlawful behaviour of certain campaigners. That, however, does not change the political reality that the government, the opposition and the majority of MPs are committed to fulfilling that mandate.

      Second, the UK is set to leave the EU by automatic operation of law on 29 March 2019. On the same day, the European Communities Act 1972 is also set to be repealed by automatic operation of law. Both of these legal facts can be averted, of course, by formal action in the 130 or so days left. But until and unless that happens, they are the defaults.

      Third, the UK is unprepared for a “No Deal” Brexit, and there is no serious prospect that the UK can become prepared properly in the time available before 29 March 2019. This is true, regardless of those who in abstract terms seem to be at ease with the prospect. The reality would be chaos in respect of customs and citizenship, supply chains of food and other necessities, atomic energy and medicine, and so on. No Brexit is not serious politics.

      [...]

      If MPs do vote against, and the EU does not renegotiate then, other things being equal, the best the UK can hope for are a series of emergency bilateral agreements before March on discrete cross-border issues to mitigate against the worst of the impact of No Deal. That would be unseemly, and there is no guarantee the agreements would work, but that would be to what a responsible, desperate government would have to resort.

      Whatever happens in the next few hours, days and weeks, the EU’s offer is likely to still be there. Of course, if there is a development which means the UK seeks an extension of the Article 50 period, or even revokes the notification, then the ultimatum of this text or No Deal becomes far less urgent. But if that does not happen, the UK will have no real option to accept, however embarrassing it will be for the MPs who attacked the deal yesterday. In this way, Brexit will become like Grexit.

    • Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute

      On November 7, Andrew Cuomo was re-elected as New York’s Governor. One week later, the people of Long Island City, Queens learned that they had been sold into civic vassalage to the world’s richest man. There’s no word yet on whether Jeff Bezos will have the first right of visitation to the gubernatorial bedchamber on Cuomo’s inauguration night, but the ritual of servitude is otherwise complete.

      The timing isn’t accidental. The people of New York, especially those in Queens who will be most affected, know that this is a lousy deal for them. Cuomo could not have run for re-election as a Resistance Progressive™️if voters had known about this deal before they voted.

      Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has effectively crushed his own attempts to be seen as a national leader of the left.

    • The STOP Walmart Act Is Rewriting the Rules of Stock Buybacks

      Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced the STOP Walmart Act, which prohibits large companies from engaging in stock buybacks unless they make serious investments in their workers. While the act takes aim at Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, it highlights the theme of my work: that excessive giveaways to shareholders across the vast majority of large corporations are a major part of why workers’ wages remain stagnant.

      The STOP Walmart Act stipulates that companies with over 500 workers cannot conduct stock buybacks unless their employees—importantly, including part-time workers, independent contractors, and franchisees—make a starting wage of $15 per hour. It also stipulates that employees must earn up to seven days of paid sick leave, and that CEO compensation does not rise above 150 times the median pay of all employees.

      This proposal matters because, in many parts of the country, Walmart still pays its employees a starting wage of $11 dollars per hour—a wage that company executives think is fair. Never mind that the Walmart family is the wealthiest family in the country, and that the six heirs of the Walton empire own more wealth than 40 percent of Americans. They also comprise the majority of the company’s shareholders, sit on the board of directors, and, in part, decide how much Walmart spends on its stock buybacks program.

      The STOP Walmart Act joins other important pieces of legislation—including the Reward Work Act, introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and the Worker Dividend Act, introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)—that aim to curb the runaway use of stock buybacks that has occurred since passage of Trump’s corporate tax cuts. Stock buybacks occur when corporations purchase their own company’s shares on the open market, automatically boosting the value of the stocks that shareholders still hold, as each share is now worth a larger slice of the corporate pie.

      While they may sound harmless, stock buybacks have been driven by relentless pressure from wealthy shareholders to move more and more corporate profits up and out of the firm for themselves. This extractive behavior is exacerbated by the fact that corporate executives are largely compensated in stock themselves. What has this “shareholder primacy” approach to running large corporations meant for workers? Shareholder primacy has, among other things, resulted in workers being understood by corporate executives as a cost to be cut, rather than being considered as an essential part of the value-creation process and as stakeholders who should be able to bargain for a living wage that is commensurate with the value they create. One important example of how this has played out in practice is the choices that Walmart’s executives have made over the last 10 years. Walmart’s starting wage is $11 dollars an hour, or $19,448 a year for a full-time worker.

    • California Already Has a Housing Crisis. The Fires Just Made It Worse.

      California is on fire. Again. The state’s 2018 wildfire season has been devastating, and it’s not over yet. The dramatic Woolsey and Hill fires scorching the hills around Los Angeles are still being brought under control, and first responders are battling the Camp Fire in Butte County, which has killed at least 56 people and torn through 140,000 acres and more than 10,000 structures.

      Recovery from wildfires can take years, and for affected communities, one aspect is especially pressing: Housing. California’s housing prices are infamously high, and in Butte County, this problem is particularly bad. With 19.5 percent of the county living below the poverty line, explains Ed Mayer, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the County of Butte, many households are heavily rent-burdened.

      Five of his 36 staffers from around Butte County lost their homes in the blaze and many others are housing friends and family left houseless by the fire. The Camp Fire was most devastating in Paradise, where 95 percent of the city’s residential and commercial buildings are gone, says Mayer. The county as a whole lost a staggering 10 percent of its housing stock in the Camp Fire.

    • How HUD’s Inspection System Fails Low-Income Tenants Nationwide

      The inspection system has created a culture of “score chasing” that allows landlords to make exterior repairs and cosmetic fixes, and avoid tackling the most serious health and safety problems facing tenants inside their units. In some cases, attempts to game scores have resulted in legal action. Two former housing authority directors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were sentenced to probation this year after pleading guilty to their role in cheating on HUD inspections by sending workers into units ahead of inspectors to patch up problems. In 2015, a former Chelsea, Massachusetts, public housing executive and a former public housing inspector were convicted for taking part in an inspection rigging scheme. Each was sentenced to short prison terms.

    • “Pretty Much a Failure”: HUD Inspections Pass Dangerous Apartments Filled With Rats, Roaches and Toxic Mold

      Apartment complexes subsidized by HUD collectively house more than 2 million low-income families around the country. Some are run by public housing authorities and others are owned by private for-profit or nonprofit landlords. By law, the owners of such complexes must pass inspections demonstrating they are decent, safe and sanitary in exchange for millions of dollars in federal money each year.

      But as thousands of renters across the country have discovered, passing scores on HUD inspections often don’t match the reality of renters’ living conditions. The two-decade-old inspection system — the federal housing agency’s primary oversight tool — is failing low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities and undermining the agency’s oversight of billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded rental subsidies, an investigation by The Southern Illinoisan and ProPublica has found.

      HUD has given passing inspection grades for years to dangerous buildings filled with rats and roaches, toxic mold and peeling lead-based paint, which can cause lifelong learning delays when ingested by young children. The same goes for buildings where people with disabilities have been stranded in high-rise apartments without working elevators, or where raw sewage backs up into bathtubs and utility drains. The agency has passed buildings where ceilings are caving in and the heat won’t kick on in frigid winter months as old boiler systems give out.

      The failure of HUD’s inspection system has been on display in the southern Illinois towns of Cairo and East St. Louis, which have had their public housing taken over by HUD. In both towns, complexes received passing scores as decades-old buildings deteriorated.

    • Canadian Politician Hangs Out With Racists; Issues Legal Threats To People Calling Him A Racist

      A Canadian politician is getting upset — litigiously upset — that people are characterizing him by the company he keeps. Parliament member Kerry Diotte’s legal rep (Arthur Hamilton of Cassel Brock Lawyers) has sent takedown demands to a handful of Twitter users for calling him a racist.

      Bashir Mohamed was one such user. His tweet called Diotte a racist for “openly associating” with “white supremacists like Faith Goldy.” Goldy was, until recently, a correspondent for the Breitbart-esque Rebel Media. Rebel Media is run by another pal of Diotte’s, Ezra Levant, who has shown support for white nationalist groups like the one that headed up the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that ended with a car being driven into the crowd by someone with white nationalist views.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why the Perfect Red-State Democrat Lost

      Taylor Sappington heard the call like so many other Democrats in the year after Nov. 8, 2016. He had seen Donald Trump coming, homing in on his little town of Nelsonville, Ohio, in the state’s impoverished Appalachian southeast. The town of 5,300 people had voted for Barack Obama twice by large margins.

      Trump was Nelsonville’s pick in 2016, though it was more by default than acclamation. Trump won there with less than a majority, with 30 percent fewer votes than Obama had gotten four years earlier.

      Sappington, a 27-year-old Ohio native, took this as evidence that Nelsonville was not beyond redemption, that the town where he had grown up in hard circumstances — the son of a single mother who was for a time on food stamps, living deep in the woods in a manufactured home — wasn’t really Trump country.

      Not so long ago at all, Ohio was considered the quintessential swing state — it had, after all, voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election starting with 1964. Something happened this decade, though. The 2010 national “shellacking” of Democrats left a particularly strong mark in Ohio. The Republicans who assumed control of Columbus pulled off an aggressive gerrymandering of federal and state legislative districts. In 2012, when Obama won the state for the second time, Republicans held 12 of the state’s 16 congressional seats despite winning only 52 percent of the total House vote.

    • Twitter: Fast Track to the Id

      Actually, it is difficult to forget the internet, especially because cyberspace has become our default reality. Polls show that the Millennials and Gen Z are not “besotted with television” but rather with their Smartphones.

      I will not forget the internet but first let us consider what Mr. Stephens believes has led us to the presidency of Donald Trump.

      I realize that the phrase “moral relativism” frightens an ostensibly Christian country. Actually, we do not fear relativism in regard to morality but rather in regard to economics. I mean that we cannot believe the market only rules relative to what Federal rules might be. Response to need cannot be relative to what government decides to do but rather only to the play of the market. Individual success must always be seen as relative to individual choice and competition and not to gifts you are born with or inherit or when and where you are born. We also cannot believe that profit to shareholders should be relative to the power of labor unions to bargain for wages.

      You might say that our morality is relative to our economic status, or where we are positioned in the wealth divide.

      Those living on their dividends have leisure to sponsor universal and moral absolutes, rather like the way plantation owners had more time for mint juleps than did the field hands. Those living on wages, which rise or not according to the noblesse oblige of capital, are in a good position to see that inequities exist but do not show up on the moral calculation chart.

      They are in the position to observe that in spite of always working and working hard, times do not get better, that in fact how good or how bad your life is does not merit a moral review by market rule which never looks beyond your own personal responsibility. Americans like everything personal and private, especially a moral sense, but that is hard to do when the society in which you are embedded has already embedded within you the market’s notion of moral behavior– individual choice, the assumption of individual responsibility, and the glories of not fraternitè but competition.

      What conditions and forces that economically and then politically corrupt your life because they are themselves corrupt must never be up for a moral review, especially by the Losers. Instead, the Losers much at every stage of their descent into immiseration conduct a moral review of themselves. Therapy will lead them to a discovery as to why hard work and ambition has led them to a precariat place loaded with dysphoria.

    • The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?

      Tony Maxwell, a retired African-American naval officer, was trying to get his Jacksonville, Florida neighbor to go vote with him. The young neighbor, a high-school-dropout, had no interest.

      “Voting,” the young man declared, “doesn’t change anything.”

      Can Democrats use their newly won House majority to reach that dispirited young man in Jacksonville? That all depends on their eagerness to think big and bold — and to challenge the concentrated wealth and power that keeps things from changing.

      Of course, big and bold new legislation will be next to impossible to enact with a Republican Senate and White House. But just pushing for this legislation — holding hearings, encouraging rallies, taking floor votes — could move us in a positive direction and send the message that meaningful change can happen.

      This sort of aggressive and progressive pushing would, to be sure, represent a major break with the Democratic Party’s recent past. The reforms Democrats in Congress have championed have often been overly complicated and cautious — and deeply compromised by a fear of annoying deep-pocketed donors.

      That fear may be easing. A number of leading Democrats with eyes on 2020 — and the party’s growing progressive base — have advanced proposals that could spark real change in who owns and runs America.

    • Trump’s crazy, crafty strategy: Discredit everybody until nobody believes anything anymore

      If there’s one thing you might have thought Donald Trump has learned in the past two years it’s that it was a huge mistake to go on TV with Lester Holt and admit that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he decided to fire FBI Director James Comey. Recall that Trump was just rambling, in his stream-of-consciousness mode, when he just blurted it out without prompting. That revealing statement was not only what precipitated the appointment of Robert Mueller, it was also one of the most compelling pieces of evidence that Trump was trying to obstruct justice when he fired Comey — an apparent confession of intent. Trump has said and done hundreds of stupid things during his tenure, but that one really stands out as the blunder of all blunders.

      Oops, he did it again. This week, in the midst of what observers everywhere are characterizing as a meltdown, Trump gave an interview to the Daily Caller in which he was asked if he had come up with any names for the permanent attorney general appointment, and whether Chris Christie had come up. Trump replied that his acting AG, Matt Whitaker, is highly respected in the Department of Justice and that he got a “very good decision” affirming that Whitaker’s appointment was legal.

    • 13,000 Immigrant Children Held In Detention Centers as Trump Moves to Dismantle Flores Agreement

      As reported by Michelle Chen for The Nation and by Telesur, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement has detained more than 13,000 immigrant children. This is “almost five times greater than the nearly 3,000 previously reported by the Donald Trump administration,” according to Telesur. Children from a variety of these shelters have described conditions including “extreme security monitoring, a total lack of privacy, isolation from family and threats from administrators to delay their release for the slightest infraction,” Chen reported. Detained children must also follow extreme rules to avoid punishment. They are barred from any contact with the other children, even if they are related. They are also often deprived of sleep by frequent checks made by guards with flashlights throughout the night. They are poorly fed. Any misstep by the detainees can be invoked as a reason to delay their release.

    • Dear White Women, There May be Hope for You After All

      The Democratic “blue wave” may not have made as big of a splash as some would have hoped. But momentum was felt, nonetheless, as a record number of women were elected to seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

      As the #MeToo movement continues to expand its base of women and men working to extinguish a culture of gender and sexual violence in the United States, women in particular are bringing the movement to the legislative branch of government. And there is no one more thrilled about this than me, a black woman, who had just about lost faith in many white women voters.

      I mean, seriously.

      In 2016, 53 percent of white women voted for the presidential candidate who bragged about grabbing women by their genitalia. In 2017, 63 percent of white women in Alabama voted for alleged pedophile Roy Moore in the state’s senate race. And this year, 59 percent of white women in Texas voted for Senator Ted Cruz, helping him defeat Beto O’Rourke, a proponent of women’s health.

      Let’s not forget about the white women who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, after allegations that he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — ahem, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

    • Ari Berman on the State of Voting 2018, Jackie Prange on Keystone XL Re-Review

      This week on CounterSpin: Elections highlight corporate news media’s partisan prism—the insistence on reading things preeminently in terms of what they mean for the “fortunes” of one major party or the other, and calling a good story one that lets them trade claims. But as one of the key times people visibly engage with power, there’s hardly a time more important than elections for media to stop splitting the difference and frankly describe the impact of elections—not just the outcomes, but the processes—on people and their ability to have a say in their circumstances. We’ll talk about what the 2018 midterms told us about voting in this country with Ari Berman, a senior reporter at Mother Jones and author most recently of Give Us The Ballot: The Modern Struggle For Voting Rights in America, out now in paperback.

    • House Republicans, Terrible Before the Midterms, Are Now Much Worse

      great many people are eagerly anticipating the opening of the next Congress, waiting with bated breath to see what the new House sheriffs in town intend to do with their newly minted powers. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, to name but one of the serious new players, has spent the last two years looking like he wants to paint his face blue and charge the White House gates in a kilt. Reps. Maxine Waters, Emmanuel Lewis and the others, from the sound of it, are likewise champing at the bit.

      For my money, however, the real show in the House is going to be on the right side of the aisle. The Republican minority, defeated and pruned like it was 1974, is set to empower a radical faction of an already disorganized party which will commence in short order to make messes so vast and deep that all prior messes will seem quaint by comparison.

      With the departure of Speaker Paul Ryan now imminent, House Republicans elected Kevin McCarthy of California as their new leader by a vote of 159 to 43. His opponent for the position, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, is a leader of the Freedom Caucus, a genuinely dangerous collection of wreckers who will have a loud voice in the House. The Freedom Caucus played a central role in ending John Boehner’s political career because they thought he was too liberal, and later made Ryan’s life miserable enough to quit for pretty much the same reason. McCarthy would be foolish to miss the inherent lesson: Cross the Freedom Caucus at your peril. If he forgets, Jordan will surely take pains to remind him.

    • Color of Change: Facebook Retaliated Against Protests by Pushing Anti-Semitic, Anti-Black Narratives

      A New York Times investigation has revealed that Facebook fought critics and a growing number of scandals following the 2016 election by launching a PR offensive backed by a dubious Republican opposition-research firm: Definers Public Affairs. We speak with Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, one of the organizations targeted by Definers Public Affairs. We also speak with Siva Vaidhyanathan, the author of “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.” He is a professor of media studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. Vaidhyanathan’s new article for Slate is titled “Facebook Is a Normal Sleazy Company Now.”

    • Who’s Running Now? These Are the Latest 2020 Democratic Rumors

      We haven’t even finished counting all of the votes in the 2018 midterms — Florida, Georgia and a number of smaller races remain undecided – but pundits have already moved on, jockeying to give their hot takes on the power rankings for 2020 Democratic presidential nominees.

      Of course, there isn’t a lot of news yet. And that’s why the vacuum is being filled with maybes and what-ifs, mostly from Democratic retreads – many of whom have shown no inclination of running at all.

      It wouldn’t be a 2020 roundup without the inevitable “Is Hillary running again?” question — and the answer is no, she is not, as she has said repeatedly.

    • The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats

      The Republican Party lost ground in the Congressional and state elections earlier this month, but they continue to triumph in the all-important contests over words.

      Republicans have been winning the “war over words” for years. First, the hard core political right wingers symbolically claimed the Bible and the American flag, turning them upside down. To them the Bible meant anything but the Golden Rule and compassion for the “poor,” so frequently noted in the Scriptures. They brandished the flag as a patriotic symbol to gag dissent, as a bandanna for waging war crimes, and as a fig leaf to hide the shame of their cruel domestic policies in the U.S.

      During the late Forties, few Americans chose to call themselves “conservatives.” “Liberals” were ascendant, coming out of the FDR years. Under incessant associational attack on the word “liberal,” few politicians now brandish their beliefs as “liberals,” while many tout some of their views as “conservative.”

    • Brothers Whom Authorities Linked to Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Had Flyer Supporting Neo-Nazi Group, Officials Say

      When federal agents searched the Washington, D.C., house of two brothers they had linked to the suspected Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, they found a troubling scene.

      There were hollow-point bullets, “ballistic vests and helmets,” a “marijuana grow” operation and a Nazi flag. A noose dangled from a bunk bed, a small toy hung by its neck, and a flyer was found promoting the neo-Nazi organization known as Atomwaffen Division.

    • Whither the Melting Pot?

      It is practically axiomatic: Donald Trump makes everything worse.

      Is it all part of a plan? There is no easy answer to that question because, more likely than not, Trump has only attitudes and instincts, not strategies. But let’s give him more credit than he deserves and stipulate, as lawyers might say, that his machinations are calculated — even if to no purpose beyond his own glorification and enrichment.

      Then the method behind them would be the same both for his passion, campaigning, and for governing, an activity about which it seems that he could care less. It is to count on the acquiescence of the majority, while enthusing the cult-like followers in his base and flimflamming as many others as he can.

      His is a politics of division that consists essentially in appealing to what Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president, called “the darker angels of our nature.”

      This is why, if there will be life as we know it after Trump, de-Trumpification will be Job Number One.

    • Blockchain Voting: Solves None Of The Actual Problems Of Online Voting; Leverages None Of The Benefits Of Blockchain

      Just recently we wrote about why blockchain-based DRM was a terrible idea, and it could be summed up by the simple fact that a blockchain solves none of the “problems” of DRM today, and leverages none of the actual benefits of a blockchain. And… now I feel like writing basically the same exact post around blockchain voting. Like blockchain DRM, blockchain voting is one of those ideas that gets tossed around a lot. For decades, lots of people who actually understand computer security have explained why online voting is a horrifically bad idea in that it involves effectively unsolvable problems. It’s not that it’s a “hard” problem, it means that online voting is effectively impossible without massive changes to almost everything we do in ways that we can’t really comprehend right now. There are some serious researchers who are thinking about this, but to date, there is nothing even remotely close to to being acceptable, and there may never be.

      And yet, the “simplest” way that some people understand the risks of online voting is basically “it would be bad if someone could change your vote and no one would know.” That’s an easy to understand point to make, but the problems with online voting go way, way beyond that. Do a simple Google search on why online voting is a terrible idea and you’ll get dozens of on-point results, but if you want a nice, simple explanation of just the first pass of potential risks with online voting, check out this video from a couple years ago by Princeton professor Andrew Appel, who has been studying voting security for many, many years:

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Asia Bibi and the legacy of partition

      Much of this, of course, is an imperial legacy. Throughout the 19th and 20th century, British authorities maintained their haphazard control over India through a strategy of divide and rule, codifying and reinforcing India’s traditional caste system, and partitioning Indians into categories of caste, religion and language. Or as Rudyard Kipling put it in The Education of Otis Yeere, ‘Strict supervision and play them off one against the other. That is the secret of our government.’ The imperial authorities created, therefore, the divisions and mutual suspicions that the leaders of the Indian National Congress ultimately failed to overcome.

    • The Obama administration blocked or banned Fox News reporters from White House press conferences.

      President Obama attempted to delegitimize Fox News by calling their oppositional stance “destructive” for the country, took questions from Fox News correspondents less frequently than he did from those of other major networks in press briefings, and his administration expressed a willingness to exclude Fox reporters from interviews with top officials.

    • Professor sues over rebuke for calling female transgender student ‘sir’

      Meriwether, who has worked at the university since 1996, argued he didn’t discriminate and that he treated the student like “other biologically male students.” He unsuccessfully challenged his reprimand in a grievance process.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Tracking and snooping on a million kids

      With a couple of watches paired to different testing phones, I had a play with various authorisation and Insecure Direct Object Reference, IDOR, attacks.

      The only check the API appears to perform is matching the UID with the session_token, so simply changing the family_id in the get_watch_data_latest action, shown ibelow, allows an attacker to return the watch location and device_id associated with that family.

    • What Constant Surveillance Does to Your Brain

      As technology and machine learning continue to advance, we’re integrating surveillance into our daily lives at an increasing rate, and the level of surveillance is becoming more sophisticated. It’s easy to overlook all the ways we’re being tracked, but as soon as you start to quantify it, it quickly becomes unsettling. And it may make you wonder: what effect does being watched all the time have on your behavior—and your brain? Turns out, it can be just as mentally taxing as mental disorders like depression, and can even cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police Officer Responding to Shooting Near Chicago Kills Security Guard, Authorities Say

      A black security guard at a bar in the Chicago suburbs was killed by the police as he apparently tried to detain a man he believed to be involved in a shooting, the authorities said Monday.

    • Police Fatally Shoot Black Security Guard Who Detained Suspected Shooter

      Witnesses say Roberson was wearing his uniform, including a hat emblazoned with the word “security” and was holding a firearm he was licensed to carry.

      Midlothian police confirmed that two officers responded to the scene at bar on Sunday and that one of them opened fire.

    • Get Out of Jail for a Price: The First Investigation From Our Illinois Reporting Project
    • Outside Review Faults Orlando Fire Department Policies and Mistakes in Pulse Shooting Response

      An independent review of the Orlando Fire Department’s response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting has concluded that the agency was not prepared for the disaster and did not know how to use the ballistic vests it had previously purchased.

      The report by the National Police Foundation, released Wednesday, largely corroborates a September investigation by WMFE and ProPublica that found that the Orlando Fire Department failed to prepare adequately for a mass shooting, despite calls from some supervisors to do so. Forty-nine people died and more than 50 were injured during the shooting. The foundation is a nonpartisan police research organization.

      [...]

      Frank Straub, the lead author of the report, said the Orlando Fire Department saved a lot of lives during and after the Pulse shooting. But the event provides a cautionary tale of stagnant policies at a time of increasing threats, he added.

      Several of the Fire Department’s policies were written in 2001 and hadn’t been updated since.

      “The threat is constantly evolving and changing,” Straub said. “Our method of responding has to constantly evolve and change. That was an issue in Orlando.”

      In a press release issued Wednesday, the city of Orlando said it has updated its active shooter policies since the Pulse nightclub shooting and now has bulletproof vests for all first responders. The city paid for the foundation to review its response.

    • A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism

      According to the FBI, 1,679 religious hate crimes were reported last year. 58.1% were anti-Jewish and 18.6% were anti-Muslim. I don’t like to turn to the FBI for statistics, but I don’t know where else to turn for evidence of crimes of this sort. The statistics might dampen my “holiday spirit” this time of year when I have often celebrated Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza and Tết, the Vietnamese New Year, which I enjoyed in Hanoi for the first time twenty-years ago. I feel like I belong to the world and to all its religions, though I know that religions have brought violence and calamity, and though I was born into a secular Jewish family and grew up when Jews were excluded from country clubs and fraternities.

      When I was eleven-years-old, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, two American-born Jews, were sent to the electric chair after they were found guilty of stealing the secret of the atomic bomb and then handing it to the Soviets. That event seared my childhood more than any other; my parents were also Jewish and had belonged to the American Communist Party from 1938 to 1948.

      The American Nazi Party was alive and well when I was a boy. Members of the organization wore swastikas and paraded in largely Jewish neighborhoods. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they had a right to do so under the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Jew Boy” was a term of derision and so was “New York Jew,” which might be taken to mean a Wall Street banker or a Communist agitator. Now, New York Jew it might mean the former mayor of the city, Michael Bloomberg, the eleventh richest person in the world, or the orthodox Jews who are anti-Zionist.

    • Sen. Hyde-Smith’s Public Hanging Quip Is an Affront to Black Americans Who Were Lynched

      Dismissing comments about public hangings as a joke is not okay, especially in Mississippi, a state that lynched more Black people than any other.
      When Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is in a run-off election with Democrat Mike Espy for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, attempted to show her loyalty to one of her supporters during a recent campaign stop, she quipped: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

      The comment would be wildly inappropriate anywhere, but in Mississippi, which has the distinction of being the state that lynched more African-Americans than any other, it is particularly repugnant.

      Rather than apologizing for the offensive remark, Hyde-Smith issued a statement the following day saying: “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”

      Reducing the history of lynching designed to inflict terror on Black communities to a joke, or “an exaggerated expression of regard,” serves as a reminder of the continuing failure to address and acknowledge the country’s past and the continuing need to face the many ways in which Black people remain subject to racially based violence.

      Recently, a group of current and former staff members of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, on a kind of pilgrimage to visit the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and it’s Legacy Museum, which traces the path from enslavement to mass incarceration. Although each of us is well-versed in the nation’s shameful history of racial discrimination and violence and has worked to combat the persistent vestiges of that history, there is little that could have prepared us for the emotional impact of the two EJI sites.

    • What the Latest Bipartisan Prison Reform Gets Wrong and Why It Matters

      specter is haunting the United States — the specter of “bipartisan prison reform.” Although the last effort at bipartisan prison reform stalled out in 2014-15, the US now seems poised to pass the “First Step Act,” after Donald Trump signaled his support for the measure in a statement at the White House on Wednesday.

      Passage of the bill would be a major victory for Trump. A number of liberal and progressive commentators have gone all in on the legislation, which has been heavily shaped by Jared Kushner and Koch Industries attorney Mark Holden. CNN commentator and Cut50 cofounder Van Jones praised Trump. “Give the man his due,” Jones tweeted, saying the president is “on his way to becoming the uniter-in-Chief on an issue that has divided America for generations.”

      Yet, regardless of who is “uniting” around its passage, the bill itself is both weak and dangerous. While it offers a few token reforms — some of them, like the end of shackling for pregnant and post-partum women in federal custody, necessary and long overdue — it leaves many of the most pressing issues off the table. It barely makes a dent in terms of reducing the length of prison sentences or reducing the number of people in prison. Meanwhile, it heightens the use of racist and classist assessment mechanisms and expands the net of surveillance.

      The proposed bill includes a few minor reductions in sentence length for federal prisoners, by expanding potential access to good time credits and lowering the age of consideration for compassionate release However, it will not make any sentence reductions retroactive (except for the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which minimized — but did not erase — the disparity between crack and cocaine sentences). This means that people who are currently serving, for example, life sentences for drug offenses will not get any relief from this bill. A press release from the National Fraternal Order of Police, which endorsed the First Step Act, indicates that the organization “engaged” with lawmakers to ensure that most sentencing changes would not be applied retroactively. Despite Trump taking a deserved pot shot at Bill Clinton’s support for punitive crime policy of the 1990s, the bill would leave intact the lengthy sentences and limited legal access that Clinton enacted in a trifecta of laws (the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Reform Act, the Prison Litigation Reform Act).

    • Dream Defenders Claim Victories against Privatized Prison Industry

      In August 2018, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! reported that communities and human rights groups had organized a national day of protest against the for-profit prison company GEO Group after it threatened to sue the human rights group Dream Defenders for planning a national day of action to protest the private prison company. As Democracy Now! reported, GEO Group is Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s single biggest contractor, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to run private immigrant prisons. In an interview, Rachel Gilmer, the co-director of Dream Defenders explained, “We’ve organized a national day of action where we’re targeting GEO prisons, we’re targeting GEO detention facilities, and we’re targeting elected officials’ offices who are actually making money from the very people who profit off of these systems, and then going on and making policies that lead to building more prisons, that lead to tough-on-immigration crimes.”

    • Appeals Court: No Immunity For Shooting A Man Who Had His Hands Up And Twice Said He Surrendered

      By the time some qualified immunity cases hit the appellate level, there’s an air of “why are we even discussing this” about them. But if there’s even a 1% chance the next level of review might overturn a lower court ruling, the cases will addressed, no matter how obvious their conclusions.

      This is one of those cases. In this one, it’s a police officer needing to hear one more time that the shit they pulled just isn’t legal. It started with a parking ticket and ended with the ticketee being shot by a police officer. In between, there was a misunderstanding and an altercation. And, after this review, the odds are even lower that the officer is going to be able to talk a judge or jury into excusing his actions. Here’s the backstory:

      Craig Strand, a truck driver, needed to take a mandatory drug screening. Since he was unable to fit his truck in the testing facility’s parking lot, he obtained permission to park it at a nearby Planned Parenthood office. Officer Curtis Minchuk, who was providing security for Planned Parenthood while in uniform and with the blessing of his department, saw Strand’s truck and left two parking tickets on its windshield.

      Strand returned to his truck and saw the tickets. He returned to the Planned Parenthood office to inquire about them and was directed to meet Officer Minchuk in the parking lot. Strand explained he had received permission to park there. This is where things went downhill for Strand, his rights, and his as-of-yet unwounded body.

    • Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels

      We went to a very moving commemoration in London this week marking the 80th anniversary of Krystallnacht– when thousands of German Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The opening salvo, as it were, of the Holocaust. But what I found most appalling–because of its relevance to today’s headlines –was not the description of those horrific events, but the motivation of a top Nazi official responsible for carrying out Hitler’s genocidal commands.

      One of the speakers at the commemoration was Anita Lasker-Walfisch, whose prodigious musical talent as a a cello player in the Woman’s Orchestra at Auschwitz saved her from the Nazi gas chambers. The other speaker was Niklas Frank, son of one of Hitler’s top henchmen, hung at Nuremberg in October 1946 for the role he played in the Final Solution.

      Anita’s description of the horrors she and her family faced was moving—particularly their incredulity that their Jewish family, so steeped in German culture and tradition, would be packed off to extermination by the leader of a country they felt so much a part of.

      But to me most chilling was what Niklas Frank had to say about his father. Hans Frank was a German lawyer , an early supporter of Hitler, who rose through Nazi ranks to become Governor-General of occupied Poland during World War II. He would be directly involved in the deaths of millions of Polish Jews.

