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Links 16/2/2016: FOSS Search Engine of Wikipedia, Street Fighter V on GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Year of Linux Depends on How You Define Linux

    It didn’t happen slowly. On the contrary, it was a thunderbolt…a deep, thrumming, resounding sense of being right, of being at the right place at the right time. A sense of finding something that you knew without doubt would be important in your life. There wasn’t any need to “think it through” or “evaluate the situation.” The moment I realized the power under my fingertips, even my self-identity changed. With that moment growing like a supernova inside of me, I fully took on that new identity. As that blazing power exploded from within me, I knew who I was. I was now a firebrand. It was six years ago this month that I knew who I was.

  • LXer Suffering From Scattered Outages

    If you’ve been trying to get on LXer and having no luck, it’s not just you. Today the site is unreachable for at least much of the U.S.

    The popular Linux and FOSS website LXer seems to be unreachable in many parts of the U.S. today. In the areas affected, users trying to reach the site are taken to a Network Solutions holding page instead.

    We first became aware of the problem at about 7 a.m. EST when an attempt to access the site took us to a Network Solutions landing page. We had visited the site several times in the previous hour without difficulty. At about 8 a.m., access to the site returned briefly, but by 9 a.m. the site was again unreachable. We haven’t been able to access the site since.

  • Desktop

    • If you’re a developer and not using Linux, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but Linux ain’t one.

      It was sometime in late 2014 during my internship where I finally made the decision to switch to doing all my personal development projects on a Linux distro. I had been using a Ubuntu virtual machine while working as an intern and after a couple of weeks of using it properly and not like the way I was taught at University I began understanding why exactly so many people prefer Unix based systems over Windows for development.

    • Full Migration from Windows to Linux – Report #2 Software

      But I’ve made a move and started using Kdenlive on Linux Mint 17.3 to edit videos of my sister and I playing video games (not original sure, but we have fun doing it). The first thing I tried was to simply load in the recorded video plus audio from the mic and dive face first into editing it and attempting to do all the same things I do with my editing style with Premiere. This includes just simple stuff as fading from and to black, audio dips in keyframe moments (when coughing) splicing the video when cuts are needed and fading into other video (example on a video here) and laying video over other video in a lower corner. Simple things sure but I found all of these things and more within Kdenlive, even a few things I wish Premiere had but I guess that isn’t a problem any more! As for diving in face first you’ll just waste time, find someone who has put up a tutorial (I found this guy who goes into some nice detail but do look at several videos). Even if you know how non-linear video editing works in practice the software is an entirely different tool even if it’s doing the same thing.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GSoC 2016 Project Survey, help me make Dolphin a better File Manager!

        I am a first year computer science undergraduate from BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus. I am looking forward to working for KDE for the GSoC.

      • Interview with Wes Nunes

        What I love about Krita? Just everything. Tools, brushes, it does not weigh on my computer, it was extremely easy to learn how to work on and it is a well-organized program. Not to mention that it has a beautiful interface. What else could I want in software?

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • distribution specific details

      To state the obvious: my personal preference is to run Debian GNU/Linux. My current workplace is a CentOS shop and usually I’m the first to claim that it doesn’t matter at all, and distribution specific implementation details are irrelevant for what we do (running a JVM).

    • Reviews

      • More distro tests on Lenovo G50

        How are we doing here? Well, okay. Not stellar, but not bad either. New technology will always take time getting adopted and implemented properly. For instance, UEFI is no longer an issue. But I am more worried about in-between-release inconsistency in the quality of drivers for the network and power management rather than the fact something works or not. Things that suddenly break are far more serious.

        Provided they work in the first place. Of the three major distro families, Red Hat is out of the picture. Ubuntu suffers from Wireless hiccups. Well, all of them really, to be honest. Bluetooth remains unreliable. And there are some other issues and problems. I won’t be comparing to Windows, because it really makes no sense. In fact, early on, Windows 10 had some major difficulties with the hardware, too.

        All in all, if you are keen on using Linux, statistically, your initial boot luck stands at about 75%, the probability of failing when it comes to networking is about 0.3, and if you need strong smartphone or Bluetooth support, you will be disappointed. Ubuntu clearly leads overall, which is kind of expected, haters be hating. Anyhow, this is where we stand, end of 2015 early 2016, a laptop that is less than one year old. If you are looking for the latest and greatest, hardware and Linux wise, the initial ride could be a little rough and tough. But definitely quite doable and fun. Provided you choose Ubuntu. Hard facts, 30+ distros tested. Hint: This is not the end of it. Far from it. We’ll get some more funky distros under our belt, or my name isn’t Sam. Maybe even Fedora. Who knows. Hint. See you around, fellas.

      • XStream Desktop 153

        Launching XStream’s system installer brings up a series of text screens. Each screen displays a group of fields or menus we a can navigate with the page up/down keys and the function keys. The installer begins by asking us on which hard disk we want to install XStream. We are then given the option of using the entire disk or installing XStream on a specific partition. Once we have selected a free partition, we are asked to provide a hostname for our computer. We are then given the option of automatically setting up networking using DHCP or we can set up our network card by manually providing network settings. We then select our time zone from a list and confirm the system clock has the correct time. The following screen gets us to create a password for the root account and set up a new user account for ourselves. The installer copies its files to our hard drive and then gives us the option to either view the installation log or quit. Taking the latter option returns us to the menu where we can run the installer, access a command line shell or reboot.

    • New Releases

      • Emmabuntüs Linux Debian Edition Announced, Dedicated to the Memory of Ian Murdock

        Patrick Emmabuntus informs Softpedia today about the immediate availability for download of the first Beta release of his future Emmabuntüs Debian Edition Linux operating system.

        Dedicated to the memory of Ian Murdock, the founder of the Debian Project, and based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 8.3 operating system, Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 8 Beta is built around the lightweight Xfce desktop environment and includes all the latest software packages for educational use.

      • Black Lab Linux 7.0.3 GNOME Edition Officially Released with LibreOffice 5.1

        Softpedia has been informed today, February 16, by Roberto J. Dohnert, CEO of Black Lab Software, about the immediate availability for download of the Black Lab Linux 7.0.3 GNOME Edition computer operating system.

      • Linux Top 3: Clonezilla, Raspbian and LPS

        Raspbian is often considered to be the *default* distro for the Raspberry Pi (though of course the Pi has no true default as it’s just hardware..). Raspbian is based on Debian, optimized for the ARM chipset and small memory of the Raspberry Pi. The Raspbian 2016-02-03 milestone update is the latest release and according to Rapsbian developer Simon Long, “For most people, this is primarily updates and bug fixes to the existing Jessie image .”


        The Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) distribution is intended to be used as a live CD to help users remain private. While the idea of a privacy focused distro is not unique (think Tails), LPS is developed by the U.S. Department of Defense.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Playing on OpenMandriva LX 2014.2

        I reinstalled OpenMandriva LX 2014.2 today. Last time I did, I had some problems updating: many packages were not found but, even so, I proceeded with the upgrading.

        The OS was working perfectly except for the performance of games on Steam.

        Today, I followed what I learned yesterday and, when I hit the first problem, I stopped the update and deleted all the repos. Then, I retrieved them again (they were marked as phosphorous 2014.0, which I believe was the previous version), but the update went on smoothly and I got the most recent packages, like Firefox 44.

      • Is PCLinuxOS Is the Best Rolling Release Distro?

        I realize the title of this article has already set some of you into a state of confusion. How dare I suggest that anything besides Arch could be the “best” rolling release distro, right?

        Well I’d counter with this: Arch is indeed awesome, it has dizzying fast performance and documentation that is second to none…however it’s modeled around the “Arch Way.” Meaning, if you want to learn more about Linux and its underpinnings, Arch is for you.

        On the other hand if you simply want an operating system that you install once and it’s ready for you right out of the box, then perhaps Arch isn’t for you. This is where I believe PCLinuxOS comes in.

      • LibreOffice 5.0.5, Distro Wars, PCLOS’s the Best

        LibreOffice 5.0.5 was released today for conservative users and larger organizations bring code clean-up as well as bug and security fixes. Elsewhere, Andrew Powell said no one distribution is any better than another – it’s all Linux. Matt Hartley declared PCLinuxOS the best rolling release distribution and Bruce Byfield said maybe free software is too good.

    • Slackware Family

      • Security update for Chromium 48

        Google released an update for Chrome/Chromium – their version 48 of the browser is now at “48.0.2564.109“. The chromium sources are still not available six days after the announcement, even though the official Chrome binary distributions were available right from the start. I think that this is inexcusable for a big company like Google, but this is not the first time that their autobots falter and no one cares enough to fix the release process. Notwithstanding some complaints by fellow application packagers.

    • Red Hat Family

      • NethServer 7 alpha2 released

        After a few months of hard work I’m proud to announce that NethServer 7 alpha2 has been released and is publicly available.

        Alpha2 is a big step forward on the path of innovation, now we can finally take full advantage of the power of Centos 7. At long last, many modules have been updated to last release available and some small features that were requested often have been added.

        We’re thrilled to share it with you and hear your feedback. We’ve got a lot of news to share with you, so let’s jump right into it.

      • NethServer 7 Linux Server OS Enters Development, Finally Based on CentOS 7

        Alessio Fattorini today, February 15, 2016, informs Softpedia about the availability for download and testing of the second Alpha builds of the upcoming NethServer 7 Linux-based, server-oriented operating system.

        Finally based on the stable and reliable CentOS 7 series of operating systems, NethServer 7 Alpha 2 comes today with over 100 rebuilt packages, as well as some of the latest server-oriented software, including, but not limited to, ownCloud 8.2, Roundcube Webmail 1.1.4, and Snort 2.9.8, which includes OpenAppID support.

      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Stock Rating Lowered by TheStreet

        Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) was downgraded by research analysts at TheStreet from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Thursday, MarketBeat.Com reports.

      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) Pops 3.45% for February 15

        One of the S&P 500’s big winners for Monday February 15 was Red Hat Inc. (RHT) as the company’s stock climbed 3.45% to $64.11 on volume of 1.8 million shares.

      • Red Hat Certifies Rackspace to manage Their OpenStack deployments

        This development will invigorate Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (RHEL OSP), to a certified option that enables customer organizations to automate the testing and deployment of in-house applications using a variety of languages. The distinction of RHEL OSP comes from the services that Red hat provides. In the recent move, the entire software deployment program was reinforced by Red Hat, around Docker containers and Google’s Kubernetes orchestration system in order to make their services more efficient.

      • Theater group finds success by acting like an open organization
      • Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Buy” from Analysts

        Shares of Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) have been given an average rating of “Buy” by the thirty-six research firms that are presently covering the stock, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, eight have issued a hold recommendation and twenty-five have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 12-month price objective among analysts that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $89.33.

      • Fedora

        • Contribute! Get your wallpaper into Fedora 24

          The development of Fedora continues, nearly each 6 months a new release. With a new release of Fedora just on the horizon, it also means it’s time to start submitting and voting on new supplemental wallpapers for Fedora 24.

        • Pungi 4: the new generation of the Fedora compose tools, and what it means for QA

          Currently we have three distinct types of Fedora composes. Probably everyone knows about ‘nightly composes’ and TCs/RCs. You may not know about the post-release nightly Cloud composes. (I’m not counting the live respins, which are demi-semi-official and not produced by releng).

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 about to take flying leap off long term support cliff

        2016 is a leap year so we’re all blessed with an extra day to use. And the folks behind Debian Linux are using it to end support for the sixth version of the distro.

        The outfit’s announcement reminds users that Debian 6.0 debuted back on February 6th, 2011. That little piece of history means the project’s Long Term Support goal “ to extend the lifetime of all Debian stable releases to (at least) 5 years” can and will be invoked.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Elive 2.6.14 Linux Distro Is a Special Valentine’s Day Beta Release

          While Valentine’s Day is passed us now, it looks like some are a little bit late to the party, as the developers of the Debian-based Elive Linux distribution announced today, February 15, 2016, the release of yet another Beta build.

        • Debian/TeX Live 2015.20160215-1

          About one month has passed and here is the usual updated of TeX Live packages for Debian. While I am not really calling for testers at the moment, building of preliminary packages for TeX Live 2016 has begone. The binaries are already uploaded to experimental, and arch=all packages for experimental will follow soon.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch Devs Work on OTA-10 and OTA-9.1 Updates, Ubuntu Tablet Enablement

            Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical has sent in his daily email report today, February 15, 2016, informing us all about the latest work done in the Ubuntu Touch world in preparation for the upcoming OTA updates and devices.

          • Ubuntu Phone To Gain Biometric Security Features

            Canonical has partnered with ConsenSYS and BlockApps to provide “web wallet and biometric identity tools on Ubuntu devices” using Ethereum, the decentralized public blockchain protocol.

            As part of the collaboration BlockApps’ Nimbus uPort Biometric Digital Identity tool have been ported to run on Ubuntu phones and tablets.

          • Ubuntu’s Convergence and What it Means for Linux

            A device that essentially merges two operating systems while running both effectively without any fail has for long been a sorted technology – it existed however, in a somewhat mediocre fashion that is well, very unimpressive but still appealed to those that fancied it – to the extent necessary.

          • Meizu New Ubuntu Phone To Launch on February 22

            For quite some time now, the phone manufacturer has been building up suspense about its latest offering. The device is said to be the upgrade of its previous device, the MX4. A teaser regarding its latest device is posted on Weibo and with has the date Feb. 22; confirming the launch will happen at the MWC 2016 event in Barcelona, reports Phones Review.

          • Meizu PRO 5 Mini Leaks And Gets Compared To Meizu PRO 5
          • Rumor: Meizu MX6 To Sport A 4,000mAh Battery & Cost $276
          • Ubuntu Leadership Team Is Now Apart Of Ubuntu Community Team

            I few weeks ago, I tried to reboot the Ubuntu Leadership team but quickly found out that there is no one or anyone in the mood to do it. I have decided to merge the Leadership Team’s efforts with the Ubuntu Community Team because of the reason above and also for the reason that Ubuntu Community is an organic community with no hard lines. The Ubuntu Leadership team’s Lauchpad page, wiki pages, and mailing-list will stay but I stated that, “Ubuntu Leadership Team has merged with Ubuntu Community Team in order to keep resources focused on leadership”.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • Health/Nutrition

    • FAO Symposium On Agricultural Biotech Raises Lobbying Concerns

      At issue, according to a joint press release (Via Campesina, Grain, and ETC Group), is the agenda, which they find unbalanced as it includes speakers from industry such as, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, CropLife International, and CEVA among others, which they say are promoting GMOs, while they found only one speaker openly critical of GMOs.