    • Illinois Police Killed a Black Security Guard While Doing His Job

      Jemel Robinson saved lives — but because of racially biased policing, he paid for it with his own.
      In an alternate reality, Tuesday’s national news headlines would have read: “Active Shooter Heroically Subdued by Brave Security Guard.” Instead, we woke up to news stories announcing that police in Midlothian, Illinois, responded to a bar shooting by killing the security guard who had bravely detained the shooting suspect.

      Jemel Roberson should be alive today. But he’s not, and it seems quite clear that race played a critical role in his death.

      If Roberson had been white, would the officer who shot him have seen that he was dressed as a security guard, as witnesses to the shooting asserted? Would they have heard the bystanders shouting that Roberson was a security guard and a hero? And would they have paused instead of gunning him down?

      Experience — and statistics — suggest that Roberson would probably have lived to be called a hero if he were white. According to a 2018 study, Black men are 3.16 times as likely as white men to be killed by a police officer. A separate 2018 study found similar disparities.

      These statistics helped shape the reality that ended Roberson’s life. But it’s important to remember what was lost. Roberson was not only a 26-year-old security guard at Manny’s Blue Room Bar outside of Chicago. He was an active member of community churches who had aspirations. In fact, he dreamt of being a police officer and joining the community that ultimately took his life. Most importantly, however, he was a father to a 9-month-old son, and his partner is pregnant with their second anticipated child.

    • ICE Is Targeting Activists in Vermont. And the State’s DMV Has Been Helping Them.

      ICE partnered with the Vermont DMV to target farmworker rights’ activists for political repression.
      In October 2017, Vermont-based Migrant Justice scored a major victory in the organization’s campaign to extend labor protections to undocumented farmworkers in the state. After years of public action and lobbying, they reached an agreement with Ben & Jerry’s that established basic labor standards at the farms supplying dairy products to the company. Those standards included one day off a week, a minimum wage of $10 per hour, and accommodations that included electricity and running water — a milestone for farmworkers’ rights in Vermont. For many Migrant Justice organizers, who were themselves undocumented and had worked long hours in those dairy farms, the victory was personal.

      But while Migrant Justice’s organizers were celebrating their victory, according to a lawsuit filed this week by a coalition that includes the ACLU of Vermont, Immigration and Customs Enforcement was carrying out a targeted operation to arrest and deport them. Using tactics that law enforcement agencies typically employ to disrupt organized crime, the lawsuit alleges that ICE agents planted at least one informant in Migrant Justice to hack into the email accounts of the group’s members and compiled detailed dossiers on their movements and social circles. And ICE had an eager partner in those efforts — the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.

      In 2013, Migrant Justice played a critical role in the passage of Vermont’s Driver Privilege Card law, which allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain legal driving permits. But a public-records request filed by the ACLU revealed that DMV officials systematically passed the private information of applicants for those permits directly to ICE, even in cases where ICE agents hadn’t asked for it. Email correspondence obtained in the request show DMV workers using racist language to describe those applicants, referring to “South of the Border” names and in one case lamenting that the state was being “over run by immigrants.”

    • Progressives, Please Don’t Defend Broken Promises on Immigration

      In recent weeks, many on the left and right of the US political spectrum have been riveted by the spectacle of thousands of families from Central America trekking across Mexico with the migrant caravans. On the right, President Trump has used these images to gin up racism and fear, curtailing migrants’ opportunities to seek asylum. On the left, activists and academics have attempted to counter his lies by insisting that it is legal to seek asylum under US and international law. These assertions, while correct, worry me: I fear we are throwing Central Americans under a bus driven by our own limited imagination.

      In part, it’s easy to ignore Central American realities because historically, their numbers have been relatively small compared to Mexicans apprehended at the US border. But since 2014, the Border Patrol has apprehended almost as many Central Americans as Mexicans, a startling figure when you take into account that the entire combined population of the Northern Triangle countries — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — is roughly a quarter of Mexico’s.

    • Helicopters Take to Sky, Door-to-Door Search Conducted after Video of Child Abduction Released. But…

      So our job is to try to push the re-set button.

    • Betsy DeVos Wants to Roll Back Civil Rights Protections For Students Filing Complaints of Sexual Harassment or Assault

      Our analysis of how DeVos’ proposed rule would change how colleges and universities deal with allegations of sexual assault under Title IX.
      The Department of Education headed by Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday released a proposed rule that, if implemented, would dramatically limit schools’ obligations to students who experience sexual violence and would not further the stated goal of fair process. The ACLU is equally committed to ensuring students can learn in environments free from sexual harassment and violence and to guaranteeing fair process for both respondents and complainants.

      The new rule preserves some important protections for respondents from the Department of Education’s 2001 guidance, such as a guarantee of an impartial investigator and the opportunity to present rebuttal evidence. It also ensures both parties equal rights to appeal and access to evidence.

      But the overwhelming effect of the new rule is to limit schools’ obligations to students who file complaints of sexual harassment and violence under Title IX, a federal civil rights statute that prohibits sex discrimination in education, without increasing the fairness of disciplinary proceedings. Under the new policy, schools will likely investigate far fewer complaints, and the Department of Education will hold fewer schools accountable for ensuring campuses are free of sexual harassment and assault.

    • ACLU of Illinois Demands Removal of Children in DCFS Care From Troubled Chicago Hospital

      The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on Friday took the state’s child welfare agency to federal court to attempt to force the removal of all children in its care from a troubled Chicago psychiatric hospital after additional claims of sexual abuse there.

      A sexual assault allegation involving a 19-year-old patient, cited in the ACLU’s emergency court filing, comes as Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital faces intense scrutiny following a string of disturbing accusations of sexual and physical abuse. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services sends hundreds of children to the hospital each year, relying on Lakeshore to treat those with severe mental illness who are sometimes turned away by other hospitals.

      DCFS acknowledged Friday that it is also investigating a separate sexual abuse allegation, called into the state’s hotline Wednesday, involving two patients, a 14-year-old male and a 16-year-old transgender female, fondling each other at the hospital, according to a source with knowledge of the report. The girl, who is the subject of a previous abuse allegation at Lakeshore, came to the U.S. as an unaccompanied minor from Honduras and is in the custody of the federal government, records show.

      That brings the number of DCFS investigations into accusations of abuse or neglect at the hospital to 18 since January. The agency has found evidence to support four of those allegations, while seven were found to be unsubstantiated. Seven cases, including the two most recent reports, remain under investigation.

    • CIA considered potential truth serum for terror suspects after 9/11

      The existence of the drug research program — dubbed “Project Medication” — is disclosed in a once-classified report that was provided to the American Civil Liberties Union under a judge’s order and was released by the organization Tuesday.

    • Truth serum? New CIA ‘torture program’ docs shed light on post-9/11 ‘Project Medication’

      A CIA report obtained by the ACLU lays bare the details of the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program, including tactics so disturbing even CIA agents were reluctant to implement them.
      The ACLU fought in court for two years to obtain the report, which constitutes a history of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” detention program from 2002 to 2007. It was drawn up in response to the Abu Ghraib scandal to counteract the “distorted picture” taking shape in the media and, according to the agency’s lawyers, does not represent a “final official history, or assessment, of the program.”

      Beginning with a description of US intelligence services post-9/11 – chaos, panic, disorder, the willingness to do anything to prevent another terrorist attack – the report quickly moves from the seemingly rational goal of “rounding up al-Qaeda operatives worldwide” into surreal excuse-making (“no one ever was medicated rectally” despite “an occasional charge” that this was common practice during the rendition process) – within a single page.

    • CIA considered potential truth serum to force terror suspects to talk
    • CIA doctors considered using ‘truth serum’ on terror suspects
    • CIA considered potential truth serum to force terror suspects to talk
    • CIA explored potential truth serum drug for post-9/11 interrogations
    • CIA considered potential truth serum on terror suspects
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T CEO Continues His Fake Calls For Real Privacy, Net Neutrality Laws

      Notice for a moment that the linked outlet in question doesn’t bother to clarify to readers that we had meaningful net neutrality and broadband privacy rules at the FCC (passed after years of painstaking debate), and AT&T lobbyists worked tirelessly to kill both of them. AT&T also routinely battles any efforts to mandate more competition or broadband availability, to the point where they prevent efforts to even improve broadband availability maps. These are not problems AT&T wants fixed; rather important context when judging the merits of Stephenson’s statements.

      To be clear, AT&T doesn’t want meaningful privacy or net neutrality legislation. It wants loophole filled placeholder laws on these subjects in name only; laws that pretend to address the problems on both of these fronts, but serve one key purpose: pre-empt tougher state or federal laws that might actually accomplish something. AT&T wants laws its lawyers write that don’t actually fix the problems we all largely agree need fixing, especially the lack of broadband competition that helped create privacy and net neutrality violations in the first place.

      That tech and policy reporters don’t understand this (or understand it but for whatever reason don’t share this fact with readers) is consistently frustrating.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • European Commission creates IoT SEP licensing group

      According to the commission, the group will “deepen the expertise on evolving industry practices related to the licensing of SEPs in the context of the digitalisation of the economy, the sound valuation of intellectual property and the determination of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms”.

      The group will facilitate an exchange of experience and good practice in the field of licensing and valuation of SEPs, provide the commission with the necessary economic, legal and technical expertise surrounding evolving industry practices related to SEPs, as well as assist the commission in monitoring SEP licensing markets and obtaining information on licensing and valuation practices.

    • LSPN Europe 2018: SPCs—important but ‘phenomenally complicated’, say lawyers

      Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) are hugely important to MSD’s business, according to Elena Böhles, assistant counsel at the pharmaceutical company, based in Hertfordshire, UK.

      However, Böhles, who was speaking on a panel at the LSPN Europe 2018 in London yesterday, November 15, added that the SPC system can also be a source of frustration.

    • Copyrights

      • Protecting your Flavor

        As you might imagine, the court said no — taste cannot be protected under European copyright. “The taste of a food product cannot be likened to any ‘works’ protected by that treaty and, to my knowledge, no other provision of international law provides for the copyright protection of the taste of a food product. . . . I consider that the taste of a food product does not constitute a ‘work’ within the meaning of Directive 2001/29.”

      • EU High Court Rejection Of Copyrights For Food Tastes Worries Rights Holders

        A food’s taste cannot be pinned down with enough precision and objectivity to make it copyrightable under EU law, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said on 13 November. The decision creates a new standard that could be applied to all European copyright works, but would likely be the same under US law, intellectual property lawyers said.

      • Nintendo Gets Huge Settlement Against ROM Site Probably Just To Scare Other ROM Sites

        A couple of years ago, we first discussed how Nintendo, long-time maximalists on intellectual property concerns, decided to open up a new front against ROM sites. What at first looked like it might be something of a surgical strike mission-creeped this past summer into a full war on ROM sites generally, with Nintendo using a buckshot lawsuit approach. Many sites simply voluntarily shut down, sweeping away decades of video game history to be once again locked up by Nintendo, while others stared down the company’s legal guns. All this, of course, as Nintendo was showing how silly this all is given the insane performance of its Nintendo retro consoles.

        Well, it looks like the output of this effort is going to be Nintendo playing games with at least one of these suits, getting a settlement that nobody thinks it’s actually going to pursue in full just to have a multi-million dollar number to threaten other sites with. The husband and wife operators of LoveROMS.com have agreed to a $12 million settlement they can’t pay, and likely won’t have to, to have Nintendo call off its dogs.

      • Conan O’Brien’s Defense Hits Snag in Tom Brady Joke Theft Claim

        Conan O’Brien can’t defend a claim alleging he stole a joke about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady by arguing the person accusing him of the theft tricked the government into granting his copyright.

        Alex Kaseberg in July 2015 sued O’Brien over a series of jokes he says the late-night host used on his show. At the center of the current decision is a joke about Brady handing his 2015 Super Bowl MVP trophy over to the guy who won the game for the Patriots — the opposing team’s coach. Kaseberg tweeted his version on Feb. 3, 2015, and later that night the host delivered a similar joke on his show.

        Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino denied a motion for summary judgment with regard to three of the jokes, including the one about Brady, and moved the matter toward trial — also finding that Kaseberg’s quips were entitled to only “thin” protection and he would need to show that O’Brien’s jokes were virtually identical, instead of substantially similar, in order to prevail on his claims.

      • Not Funny: The Conan O’Brien Joke-Stealing Lawsuit Is Still Going On

        We’ve obviously talked about the great deal of harm that a protectionist view of copyright can cause, both in terms of its ability to deny the public useful innovations and its use by the powerful to bully the weak. But one of the harms in protectionism and the ever-expanding culture of ownership that pervades modern life that is less talked about, possibly because it’s somewhat obvious, is its sheer ability to bog down individuals in an absurdly lengthy legal process that seems to move at a pace purposefully calibrated to be as frustrating as possible.

        A great example of this is the copyright case Conan O’Brien is embroiled in still, all over accusations that he and his writing staff “stole” a handful of jokes from a freelance comedian, who has claimed copyright over them. We first wrote about this case in the first half of 2017, where a judge had greenlit all of this for a jury trial, but the lawsuit itself was actually filed back in 2015. And, incredibly, it’s still going on. The clock is still running at three years, with the most recent news being that the court has refused to allow O’Brien’s team two affirmative defenses based on the actions of the plaintiff.

      • Leaks Show Europe’s Attempts to Fix the Copyright Directive Are Failing

        The EU’s “Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive” is closer than ever to becoming law in 28 European countries, and the deep structural flaws in its most controversial clauses have never been more evident.

        Some background: the European Union had long planned on introducing a new copyright directive in 2018, updating the previous directive from 2001. The EU’s experts weighed a number of proposals, producing official recommendations on what should (and shouldn’t) be included in the new directive, and meeting with stakeholders to draft language suitable for adoption into the EU member states’ national laws.

        Two proposals were firmly rejected by the EU’s experts: Article 11, which would limit who could link to news articles and under which circumstances; and Article 13, which would force online platforms to censor their users’ text, video, audio, code, still images, etc., based on a crowdsourced database of allegedly copyrighted works.

        But despite the EU’s expert advice, these clauses were re-introduced at the last minute, at a stage in the directive’s progress where they would be unlikely to receive scrutiny or debate. Thankfully, after news of the articles spread across the Internet, Europe’s own voters took action and one million Europeans wrote to their MEPs to demand additional debate. When that debate took place in September, a divided opposition to the proposals allowed them to continue on to the next phase.

      • Not Even Hiding It Any More: EU Council Explicitly Pushing For Mandatory Upload Filters

        One of the key talking points for supporters of Article 13 in the EU Copyright Directive is to absolutely deny that it requires mandatory upload filters. Of course, as soon as you ask them how an internet platform could possibly abide by the rules of Article 13 without implementing mandatory upload filters, they suddenly change the conversation. Usually to something about how YouTube is ripping off all musicians. This is… weird. First of all, YouTube already has its giant upload filter in the form of ContentID. Second, if they can’t tell you how it doesn’t require upload filters, then… it requires upload filters.

        As the trilogue negotiations continue between the EU Council, the EU Commission and the EU Parliament, the Council has apparently decided to drop the pretense and is now explicitly demanding mandatory upload filters. The newly proposed language says that any site is liable for all infringement committed by their users unless they block any infringing works they’ve been informed about from ever appearing on their sites again. It’s a “notice and stay down” requirement — which has all sorts of problems. First of all, this assumes that every use of the same work is equally infringing. It does not take into account that one use may be infringing, while another may be fair use or fair dealing. Second, it requires incredibly expensive technology. ContentID already cost Google over $100 million… and it’s not very good. Tons of stuff still gets through. So now, basically, any successful smaller platform would have to spend ridiculous sums of money to implement a useless filter that won’t work… and when things slip through, they’re still liable for massive damages.

        And, notice what’s missing? What happens if these filters take down content they should not? This happens all the time. But here, of course, there is no punishment for false notifications or for mistakes. While the Council tries to get around this by saying the rules “shall not affect legitimate uses, such as uses under exceptions and limitations,” that’s entirely meaningless. How the hell do you train a filter to understand parody? Or fair use? Or any other limitation or exception? Google has spent $100 million on its system and it has no clue how to determine fair use.

      • Article 13: YouTube CEO is Now Lobbying FOR Upload Filters

        In a week which began with warnings from YouTube about the potential negative effects of the EU’s Article 13 proposals, an interesting development is being reported by Julia Reda, MEP for the Pirate Party. The vice chair of the Greens/EFA group reports that YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has visited Strasbourg and now appears to be lobbying in favor of upload filters.

      • The EU can #fixcopyright, but they’re not

        The Don’t Wreck the Net coalition of online platforms and civil society groups has published a laundry-list of the minimum set of technical fixes that Articles 11 and 13 need to actually be fit for purpose, including some really basic things like defining what a “news story” and “link” are in Article 11′s ban on linking to news stories without payment.

      • New “Warsaw Declaration” Promises International Anti-Piracy Cooperation

        A group of 34 organizations and institutions have signed the ‘Warsaw Declaration’, hoping to increase international cooperation in the fight against online piracy. The signees, including prominent names such as the BBC, HBO, and NBCUniversal, believe that effective global collaboration is key to address the ongoing problem.

      • Lost Disney ‘Oswald’ film found in Japan

        In response, Disney began work on a new lead character: one that would eventually be known as Mickey Mouse. As for Oswald, it was left in animation purgatory until Disney CEO Bob Iger bought back the rights in 2006.

11.16.18

Links 16/11/2018: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, Mesa 18.2.5, VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Windows 10 1809′s new rollout: Mapped drives broken, AMD issues, Trend Micro clash

      Within days of Microsoft’s first release of Windows 10 1809 at the beginning of October, IT pros noticed that Windows File Explorer indicated that mapped network drives appeared to be broken.

      “Testing the new 1809 update, and everything seems to be fine except all mapped drives to Windows 2012 file servers show disconnected (red x) after reboots or logoff/on,” wrote one IT pro on October 5, with many others confirming the same issue on company networks.

    • Windows 10’s October 2018 Update Breaks Mapped Network Drives

      Microsoft’s October 2018 Update drama is largely over, but there are still a few lingering bugs. Microsoft has confirmed an issue where mapped network drives are broken after a PC restarts. This will not be fixed until 2019.

    • Chrome OS Linux apps will soon be able to access your entire Downloads folder and Google Drive

      Google is working hard to turn Chrome OS into more than just a browser, but a real, functional operating system for consumers of all kinds. Most recently, they’ve invited developers to the platform with Linux app support that enables all of their tools, including Android Studio, to work as expected. Soon, your Chrome OS and Google Drive files will be even more accessible to your Linux apps.

      [...]

      According to a new commit on the Chromium Gerrit, that’s all about to change. The commit primarily pertains to a new dialog that will be shown when sharing ‘root’ folders like My Drive or Downloads with your Chrome OS Linux apps (internally known as Crostini) container. The dialog is intended to forewarn you that sharing a root folder is a bit more serious than just sharing a sub-folder, and to be sure you know what you’re doing.

    • Samsung Note 9 and Tab S4 owners can run a full Ubuntu Desktop – Linux on Dex

      We have come a long way as an industry and if this is not one of the biggest milestones in personal computing, I don’t know what else qualifies. Over the past decade of smartphones being around, we have seen an exponential increase in the power that our smartphones pack. I mean, flagships from the past few years spot more RAM and processing power than most laptops out there, but the small form factor has always been a hindrance to the utilization of this power. I mean you can only do so much on a 5.5-inch display.

      Samsung has launched its “Linux on Dex” app in beta and is inviting geeks and tinkerers to register and help test and develop it. The app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android.

  • Server

    • Don’t cross the Application Streams! Actually, maybe you can now in RHEL 8 beta

      Hot on the heels of its OpenStack Platform 14, Red Hat has announced the beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

      It has been four years since Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 emerged. Things in the Linux world have changed considerably since then.

      Naturally, there are hundreds of minor (and not so minor) tweaks and modifications in the release, but one stands out.

      Application Streams allows user space packages to be delivered more simply and with greater flexibility. The user space components can be updated without having to wait for a new version of the operating system. The thinking goes that things can be made a bit more agile and custom without breaking the stability of the platform. Nice.

      While chatting about the OpenStack Platform (OSP) 14, Red Hat’s Nick Barcet got a bit excited about the impending RHEL 8 release and what it would mean for the next version of OSP. “Red Hat OpenStack 15, if all goes well, will fully support RHEL 8. That means that the host on which we will deploy OpenStack will be RHEL 8. That means RHEL 8 guests will be fully supported.”

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta is here!

      And it’s been built with production stability and development agility in mind.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 makes its debut

      Four years on from the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, open source software company Red Hat Inc. finally announced today that version 8 of its computer server operating system is now in beta.

      A lot has changed in the world of Linux during that time, with vastly more workloads running in public clouds and more agile software development practices increasingly becoming the norm. The new RHEL reflects those differences.

      Whereas the RHEL 7 release was all about better support for virtual machines and improved Windows interoperability, today’s version gives a nod to the fact that most information technology operations are increasingly all about the cloud and software containers.

    • Red Hat releases Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 beta

      Four years ago Red Hat released its last major flagship operating system update: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7. A lot has changed since then. In 2014, the big changes were about improved Windows interoperability, better Virtual Machine (VM) support, making XFS the default file system, and, oh yes, making Docker available as a beta feature. Now, RHEL 8 is in beta, and it’s clear RHEL 8 is for today’s cloud and container-based IT world and not the server and datacenter-driven infrastructure of four years ago.

    • Powering IT’s future while preserving the present: Introducing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta

      Linux containers, Kubernetes, artificial intelligence, blockchain and too many other technical breakthroughs to list all share a common component – Linux, the same workhorse that has driven mission-critical, production systems for nearly two decades. Today, we’re offering a vision of a Linux foundation to power the innovations that can extend and transform business IT well into the future: Meet Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta.

      Enterprise IT is evolving at a pace faster today than at any other point in history. This reality necessitates a common foundation that can span every footprint, from the datacenter to multiple public clouds, enabling organizations to meet every workload requirement and deliver any app, everywhere.

      With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, we worked to deliver a shared foundation for both the emerging and current worlds of enterprise IT. The next generation of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform helps fuel digital transformation strategies across the hybrid cloud, where organizations use innovations like Linux containers and Kubernetes to deliver differentiated products and services. At the same time, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta enables IT teams to optimize and extract added value from existing technology investments, helping to bridge demands for innovation with stability and productivity.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta Released With Stratis, Yum 4, Application Streams

      The long-awaited public beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is finally available!

      Red Hat surprised us with the beta roll-out this morning of RHEL8 ahead of the official Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 in 2019. Highlights of RHEL8 include:

      - Application Streams (AppStreams) for better separating user-space packages from the core kernel operations. This allows for shipping newer versions of applications prior to major/minor RHEL updates, utilizing multiple versions of the same package concurrently, etc.

    • Introducing Application Streams in RHEL 8

      With the introduction of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8) we have tried to greatly simplify the layout of the content available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The main repository, BaseOS, provides the parts of the distribution that give you a running userspace on physical hardware, a virtual machine, a cloud instance or a container. The Application Stream (AppStream) repository provides all the applications you might want to run in a given userspace. The Supplemental repository provides other software that has special licensing. The CodeReady Linux Builder provides mostly build time components for developers (see Introducing CodeReady Linux Builder).

      As a result, most RHEL 8 systems will only need two repositories enabled. However, this may lead to the the question, where do I find alternate versions of software if there is only 1 application repository? In prior versions, you would look to the RHSCL or Extras repositories. However, in RHEL 8, through a new technology called Modularity, we can offer those alternate versions in the same physical repository.

    • Introducing CodeReady Linux Builder

      The RHEL8 Beta introduces a new repository, the CodeReady Linux Builder (or “Builder” for short) that developers may need while developing applications for RHEL. As you all know “developer” is not a one size fits all term. As a result, I am taking this opportunity to try to explain when you might need Builder enabled for your development activities.

      First off, if you are a typical web developer, dealing with PHP, Ruby, or Perl you are unlikely to need the content delivered through Builder. The PHP packages, Ruby gems, and Perl modules provided in the AppStream repository will, in most cases, provide sufficient functionality to develop and run applications you create yourself and to run frameworks like Drupal, WordPress, Rails, or Twiki. Please see the appropriate HowTos for getting these things up and running.

      Ruby and Perl both have additional libraries made available in the Builder repository. However, they are less commonly used or used at build time only.

    • RHEL 8 Beta arrives with application streams and more

      Much of the impetus for RHEL 8 has been the growing need for a common foundation that can span every IT stronghold from the data center to multiple public clouds and make application delivery a lot more manageable. Four years have passed since RHEL 7 came our way, and so much has changed in the world of IT since then, with continued virtualization and containerization along with a growing need for rapid deployment.

      [...]

      Red Hat is interested in having existing customers and subscribers experience RHEL 8 Beta. Go to Red Hat’s RHEL Beta site to get a feel for the flexibility and control this new release can provide to you. RHEL 8 Beta is built on the 4.18 Linux kernel as a baseline and provides many features that you are likely to appreciate.

    • Red Hat talks upgrades and bare metal with its new OpenStack Platform

      Red Hat used this week’s OpenStack Summit to announce the impending arrival of its OpenStack Platform 14. We had a chat with Red Hat’s Nick Barcet about cadence, Kubernetes, and most definitely not IBM.

      It’s been a while coming, but Red Hat has taken the latest OpenStack release, Rocky, and folded it into its OpenStack Platform, with version 14 due to hit a waiting world in the next few weeks.

      The goal of Red Hat’s take is, as ever, to make life easier for admins tasked with setting up the occasionally challenging OpenStack platform. Simplifying cloud-native application adoption and getting containers on bare metal is the name of the game here.

      OpenShift, of course, gets a look-in as well as Red Hat continues to tightly integrate the container platform with OpenStack to bring more Kubernetes-based goodness to the party. Red Hat has pointed to Gartner research which claimed that 75 per cent of organisations will have either a multi-cloud or hybrid environment by 2020, meaning that OpenStack’s private cloud infrastructure is likely to play a part. And Red Hat would be very happy to help set that up for you, for a fee.

    • Carahsoft Receives the Red Hat Public Sector Distribution Partner of the Year Award
    • Red Hat launches mobile app to enable partners to save time and build connections
    • Supporting support: How TAMs bring stronger value to customers by collaborating with support delivery

      Red Hat Technical Account Managers (TAMs) have many responsibilities, all of which center around meeting customers’ needs and ultimately working to help customers succeed. One major responsibility for a TAM is providing support for the products that customers have purchased through subscriptions.

      Each of Red Hat’s products has a skilled and specialized support engineering team, dedicated to provide assistance for Red Hat’s customers. TAM customers receive the added benefit of having someone they know personally standing by, ready to assist them to get issues resolved as quickly as possible. Through close relationships, Technical Account Managers play a key role in providing that necessary support.

    • What’s New in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14

      Red Hat announced its OpenStack Platform 14 update on Nov. 15, providing users of the open-source cloud platform with an incremental set of new features.

      Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 is based on the upstream OpenStack Rocky milestone, which became publicly available on Aug. 30. Among the new features in OSP 14 are improved networking capabilities, including enhanced load balancing capabilities for container workloads. Red Hat is also continuing to push forward on the integration of its OpenShift Kubernetes container orchestration platform with OpenStack.

      In a video interview with eWEEK, Mark McLoughlin, senior director of engineering of OpenStack at Red Hat, outlined some of the new features in OSP 14 and the direction for the road ahead.

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 delivers unified foundation for Kubernetes and virtual machines

      Red Hat Inc. announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, its latest version of Red Hat’s massively-scalable, cloud-native apps-ready Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution.

      Based on the OpenStack “Rocky” community release, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 integrates with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, a comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform, bringing even more support for Kubernetes to enterprise-grade OpenStack.

      Paired with capabilities to improve bare-metal resource consumption and enhance deployment automation, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 aims to deliver a single infrastructure offering that can lay the foundation for traditional, virtualized and cloud-native workloads.

    • OpenStack: We’ve seen the future, and it’s metal (and infrastructure, natch)

      The OpenStack Foundation took to the stage in Berlin this week to talk infrastructure because, heck, everyone loves infrastructure, right? Especially open infrastructure.

      With its roots in a joint project set up by NASA and Rackspace back in 2010, the open-source OpenStack platform comprises a suite of components aimed at managing pools of compute, storage and networking resources for those wary of throwing their lot in with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.

      Over two days of keynote speeches in which the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) wheeled out a succession of customers to insist the framework was a breeze to set up and not just for telcos, there was a tacit admission that perhaps it was time for the group to focus a bit more on the whole infrastructure thing. And China.

    • How AT&T Is Using OpenStack to Deploy 5G Networks

      The next generation of wireless networks known as 5G is being enabled at AT&T through a series of open source efforts, including the OpenStack cloud platform.

      At the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Germany, executives from AT&T discussed how they are building out 5G networks and also demonstrated a live 5G phone call running on top of an OpenStack deployment.

      “5G is a revolution. The capabilities that 5G will enable are things that will be a step function increase in latency, in reliability and resiliency with ultra-low latency and at very high speeds.” Amy Wheelus, vice president, Network Cloud at AT&T, said. “5G Is really more than just another generation; it’s more than just another G, because 5G is going to enable new services, new products, and even new industries that you and I haven’t even thought about that today.”

      She noted that among the 5G application use cases are smart factories and autonomous vehicles. AT&T also expects that 5G will be used for augmented reality, not just for entertainment, but also for critical functions, such as search and rescue or troubleshooting at the top of a tower.

    • OpenStack Expands Focus to Enable Open Infrastructure

      The OpenStack Foundation is no longer exclusively focused on its namesake cloud platform as the open-source effort is now expanding to enable the broader realm of open infrastructure.

      In a video interview at the OpenStack Summit here, Mark Collier, chief operating officer, and Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, detailed the group’s new approach. It’s an approach that now includes four pilot projects outside of the core OpenStack cloud platform—the Airship code deployment, Kata containers, StarlingX edge compute and Zuul continuous integration projects.

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #55 – Kubernetes as the new Application Server
    • Video: The Beginning, Present, and Future of Sysadmins
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • Uber Demonstrates its Dedication to Open Source With Linux Foundation Gold Membership

        Uber Open Summit — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announces Uber has become the newest Gold member of the foundation.

      • Uber joins Linux Foundation, cementing commitment to open-source tools

        What’s surprising is not that they joined, but that it took so long. Uber has been long known for making use of open source in its core tools, working on over 320 open-source projects and repositories from 1,500 contributors involving over 70,000 commits, according to data provided by the company.

        “Uber has made significant investments in shared software development and community collaboration through open source over the years, including contributing the popular open-source project Jaeger, a distributed tracing system, to the Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2017,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch.

      • Uber Joins the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member

        Uber has been an active and committed member of the open source community, leveraging, contributing, and developing open source solutions across our tech stack since launching our platform nearly 10 years ago. Announced today during Uber Open Summit 2018, we extend our commitment by joining the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member, continuing to support the open source community through the Linux Foundation.

        [...]

        “Open source technology is the backbone of many of Uber’s core services and as we continue to mature, these solutions will become ever more important,” said Thuan Pham, Uber CTO. “The Linux Foundation not only provides homes to many significant open source projects, but also creates an open environment for companies like Uber to work together on developing these technologies. We are honored to join the Linux Foundation to foster greater collaboration with the open source community.”

      • CNCF Survey: Cloud Usage in Asia Has Grown 135% Since March 2018 [Ed: They just call every server "cloud" because they call themselves "cloud"]

        The bi-annual CNCF survey takes a pulse of the community to better understand the adoption of cloud native technologies. This is the second time CNCF has conducted its cloud native survey in Mandarin to better gauge how Asian companies are adopting open source and cloud native technologies. The previous Mandarin survey was conducted in March 2018. This post also makes comparisons to the most recent North American / European version of this survey from August 2018.

      • AI in the Real World

        We are living in the future – it is just unevenly distributed with “an outstanding amount of hype and this anthropomorphization of what [AI] technology can actually provide for us,” observed Hilary Mason, general manager for machine learning at Cloudera, who led a keynote on “AI in the Real World: Today and Tomorrow,” at the recent Open FinTech Forum.

        [...]

        As progress is made in the development of AI, machine learning and deep learning, there are still things we need to keep in mind, Mason said. “One of the biggest topics in our field right now is how we incorporate ethics, how we comply with expectations of privacy in the practice of data science.”
        She gave a plug to a short, free ebook called “Data Driven: Creating a Data Culture,” that she co-authored with DJ Patil, who worked as chief data scientist for President Barack Obama. Their goal, she said, is “to try and get folks who are practicing out in the world of machine learning and data science to think about their tools [and] for them to practice ethics in the context of their work.”
        Mason ended her presentation on an optimistic note, observing that “AI will find its way into many fundamental processes of the businesses that we all run. So when I say, ‘Let’s make it boring,’ I actually think that’s what makes it more exciting.’”

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Vulkan Driver To Enable Vega Primitive Binning By Default – Helps Performance

        The RadeonSI OpenGL driver offered Vega primitive binning support the past year followed by the RADV Vulkan driver, but it hadn’t been enabled by default. Those working on the RADV driver are now planning on unconditionally enabling this Vega performance optimization for up to a few percent performance boost.

        It seems the primitive binning driver support for RADV is mature enough that it can be flipped on by default and at least doesn’t appear to be hurting any prominent Vulkan-powered Linux games. Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s Linux driver team sent out the patch today for flipping it on by default. On that patch message he describes this Vega feature as helping out some games by a few percent, “After doing a bunch of benchmarks, primitive binning helps some games like The Talos Principle (+5%) or Serious Sam 2017 (+3%). For other titles, either it doesn’t change anything or it hurts very few (less than 1%).”

      • NVIDIA 410.78 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Corruption, Adds Quadro RTX 4000 Support

        For those using the NVIDIA long-lived 410 Linux driver series over the in-beta 415.xx driver series, the 410.78 driver release is out today as the newest stable binary driver build.

        The NVIDIA 410.78 rolls out with official support for the Quadro RTX 4000 graphics card and a handful of bug fixes. The bug fixes include addressing a possible X Server hang when using legacy VGA mode, mode-setting failure with SDI output, and Vulkan rendering corruption.

      • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 18.2.5

        A patch for nine state tracker that fixes several crashes using nine’s thread_submit feature. There are other patches to other state trackers.

        A couple of patches for Meson build system, as well as for autotools.

        In the drivers side, there are a couple of fixes for RADV, one regarding subgroups and another regarding conditional rendering. There are also fixes for virgl, r600, and i965.

      • Mesa 18.2.5 Brings Fixes For Direct3D 9 State Tracker, RADV Vulkan Driver

        For those sticking to the Mesa stable release train, Mesa 18.2.5 is now available ahead of the Mesa 18.3 quarterly feature release due out in the weeks ahead.

        As is the case for Mesa point releases, Mesa 18.2.5 is geared to deliver the latest bug/regression fixes. this 18.2.5 release has around three dozen changes, including fixes for the Gallium “Nine” D3D9 state tracker when using its thread-submit functionality, Meson build system updates, RADV Vulkan driver fixes, and also some basic fixes/tweaks to the common NIR, Mesa, and Intel code. There is no particular standout prominent fixes unless you were personally affected by one of the bugs.

      • Firefox Nightly now with experimental Wayland support

        As of last nightly (20181115100051), Firefox now supports Wayland on Linux, thanks to the work from Martin Stransky and Jan Horak, mostly.

        Before that, it was possible to build your own Firefox with Wayland support (and Fedora does it), but now the downloads from mozilla.org come with Wayland support out of the box for the first time.

        However, being experimental and all, the Wayland support is not enabled by default, meaning by default, you’ll still be using XWayland. To enable wayland support, first set the GDK_BACKEND environment variable to wayland.

      • AMD Radeon RX 590 Launches, Linux Support Presumably Okay

        While it comes as no surprise given all the leaks in recent weeks, today AMD officially announced the Radeon RX 590 graphics card as another update to Polaris.

        The new Polaris PCI ID addition we spotted back in September indeed turned out to be for a new high-end Polaris refresh. The Radeon RX 590 is this new high-end Polaris graphics card that is manufactured on a 12nm FinFET process.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking Packet.com’s Bare Metal Intel Xeon / AMD EPYC Cloud

        With the tests earlier this week of the 16-way AMD EPYC cloud comparison the real standout of those tests across Amazon EC2, Packet, and SkySilk was Packet’s bare metal cloud. For just $1.00 USD per hour it’s possible to have bare metal access to an AMD EPYC 7401P 24-core / 48-thread server that offers incredible value compared to the other public cloud options for on-demand pricing. That led me to running some more benchmarks of Packet.com’s other bare metal cloud options to see how the Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC options compare.

        Packet’s on-demand server options for their “bare metal cloud” offerings range from an Intel Atom C2550 quad-core server with 8GB of RAM at just 7 cents per hour up to a dual Xeon Gold 6120 server with 28 cores at two dollars per hour with 384GB of RAM and 3.2TB of NVMe storage. There are also higher-end instances including NVIDIA GPUs but those are on a dynamic spot pricing basis.

      • Linux 4.20 Showing Some Performance Slowdowns

        Bseing well past the Linux 4.20 merge window I have moved onto benchmarking more of this development version of the Linux kernel. Unfortunately, there are some clear performance regressions.

        This week I got to firing off some Linux 4.20 kernel benchmarks… I started with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and Intel Core i9 7980XE for being the interesting HEDT CPUs in my possession at the moment. On the 7980XE I spotted several performance regressions with this Linux 4.20 development kernel compared to Linux 4.19 and 4.18, so then I fired up the completely separate Intel Core i9 7960X box to carry out the same tests. Sure enough, with that different hardware, there is further confirmation of slowdowns with Linux 4.20.

        The common trait of these systems was Ubuntu 18.10 x86_64 and using the Linux 4.18.18, 4.19.1, and 4.20 Git kernel packages provided by the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. With the differing hardware the intention is not to compare the performance between the systems but in looking at the direction of the Linux kernel performance.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Python and Qt: 3,000 hours of developer insight

        With Qt for Python released, it’s time to look at the powerful capabilities of these two technologies. This article details one solopreneur’s experiences.

        [...]

        The big problem with Electron is performance. In particular, the startup time was too high for a file manager: On an admittedly old machine from 2010, simply launching Electron took five seconds.

        I admit that my personal distaste for JavaScript also made it easier to discount Electron. Before I go off on a rant, let me give you just one detail that I find symptomatic: Do you know how JavaScript sorts numbers? Alphabetically. ’nuff said.

        After considering a few technologies, I settled on Qt. It’s cross-platform, has great performance and supports custom styles. What’s more, you can use it from Python. This makes at least me orders of magnitude more productive than the default C++.

      • Inkscape Dark Theme on KDE Plasma

        On KDE Plasma, it’s very easy to setup Inkscape Dark Theme. To do so, go to System Settings > Application Style > GNOME/GTK+ Style > under GTK+ Style: switch all themes to Dark ones and give check mark to Prefer Dark Theme > Apply. Now your Inkscape should turned into dark mode. To revert back, just revert the theme selections. This trick works on Kubuntu or any other GNU/Linux system as long as it uses Plasma as its desktop environment.

      • Atelier at Maker Faire and QtCon 2018!

        On the weekend of November 3 and 4, it happened on Rio de Janeiro the first Maker Faire of Latin America. And I was able to do a talk about Atelier and the current status of our project. The event hold more than 1.500 people on the first day, that saw a lot of talks and the exposition of makers of all over the country that came to Rio to participate in this edition of the Maker Faire.

  • Distributions

    • Fedora

      • Introducing rpm-macros-virtualenv 0.0.1

        This is a small set of RPM macros, which can be used by the spec files to build and package any Python application along with a virtualenv. Thus, removing the need of installing all dependencies via dnf/rpm repository. One of the biggest usecase will be to help to install latest application code and all the latest dependencies into a virtualenv and also package the whole virtualenv into the RPM package.

        This will be useful for any third part vendor/ISV, who would want to package their Python application for Fedora/RHEL/CentOS along with the dependencies. But, remember not to use this for any package inside of Fedora land as this does not follow the Fedora packaging guidelines.

      • Akash Angle: How do you Fedora?

        Akash is a fan of the GNOME 3 desktop environment. He loves most of the goodies and bells and whistles the OS can throw in for getting basic tasks done.

        For practical reasons he prefers a fresh installation as a way of upgrading to the latest Fedora version. He thinks Fedora 29 is arguably the the best workstation out there. Akash says this has been backed up by reviews of various tech evangelists and open source news sites.

    • Debian Family

      • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, October 2018

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Deepin 15.8 Released with Various Neat Improvements

          Deepin 15.8, the latest version of the Deepin Linux distribution, is now available to download.

          Building on its previous (well received) release, Deepin 15.8 adds some polish and refinement, boasts a smaller download size, and makes a number of design tweaks to improve the form and function of the distro.

          “[Deepin 15.8 offers] an attractive and efficient, excellent user experience”, the team say in a blog post announcing the new release.

        • deepin 15.8 Linux distribution available for download — replace Windows 10 now!

          As more and more people wake up to the fact that Windows 10 is a giant turd lately, computer users are exploring alternatives, such as Linux-based operating systems. First impressions can be everything, so when searching for a distribution, it is important that beginners aren’t scared off by bewildering installers or ugly and confusing interfaces.

          Linux “n00bs” often opt for Ubuntu, and while that is a good choice, there are far more pretty and intuitive options these days. One such operating system that I recommend often is deepin. Why? It is drop-dead gorgeous and easy to use. It is guaranteed to delight the user, and its intuitive interface will certainly impress. Today, the newest version of the excellent Linux distro, deepin 15.8, becomes available for download.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Linux Support to 10 Years

            In a keynote at the OpenStack Summit here, Mark Shuttleworth, founder and CEO of Canonical Inc and Ubuntu, detailed the progress made by his Linux distribution in the cloud and announced new extended support.

            The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support) debuted back on April 26, providing new server and cloud capabilities. An LTS release comes with five year of support, but during his keynote Shuttleworth announced that 18.04 would have support that is available for up to 10 years.

            “I’m delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years,” Shuttleworth said. “In part because of the very long time horizons in some of industries like financial services and telecommunications but also from IOT where manufacturing lines for example are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade .”

          • ​Mark Shuttleworth reveals Ubuntu 18.04 will get a 10-year support lifespan

            At OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said in a keynote that Ubuntu 18.04 Long Term Support (LTS) support lifespan would be extended from five years to 10 years.

            “I’m delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years,” said Shuttleworth, “In part because of the very long time horizons in some of industries like financial services and telecommunications but also from IoT where manufacturing lines for example are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade.”

          • Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth wishes Red Hat and IBM a happy marriage

            Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote at the second of this year’s Openstack Summits was considerably less controversial than the last, where he explicitly compared the price between Red Hat and Ubuntu’s services in Vancouver. However he still had plenty to say when Computerworld UK caught up with the hobby astronaut and entrepreneur on the show floor.

            When asked to expand on his thoughts about IBM’s recent acquisition bid for Red Hat, Shuttleworth wished them “every happiness in their marriage”, with some caveats.

            “It depends how forcefully they can steer RedHat Enterprise Linux (REL) on-prem users to the IBM cloud,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s the only way for them to get a premium on REL itself. They’ve paid a very high premium, so they have to generate a premium, and the only way to do that, would be to use on-prem REL as a forcing function to get workloads onto the IBM cloud,” he said.

          • OpenStack Summit Berlin 2018, Mark Shuttleworth keynote

            The OpenStack community has, and attracts, amazing people and amazing technology, however, that won’t be meaningful if it doesn’t deliver for everyday businesses. “I say that representing the company which doesn’t just publish Ubuntu and the reference OpenStack distribution on Ubuntu, we actually manage more OpenStack clouds for more different industries, more different architectures than any other company,” said Shuttleworth.

            There are things that have to be right – we have to support every single OpenStack release with upgrades. That means when Stein and Train are released, we will deploy, as part of the test process, Icehouse on 14.04, then deploy workloads on Kubernetes on Icehouse. With that running in the cloud, and without losing a workload, the version is then upgraded up to Mitaka. We then take the running cloud and upgrade to 16.04 under the hood, then upgrade to Queens, then upgrade to 18.04 and on to Rocky, Stein and beyond, as standard.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E36 – Thirty-Six HoursUbuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E36 – Thirty-Six Hours

            This week we’ve been resizing partitions. We interview Andrew Katz and discuss open souce and the law, bring you a command line love and go over all your feedback.

            It’s Season 11 Episode 36 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • A reliance on open source in enterprise: Necessary for digital transformation

    Enterprises have embraced the cloud; and now they’re focusing on open source.

    Open source lends itself to innovation, something competing enterprises need to seriously tap into, by allowing different developers from across the world to create and modify software to solve current challenges and open new avenues.

    To find out more about how open source is venturing into the enterprise community and spurring digital innovation, Information Age spoke to Stephan Fabel, director of product at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu.

  • What blockchain can learn from open source

    Over the 10+ years I’ve been involved with open source, I’ve been part of small projects with innovative ideas that grew into large projects with solid communities. I’ve also witnessed the way dysfunctional communities can suck the energy from projects.

    I’ve also recently become active in blockchain by writing and contributing to projects. I’ve noticed that blockchain projects are like startups with open development and open business models. Therefore, to be successful, blockchain startups must learn how to build communities the open source way.

  • OpenStack regroups

    Only a few years ago, OpenStack was the hottest open-source project around, with a bustling startup ecosystem to boot. The project, which gives enterprises the tools to run the equivalent of AWS in their own private data centers, ran into trouble as it tried to tackle too many individual projects at the same time and enterprises took longer than expected to adopt it. That meant many a startup floundered or was acquired before it was able to gain traction while the nonprofit foundation that manages the project started to scale back its big tent approach and refocused on its core services.

  • SD Times news digest: Docker and MuleSoft’s partnership, ActiveState’s open-source language automation category, and Instana’s automatic Python instrumentation

    Docker and MuleSoft have announced a new partnership to modernize applications and accelerate digital transformation. As part of the partnership, the companies will work together to deliver new capabilities for legacy apps with APIs, legacy apps without APIs and new apps created in Docker. In addition, MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform will be combined with Docker Enterprise.

  • ActiveState Creates Open Source Language Automation Category
  • New open source cloud discovery tool arrives from Twistlock

    Cloud Discovery connects to cloud providers’ native platform APIs to discover services such as container registries, managed Kubernetes platforms, and serverless services, and requires only read permissions. Other key features include:

  • Google Open-Sources “Amber” Multi-API Shader Test Framework

    The newest open-source graphics project out of Google is called Amber and it’s a multi-API shader testing framework focused on capturing and communicating of shader bugs.

    Google’s Amber tries to make it easier to capture/communicate shader bugs with a scripting-based workflow. The captured shaders can be in binary form, SPIR-V assembly, or a higher-level shading language. Amber is currently focused on supporting the Vulkan and Dawn graphics APIs.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird version 60.3.1 now Available, Includes Fixes for Cookie Removal and Encoding Issues

        Thunderbird happens to be one of the most famous Email client. It is free and an open source one which was developed by the Mozilla Foundation back in 2003, fifteen years ago. From a very basic interface, it has come a long way to be what it is today in 2018. With these updates, a recent one into the 60.x series from the 52.x series was a significant one.

        While the 60.x (60.3.0) update started rolling out, Mozilla was keen to push out 60.3.1. This new version of Thunderbird had a few bugs and kinks here and there which needed to be addressed which Mozilla did, most of them at least.

      • Ian Bicking: Thoughts on the Firefox Email Tabs experiment

        We recently released Email Tabs in Firefox Test Pilot. This was a project I championed, and I wanted to offer some context on it.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Programming/Development

    • Program Synthesis is Possible in Rust

      Program synthesis is the act of automatically constructing a program that fulfills a given specification. Perhaps you are interested in sketching a program, leaving parts of it incomplete, and then having a tool fill in those missing bits for you? Or perhaps you are a compiler, and you have some instruction sequence, but you want to find an equivalent-but-better instruction sequence? Program synthesizers promise to help you out in these situations!

      I recently stumbled across Adrian Sampson’s Program Synthesis is Possible blog post. Adrian describes and implements minisynth, a toy program synthesizer that generates constants for holes in a template program when given a specification. What fun! As a way to learn more about program synthesis myself, I ported minisynth to Rust.

    • The devil makes work for idle processes

      TLDR: in Endless OS, we switched the IO scheduler from CFQ to BFQ, and set the IO priority of the threads doing Flatpak downloads, installs and upgrades to “idle”; this makes the interactive performance of the system while doing Flatpak operations indistinguishable from when the system is idle.

      At Endless, we’ve been vaguely aware for a while that trying to use your computer while installing or updating apps is a bit painful, particularly on spinning-disk systems, because of the sheer volume of IO performed by the installation/update process. This was never particularly high priority, since app installations are user-initiated, and until recently, so were app updates.

    • Rcpp now used by 1500 CRAN packages

      Right now Rcpp stands at 1500 reverse-dependencies on CRAN. The graph is on the left depicts the growth of Rcpp usage (as measured by Depends, Imports and LinkingTo, but excluding Suggests) over time. What an amazing few days this has been as we also just marked the tenth anniversary and the big one dot oh release.

    • Python in RHEL 8

      Ten years ago, the developers of the Python programming language decided to clean things up and release a backwards-incompatible version, Python 3. They initially underestimated the impact of the changes, and the popularity of the language. Still, in the last decade, the vast majority of community projects has migrated to the new version, and major projects are now dropping support for Python 2.

      In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, Python 3.6 is the default. But Python 2 remains available in RHEL 8.

    • How to stand out, and get hired, at Grace Hopper Celebration

      During the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), attendees flooded the George Brown Convention Center in Houston Texas to network, learn and share information in celebration of women technologists. For students at GHC, the expo hall also doubled as a career fair. Here’s how to stand out when you’re trying to leave GHC with opportunities to chart your own path in technology.

      Recruiters, engineers, scientists and technologists were stationed at company booths to talk about their workplaces. They screened resumes, interviewed candidates and shared their experiences.

      This year I was able to attend GHC for the first time, not as a student seeking a position but as an employee of Red Hat. At Red Hat we do many things differently, interviewing at GHC is one of those things. Red Hat is seeking associates who possess both a strong technical aptitude as well as a passion for our products and services.

    • Vim in the Future

      I have learned Vim as a programming-centric tool, but I use it for other tasks, too. This post assumes a reader isn’t necessarily a programmer but is curious about how tech things get done.

    • The Huge Security Problem With C/C++ And Why You Shouldn’t Use It

      Alex Gaynor gives an example of a program that has a list of 10 numbers. Theoretically, in an event where someone asks for the 11th element, the program is expected to show an error of some sort, or at least that’s what a “memory safe” programming language (like Python or Java) would do.

      However, in case of a memory unsafe language like C/C++, the program looks for the 11th element wherever it is supposed to be (if it existed) and accesses its content. This is called a “buffer-overflow” vulnerability that is exploited by bugs like HeartBleed to access up to 60 KB data past the end of a list — that often includes passwords and other sensitive data.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Being bionic: how technology transformed my life

      Prosthetics have been around for more than 3,000 years: wooden toes, which strapped on and were specifically designed to work with sandals, were found on the feet of Ancient Egyptian mummies. For most of history, prosthetics have been designed to make life more comfortable for adults, to afford the wearer some limited movement, and to avoid drawing attention to their disability (by filling an empty jacket sleeve, or concealing a stump). It is only recently, as advances in robotics and computing power have been incorporated into artificial limbs, that function has become paramount, and the needs of active disabled people, especially children, have begun to influence design.

    • Researchers develop optical fibre capable of over 1 petabit per second

      A coupler created by Macquarie University in Australia, combined with a fibre fabricated by Hokkaido University and equipment maker Fujikura, and a transmission system developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan, has led to transmission speeds in excess of 1 petabit.

      The new four-core, three-mode fibre was touted as being the same width as existing standard fibre, but was capable of 12 times the data speed. Macquarie University said the fibre was less prone to damage due to its narrower diameter, and could be used with existing equipment.

    • Optical Fiber Capable of 1 Petabit/Second Transfer Speed Developed

      A number of research teams came together and have successfully developed a Fibre Cable which can generate Internet speed up to one Petabit per second. Hokkaido University developed the fiber with the help of tools from the equipment maker Fujikura.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Medical cannabis: Death sentence prompts Malaysia to re-think harsh laws

      A death sentence given to a young man selling cannabis oil to the ill has stirred debate in Muslim-majority Malaysia about its ultra-tough drug laws. The case has prompted calls for the country to become the first in Asia to legalise medical marijuana – but long-held stigma and a mostly conservative population means change could come slowly.

    • In Echo of Flint, Mich., Water Crisis Now Hits Newark

      Officials were finally compelled to act after an engineering study commissioned by the city found that measures to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water were failing at one of Newark’s two treatment plants.

    • Baltimore Becomes First Major City to Ban Water Privatization

      Now that privatization is out of the picture, Baltimoreans can work with our elected officials to improve the accountability and affordability of our water system and ensure every person in our city has access to safe water at a price they can afford to pay. Food & Water Watch looks forward to working with other cities to protect their water systems from corporate control and using Baltimore as a model for water justice for the nation.”

    • Without Action, Drug-Resistant “Superbugs” Will Kill Millions in Europe

      Antibiotic-resistant infections could kill 2.4 million people in Europe, North America, and Australia by 2050 without further action to combat the infections, according to a report released yesterday (November 7) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But the report also says that short-term investments by governments could push back against diseases and save money in the long run.

    • The Other Victims of California’s Fires: Workers Inhaling Toxic Fumes

      With the death toll now standing at 42 and with some 7,200 structures destroyed, officials are now calling the wildfire in Paradise, CA (dubbed the “Camp Fire”) the deadliest and most destructive in California’s recent history. Two other massive fires—dubbed the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire are simultaneously scorching Southern California.

      As frontline firefighters—including many prison laborers—continue to battle the blaze while healthcare providers work around the clock treating fire victims, millions of other workers far away from the inferno are feeling a secondary impact: toxic smoke.

      In the San Francisco Bay Area, over 160 miles away from the Camp Fire, air quality dramatically declined almost immediately after the fires broke out. Over the past week, AirNow, a government website reporting real-time air quality data has shown the Bay Area hovering between 150-200 on the federal Air Quality Index (AQI), surpassing 200 (or “very unhealthy” levels) in parts of the Bay. The higher the AQI value, the more polluted the skies are and the more concern there is for public health.

    • Trump Administration Plots Costly Private-Care Expansion for Veterans

      Last June, President Donald Trump signed a landmark law on veterans’ health care after months of tense negotiations. At the ceremony in the Rose Garden, Trump said the bill would deliver on his campaign promise to let veterans see private doctors instead of using the Department of Veterans Affairs’ government-run health service: “I’m going to sign legislation that will make veterans’ choice permanent,” he said.

      Standing behind him, the leaders of major veterans groups looked around uncomfortably. What Trump called “choice” these veterans groups called “privatization,” and they’d been warning for years that it would cost taxpayers more money and deliver worse care for veterans. The veterans groups had endorsed the bill, but Trump’s description of it was not what they thought they were there to support.

      The moment left no doubt that the Trump administration is determined to use the new law to expand the private sector’s role in veterans’ health care. The administration is working on a plan to shift millions more veterans to private doctors and is aiming to unveil the proposal during Trump’s State of Union address in January, according to four people briefed on the proposal. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose information about the administration’s plans.

    • Trumpeted New Medicare Advantage Benefits Will Be Hard For Seniors To Find

      For some older adults, private Medicare Advantage plans next year will offer a host of new benefits, such as transportation to medical appointments, home-delivered meals, wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars or air conditioners for asthma sufferers.

      But the new benefits will not be widely available, and they won’t be easy to find.

      Of the 3,700 plans across the country next year, only 273 in 21 states will offer at least one. About 7 percent of Advantage members — 1.5 million people — will have access, Medicare officials estimate.

    • So done with the NFL

      I’ve been an NFL for fan for a long time. It started before university when I rebelled against any sport that was vaguely popular at school (and seemed absolutely terrible). For no other reason than they did well at the time, I became a Washington Redskins fan (yes I’m old).

      I started a football team at university, I was involved in it. I even heard Chuck Noll speak once. If there was a Redskins game on TV, I would go up to the local pub in my jersey and watch the game.

      Over the last few years I’ve become pretty upset with what the NFL has become. Well the NFL has always been this way – but I didn’t care. I enjoyed the game, the drama, the strategy, the rivalies, and I ignored or excused away all the problems for my own enjoyment.

      [...]

      The treatment of players and the problems with concussions has been terrible. The NFL has swept it under the rug for so long. Yes they’ve introduced changes, but tried to balance the fundamental problems that constant head contact is part of the game.

    • From Plate to Plough: Less crop per drop

      In sum, public irrigation needs major overhauling in the country, especially in states like Maharashtra. Also, there is the question of who uses how much of irrigation water. In Maharashtra, although about 19 per cent of gross cropped area is irrigated, in case of sugarcane, it is 100 per cent and, in case of cotton, just 3 per cent. So there is massive inequity in the distribution of irrigation water in the state. Can the Fadnavis government take up this challenge and distribute irrigation water from public canals more equitably amongst farmers, on per ha basis?

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • A Systematic Evaluation of Transient Execution Attacks and Defenses

      [...] we present a sound and extensible systematization of transient execution attacks. Our systematization uncovers 7 (new) transient execution attacks that have been overlooked and not been investigated so far. This includes 2 new Meltdown variants: Meltdown-PK on Intel, and Meltdown-BR on Intel and AMD. It also includes 5 new Spectre mistraining strategies. We evaluate all 7 attacks in proof-of-concept implementations on 3 major processor vendors (Intel, AMD, ARM). Our systematization does not only yield a complete picture of the attack surface, but also allows a systematic evaluation of defenses. Through this systematic evaluation, we discover that we can still mount transient execution attacks that are supposed to be mitigated by rolled out patches.

    • New IoT Security Regulations

      Due to ever-evolving technological advances, manufacturers are connecting consumer goods­ — from toys to light bulbs to major appliances­ — to the Internet at breakneck speeds. This is the Internet of Things, and it’s a security nightmare.

      The Internet of Things fuses products with communications technology to make daily life more effortless. Think Amazon’s Alexa, which not only answers questions and plays music but allows you to control your home’s lights and thermostat. Or the current generation of implanted pacemakers, which can both receive commands and send information to doctors over the Internet.

      But like nearly all innovation, there are risks involved. And for products born out of the Internet of Things, this means the risk of having personal information stolen or devices being overtaken and controlled remotely. For devices that affect the world in a direct physical manner — ­cars, pacemakers, thermostats­ — the risks include loss of life and property.

    • University Researchers Publish Paper On GPU Side-Channel Attacks

      University researchers out of University of California Riverside have published a paper this week detailing vulnerabilities in current GPU architectures making them vulnerable to side-channel attacks akin to Spectre and Meltdown.

      With their focus on NVIDIA GPUs, UCLA Riverside researchers demonstrated attacks both for graphics and compute by exploiting the GPU’s performance counters. Demonstrated attacks included a browser-based attack, extracting passwords / keystroke logging, and even the possibility of exposing a CUDA neural network algorithm.

    • Firefox Will Now Show You Data Breach Alert If You Visit Hacked Sites

      Mozilla has announced a new security feature in its Firefox Quantum web browser to alert users when they visit a website that was recently reported in a data breach.

      So if you happen to stumble upon a website that was breached in the past 12 months, Firefox will send you a handy little notification.

      But Mozilla knows better than to throw too many notifications at you, so they have promised that the alerts will “appear at most once per site.”

      After sending you the first notification, Firefox will repeat such an alert only if you visit a site that was breached within the past two months and added to the database of breached sites.

    • Russian hackers are accused of infecting three Eastern European companies with malware
    • Hackers with Russian Ties Hit 3 E. European Companies: Cyber Security Firm
    • Japan’s cyber security minister admits he has never used a computer
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Malmö sees four shooting incidents in 24 hours

      But judged by the Malmö police’s press releases, the rate of shootings has since picked up, with seven this month, two in October and five in September.

      [...]

      Eleven young men have been killed in shootings in Malmö so far this year, [...]

    • Parents, Students Fear Mass Shootings Now the New Normal in US
    • Rep. Ro Khanna: By Blocking Yemen Resolution, House GOP Is Abdicating Its Duty to Decide War & Peace

      House Republicans have quashed debate on a resolution that aims to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, by sneaking a single line into an unrelated resolution about wolves. The House voted 201 to 187 on the bill Wednesday, approving a provision that blocks the Democrats from forcing a vote on the U.S. role in Yemen under the War Powers Act. For nearly four years the United States has played a key role supporting the Saudi-led invasion, which has devastated Yemen, creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The U.N. is warning 14 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine. One new study has estimated the war has killed at least 57,000 people since the beginning of 2016. We speak with Congressmember Ro Khanna, who introduced the resolution in the House.

    • George W. Bush Accepts Prestigious Liberty Award With Bloody Hands

      Like a ghastly echo that is old enough to vote, the news is once again thrumming with stories of an election recount in Broward County. Eighteen years ago, a similar recount was disrupted by one of the most indefensible Supreme Court decisions ever made, and the world began its inexorable slide toward the abyss that now confronts us. Because gallows humor is how doom is endured, there is (of course) an internet meme to mark the moment: A photo of an older, grayer Al Gore above a caption that reads, “Florida Recount Wraps Up, Al Gore Declared President.”

      Good one, internet. It only hurts when I laugh.

      Compounding the existential misery that is always present when anything related to George W. Bush comes up, George W. Bush himself has come up once again. Last weekend, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a nonpartisan institution dedicated to educating people about the country’s founding documents, awarded Bush its prized Liberty Medal. The medal is given “to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom,” and has also been awarded to Nelson Mandela, Rep. John Lewis, Malala Yousafzai, Muhammad Ali and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

    • Witness shot after testifying in Gothenburg murder trial

      A man who had testified in a murder case was treated in hospital after being shot multiple times just hours after the trial.

    • Saudi Arabia executes Indonesian maid for killing employer who tried to rape her

      According to reports Tuti Tursilawati was killed on Monday in the city of Ta’if. The maid’s execution marked the fourth such case of Saudi Arabia killing an Indonesian migrant worker without telling diplomats or the family of those on death row before carrying out the death sentence, reports the Telegraph.

    • Authorities believe Saudi sisters found by Hudson River were alive when they entered water, source says
    • Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America

      What transforms American elections from participatory politics into farce is the exclusion of crucial issues. Environmental crisis, the threat of nuclear annihilation and the wildly skewed distribution of political and economic power will affect how people live in coming years, regardless of how effectively they are excluded from electoral consideration.

      Each of these are historical accumulations— they exist in different time-space than the binary oppositions of political marketing. Environmental crisis has been accumulating since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The threat of nuclear annihilation emerged from WWII as the lunatic id of technological innovation. Class relations have determined the realm of official power since the birth of capitalism.

      This history grants presence to each, regardless of how hidden they are in any given political moment. If a bomb is dropped on a city in the forest, it destroys the lives of those it is dropped on regardless of whether you and I hear it. The subtexts of modernity are automatically written to preclude reflection.

      Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would unilaterally end the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) treaty with Russia. The calculated irrelevance of American electoral politics to the side, this didn’t happen in an historical vacuum. It ties back to Bill Clinton’s unilateral placement of NATO troops on Russia’s border following George H.W. Bush’s promise not to do so.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Justice Department reportedly looking to prosecute Julian Assange amid increased prospects of bringing him to the US for trial

      The Justice Department is getting ready to prosecute Julian Assange as the WikiLeaks founder’s relationship with Ecuador deteriorates, The Wall Street Journal reported citing people in Washington familiar with the matter.

    • U.S. Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute Assange

      The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

      Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

    • Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing
    • Justice Department Preparing To Prosecute WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: WSJ

      The U.S. Justice Department said it is planning to prosecute controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      Sources told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the department is also hopeful it will get Assange ― who has been holed up in an Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012 ― into a U.S. courtroom.

      Assange fled Sweden in 2012 over allegations of sexual assault and rape. Though prosecutors dropped the case last year, he still faces arrest for breaching bail conditions should he leave the embassy.