    • Jeremy Hunt launches doctor morale inquiry – here’s a sneak preview of its findings…

      Before a politician can ride off into the multimillion pound corporate sunset, he or she has to be ruthless – but also astute enough to convince the public that mangling public services is NOT about corporate capture.

      As the Junior Doctors stood up to protect patients and expose the government’s latest NHS misadventures, one could almost see the beads of sweat flow on Jeremy Hunt’s brow.

    • Chair Of WIPO Committee On Genetic Resources Issues Draft Plan For The Week

      The World Intellectual Property Organization committee working on policy solutions to protect genetic resources and traditional knowledge from misuse and misappropriation resumed its work today after a year hiatus. The newly elected chair, from Australia, issued an indicative methodology and programme for the week.

    • 7-Day NHS

      This drive for changing the way the NHS operates has been frequently used by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as the reason why a change to junior doctor and consultant contracts is needed. But what does it actually mean? John Ware explores what a seven-day NHS would look like, what evidence there is that it’s needed, and, crucially, whether we can afford it.

    • Seven-day NHS may not cut death rates, say Hunt’s own officials

      Jeremy Hunt’s key argument in his demands for a seven-day service in NHS hospitals has been called into question by his own department, in a leaked report which says it is not able to prove that fuller staffing would lower the numbers of weekend-admitted patients dying.

      The report also admits it will be “challenging” to meet the government’s promise to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020, a Conservative pledge during the election campaign, and that 11,000 new staff will be needed to run a seven-day service in hospitals.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • GOP Frontrunner: ‘Bush Lied, People Died’

      Pardon me while I sit back and enjoy the panic of the Republican – and media – elites as the GOP frontrunner takes up that old left-wing antiwar slogan: “Bush lied – people died!” That’s the essence of what Donald Trump said at Saturday’s South Carolina GOP presidential debate when moderator John Dickerson – who smirked his way through the entire debate – asked Trump if he still thought George W. Bush should be impeached as he supposedly said in a long ago interview…

    • [Russian media] Time for Washington to Admit ‘Russia Is Right on Syria’

      Moscow warned the US about the consequences of interfering in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and happened to be right. In the Syrian conflict, Russia also turned out more clear-sighted. Washington has to admit that both countries will benefit from cooperation and start supporting Moscow’s strategy in Syria, a US analyst wrote.

    • Assad Explains Why He is Not Ruling Out Turkish, Saudi Invasion of Syria

      Syrian president Bashar al-Assad spoke to AFP news agency in an exclusive interview on the developments in Syria and the region.

    • Pro-War GOP Boos Donald Trump

      His bigoted comments about Mexicans and Muslims aside, billionaire Donald Trump actually makes some common sense when he talks about working with Russia, Iran and other powers to bring the Mideast wars to an end, rather than pushing for endless “regime change,” Sam Husseini notes.

    • Hillary Clinton and the Syrian Bloodbath

      This is the kind of compulsive misrepresentation that makes Clinton unfit to be President. Clinton’s role in Syria has been to help instigate and prolong the Syrian bloodbath, not to bring it to a close.

    • Just Say No to Draft Registration for Women – and Men

      Testifying before the US Senate’s Armed Services Committee in early February, Generals Mark A. Milley (the US Army’s chief of staff) and Robert B. Neller (commandant of the US Marine Corps) endorsed extending mandatory Selective Service registration to women. Because, you know, equality.

      I have a better idea. It’s time to end draft registration for everyone. Because, you know, freedom.

      The US hasn’t involuntarily inducted men into military service since 1973, but reinstated mandatory registration in 1980. Ever since, the shadow of legal slavery has loomed over the lives of American males aged 18 through 26.

    • Obama Proposes Removing Human Rights Conditions on Aid to Egypt

      The budget proposal released by the Obama administration Tuesday seeks to roll back restrictions Congress has placed on foreign aid to Egypt’s military regime and the sale of crowd control weapons to “emerging democracies.”

      Under current law, 15 percent of aid to Egypt is subject to being withheld based on human rights conditions — although even that can be waived if it is deemed to be in the national security interest of the United States, as it was last year.

    • Are British values really Islamic values?

      The critic and commentator Ziauddin Sardar has been addressing such issues since the 1980s. He has been an outspoken proponent of the view that it is the English who must compromise to make room for others. For him, Muslims can live compatibly in Britain because what is good and civilised in British values is indebted to Islam. I concentrate on his comments in the introduction to his recent book, Muslims in Britain, which he co-authored with Waqar Ahmad.

    • Four Hospitals Bombed In One Day In Syria, Including Doctors Without Borders Facility

      Airstrikes hit a hospital in northern Syria Monday, leaving seven dead and at least eight missing, according to Doctors Without Borders, which manages the hospital located in Maarat al-Noaman.

      No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the New York Times, both Russian and Syrian planes operate in the area where it took place.

      A second hospital in Maarat al-Noaman was also hit by airstrikes on Monday, killing three and wounding six. And in Azaz, located in the northwestern province of Aleppo, two more hospitals and a school building housing displaced people were also hit by airstrikes on Monday. Those attacks killed 15 people, and wounded up to 40 others.

    • Trump is Right About Iraq, and That Should Stick to Clinton

      Last night, he screamed an anti-war stance to the boos of Bush’s and Rubio’s and Kasich’s one percent donors. It’s only half of what needed to be said, but it was a measure of reality that’s desperately needed.

    • Erdogan uses ISIS to suppress Kurds, West stays silent – Turkish MP

      President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been using ISIS to advance his Middle East policy and suppress the Kurds, and Ankara’s elite maintains vibrant economic ties with the terror group and harbors its militants, a Turkish MP has told Russian media.

    • Turkey Uses the Islamic State as Strategic Resource

      Ankara, Feb 15 (Prensa Latina) Turkish deputy Selma Irmak said today that the president of his country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, used the terrorist group Islamic State against the Kurds in Syria and as a resource for strategic purposes in the Middle East.
      The People’s Democratic Party legislator told media that the Turkish president has a great Ottoman Empire in his head and uses the IS as a tool for such purposes.

      Irmak also said that Erdogan cannot send the Turkish army directly into Syrian territory and that is why he uses the IS as a weapon against the Kurds on the grounds that the Kurdish advance threatens national security because it strengthens the pro-independence purposes of Turkish Kurdistan.

    • Erdogan’s Cruel Calculus: Killing Kurds at Home and in Syria Means Votes

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has attacked Kurds in neighboring Syria in order to win popular support at home and because he was wary about the gains they had been making against anti-government groups, according to Selma Irmak, a Turkish parliament deputy from the Democratic Party of Peoples (DPN).

    • Erdogan’s Domestic War for a Presidential System in Turkey

      The current war against the Kurds and oppositional voices is being waged to push an autocratic presidential system.

      The surprising electoral success of the pro-Kurdish HDP in last year’s June 7 elections denied the ruling AKP a majority for the first time since 2002 – a majority the AKP needs in order to make President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dream of regime change come true. Early elections were set for Nov. 1, 2015. In the lead up, the Turkish state stepped up repressions against the HDP and its supporters, violently imposed military curfews in predominantly Kurdish cities, while ending the peace process with the PKK had ended.

    • Over 500, Including Children, Killed in Turkey’s Kurdistan Since Sept 2015

      Over 500 people, including 50 children and 120 women, have been killed in armed clashes between the Kurds and the Turkish military over the past six months, Selma Irmak, a co-chair of the Pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and a lawmaker from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), said.

    • The NSA’s SKYNET program may be killing thousands of innocent people

      In 2014, the former director of both the CIA and NSA proclaimed that “we kill people based on metadata.” Now, a new examination of previously published Snowden documents suggests that many of those people may have been innocent.

      Last year, The Intercept published documents detailing the NSA’s SKYNET programme. According to the documents, SKYNET engages in mass surveillance of Pakistan’s mobile phone network, and then uses a machine learning algorithm on the cellular network metadata of 55 million people to try and rate each person’s likelihood of being a terrorist.

      Patrick Ball—a data scientist and the executive director at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group—who has previously given expert testimony before war crimes tribunals, described the NSA’s methods as “ridiculously optimistic” and “completely bullshit.” A flaw in how the NSA trains SKYNET’s machine learning algorithm to analyse cellular metadata, Ball told Ars, makes the results scientifically unsound.

    • Trump Booed For Saying Bush ‘Lied’ About WMD In Iraq
    • Obama’s Most Momentous Decision

      President Obama must decide if he will let the Syrian civil war come to an end with Russian-backed President Assad still in power or if he will escalate by supporting a Turkish-Saudi invasion, which could push the world to the brink of nuclear war, writes Joe Lauria.

    • Indonesia’s Jihadi Extremist Group Is Rebounding, Experts and Members Say

      Since last month, when supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) launched an attack with guns and bombs at a bustling Jakarta intersection, attention has returned to the jihadist threat in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country. JI was for many years the face of extremism in the nation, responsible for a series of bombings in the early 2000s that killed hundreds and prompted a crackdown that successfully jailed many of the group’s leaders.

    • REVEALED: Mark Zuckerberg now has 16 bodyguards working at his $7million Palo Alto home after ‘death threats’ from unstable users

      When Mark Zuckerberg got his first bodyguard in 2011, it made headlines. But those days must seem quaint to the Facebook founder, who is now reported to have no less than 16 people protecting him at his $7million home in Palo Alto, California.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fossil fuels are now a bad bet, investors told

      Investors in fossil fuels are being warned that they may risk losing their money, because the markets for coal and liquefied natural gas are disappearing.

      In both cases it is competition from renewables, principally wind and solar power, that is being blamed for the threat. The cost of electricity from renewables continues to fall in Europe and Asia as the numbers of wind and solar installations grow in both continents, cutting demand for imported gas and coal.

      Two separate reports on coal and gas were published at the same time as a round of annual financial reports from oil companies showed that this third fossil fuel could be in serious trouble too.

      Despite massive cutbacks on exploration and development, companies like Shell and BP still need a price of US$60 a barrel by the end of this year if they are to break even on many of their current projects – almost double the current market price.

    • Water Scarcity Crisis Even Worse than Previously Thought

      When the World Economic Forum, a Swiss non-profit dedicated to “improving the state of the world,” released its annual Global Risks Report last year it cited “water crises” as the number one global risk in terms of impact. This is significant because for the past 8 years, the number one global risk in terms of impact had been financial in nature (either asset price collapse, fiscal crises, or major systemic financial failure), but 2015 was the first year that saw a climate related issue top the list of risks.

    • Don’t drink the water: Flint is just the latest in a long line of disposable communities. It’s time to act

      To explain why fossil fuels are both a health issue and a justice issue, let’s start with coal. Whole communities have been destroyed in Appalachia, where they literally blow up mountaintops to extract hard-to-reach coal. The process, called mountaintop removal, poisons area streams, causing high rates of cancer and birth defects among the people who live nearby.


      There are many, many more examples of water being poisoned as a result of fossil fuels, whether in the production, transportation or disposal of the waste. There have been devastating oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and the Kalamazoo River. There’s water so polluted it’s flammable in Pennsylvania, where natural gas is extracted through hydraulic fracturing, a process that injects chemical-laden water deep into the earth. Afterward the toxic brew has to be disposed of somewhere. A new study of fracking waste water wells in south Texas shows that they are most likely to be in communities of color, most frequently Hispanic.

    • Impact of forest fires on Papua on climate change agenda

      Avenues for recourse against so-called climate crimes by Indonesia are limited, a speaker at a climate change conference at New Zealand’s Victoria University says.

  • Finance

    • Decentralized Media: Devon Read on Alexandria

      Ever feel bogged down by ads when trying to access media? Ever get upset that content has been censored by governments or businesses? Ever wish people had more power in regards to how content is monetized? These problems may be solved with this new decentralized media project.

    • UK inflation rises to 0.3% in January

      UK inflation edged up to a 12 month high in January, as a fall in petrol prices eased.

      Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, rose by 0.3%. It was helped by smaller falls in food and fuel prices than a year ago.

      Annual inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target for two years, and last year it was zero.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Latest 60 Minutes Propaganda: We Need a Crypto Back Door because ISIS Is “Coming Here” with WMD

      It has been clear for several years now that 60 Minutes has become a propaganda vehicle for the intelligence community (post, post, post). So it was unsurprising that John Brennan was given an opportunity to fearmonger last night without pesky people like Ron Wyden around pointing out that CIA itself poses a threat, even according to the terms laid out by the Intelligence Community.

      I find the timing and content of John Brennan’s appearance of note.

    • Bernie Sanders’ Phantom Movement

      Bernie Sanders, who has attracted numerous young, white, college-educated supporters in his bid for the presidency, says he is creating a movement and promises a political revolution. This rhetoric is an updated version of the “change” promised by the 2008 campaign of Barack Obama and by Jesse Jackson’s earlier National Rainbow Coalition. Such Democratic electoral campaigns, at best, raise political consciousness. But they do not become movements or engender revolutions. They exist as long as election campaigns endure and then they vanish. Sanders’ campaign will be no different.

      No movement or political revolution will ever be built within the confines of the Democratic Party. And the repeated failure of the American left to grasp the duplicitous game being played by the political elites has effectively neutered it as a political force. History, after all, should count for something.

    • Playing the Victim Card, Hillary Clinton Betrays Women

      Meanwhile, the popular trivialization of Sanders’ supporters as “Bernie bros” and “Bernie-splainers” perpetuates Steinem’s misrepresentation of Sanders’ supporters as “boys” followed by brainless female groupies. Both Albright and Steinem accuse young women of treachery and abandonment for having their own political opinions, encouraging them to reverse their position out of a sense of shame and guilt.