    • WaPo: Wikileaks Boss Julian Assange Charged According To Court Documents | The 11th Hour | MSNBC
    • Assange’s Lawyer: Ecuador May Be Planning Extradition Under Deal With UK, US

      Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when he fled there to avoid prosecution by the Swedish authorities in a sex assault case. The sex offence charges against Assange have eventually been dropped but the whistleblower has not left the diplomatic mission, where he was granted asylum, over fears that he might be seized by the UK authorities and extradited to the United States where he is wanted for leaking classified documents.

      In October, media revealed that the embassy introduced home rules that Assange should follow, that included restrictions on the whistleblower’s communications and visits. Assange’s defence team subsequently sued Ecuador over the conditions of his stay in the embassy, which, according to them, violate the WikiLeaks founder’s rights.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange facing possible prosecution by DOJ: report

      Assange has been seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but WikiLeaks supporters have claimed that Assange fears being extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy.

    • US Prosecutors Reportedly Optimistic About Bringing Julian Assange to Court

      Barry Pollack, Assange’s lawyer, told the Journal he had “heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent.”

    • Justice Department is preparing to prosecute Julian Assange

      Ecuadorean officials have long since grown tired of hosting Assange, with that country’s new president Lenin Moreno calling the white-haired leaker a “stone in our shoe.”

      The Journal speculated that Justice officials could pursue charges related to the Espionage Act, which bars the disclosure of national defense-related information.

    • Julian Assange ‘WILL be prosecuted for ESPIONAGE’: US officials ‘increasingly hopeful of getting WikiLeaks founder extradited from his London embassy bolthole to face charges in an American courtroom’
    • New filing from U.S. government inadvertently reveals Julian Assange is facing sealed charges

      The United States government has charged — under seal — Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, The Washington Post reported late Thursday evening.

      The disclosure came in an unrelated case.

      While urging a judge to keep a matter sealed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, wrote “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

      The prosecutor added that the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

    • Ex-FBI counter-intel chief: Newly revealed Assange charges may be part of Mueller’s plan to target Trump

      MSNBC “11th Hour” anchor Brian Williams broke in with breaking news on Thursday after the Department of Justice inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      Williams was fortunate to have as a guest Frank Figliuzzi, the former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

      “So, Frank, what’s the significance of this development to you?” Williams asked.

      “Well, this has deep meaning also for me personally, because I was in Washington at headquarters when the entire intelligence community was wrestling with what to do with Julian Assange and Wikileaks,” he noted. “And that the great debate about whether we should even treat him as a foreign power — they were doing that much damage to us.”

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange charged under seal in the US: reports
    • Justice Department reportedly preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      After a year of discussions, Justice Department officials are optimistic they will be able to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into a U.S. courtroom, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

      In 2012, Assange received political asylum from Ecuador, and he has been living in the country’s London embassy ever since. Prosecutors do not yet know what charges they might file, but it could involve the Espionage Act, the Journal reports. Prosecutors are also reportedly considering publicly indicting Assange so the Ecuadorian government could see evidence against him and would have a reason to remove him from the embassy.

    • US optimistic it will prosecute Julian Assange

      The US Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

    • U.S. optimistic it will soon prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments. Ecuador’s relationship with Assange has deteriorated sharply since last year’s election of President Lenin Moreno, who has described him as a “stone in our shoe” and said his continued presence at the embassy is unsustainable.

      An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign. Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over.

    • US preparing to prosecute Assange: report

      The Department of Justice is reportedly preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and hopes to try him in a U.S. courtroom.

      The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that prosecutors have been discussing different charges to level against Assange and how to bring him back to the U.S.

      Ecuador granted Assange asylum in 2012 and he has been living in that country’s embassy in London ever since.

      However, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who was elected last year, has reportedly soured on Assange.

      “On that, I’ll just say, ‘we’ll see,’” John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division, told the Journal on the possibility of the DOJ prosecuting Assange.

    • US prosecutors get Assange indictment
    • Q&A: what’s it like handling PR for Julian Assange?

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange became a polarising figure when he broke through on the global stage thanks to his organisations’ storing and publishing of secret documents. In recent years he has sought political refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, avoiding an arrest warrant, which he denies and claims to be part of a political conspiracy as a result of his work with Wikileaks.

      Representing Assange is PR man Richard Hillgrove who spoke to The Drum about what the role has been like, having also worked with other politically charged clients such as legendary fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and activist, author and actress Rose McGowan over the years.

    • U.S. prosecutors get indictment against Wikileaks’ Assange: court document

      American prosecutors have obtained a sealed indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose website published thousands of classified U.S. government documents, a U.S. federal court document showed on Thursday.

      [...]

      On social network Twitter, Wikileaks said it was an “apparent cut-and-paste error.”

      U.S. officials had no comment on the disclosure in the document about a sealed indictment of Assange. It is unclear what charges Assange faces.

      But Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office which filed the document that was unsealed, told Reuters, “The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing.”

      Reuters was unable to immediately reach Assange or his lawyers to seek comment.

    • Julian Assange charged in US: WikiLeaks

      The exact nature of the charges against Assange was not immediately known.

    • Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has been charged in US, prosecutors accidentally reveal

      The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal with unspecified offences in the US, prosecutors have accidentally revealed in an unintentional court filing.

      Federal prosecutors had hoped to keep the indictment against Mr Assange a secret “due to the sophistication of the defendant, and the publicity surrounding the case”, and so that Mr Assange would “no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter”.

      Wikileaks said on social media that the US Justice Department had “accidentally revealed existence of sealed charges (or draft of them) against [Mr Assange] in apparent cut-and-paste error”.

      The document that reveals the charges, which prosecutors say was filed by mistake, asks a judge to seal documents in a criminal case unrelated to Mr Assange, and carries markings indicating it was originally filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August.

    • The DOJ is reportedly preparing to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      The Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing to bring charges against Julian Assange, the founder of the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

      Over the past year, prosecutors are said to have discussed a variety of charges they could bring against Assange and are reportedly optimistic that they could get Assange, who is currently seeking asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, into a US court.
      The US’ push comes as Assange’s relationship with Ecuador is in decline, and as the South American country is looking to bolster its relationship with the US.

      The DOJ has been investigating Assange since 2010, and according to The Journal, while the exact charges prosecutors want to bring against him are unclear, they may involve the Espionage Act.

      Assange and WikiLeaks are at the center of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.

    • Prosecutors Have Prepared Indictment of Julian Assange, a Filing Reveals

      The Justice Department has prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, marking a drastic escalation of the government’s yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group.

      It was not clear if prosecutors have filed charges against Mr. Assange. The indictment came to light late Thursday through an unrelated court filing in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him.

      “The court filing was made in error,” said Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. “That was not the intended name for this filing.”

      Mr. Assange has lived for years in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and would have to be arrested and extradited if he were to face charges in federal court, altogether a multistep diplomatic and legal process.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Pipeline Vandals Are Reinventing Climate Activism

      Getting arrested was part of the plan. Across the country, the Valve Turners and their support teams had closed the valves in the hope of getting into court to present to a jury what is called a “necessity defense,” arguing that their crime was an act of civil disobedience meant to prevent a greater harm—in this case, death by climate catastrophe. If the plan worked they would create a legal precedent that would put a powerful new tool in the hands of eco-warriors.

    • Iceland’s Christmas ad was brave and necessary. It shouldn’t be banned

      Concern about our planet has never been greater, thanks to last month’s UN report warning that we have 12 years to stop irreversible damage to the Earth. Yet, one month on, a supermarket’s Christmas advert showing the damage palm oil is doing to the natural world has been deemed too political to put on TV. If that doesn’t make you weep, I’m not sure what will.

      Iceland repackaged a short film by Greenpeace showing the destruction of an orangutan’s rainforest habitat due to palm oil growers. Palm oil is about as unsustainable as it gets, and contributes to habitat loss and the endangerment of species, including elephants, rhinos, tigers and orangutans.

    • The World’s Wilderness Is Nearly Gone

      Nearly every day’s news cycle seems to bring another harbinger of environmental doom: from soaring global temperatures, to new statistics showing vast declines in wildlife populations along with constant stories of coral bleaching, chemical spills, and accelerating climate disasters. Now scientists have zoomed out to examine the world’s endangered landscapes on a macro scale, revealing that human society is not only exterminating flora and fauna—it’s literally ripping up the ground beneath them. Just a small fraction of the world’s wilderness lands can be considered relatively free of human interference. And without dramatic policy measures, the remaining wild places will soon be paved, farmed, mined, and polluted into oblivion.

      Using geospatial mapping data, a research team based at the University of Queensland has depicted the massive hemorrhaging of wilderness over time. Their new study, published ahead of a United Nations biodiversity summit, shows that the remaining vestiges of marine and land habitats relatively untouched by human intervention are facing extinction.

    • Mining the deep ocean will soon begin

      The licensees include Belgium, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore and South Korea, as well as several small Pacific island states. America, which is not party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that established the ISA, is not involved directly, but at least one American firm, Lockheed Martin, has an interest in the matter through a British subsidiary, UK Seabed Resources. And people are getting busy. Surveying expeditions have already visited the concessions. On land, the required mining machines are being built and tested. What worries biologists is that if all this busyness does lead to mining, it will wreck habitats before they can be properly catalogued, let alone understood.

    • “The Last Animals”: a journey to the frontlines of extinction

      Indeed, despite official estimates that elephants and rhinos may become extinct in the next ten to 20 years, Ms Brooks says “the reality is that localised extinction is happening now”. At the start of filming, there were seven northern white rhinos left in the world but this figure quickly decreased to five. In zoos in San Diego and the Czech Republic, and in Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya, the animals are named individuals, making it all the more shocking when they die—Nola, Nabire, then Sudan, the last male, until there are only two. They die of various natural causes while in captivity; interventions to make them breed have failed. According to Ms Brooks, it is a cautionary tale of what happens when humans try too little too late. There is nothing left to do but watch an extinction taking place.

    • Avni was tagged ‘man-eater’ without proper evidence; authorities behind her ‘ruthless killing’ must be brought to book

      Considerable substantiation based on field evidence is required to declare a tiger a “man-eater”. Avni is believed to have been given the tag without any precise establishment of her predatory habits and also without any conclusive evidence of her role in 13 human deaths over two years, which authorities have maintained was the reason she had to be killed.

      The damning “man-eater” label also contradicted the “Guidelines of Declaration of Big Cats as Man-eaters”, which state that a tiger can only be deemed a danger to humans if he or she ventures into human territory and kills someone. However, the deaths that the Maharashtra Forest Department attributed to Avni were results of humans entering tiger territory, possibly to allow cattle to graze in the forest reserve.

    • Climate should be an election issue

      There is no longer any doubt that this extreme situation will almost certainly occur. But governments, corporations, and international agencies have thus far not done enough to mitigate the problem, and appear increasingly incapable of implementing effective adaptation strategies either. Perhaps it is time for a people’s revolution to jolt the powerful out of their lethargy. The need of the hour is to make climate and the environment an election issue; and only vote to power those who grasp the gravity of the situation, and the need for urgency in climate adaptation policies.

    • Fracking halted again as biggest earthquake yet is recorded at Cuadrilla’s new site in Lancashire

      Anti-fracking campaigners have voiced their alarm at the earthquakes, with 27 now noted since fracking started on Monday, October 15.

    • Climate change: Oceans ‘soaking up more heat than estimated’

      Researchers say that the world has seriously underestimated the amount of heat soaked up by our oceans over the past 25 years.

      Their study suggests that the seas have absorbed 60% more than previously thought.

      They say it means the Earth is more sensitive to fossil fuel emissions than estimated.

    • Why India’s air pollution is so horrendous

      When you look at the database’s ranking of particulate pollution in cities, 11 of the 12 cities with the highest levels are located in India. Kanpur, India, population 3 million, tops the list with a yearly average of 319 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5, the most hazardous particle commonly measured. (Bamenda, Cameroon, is the one city outside of India in the top 12.)

    • The Global Extinction Rebellion Begins

      Dr. Gail Bradbrook, a mother of two boys, has seen enough of her government’s complicity in pumping increasing amounts of CO2 and methane into an already overburdened atmosphere.

      A professor of molecular biophysics, her deep understanding of science has led her to confront the existential crisis facing humans. Acting on her love for her children and the disrupted world that is being left to them, she has channeled her horror about this crisis into action.

      Dr. Bradbrook co-founded the group Rising Up!, which is now helping to organize the Extinction Rebellion, a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK that is using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to demand action on our climate emergency.Dr. Gail Bradbrook, a mother of two boys, has seen enough of her government’s complicity in pumping increasing amounts of CO2 and methane into an already overburdened atmosphere.

      A professor of molecular biophysics, her deep understanding of science has led her to confront the existential crisis facing humans. Acting on her love for her children and the disrupted world that is being left to them, she has channeled her horror about this crisis into action.

      Dr. Bradbrook co-founded the group Rising Up!, which is now helping to organize the Extinction Rebellion, a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK that is using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to demand action on our climate emergency.

    • Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site

      The Woolsey fire in California began Nov. 8 near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), site of a partial reactor meltdown, the consequences of which have never been cleaned up. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control released a statement early Nov. 9 saying its scientists “don’t believe that the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.”

      The fire’s progress through to Oak Park indicates that much of the toxic site burned, according to the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility which has investigated SSFL radiation risks for 30 years.

      Use of the phrase “don’t believe” [the fire caused risk] by the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) had to stand in for a clear denial of radiation risk because none of the site’s air monitors had yet been seen by the department. The following words of DTSC’s Nov. 9 announcement were: “There is an air monitoring network around the perimeter of the SSFL site. As soon as access is open we will evaluate the air monitoring stations.” The department seemed to be reading from a script identified by the oceanographer Jacque Cousteau who said, “…before specialists even know what has happened, they rush to the media saying, ‘There’s no danger to the public.’”

  • Finance

    • Industrial Union chair slams gov’t “ignorance” of working life

      Aalto said his criticism comes from the recognition that the government is the head of Finland’s representative democracy.

    • Trump May Soon Deal Yet Another Blow to Union Rights

      At stake is the joint-employer standard, the arcane labor rule that governs an increasingly common labor arrangement today: the “fissured” workplace, where workers are technically employed by a subcontractor, but their working conditions are essentially controlled by the parent company to which they are assigned (in many cases today, so-called “permatemps” do virtually the same job as regular workers, with less pay and job security).

      [...]

      By making it easier for companies to outsource their labor while casting off their responsibilities to protect their workers, the NLRB’s proposed joint-employer reforms wouldn’t just threaten to further stratify a fissured labor force; it would separate workers from the labor movement.

    • Danish chef fined for money laundering after taking cash payment [iophk: "if nothing is done, soon cash payment will be illegal completely"]

      The chef received the fine after being paid 53,000 kroner in cash for preparing the meal at a silver wedding celebration in central Jutland.

      Herning’s district court found that, by accepting cash in payment for the service, he was in breach of laws designed to prevent money laundering.

      According to the law, businesses are prevented in principle for accepting payments of over 50,000 kroner in cash.

    • Entercom: Don’t Overlook This 5% Yield Concern

      ntercom Communication (ETM) is Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania based radio broadcasting company. Exiting 2016, the company owned the fourth largest portfolio of radio stations – 127 – in the United States covering 28 top markets. The company derived over 50% of its revenue from 8 markets: Boston, Buffalo, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle. The company was controlled (through class B voting shares) by the Field family.

      [...]

      For those unfamiliar, a Reverse Morris Trust transaction is a tax-optimization strategy for the parent company – in this case CBS Corporation – that wishes to spin off unwanted assets. To actuate this transaction, CBS Corporation spun off its CBS Radio subsidiary into a separate company and merged it with a third-party company: Entercom. This merged entity then issued shares to shareholders of the original parent company. Even though CBS owns more than 50% of the company, Entercom management controls the day-to-day operations and have five board seats to CBS’s four. Another example of this type of transaction was the 2007 Verizon Communications (VZ) spinoff and subsequent merger of its Northeast landline subsidiary with FairPoint (FRP). The tax structure was not likely the only motivation for this type of transaction: CBS Radio’s declining revenues over the past couple of years make bad optics for a standard IPO. Currently the company has a market capitalization of just over $1 billion and sells for just north of $7.00 a share.

    • Amazon HQ Move Criticized by New York City Council, U.S. Senator

      The gathering in Queens included dozens of elected officials, including City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the district that includes Long Island City and who said he’d been shut out of any negotiations and only learned the deal had been consummated by reading about it in the newspaper. Part of the deal involves a state takeover of land involved so that the City Council would have no zoning oversight.

    • Why Amazon’s Search for a Second Headquarters Backfired

      Amazon announced Tuesday that the 14-month public bidding war for its so-called second headquarters was coming to an end. After reviewing 238 proposals from cities across North America, the company says it will build two large regional offices in Queens, New York and Arlington, Virginia as well as a smaller campus in Nashville, Tennessee. The search was largely a success for CEO Jeff Bezos, who can use valuable data from the losing cities to inform Amazon’s business and future expansion. But in at least one respect, Amazon’s Hunger Games-style civic competition backfired: It’s shined a spotlight on how Amazon and companies like it have benefitted enormously from taxpayer funds.

    • What cities offered Amazon: helipads, zoo tickets, and a street named Alexa

      Philadelphia was promising to add its own $1.1bn to the pot, promising that local taxes collected from Amazon for 20 years would be returned to the company as well. Pittsburgh’s mayor has not yet revealed what his city was promising.

      Atlanta and Dallas have now revealed their losing hands as well: $2bn and $1.1bn in incentives, respectively.

    • Amazon Signs Deal With Horror King Jason Blum for Eight Movies
    • Amazon HQ2 Won’t Improve Quality of Life for New York and Virginia Residents

      Now that the deal for Amazon’s second headquarters has been struck, it’s worth asking if this is a package that its recipients should never have ordered.

      Amazon announced that its “HQ2” will be split between two locations, Long Island City in Queens, New York, and Crystal City in Northern Virginia. Amazon says it intends to employ more than 25,000 workers at each site. But that does not mean that Amazon will be employing many residents from either the Washington, DC, metropolitan area or the boroughs of New York City. Rather, it will be attracting people from elsewhere to work on its new campus for more than $150,000 a year. Indeed, this is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s stated reason for siting the headquarters in two of the US’s richest and most rapidly gentrifying cities, according to its news release: “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come.”

      In exchange for a subsidy of over $1.5 billion, New York has been promised a donation of land for a single new school, a “tech startup incubator” and “new green spaces.” In exchange for a subsidy of almost $800 million, Arlington, Virginia, of which Crystal City is a part, will apparently not receive anything.

      What the politicians who negotiated these deals will receive is a richer population. Not for their current population to become more financially stable, more secure or more fulfilled – but for a new population, which will push out many of the previous residents. They will govern a richer community, and the old community will be forced to move somewhere else.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Elissa Slotkin took heat from angry Democrats during her campaign

      “Flint was an apocalyptic poisoning of an American city but not the only story, unfortunately,” she said. “As a CIA analyst, I am trained to look at patterns and data. Data tells us there’s a problem with our drinking water — with lead, PFAS, toxic chemicals and other things.

      “In my district, in the Huron River, we can no longer eat the fish. We cannot eat the deer that forage around the Huron River. We have a problem. We need to accept that problem. We need a once-in-a-generation investment in our water infrastructure. Our state has the greatest concentration of fresh water and we cannot cannot provide clean drinking water to our citizens.”

    • Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis

      But as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.

    • Mark Zuckerberg to the governments of Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland and Argentina: “Go fuck yourselves”

      Mark Zuckerberg has told the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Argentina, Australia and Ireland that he is “not available” for a planned hearing on political disinformation and Facebook.

    • Zuckerberg: I didn’t know of Facebook ties to firm attacking George Soros

      Mark Zuckerberg defended his leadership of Facebook on Thursday, claiming ignorance of the company’s relationship with a political consultancy that used an antisemitic narrative to undermine critics.

    • Mark Zuckerberg ‘not able’ to attend international disinformation hearing

      Damian Collins, chair of the committee, is leading the charge and noted that the social network’s response is “hugely disappointing.”

      “The fact that he has continually declined to give evidence, not just to my committee, but now to an unprecedented international grand committee, makes him look like he’s got something to hide,” he said in an emailed statement.”

    • How Facebook Wrestled With Scandal: 6 Key Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation

      An investigation by The New York Times revealed how Facebook fought back against its critics: with delays, denials and a full-bore campaign in Washington. Here are six takeaways.

    • Facebook Cuts Ties With Washington Firm That Sought to Discredit Social Network’s Critics
    • No one at Facebook seems to know who hired a DC opposition research firm

      Definers was hired as part of a lobbying effort intended to counter mounting criticisms of Facebook over the past year. The firm’s role, among other things, included circulating a document tying a prominent anti-Facebook group to financing from billionaire George Soros. Efforts to link liberal causes to Soros are a tactic often used by the alt-right and other conservatives as a dog whistle for anti-Semitism.

    • Facebook hired GOP oppo firm to smear protesters by linking them to George Soros, an anti-Semitic trope: NYT

      We are watching Facebook unravel in real time. I hope.

    • Florida’s Recount Isn’t Really a Recount

      But even as the state’s 67 counties scramble to finish the machine recount of more than 8 million ballots, it’s not clear the results will give a true picture of the race’s winner. That’s because the method Florida uses to conduct election recounts is not a true recount of voter ballots, but simply a rescan of ballots through the same machines that initially counted them. If problems with the software — either through glitches or [cracking] — produced faulty results the first time, they will reproduce the same faulty results during a rescan.

      “To call it a recount is false,” says Ion Sancho, who for 27 years was supervisor of elections for Leon County, Florida, and who led the manual recount in Miami-Dade County for the 2000 presidential recount. “It’s a failure in the state of Florida that the manual recount is not a recount; it’s a scan of ballots.”

    • The battle over a citizenship question on the 2020 census heats up

      It has been 70 years since a query regarding citizenship appeared on the census. Now Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, faces six consolidated lawsuits—two each in California, Maryland and New York—over his announcement in March this year that he intends to type it back in. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia—together with 15 cities, several counties and immigrant-aid groups including the New York Immigration Coalition—are suing Mr Ross and the Commerce Department for flouting proper rule-changing procedures, discriminating against immigrants and attempting to scare them away from participating in the census. [...]

    • Trump DOJ Argues “No Journalist Has First Amendment Right to Enter White House”

      The ACLU fired off a reminder Wednesday that the “White House belongs to the people, not the president” after the Trump administration asserted in a legal filing that the president has “broad discretion” to bar reporters from press briefings.

      “No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House,” Justice Department lawyers argued in a 28-page filing in response to CNN’s lawsuit against the administration for revoking the “hard pass” of the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, last week.

      CNN said in a statement announcing the legal action on Tuesday that the suspension violated Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights and that it is seeking to have the credentials reinstated.

      “While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials,” CNN stated.

      The president himself suggested that it was not only Acosta, with whom he’s sparred frequently, or his frequent target CNN, but that “it could be others” who face the same retaliation.

    • Goodbye, and Thanks for all the Fish

      It is rather disconcerting to be watching the UK continue its disintegration in such spectacular fashion, from as far away as Ghana. I wonder whether events appear quite so ridiculous close up.

      It surprises me that, in all the discussion and analysis of the withdrawal agreement, there has been so little analysis of the much more important conjoined Political Declaration, which is about the UK’s prospective relationships once the divorce is over. It particularly surprises me that so very little has been said about fish.

      It is very unfortunate for British, and especially Scottish, fishermen that their political leaders are strange right wing bigots of a particularly repellent stamp. This blinds decent people to the truth that the fishing communities of the UK did suffer a dreadful historic injustice, on the same scale as Thatcher’s assault on the miners.

      It is seldom remembered now that the UK’s initial entry to the European Communities was achieved against a background of traditional hostility from European states, especially France. Ted Heath’s government decided that the economic benefits of joining the Common Market were so huge, it was for the greater good to sacrifice the fishing community.

    • Who, Us? Corporate Media Ignore Their Role in Trump’s Refugee ‘Invasion’ Panic

      Joshua Holland (The Nation, 10/26/18): “Trump floods the zone with bullshit, they dutifully convey it, and we end up swimming in it.”If the establishment media’s coverage in the home stretch of the 2018 midterm elections is any kind of prologue to 2020, be prepared for an avalanche of right-wing xenophobic propaganda during our next presidential election. That’s because, once again, the political press dutifully chased Trump’s rhetorical tail as Election Day neared, and repeatedly ceded its editorial judgment and newshole to the nativist fearmongering he used to stoke the Republican Party’s base. And nowhere was this fecklessness more apparent than media’s breathless “migrant caravan” coverage.

      Left-wing media critics documented these failures almost in real time. Joshua Holland at The Nation (10/25/18) noted in late October how Trump was all but acting as the de facto segment producer for all those ubiquitous cable news panel shows that were spending all their time discussing a few thousand asylum seekers that were more than a thousand miles from the US southern border.

      Likewise, a study by the liberal media research site Media Matters (11/2/18) found that Trump might as well have been the front-page assignment editor for elite newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times, which simply couldn’t resist the siren song of his manufactured crisis. In all, those two papers published nearly 30 different stories about the migrant caravan on their respective A1 pages in the two weeks before Election Day. And on three different days, the Times devoted two front-page stories to what Trump had not-so-subtly began calling an “invasion.”

    • For Once, Theresa May is Very Accurate

      Theresa May today chose to compare herself with Geoffrey Boycott. For once, she was being very accurate, especially when it comes to relationships with her own team. Boycott’s players hated him so much during his captaincy they actually ran him out on purpose during a test match.

    • Facebook’s Use Of Smear Merchants Is The Norm, Not The Exception

      In a conference call this afternoon, Zuckerberg then tried to claim that neither he nor Sandberg knew anything about Definers being hired, while insisting that Facebook would be taking a much closer look at their DC policy and lobbying partners moving forward. But companies routinely hire firms like Definers knowing full well the kind of tactics they employ, and the idea that neither Zuckerberg nor Sandberg knew anything about the work Definers was doing is generally being seen as either a falsehood or incompetence.

      While Facebook’s decision to smear critics instead of owning their own obvious dysfunction is clearly idiotic, much of the backlash has operated under the odd belief that Facebook’s behavior is some kind of exception, not the norm. Countless companies employ think tanks, consultants, bogus news ops, PR firms, academics, and countless other organizations to spread falsehoods, pollute the public discourse, and smear their critics on a daily basis. It’s a massive industry. Just ask the telecom sector.

      In the last decade alone broadband providers and firms far worse than Definers have been caught paying minority groups to generate bunk support for bad policy, hijacking consumer identities to support bad policy, creating bogus consumer groups to generate fake support for bad policy, flooding the news wires endlessly with misleading op/eds without disclosing financial conflicts of interest, stocking public meetings with cardboard cutouts (so real people can’t attend), or filling news comments sections and social media with bullshit criticism of corporate critics.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Pakistan blasphemy case: Asia Bibi’s husband fears for wife’s safety

      But on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that there was not enough evidence against her and ordered her release, though not until after the court makes a final review of its verdict. The decision prompted angry protests by the Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, which only ended after the government under Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed to bar Bibi from leaving the country and to release a number of arrested protesters.

    • Blasphemy in Pakistan: calls are multiplying to ask for the reception of Asia Bibi in France

      The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and the president of the Republicans, Laurent Wauquiez, asked Monday, November 5 in separate messages to the French authorities to intervene to “save the life” of the Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi. More than 40 personalities, including Elisabeth and Robert Badinter, Luc Ferry and Daniel Salvatore Schiffer, also put the same message in a forum published in Le Figaro , Wednesday, November 7. Denounced by neighbors for drinking the water of a well reserved in principle for Muslims, this Christian had been sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010, before being found innocent of this crime [sic] at the end of October. She remains, however, for the time imprisoned.

    • Protesters Delay Release Of Pakistani Woman Acquitted For Blasphemy

      Asia Bibi’s sentence was reversed on Wednesday in Islamabad. Almost simultaneously, followers of a hard-line Pakistani religious group rushed onto major highways across the country to paralyze traffic in protest of the decision.

      They called for Bibi to be killed, along with the three Supreme Court judges who issued the verdict. They also called on Pakistani military forces to disobey the army chief of staffs, accusing him of not being a Muslim.

    • An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg: The World’s Freedom of Expression is in Your Hands

      Today, we the undersigned civil society organizations, call on Facebook to provide a mechanism for all of its users to appeal content restrictions, and, in every case, to have the appealed decision re-reviewed by a human moderator.

    • ARTICLE 19 and 70+ civil society groups write to Mark Zuckerberg over content removal

      A series of well-publicised cases, such as the banning of the Little Mermaid for nudity, have highlighted how arbitrary the moderation of Facebook’s content can be. In many of these high profile cases, content has been restored after negative publicity. But for ordinary users, Facebook only allows appeals in a limited set of circumstances. In many cases, they have absolutely no option to appeal and may have their accounts removed.

    • Turkish Case Against Former Wall Street Journal Reporter Is Thrown Out

      A Turkish court threw out the conviction against a former Wall Street Journal reporter on Tuesday, annulling a widely criticized verdict at a time when Turkey is looking to improve relations with the West.

    • A Note From Matt Murray About Ayla Albayrak

      I’m very happy to share the news that the unjust criminal conviction in Turkey against our friend and former colleague, Ayla Albayrak, was today thrown out by an appeals court.

      This was overdue. Ayla should never have been put in this position. Her original conviction in October 2017 for a straight and factual story was totally unfounded and wholly unjust. Her work was balanced and it was fair. It included comment from all relevant parties. In essence, she was convicted for honest, objective and irrefutable reporting. In other words, the kind of work that all of us strive to produce every day.

      While welcome, the decision is not completely satisfying. The Turkish appeals court dismissed the case on procedural grounds, ruling that the prosecution violated the statute of limitations, rather than addressing the merits.

      Legal action in Turkey against Ayla began after the August 2015 publication of an article under the headline “Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast.” It was accompanied by a video. The work focused on the conflict between Turkey’s armed forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, called PKK. PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the European Union and Turkey.

    • Rights Groups Demand Facebook Set Up Real Due Process Around Content Moderation

      For quite some time now, when discussing how the various giant platforms should manage the nearly impossible challenges of content moderation, one argument I’ve fallen back on again and again is that they need to provide real due process. This is because, while there are all sorts of concerns about content moderation, the number of false positives that lead to “good” content being taken down is staggering. Lots of people like to point and laugh at these, but any serious understanding of content moderation at scale has to recognize that when you need to process many many thousands of requests per day, often involving complex or nuanced issues, many, many mistakes are going to be made. And thus, you need a clear and transparent process that enables review.

      [...]

      While the reasons that Google and Facebook have not yet created this kind of due process are obvious (it would be kinda costly, for one), it does seem like such a system will be increasingly important, and it’s good to see these groups pushing Facebook on this in particular.

      Of course, earlier this year, Zuckerberg had floated an idea of an independent (i.e. outside of Facebook) third party board that could handle these kinds of content moderation appeals, and… a bunch of people freaked out, falsely claiming that Zuckerberg wanted to create a special Facebook Supreme Court (even as he was actually advocating for having a body outside of Facebook reviewing Facebook’s decisions).

      No matter what, it would be good for the large platforms to start taking these issues seriously, not only for reasons of basic fairness and transparency, but because it would also serve to better make the public comfortable with how this process works. When it is, as currently construed, a giant black box, that leads to a lot more anger and conspiracy thinking over how content moderation actually works.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook Might Use Your Photos To Find Who You Live With & Ad-Targeting

      Facebook, one of the biggest social media platform, has taken targeted advertising to new heights. I am often taken aback by the creepiness of ads displayed on my Facebook profile.

      Now, a patent filed by Facebook suggests that targeted ads would be much pervasive and relevant in the near future. The application describes a technology that can predict who your family and other household members are, based on images and captions that were posted on the social media platform.

    • Sheriff’s Dept.: The 1,079 Privileged Jailhouse Calls We Intercepted Was Actually 34,000 Calls

      A few months back, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department admitted it had been listening in on privileged conversations. Calls from inmates to lawyers were being swept up along with everything else by service provider Global Tel Link. This violation of state law (among other things) jeopardized dozens of prosecutions. In all, GTL’s so-called “technical error” resulted in the interception of more than 1,000 privileged calls.

      The Sheriff’s Department claimed it told GTL to fix the problem, but didn’t appear to have been terribly bothered by this evidentiary windfall… some of which made its way into the hands of prosecutors. It made several disappointed noises about its provider when confronted in court, but its quasi-proactive “knock it off” — directed towards GTL — didn’t explain its lack of proactivity when it came to informing criminal defendants and their legal reps their cases may have been compromised by attorney-client privilege violations.

      This was only the tip of the iceberg. The OC Register reports there’s been an exponential increase in the number of privileged calls trapped by this “technical error.”

    • EFF and MuckRock Release Records and Data from 200 Law Enforcement Agencies’ Automated License Plate Reader Programs

      EFF and MuckRock have filed hundreds of public records requests with law enforcement agencies around the country to reveal how data collected from automated license plate readers (ALPR) is used to track the travel patterns of drivers. We focused exclusively on departments that contract with surveillance vendor Vigilant Solutions to share data between their ALPR systems.

      Today we are releasing records obtained from 200 agencies, accounting for more than 2.5-billion license plate scans in 2016 and 2017. This data is collected regardless of whether the vehicle or its owner or driver are suspected of being involved in a crime. In fact, the information shows that 99.5% of the license plates scanned were not under suspicion at the time the vehicles’ plates were collected.

      On average, agencies are sharing data with a minimum of 160 other agencies through Vigilant Solutions’ LEARN system, though many agencies are sharing data with over 800 separate entities.

    • Impact assessment shows privacy risks Microsoft Office ProPlus Enterprise
    • Google gives the Pixel camera superhuman night vision

      Night Sight is momentous because it’s a software change that delivers a leap in performance that previously only new hardware could bring.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Christian converts from Islam arrested and tortured in Darfur, Sudan

      The agents released two believers with Christian backgrounds from the Nuba mountains, the oldest Christian region in Sudan, but detained eleven converts from Islam including the pastor, Tajdeen Yousif.

      A Barnabas Fund contact reported, “They tortured them beating them a whole day and night and telling them you face death because you changed your religion.”

    • Sheikh Hasina: Whoever insults Islam will be punished according to the law

      The religion of Bangladesh “is Islam. Anyone who pronounces offensive comments against it or against the Prophet Muhammad, will be prosecuted according to the law” stated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday. She was speaking at a gathering of madrassas [Koranic schools] in Dhaka. “I know that on social media – she added – there is a lot of propaganda. Pay them no attention “.

    • Muslim lesbian couple caned in public punishment

      “Sharia criminal procedure allows the court to determine where the sentence will be carried out, and requires that it must be witnessed by a number of other Muslims,” he said.

    • Man Pleads Guilty to ‘Swatting’ Hoax That Resulted in a Fatal Shooting

      Mr. Barriss called the police in Wichita, telling them that he had killed his father, was holding two family members at gunpoint, had doused his house in gasoline and was contemplating suicide. Police officers arrived at the address they were given, and one fatally shot a fourth man, Andrew Finch, 28, in his doorway after he stepped outside to investigate the commotion and dropped his hands. Mr. Finch, though, had done nothing wrong and did not know about the swatting call.

    • Bar Refaeli Slammed For Removing Muslim Face Covering In Ad
    • 6 People Who Broke (Stupid) Laws In The Best Way Possible

      Anyone who’s tried to look up a scientific paper online (most likely to win a bar argument, though we guess there are other uses) knows that publishers have a pretty good racket going. It typically costs around $30 to see a full paper, which builds up to over $24 billion in yearly profits. That’s right between the music and film industries, but with a much bigger profit margin, since scientific publishers don’t have to pay Brad Pitt’s salary or put up with Kanye West. They don’t even pay the scientists themselves, since the studies are usually funded by universities or, uh … you.

      As a result, researchers and institutions end up having to buy back their own work in the form of academic journals, and if they can’t afford the increasingly expensive subscriptions? There’s nothing they can do. Well, not legally. Enter Sci-Hub, which is to science what the Pirate Bay is to The Walking Dead.

    • Could Your Police Department Be Inflating Rape Clearance Rates?

      Many law enforcement agencies across the U.S. may be pumping up their reported rape clearance rates using a little-known category called “exceptional clearance,” according to an analysis by Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica. The designation allows police to clear cases when they have enough evidence to make an arrest and know who and where the suspect is, but can’t make an arrest for reasons outside their control.

    • How We Analyzed Rape Clearance Rates

      As part of the FBI’s standardized Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country regularly tell the FBI how many serious crimes were reported in their jurisdictions and how many of them they “cleared.” Police agencies often point to the annual clearance rate — the number of cases cleared divided by the number of total crimes (excluding unfounded cases) — as a measure of their effectiveness. Clearance rates are often presented to the public as “solve” rates.

      While clearance rates have been described as “cleared by arrest” rates in FBI documents, FBI rules actually allow the police to clear a case without making an arrest.

      [...]

      A review of the NIBRS data indicated that rape offenses are frequently cleared by exceptional means, yet neither the FBI nor the public has any way to know how many rape crimes are being cleared without arrest in the majority of cities across the United States. We hoped to uncover the arrest and exceptional clearance rates previously hidden from the public by requesting data from police internal case management systems in those places.

    • When It Comes to Rape, Just Because a Case Is Cleared Doesn’t Mean It’s Solved

      Andy Leisher didn’t like what he was seeing on the security cameras from his post at the front desk of the Ramada Inn in Janesville, Wisconsin. On the closed-circuit television in front of him, Leisher watched as a man in his 30s kissed what appeared to be a teenager in the motel hot tub.

      It put him on alert. “It just felt awkward,” Leisher said of the scene. “She just seemed really young, and he seemed really old. Or too old to be with her.”

      When Leisher, a part-time pastor, confirmed that the girl was 16, he called the police. A few hours later, police arrested 31-year-old Bryan Kind, and he was charged with having sex with a child and possession of child pornography. He’s pleaded not guilty.

      After collecting Kind’s cellphones, Janesville police also found naked photos of a girl from Maryland, and they sent the information to authorities there.

      It wasn’t news to the Baltimore County Police Department. About a month before the May 2017 arrest, the department closed its investigation into Kind on allegations that he had sex with a 13-year-old girl.

      It went on Baltimore County’s books as a success, another rape case cleared.

      But Kind had walked free. He wasn’t charged with any crime. The Police Department hadn’t arrested him, even though it had a thick investigative file on him.

    • Prisoners Are Getting Paid $1.45 a Day to Fight the California Wildfires

      Incarcerated workers fighting wildfires deserve the same wages and protections that civilian workers receive.
      As firefighters in California battle the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history, they are joined by unlikely allies against the blaze. About 200 prisoners in California’s Conservation Camp program are fighting the fires alongside civilian employees, earning just $1.45 a day for their work. Their pay as workers is a fraction of minimum wage. The hazard to their lives is real, as evidenced by a death toll that has climbed steadily.

      The prisoners battling the fires in California deserve real wages. And their rights as workers lead us to larger issues of prison labor, fires or not.

      I’m often asked what the ACLU thinks about this and other prison work programs. The answer isn’t black or white. Most prisoners want to work, and jobs for prisoners can be a very positive thing. A job can provide an escape from the crushing monotony of prison life – a chance to do something productive, earn a little money, and maybe even learn some skills that are useful in and of themselves and useful when reentering society. And as we know, 97 percent of people in prison will return to their communities.

      That said, given the vast power inequality between prisoners and their employers, there is also a persistent and real potential for exploitation and abuse.

      Prisoners are excluded from the legal protections enjoyed by all other workers. They’re not allowed to unionize. They’re not covered by minimum wage laws, and the paltry wages they do earn can be seized by the prison. If they’re injured or killed on the job, they’re not covered by workers’ compensation, and their ability to recover damages in court is severely limited. All of these factors combine to make prisoners a uniquely vulnerable workforce.

    • “He Was a Protector”: Remembering Jemel Roberson, 26-Year-Old Chicago Security Guard Slain by Police

      Community members are demanding answers for the police killing of a black security guard in the Chicago suburbs, after 26 year-old Jemel Roberson was shot and killed by a white policeman Sunday. Roberson jumped into action early Sunday morning when a shooting broke out at a bar where he was working as a security guard. He was restraining a shooting suspect when several police officers arrived on the scene, and a white police officer from the Midlothian Police Department shot and killed Roberson. Witnesses said the police officer opened fire even though people at the bar were screaming that Roberson was a security guard. Roberson was armed and held a valid gun owner’s license. We speak with Avontea Boose, the partner of Jemel Roberson and mother of his 9-month-old son Tristan. She is currently expecting their second child. We also speak with Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing the children of Jemel Roberson.

    • Why “Countering Violent Extremism” programs won’t stop white supremacists

      As the daughter of Muslim Egyptian immigrants, I’m used to getting surprised looks when I tell people I grew up in a small Appalachian town in Western Maryland. A town where teens dared each other to drive up to the old church where local KKK members would supposedly meet. Boys I knew and rode the school bus with would go on to become Neo-Nazis.

      I had just started high school in 2001, making me – the only Muslim girl in high school in our county – a walking target after Sept. 11.

      I know the violence of white supremacy intimately. But I disagree with those who are currently criticizing the Trump administration for defunding Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs that supposedly target white supremacists. CVE is not simply racist because it disproportionately impacts Muslims – it was always intended to target Muslims using disproven methods under the guise of fighting “all types of violent extremism.”

      CVE was started under the Obama administration in 2011, by the Department of Justice and expanded through the Department of Homeland Security in 2017. The program purports to prevent violent extremism in the United States. In reality, CVE recruits trusted community members such as Muslim organizations, teachers, and mental health professionals, to become part of the surveillance state by identifying people who might be “vulnerable to radicalization.”

      In practice, CVE is based on junk science. In most of the pro-CVE literature, you’ll find a disclaimer that states “there is no profile for who will commit violence.” Instead, CVE relies on religious, racial, and political indicators, such as mosque attendance, feeling religious discrimination, and frustration with U.S. politics and uses Muslim-invoking dog whistles like terrorism, radicalization, and extremism to make it clear, but not explicit, who this is really about.

      Expanding CVE to groups that claim to address white supremacy only provides further cover for CVE to profile and criminalize Muslims and other marginalized communities.

    • Secret CIA Document Describes Abu Zubaydah’s Waterboarding As ‘Amateurish Experiment’

      A 2007 report from the CIA’s Office Of Medical Services (OMS) was released after a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It reveals news details on the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program, which included torture techniques used against detainees.

      The top secret document [PDF] was drafted by the CIA’s top medical official to combat press coverage that OMS viewed as “caricature.” Coverage was seen as a “distorted picture” that warranted a “more informed internal account of how OMS understood and experienced this program.”

      In the “secret history” written to defend the reputation of doctors involved in the torture program, the author melodramatically refers to “crippling leaks” as inevitable and suggests “human rights activists” will continue to target “approved techniques.” The author argues publicity will allow terrorists to develop “resistance measures.” Weapons of mass destruction will be used, and then, this report will be valuable as a “re-evaluation of what interrogation measures are acceptable” unfolds.

    • Who Runs This Police Department? Lots of Officers Who’ve Been Reprimanded or Even Suspended.

      Windbigler declined comment. Elkhart’s mayor, Tim Neese, said police work, by its nature, can lead to complaints because officers deal with people in stressful circumstances. Garvey said he has learned from his mistakes, and that he’s a better officer now than when his career started.

    • Nearly All the Officers in Charge of an Indiana Police Department Have Been Disciplined — Including the Chief Who Keeps Promoting Them

      When Ed Windbigler became Elkhart’s police chief in January 2016, one of his first tasks was selecting his top command staff.

      For assistant chief, his second in command, Windbigler named Todd Thayer. Less than three years before, Thayer had been demoted two ranks for making flippant comments about a fatal shooting. Witnesses reported he said a fellow officer could now check shooting a person off his “bucket list.”

      For patrol captain, Windbigler named Brent Long. Less than two years before, Long had received a four-day suspension for sending inappropriate emails to fellow officers. One email included gruesome photos of a man in another city who, while running from police, jumped or fell from an overpass and was decapitated on a wrought-iron fence.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Sprint Throttled Skype Without Telling Anyone… And Nobody Seems To Care Much

      Last month we pointed to research out of Northeastern University that showed U.S. wireless video performance was thoroughly mediocre thanks in large part to arbitrary carrier throttling. The study, spearheaded by researcher David Choffnes, found that this carrier throttling usually had absolutely nothing to do with congestion. Instead, much of it was driven by carriers trying to impose arbitrary limits on your connection, then charge you more money to avoid it. For example, Verizon now throttles all video on its “unlimited” wireless data connections to 480p (around 1.5 Mbps), unless you pay Verizon for a more expensive plan.

      Choffnes is tracking ISP network management by using crowdsourced data from his Wehe app. More recently Choffnes released an updated report that continues to show that carriers arbitrarily throttle video and select apps. But his report and data also found that Sprint (and its prepaid subsidiary Boost Mobile) routinely throttles Skype performance on its networks… without telling consumers about it.

    • Telstra BGP routing error hits other Australian ISPs

      Australia’s biggest telco Telstra took down part of the Internet in the country on Thursday morning due to a stuff-up with the routes it advertised through the border gateway protocol.

    • Donald Trump Suddenly Pretends To Care About Comcast Antitrust Violations

      For years, smaller cable companies have complained that giants like Comcast do everything in their power to make life miserable (and expensive) for them. These smaller providers have complained that Comcast often mandates they buy and include NBC channels and regional sports networks in their lineups, driving up costs. Many of these companies have considered getting out of the TV business entirely as their margins get tighter and they find themselves increasingly out-maneuvered by ever-growing, vertically-integrated media, telecom, and broadcast giants like Comcast and AT&T.

      [...]

      Normally these cries would simply be ignored in M&A manic America. Much like the TV market, smaller cable companies can’t compete with the immense political power Comcast’s wealth and size buys on Capitol Hill, so their concerns are pretty consistently ignored. As a result, whether we’re in the throes of Obama or Trump administrations, blindly letting the biggest media and telecom companies merge, then standing around with a dumb look on our collective faces as these titans do what they always do (raise rates and use their newfound power to hamper competitors) is kind of our thing.

    • The Power of Web Components

      As a group, the standards are known as Web Components. In the year 2018 it’s easy to think of Web Components as old news. Indeed, early versions of the standards have been around in one form or another in Chrome since 2014, and polyfills have been clumsily filling the gaps in other browsers.

      After some quality time in the standards committees, the Web Components standards were refined from their early form, now called version 0, to a more mature version 1 that is seeing implementation across all the major browsers. Firefox 63 added support for two of the tent pole standards, Custom Elements and Shadow DOM, so I figured it’s time to take a closer look at how you can play HTML inventor!

      Given that Web Components have been around for a while, there are lots of other resources available. This article is meant as a primer, introducing a range of new capabilities and resources. If you’d like to go deeper (and you definitely should), you’d do well to read more about Web Components on MDN Web Docs and the Google Developers site.

      Defining your own working HTML elements requires new powers the browser didn’t previously give developers. I’ll be calling out these previously-impossible bits in each section, as well as what other newer web technologies they draw upon.

  • DRM

    • Hitman 2′s Denuvo Protection Busted 3 Days Before The Game’s Launch

      So, we were just talking about how Denuvo’s new ownership, Irdeto, was busily making the case via the example of some unnamed AAA sports game that even when Denuvo DRM is cracked in a few days it’s still worth it to protect a game’s initial release window. The comments from Irdeto got so ridiculous that it claimed that even if Denuvo kept titles safe for a few hours, that was still worth it. As specious as this claim might be, it’s also formulated to be hard to argue with. After all, with this low of a bar, all Irdeto’s Denuvo has to do is barely work for any measurable amount of time before the release of game in order for Irdeto to claim victory. So how can it possibly fail?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Wonky Donkey: How Infringement Helped Create A Best Seller… Which Would Be Impossible Under Article 13

        But this is also an excellent example of the massive harm that the EU is about to do with Article 13 and the EU Copyright Directive. Under Article 13, platforms like YouTube and Facebook would be required to block this kind of video or face massive liability. Of course, how these platforms might detect such a video is unclear. There is no form of ContentID that would see that video and know that it was infringing, but it pretty clearly is. But, once the video got so popular, with over a million views and news stories about it, sooner or later the companies would recognize that it was infringing and would be forced to take it down or face crippling liability.

        All weekend long, various supporters of Article 13 have been screaming at me on Twitter about how Article 13 won’t harm the internet or creators at all, and that’s it’s really just about “making YouTube pay its fair share.” I’m curious how they could possibly explain what to do in this particular case. Under the law they want, a content creator (and tons of happy parents) would be at a loss. This book likely wouldn’t be such a massive success. The companies would be forced to take that content down and to block anyone else from ever uploading it.

        And what do you do if you’re a smaller platform? The risk of letting just one such video through would almost certainly bankrupt you. But how is a smaller platform going to police for this kind of video that none of the copyright holders want policed? But, as a platform, Article 13 leaves them no choice.

      • EU Council poised to insist on mandatory upload filters

        The closed-door trilogue efforts to finalise the EU Copyright Directive continue. The Presidency of the Council, currently held by Austria, has now circulated among the EU member state governments a new proposal for a compromise between the differing drafts currently on the table for the controversial Articles 11 and 13.

11.15.18

Links 15/11/2018: Zentyal 6.0, Deepin 15.8, Thunderbird Project Hiring

Posted in News Roundup at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Getting Clarity on the Private vs. Public Cloud Decision

      News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures.

      Private (or on-premises) cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to “Busting the Myths of Private Cloud Economics,” a report 451 Research and Canonical released Wednesday. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures.

      Half of the enterprise IT decision-makers who participated in the study identified cost as the No. 1 pain point associated with the public cloud. Forty percent mentioned cost-savings as a key driver of cloud migration.

      “We understand that people are looking for more cost-effective infrastructure. This was not necessarily news to us,” said Mark Baker, program director at Canonical.

    • ​OpenStack: Beyond the cloud

      Kata “Containers” is something of a misnomer. Rather than true containers, such as LXC, Kara Containers are lightweight VMs designed to feel and perform like containers. Why bother? Eric Ernst, an Kata Containers Architecture Committee member, explained, they “provide the workload isolation and security advantages of VMs.”

    • 6 Best Practices for High-Performance Serverless Engineering

      When you write your first few lambdas, performance is the last thing on your mind. Permissions, security, identity and access management (IAM) roles and triggers all conspire to make the first couple of lambdas, even after a “hello world” trial just to get your first serverless deployments up and working. But once your users begin to rely on services your lambdas provide, it’s time to focus on high-performance serverless.

    • The IBM-Red Hat Deal Cuts Both Ways for Canonical

      Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, made some negative comments about his competitors’ licensing fees during his speech at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver in May. People in the audience were looking at each other with raised eyebrows, and a few people even laughed out loud at the audacity. Still, Shuttleworth was invited to keynote the OpenStack Summit in Berlin this week. But this time, he says he was asked “not to name names.”

      Shuttleworth said for his keynote this week he planned to continue the discussion about the long-term operability of OpenStack and the economics of operating it. “We’re very conscious that organizations will only do private cloud if it makes common sense,” he said. “And they can also work in public cloud. We’re very focused on deploying the cloud cost effectively.”

    • Scalyr Rolls Out New Troubleshooting Features to Advance Engineering Productivity and Collaboration Across Modern Architectures
    • Red Hat expands PHL operations, opens new office in Makati
    • 7 open source platforms to get started with serverless computing

      The term serverless has been coming up in more conversations recently. Let’s clarify the concept, and those related to it, such as serverless computing and serverless platform.

      Serverless is often used interchangeably with the term FaaS (Functions-as-a-Service). But serverless doesn’t mean that there is no server. In fact, there are many servers—serverful—because a public cloud provider provides the servers that deploy, run, and manage your application.

      Serverless computing is an emerging category that represents a shift in the way developers build and deliver software systems. Abstracting application infrastructure away from the code can greatly simplify the development process while introducing new cost and efficiency benefits. I believe serverless computing and FaaS will play an important role in helping to define the next era of enterprise IT, along with cloud-native services and the hybrid cloud.

    • DLT Named Red Hat Public Sector Partner for 2019; Brian Strosser Quoted

      Red Hat has selected DLT Solutions as its Public Sector Partner of the Year in recognition of the Herndon, Va.-based tech firm’s contributions to the former’s business efforts.

      DLT said Tuesday it provides government agencies with resale access to open-source technologies such as Red Hat’s cloud, middleware and Linux software offerings.

      The company has provided services in support of Red Hat’s products through contracts under the General Services Administration‘s GSA Schedule, NASA‘s SEWP V, the Defense Department‘s Enterprise Software Initiative and the National Institutes of Health‘s Chief Information Officer – Commodities and Solutions vehicles.

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD Is Hiring Another Mesa/RadeonSI Driver Developer

      AMD is hiring another open-source Linux graphics driver developer with a focus on the Mesa/RadeonSI driver stack.

      There is a new job posting for a Senior Software Development Engineer with a focus on open-source graphics. This job role will be working on their open-source graphics driver, work on driver bring-up, debug issues, improve driver performance, coordinate with Linux distributions, and engage with the open-source graphics development community. I’ve been able to confirm with AMD that this is focused on their Mesa/RadeonSI driver as opposed to say just their AMDGPU kernel driver.

    • AMD Stages Latest Radeon/AMDGPU Changes For Linux 4.21 Kernel

      AMD has posted their initial set of AMDGPU driver changes slated to go into the future Linux 4.21 kernel by way of DRM-Next.

      This is the first of likely two or three feature pull requests to DRM-Next for staging until the Linux 4.21 kernel cycle kicks off in the final days of 2018 or early 2019.

    • Zinc: a new kernel cryptography API

      We looked at the WireGuard virtual private network (VPN) back in August and noted that it is built on top of a new cryptographic API being developed for the kernel, which is called Zinc. There has been some controversy about Zinc and why a brand new API was needed when the kernel already has an extensive crypto API. A recent talk by lead WireGuard developer Jason Donenfeld at Kernel Recipes 2018 would appear to be a serious attempt to reach out, engage with that question, and explain the what, how, and why of Zinc.

      WireGuard itself is small and, according to Linus Torvalds, a work of art. Two of its stated objectives are maximal simplicity and high auditability. Donenfeld initially did try to implement WireGuard using the existing kernel cryptography API, but after trying to do so, he found it impossible to do in any sane way. That led him to question whether it was even possible to meet those objectives using the existing API.

      By way of a case study, he considered big_key.c. This is kernel code that is designed to take a key, store it encrypted on disk, and then return the key to someone asking for it if they are allowed to have access to it. Donenfeld had taken a look at it, and found that the crypto was totally broken. For a start, it used ciphers in Electronic Codebook (ECB) mode, which is known to leave gross structure in ciphertext — the encrypted image of Tux on the left may still contain data perceptible to your eye — and so is not recommended for any serious cryptographic use. Furthermore, according to Donenfeld, it was missing authentication tags (allowing ciphertext to be undetectably modified), it didn’t zero keys out of memory after use, and it didn’t use its sources of randomness correctly; there were many CVEs associated with it. So he set out to rewrite it using the crypto API, hoping to better learn the API with a view to using it for WireGuard.

      The first step with the existing API is to allocate an instance of a cipher “object”. The syntax for so doing is arguably confusing — for example, you pass the argument CRYPTO_ALG_ASYNC to indicate that you don’t want the instance to be asynchronous. When you’ve got it set up and want to encrypt something, you can’t simply pass data by address. You must use scatter/gather to pass it, which in turn means that data in the vmalloc() area or on the stack can’t just be encrypted with this API. The key you’re using ends up attached not to the object you just allocated, but to the global instance of the algorithm in question, so if you want to set the key you must take a mutex lock before doing so, in order to be sure that someone else isn’t changing the key underneath you at the same time. This complexity has an associated resource cost: the memory requirements for a single key can approach a megabyte, and some platforms just can’t spare that much. Normally one would use kvalloc() to get around this, but the crypto API doesn’t permit it. Although this was eventually addressed, the fix was not trivial.

    • 4.20 Merge window part 2

      At the end of the 4.20 merge window, 12,125 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline kernel repository; 6,390 came in since last week’s summary was written. As is often the case, the latter part of the merge window contained a larger portion of cleanups and fixes, but there were a number of new features in the mix as well.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Results: Linux Foundation Technical Board Election 2018

        The results of the 2018 election for members of the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board have been posted; the members elected this time around are Chris Mason, Laura Abbott, Olof Johansson, Dan Williams, and Kees Cook. Abbott and Cook are new members to the board this time around. (The other TAB members are Ted Ts’o, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jonathan Corbet, Tim Bird, and Steve Rostedt).

      • LF Deep Learning Delivers First Acumos AI Release Making it Easier to Deploy and Share Artificial Intelligence Models

        The LF Deep Learning Foundation, a project of The Linux Foundation that supports open source innovation in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL), today announced the availability of its first software release of the Acumos AI Project – Athena.

        Acumos AI is a platform and open source framework that makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications. Acumos AI standardizes the infrastructure stack and components required to run an out-of-the-box general AI environment. This frees data scientists and model trainers to focus on their core competencies and accelerate innovation.

      • Linux Foundation’s Acumos Wants To Make It Easier Deploying AI Apps

        The latest software initiative out of the Linux Foundation — and in particular their Deep Learning Foundation — is the Acumos AI “Athena” release that tries to make it easier dealing with artificial intelligence apps.

        Acumos Athena is an effort to make it easier to deploy AI applications across private/public clouds and other environments. Acumos is a framework for building, sharing, and deploying AI applications and provides a standardized stack for these components.

      • Linux Foundation launches Acumos platform for quick AI deployment

        LF Deep Learning Foundation today announced the first publicly available release of Acumos AI, an open source framework and platform for the training and deployment of AI models.

        Created in March, the LF Deep Learning Foundation is part of the Linux Foundation project and supports open source projects for machine learning, deep learning, and AI.

        Founding members include Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, ZTE, AT&T, and Nokia.

        Acumos AI, whose release version is codenamed Athena, also began in March and includes the participation of about 75 developers, a foundation spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. An updated version is due out in mid-2019, according to a statement provided to VentureBeat.

      • Observatory joins Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage

        Yesterday in Berlin SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and artificial intelligence applications.

        The Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced that over 30 global technology leaders are forming a new foundation to support the Ceph open source project community. The Ceph project develops a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, and file system interfaces.

        “Ceph has a long track record of success when it comes to helping organisations effectively manage high growth and expanding data storage demands,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. “This partnership will assist us to store and retrieve the huge volumes of data that will be collected by the MeerKAT radio telescope,” says Dr. Rob Adam, Managing Director of SARAO.

        The MeerKAT is a 64-antenna array radio telescope that has been built on the SKA site in the Karoo, and which will be integrated into the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array. MeerKAT has the capacity to process 275 gigabytes per second in real time – that equates to approximately 58 DVDs per second. SARAO currently uses Ceph to synthesise a ~20 petabyte object-based storage system, for the data generated by the MeerKAT radio telescope array.

      • SARAO joins the Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage
      • SA astronomers go open source for massive MeerKAT data

        MeerKAT has the capacity to process 275GBps in real-time, equating to approximately 58 DVDs per second.
        The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has joined the Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage.

        SARAO manages SA’s activities in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope in engineering, science and construction.

        It is a national facility managed by the National Research Foundation. It incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT and KAT-7 telescopes in the Karoo, the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Gauteng, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry programme in nine African countries, as well as the associated human capital development and commercialisation endeavours.

        This week, in Berlin, Germany, SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and artificial intelligence applications.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Newest Mesa NIR/SPIR-V Code For Handling OpenCL Kernels

        It’s now been nearly one year since longtime Nouveau contributor Karol Herbst joined Red Hat where one of his big projects has been working on OpenCL support for this open-source NVIDIA driver by bringing up NIR/SPIR-V support and making the necessary improvements for allowing OpenCL kernels to be represented in that IR commonly used by the Mesa drivers. The work still isn’t yet in Mesa Git, but Karol this week sent out his newest patches.

        Karol Herbst sent out 22 patches this week in regards to adding support for OpenCL kernels within Mesa’s NIR and SPIR-V common code. The patches are mostly adding the necessary OpenCL bits to the common NIR/SPIR-V compiler code for handling the intricacies of OpenCL kernels with features like physical pointer support, cl_size/cl_alignment, and other bits.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Carlos Garnacho: On the track for 3.32

        It happens sneakily, but there’s more things going on in the Tracker front than the occasional fallout. Yesterday 2.2.0-alpha1 was released, containing some notable changes.

        On and off during the last year, I’ve been working on a massive rework of the SPARQL parser. The current parser was fairly solid, but hard to extend for some of the syntax in the SPARQL 1.1 spec. After multiple attempts and failures at implementing property paths, I convinced myself this was the way forward.

      • Robert Ancell: Counting Code in GNOME Settings

        I’ve been spending a bit of time recently working on GNOME Settings. One part of this has been bringing some of the older panel code up to modern standards, one of which is making use of GtkBuilder templates.

        I wondered if any of these changes would show in the stats, so I wrote a program to analyse each branch in the git repository and break down the code between C and GtkBuilder.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • A Linux Noob Reviews: The Pop!_OS Installer From System76

        Welcome to a new series here at Forbes that zeroes in on your very first experience with a new desktop Linux operating system: the installer. In this debut review I’m going to explain why the heck I’m doing this, and give you a closer look at the relatively new Pop!_OS installer from boutique PC manufacturer System76 — the same installer that actually inspired these articles. (Spoiler: yes it’s that good.)

        [...]

        That tagline, present in the default wallpaper for Pop!_OS, also says a little something about the installer itself. This is, in my experience, sets a benchmark for other installers in the desktop Linux world. Even the most complex aspect of installing a Linux OS — partitioning — is explained in detail. Granted, the simplest partitioning tasks will take rookies a few tries to comprehend and master (myself included), but System76 did an exemplary job with the included help pages, and the interface is the most intuitive I’ve used. So far anyway!

        Seriously folks, I never thought I’d walk away from an installer and feel excited. Nor did I imagine it would inspire an entire series of articles. But here we are! System76 has crafted an intuitive, fast and streamlined installation process that improves the incoming perception of desktop Linux for newcomers, and may perhaps feel like a breath of fresh air for Linux veterans. Overall, it looks fantastic and made me eager to dig into the daily Pop!_OS experience.

    • New Releases

    • Fedora

      • Fedora Perfecting Their Flicker-Free Boot Experience With A New Plymouth Theme

        The recent release of Fedora 29 the long-desired goal of a flicker-free boot experience to the Linux desktop was finally achieved… Well, assuming you are for now using Intel graphics and set a couple extra settings and don’t have any quirky hardware. While all of the key components are in place, for Fedora 30 and beyond they will likely be taking care of the “rough edges” and already there is work on a new Plymouth boot theme for pairing with this flicker-free boot process.

      • New plymouth theme for flickerfree boot

        Since the transition to plymouth is not entirely smooth plymouth by default will wait 5 seconds (counted from starting the kernel) before showing itself so that on systems which boot under 5 seconds it never shows. As can be seen in this video, this leads to a very non-smooth experience when the boot takes say 7 seconds as plymouth then only shows briefly, leading to a kinda “flash” effect while it briefly shows.

        Another problem with the 5 second wait, is now that we do not show GRUB the user is looking at the firmware’s bootsplash for not only the often long firmware initialization time, but also for the 5 seconds plymouth waits on top, making it look as if nothing is happening.

        To fix this I’ve been working on a new plymouth theme which draws a spinner over the firmware boot splash, eliminating the ugly transition from the firmware boot splash to plymouth. This also allows removing the show-delay, so that we provide feedback that something is happening as soon as plymouth starts.

      • Fedora Community Blog: Elections nominations now open
      • Linux Day 2018 – Italy

        Every year, on the last Saturday of October, in Italy there is a national event called “Linux Day”. This year was the 18th edition and it was held on October 27.

        The event is promoted by the Italian Linux Society, and it is independently organized in many cities all around the country by groups of volunteers, LUGs and various associations. Even if it is highly fragmented (many little events in many cities), it is probably the biggest Italian event related to Linux and FLOSS, that is directly organized by people involved in the communities and by ordinary users.

        The aim of such event is to to promote Linux and FLOSS in general: in each city there are many talks, presentations and installation parties. The target audience is not limited to computer enthusiasts, hackers or IT professionals, but newbies, students and curious citizens are welcome as well.