    • Trump and Sanders Offer Illusions of Solutions

      Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the antithesis of the conventional politician. They are not programmed, their lines are not focus-group tested, and they take positions far outside the mainstream. But the victory speeches they gave in New Hampshire Tuesday night showed they have mastered the oldest political trick of all: promising things they can’t deliver.

  • Censorship

    • Russian Purge: Putin Doesn’t Need to Censor Books. Publishers Do It for Him.

      Really, he insists. Danishevsky has an I’m-on-top-of-the-world demeanor that is rapidly going out of style in Moscow. He wears a hipster beard and a most daring combination of stripes in his shirts and jackets, and he schedules his meetings at an ostentatiously overpriced central Moscow cafe frequented by celebrities of the vaguely oppositional ilk. At 25, he may be forgiven for being a little slow to realize that the era of fabulous flaunting is ending: The oil boom in Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the only life he has known. This makes him all the more remarkable — at his age, he is editor of his own imprint at one of the country’s publishing conglomerates, and he takes more literary and political risks than all of his mainstream colleagues combined. He says that this is because no one tells him what to do.

    • Legislator calls for movie censorship

      Movies should be reviewed for discriminatory and offensive comments toward Aborigines before being approved for release, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩) said yesterday, following controversy over the new film David Loman 2 (大尾鱸鰻2).

      “If there is any discriminatory wording, it should be revised or deleted before the film is allowed to be released,” said Chen, who is a Puyuma community representative for Plains Aborigines.

    • A letter to our readers: On censorship

      From military censorship to the government deciding who is and isn’t a journalist, Israeli authorities use various tools to interfere with the press. An important disclosure to our readers.

    • Portugal: Waves of layoffs hollow out press

      If there was any room left for doubt, the closing months of 2015 were enough to prove that Portuguese journalism is facing a serious challenge from which it probably won’t emerge the same. From October to December 2015, four media groups announced that they preparing to lay off workers, including journalists.

      These recent cuts are a continuation of the long-term trend: between 2007 and 2014, more than 1,200 journalists — about 20 per cent of the total number of media professionals — have lost their jobs in Portugal, according to a study by Observatório da Comunicação.

    • The tech industry’s greater responsibility

      Today, Internet censorship is becoming a growing concern among dozens of developing countries. In the mid-1990s, China began blocking foreign websites and saw successful results, proving to other authoritarian countries wishing to control their constituents that these types of regulations are well worth the effort. Since then, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Azerbaijan, Syria and others have followed China’s footsteps and began implementing regulations censoring Internet activity.

      This means that the people living within these countries are unable to access information from the outside world. Thus, they are fed filtered information that praises their leadership and government, and because they are not exposed to varying and contrary opinions, are susceptible to believing and accepting their government’s authoritarian policies. In western countries we often take our first amendment right for granted. We are allowed to say, write, and scream whatever we’d like about our government without the risk of being jailed or beaten. We’re allowed, even encouraged, to question policies and think differently. If only this were the case worldwide.

    • Censorship has no place among college administration

      At the start of the Fall 2015 semester, freshmen arrived at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland hoping to receive a top-notch education. As a part of their orientation, students were given a survey in an effort to help them discover more about themselves. This survey would later become the center of huge controversy involving the university’s president, faculty terminations and censorship.

      When the university’s president Simon Newman came into office in December 2014, he promised to “start the university on a more aggressive growth trajectory,” according to the Baltimore Sun. In light of recent events, this statement is probably truer than intended—or at least the aggressive bit.

    • Standing Against Henrico County’s Censorship of Multicultural Education

      The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) and the National Association for Ethnic Studies (NAES) express grave concerns about the recent decision of the Board of Education in Henrico County, Virginia to censor educational material pertaining to racial inequality. The actions of the Board represent a troubling trend in public education that undermines the goals of promoting a healthy democratic society.

    • Racial inequality cartoon banned after parents complain, Washington Post reports
    • Online movement against film censorship

      The indiscriminate cuts introduced by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in the recent Hollywood superhero film Deadpool have prompted an online movement against film censorship inspired by and modelled on the SaveTheInternet.in coalition’s recent successful campaign for Net neutrality.

      Not long ago, after the latest Bond film was badly “mutilated” by the censors, ‘Sanskari James Bond’ had became a buzzword online. When the Deadpool censoring news broke, it prompted a discussion on the online forum Reddit on the cruel butchering of the film. One of the participants in that discussion, Sharath C.George, who describes himself as a regular corporate guy working in social media analytics in Bangalore, happened to see a web page on which the CBFC revamp committee, headed by filmmaker Shyam Benegal, was soliciting public opinion and comments on censorship.

    • Pro-Israel Fraternity Scandal Erupts at U of Chicago, Where Authorities Have Long Ignored Its Culture of Racism

      Exposed by an anonymous whistleblower and published by Buzzfeed, the emails were sent on a listserv of the AEPi fraternity between 2011 and 2015. The communications contained racist rants trashing Martin Luther King Jr., referred to an abandoned lot as “Palestine,” and maligned a Muslim student activist as a “terrorist.”

    • Turkish Journalists Make a Stand Against Erdogan’s Censorship

      A group of journalists from Istanbul are confronting the propaganda of the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan by forcing their way to the unofficial Kurdish capital of Turkey, Diyarbakir, in an attempt to tell the truth about what’s happening on the battlefield.

    • Google Really Messes Up: From “Muslims Support Terrorism” To “Islam Does Not Support Terrorism”

      After the Google search suggestion issue of ‘Muslims Support Terrorism’ was first raised by Hind Makki, it looks like Google has seriously worked on its search algorithm. Now, the search engine recommends ‘Islam does not support Terrorism’ after that incident.

    • Why Is Facebook Taking Down Marijuana Dispensary Pages?

      The social network is going after what it claims are violations of its “Community Standards”

  • Privacy

    • New Survey Suggests U.S. Encryption Ban Would Just Send Market Overseas

      If the U.S. government tries to strong-arm American companies into ending the sale of products or applications with unbreakable encryption, the technology won’t disappear, a group of researchers conclude in a new report. It would still be widely available elsewhere.

      Some U.S. law enforcement officials argue that unbreakable encryption is interfering with legal surveillance of suspected criminals and terrorists. And some members of Congress are pushing for a nationwide requirement that encryption allow for law-enforcement access.

    • The real colonialism of Silicon Valley

      When the Indian government decided to say “thanks but no thanks” to Facebook’s Free Basics service, some folks associated with the company seemed upset by the very, well, freedom of such a decision.

      Free Basics, aka Internet.org, is Facebook’s attempt to give free Internet to people in developing countries, with the slight catch that Facebook decides which parts of that Internet they can have.

      How dare a government tell its people what they can or can’t have? That’s Facebook’s job.

      Indeed, Facebook board member Marc Andreessen was so upset that he called the decision “morally wrong.”

    • Why Internet Advertising Needs to Be Regulated

      Back in the late 1980s, cigarette smoking was permitted in supermarkets where I live, but there was a move afoot — a ballot issue I believe — to put an end to that. At the time I was doing a four hour daily stint at the local newstalk radio station, and the proposed ban was, of course, a major topic of on-air conversation with our listeners. Pretty much, most of our audience was against the ban, as we have a sizable and vocal minority — maybe a majority — of folks here in North Carolina who think they should be able to do whatever they like, whenever they like, without much regulation. There was something of a consensus among our listeners that smoking or no should be up to the store owners.


      We’re all tired of being followed around as we travel on the web. Advertisers know this, and some might even agree with us. Even if they do, however, there’s not much they can do about it. If a large ad network were to act on some better instinct and quit placing tracking cookies for the targeting of ads, their earnings would tank and they’d lose their shirts because they’d no longer be offering what the industry thinks it needs. Ad buyers would abandon them, and those who stay would demand greatly reduced rates for what is perceived as a less effective product.

    • Access to Connection Data: French Council of State Flees EU Debate

      The French Council of State has released an eagerly awaited decision (fr) on the validity of administrative access to connection data. La Quadrature du Net, French Data Network and the FDN Federation have been calling into question the Military Programmation Law (LPM) and its application decree that enables the administration to access connection data without requiring any judicial control. By refusing to repeal the decree and to transmit the question to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling, the Council of State avoids any judicial debate and isolates French vis-à-vis EU case law.

    • Self Hosting – The good and the bad.

      When it comes to website hosting, the need for a stable site is crucial so picking the right hosting company to go for is something you need to think long and hard about. In my case I’ve been very lucky and when funds dictate, i’ll go with UK based company Memset. When funds are an issue I’ll self host. This for me is a good and bad thing, here let me explain.

      I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in the web hosting industry for a while, so being able to setup my own server and webhosting system, is a godsend, but it also has it’s own problems.

    • GCHQ phone and computer hacking is legal and fine

      Privacy International, which was behind the challenge, is understandably disappointed at the ruling that surveillance is A-OK, and will challenge it again.

      “The IPT today held that GCHQ hacking of computers, mobile devices and networks is lawful, wherever it occurs around the world. We are disappointed that the IPT has not upheld our complaint and we will challenge its findings,” said Scarlet Kim, legal officer at Privacy International, in a statement.

      “Our complaint is the first UK legal challenge to state-sponsored hacking, an exceptionally intrusive form of surveillance. We contended that GCHQ hacking operations were incompatible with democratic principles and human rights standards.

      “We further argued that GCHQ, which until these proceedings was hacking in secret, had no clear authority under UK law to deploy these capabilities.”

      Privacy International has plenty to challenge, and will invoke European human rights as it pushes this forward through other, hopefully, more receptive, courts.

    • NSA: National Security, Art

      “Artists work within political realities, no matter what the content or focus of the work,” says artist Laura Poitras, whose exhibition, “Astro Noise,” opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art on February 5. “Art is alive. It’s vital.”

      Poitras made headlines with her 2014 documentary, Citizenfour, which details her trip to Hong Kong to speak to NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. “Astro Noise” explores many of the issues in Poitras’s films: surveillance, the American response to 9/11, the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, and the drone wars. She denies that her work takes a “stance” and is hesitant to claim that her work is any more political than other artists’. When “Astro Noise” opened, the Whitney was hosting a Frank Stella retrospective on its fifth floor, filled with large abstract works. Certainly, Stella lived within a political reality, but it’s hard to tell from what’s mounted on the walls. For Poitras to deny that she’s working in a particularly political mode seems querulous and evasive. Some works are certainly more politically and socially engaged than others. To deny that just seems silly.

    • GCHQ information security arm CESG awards six firms Certified Cyber Security Consultancy status

      CESG, the Information Security arm of GCHQ, has announced the first group of firms to be certified under its new Certified Cyber Security Consultancy scheme.

  • Civil Rights

    • What has happened to the West and its men? The hypnotic dance of death

      In my correspondence regarding the events in Cologne, an editor of a Russian newspaper asked me a natural, but discouraging question; “Where were the German men?”, he inquired of me, perplexed.

      Indeed, for us who grew up in Soviet Russia, it would be inconceivable that some drunk young people could publicly mock and harass girls on New Year’s Eve in the very center of Moscow or Saint Petersburg. If they dared to do this, they wouldn’t survive until the morning, they would become “martyrs” and would have their way with 72 virgins in a completely different realm.

    • ‘Preserving the Balance’ by Maintaining a Conservative Supreme Court

      On CNN‘s State of the Union today (2/14/16), Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward laid out the “potential minefield” posed by a liberal Supreme Court appointment to “everyone, including Hillary Clinton and the Obama White House.”

    • Elizabeth Warren Rips Into Republicans For Pledging To Block Supreme Court Process
    • Supreme Court Contention: It Didn’t Start With Bork

      It’s true that there was an era when the Senate almost always gave near-complete deference to presidents’ judgment in naming Supreme Court justices; from William McKinley through John F. Kennedy, almost all nominees were confirmed, generally by voice vote. When there was a recorded vote, margins of confirmation were typically wide, as with FDR’s William Douglas (confirmed 62–4) or Eisenhower’s John Harlan (71–11). The only nominee to be rejected during this seven-decade era was Herbert Hoover’s choice of Judge John Parker in 1930, whom the NAACP lobbied against because of his opposition to African-American suffrage. (Parker was also seen as anti-labor.)

    • How America Was Lost

      Once upon a time, the death of a Supreme Court justice wouldn’t have brought America to the edge of constitutional crisis. But that was a different country, with a very different Republican Party. In today’s America, with today’s G.O.P., the passing of Antonin Scalia has opened the doors to chaos.

      In principle, losing a justice should cause at most a mild disturbance in the national scene. After all, the court is supposed to be above politics. So when a vacancy appears, the president should simply nominate, and the Senate approve, someone highly qualified and respected by all.

    • El Nino Scalia

      Antonin Scalia is dead. Say what you will, there is no rejoicing from me. Was Nino a malefactor in Supreme Court jurisprudence over the decades since his confirmation on September 26, 1986? Yes, and an irascible one as well. Once Bork got Borked, Scalia was the whipping post for all liberals, on the continuity of the spectrum. Did he earn that status? Yes, and maybe then some.

    • Ted Cruz’s Definition of Torture Is So Extreme, His Father’s Torture Might Not Even Qualify

      Ted Cruz, who has long been an outspoken opponent of torture, reversed himself during Saturday’s Republican presidential debate when he endorsed an extreme and discredited definition of torture: that anything that inflicts less pain than losing an organ doesn’t count.

      That definition, which Cruz said was “generally recognized,” is anything but. It comes from a 2003 Justice Department memo that the department later rescinded, acknowledging that it was full of slipshod legal arguments, clouded by ideology, and written under pressure from CIA officials who had already begun to torture terror suspects.

    • British Bill of Rights: Today at the Ministry of Justice

      There is speculation that the long-awaited proposals for a British Bill of Rights will be published this week.

    • Israel boycott ban: Shunning Israeli goods to become criminal offence for public bodies and student unions

      Local councils, public bodies and even some university student unions are to be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies, as part of a controversial crackdown being announced by the Government.

      Under the plan all publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

      Any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face “severe penalties”, ministers said.

    • After Seven Long Years, the Question Remains: Who Killed Rafael Solis in a Texas Jail?