    • Debian Family

      • Limiting the power of package installation in Debian

        There is always at least a small risk when installing a package for a distribution. By its very nature, package installation is an invasive process; some packages require the ability to make radical changes to the system—changes that users surely would not want other packages to take advantage of. Packages that are made available by distributions are vetted for problems of this sort, though, of course, mistakes can be made. Third-party packages are an even bigger potential problem because they lack this vetting, as was discussed in early October on the debian-devel mailing list. Solutions in this area are not particularly easy, however.

        Lars Wirzenius brought up the problem: “when a .deb package is installed, upgraded, or removed, the maintainer scripts are run as root and can thus do anything.” Maintainer scripts are included in a .deb file to be run before and after installation or removal. As he noted, maintainer scripts for third-party packages (e.g. Skype, Chrome) sometimes add entries to the lists of package sources and signing keys; they do so in order to get security updates to their packages safely, but it may still be surprising or unwanted. Even simple mistakes made in Debian-released packages might contain unwelcome surprises of various sorts.

        He suggested that there could be a set of “profiles” that describe the kinds of changes that might be made by a package installation. He gave a few different examples, such as a “default” profile that only allowed file installation in /usr, a “kernel” profile that can install in /boot and trigger rebuilds of the initramfs, or “core” that can do anything. Packages would then declare which profile they required. The dpkg command could arrange that package’s install scripts could only make the kinds of changes allowed by its profile.

      • Derivatives

        • Deepin 15.8 – Attractive and Efficient, Excellent User Experience

          Deepin is an open source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel and desktop applications, supporting laptops, desktops and all-in-ones. deepin preinstalls Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and nearly 30 deepin native applications, as well as several applications from the open source community to meet users’ daily learning and work needs. In addition, about a thousand of applications are offered in Deepin Store to meet your more needs. deepin, developed by a professional operating system R&D team and deepin technical community (www.deepin.org), is from the name of deepin technical community – “deepin”, which means deep pursuit and exploration of the life and the future.

          Compared with deepin 15.7, the ISO size of deepin 15.8 has been reduced by 200MB. The new release is featured with newly designed control center, dock tray and boot theme, as well as improved deepin native applications, hoping to bring users a more beautiful and efficient experience.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Snaps are the new Linux Apps that work on every Distro

            See, when using Linux, you couldn’t exactly Google the name of a program you want, then download the .exe file, double click it and it is installed like you would on Windows (although technically you can do that now with .deb files). You had to know your way around the Terminal. Once in the Terminal, like for the case of Ubuntu, you needed to add the software source to your Repository with sudo apt commands, then now update the cache, then finally install the app you want with sudo apt-get install. In most cases, the dependencies would be all messed up and you’d have to scroll through endless forums trying to figure out how to fix that one pesky dependency that just won’t allow your app to run well.

            You’d jump through all these hoops and then finally the app would run, but then it would look all weird because maybe it wasn’t made for your distro. Bottom line, it takes patience and resilience to install Linux Apps.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Finos launches open source programme

    Finos (the Fintech Open Source Foundation), a nonprofit foundation promoting open innovation in financial services, today announced the launch of a new Program focused on Decentralized Ecosystem Growth (DEG).

    Amber Baldet, CEO of Clovyr and former Blockchain Program Lead for J.P. Morgan Chase, revealed the Program in London during her keynote at FINOS’ annual flagship Open Source Strategy Forum – the only conference dedicated to open source in financial services. IHS Markit, FINOS Gold Member, will sponsor the program with Baldet serving as the first Program Management Committee (PMC) lead.

  • Open Source Identity and Access Management

    Looking back on the year as we enter the homestretch of 2018, one thing is apparent. With 2018 on track to be one of the worst years for security breaches ever, strong identity and access management (IAM) needs to be at the top of any IT organization’s checklist. Those that are cost conscious are asking, are there any viable open source identity and access management solutions on the market?

  • Free Open Source Techologies Are Big Business. Wait, What?
  • SpamAssassin is back

    The SpamAssassin 3.4.2 release was the first from that project in well over three years. At the 2018 Open Source Summit Europe, Giovanni Bechis talked about that release and those that will be coming in the near future. It would seem that, after an extended period of quiet, the SpamAssassin project is back and has rededicated itself to the task of keeping junk out of our inboxes.
    Bechis started by noting that spam filtering is hard because everybody’s spam is different. It varies depending on which languages you speak, what your personal interests are, which social networks you use, and so on. People vary, so results vary; he knows a lot of Gmail users who say that its spam filtering works well, but his Gmail account is full of spam. Since Google knows little about him, it is unable to train itself to properly filter his mail.

    Just like Gmail, SpamAssassin isn’t the perfect filter for everybody right out of the box; it’s really a framework that can be used to create that filter. Getting the best out of it can involve spending some time to write rules, for example.

  • Web Browsers

    • WebP images won’t load in Microsoft Edge with Application Guard

      This issue affects a lot of prominent websites who’ve opted to take advantage of the higher compression gains they get with a modern image format like WebP. You can also see it here on Ctrl blog where most images will just not work in Microsoft Edge.

      There isn’t really anything web developers can do to work around this issue other than strip out unsupported photo formats when encountering the Microsoft Edge User-Agent. The images won’t fire an error even when it fails to display, and you can’t detect that Microsoft Edge is running in Application Guard mode from the web platform.

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • The Thunderbird project is hiring: Software Engineers

        We need your help to improve and maintain Thunderbird. Moving Thunderbird forward includes replacing/rewriting components to be based primarily on web technologies, reducing the reliance on Mozilla-internal interfaces. It also includes boosting the user experience of the product.

        Maintenance involves fixing bugs and regressions, as well as addressing technical debt and enhancing performance. Most tasks have a component of both maintenance and improvement, and any new component needs careful integration with the existing system.

        We have compiled a high level list of tasks here; the work assigned to you will include a subset of these items. Let us know in your cover letter where you believe you can make most impact and how.

      • Firefox 64 Beta 12 Testday, November 23th

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, November 23th, we are organizing Firefox 64 Beta 12 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Multi-Select Tabs and Widevine CDM.

      • New & Experimental Web Design Tools: Feedback Requested

        A year ago, the Firefox DevTools team formed a subgroup to focus on new tools for working in web design, CSS, and HTML. Motivated by the success of the Grid Inspector, and with help from the Developer Outreach, Gecko Platform, and Accessibility teams, we launched the Variable Fonts Editor and the Shape Path Editor, added an Accessibility Inspector, and revamped our Responsive Design Mode.

        [...]

        We’re just getting started, and now we want to learn more about you. Tell us about your biggest CSS and web design issues in the first-ever Design Tools survey!

      • Firefox Monitor Launches in 26 Languages and Adds New Desktop Browser Feature

        Since the launch of Firefox Monitor, a free service that notifies you when your email has been part of a breach, hundreds of thousands of people have signed up.

        In response to the excitement from our global audience, Firefox Monitor is now being made available in more than 26 languages. We’re excited to bring Firefox Monitor to users in their native languages and make it easier for people to learn about data breaches and take action to protect themselves.

        When your personal information is possibly at risk in a data breach, reading news and information in the language you understand best helps you to feel more in control. Now, Firefox Monitor will be available in Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh.

        We couldn’t have accomplished this feat without our awesome Mozilla community of volunteers who worked together to make this happen. We’re so grateful for their support in making Firefox Monitor available to more than 2.5 billion non-English speakers.

      • When does Firefox alert for breached sites?

        Data breaches are common for online services. Humans make mistakes, and humans make the Internet. Some online services discover, mitigate, and disclose breaches quickly. Others go undetected for years. Recent breaches include “fresh” data, which means victims have less time to change their credentials before they are in the hands of attackers. While old breaches have had more time to make their way into scripted credential stuffing attacks. All breaches are dangerous to users.

        As stated in the Mozilla Manifesto: “Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.” Most people simply don’t know that a data breach has affected them. Which makes it difficult to take the first step to secure their online accounts because they don’t know they’re insecure in the first place. This is why we launched Firefox Monitor.

      • Mozilla GFX: WebRender newsletter #30

        Hi! This is the 30th issue of WebRender’s most famous newsletter. At the top of each newsletter I try to dedicate a few paragraphs to some historical/technical details of the project. Today I’ll write about blob images.

        WebRender currently doesn’t support the full set of graphics primitives required to render all web pages. The focus so far has been on doing a good job of rendering the most common elements and providing a fall-back for the rest. We call this fall-back mechanism “blob images”.

        The general idea is that when we encounter unsupported primitives during displaylist building we create an image object and instead of backing it with pixel data or a texture handle, we assign it a serialized list of drawing commands (the blob). For WebRender, blobs are just opaque buffers of bytes and a handler object is provided by the embedder (Gecko in our case) to turn this opaque buffer into actual pixels that can be used as regular images by the rest of the rendering pipeline.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • The Houdini Project: Fundraising Software for Non-Profits Joins Conservancy

      First we were excited find out that a project like the Houdini Project even existed and now we can proudly say that they are also a Conservancy member! Services and applications for non-profits — that are also free software — are very close to our fiscal umbrella heart here at Conservancy. Houdini is our second incoming project this year that specifically caters to the needs of non-profits. Back in May, we welcomed Backdrop CMS a lightweight content management system that is great for non-profits, to the Conservancy fold. As long-time readers of the Conservancy blog know, the offerings for non-profits that care about software freedom are pretty slim, which is why we’ve also been working on our own non-profit accounting solution.

      The Houdini Project’s (‘Houdini’s) software is used by many worthy and hard-working organizations, but perhaps the most notable is the Panzi Foundation. The foundation focuses on ending sexual violence in wars and supporting survivors at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they rebuild their lives. Panzi Foundation’s co-founder, Dr. Denis Mukwege, a surgeon and activist who has devoted his life to this work received a Nobel Peace Prize this year. Other major users include Public Radio Exchange,WeMove.eu and Charter for Compassion.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A “joke” in the glibc manual

      A “joke” in the glibc manual—targeting a topic that is, at best, sensitive—has come up for discussion on the glibc-alpha mailing list again. When we looked at the controversy in May, Richard Stallman had put his foot down and a patch removing the joke—though opinions of its amusement value vary—was reverted. Shortly after that article was published, a “cool down period” was requested (and honored), but that time has expired. Other developments in the GNU project have given some reason to believe that the time is ripe to finally purge the joke, but that may not work out any better than the last attempt.

      The joke in question refers to a US government “censorship rule” from over two decades ago regarding sharing of information about abortion. It is attached to documentation of the abort() call in glibc and the text of it can be seen in the patch to remove it. One might think that an age-old US-centric joke would be a good candidate for removal regardless of its subject matter. That it touches on a topic that is emotionally fraught for many might also make it unwelcoming—thus unwelcome in documentation. But, according to Stallman, that’s not so clear cut.

      [...]

      When pressed for more information about what these larger issues are, as O’Donell did, Stallman counseled patience. He did not offer any more information than that; perhaps the discussion has moved to a private mailing list or the like.

      For many, including me, it is a little hard to understand why there is any opposition to removing the joke at all. It is clearly out of place, not particularly funny, and doesn’t really push the GNU anti-censorship philosophy forward in any real way even if you grant that anti-censorship is a goal of the project (which some do not). There are, of course, those who oppose removing it because they are opposed to “political correctness” and do not see how it could be “unwelcoming”, but even they might concede that it is an oddity that is poked into a back corner of a entirely unrelated document. And it is not hard for many to see that tying the topic of abortion to a C function might be upsetting to some; why waste a bunch of project time defending it when it has effectively no impact in the direction that Stallman wants, while putting off some (possibly small) percentage of glibc manual readers?

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Protecting the open-source license commons

      Enforcement, especially involving version 2 of the GPL, has always been a part of the open-source landscape. It only reached the point of actual litigation in the early 2000s, where we saw enforcement efforts showing up in three broad classes. Community enforcement came directly from the developers, either individually or through organizations like the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC). Commercial entities have done some enforcement, usually in support of an associated proprietary licensing model. And “non-community developers”, such as Patrick McHardy, have been pursuing extortionate actions in search of commercial gain. These are the so-called copyright trolls, though he does not like that term. There has been an increase in all three types of enforcement in the last few years; one outcome has been the SFC enforcement principles that try to distinguish the first two types of enforcement from the last, he said.

      A lot of thought has gone into enforcement at his employer Red Hat; Fontana said that enforcement activities should be judged by whether they promote collaboration or not. Enforcement that promotes certainty, predictability, and a level playing field will do that, while commercially motivated enforcement will reduce the incentive to collaborate. So he believes, like many others, that enforcement should not be done for commercial gain. Beyond that, there needs to be transparency around the funding of litigation and the selection of targets. Proceedings should be open; the secrecy built into the German legal system (where much enforcement activity to date has taken place) has not helped here. And, overall, litigation is a poor way to achieve license compliance.

  • Programming/Development

    • Amazon Web Services promises to support OpenJDK through 2023 with release of internal tool as new open source project

      Developers using the popular OpenJDK (Java Development Kit) software tool can breathe a little easier Wednesday after Amazon Web Services announced it would support the tool with bug fixes and enhancements for the next several years with the release of an internally developed implementation of OpenJDK known as Amazon Coretto.

      Announced at Devoxx in Europe Wednesday, Coretto is an open-source distribution of OpenJDK developed for internal use at Amazon to manage Java applications. While Java is widely used to build enterprise applications, the future of OpenJDK has been in doubt thanks to Oracle’s decision to end support for the free version of OpenJDK as of this coming January.

    • One More Reaction to IBM’s Acquisition of Red Hat

      Now that the dust has settled around the explosive announcement that IBM will be acquiring open source software provider and longtime Java Community Process (JCP) leader Red Hat, I wanted to share the reaction to the deal of one of the keenest (and most fearless) observers of the Java universe.

    • New Open Source Java SDK Helps Devs with Active Directory Projects [Ed: When this Microsoft propaganda site mentions Java it’s actually promoting Microsoft’s lock-in, proprietary AD]

      Information security provider Imperva has been in the headlines recently, thanks to news that tech investment firm Thoma Bravo LLC plans to acquire it. But the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company caught my eye again last week when it announced that it has open sourced a new Java SDK designed to simplify interaction with Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD) for small, medium and large development projects using LDAP.

    • PHP Lands Preload Feature, Boosting Performance In Some Cases 30~50%

      PHP developers unanimously approved and already merged support for the new “preloading” concept for this web server language. PHP preloading basically allows loading PHP code that persists as long as the web server is running and that code will always be ready for each subsequent web request, which in some cases will dramatically speed-up the PHP performance on web servers.

      While PHP has long supported caching to avoid PHP code recompilation on each new web request, with each request PHP has still had to check to see if any of the source file(s) were modified, re-link class dependencies, and similar work. PHP preloading allows for given functions/classes to be “preloaded” that will survive as long as the web server is active. It effectively allows loading of functions or entire/partial frameworks that will then be present for each new web request just as if it were a built-in function.

    • Google Announces a Managed Cron Service: Google Cloud Scheduler

      Google announced a new Service on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – Cloud Scheduler, a fully managed cron job service that allows any application to invoke batch, big data and cloud infrastructure operations. The service is currently available in beta.

      With Google Cloud Scheduler customers can use the cron service with no need to manage the underlying infrastructure. There is also no need to manually intervene in the event of transient failure, as the services retries failed jobs. Furthermore, customers will only pay for the operations they run — GCP takes care of all resource provisioning, replication and scaling required to operate Cloud Scheduler. Also, customers can, according to Vinod Ramachandran, product manager at Google, benefit from:

Leftovers

  • Science

    • US travel ban blocking students from presenting their research

      At an academic conference, the question “where are you from?” can have many meanings. “For anybody who’s in science, that’s a complicated question,” says paleontologist P. David Polly. “Where are we now, where did we get our degree, where did we grow up, where did we get the other degree?” For many people in science, the list of answers will span multiple countries.

    • Real-world IT vs. computer science: 4 ways colleges are morphing

      While cloud computing is IT’s present, artificial intelligence (AI) in many ways is its future. The practical application of AI in the enterprise has not typically been taught at the undergraduate level. But that’s beginning to change. Earlier this year, Carnegie Mellon University launched its bachelor of science degree in Artificial Intelligence to address the growing demand addresses for AI specialists in the marketplace.

      Offering the first undergraduate AI degree in the U.S., the program will focus on providing students with in-depth knowledge of how to transform large amounts of data into actionable decisions.

      CMU’s bachelor’s degree program in computer science “teaches students to think broadly about methods that can accomplish a wide variety of tasks across many disciplines”, research professor of robotics and computer science and director of the new AI degree program Reid Simmons said in a statement. However, the bachelor’s degree in AI “will focus more on how complex inputs, such as vision, language, and huge databases, are used to make decisions or enhance human capabilities.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Chicago City Council Members Seek Hearing on Psychiatric Hospital

      Two Chicago City Council members Wednesday called for a hearing to look into reports that children at a psychiatric hospital were physically and sexually abused, including those in state care.

      Alderman Ed Burke, the powerful chairman of the council’s Finance Committee, and Alderman Margaret Laurino, from the Northwest Side’s 39th Ward, introduced the resolution calling for a hearing on Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital. The request, which cited ProPublica Illinois investigations, asks for details on the hospital’s business license and a review of the allegations.

      ProPublica Illinois found 16 allegations of abuse or neglect at the hospital in Uptown involving children since January. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which is charged with investigating those allegations, found sufficient evidence to support four. Seven were not substantiated, and five continue to be investigated.

      Some of those children had already been cleared for discharge but remained at the hospital because DCFS failed to find them a more appropriate placement.

    • A ProPublica and Malheur Enterprise Forum Asks: What Happens When People Found “Guilty Except for Insanity” Attack Again?

      This year, the Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica have examined how Oregon allows people charged with serious crimes, who were found “guilty except for insanity,” to be released from the state psychiatric hospital or supervised community programs. After reviewing the records of people set free by the state’s Psychiatric Security Review Board from Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 15, 2015, Malheur Enterprise reporter Jayme Fraser found that in almost 35 percent of those cases, people were charged with new crimes within three years.

      [...]

      What changes might better protect the public without sacrificing the rights of people with mental illness

    • Pricey Precision Medicine Often Financially Toxic For Cancer Patients

      when Kristen Kilmer was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer at age 38, her first thought was of her 8-year-old daughter. Kilmer lost her own mother as a teenager and was determined to get more time with her only child.

      Kilmer searched for experimental treatments, opting for an unproven approach in which researchers select drugs based on the genes in patients’ tumors. Doctors have selected her treatments for the past three years based on the unique, ever-changing DNA of her cancer cells. Now 41, Kilmer has responded better than anyone dared to hope. Her cancer has gone into hiding; her tumors are no longer visible on medical scans.

      Kilmer’s insurance company calls it experimental. As a consequence, her insurer has covered only a fraction of her care, forcing Kilmer to make an agonizing choice: stop taking a drug that costs nearly $17,000 a month or pay out-of-pocket, burdening her family with tremendous debt.

    • Spraying Poisons, Chasing Ghosts

      The twentieth first century continues the toxic business as usual of the twentieth century. Agribusiness, part of the military-industrial-complex, is king. The new weapon is spraying the world with mostly badly tested chemical poisons. And the strategy is the control of the natural world and societies.

      Few people know exactly what these chemical poisons do. Occasionally, they do kill insects and weeds. But they do much more, mostly harm. Scientists have revealed certain facts about those invisible effects. But agribusiness nullifies the significance of that knowledge. It does that by buying agricultural universities, the media and influencing politicians. Agribusiness guards its secrets, including how it has been controlling the politics of the world.

      [...]

      We see and hear a person in Miami Beach saying: “Well… they’re spraying again so I am just trying to shut it down and we’re going to the federal courts to try to do that. In August 2016, neurotoxic chemicals banned in Europe were first sprayed over Miami residents to kill Zika mosquitoes… many people were upset, including myself and have addressed the city of Miami Beach previously regarding the spaying of Naled onto our community.”

      Another Miami resident says: “I’m growing herbs that I’m thinking are organic, and they just sprayed Naled all over them.”

      Naled is a nerve poison related to chemical warfare agents.

      Spray planes “bombed” Miami Beach residents with the neurotoxic insecticide naled 2 to 3 times a day: “We only walked at night… I could see a thick layer of dust, smoke everywhere.” The helicopters flew about 100 feet over homes. The spraying lasted for five hours in the morning. The chemical coming down felt “like a little light rain.” The immediate effect was a “pounding headache you could not get rid of.”

  • Security

    • That Domain You Forgot to Renew? Yeah, it’s Now Stealing Credit Cards

      If you own a domain name that gets decent traffic and you fail to pay its annual renewal fee, chances are this mistake will be costly for you and for others. Lately, neglected domains have been getting scooped up by crooks who use them to set up fake e-commerce sites that steal credit card details from unwary shoppers.

      [...]

      If you’re on the fence about whether to renew a domain and it’s one of several you own, it may make sense to hold onto it and simply forward any incoming traffic to a domain you do want people to visit. In the event you decide to relinquish a domain, make sure you take stock of any online accounts you created with email addresses tied to that domain and move those to another email address, as those accounts will likely come under someone else’s control when the domain expires.

    • Stolen credit card details of nearly 250,000 British Airways customers on sale for up to £9.4m
    • Watch a real hacker hack into Hollywood’s hacky hacking scenes

      As with bad sex, most bad hacking scenes in movies and television involve someone needing to announce, “I’m in!” Since not long after people started connecting computers to other computers, Hollywood has been depicting fictional people attempting to use those connections for nefarious means. Naturally, Hollywood has also spent a lot of its time getting those depictions wrong. In the above clip from Wired, security researcher Samy Kamkar assesses a number of famous hacking scenes from TV and film to see just how off they are.

    • Red Team 101: Understanding Kali Linux

      Your security environment is complicated. You’re invested in multiple security tools – antivirus, firewalls, IDS, IPS, SIEM, DLP, and more. If you haven’t invested in a red team, however, you’re doing security wrong. How could you know that your expensive defenses are working unless you’ve tested them out?

      A red team is a great way to test your defenses. In brief, a red team is a small group of employees whose job is to try to hack into your organization, understand its vulnerabilities, and then help you patch them up.

    • Adobe Flash Player Update Version 31.0.0.148 Addresses a Significant Vulnerability Issue
    • It’s November 2018, and Microsoft’s super-secure Edge browser can be pwned eight different ways by a web page

      Microsoft and Adobe have delivered the November edition of Patch Tuesday with another sizable bundle of security fixes to install as soon as you’re able to.

      The trick is to test and deploy the fixes before exploits are developed to leverage the vulnerabilities.

    • A Research Paper Proposes Seven New Types of Spectre Attacks

      A group of nine scholastics has uncovered today seven new CPU attacks. The seven effect AMD, ARM, and Intel CPUs to different degrees. Two of the seven new attacks are varieties of the Meltdown attack, while the other five are a minor departure from the first Specter attacks – two surely understood attacks that have been uncovered toward the beginning of the year and found to affect CPUs models returning to 1995.

      Scientists say they’ve found the seven new CPU attacks while playing out “a sound and extensible systematization of transient execution attacks” – a catch-all term the examination group used to depict attacks on the different inner instruments that a CPU uses to process information, for example, the theoretical execution process, the CPU’s interior reserves, and other inward execution stages.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Brothers Who Were Online Friends With Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Had Ties to Violent Neo-Nazis

      Ever since, the authorities have been piecing together a disturbing portrait of Clark and his older brother, Jeffrey Clark, 30, who had been online friends with the suspect in the Pittsburgh attack. Online, Jeffrey Clark had called the massacre a “dry run for things to come.”

      Now, there are new indications that the lives of the Clark brothers in Washington intersected with some of the most violent white supremacist groups in the country — including Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi organization that calls for racially motivated, lone-wolf terror attacks like Pittsburgh and whose members or associates have been charged in five murders in the last two years.

    • Paktia protestors say drone killed 7 civilians

      Residents of the Zazai Aryub district in southeastern Paktia province on Monday protested against what they claimed the killing of seven civilians in an American drone strike.

      The protesting residents said the seven innocent civilians were killed in Alikhel area on Saturday.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Has Time Run Out For Julian Assange? Signs Point to Imminent Extradition

      It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

      It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

      WikiLeaks put the government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

      It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

      WikiLeaks put the government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.

      [...]

      Moral and racial superiority entitles the U.S. to occupy the world with military bases, ringing any nation that challenges its hegemony with military aircraft, battleships, assault vehicles, and military surveillance. Moral and racial superiority entitles its spy state agencies to shut down access to information deviating from its narratives and therefore to arrest and extradite Julian Assange.

      The Republican Party shares the same supremely intolerant nature as the Democrats, but differentiates itself by insisting that, although Russia is the enemy, Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.

      The Republicans also want to silence the founder of Wikileaks and find a way to shut the organization down. Trump’s former CIA director, and now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has called Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia” and vowed to hunt Assange down.

    • Christine Assange Issues Call For All Journalists, Politicians, Medical Professionals and Activists To Stand Up For Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks founder and former editor Julian Assange is in dire need of health assistance, according to his mother in an emergency plea to the world uploaded to the Unity4J YouTube channel.

      Christine Assange urged officials to allow access to medical attention for her son, and for the UK and Ecuador to end Assange’s illegal 8-year detainment (2 years of virtual house arrest, 6 years confined inside the Ecuadorian embassy) without charge as determined by the UN.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • We’re Going to Keep Paying Price If We Ignore Climate Change
    • Forty-Eight Dead and Counting From California’s Deadliest Wildfire

      When it began, the Camp Fire in Northern California was growing at a rate of 80 football fields every minute.

      It has now killed at least 48 people, scorched 130,000 acres of land, and torched thousands of houses and commercial buildings.

      And that isn’t the only fire raging across the now chronically parched Golden State.
      Near Los Angeles the Woolsey Fire, which ignited last Thursday and doubled in size overnight, has torched 100,000 acres and killed at least two people.

      More than 200,000 people have been evacuated because of those two fires alone.

      The Hill Fire in Ventura County burned 4,500 acres.

    • 2018 Pacific Expeditions: Corals and Clean-Up

      The second expedition, aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette, focused on cleaning up marine debris from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. During this voyage, the team removed more than 160,000 pounds of lost or abandoned fishing nets and plastics from this ecologically and culturally significant area, part of Papahānaumokuāea Marine National Monument.

    • Landowners Fight the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Court

      New Orleans – Under the United States Constitution, can private fossil fuel companies legally seize private property to build oil pipelines? Do private oil pipelines that threaten sensitive ecosystems provide a real service to the public, or do they simply pad the profit margins of fossil fuel companies and their wealthy investors?

      On Friday, a state judge in rural Louisiana will consider these questions and more in a preliminary hearing on the most significant legal challenge to date against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a 162-mile oil pipeline that bisects much of southern Louisiana and the sensitive Atchafalaya Basin, the nation’s largest river swamp.

      Most of the pipeline has already been built, and it’s expected to connect Louisiana refineries and export facilities to the Dakota Access Pipeline that faced sustained Indigenous-led resistance at Standing Rock in 2016.

      Across the country, states allow for-profit pipeline companies to seize private land under laws governing eminent domain, which is the government’s right to expropriate private property for public use in exchange for compensation. Many rural landowners lack the resources necessary to challenge wealthy oil and gas firms. A sweeping ruling against the Bayou Bridge’s attempt to expropriate private property in Louisiana could curb the fossil fuel industry’s ability to ram infrastructure projects through local communities nationwide. The Iowa Supreme Court recently heard a similar legal challenge to the Dakota Access Pipeline that also threatens the industry’s power.

  • Finance

    • 15 Months In Prison In Chicago’s First Cryptocurrency Conviction
    • Top Chicago Alderman Adds to Growing Momentum for Ticket and Debt Reform

      Chicago’s most powerful alderman on Tuesday joined the growing chorus of leaders calling for reforms to the city’s ticketing and debt collection, introducing a measure to substantially limit the decades-old practice of seeking driver’s license suspensions over unpaid tickets.

      The proposal from Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke would require the city to take into account motorists’ income before taking away their driving privileges and create more affordable payment plans for them.

      Burke’s proposal was the latest in a series of reforms that aim to respond to growing public pressure over the way Chicago punishes motorists who can’t afford to pay tickets.

      “The impact of license suspensions truly hurts lower-income residents the hardest because of an inability they have to pay these steep ticket fines,” Burke, who represents the 14th Ward on the city’s Southwest Side, told the Finance Committee. “For many motorists, the loss of the privilege to drive equates to higher unemployment, and in worst-case scenarios, Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings become necessary in order to protect licenses and vehicles required to get to work.”

      ProPublica Illinois has been reporting all year — including more recently in collaboration with WBEZ — on how unpaid tickets send thousands of mostly black Chicagoans into bankruptcy, a phenomenon seen nowhere else in the country. Bankruptcy gives motorists whose licenses have been suspended because of ticket debt the ability to get them back, in addition to other legal protections.

    • Chicago City Council Approves Modest First Reforms on Ticketing and Debt

      The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved the first reforms aimed at helping the city’s low-income motorists cope with ticket debt, with more significant changes potentially on the way.

      The approved measures, tucked into Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s final city budget, chip away at a massive problem that has exploded during his tenure: debt and bankruptcies concentrated in black neighborhoods.

      In a way, the new policies come full circle, as they seek to undo some of the damage done by a hike in the price of tickets for mandatory vehicle stickers introduced in the mayor’s first budget, in 2011.

    • Today It’s Treasure Island, Tomorrow Your Neighborhood Store: Could Local Currencies Help?

      Amazon has reached the far corners of the earth… and the highest elevations. Delivery men venture 11,562 feet up in the Himalayas to leave a package. While the company may serve a useful purpose in remote regions, its phenomenal growth also reveals that no town is immune from its less desirable consequences. The online retailer’s omnipresence has been all too apparent in Chicago, New York, and London in recent months, where stores have been closing in droves.

      Treasure Island Foods of Chicago, a family-owned business started by Christ Kamberos in 1963, announced at the end of September that after 55 years it was closing all remaining stores in just two weeks. Now, the lights are out and the shadows empty shelves are all that remain, with the scent of fresh sourdough and gyros cooking on the spit only in shoppers’ reminiscences as they walk by the darkened windows.

      Julia Child once described Treasure Island as “America’s Most European Supermarket.” In my memory, it was unforgettable. The stores always had treasure troves for every season, from delicious green picholine olives from France, to liver pâté and English Blue Stilton at Christmas, and of course, Marmite. Not to mention exotic cookies and chocolates from all over the world: marzipan and chocolate from Switzerland and Austria, shortbread from Scotland, and crisp butter wafers from the Netherlands are a few examples. It was a haven for special gifts during the holidays.

    • Former CIA Cryptographer Says Bitcoin Is Perfect Vehicle for ‘Entire Shadow Banking System’

      Bill Barhydt, a former cryptographer at the Central Intelligence Agency and the founder of cryptocurrency investment platform Abra, is mapping out how cryptocurrency can operate outside of the current regulatory environment to power a crypto bank.

      In a new Off the Chain interview with host Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital, Barhydt notes that his collective experience in various industries – from intelligence to the internet to finance – has all come together, allowing him and his team to lay the groundwork for a radically different banking model for everyday people.

      In addition to the CIA, Barhydt worked as a quantitative analyst in fixed income research at Goldman Sachs and as the former technical director at Netscape where he focused on e-commerce and banking projects.

    • Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet

      I’ve just left Ukania, where I attended the Historical Materialism conference in London. After some much needed psychological decompression, I’m now back in the Land of Caged Toddlers.

      In the UK at the same time was the UN Special Rapporteur on poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, travelling to some of the UK’s poorest areas to investigate the impact Tory austerity has had on the UK’s indigents.

      Ukania has been misruled for decades, indeed for centuries (if the truth be told). The sole possible exception to this was the immediate postwar Labour government, which created the welfare state.

      The all-party consensus around the NHS lasted for three decades, but every government after that, Tory and Labour alike, acquiesced in the slow whittling-down or outright gutting of the welfare state. Only Corbyn’s “old” Labour seems to be an exception to this trend.

      So what will Professor Alston find?

      The UK’s highest paid executive got the boot while I was there, but will keep his £75million/US$99 million bonus. Such is the state of corruption in Ukania that he might well have received a knighthood if he lasted another year or two, and would probably have been able to keep that as well.

    • As Jeff Bezos Earns $191K Per Minute, Why Are NY & VA Giving Amazon $3 Billion in Corporate Welfare?

      Amazon has selected a pair of cities to host its new, expanded headquarters: Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, and Long Island City in Queens, New York. Amazon’s decision came after a 14-month search that saw cities around the U.S. promise tax breaks, taxpayer-funded infrastructure and business-friendly ordinances in an effort to win what Amazon says will be $5 billion in new investment and thousands of jobs. Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam called the Amazon headquarter “a big win for Virginia,” and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has similarly applauded Amazon’s decision. But many local politicians have openly criticized authorities in New York and Virginia for backing the deals, which will create a total of 50,000 jobs. We host a roundtable discussion about Amazon and corporate welfare. In New York, we speak with Ron Kim, member of the New York State Assembly. He recently co-wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times headlined “New York Should Say No to Amazon.” In Washington, D.C., we speak with Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a watchdog group on economic development incentives. And in Portland, Maine, we speak with Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. She is the author of “Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • CNN sues White House for using doctored video to bar Jim Acosta

      The lawsuit also cites White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s incoherent comments on Fox News on Sunday during which she acknowledged the video was “sped up,” but argued there’s a difference between that and doctoring footage.

    • Google Will Reveal Advertisers Behind Political Ads In India’s Next Election

      Google is planning to make the information of advertisers who will pay for political ads in the upcoming lower-house (Lok Sabha) elections in India freely available to the public.

      The company did the same with recent the U.S. Mid-term elections, where it took the initiative of publicly making information about who is spending on political advertisements. Also keeping a close eye on people who are paying for political adverts.

      Sunita Mohanty, Google India’s Director of Trust and Safety, said to Indian Express that the company is also establishing tools to fight misinformation and fake news, which often gets active in any elections.

    • House To Investigate Whether DOJ’s AT&T Antitrust Lawsuit Was Political

      When the Trump DOJ sued to stop AT&T’s $89 billion merger with Time Warner last year, more than a few eyebrows were raised. After all, the DOJ’s antitrust suit, allegedly a bid to protect consumers, came as other arms of the Trump administration were busy utterly dismantling a wide variety of popular consumer protections (like net neutrality) at the direct request of industry. It raised the question: why suddenly care about consumer protection and antitrust power when you’ve shown absolutely no general concern for those concepts previously?

      As a result, there’s always been a lingering question as to whether Trump’s obvious disdain for Time Warner owned CNN was driving a petty bid for vengeance. Others wondered if the DOJ’s lawsuit was a personal favor to Trump ally Rupert Murdoch, who had tried unsuccessfully to buy CNN from AT&T at least twice, and had spent much of 2017 lobbying Trump to scuttle the deal as a competitive favor to his Fox empire.

    • Con man exposed: Trump’s acting so erratic because midterms made him look like a loser

      President Donald Trump is not himself. And by “not himself” I mean he seems to have lost his swagger. Ever since the midterm elections, he’s been churlish and petulant. His brazen braggadocio is suddenly dull and off-key. The question is what exactly has him brooding and upset.

      Sure, he held a press conference the morning after the election at which he ludicrously asserted, “I’ll be honest: I think it was a great victory. And actually, some of the news this morning was that it was, in fact, a great victory.” The news that morning was nothing of the kind, of course. And even he couldn’t pull it off. He rapidly devolved into his patented media-bashing to change the subject and ended up looking like the worst sore loser in presidential history.

      That same day he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with someone he believed would protect him from the Mueller investigation — a man described by George Conway — Kellyanne Conway’s husband — as a “constitutional nobody.” And that wasn’t his worst day last week.

      On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a big scoop revealing that the feds have unearthed plenty of evidence that Trump had personally broken campaign finance laws. More troubling for him is that the three people given immunity — lawyer Michael Cohen, National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg — know where a lot of other metaphorical bodies are buried. (We hope there are no real bodies involved.)

    • Trump’s Attorney General Pick Is a Menace to More Than Mueller

      On the surface, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has a fairly respectable resume. He earned masters and law degrees at the University of Iowa, and even caught a touchdown pass for the Hawkeyes during the 1991 Rose Bowl. He was the US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009, when he resigned after the election of Barack Obama. Whitaker ran against Joni Ernst in the 2014 Republican Senate primary but was beaten like a gong. He rejoined the DoJ in August of 2017 and became Sessions’s chief of staff.

      It is this last bit that serves to dent the boilerplate legal-beagle credentials Whitaker has amassed during his career, because his posting at the right hand of Jeff Sessions was almost certainly not an accident. According to The New York Times, “People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said.”

      How did Matt Whitaker manage to land a gig as Trump’s secret squirrel within the Justice Department? Like as not, his many television appearances and opinion articles lambasting the Mueller investigation lifted his profile like a feather in an updraft. Trump loves his loyalists (until he doesn’t), and Whitaker carried Trump’s anti-Mueller water with enthusiasm. “It is time for [Rod] Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel,” wrote Whitaker in an August 2017 CNN editorial.

    • The 2018 Midterm Elections Demonstrate Criminal Justice Reform Is a Winner at the Ballot Box

      The criminal justice reform movement is thriving and building for continued success in dismantling decades’ worth of tough on crime policies.
      Criminal justice reform was on the ballot from coast to coast in the 2018 midterm elections. There were over 1,000 prosecutor elections. Pro-reform candidates ascended to powerful roles in cities like Birmingham, St. Louis, and Boston, including a historic number of first-ever Black and female district attorneys. Voters overturned Jim Crow laws in Florida and Louisiana. Judges that have tried to grind publicly supported reforms to a halt were swept out en masse by black women in Houston.

      These results alone are truly historic. But like any election, the outcomes are a result of a variety of factors, many that have little to do with the public’s actual demand for criminal justice reform. Digging deeper, and looking not just at what was won but how these races were run, reveals a movement that is thriving and building the long-term momentum and political infrastructure needed to undo decades’ worth of tough-on-crime policies that have decimated communities.

      It’s important to start with some perspective. At least since the 1980s, criminal justice reform has been an untouchable third rail in electoral politics. The 2018 midterms show that the landscape has shifted. This year, politicians across the country, led by Black candidates, took principled and passionate positions on criminal justice reform, including in high stakes gubernatorial races in Florida, Georgia, and Maryland, where they had everything to lose.

      To be sure, in these places and elsewhere, their opponents continued the age-old tradition of stoking fear and racism to defend harsh and punitive approaches — with some success. But while such positions were mostly met with silence in the past, the 2018 elections show how years of sustained grassroots activism has now begun to open up the political space for candidates to run on unabashedly pro-reform platforms, often for the first time in generations.

    • An Anarchist Uprising Against the Liberal Ego

      The liberal ego poses an interesting contradiction. It insists not upon being“egotistical” in the way we think of it, of thinking “too much” of oneself, being self-centered, selfish, etc., but upon being servile, second-rate, low worth, “co-dependent” in relation to the existing power structures. The liberal, while accepting the rewards of bourgeois attainment and thus living comparatively well, in failing to challenge her ego’s supremacy, is automatically obedient to the illegitimate authority of the existing capitalist structures. She cannot do otherwise; she is profoundly disoriented in the metaphysical sense meant by Huston Smith. The drastically ungrounded liberal soul is oriented, not to its “noble origins” but to the reduced view of human life issuing from scientism, unalleviated by imagination, that says we ascend from lesser beings (thus we emphasize “progress”) rather than having descended from gods (i.e., having been born with perfection or wholeness in us). This is not an argument for creationism, but against the negation of imagination that has us training ourselves and our children to become cogs in a machine, rather than to love – and serve – “the Great” and “the Whole.”

      The dilemma we face is real: without orientation to the vertical, modern post-religious people have three ways to stay above the terrifying abyss of non-being, the task once performed by religion: 1) turn the clock back to rigid authoritarian tradition, to toxic masculinity, nationalism, militarism, fascism, 2) neoliberal vapid verticality, with its flattened masculinity, normalized neurosis and addictions, and covert barbarism, or 3) to in some non-authoritarian way, restore the relation to verticality (I include those who maintain that relation within traditional religion).

      For the secular liberal, following choice #2, the ego is practically unchallenged in the context of mediated reality and social fragmentation that supports neoliberal totality. We add to the debasement demanded by our imperial egos in countless ways. Our stories of childhood origins are narratives of defect and weakness (i.e., I’m ADHD, family dysfunctional, Dad a drunk, I was abused, neglected, etc.), rather than how once we saw that everything, magically, had meaning. Unquestionably childhood wounds must be brought to light, but they are part of the story not the whole. We slander our higher nature as we fixate on fitness and nutrition, and in other ways corroborate the conviction of low self worth (machine-hood) that is by now second nature. Always polite, sometimes witty and clever, we liberals never express authentic opinion for fear of exposure. Our positive will is atrophied; if it were possible to film the liberal will it would be seen to slink, flinch, evade, excuse itself, look sheepish. This is so even if we have all outward signs of material grace. We can pass a lie detector test only if we are not asked: why do you live?

    • Sixteen Midterm Races Are Still Up for Grabs by Democrats

      It’s been nearly a week since Election Day, but a number of races still lack an official winner. Massive voter turnout, archaic voting machines, outdated state regulations and Republicans determined to undermine the process all created a perfect storm, in which votes haven’t been finalized — and, in some cases, were never counted in the first place.

      [...]

      Sure, the GOP may have expanded its majority in the Senate, but it may not be nearly as big of a win as Republicans thought. They flipped seats in Missouri, North Dakota and Indiana as they hoped, but they didn’t nab West Virginia, Ohio or Montana – and they lost their seat in Nevada to the Democrats.

      On election night, the Republicans were certain that they would be keeping Arizona red and flipping the Senate seat in Florida, making their gains more significant. But now neither are a sure thing.

      As the final votes are being tallied, it turns out that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is actually the final winner, turning Republican Jeff Flake’s seat blue. Meanwhile, Florida’s Senate race is turning into a recount situation — one that will hopefully resolve the massive undervote in Broward County due to a faulty ballot design. Democrat Bill Nelson could keep his seat.

      If all goes well, the GOP may one gain one seat in the end, despite Democrats being forced to defend 26 seats this cycle.

    • Climate of Rage

      My former teaching colleague at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Warren Goldstein, who now teaches U.S. history and chairs the History Department at the University of Hartford, hit the nail exactly on the head in regard to the main source of hate in the United States in an article in The Villager, a New York City newspaper.

      “Enough squeamishness from the MSM. The violent, hateful rhetoric comes overwhelmingly from one side only and from its padron, Donald Trump. Period,” wrote Goldstein, who has a doctorate in American Studies from Yale University. He knows the U.S. well.

      “Who have their rhetorical targets been? Immigrants, Democrats, black people and George Soros. And who were actual targets last week? Democrats, blacks and immigrant- and refugee-supporting Jews,” he wrote in the piece published on November 1.

      As to what he relates is the reluctance by Mainstream Media to focus squarely on the main cause of the vitriol in U.S. society today, Goldstein wrote that “in order to make peace, we need first to talk truth, and say who provided the soil, the nourishment, the encouragement and the spark to these homegrown terrorists and killers: the would-be pipe bomber of Democrats; the racist Kentucky Kroger murderer; the Pittsburgh killer. Not, alas, according to Sunday’s New York Times: ‘The anguish of Saturday’s massacre heightened a sense of national unease over increasingly hostile political rhetoric.’”

      “Really? I don’t feel unease—I feel rage at the Trumpian big lies,” declared Goldstein.

      [...]

      Many of the “Trumpsters”—the angry people who populate Trump’s non-stop rallies—also seem to have found a father in Trump with his violent rhetoric, rhetoric not only full of vitriol but also of lies, thousands and thousands of lies.

      We’ve had some beauts as U.S. presidents. But Trump, according to a determination of nearly 200 top U.S. political scientists, is the worst. The social science researchers voted in recent months in a 2018 Presidents and Executive Policy Greatness Survey. Trump bumped James Buchanan out of the bottom spot of the survey done every four years. Other analyses confirm this determination as, surely, will history. Trump is the leading personification of hate, of malice, of ill will and of malevolence in the United States. We, indeed, all know who is fueling the hate—and we must say it.

    • In the Wake of the Blue Wave: the Midterms, Recounts, and the Future of Progressive Politics

      In the wake of the 2018 midterms, President Trump and his foot soldiers on the right have continued to repeat paranoid and fact-free claims about “electoral fraud” via the recounts in Florida and Arizona. Trump is seeking to save face by weighing in on the Florida gubernatorial race (Nelson v. Scott) and the Florida (Gillum v. DeSantis) and Arizona (Sinema v. McSally) Senate races. These are political battles, plain and simple, and Trump is trying to preserve as many Senate seats as possible for Republicans moving toward 2020.

      For progressively-minded Americans, the discussion now should focus on what the 2018 election tells us about the state of American politics and prospects for democratic change. For those who want an analysis of my thoughts on the election and how it relates to protest movements, take a look at my recent talk at the Open University of the Left (Chicago), which explores this issue in detail. For a shorter analysis of the election, I provide a brief review here of the exit polling data and what it tells us about the “pulse” of American voters following the large gains for Democrats in the House.

    • The Midterms Did Not Stop the March of Fascism, But We Can

      Twenty-two months into the Trump administration, the United States is a country in denial. Even amid the Democrats’ recent electoral gains, Trump’s would-be opposition is not poised to halt the rise of fascism. Nancy Pelosi announced plans to pursue “bipartisanship” and “common ground,” even before her own electoral victory was complete. Trump himself endorsed Pelosi as Speaker of the House — making clear that there is no leadership in the legislative branch that is equipped to confront the steady rise of Trumpian fascism. Meanwhile, as Pelosi flaunted her establishment takes, some on the left smugly mocked leftists who had joined Democratic electoral efforts, backing candidates and working to get out the vote. Was this what they had been fighting for, the critics asked? For a Pelosi-Trump partnership that would aid in Trump’s expansion of the military-industrial complex?

      Even as those divisions simmered, another moment of left-of-center conflict broke out when news emerged that protesters had paid a visit to Tucker Carlson’s home in Washington, DC. Protesters, who apparently knocked on Carlson’s door a few times, chanted and shook a tambourine, before one of them spray-painted an “A” on Carlson’s driveway, were characterized as “monstrous” by Stephen Colbert and condemned as “disastrous for any republic” by television producer David Simon. Colbert and Simon had apparently made no inquiry about the protests before commenting, instead basing their analysis on Carlson’s now-debunked version of events, thereby accepting the account of a white supremacist propagandist (who was not home at the time of the protest).

    • How Two Demagogues Inspired Their Followers

      The parallels between the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and that of Donald J. Trump have been widely noted. A new book by James M. Longo, Hitler and the Habsburgs: The Führer’s Vendetta Against the Austrian Royals (Diversion Books, 2018) brings out similarities as well as differences. As in 21stcentury America, economic and political troubles clouded the judgment of many Germans and other peoples in the 1920s and 1930s. Across the Continent, as Longo says, people “searched for a leader, a savior, a dictator to rescue them from their economic and political woes. Hitler believed he was that man.” The aspiring Führer spoke only German but proved himself “a chameleon able to articulate the unspoken emotional language of his listeners.”

      Wealthy industrialists secretly financed Hitler’s rise to power after 1924. For unemployed workers he promised full employment; for the forgotten German, he pledged respect. Hitler won financial support and many followers, but he craved legitimacy and political power to make his vision a reality. In public Hitler met with enthusiastic crowds. Behind closed doors he beguiled wealthy monarchists. One-third of German’s ancient nobility joined his Nazi Party, while many others supported him through their silence. President Trump also craves symbols of legitimacy and seeks to destroy any sign that he was not duly and freely elected.

      The insightful American journalist Dorothy Thompson interviewed Hitler and described him as an “agitator of genius….the most golden tongued of demagogues.” She advised her readers: “Don’t bother about the fact that what he says, read the next day in cold news print, is usually plain nonsense.” To understand what was happening, “You must imagine the crowds he addresses: Little people. Weighted with a feeling of inferiority.” Appeals to their racial pride were “the cheapest form of self-exaltation.” If one was debt, if one had not made a success in life, there was still the consolation that one belonged to the master race.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Macron wants to rein in Silicon Valley, from Brussels

      But Macron wants to go further, by upending the legal framework that currently underpins platforms in Europe and grants them limited liability over hosted content.

    • France to ‘embed’ regulators at Facebook to combat hate speech

      From January, Macron’s administration will send a small team of senior civil servants to the company for six months to verify Facebook’s goodwill and determine whether its checks on racist, sexist or hate-fuelled speech could be improved.

    • UCLA Flails Amid Pro-Palestine Group’s Planned Conference, While L.A.’s City Council Goes Full Stupid

      Those of you who geek out over trademark law like me may have seen the recent dust-up between UCLA and a group called National Students for Justice in Palestine this past week. I had intended on writing something up about the whole thing because of how blatantly stupid it was. The pro-Palestinian group has a chapter at UCLA and it is hosting a conference in the future, for which it put out some promotional materials that feature a bear flying a kite with the colors of the Palestinian flag and dared to mention that the conference was being held at UCLA. For this, UCLA lawyers sent a cease and desist to SJP, claiming that the way the promo material displayed the UCLA name and its use of bear imagery created confusion in the public suggesting that the school was affiliated with the conference.

      [...]

      None of that is hate speech, no matter what some silly State Department missive might suggest. Words matter, after all, and we can no more accept that the kind of political speech above, even if you disagree with it, is hate speech any more than we can condone the government crying terrorism anytime it’s convenient. It also seems obvious to me that if you replaced this pro-Palestinian group with a pro-Israel group, we never would have heard this story at all. Argue with that if you like, but you’re wrong.

      And, yet, the L.A. City Council is now getting involved in the stupidest way possible, passing a resolution that first acknowledges UCLA’s need to adhere to free speech rights and then somehow calling for the cancellation of this conference entirely.

    • Judge Lets NRA’s 1st Amendment Lawsuit Against Andrew Cuomo Move Forward

      Let’s put some cards on the table to start off this post: I think Andrew Cuomo is a terrible governor of NY (and he was a terrible Attorney General before that), and doesn’t deserve to be in office. I also think the NRA is a joke of an organization, that stirs up bullshit fear and racial divisions, and frequently shits on the 1st Amendment plenty of times when people try to challenge the 2nd Amendment. I recognize that some percentage of you probably feel differently about Cuomo and (chances are…) a non-overlapping venn diagram of you probably feel differently about the NRA. I think they’re both terrible and should disappear from public life. And I say that upfront because my position on this particular lawsuit has nothing to do with which side I “like.” I don’t like either one.

      But on the law in this particular case, clearly the NRA is in the right, while Cuomo is wrong. And thankfully, so far a judge agrees.

      Let’s take a step back, though, to look at what’s happening. Cuomo is no fan of the NRA. And he decided to use his position as governor to punish the NRA for its advocacy. Back in April, he put pressure on banks and other financial institutions to cut all ties with the NRA. It’s kind of incredible that he would think this would fly. Indeed, the situation is pretty damn close to that time that Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff Thomas Dart pressured credit card companies to stop doing business with Backpage, leading to a pretty massive judicial smackdown from Judge Richard Posner.

    • PayPal’s corporate censorship

      Since the populist revolts of 2016, much of the liberal establishment has turned on Silicon Valley. The tech giants were once held in great esteem, talked of as enablers of data-driven democracy or as the providers of invaluable tools for progressive campaigning. Today they are accused of promoting and profiting from the far right.

      Pressure has been piled on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to ban a number of right-wing activists and channels from their platforms. Most infamously, Alex Jones and his conspiratorial website Infowars were summarily banned by Apple, Facebook, Spotify, YouTube and payments processor PayPal in August this year.

      Last week, PayPal froze the account of Tommy Robinson after receiving a 60,000-strong petition from campaign group SumOfUs calling for him to be struck off its books. The group’s executive director, Hannah Lownsbrough, wrote in the Guardian that PayPal’s decision ‘will send an earthshaking message to the global far right: huge corporations will not enable your hatred’. The ban was ‘proof that people can take on big corporations and win’, she said.

      But while politicians, the Twitterati and much of the old media see themselves as ‘taking on’ the internet giants, the pressure piled on them to purge their platforms of ‘extreme’ political views is actually handing them vast amounts of unchecked power. Where tech companies were once keen to present themselves as neutral platforms, Silicon Valley is now expected to decide which political views it considers acceptable or beyond the pale.

    • PayPal Is Banning Accounts Employed By Gavin Mcinnes, The Proud Boys, And Antifa Groups

      PayPal claimed this week that it will cancel accounts employed by Proud Boys (the far-right group) as well as anti-fascist groups’ multiple accounts. The decision will make it much complicated for the groups to raise online money. The move is the newest act of “de-platforming” by the tech sector, which has been struggling with how to efficiently handle consumers that promote violent or hateful ideologies.

      The ban will comprise the Proud Boys account in addition to an account employed by Gavin Mcinnes (its founder), PayPal claimed to the media in an interview. The firm is also banning accounts for Antifa Sacramento, Atlanta Antifa, and the Anti-Fascist Network. PayPal had earlier banned accounts for Antifa Arkansas, Antifa Philadelphia, Rose City Antifa, and Belfast Antifa. The firm also banned an account employed by ex-leader of the English Defence League (the far-right group), Tommy Robinson.

    • Watch: PM insists on no information censorship

      Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that there needs to be assurance that information will not be censored, meanwhile action must be taken for people not to fall victim to misinformation.

      Muscat was speaking about censorship and fake news during an international conference in Paris about technology. In a statement, the Office of the Prime Minister said that Muscat spoke about how technology can be used to help in the fight against the spreading of fake news which is harming democracy around the world. The Prime Minister was speaking in a meeting in which the French President invited a small number of European leaders and international organisations to discuss the future of democracy in light of modern technological advances.

      [...]

      The Prime Minister also took part in a debate during the GovTech Summit about ‘Digital Identity: The Next Frontier for Smart Governments’ where he said that every individual should be given the liberty to use personal data however they please.

    • Online censorship enforced by governments is curbing people’s power to criticise

      Recently two leading Pakistani activists alleged the increased governmental censorship against critical voices on social media. The two activists, as per this report, received warnings from Twitter against tweets which, as per Twitter, violated Pakistani laws. The actual tweets of the activists, however, were against a cleric who had posted tweets threatening the government and inciting violence. The tweets of the activists themselves did not have such content. One of the tweets, as per the activists, was, in fact, a call for the government to take action against the cleric.

      The absurdity of the warnings, given that the tweets themselves (as per the report) were not incendiary, raised questions that Twitter’s warnings may have come from a governmental drive to censor critical voices, as opposed to being an actual violation of Twitter policy or Pakistani law.

      Closer home, instances of governmental censorship in India are on the rise, such as in the form of the increasingly frequent internet shutdowns, the blocking of websites or defamation suits.

    • Facebook Allowing French Censors To Embed With The Company, And Maybe That’s A Good Thing?

      While many people may have the instinctual reaction that having government regulators coming in to see how to “better” censor speech on your platform is inherently a problem, one hopes that the end result of this is influencing things in the other direction. A bad outcome would be French regulators deciding that this experience gives them enough info to craft impossible regulations to wave digital magic wands and “make the bad stuff disappear.” But a more optimistic argument would be that it gives these French regulators a chance to get some first hand knowledge of (1) how seriously Facebook takes this issue (don’t laugh, because the company absolutely does take this issue seriously now, even if it didn’t in the past) and (2) just how impossible it is to do a particularly good job at it (even as Facebook has gotten much better in the past year).

      So while I’m always a little concerned about the idea of having government regulators come into a company when the upfront stated objective is about more content moderation demands, it certainly would be beneficial for French officials not to be so incredibly ignorant about how content moderation at scale truly works, and why the easy solutions they always seem to propose won’t help (and could make problems significantly worse).

    • Exiled Chinese author attends Tai Kwun events

      Tai Kwun, an arts center managed by Jockey Club CPS, reversed its earlier decision to cancel two literary events arranged for exiled Chinese author Ma Jian amid criticisms that it was engaging in political censorship.

      Ma Jian, a Hong Kong permanent resident who now lives in London, showed up at the events held on Saturday as scheduled at Tai Kwun, the former Central Police Station compound on Hollywood Road that has been transformed into a center for heritage and the arts.

    • Hong Kong Lawmakers Protest Over Reported Loss of Border Land to China

      Reports that a garrison of Chinese border guards has taken over land on Hong Kong’s side of the internal border, which its personnel also cross at will, have sparked protests in the former British colony over promises that the city would remain a separate jurisdiction after the 1997 handover.

      The investigative journalism group FactWire found that some 21,000 square feet of privately owned land within a high-security area along the Hong Kong side of the border with mainland China has been used by the 6th Detachment of the Guangdong provincial border defense corps of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for the past six years.

    • The death knell for freedom of speech in Hong Kong
    • CE denies gov’t link to self censorship and Ma Jian furore
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Tor anonymity gateway-maker InvizBox chases VPN subscriptions down rabbit hole

      The InvizBox Tor-gateway router stopped receiving firmware and secuirty updates two years after release. Ten months later, InvizBox decided to try and reinvent their product with an alternative firmware that focused on selling virtual private network (VPN) services from InvizBox instead of relying on the free Tor onion network.

      InvizBox was a specialized Wi-Fi router that acted as a gateway to the Tor onion network. That is no longer what the product does, but you can read my 2016 review of InvizBox for the historical perspective.

      The economy of maintaining device firmware have shifted from using the free Tor anonymizing network to selling ubscription services. InvizBox sent out an email to existing customers offering “90 days free VPN service” to incentivize existing customers to upgrade from their now unsupported Tor firmware to the newer VPN firmware.

      90 days of free VPN sounded interesting and I thought I could get a little more life out of my InvizBox. I was sold and proceeded to upgrade my device’s firmware. This experience would end up completely changing my impressions about the InvizBox.

    • Judge Says Amazon Needs To Hand Over Recordings Created By Murder Victim’s Echo Speaker

      New Hampshire investigators will be deposing Alexa in the near future, according to a recent court ruling. The advent of in-home digital, voice-activated assistants has created a wealth of personal recordings law enforcement may now have access to. It’s only been a couple of years since we first saw law enforcement attempt to obtain Alexa recordings from Amazon, but as Mike pointed out then, this was going to be the new normal. So the onus is on companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon to give customers more direct control of stored data and recordings.

      In this case, prosecutors are seeking recordings made by a murder victim’s Amazon Echo speaker. They hope the victim’s device captured the attack and the removal of her body. Amazon has issued some boilerplate about “valid legal demands” in response, but it’s likely the company won’t interject itself into this case.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Outgoing Congress Shouldn’t Reward Trump With More Homeland Security Funding

      Before Dec. 7, Congress will have to make a decision: Will they reward the department responsible for family separation, jailing immigrants, raids on communities of color, and abuses at the border by increasing their budget? Or will they stand up and rein in Trump’s detention and deportation force?

      The Department of Homeland Security is currently funded by a continuing resolution, a short-term bill that extends its budget from last year. It was passed in late September so that Congress could avoid a messy budget fight before the midterm elections. On Dec. 7, it will expire at midnight.

      By that time, Congress has to decide how it will fund the government next year — a negotiation that really comes down to how it will fund DHS, as The Washington Post reported. Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is treating funding for a border wall as a foregone conclusion, while Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), his counterpart on the House of Representatives side, said on Tuesday she isn’t interested in negotiating. Republicans, therefore, are going to try to jam through their anti-immigrant agenda in the last gasp of their majority in the House of Representatives, including increased funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection as well as billions of dollars for a border wall.

    • Inside the #MeToo Revolt at Google

      The November 1 walkout by 20,000 Google employees at some 50 offices around the world may be the largest international action of its kind in modern labor history — and it shined a spotlight on the potential for tech workers to stand up for justice for themselves and their co-workers.

      The immediate cause of the walkout — which involved more than 20 percent of Google’s nearly 95,000 workers worldwide — was the revelation of Google’s cover-up of sexual misconduct by Andy Rubin, a former top executive and the creator of the Android operating system.

      Google protected Rubin, giving him a $90 million exit package, while keeping silent about his history of sexual harassment and abuse. But Rubin is clearly one of many sexual harassers that Google has shielded, contributing to a hostile internal climate.

      The walkout gave voice to workers’ grievances about that work environment. At a rally at Google’s YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, one worker stated: “Where did they get that $90 million? They got it from every day you worked late. From every promotion you didn’t get. From every [temporary contract worker] who was never converted to full time.”

      The walkout was organized in less than a week, and workers harnessed Google’s tools — Drive and Gmail, Docs and Calendar — to make it a success.

    • Radical Idealism: Jesus and the Radical Tradition

      My education began where the school and church curriculum would not go.

      The tradition of radical thinking, writing, organizing, and fighting for a better world – the foundation of radical idealism – is a fringe tradition. I recognized this early on, and made a connection to things I read in the Bible, namely the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

      Jesus was a threat to the power structures during His time and was exiled immediately after birth. He taught his followers a lifestyle incompatible with greed, individualism, authoritarianism, militarism, and nationalism. He healed, preached, and educated without a place to lay His head because He knew what awaited Him if He was captured by the authorities. His Sermon on the Mount wasn’t meant to comfort the listener in turbulent times, but rather establish an ideal: an impossible standard to guide and provide hope for humanity. Like so many radical idealists before and after Him, Jesus was executed by the State.

    • Advocates: Trump Creating Border Crisis by Pitting Troops Against Women & Children Fleeing Violence

      Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is traveling to McAllen, Texas, today to visit some of the thousands of troops deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border by President Donald Trump. Nearly 6,000 active-duty troops are currently stationed in Texas, California and Arizona, following Trump’s escalating attacks against the Central American caravan heading toward the border. Trump has warned that that number could swell to 15,000—more than the U.S. forces in Afghanistan and almost triple the number of troops in Iraq. According to some reports, the border deployments could cost $220 million, despite the fact the Pentagon does not see the caravan as a risk. Mattis’s visit comes just days after the Trump administration announced new immigration rules to deny asylum to anyone who enters the country outside of a port of entry, a move the American Civil Liberties Union has called “illegal.” We speak with Fernando Garcia, the founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights, an advocacy organization based in El Paso. We also speak with Liz Castillo, immigration reporter and managing editor with Neta, a community news outlet in the Rio Grande Valley.

    • Honoring the 2018 Pioneer Award Winners and John Perry Barlow

      EFF’s annual Pioneer Awards Ceremony recognizes extraordinary individuals for their commitment and leadership in extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier. At this year’s event held on September 27 in San Francisco, EFF rededicated the Pioneer Awards to EFF co-founder and Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow. Barlow’s commitment to online freedom was commemorated by dubbing the Pioneer Awards statuette the “Barlow.” EFF welcomed keynote speaker Daniel Ellsberg, known for his work in releasing the Pentagon papers, to help award the very first Barlows. This year’s honorees were fair use champion Stephanie Lenz, European Digital Rights leader Joe McNamee, and groundbreaking content moderation researcher Sarah T. Roberts.

    • CIA WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS HE WAS TARGETED BY BRENNAN, MUELLER, STRZOK

      When the FBI asked John Kiriakou to meet at the Washington field office in January 2012, the former CIA officer says he gladly agreed to the request.

      “Anything for the FBI,” Kiriakou told the FBI agent who contacted him.

      Months earlier, as a senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kiriakou had helped the FBI investigate a Japanese diplomat who had approached him offering a bribe.

      Or so he thought.

      Instead, Kiriakou says the FBI was running a sting operation against him for what he claims is payback for revealing secrets about the CIA’s waterboarding program.

      The government officials behind that investigation have resurfaced in the probe of the Trump campaign, which officially began as an FBI matter on July 31, 2016 and is now overseen by the special counsel’s office.

      As the Obama White House’s number 2 official on the National Security Council at the time, John Brennan ordered the Justice Department to charge Kiriakou with espionage, Kiriakou says. As FBI director, Robert Mueller formed a 12-person task force to investigate the 15-year CIA veteran. And as a top counterintelligence official at the FBI’s Washington office, Peter Strzok oversaw the investigation and arrested Kiriakou on Jan. 15, 2012.