      In 2009, Rafael Solis, a 38-year-old father of two, was taken into custody in Webb County, Texas, for falling behind on child support payments. Within days, he died in jail in Laredo after suffering extensive physical injuries, and the Webb County coroner ruled the death a homicide. After seven years with no prosecutions, Solis’ mother is crying out for justice.

      Maria Escamilla says she learned of her son’s death after the Webb County jail phoned and asked her to go to a gas station. It was there that two deputies gave her the news. They would say only that “[h]e was just lying on the [jail] floor,” according to Escamilla.

    • The Islamic extremists taking over UK prisons: Muslims make up just one in 20 Britons – but one in SEVEN inmates. As Levi Bellfield embraces Islam, we reveal how fanatics recruit behind bars in ‘jihadi jails’

      Friday morning in Wakefield Prison and Yusuf Rahim joins 60 other Muslim prisoners as they head to the jail’s gym to say their prayers. If nothing else, it is a chance to get out of his cell and take a break from the normal routine.

      The same goes for the halal food the 47-year-old is served every mealtime — Rahim is particularly partial to the spicy vegetable curry — an improvement on the normal prison fare.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The surprising truth about Facebook’s Internet.org

      You may have heard that Internet.org is a nonprofit organization launched by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and dedicated to bringing Internet access to people who can’t access it, or can’t afford it.

      But this isn’t true — not any of it.

      The realities of Internet.org came into question last week when India banned it from the country. If the Internet is good, and Internet.org simply exists to get people on it, why was it banned?

      Let’s start with a basic question.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UN Panel On Access To Medicines Extends Deadline For Contributions

      The panel is calling for contributions from “all related stakeholders in, but not limited to, government, the private sector, research institutions, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, legal experts and patient groups that address the policy incoherence between international human rights law, trade rules and public health objectives.”

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Openclipart: a library of public domain images

        In the past five years, I’ve contributed more than 300 clip art graphics to Openclipart.org. There were some works I liked more than others, of course, but I believe sticking with it is important.

        All of the clip art on the site is public domain, so there are no rights reserved. And, you can use the images however you want—even for commercial purposes—with no need to acknowledge the original creator (though I always appreciate it when someone does that for me).

        Openclipart’s site encourages remixing with features like commenting, collections, and links to derivative works and original material. It’s exciting to see another person latch on to an idea from one of my clips and make it their own.


Links 15/2/2016: Zorin OS 11 Lite and Business, Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 6:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Windows 10 calls home a lot; Russia hikes tech tax and intends to switch to Linux

    When it comes to high tech, American companies dominate the Russian market and, perhaps not surprisingly, that doesn’t site well with the Russian government which would prefer to see homegrown offerings such as Yandex and Mail.ru get more market traction. The consequence, according to Bloomberg, is a plan by the Russian government to increase the taxes the American tech giants by 18 percent.

  • Unixstickers sent me a package!

    There’s an old, popular saying, beware geeks bearing gifts. But in this case, I was pleased to see an email in my inbox, from unixstickers.com, asking me if I was interested in reviewing their products. I said ye, and a quick few days later, there was a surprise courier-delivered envelope waiting for me in the post. Coincidentally – or not – the whole thing happened close enough to the 2015 end-of-the-year holidays to classify as poetic justice.

    On a slightly more serious note, Unixstickers is a company shipping T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, posters, pins, and stickers to UNIX and Linux aficionados worldwide. Having been identified one and acquired on the company’s PR radar, I am now doing a first-of-a-kind Dedoimedo non-technical technical review of merchandise related to our favorite software. So not sure how it’s gonna work out, but let’s see.

  • Linux goes to Washington: How the White House/Linux Foundation collaboration will work

    No doubt by now you’ve heard about the Obama Administration’s newly announced Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP). You can read more about it on CIO.com here and here.

    But what you may not know is that the White House is actively working with the Linux and open source community for CNAP. In a blog post Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation said, “In the proposal, the White House announced collaboration with The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) to better secure Internet ‘utilities’ such as open-source software, protocols and standards.”

  • Why Linux?

    Linux may inspire you to think of coders hunched over their desks (that are littered with Mountain Dew cans) while looking at lines of codes, faintly lit by the yellow glow of old CRT monitors. Maybe Linux sounds like some kind of a wild cat and you have never heard the term before. Maybe you have use it every day. It is an operating system loved by a few and misrepresented to many.

  • These 3 things are trying to kill Linux containers

    For nearly two years, Linux containers have dominated the world of enterprise IT, and for good reason — among others, they take on issues that virtualization simply cannot within application development and computing at scale and allow for the enterprise world to truly embrace concepts like devops and microservices (the Service Oriented Architecture dream from years gone by). That sound you hear is IT vendors stampeding towards the container bandwagon, but, as with every emerging tech trend, this isn’t always a good thing, as not everyone is walking the walk, regardless of what the business might actually say.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux kernel bug delivers corrupt TCP/IP data to Mesos, Kubernetes, Docker containers

      The Linux Kernel has a bug that causes containers that use veth devices for network routing (such as Docker on IPv6, Kubernetes, Google Container Engine, and Mesos) to not check TCP checksums. This results in applications incorrectly receiving corrupt data in a number of situations, such as with bad networking hardware. The bug dates back at least three years and is present in kernels as far back as we’ve tested. Our patch has been reviewed and accepted into the kernel, and is currently being backported to -stable releases back to 3.14 in different distributions (such as Suse, and Canonical). If you use containers in your setup, I recommend you apply this patch or deploy a kernel with this patch when it becomes available. Note: Docker’s default NAT networking is not affected and, in practice, Google Container Engine is likely protected from hardware errors by its virtualized network.

    • Performance problems

      Just over a year ago I implemented an optimization to the SPI core code in Linux that avoids some needless context switches to a worker thread in the main data path that most clients use. This was really nice, it was simple to do but saved a bunch of work for most drivers using SPI and made things noticeably faster. The code got merged in v4.0 and that was that, I kept on kicking a few more ideas for optimizations in this area around but that was that until the past month.

    • Linux 4.5-rc4

      It’s Valentine’s day, so here I am, making a valentine for everybody in the form of the usual rc release.

      Things look fairly normal – there’s some pending and yet unexplained problem with some of the VM changes in this release cycle (the transparent huge-page cleanups in particular), but at least for now it seems to be s390-specific, so it shouldn’t hold up testing for anybody else.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces a Valentine’s Day Linux Kernel 4.5 Release Candidate 4

      Another week has passed and it’s once again Sunday afternoon here in the US, which means that Linus Torvalds has prepared yet another RC (Release Candidate) build of the upcoming Linux 4.5 kernel.

    • Linux 4.5-rc4 Is A Valentine’s Day Kernel

      Linus Torvalds has announced the release today of the Linux 4.5-rc4 kernel.

      Linux 4.5-rc4 remains rather a normal release and comes with a number of AMDGPU DRM fixes, Btrfs fixes, audio tweaks, and more.

    • Linux Kernel 3.2.77 LTS Has Crypto, x86, and CIFS Improvements, Updated Drivers

      Linux kernel maintainer and developer Ben Hutchings was happy to announce this past weekend the release and immediate availability for download and update of the seventy-seventh maintenance build of the long-term supported Linux 3.2 kernel.

    • New FD.io Open Source Project Offers IO Services Framework for Network and Storage Software

      The newly launched FD.io (“Fido”) initiative is an open source project to provide an IO services framework for the next wave of network and storage software. The project is also announcing the availability of its initial software and formation of a validation testing lab.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Compute Shader Code Begins Landing For Gallium3D

        Samuel Pitoiset began pushing his Gallium3D Mesa state tracker changes this morning for supporting compute shaders via the GL_ARB_compute_shader extension.

        Before getting too excited, the hardware drivers haven’t yet implemented the support. It was back in December that core Mesa received its treatment for compute shader support and came with Intel’s i965 driver implementing CS.

      • Libav Finally Lands VDPAU Support For Accelerated HEVC Decoding

        While FFmpeg has offered hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding using NVIDIA’s VDPAU API since last summer, this support for the FFmpeg-forked libav landed just today.

        In June was when FFmpeg added support to its libavcodec for handling HEVC/H.265 video decoding via NVIDIA’s Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix interface. Around that same time, developer Philip Langdale who had done the FFmpeg patch, also submitted the patch for Libav for decoding HEVC content through VDPAU where supported.

      • More Nouveau GL4 Feature Patches Published
      • It Looks Like AMD Will Support FreeSync With Their New Linux Display Stack

        While NVIDIA has long supported G-SYNC on Linux as their adaptive sync technology for eliminating screen tearing, AMD hasn’t supported their FreeSync tech via their open or closed-source Linux drivers. Fortunately, it’s looking like that will change.

      • Got tearing with proprietary NVIDIA? Try this.

        If you’re using a reasonably modern NVIDIA graphics card on your Linux box with the proprietary driver, there’s a fair chance you may encounter that nasty thing called ‘screen tearing’. There is a little setting worth trying in NVIDIA’s blob driver called ‘ForceCompositionPipeline’ that can severely reduce tearing to a minimum, perhaps even completely. Here’s how to do it.

      • R600g+SI Dota 2 Benchmarks With Mesa 11.2, Linux 4.5 Show Open Driver Progress

        With now having a workaround for Dota 2 for my benchmarking needs, here are some benchmarks finally of this popular multiplayer online battle arena under Linux when using the R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers with the latest Linux 4.5 and Mesa 11.2 components.

      • Prevent Horizontal Tearing for NVidia GPUs on KDE Plasma
      • AMDGPU’s xf86-video-amdgpu vs. Mode-Setting DDX Performance
      • VIA OpenChrome X.Org Driver Getting Ready For First Release In Over Two Years

        With a new developer stepping up to the plate, it’s looking like the OpenChrome DDX driver will see its first release in more than two and a half years.

        For those still relying upon the OpenChrome X.Org driver for VIA x86 graphics hardware support, Kevin Brace is hoping to soon release a new version. Kevin started a new mailing list thread to encourage interested VIA hardware enthusiasts to begin testing the latest driver code and reporting their feedback.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon vs. Nouveau Gallium3D Driver Performance On Mesa 11.2-dev, Linux 4.5

        Here are some fresh comparison benchmarks on Linux 4.5 and Mesa 11.2 when comparing the Radeon and Nouveau (NVIDIA) open-source Linux driver performance.

        Following on from the Nouveau vs. NVIDIA comparison using the latest code and the AMDGPU/Radeon vs. Proprietary Driver benchmarks on the latest code, here are some Radeon vs. Nouveau results using the Linux 4.5 kernel with Mesa 11.2 Git code for a bleeding-edge experience. The NVIDIA hardware tested for this article included the GeForce GTX 460, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 650, GTX 680, and GTX 780 Ti. With all of the NVIDIA GeForce 600/700 Kepler graphics cards, they were re-clocked to their highest power-state manually prior to testing. Unfortunately, there still isn’t any working GeForce 400/500 Fermi re-clocking support with this open-source driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME: Maps shaping up for 3.20

        So, we’re soon approaching the UI freeze for GNOME 3.20. It’s looking quite good when it comes to OpenStreetMap editing in Maps (among other things).

        But first I thought I was going to show-case another improvement, namely the expanded place bubbles (show information about places you search for on the map).

      • GNOME Maps Is Looking Better In GNOME 3.20

        While not yet as versatile as say Google Maps, GNOME Maps for GNOME 3.20. is looking to be a nice upgrade.

        Maps in GNOME 3.20 is making progress with OpenStreetMap editing, expanded place bubbles, adding new places to OSM, support for printing routes, and more.

      • GNOME Maps 3.20 to Allow for OpenStreetMap Editing

        GNOME 20 is almost upon us, and it’s going to be a really impressive release, especially since many of its components are getting important upgrades, like GNOME Maps, for example.

      • My Updated 3.18 Packages for GNOME Extensions

        I started releasing extension updates in 2014 due to a lot of extensions being unmaintained and seemingly break every time GNOME releases a new version of the Desktop Environment (DE). This is my third batch release post for GNOME extensions and these extension packages are for GNOME 3.18.

  • Distributions

    • Distro Wars: It’s All Linux

      This is likely a topic covered plenty of times, and as such I won’t make this a too in-depth article, but I feel it’s something always worth reiterating and remembering that no matter what distribution of Linux (or GNU/Linux if you prefer) you use… it’s all Linux.

      You only have to whiz around the internet in message boards, YouTube comments and the like in regards to any Linux topic and you’ll probably come across a “distro war” often enough. It can happen easy enough – someone mentions their distro of choice, someone else then mentions theirs and then comparisons start. From there, with personal experiences being shared, which quite frankly can differ quite a bit depending on one’s hardware, software choices (or sometimes even luck) a discussion can quite quickly descend into a flame war over ‘my distro is better than your distro’.

    • Reviews

      • RebeccaBlackOS 2016-02-08 Review. Why? Because it’s Friday.

        These are the types of problems found in an independent distro build from scratch. I cannot understand how a system built on Debian could be this buggy and apparently have zero VM support which Debian comes with by default. I can take some solace in the fact that it was built by one person and that one person is a Rebecca Black fan but as far as a Linux Distribution is concerned there is not much here. Some could say “Well its not supposed to be taken as a serious Distribution.” True except it is listed and kept up with on DistroWatch therefor it should be held as a system ready distribution especially when it was not released as a beta or an RC. If this distribution is ever going to be considered a real platform it has a long way to go. I give it about as many thumbs down as the Rebecca Black Friday video.

    • New Releases

      • Welcome to Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5r0 Release Notes

        Parsix GNU/Linux is a live and installation DVD based on Debian. Our goal is to provide a ready to use and easy to install desktop and laptop optimized operating system based on Debian’s stable branch and the latest stable release of GNOME desktop environment. Users can easily install extra software packages from Parsix APT repositories. Our annual release cycle consists of two major and four minor versions. We have our own software repositories and build servers to build and provide all the necessary updates and missing features in Debian stable branch.

      • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 (Atticus) Officially Released, Based on Debian 8 “Jessie”

        The development team of the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux computer operating system has announced today, February 14, 2016, the release and immediate availability for download of Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5r0.

      • 4MParted 16.0 Distrolette Ships with GParted 0.25.0, Now Ready for Beta Testing

        Zbigniew Konojacki, the developer of the 4MLinux project, has sent us an email earlier today, February 14, 2016, informing Softpedia about the availability for download and testing of his 4MParted 16.0 Beta Live CD.