    • New Documents Reveal CIA Spied on Congress, Whistleblowers

      Newly declassified documents reveal the CIA—which is supposed to be strictly limited in the types of surveillance and other secret operations it conducts on U.S. soil—routinely monitors U.S. government computer systems.

      That information is contained in two formerly secret letters of “congressional notification” written in 2014 by the Intelligence Community inspector general at the time, Charles McCullough. In the letters, McCullough reveals the CIA secretly intercepted and collected emails between congressional staff and the CIA’s head of whistleblowing and source protection. The collection was said to occur as part of the CIA’s “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computer systems.”

    • Alabama Voters Say At Least One Sheriff Won’t Be Enriching Himself With Federal Inmate Food Funds

      Things will get a little less crooked in part of Alabama in the near future. Sheriffs will no longer be able be able to personally benefit from federal funds meant to feed the state’s prisoners.

      More than one sheriff in the state had been caught starving prisoners while picking up nice things for themselves with the leftover money. Weirdly, this is all legal under state law, which allows personal use of unused food funds by sheriffs running the state’s jails.

      [...]

      A sheriff in Etowah County also brought down the heat on himself by taking home $250,000 a year in federal food funds that were supposed to be used to feed inmates. The $750,000 that managed to be accounted for is likely only a small part of the sheriff’s total take. According to public records, Sheriff Todd Entrekin managed to acquire $1.7 million in property while officially taking home a $93,000 salary.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Colorado Voters Continue To Opt Out Of State’s Protectionist, ISP-Written Broadband Law

      For years we’ve discussed how ISPs like Comcast have spent millions of dollars quite literally buying shitty, protectionist laws in 21 states. Said laws either ban or significantly hamstring towns and cities from building their own broadband networks, or in some cases from even engaging in public/private partnerships. It’s a scenario where ISPs get to have their cake and eat it too; they often refuse to upgrade their networks in under-served areas (particularly true among telcos offering DSL), but also get to write shitty laws preventing these under-served towns from doing anything about it.

      This dance of dysfunction has been particularly interesting in Colorado, however. While lobbyists for Comcast and CenturyLink managed to convince state leaders to pass such a law (SB 152) in 2005, the legislation contains a provision that lets individual Colorado towns and cities ignore the measure with a simple referendum, something telecom lobbyists have certainly come to regret. Not surprisingly, with frustration mounting over sub-standard broadband and awful customer service, more than a hundred Colorado cities have voted to exempt themselves from the state law over the last few years.

      That happened again during the recent midterm elections, when eighteen additional communities voted to opt out of the restrictive, protectionist law. According to the Institute For Local Self Reliance (which helps communities help themselves to improve local connectivity) the votes weren’t even close in most of these towns and cities, with voter approval rates like 73%, 80%, and 90%. With this week’s votes, the group notes that more than 60% of Colorado communities have taken back their rights to make their own decisions on infrastructure for themselves…

    • Google Internet Traffic Wasn’t Hijacked, But It Was Out of Control

      Google noted that almost all traffic to its services is encrypted, and wasn’t exposed during the incident no matter what. As traffic pinballed across ISPs, though, some observers, including the monitoring firm ThousandEyes, saw signs of malicious BGP hijacking—a technique that manipulates the web’s Border Gateway Protocol, which helps ISPs automatically collaborate to route traffic seamlessly across the web.

      ThousandEyes saw Google traffic rerouting over the Russian ISP TransTelecom, to China Telecom, toward the Nigerian ISP Main One. “Russia, China, and Nigeria ISPs and 150-plus [IP address] prefixes—this is obviously very suspicious,” says Alex Henthorne-Iwane, vice-president of product marketing at ThousandEyes. “It doesn’t look like a mistake.”

    • Domain Registrars and Registries Don’t Want to ‘Police’ Piracy

      Copyright holders would like domain name registrars and registries to take a more active anti-piracy approach. There was some serious movement in this direction last year when a new copyright arbitration process was proposed that put domains including that of The Pirate Bay at risk. However, the plan has since been canned, as various parties believe that it went a step too far.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/europenewsarticle.php?article_id=6184

      The UK Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from Warner-Lambert in the Pregabalin second medical use case.

      The Supreme Court dismissed Warner-Lambert’s appeal with Lord Jonathan Mance and Lord Patrick Hodge questioning whether there was sufficient disclosure in the specification for certain claims.

      The court unanimously affirmed a lower court decision and rejected Warner-Lambert’s application to amend its patent in order to narrow it. The Supreme Court’s ruling could make patents for biotech pharma companies easier to avoid and make it them more vulnerable to invalidation.

    • UK Supreme Court affirms Warner-Lambert’s pregabalin patent is invalid

      Warner-Lambert patent was insufficiently disclosed and would not have been infringed by generics even if the claims were valid, in a ruling that raises the bar for plausibility of Swiss form claims

    • Pregabalin – The Ruling of the UK Supreme Court

      Today, after nine months of waiting, the decision of the UK Supreme Court in the pregabalin litigation was handed down. Like Brexit and the nation, it is clear that the Supreme Court Judges were divided on several crucial issues.

      In this post, we will not attempt to give a detailed analysis of the decision but rather to give a short summary of the principal points. A more detailed analysis will follow in the coming days.

      The background to the case is well known. Warner-Lambert had a patent with Swiss-type claims to the use of pregabalin in the treatment of pain (the “Patent”). The Patent had subsidiary claims to the use of pregabalin in inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. Following the expiry of the compound patent for pregabalin in spring 2013, various generics companies wanted to sell pregabalin for non-patented indications including epilepsy and general anxiety disorder. However, the law was unclear as to what additional steps the generics companies should take, besides carving out pain from their label, to try and ensure that their pregabalin medicines were not used for the treatment of pain whilst Warner-Lambert’s patent was in force. In addition to taking such steps, the generics companies also sought to revoke the Patent and thus clear the way ahead of sales of their medicines for the treatment of pain. Warner-Lambert denied that the Patent was invalid and alleged that the Patent was infringed.

    • Copyrights

      • Dear EU Politicians: You Really Don’t Have To Wreck The Internet

        As you’ll recall, back in September, the EU Parliament voted to approve a draft of the EU Copyright Directive, despite it including a bunch of very problematic pieces — mainly Article 13′s mandatory filters and Article 11′s snippet tax. What the EU Parliament approved was not the same as what the EU Council of member states had approved, nor what the EU Commission had approved, so now those three bodies have been working on a “trilogue” process to sync up the various versions and come up with a master version that will have to be approved again by all three institutions. There has been a lot of activity in the past few weeks — and Italy’s change of government has made things a bit interesting.

      • Piracy Debt Collectors Back Off After Massive Backlash in Finland

        Opponents of copyright trolling efforts in Finland scored a major victory last week. A local debt collection company, which came under fire after going after individuals with unpaid settlement letters, has announced that it has withdrawn from the piracy debt collection business.

11.14.18

Links 14/11/2018: KDevelop 5.3, Omarine 5.3, Canonical Not for Sale

Posted in News Roundup at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Meet TASBot, a Linux-Powered Robot Playing Video Games for Charity

    Can a Linux-powered robot play video games faster than you? Only if he takes a hint from piano rolls…and doesn’t desync.

    Let me begin with a brief history of tool-assisted speedruns. It was 2003. Less than half the developed world had internet access of any kind, and YouTube hadn’t been created yet. Smartphones were rare and nascent. Pentium III processors still were commonplace, and memory was measured in megabytes. It was out of this primordial ooze that an interesting video file circulated around the web—an 18MB .wmv labeled only as a “super mario bross3 time attack video” [sic]. What followed was an absolutely insane 11-minute completion of the game by someone named Morimoto replete with close calls, no deaths and Mario destroying Bowser after apparently effortlessly obtaining 99 lives. The only other context was a link to a page written in Japanese, and the rough encoding that Windows Media Video format was known for in that era made it difficult for casual viewers to observe that it was an emulator recording rather than the output of a real Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console.

  • Desktop

    • Windows 10’s October Update Returns, Promises Not to Delete Your Files

      Microsoft has finally re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update—in mid-November. All those file deletion bugs should be fixed, and Windows Update will soon automatically install it on your PC.

    • Windows Isn’t a Service; It’s an Operating System [Ed: No, it is neither. It is malware (keylogger and more) bundled/strapped onto a kernel that can boot the malware and get preinstalled -- by pressure and bribes -- by OEMs]

      “Windows as a Service” is failing. It’s obvious: Windows is not a service, and never was. It’s a desktop operating system, and it doesn’t need updates every six months. Even iOS and Android only get significant updates once per year.

    • Microsoft Is Talking About Windows 10’s Quality, But Changing Nothing

      Microsoft today re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update. Rather than explaining what went wrong, Microsoft publicly patted itself on the back for its great quality assurance process. Microsoft promises increased transparency and better communication, but talk is cheap.

    • Microsoft lobs Windows 10, Server Oct 2018 update at world (minus file-nuking ‘feature’) after actually doing some testing

      In early October, Microsoft made Windows 10, Windows Server, and Windows Server 2019 build 1809 available for download, and within days pulled them after all kinds of terrible shenanigans started happening, primarily people’s files going AWOL.

    • Microsoft Responds to Criticism, Adds Snapdragon 850 to the List of Supported Processors for Windows 10

      Meanwhile, it remains a good omen for Windows 10 users that the October update is temporarily being provided in an error-corrected version, possibly to be re-released tonight with other updates for various systems.

    • Microsoft Finally Re-Releases Windows 10 October Update

      Apart from recurring sound issues that always seem to find its way in every Windows 10 update, the 1809 update also brought a file deletion bug that brought havoc on users by deleting their personal files. And there’s the recent Windows Activation Bug, not to mention.

    • UserLAnd Review: a little Linux in your pocket
    • Hands-on: Linux on DeX finally gives the Samsung mobile desktop system a purpose [Video]

      Whilst I’m not a developer or even a user of any Linux distro, I do think that having a proper desktop environment might open up a huge number of use-cases for those that want to have access to a real Linux experience on a device. Remember the failed IndieGoGo from Canonical way back in 2013? They tried — and failed — to convince enough people that the Ubuntu Edge was a viable product.

      Now, Samsung is trying to do something similar, to convince us that DeX can bridge that mobile-to-desktop gap, but (at present) solely with the help of Canonical. That means that at the minute you’ll only be able to install a tailored version of Ubuntu (Ubuntu 16.04 LTS provided by Canonical) for your Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. There is no word on if or when older devices might get the functionality.

    • Samsung’s Linux on DeX turns your phone into a Linux PC

      I remain convinced that this is eventually what all our phones will be able to do – adapt to whatever input method and/or display you hook up to it. We’re in the early stages today, with lots of rough edges, performance hiccups, and other issues, but eventually, we won’t bat an eye at walking into our homes and without us doing anything, our phone wirelessly hooks up to all displays in our house. Want to work on that presentation for tomorrow? Walk into your office, sit down, and your phone automatically wirelessly connects to the mouse, keyboard, and display on your desk. Want to watch Netflix? Just yell a command at your TV, and your phone plays season 7 of Game of Thrones: The Next Generation on your TV. And so on.

    • Samsung Linux on DeX beta APK ready to download

      Before last week ended, Samsung made it known to us the Linux on DeX beta program would be ready soon for the Galaxy Tab S4 and the Galaxy Note 9. This was almost exactly a year since we learned the South Korean tech giant would bundle Linux on Samsung DeX. We’ve only been waiting for it to happen and looks like it’s finally happening although still in beta. Just shared on XDA Developers form is the Linux on Dex Beta APK you can now download.

      Samsung launched the DeX station last year and it’s getting an important update with Linux in the picture. Initially, it’s out for the Galaxy Tab S4 and the latest Galaxy S9 duo.

      The DeX functionality is better than ever now with Linux support, it will be more advanced yet simpler because it will only need a video cable. No need for the DeX docking station.

  • Server

    • OpenStack Now Powers 75 Public Clouds Worldwide

      While there is a lot of talk about large public cloud providers and other open-source cloud efforts in the media and elsewhere, the OpenStack Foundation continues to move forward, albeit with less hype than it once was able to muster.

      On Nov. 13, the OpenStack Foundation announced that it is rebranding its OpenStack Summit event, which is running here Nov. 13-15, to the Open Infrastructure Summit, as part of the open-source organization’s continued movement to look beyond just its own core open-source cloud effort.

      On the other hand, even as the OpenStack Foundation looks beyond its namesake project for the future, the present reality is that OpenStack is quietly powering a lot of cloud infrastructure. Although OpenStack is not thought of among the big three public cloud providers—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure—it does power more than 75 other public cloud providers worldwide. At the OpenStack Summit, multiple operators and vendors including Huawei, Deutsche Telekom and OVH detailed how they are scaling increasingly larger cloud platforms, all powered by OpenStack.

    • PHP 7.2, Node.js 10, NGINX 1.14 and others now GA for RHEL

      These versions are available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (Devtools or RHSCL channel) for x86_64, s390x, aarch64, and ppc64le. Read more details about each component in the “New Components details” section.

    • GCC 8.2 now GA for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

      We are pleased to announce general availability of Red Hat Developer Toolset 8 beta for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7.

      [...]

      Like other tools, these are installable via yum from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 or 7 Devtools or RHSCL channel. For more details, see the “New Features” section below.

    • Clang/LLVM 6.0, Go 1.10, and Rust 1.29 NOW GA for RHEL

      These toolsets can be installed from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Devtools channel. See the “New compiler details” below to learn about the new features.

    • HelpSystems Gets Into JAMS for Scheduling

      HelpSystems yesterday announced the acquisition of MVP Systems Software, the Connecticut-based developer of the JAMS workload management and scheduling software. While JAMS supported IBM i, HelpSystems will count on the product to deliver capabilities primarily in the open systems realm, with cloud possibilities looming in the future.

      The acquisition came together as the result of mutual respect that HelpSystems and MVP Systems Software had for each other, says Kate Bolseth, general manager of cross platform products at HelpSystems.

    • What’s the reality of OpenStack and public cloud?

      My colleague, Margaret Dawson, spends a lot of time talking with customers. And in those conversations, questions about cloud and OpenStack invariably come up. She shared this message a while back, during her keynote at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, and it still resonates. While public cloud looms large in many companies’ plans, OpenStack’s future looks bright in the hybrid cloud reality we see today — and tomorrow.

      “Most of you, especially if you’ve been working on OpenStack for a while, hear ‘Game’s over. Why are we even still doing this? AWS has won, so let’s just put everything in the public cloud and call it a day.”

    • Impact of IBM-Red Hat Merger

      Recently, there have been numerous machine learning, and AI algorithms developed to achieve the desired output in a dynamic, efficient, and effective manner. However, in a real-time scenario, an individual algorithm has its own advantages and is restricted to certain limitations. These limitations can be minimized by integrating different algorithms to achieve the desired task. By capturing the insights into the integral approach, IBM has announced its acquisition of Red Hat technologies to enhance its cloud-based business services to its clients.

      In the past year, nearly a quarter of IBM overall revenue was achieved through the cloud service platform. But with an increase in competitors, the company was overshadowed by other cloud rivals such as Microsoft and Amazon. Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, stated that at present, only 20 percent of the companies are renting cloud services to cut costs; over 80 percent are still unlocking their business values and can shift their business applications to the hybrid cloud in the near future for data extraction and optimization.

    • OpenStack Expands With New Projects, Canonical’s CEO Is Not Thrilled About It

      For those who have been paying attention (and SDxCentral has been), the OpenStack Foundation has been expanding its scope beyond the basic compute, storage, and networking sub-projects of its cloud infrastructure software. Today at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin the group made it official, announcing that it will host new open source projects with a new governance framework.

      The OpenStack Foundation board approved the governance framework to incubate new pilot projects that are relevant to the open infrastructure community. As part of this new framework, the first four pilot projects are Kata Containers, Airship, Zuul, and StarlingX. All of these projects have been previously announced.

    • Open source is growing up – and here’s how

      If you’re among those who still think that open source is just for hobbyists and academics, think again. Open source is mature now, both as a concept and as tools for building enterprise IT, and we have two major shifts in understanding to thank for that.

      The first key change is that there’s a much more mature understanding now of how the layers of IT architecture relate to each other – of what fits where, in other words. Instead of trying to do too much, adding in every feature or capability that might be related, open source projects have become more focused.

      For example, instead of misunderstanding them as rivals, we can now see OpenStack and Kubernetes for what they are. The former is an infrastructure layer, upon which you can run platform layers such as the latter.

    • Open-source and cloud-native, Kubernetes paves the way for new companies to bring DevOps to data

      With less than two months left, 2018 is poised to go down in tech history as the coming of age for open-source software.

      Need evidence? Over the past 10 months, notable open-source enterprises MuleSoft Inc., Magento Inc., GitHub Inc. and Red Hat Inc. have been purchased for a combined $50 billion.

      Yet before jumping on the open-source bandwagon, observers would be wise to keep in mind that these technologies still depend on a sizable community of contributors to keep innovation fresh, and monetization of many open-source projects remains a struggle. So what is all the fuss about?

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 coming soon with tighter Kubernetes integration

      Today, Red Hat has announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, saying it will become available in the coming weeks. The firm says that the latest version, which is built on the OpenStack “Rocky” community release, more tightly integrates with the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform which gives admins full control over their Kubernetes environments.

    • Red Hat commits to Openstack for ‘at least’ 10 years

      While Red Hat understandably wouldn’t discuss anything to do with the IBM mega-acquisition – for regulatory reasons – director of product management James Labocki and senior director for product management at Openstack Nick Barcet confirmed Red Hat’s commitment to Openstack for at least the next “10 years”.

      The open source giant today announced Openstack Platform 14, which Barcet said aimed to make Openstack a better platform to run container orchestration system Kubernetes on, while also helping to better manage the deployment of Red Hat’s container platform OpenShift on bare metal, as well as easing the integration of OpenShift and Openstack at the networking and storage layer. This, says Barcet, is a landmark move for Red Hat because it is part of a new strategy to focus on its whole portfolio as a single entity rather than individual products.

    • Kaloom Collaborates with Red Hat to Deliver a Virtual Central Office Solution for Multivendor NFV Deployments
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.19.2
    • Linux 4.18.19
    • Linux 4.14.81
    • Linux 4.9.137
    • linux-4.19-ck1, MuQSS version 0.180 for linux-4.19

      Announcing a new -ck release, 4.19-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.180. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

    • MuQSS Scheduler Updated, Linux 4.19-ck1 Drops BFQ I/O Scheduler

      Con Kolivas is out with an updated version of his MuQSS scheduler (based on his former Brain BFS Scheduler work) as well as his “-ck” patch-set against the mainline kernel.

      MuQSS 0.180 is the latest version of the scheduler designed for working particularly well on desktop and mobile systems for maximum responsiveness and interactivity. This code has been re-based against the upstream Linux 4.19 stable series along with his 4.19-ck1 patch-set that has accounting fixes.

    • Linux Foundation

      • The Ceph Foundation has been launched by the Linux Foundation to support the open source storage project

        At Ceph Day Berlin, yesterday (November 12) the Linux Foundation announced the launch of the Ceph Foundation. A total of 31 organizations have come together to launch the Ceph Foundation including industries like ARM, Intel, Harvard and many more. The foundation aims to bring industry members together to support the Ceph open source community.

        [...]

        The Ceph Foundation will provide an open, collaborative, and neutral home for project stakeholders to coordinate their development and community investments in the Ceph ecosystem.

      • Linux Foundation Launches Open Source Ceph Storage Group

        Open source storage gets a boost today as the Linux Foundation launches the Ceph Foundation with more than 30 members including China Mobile, DigitalOcean, Intel, OVH, and Red Hat.

        The Ceph project is a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, and file system interfaces. It was co-founded more than a decade ago by Sage Weil, who is now chief architect at Red Hat for Ceph, and University of California, Santa Cruz professor Carlos Maltzahn. A whole team of storage engineers now manage and maintain the open source code.

      • ZTE Joins Ceph Foundation as One of First Platinum Members

        ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063.SZ), a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, joined the Ceph Foundation as the founder member and one of the first Platinum members at the Ceph Day in Berlin, Germany.

      • OPNFV Gambia — Doing what we do best while advancing cloud native

        Today, the OPNFV community is pleased to announce the availability of Gambia, our seventh platform release! I am extremely proud of the way the community rallied together to make this happen and provide the industry with another integrated reference platform for accelerating their NFV deployments.

        At a high level, Gambia represents our first step towards continuous delivery (CD) and deepens our work in cloud native, while also advancing our core capabilities in testing and integration, and the development of carrier-grade features by working upstream. As an open source pioneer in NFV, it’s amazing to see the evolution of the project to meet the needs of a quickly changing technology landscape.

    • Graphics Stack

      • What Is Screen Tearing and How to Get Rid of It on Linux

        Unfortunately for Linux fans, screen tearing is, and has been, a persistent annoyance that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. There are a couple of factors enabling the longevity of the screen tearing issue.

        First, and probably most obviously, is the dated, broken, and bloated X server. Even with the progress of Wayland, X is here to stay for the immediate future. Next is the strange and inconsistent graphics driver picture. One of the biggest offenders in causing screen tearing is also the most popular GPU manufacturer on Linux, NVIDIA. Throw in different desktop environments with their own display settings and compositors, and you have a real mess.

        These methods will hopefully eliminate screen tearing in most situations, but it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, thanks to the amount of variables involved. Try what applies to your system, and keep in mind that there might be new factors involved.

      • Collabora Revives Work On Alpha Compositing Protocol For Wayland

        Collabora’s Scott Anderson has revived work on the alpha compositing protocol for Wayland, which is based upon the work done by Google on this functionality for Chromium on Wayland.

        The Wayland Alpha Compositing Protocol is intended to control the alpha compositing and blending of surface contents within a Wayland environment. This experimental protocol allows for advanced blending and alpha operations on Wayland surfaces (wl_surface) and Google’s work on it dates back at least two years.

      • Radeon Linux Driver Preparing Adaptive Backlight Management (ABM)

        The “AMDGPU” Radeon Linux kernel graphics driver is preparing support for “Adaptive Backlight Management” as a backlight power-savings feature for laptops.

        Adaptive Backlight Management reduces the backlight level in an effort to save power but increases the pixel contrast and luminance to improve image quality and readability under the lower light condition.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • A Journey on Budgie Desktop #2: Raven

      Raven, the Super+A menu, is the special right panel on Budgie Desktop Environment. It’s represented by a white door icon with a left arrow on it beside the power icon on the top panel. It’s interesting as it’s fun to show/hide in end-user’s perspective. It’s unique, compared to same right-side panel concepts on BlankOn and deepin, it has own name Raven while being very minimal yet usable. See more below. This is the continuation after the first part talked about the Top Panel. Enjoy and please wait the next part about Applets!

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDevelop 5.3 released

        A little less than a year after the release of KDevelop 5.2 and a little more than 20 years after KDevelop’s first official release, we are happy to announce the availability of KDevelop 5.3 today. Below is a summary of the significant changes.

        We plan to do a 5.3.1 stabilization release soon, should any major issues show up.

      • KDevelop 5.3 Released With Better C++, Python & PHP Support

        KDevelop 5.3 brings the Clazy analyzer that makes use of Clang, many improvements to C++ support, a whole lot of PHP language support improvements, and the Python language support has seen some fixes as well as the ability to inject environment profile variables into the debug process environment. KDevelop 5.3 has also seen improvements for its support on BSD, Haiku, and other operating systems.

      • NVIDIA Working On An EGLStreams Back-End For KDE On Wayland

        With no recent activity on the NVIDIA-led Unix device memory allocation work that all developer communities could get behind to supersede GBM and EGLStreams for use by Wayland compositors, NVIDIA is working on an EGLStreams back-end for KDE’s KWin compositor.

        Similar to the work done on an EGLStreams back-end for GNOME and other EGLStreams work by the smaller Wayland compositors, a NVIDIA engineer is now officially working on an EGLStreams back-end for KWin so that the NVIDIA proprietary driver would play well with KDE on Wayland. Up to now KWin has only supported the Mesa GBM interfaces. KDE developers have said they wouldn’t invest in developing an EGLStreams back-end, but that they wouldn’t be opposed if say NVIDIA would contribute and maintain the code — that’s what is happening now.

      • Shop update! Digital Atelier and a new USB-Card

        And we’ve also created a new USB-card, with the newest stable version of Krita for all OSes. Includes Comics with Krita, Muses, Secrets of Krita and Animate with Krita tutorial packs.

      • KDE Bugsquad – Okular Bug Day on November 17th, 2018

        Thank you to everyone who participated last Bug Day! We had a turnout of about six people, who worked through about half of the existing REPORTED (unconfirmed) Konsole bugs. Lots of good discussion occurred on #kde-bugs as well, thank you for joining the channel and being part of the team!

        We will be holding a Bug Day on November 17th, 2018, focusing on Okular. Join at any time, the event will be occurring all day long!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Mutter Brings More Fixes, Shell 3.31.2 Has Some Performance Work

        New development releases of GNOME Shell and Mutter are out today in the 3.31 development series along with new 3.30 stable point releases that back-port more fixes for these important pieces to the GNOME desktop.

        Mutter 3.31.2 brings a number of fixes including better handling for non-UTF8 encodings, memory leak fixes from the 3.30 series, a possible crash when restarting the window manager, initial Meson build system support, a crash fix for monitor hot-plugging, and other fixes rounding this out as a practical update.

      • GSoC Mentors Summit 2018

        I represented GNOME, sadly alone because the other selected mentor didn’t get the US visa in time. This was my first trip out of India and I couldn’t plan it properly1, so I went there for just the two conference days.

  • Distributions

    • The Best Linux Distros For Beginners

      Everyone needs to start somewhere, and Linux is no different. Even though it became a meme, telling newcomers to install Gentoo isn’t very productive, and it harms the community as a whole.

      There are distributions that work to make themselves accessible to people of every skill level and technical aptitude. They’re often called “Beginner distributions”, but they aren’t just for beginners. Actually, any one of these choices would be great for everyone, but they’re also the best places for newbies to start.

    • Reviews

      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Elementary OS 5.0 Juno

        Elementary OS is currently riding high in the Distrowatch rankings and it has been a while since my last review so I thought it was high time I took another look.

        The tag line at the top of the Elementary OS website reads as “The fast, open and privacy respecting replacement for Windows and macOS”.

        In this review I am going to examine this claim in depth as well as other claims such as “Apps you need, without the ones you don’t”. The website states that the applications have been carefully considered to cater for your everyday needs so you can spend more time using your computer and less time cleaning up bloatware.

        Without further ado lets separate the fact from the fiction and explore Elementary OS with a virtual magnifying glass befitting a well known sleuth. After all it is “Elementary” my dear Watson. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

    • New Releases

      • LibreELEC (Leia) v8.90.007 ALPHA

        The LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha cycle has continued and releases for Amlogic and Slice hardware have been added additionally to the test cycle. We official support now Khadas VIM (AML S905X) and the LePotato (AML S905X) too. Since the 8.90.006 release we support a wide range of Rockchip devices. There are no plans to release LibreELEC 9.0 images for NXP/iMX6 hardware as support was removed from Kodi some months ago. Support will be reinstated in a future LibreELEC, we wrote an dedicated article about the future of LibreELEC.

        Alpha releases are important to the team because we cannot test every scenario and sometimes sidestep issues without realising. The project needs a body of regular testers to go find the problems we miss. Testing will be particularly important for LibreELEC 9.0 as Kodi v18 includes substantial internal changes to VideoPlayer and introduces new retro-gaming capabilities.

      • Omarine 5.3 released! (Nov 14 2018)

        This release updates dbus and glib together with all dependencies and related packages. Some of them are rebuilt, the rest are upgraded. Glib 2.58.1 can be considered a development threshold because many dependent packages must be caught it up. Below is a list of some typically upgraded packages:

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Packages To Eliminate Vendor-Specific Patches, Affecting Downstreams Like Ubuntu

        Debian packages have supported the concept of vendor-specific patches whereby when DPKG unpacks a source package on different operating systems / distributions (such as Debian vs. Ubuntu), different patches could be selectively applied. Ubuntu is one of the main benefactors of this feature while effective immediately these vendor-specific patches to source packages will be treated as a bug and will be unpermitted following the Debian 10 “Buster” release.

        This vendor-specific patch behavior for DPKG is mainly to help downstreams of Debian such as Ubuntu (not to be confused with vendor-specific hardware patches, etc). This vendor-specific patching has been used where say Ubuntu wishes to make some customizations to a Debian package that are minor in nature or basic alterations, they could land the changes in upstream Debian as a vendor-specific patch that would then be applied to the source package when building on Ubuntu… But keeping the package unpatched on Debian, or vice-versa. It reduces the maintenance burden for those wanting to selectively make basic changes to a package without having to maintain multiple largely redundant packages.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 19.04 Development Starts Off With Python 3.7, Merged Usr Directories

            Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” development is now officially underway.

            Following the initial sync from Debian unstable, Ubuntu developer Matthias Klose announced this morning that “Disco Dingo is now open for development.”

            The initial prominent changes in the archive include landing Python 3.7 as the default Python3 version after Ubuntu 18.10 shipped with Python 3.6, removal of OpenSSL 1.0 with intending to only ship OpenSSL 1.1.1 LTS, and upgrading to Perl 5.28.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 13 November 2018

            As announced, Cosmic Cuttlefish was released Oct 18. Check out the release notes for more information on changes, download the latest server ISO, or try out our live-server ISO. As of Friday last week, the Ubuntu archive is now officially open for development on Disco Dingo. See the Disco Dingo release schedule for important milestones of this upcoming release. Let’s continue to make Ubuntu excellent!

          • Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth Has No Plans Of Selling Canonical

            A couple of weeks ago IBM announced its plan to buy Red Hat for $34 billion. Following that, experts started speculating that rival companies like Canonical and Suse would sell as well.

            However, Canonical’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, doesn’t seem to have any plans of selling the company — at least not in the near future. In an encounter with TechCrunch, he said, “I value my independence.”

            One of the reasons behind this decision is that he doesn’t really need the money. But another big reason for not selling is his vision for Canonical and Ubuntu, which he would like to see through personally.

          • Mark Shuttleworth is not selling Canonical or Ubuntu — yet

            Actually, the question most of us wanted him to answer is: “After IBM paid a cool $43-billion would he consider selling Canonical?” After all, Canonical is also a top Linux company with a arguably a much stronger cloud and container presence than Red Hat. By The Cloud Market’s latest count of Amazon Web Services (AWS) instances, Ubuntu dominates with 307,217 instances to Red Hat’s 20,311. Even so, in a show floor conversation, Shuttleworth said, “No, I value my independence.”

            That’s not to say he’s not willing to listen to proposals. But he has his own vision for Canonical and Ubuntu Linux. If someone were to make him an offer, which would leave him in charge of both and help him further his plans, then he might go for it. Maybe.

            It would have to be a heck of an offer though, even by post-Red Hat acquisition terms. Shuttleworth doesn’t need the money. What he wants is to make his mark in technology history.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged, low-cost Bay Trail SBC runs Linux

      VersaLogic released a rugged, PC/104-Plus form-factor “SandCat” SBC with a dual-core Intel Bay Trail SoC, -40 to 85℃ support, plus SATA, GbE, and mini-PCIe and more, starting at $370 in volume.

      VersaLogic has spun a simpler, more affordable alternative to its BayCat single board computer, which similarly offers a Linux supported Intel Bay Trail SoC in a PC/104-Plus form-factor board. The rugged new SandCat is limited to a dual-core, 1.33GHz Atom E3825, and offers a somewhat reduced feature set, but launches at less than half the price of the dual-core version of the BayCat, selling at $370 in volume.

    • Rugged DIN-rail PC taps Skylake-U

      Aaeon has launched a Linux-friendly DIN-rail “Boxer-6750” DIN-rail computer with a dual-core Intel 6th Gen CPU, dual displays, extended temp and vibration resistance, plus 2x GbE, 2x USB 3.0, and 4x serial ports.

    • Tizen

      • Top 20 Best Tizen Apps for October 2018

        This is the monthly rundown of the most downloaded apps from the Tizen Store for your Tizen mobile. This time its October 2018. WhatsApp still has the number #1 spot and it doesn’t look like it will be leaving that anytime soon. There are a few new entry games like Counter Terror: Pursuit, Sweet candy fever, Monster simulator trigger city, and also utilities like Transparent screen.

    • Android