      • Zorin OS 11 Lite & Business Get Valentine’s Day Release for Windows Refugees

        Only ten days after the release of the Zorin OS 11 Core and Ultimate editions, the development team of the Windows lookalike Linux-based operating system are proud to announce the release of the Lite and Business flavors.

        While the Zorin OS 11 Lite Edition is based on the Lubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) operating system and built around the lightweight LXDE desktop environment, Zorin OS 11 Business is pretty much the same as the Ultimate Edition, but with more advanced tools and improved hardware support.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Sound problems in Mageia 5

        Long time ago, I experienced a problem with the sound in Mageia 5. Some videos would play without sound after I applied an update.

        Back then, I discovered the problem was caused because ffmpeg had been updated but, I never found out why, the tainted repository did not pick up the correct package, so I was using the common ffmpeg package, not the tainted version that allows me to play sound for the videos.

    • Arch Family

    • Slackware Family

      • LibreOffice 5.1.0 for slackware-current

        The Document Foundation statement about this release: “LibreOffice 5.1 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites, and as such is targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users. For enterprise class deployments, TDF maintains the more mature 5.0.x branch (soon at 5.0.5)“.

      • taper.alienbase.nl mirror will lose rsync access

        For the sixth time in just 5 days I had do a system_reset on my virtual machine which runs “taper.alienbase.nl” as well as “docs.slackware.com“. The virtual machine is crashing under the load that is put on it by demanding rsync processes. According to my pal who donated the use of this VM to me for free, the rsync download rate is at a continuous 100 Mbit/sec for most of the time. This is apparently too much for the server, as well as for my pal who had not anticipated this kind of bandwidth consumption. He has been paying quite a bit of extra money for the excess bandwidth during the past months.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Position Raised by Chevy Chase Trust Holdings

        Chevy Chase Trust Holdings raised its stake in shares of Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) by 4.9% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 407,946 shares of the open-source software company’s stock after buying an additional 19,132 shares during the period. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings’ holdings in Red Hat were worth $33,782,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

      • Market View On Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)

        Few brokerages covering Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) have recently released its earnings and stock price target. As per the experts, the stock can touch 89.63 in the coming twelve months. The company’s earnings in the past one year was recorded at 1.03 per share. Now, in the coming quarter, First Call anticipates the company to deliver EPS of 0.50. The EPS estimates for the ongoing fiscal and the next year is reported to come at 1.86 and 2.19 respectively.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian LTS Work January 2016

        This was my ninth month as a Freexian sponsored LTS contributor. I was assigned 8 hours for the month of January.

        My time this month was spent preparing updates for clamav and the associated libclamunrar for squeeze and wheezy. For wheezy, I’ve only helped a little, mostly I worked on squeeze.

      • Reproducible builds: week 42 in Stretch cycle

        What happened in the reproducible builds effort between February 7th and February 13th 2016:

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, January 2016

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • I love Free Software Day 2016: Show your love for Free Software

        Today February 14th, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) celebrates the “I Love Free Software” day. I Love Free Software day is a day for Free Software users to appreciate and thank the contributors of their favourite software applications, projects and organisations.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 2.0 Debian-Based Linux OS Will Keep You Anonymous Online

          Tails, a Live operating system that is built for the declared purpose of keeping users safe and anonymous while going online, is now at version 2.0.1 and is ready for download.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Early Ubuntu 14.04 vs. Ubuntu 16.04 Intel Xeon E5 Benchmarks

            This morning I posted some Ubuntu 14.04 vs. 16.04 LTS Radeon graphics benchmarks while if open-source AMD graphics driver evolution doesn’t get you excited, in this article are results from other non-graphics benchmarks in comparing the Ubuntu 14.04 vs. 16.04 performance for these long-term support releases in their current form.

            For getting an idea how the overall Ubuntu Linux performance has evolved over the past two years for those solely riding Long-Term Support releases, I compared the performance of Ubuntu 14.04.0 to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in its current daily ISO form. The tests were done on the same Intel Xeon E5-2687W v3 (Haswell) system with MSI X99S SLI PLUS motherboard, 16GB of RAM, and AMD FirePro V7900 graphics.

          • ‘Android OEMs Will Ship Ubuntu Phones This Year’, Say Canonical

            Several Android phone makers will release Ubuntu phones this year, Canonical’s CEO has revealed.

          • Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu prospect for February 22 launch

            In September last year Meizu officially introduced the Pro 5 flagship, an Android smartphone running the 5.1 Lollipop-based Flyme OS 5.0. Although Android and iOS are the dominant operating platforms there are always those who want to try something different. Now there’s a Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu prospect for a February 22 launch.

          • Meizu teases new Ubuntu device for MWC 2016

            Chinese smartphone manufacture Meizu will likely unveil a new Ubuntu-powered phone at the Mobile World Congress next week. The company recently released a teaser that suggests the same, although it doesn’t reveal anything specific about the device.

          • Meizu Might Unveil a New Ubuntu Phone Device at MWC 2016

            Meizu, the popular Chinese consumer electronics company, which most Ubuntu users better know for its awesome Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition smartphone, has teased us earlier on Twitter with what it would appear to be the launch of a new device.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • A Selection of Talks from FOSDEM 2016

      It’s that time of the year where I go to FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The keynotes and the maintracks are very good, with good presentations and contents.

    • Tech experts guide workshop on open source software

      “The potential of open-source software is huge. For instance, a lot of people in our country cannot afford to purchase MS Office because they are very expensive. OSS can be a boon to people in software development and even in the field of education in general,” said Lalit Kathpalia, director of Symbiosis Institute of Computer Science and Research (SICSR), which organised the seminar along with the Pune Linux Users Group.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

  • Education

    • Open source is now ready to compete with Mathematica for use in the classroom

      When I think about what makes SageMath different, one of the most fundamental things is that it was created by people who use it every day. It was created by people doing research math, by people teaching math at universities, and by computer programmers and engineers using it for research. It was created by people who really understand computational problems because we live them. We understand the needs of math research, teaching courses, and managing an open source project that users can contribute to and customize to work for their own unique needs.

    • The scarcity of college graduates with FOSS experience

      In the education track at SCALE 14x in Pasadena, Gina Likins spoke about the surprisingly difficult task of getting information about open-source development practices into undergraduate college classrooms. That scarcity makes it hard to find new college graduates who have experience with open source. Although the conventional wisdom is that open source “is everywhere,” the college computer-science (CS) or software-engineering (SE) classroom has proven to be a tough nut to crack—and may remain so for quite some time.

      Likins works on Red Hat’s University Outreach team—a group that does not do recruiting, she emphasized. Rather, the team travels to campuses around the United States and engages with teachers, administrators, and students about open source in the classroom. The surprise is how little open source one finds, at least in CS and SE degrees. Employers expect graduates to be familiar with open-source projects and tools (e.g., using Git, bug trackers, and so forth), she said, and incoming students report expecting to find it in the curriculum, but it remains a rarity.

  • BSD

    • Our 2016 Fundraising Campaign

      The OpenBSD Foundation needs your help to achieve our fundraising goal of $250,000 for 2016.

      Reaching this goal will ensure the continued health of the projects we support, will enable us to help them do more, and will avoid the distraction of financial emergencies that could spell the end of the projects.

      2015 was a good year for the foundation financially, with funding coming almost equally from corporate and community donations. While the total was down significantly after 2014′s blockbuster year, we again exceeded our goal.


      If a penny was donated for every pf or OpenSSH installed with a mainstream operating system or phone in the last year we would be at our goal.


    • Winning the copyleft fight

      Bradley Kuhn started off his linux.conf.au 2016 talk by stating a goal that, he hoped, he shared with the audience: a world where more (or most) software is free software. The community has one key strategy toward that goal: copyleft licensing. He was there to talk about whether that strategy is working, and what can be done to make it more effective; the picture he painted was not entirely rosy, but there is hope if software developers are willing to make some changes.

      Copyleft licensing is still an effective strategy, he said; that can be seen because we’ve had the chance to run a real-world parallel experiment — an opportunity that doesn’t come often. A lot of non-copyleft software has been written over the years; if proprietary forks of that software don’t exist, then it seems clear that there is no need for copyleft; we just have to look to see whether proprietary versions of non-copyleft software exist. But, he said, he has yet to find a non-trivial non-copyleft program that lacks proprietary forks; without copyleft, companies will indeed take free software and make it proprietary.

    • The Trouble With the TPP, Day 27: Source Code Disclosure Confusion

      Another Trouble with the TPP is its foray into the software industry. One of the more surprising provisions in the TPP’s e-commerce chapter was the inclusion of a restriction on mandated source code disclosure. Article 14.17 states:

      No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale or use of such software, or of products containing such software, in its territory.

    • I love Free Software Day 2016

      In the Free Software society we exchange a lot of criticism. We write bug reports, tell others how they can improve the software, ask them for new features, and generally are not shy about criticising others. There is nothing wrong about that. It helps us to constantly improve. But sometimes we forget to show the hardworking people behind the software our appreciation. We should not underestimate the power of a simple “thank you” to motivate Free Software contributors in their important work for society. The 14th of February (a Sunday this year) is the ideal day to do that.

  • Programming

    • Why I am not touching node.js [Ed: from Ferrari]

      Dear node.js/node-webkit people, what’s the matter with you?

      I wanted to try out some stuff that requires node-webkit. So I try to use npm to download, build and install it, like CPAN would do.

      But then I see that the nodewebkit package is just a stub that downloads a 37MB file (using HTTP without TLS) containing pre-compiled binaries. Are you guys out of your minds?

      This is enough for me to never again get close to node.js and friends. I had already heard some awful stories, but this is just insane.

    • The next Generation of Code Hosting Platforms

      The last few weeks there has been a lot of rumors about GitHub. GitHub is a code hosting platform which tries to make it as easy as possible to develop software and collaborate with people. The main achievement from GitHub is probably to moved the social part of software development to a complete new level. As more and more Free Software initiatives started using GitHub it became really easy to contribute a bug fix or a new feature to the 3rd party library or application you use. With a few clicks you can create a fork, add your changes and send them back to the original project as a pull request. You don’t need to create a new account, don’t need to learn the tools used by the project, etc. Everybody is on the same platform and you can contribute immediately. In many cases this improves the collaboration between projects a lot. Also the ability to mention the developer of other projects easily in your pull request or issue improved the social interactions between developers and makes collaboration across different projects the default.

    • Choose GitLab for your next open source project

      GitLab.com is a competitor of GIthub. It’s a service provider for git-based source code repositories that offers much more than it’s bigger brother. In this post I will try to convince you to try it out for your next project.

      GitLab is not only a simple git hosting; its features impact the whole development process, the way of contributing to a project, executing and running tests, protecting source code from changes, more and more.

    • Write code that is easy to delete, not easy to extend.

      Every line of code written comes at a price: maintenance. To avoid paying for a lot of code, we build reusable software. The problem with code re-use is that it gets in the way of changing your mind later on.

      The more consumers of an API you have, the more code you must rewrite to introduce changes. Similarly, the more you rely on an third-party api, the more you suffer when it changes. Managing how the code fits together, or which parts depend on others, is a significant problem in large scale systems, and it gets harder as your project grows older.


  • Billion-dollar mistake: How inferior IT killed Target Canada

    Additionally, the idea of trying to open an entire nation of stores, rather than opening them incrementally, was bound to fail. Scaling everything at once doesn’t allow for flaws to be discovered and mediated, but instead leads to cascading failures like the ones that overtook Target Canada’s supply chain.

  • Science

  • Data Loss

    • Vellum: UK’s last producer of calf-skin parchment fights on after losing Parliament’s business

      In the company’s original office, with its 1855 safe, overlooked by a photograph of the firm’s founding father, the general manager of parchment and vellum makers William Cowley receives a steady stream of phone calls from sympathisers and customers.

      Paul Wright tells them how parchment and vellum are “the earliest writing materials, in use since man stepped out of a cave, wrapped some skins round a few sticks to make a tepee, and started scribbling on his tent walls”. He added: “All of humankind’s history is on parchment and vellum. Magna Carta was written on parchment. The Dead Sea Scrolls: parchment, in 435BC.”

    • Google is shutting down Picasa in favor of Photos

      The Picasa desktop app will continue to function, but after March 15th, you shouldn’t expect any more updates. It also sounds like the download link will be going away, so you might want to also keep the install file stashed somewhere safe.

    • Google Is Shutting Down Picasa On May 1, 2016

      Google has finally decided to kill Picasa Web albums on May 1, 2016. This step was expected by many as it doesn’t make sense investing time and resources in a product similar to Google Photos.

    • Changing your iPhone settings to this date will kill it

      Don’t try this at home. Changing the date on recent models of the iPhone to January 1 1970 will render it completely useless and unable to reboot.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Jeremy Hunt ‘misrepresenting’ data on weekend death rates at NHS hospitals, says research surgeon

      A doctor who was part of a study on links between staffing and deaths in the NHS has accused the Government of “continually misrepresenting” the findings to support its push to change junior contracts.

      Dr Peter Holt, a vascular surgeon at St George’s University of London, said he had written to Jeremy Hunt, the Health Select Committee and shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander raising his objection.

      In a post on the Junior Doctors contract forum Facebook group, he wrote that the research published in December “could never have shown that higher staffing on weekends reduced mortality”.

    • The “tough nerd” owns this calamity: Rick Snyder’s anti-government, authoritarian ideology has been nothing but bad news for Flint

      Snyder has since won two general elections. As the world now knows, turning our state government over to a business executive who never held public office before hasn’t turned out so well. The “tough nerd” is the man who presided over a colossal, avoidable and entirely man-made public health disaster. For more than a year, more than 100,000 citizens of Flint have been exposed to a toxic water supply, laced with lead and other contaminants.

      Eight thousand children under the age of 5 who live in the city are most at risk; even at low levels, exposure to lead can cause irreversible damage to their brains. That translates, over time, into reduced intellectual capacity and higher incidence of multiple problems: attention deficit disorder, hypertension, aggressive and impulsive behavior – eventually, according to some researchers, higher rates of violent crime.

      Lead poisoning is no picnic for adults. The substance is a neurotoxin, linked to anemia, brain damage, kidney failure and reproductive disorders for both genders.

      This scandal has bodies, too. There’s been a spike in cases of Legionnaires’ disease – including 10 deaths – in and around Flint since the city’s water troubles began, nearly two years ago. The syndrome can be transmitted through mist or vapor from a contaminated water supply. High-ranking state officials knew about the outbreak in March of 2015, but Snyder didn’t say anything publicly until January 2016. “We can’t conclude the increase is related to the water switch in Flint,” said a state health department spokesperson on Feb. 3, “nor can we rule out a possible association.”

      Trust me: Nobody in Flint now trusts a word state officials have to say about water quality.

    • Flint water crisis: governor’s aides knew of issues within weeks, records suggest

      Among 21,000 documents released by Michigan’s governor one shows officials due to discuss Flint ‘water issues’ in June 2014, within weeks of supply switch

    • Flint: The Legionnaires Will Be What Brings Criminal Charges

      In my discussions about Flint’s water crisis, I keep pointing out that Rick Snyder was largely just making a show of responding until the US Attorney revealed it had started an investigation on January 5.

      The Detroit News has an utterly damning report today about the part of the story that gets less national attention: local and state officials started discussing an outbreak of Legionnaires disease back in October 2014, and national experts offered help as early as March 2015, but the state did not accept assistance offered by both the EPA and CDC until January.

    • Detroit has highest number of abandoned homes, Flint second, website reports

      Flint, the Michigan city that is struggling with a public health crisis involving its water supply, has another issue that is threatening its future: abandoned homes, the Huffington Post reports.

      Flint had the highest rate of vacancy in February at 7.5 percent, according to a report released by RealtyTrac.

      “The real estate data company broke down the data by individual city for The Huffington Post, revealing a more extreme picture of abandonment: 9,800 homes are empty in Flint, 16.5 percent of all residential properties. At the city level, Detroit had the highest vacancy rate, with 53,000 empty houses, nearly one in five. Nationally, close to one of every 63 residential properties that RealtyTrac analyzed are vacant.”

    • Flint’s problems didn’t start with water

      A third of the property in the city of Flint is vacant.

      That’s according to the Genesee County Land Bank, the organization charged with pushing back against the encroaching wave of blight that touches nearly every neighborhood in this struggling city — of 56,000 parcels in Flint, about 20,000 are empty or blighted.

      And it’s going to get worse.

  • Security

    • Fysbis: The Linux Backdoor Used by Russian Hackers

      Fysbis (or Linux.BackDoor.Fysbis) is a new malware family that targets Linux machines, on which it sets up a backdoor that allows the malware’s author to spy on victims and carry out further attacks.

    • Russian Hackers Spying On Your Linux PC Using Sophisticated Malware “Fysbis”

      A new malware family known as Fysbis (or Linux.BackDoor.Fysbis) is aiming Linux machines by setting up a backdoor that allows the malware’s author to snoop on victims and perform further attacks.

    • Warning: Bug in Adobe Creative Cloud deletes Mac user data without warning

      Adobe Systems has stopped distributing a recently issued update to its Creative Cloud graphics service amid reports a Mac version can delete important user data without warning or permission.

      The deletions happen whenever Mac users log in to the Adobe service after the update has been installed, according to officials from Backblaze, a data backup service whose users are being disproportionately inconvenienced by the bug. Upon sign in, a script activated by Creative Cloud deletes the contents in the alphabetically first folder in a Mac’s root directory. Backblaze users are being especially hit by the bug because the backup service relies on data stored in a hidden root folder called .bzvol. Because the folder is the alphabetically top-most hidden folder at the root of so many users’ drives, they are affected more than users of many other software packages.

      “This caused a lot of our customers to freak out,” Backblaze Marketing Manager Yev Pusin wrote in an e-mail. “The reason we saw a huge uptick from our customers is because Backblaze’s .bzvol is higher up the alphabet. We tested it again by creating a hidden file with an ‘.a’ name, and the files inside were removed as well.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • U.S. Supported Shia Militias in Iraq Lead Ethnic Cleansing

      Oh, yes, and also civil war. Here’s a preview of what to expect in Iraq after ISIS is mostly run out of the country.

      Set the scene: the country formerly known as Iraq was basically an steaming pile of ethnic/religious tension in 2003 when the U.S. invaded. It was divided among three broad groups we didn’t seem to know much about then, but damn well do now: Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. The Kurds, who always wanted to be independent, like from nearly the time of the dinosaurs always, saw their opportunity and broke away and are now essentially their own country. The Sunnis and Shia both wanted the same land and resources and freaking hate each other, and so have been fighting one another since 2003 when the post-U.S. invasion chaos unleashed them.

    • “Where to Invade Next” Is the Most Subversive Movie Michael Moore Has Ever Made

      I CAN’T CLAIM this is a neutral review of Where to Invade Next, Michael Moore’s latest movie. Beyond the fact that I worked for Moore for six years, including on his previous documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, I may literally owe my life to the high-quality, zero-deductible health insurance he provides employees.

      What I’ve lost in objectivity, I’ve gained in knowledge of Moore’s career. I even know his darkest, most closely guarded secret: the original name of the 1970s alternative newspaper he started in Flint, Michigan. So I can say this for sure: Where to Invade Next is the most profoundly subversive thing he’s ever done. It’s so sneaky that you may not even notice exactly what it’s subverting.

    • Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

      Americans perceive what has happened to their democratic Republic only dimly, tricked by rightists who call all collective government actions bad and by neoliberals who make “markets” a new-age god. But ex-congressional budget official Mike Lofgren shows how this “Deep State” really works, writes Chuck Spinney.

    • Long live Empire!

      Indians don’t care whether the statue of Queen Victoria stays put or is consigned to a junkyard. Many agree with Ferguson that the British Empire had some plus points.

    • Hillary’s Admission Diplomacy Couldn’t Get Pakistan To Hand Over Bin Laden

      In last night’s debate, Sanders responded — after talking about what good friends he is with the woman who just claimed he had supported regime change — that he had supported more democracy in Libya, not regime change.

    • The anti-US military base struggle in Okinawa, Japan

      Kamoshita and Aihara at their talk in London on 1 February jointly organised and hosted by Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK (VCNV), Nipponzan Myohoji and SOAS CND Society. Native Nomad Pictures Ltd./ Jason Verney. All rights reserved.Not many people outside Japan have even heard of the place called Okinawa, a semi-tropical archipelago of numerous islands with unique and invaluable biodiversity situated in the East China Sea – let alone have any knowledge of its modern history, dominated by the sequence of invasion, colonisation, war and militarisation.

    • ‘ISIS militants shave beards, dress as women to escape Ramadi’

      has arrested a group of ISIS fighters when they tried to escape from the fallen city of Ramadi after shaving their beards and dressing up as women.

      “The terrorists had shaved their beards and dressed as women in a bid to fool our forces and escape the liberated city of Ramadi. However, they were all arrested before escaping the city,” the Iraqi security command was quoted as saying by ARA News.

      The Iraqi army announced on Tuesday the “full liberation” of Ramadi city, capital of Anbar province, from ISIS militants.

    • The Neoconservatives Are Brewing A Wider War In Syria

      Their invasion plan frustrated, the neoconservatives sent the jihadists they had used to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya to overthrow Assad. Initially known as ISIS, then ISIL, then the Islamist State, and now Daesh, a term that can be interpreted as an insult. Perhaps the intention of the name changes is to keep the Western public thoroughly confused about who is who and what is what.

    • Democrats Use Debate To Embrace History’s Warmongers

      With some important exceptions, such as the issue of regime change, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s foreign policies were largely on the same page, as they have been throughout the campaign. Sanders joined in with the prevailing fear of Russia, praising NATO’s recent provocative amassing of troops along Russia’s border, its largest deployment since the Cold War. The candidates then went on to separately embrace two of history’s worst war mongers.

      Clinton went first. After Sanders criticized her earlier embrace of her predecessor Henry Kissinger, calling him “one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country,” Clinton doubled down, arguing that whatever complaints one may have of Kissinger, “his opening up of China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of China is an incredibly useful relationship.”

      Clinton’s earlier mention of Kissinger wasn’t just name-dropping. She appears to genuinely view him as a role model while serving as Secretary of State.

    • The 10 most ghoulish quotes of Henry Kissinger’s gruesome career

      Henry Kissinger’s quote released by Wikileaks, “The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer,” likely brought a smile to his legions of elite media, government, corporate and high society admirers. Oh that Henry! That rapier wit! That trademark insouciance! It is unlikely, however, that the descendants of his more than 6 million victims in Indochina, and Americans of conscience appalled by his murder of non-Americans, will share in the amusement. His illegal and unconstitutional actions had real-world consequences: the ruined lives of millions of Indochinese innocents in a new form of secret, automated U.S. executive warfare. (Read Branfman’s extended related essay on Kissinger.)

    • Sanders proudly declaring “Kissinger is not my friend” totally destroys notion that Clinton’s better on foreign policy

      “I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger,” Bernie Sanders declared in the Milwaukee presidential debate Thursday night.

      “Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference,” Sanders explained, “in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.”

      These are some of the most important words Sanders has ever uttered about foreign policy. And they show he is appreciably better on the issue than Hillary Clinton, in all the ways that matter.

      The historical facts make it clear that Sanders is absolutely correct; Kissinger was, hands down, one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of the U.S.

    • Should Henry Kissinger Mentor a Presidential Candidate?

      At the February 11 Democratic Debate, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had a spirited exchange about an unlikely topic: the 92-year old former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Sanders berated Clinton for saying that she appreciated the foreign policy mentoring she got from Henry Kissinger. “I happen to believe,” said Sanders, “that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.”

      In one of Sanders’ rare outbursts of enmity, he added, “I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some three million innocent people, was one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Coal mining has flattened Appalachia by 40%: Scientists reveal dramatic extent of damage done by mountaintop removal

      For more than forty years, mining companies have been destroying entire mountain peaks in West Virginia, Kentucky and other areas of Central Appalachia.

      The technique, known as mountaintop mining, practice provides much-needed jobs and the steady supply of coal that America relies on for more than half of its electricity needs.

      But residents say they are paying a high price, with the practice destroying forests, polluting streams and flooding communities – and now a new study has backed up their claims.

      Scientists have found mountaintop coal mining has made parts of Central Appalachia 40 per cent flatter than they were before excavation.

  • Finance

    • Watch Carrier Workers Find Out Their Jobs Are Moving to Mexico

      Workers at a Carrier Air Conditioner plant in Indianapolis were summoned to a group assembly this week to be told their jobs would soon be moving to Monterrey, Mexico. In all, 1,400 jobs are expected to be lost.


      “Now the promise of America has always been you work hard, you do your job, you help your company be profitable and then in return, you hope to have a decent retirement,” he said. “So how do we tell workers who have put their whole heart and soul into a company, who have provided them with over $6.1 billion in sales, that it is not enough? I mean, the reason folks are here is because there has always been a promise: If you work hard, the company in return will stand up and do right by you. So, how is doing right having $6.1 billion in earnings and shipping 2,100 Indiana jobs off to Mexico?”

      Yellen, who has come under fire for rate hikes many fear will undermine the unemployment situation, replied: “This is a miserable and burdensome situation that many households have faced.”

    • Hillary Is a High-Ranking Member of the DC Power Elite — and That’s Why She Can’t Comprehend Bernie’s Revolution

      Let me figure this out. Last year, the Clintons couldn’t believe their good fortune. They were going to face a “democratic socialist” from the marginal state of Vermont and cruise to victory. It would be a romp, with Hillary winning the primaries and then going full mainstream against a reactionary, out of touch Republican opponent on the way to the White House.

      As many commentators are saying now, a serious miscalculation was at the heart of Hillary’s plan. Clinton, Cruz, Bush, Rubio and others are all part of the wealthy elite. Although Trump is as well, he is channeling the anger of the working class American. Bernie Sanders also gets it. He knows what happened to the American dream.

      Hillary Clinton thinks, in her gut, that America is a prosperous country, and that the policies that led to our prosperity should simply be continued, that they work. But this hasn’t been true since the 1970’s, back when America was the world’s economic powerhouse, with a manufacturing base that was the envy of the world, highly paid unionized workers and a booming housing market.

    • John Kasich and the Clintons Collaborated on Law That Helped Double Extreme Poverty

      Republican presidential candidate John Kasich has promoted himself both as a friend of the working poor and as a foe of Hillary Clinton, but as House Budget Committee chairman in the 1990s, he worked with the Clintons to roll back welfare programs, helping double extreme poverty in America.

      In 1996, the Clinton administration and congressional Republicans worked hand in hand to pass what they called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, colloquially known as “welfare reform.”

      The legislation famously “ended welfare as we know it,” replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The newly-created TANF placed a time limit on how long the federal government would extend financial assistance to poor families.

    • 7 Reasons I’m Not On Board With Uber

      It’s common practice in the tech world to rush your product to market, picking up the pieces as you go. This works fine when you’re in the business of selling ideas, or soft-serve ice cream delivery (somebody do this, please), or artisanal organic laundry service. Get it out there, apologize in advance that nothing’s perfect, do better next time. No harm done.

      Then there’s a product like Uber. Uber, if you’re just joining the conversation, is supposed to change the way city dwellers think about transportation. It’s supposed to put taxis out of business, or at least make them change their wicked ways.

    • Taxes on trial

      Demands for tax justice have resounded worldwide, with inequality at historic and unsustainable levels and increased attention towards the tax practices of major multinational corporations from Google to Starbucks.

      Governments must be able to change their tax systems to ensure multinationals pay their fair share and to ensure that critical public services are well funded. States must also be able to reconsider and withdraw tax breaks previously granted to multinationals if they no longer fit with national priorities.

      But their ability to do so, to change tax laws and pursue progressive tax policies, is limited, thanks to trade and investments agreements. In rapidly developing ‘corporate courts’, formally known as investor-state dispute settlement system (or ISDS), foreign investors can sue states directly at international tribunals.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Donald Trump Blames George W. Bush for 9/11

      “I lost hundreds of friends, the World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush,” Trump said, while the crowd’s boos nearly drowned him out. “That is not safe, Marco, that is not safe,”

      Trump has made this claim before, but this time Bush’s brother Jeb pushed back. “This is a man who insults his way to the nomination,” he said. “I am sick and tired of him going after my family.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Congressional Black Caucus PAC Endorsement Approved By Board Awash in Lobbyists

      Ben Branch, the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC told The Intercept that his group made the decision after a vote from its 20-member board. The board includes 11 lobbyists, seven elected officials, and two officials who work for the PAC. Branch confirmed that the lobbyists were involved in the endorsement, but would not go into detail about the process.

      Members of the CBC PAC board include Daron Watts, a lobbyist for Purdue Pharma, the makers of highly addictive opioid OxyContin; Mike Mckay and Chaka Burgess, both lobbyists for Navient, the student loan giant that was spun off of Sallie Mae; former Rep. Al Wynn, D-Md., a lobbyist who represents a range of clients, including work last year on behalf of Lorillard Tobacco, the makers of Newport cigarettes; and William A. Kirk, who lobbies for a cigar industry trade group on a range of tobacco regulations.

      And a significant percentage of the $7,000 raised this cycle by the CBC PAC was donated by white lobbyists, including Vic Fazio, who represents Philip Morris and served for years as a lobbyist to Corrections Corporation of America, and David Adams, a former Clinton aide who now lobbies for Wal-Mart, the largest gun distributor in America.

    • Why Brother Bernie Is Better for Black People Than Sister Hillary
    • Bernie Sanders is a Candidate for, Not of, Today’s Movements

      Yesterday, The Atlantic’s Eric Liu asked what it would take to move presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s ambitious proposals from “we’re gonna” to “we’ve done it,” outlining seven steps to bridge the gap. First among Liu’s recommendations is a call for a “Bernie’s 30” of progressive congressional Democrats to oust Republican incumbents, throwing the weight of the Sanders campaign’s small donor base into strategic races around the country.

    • ‘Bomb the Sh*t out of ‘Em’: Inside the Madness of a Donald Trump Rally

      After Roy Wood Jr., skipped out on a Donald Trump rally on Wednesday night’s “Daily Show,” I felt as if I had an itch left unscratched. So you can imagine how excited I was when another correspondent, Jordan Klepper, made the “the circus that is Donald Trump” the centerpiece of his profile on last night’s “Daily Show.” (And by some divine stroke of luck, Klepper ended up at the now-infamous rally at which Trump almost-kinda-sorta called Ted Cruz a “pussy.”)
      To build a contextual foundation, Klepper spoke to a Adam Realman (not to be confused with John Q. Sample), a Coney Island sideshow performer about the proper elements of a compelling circus act.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Why I don’t like smartphones

      They have led to massive centralization. Part of the “cloud” movement is probably driven by the fact that while smartphones have substantial computational resources, you can’t actually use them because of battery life. So instead the computation is done in the cloud, creating a dependency on a centralized entity.

      How many of these smartphone applications being sold would still work if their makers went bust? By comparison, there is much PC software no longer sold but which is still cherished and used.

    • For Analysts, Loving LinkedIn Was Wrong

      LinkedIn is unlikely to be the last company hit by a pitch, says Sanwal. Investors in private companies often base their valuations on publicly traded stocks like LinkedIn. With even Apple and Amazon.com being punished mightily for their recent quarterly disappointments, companies in the spotlight can’t afford many missteps, says SunTrust’s Peck. As for his own line of work, he says: “At the end of the day analysts need to rely on their research, not what the company says.”

    • How Google Searches Pretty Much Nailed the New Hampshire Primary

      Google’s ability to look into the future of political contests just notched another win: New Hampshire.

      Searches of presidential candidates conducted by Google users in New Hampshire on Feb. 9 corresponded closely with the voting results of the state’s primary. The top-searched Democratic candidate was Bernie Sanders, who won with 60 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, according to the Associated Press. He got 72 percent of the searches, according to Google, while Hillary Clinton got 28 percent of the queries and 38 percent of the vote.

    • Google isn’t your diary – stop trusting it with your secrets

      If you have a problem in the 21st century, the typical first port of call is Google. It doesn’t matter if it’s about your health or your embarrassing crush – the search engine will be there to answer your questions.

      My recent search history varies from ‘my iPhone won’t charge abroad’ to ‘do I have cystitis’? But that’s nothing compared to what I’d pour out to Google as a teenager. Back then, the search engine wasn’t just a substitute for rubbish PSHE lessons at school – it was the big sister I never had.

    • Four men—including a pair of pastors—sue Tacoma police over stingray documents

      The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state has sued the Tacoma Police Department (TPD) on behalf of four community leaders, claiming that TPD has not adequately responded to their public records requests concerning the use of cell-site simulators, or stingrays.

      The Thursday lawsuit comes nine months after Washington imposed a new warrant requirement for stingray use in the state and about 15 months after local Pierce County judges imposed stricter guidelines for their use.

      Stingrays are in use by both local and federal law enforcement agencies nationwide. The devices determine a target phone’s location by spoofing or simulating a cell tower. Mobile phones in range of the stingray then connect to it and exchange data with the device as they would with a real cell tower. Once deployed, stingrays intercept data from the target phone along with information from other phones within the vicinity—up to and including full calls and text messages. At times, police have falsely claimed that information gathered from a stingray has instead come from a confidential informant.

    • Austrians Need Constitutional Right to Pay in Cash, Mahrer Says

      Austrians should have the constitutional right to use cash to protect their privacy, Deputy Economy Minister Harald Mahrer said, as the European Union considers curbing the use of banknotes and coins.

      “We don’t want someone to be able to track digitally what we buy, eat and drink, what books we read and what movies we watch,” Mahrer said on Austrian public radio station Oe1. “We will fight everywhere against rules” including caps on cash purchases, he said.

    • New York Police Have Used Stingrays Widely, New Documents Show

      The NYPD has used cell-site simulators, commonly known as Stingrays, more than 1,000 times since 2008, according to documents turned over to the New York Civil Liberties Union. The documents represent the first time the department has acknowledged using the devices.

      The NYPD also disclosed that it does not get a warrant before using a Stingray, which sweeps up massive amounts of data. Instead, the police obtain a “pen register order” from a court, more typically used to collect call data for a specific phone. Those orders do not require the police to establish probable cause. Additionally, the NYPD has no written policy guidelines on the use of Stingrays.

    • Lawyers Speak Out About Massive Hack of Prisoners’ Phone Records

      Last fall, Bukowsky received an unexpected phone call related to McKim’s case. The call came from The Intercept, following our November 11, 2015, report on a massive hack of Securus Technologies, a Texas-based prison telecommunications company that does business with the Missouri Department of Corrections. As we reported at the time, The Intercept received a massive database of more than 70 million call records belonging to Securus and coming from prison facilities that used the company’s so-called Secure Call Platform. Leaked via SecureDrop by a hacker who was concerned that Securus might be violating prisoners’ rights, the call records span a 2 1/2-year period beginning in late 2011 (the year Securus won its contract with the Missouri DOC) and ending in the spring of 2014.

    • Apple: Dear judge, please tell us if gov’t can compel us to unlock an iPhone

      In a new letter, Apple has asked a judge to finally rule in a case where the government is trying to force the company to unlock a seized iPhone 5S running iOS 7. Currently, United States Magistrate Judge James Orenstein has been sitting on the case for nearly three months.

      In the Friday letter, Apple attorney Marc Zwillinger says that ruling now is important, as the government plans to make similar requests of Apple in the future. Prosecutors have invoked the All Writs Act, an 18th-century federal law that simply allows courts to issue a writ (or order) that compels a person or company to do something. For some time now, prosecutors have turned to courts to try to force companies to help in situations where authorities are otherwise stymied.

    • At Berkeley, students learn ins and outs of NSA surveillance

      This spring, computer science lecturer Nicholas Weaver will give a class of UC Berkeley undergraduates a novel yet practical assignment: build a National Security Agency-style surveillance system.

    • House bill would kill state, local bills that aim to weaken smartphone crypto

      On Wednesday, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) introduced a new bill in Congress that attempts to halt state-level efforts that would weaken encryption.

      The federal bill comes just weeks after two nearly identical state bills in New York state and California proposed to ban the sale of modern smartphones equipped with strong crypto that cannot be unlocked by the manufacturer. If the state bills are signed into law, current iPhone and Android phones would need to be substantially redesigned for those two states.

    • UK Privacy Campaigners Lose Hacking Case Against GCHQ

      Handed down by the Investigative Powers Tribunal (IPT), the ruling dismissed complaints from campaign group Privacy International. The group had teamed up with seven internet service providers to challenge GCHQ’s surveillance of phones and other electronic devices both within the U.K. and internationally.

      Privacy International said it was “disappointed” with the ruling, but said the case had raised public debate on some of the GCHQ’s most controversial practices.

    • GCHQ hacking does not violate the UK’s human rights laws, rules tribunal

      Hacking of smartphone, computer and network by the British security and intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is legal, says a security tribunal. The investigatory power tribunal (IPT) has recently ruled the computer network exploitation (CNE) technique, which might include remotely activating microphones and cameras on electronic devices without the owner’s knowledge, is legal.

  • Civil Rights

    • Justice Antonin Scalia dead

      There is likely to be significant pressure on the Senate, which is in Republican hands, to hold off on confirming anyone nominated by President Obama, who is in his last year in office.

    • Justice Scalia Unexpectedly Dies, Scrambling Balance Of U.S. Supreme Court

      Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at a West Texas ranch on Saturday. He was 79 years old. Scalia died in his sleep during a hunting trip, apparently of natural causes.

      The sudden death of Scalia, one of the Court’s most outspoken conservatives, potentially shifts the balance of the Supreme Court, currently 5-4 in favor of conservatives, setting up an enormous battle in the Republican-controlled Senate that will play out simultaneously with the presidential campaign.

    • Conservatives: GOP Senate Should Block Any Obama Selection For Supreme Court

      Scalia was part of a conservative bloc on the Supreme Court that regularly overturned progressive legislation and precedent, making any replacement a contested issue in both the Senate and the 2016 presidential election with major national implications.

    • Why Scalia’s Death Is a Huge Blow to the Right-Wing Agenda in Washington

      Justice Antonin Scalia is dead, and his passing is nothing less than a legal and political earthquake. It will have a huge impact, not only on the court’s present term but on the course of constitutional law.

      Beginning with his appointment to the high court in 1986, Scalia was the intellectual leader of what I and many other legal commentators have termed a conservative “judicial counterrevolution,” aimed at wresting control of the nation’s most powerful legal body from the legacy of the liberal jurists who rose to power in the 1950s and ’60s under the leadership of then-Chief Justice Earl Warren.

    • CNN Analyst: Potential SCOTUS Nominees “Have Impeccable Qualifications,” But GOP Doesn’t Want To Vote For “An Obama Nominee”
    • Iran says it is cracking down on Valentine’s Day celebrations and shops engaging in them will be guilty of a crime

      Iran says it is cracking down on Valentine’s Day celebrations and shops engaging in them will be guilty of a crime.

      Iranian news outlets reported the police directive Friday warning retailers against promoting “decadent Western culture through Valentine’s Day rituals.” Police informed Tehran’s coffee and ice cream shops trade union to avoid any gatherings in which boys and girls exchange Valentine’s Day gifts.

      The annual Feb. 14 homage to romance, which tradition says is named after an early Christian martyr, has become popular in recent years in Iran and other Middle East countries.

    • Amid Anti-Semitism Controversy, NRA’s Nugent Attacks His “Mentally Challenged” “Devil” Critics

      National Rifle Association (NRA) board member Ted Nugent participated in a softball interview to attack his critics as “mentally challenged” and “the devil” following outrage over his promotion of an anti-Semitic image.

      On February 8, Nugent posted an anti-Semitic image to his Facebook page alleging that Jews were behind a conspiracy to enact gun regulations. After being condemned by civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation League, Nugent doubled down by posting more inflammatory content, including an image of Jews being rounded up by Nazis alongside his comment “Soulless sheep to slaughter. Not me.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Republican Anti-Net Neutrality Crusade Advances in Congress

      The Republican crusade to sabotage federal net neutrality protections took a significant step forward on Thursday when a key House subcommittee approved a bill that could severely limit the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to police the nation’s largest cable and phone companies.

      Under the guise of prohibiting the FCC from regulating broadband internet prices, the legislation could ultimately kneecap the FCC’s authority over a variety of potentially abusive industry practices, according to open internet advocates.

      The bill, innocuously titled the “No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act,” is just the latest effort in a multi-pronged Republican campaign to undermine the FCC’s ability to protect net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • 82-Year-Old Great-Grandmother is a Pirate, Trolls Say

        People who’ve managed to live for more than eight decades should be enjoying a peaceful and uncomplicated existence but for UK-based Sky customer Sheila Drew things are not so straightforward. She’s being accused of being an Internet pirate – and has two letters and a £600 bill to prove it.


Links 13/2/2016: Debian 6.0 EOL

Posted in News Roundup at 12:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Pinterest open-sources its Teletraan tool for deploying code

    As promised last year when the company introduced it, Pinterest today announced that it has released its Teletraan tool for deploying source code on GitHub under an open source Apache license.

    “Teletraan is designed to do one thing, deploy code,” Pinterest software engineer Baogang Song wrote in a blog post. “Not only does it support critical features such as zero downtime deploy, rollback, staging and continuous deploy, but it also has convenient features, such as displaying commit details, comparing different deploys, notifying deploy state changes through either email or chat room, displaying OpenTSDB metrics and more.”

  • Split Emerges in Open Source MANO Efforts

    A broad attempt to create a single open source effort around managing and orchestrating NFV is now bifurcating into two separate groups, based on irreconcilable views of how to best standardize the MANO going forward.

  • Events

    • Share your love for free software

      Yes, we love Free Software and this readily means that we love technology, people, social equanimity, and the various meanings one may take on for the word “freedom”. We care about it and we all want to bear witness of the growth and consolidation of new projects, and the progress of elder ones into full-fledged solutions driven by healthy and thriving communities. Free Software communities are inherently diverse and put together people with different motivations, expectations, and interests. Some are there to make friends and advance their technical and social skills, while others want to pursue the dream of an open world or even have Free Software as their daily paid job. In spite of such a diversity, one thing unite all of us in this Free Software odyssey: we love what we do.

    • Encryption: probably better than a box of chocolates

      This is a fun activity, but it can also make a difference. The right to encrypt is endangered around the world, with governments threatening our security and freedom by demanding legal or technological crippling of encryption. Resist with the power of love — encrypt with your valentine, and tell the world!

      And as we’ve discussed at length, free software is necessary for privacy online. Because nonfree software’s code can’t be audited publicly, we can never trust it to be free of back doors inserted by accident or by design. We’re thankful to all the hardworking free software developers who give us a fighting chance at digital privacy. It goes without saying, but we do love FS.

    • Sharing the free software love #ilovefs

      I like to think of every day on Opensource.com as I love Free Software Day, but we couldn’t miss celebrating the official I love Free Software Day 2016, too. Granted, the official day to say “thank you” is on February 14th, so we’re showing our love a little early to make sure you don’t miss it.

    • OpenStack Summit Austin 2016 Presentation Votes (ends Feb. 17th, 2016)

      Open voting is available for all session submissions until Wednesday, Feb 17, 2016 at 11:59PM PST. This is a great way for the community to decide what they want to hear.

      I have submitted a handful of sessions which I hope will be voted for. Below are some short summary’s and links to their voting pages.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 44.0.2 Arrives for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X

        Mozilla launched a second update for the Firefox 44.0 branch, but this is a smaller release with just a couple of smaller fixes, albeit the security issue is quite important.

      • Mozilla Thunderbird 45.0 to Finally Bring GTK3 Integration for Linux, Sort Of

        Earlier today, Mozilla has come out with the sixth point release of the stable 38.0 branch of its Thunderbird e-mail, news, and chat client, fixing a few minor issues reported by users since the 38.5.x series.

      • Make your own Firefox OS TV

        Mozilla may not be actively developing Firefox OS for smartphones anymore… but the company is still pushing the operating system as an option for smart TVs and Internet-of Things products.

        Don’t want to spend money on a TV that comes with Firefox OS? You can build your own Firefox-based smart TV device… sort of.

      • Mozilla refocuses Firefox OS on connected devices

        One by one, the promising new smartphone operating systems, which hoped to chip away at the Android/iOS duopoly, are admitting defeat and refocusing on the less entrenched world of wearables and the Internet of Things. Mozilla has joined that sad procession, in the wake of Samsung Tizen, webOS and Baidu Cloud OS, and perhaps just ahead of Windows Phone, to judge by that platform’s increasingly tiny showing in Microsoft’s results.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Feedback on teaching open source usability

      I was pleased that ten students signed up for the elective. This may seem small, but it is a significant number for a campus of some 1,900 students and a small computer science department. The same number of students also signed up for other electives that semester, including a course on databases. I organized the class similarly to the usability projects I mentor for Outreachy. Over thirteen weeks, students learned about open source software and usability testing. Most weeks included two assignments: summarizing several assigned articles, and exercising their knowledge of that week’s topic. Later in the semester, students moderated two in-person usability tests; the second was their final project.

      At the end of each semester, students responded to a course evaluation, called the Student Rating of Teaching. The evaluation is totally anonymous. I don’t know which students made which comments, or indeed which students chose to respond to the survey.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Swift’s Benchmarking Suite is Now Open Source [Ed: to help Apple lock-in]

      Apple has open sourced Swift’s benchmarking suite, a key piece in tracking Swift performance and catching performance regressions when adding new features to the language.

      Swift’s benchmarking suite is a collection of Swift source files that implement test suites and benchmarking helper functions, plus a number of Python scripts that implement a test harness and facilities for metrics comparison.

  • Funding

    • Faking Open, Debian Influence, Da Linux

      Matt Asay today said that there is no money in Open Source software because the “open source companies” that get rich don’t do it with Open Source software. The big story today must be the Russian government’s plan to dump Windows for Linux. Debian 6.0 will reach its end-of-life at the end of the month and Tecmint.com recently looked at the influence Debian has had on the Linux community. A new website helps you decide what you can do for Fedora and I Love Free Software day approacheth. New openSUSE Board member Bryan Lunduke sees some problems in KDE Neonland and Swapnil Bhartiya shared his picks for best distros of 2016.

    • Face it: There’s no money in open source [Ed: says Asay from Adobe]

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open-Source Textbooks Gain Support to Improve College Affordability

        Universities and state governments are supporting open-source textbooks as a way to make college more affordable.

        The open textbooks are produced with publicly available material. They are issued to students for free or a small fraction of the hundreds of dollars they typically spend annually on books.

      • OUR VIEW: Making college texts — if not college — affordable

        We’re all familiar with the high cost of a college education: estimated expenses for a year at the University of Connecticut, including on-campus housing, is, according to the school’s website, $25,802. So that’s a little over $100,000 for a four-year education. And that’s only the beginning.

        If a student takes four courses each semester and each requires one or more textbooks, the annual cost for books and supplies could be as much as $1,200, according to the College Board. Of course, if more than one book is required or if the student selects one of the high-cost majors, it could be far more. The standard textbook for Fundamentals of General Chemistry I at the University of Connecticut has a list price of $303.

      • Researcher illegally shares millions of science papers free online to spread knowledge

        A researcher in Russia has made more than 48 million journal articles – almost every single peer-reviewed paper every published – freely available online. And she’s now refusing to shut the site down, despite a court injunction and a lawsuit from Elsevier, one of the world’s biggest publishers.

        For those of you who aren’t already using it, the site in question is Sci-Hub, and it’s sort of like a Pirate Bay of the science world. It was established in 2011 by neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who was frustrated that she couldn’t afford to access the articles needed for her research, and it’s since gone viral, with hundreds of thousands of papers being downloaded daily. But at the end of last year, the site was ordered to be taken down by a New York district court – a ruling that Elbakyan has decided to fight, triggering a debate over who really owns science.

      • WHO Full Speed On Zika R&D, Two Candidate Vaccines Emerging; Funders, Journals Commit To Sharing Of Data
    • Open Hardware

      • $99 CowTech Ciclop Open Source 3D Scanner Hits Kickstarter (video)

        So if you think CowTech Ciclop 3D scanner is something you could benefit from, visit the Kickstarter website now to make a pledge and help this awesome $99 open soruce 3D scanner become a reality.

      • Faircap Project: Open source 3D printed water filter aims to solve global crisis for just $1

        The Faircap Project is a collaborative, clean water initiative, whose aim is to create an affordable open source 3D printed water filtration device that could provide clean, safe, drinkable water to those in need. The startup has already created a working prototype, but is now calling on engineers, designers, microbiologists, or anyone interested in helping to pitch their own open source ideas and make the Faircap filter as low cost and accessible as possible.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Is the vinyl LP an open music format?

      This is my first article for a new column here on Opensource.com about music from an open point of view. Some things I won’t be doing: I won’t be concentrating solely on music released under an open license. I won’t be writing (much) about making one’s own music. I won’t be writing (much) about music theory or professional matters, or probably really very much of anything of interest to professional musicians.

      I will write about music I encounter that interests me for one reason or another. I’ll tell you about how to enjoy music in an open environment, like on a Linux-based laptop, desktop, or server. I’ll share hardware I’ve purchased or tried out that works well, and some that doesn’t, in an open environment. I promise to write about good places to buy music that are Linux-friendly (that is, those that don’t require installing downloaders that only run on other operating systems). And I will point out some other websites, and occasionally print media, that increases my enjoyment of music.



Links 12/2/2016: Russian’s Government With GNU/Linux, India’s Wants FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Facebook-squishing Indian regulator’s next move: Open source code

    Fresh from squashing Facebook’s effort to grab the enormous India market, the sub-continent’s regulator has another goal in mind: open source software.

    Speaking at the India Digital Summit this week, chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Ram Sewak Sharma, told attendees: “No service can be hostage to a particular technology.”

    He then went on to explicitly support the broader adoption of open source software, arguing that it would help the booming digital economy in India from being locked into buying from a specific company and enable a broader and more equitable internet for all.

    “Any technology that is deployed for connectivity must be interoperable and the open standards framework and the principles it entails are extremely important,” he argued.

  • India Asks Tech Companies To Use Open Source Technologies For Connectivity

    A day after taking a tough stand on Facebook’s Free Basics and banning it from India, TRAI (Telecom Regulator Authority of India) has also given a cue to the tech giants like Facebook and Google over the use of open source software. TRAI has hinted to these companies that their connectivity framework would only be accepted in India if they followed an open source approach.


    Ram Sewak Sharma, who is the current chairman of TRAI, has clearly put a stress on using open source technology over a company specific product in making the internet reach to the remote areas. In a recent summit hosted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, he said,
    “I don’t like to comment on a specific product. But India has adopted an open source policy and open API [application program interface] policy. The whole objective is that there should not be a situation of a vendor lock-in.”

  • Events

    • Vote for Presentations – OpenStack Summit Austin 2016

      The first OpenStack Summit this year will take place in Austin (TX, US) from April 25-29, 2016. The “Call for Speakers” period ended some days ago and now the community voting for presentation started and will end 17th February, 11:59 PST (18th February 7:59 UTC / 08:59 CEST).

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • 6 reasons to blog in Markdown with Jekyll

      GitHub pages is a free offering that can host your Jekyll blog for free. It also takes care of generating static HTML files from your Markdown text files, so there’s no need to install anything on your computer. You can also use Jekyll with your own domain name (if you have one).

    • Bluehost Develops Open Source Script To Update Two Million WordPress Sites

      The cloud-based solutions provider’s custom script reduced WordPress-related technical issues by 18 percent.

    • What’s New in February ’16 in Open Source CMS

      By any measure, WordPress is the most popular content management system on the planet. But that distinction also makes it especially popular with hackers and attackers.

      Early this month Menifee, Calif.-based security company Sucuri reported a spike in WordPress infections, with a large number of sites getting injected with the same malicious scripts. Sucuri called it “a massive admedia/adverting iframe infection” characterized by the injection of encrypted code at the end of all legitimate .js files.

  • Education

    • UNICEF Seeks World-Changing Open Source Technologies

      United Nations to fund startups to develop open source tech to improve the lives of vulnerable children and civilians

    • UCLA just open-sourced a powerful new image-detection algorithm

      Image recognition has become increasingly critical in applications ranging from smartphones to driverless cars, and on Wednesday UCLA opened up to the public a new algorithm that promises big gains.

      The Phase Stretch Transform algorithm is a physics-inspired computational approach to processing images and information that can help computers “see” features of objects that aren’t visible using standard imaging techniques. It could be used to detect an LED lamp’s internal structure, for example — something that would be obscured to conventional techniques by the brightness of its light. It can also distinguish distant stars that would normally be invisible in astronomical images, UCLA said.

  • BSD

    • Lumina Desktop Getting Ready for FreeBSD 11.0

      Ken Moore, the lead developer for the BSD-based Lumina Desktop Environment, announced that another step towards the release of a full-fledged desktop environment for BSD variants (and Linux distros, for that matter) has been achieved with the release of version 0.8.8 yesterday.

      For those of you keeping score at home, the Lumina Desktop Environment — let’s just call it Lumina for short — is a lightweight, XDG-compliant, BSD-licensed desktop environment focusing on getting work done while minimizing system overhead. Specifically designed for PC-BSD and FreeBSD, it has also been ported to many other BSD variants and Linux distros. Lumina is based on the Qt graphical toolkit and the Fluxbox window manager, and uses a small number of X utilities for various tasks.


    • Liberty Eiffel wrapper for IUP toolkit

      Since a couple of months ago I’m working in a Liberty Eiffel wrapper to the IUP toolkit. IUP is a multi-platform toolkit for building graphical user interfaces. This is still under development, but I think the current state is enough to start playing with it. Here some screen shots:

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

  • Programming


  • Science

    • It’s Official: Einstein’s Most Incredible Prediction Proved Right, Gravitational Waves Discovered

      Gravitational waves are ripples created in the curvature of spacetime. These waves propagate in the space travelling outward from the source. The theory of gravitational waves was predicted first by Albert Einstein in 1916 which was a part of of his theory of general relativity. Theoretically, gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiations.

    • Space debris: How dangerous is it to people on Earth?

      Over the past few months, people have captured footage of space debris burning up in our atmosphere. While certainly startling, the truth is, there’s been a lot of junk up there for a long time and so far no one has been hurt here on Earth.

      Since the first satellite went into orbit — the Soviet Union’s Sputnik, launched on Oct. 4, 1957 — we have steadily increased the amount of objects encircling our small planet.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Timeline: Flint’s Water Crisis

      This is a work in progress. Not all dates and events between the end of 2015 and current date have been added as of publication. This timeline will be updated periodically, as events unfold and as key information is revealed about Flint’s ongoing water crisis. Some information is incomplete or in need of validation. Links to sources will be added over time. If you have content you believe is relevant and should be added, please share in comments.

    • ‘Cases Are Sometimes Stuck in Limbo for a Very Long Time’
    • How National Media Failed Flint

      The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in which thousands of residents have been exposed to everything from cancer-causing chemicals to lead in their drinking water, dates back nearly two years. But the unfolding story had received scant coverage from the national media until a month ago, when Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) declared a state of emergency for Flint.

      Why did it take so long for major national outlets to focus closely on the story, even as local outlets had been doggedly covering it for well over a year?

      In interviews with Media Matters, media observers and the journalists who have been covering the story in Michigan cite a wide range of factors, including continued newsroom cutbacks, the complexities of a story that combines government mismanagement with detailed science, and competition from the presidential primary campaign, breaking news events, and click-bait like celebrity gossip.

    • Lead: America’s Real Criminal Element

      When Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor of New York City in 1993, he campaigned on a platform of bringing down crime and making the city safe again. It was a comfortable position for a former federal prosecutor with a tough-guy image, but it was more than mere posturing. Since 1960, rape rates had nearly quadrupled, murder had quintupled, and robbery had grown fourteenfold. New Yorkers felt like they lived in a city under siege.

      Throughout the campaign, Giuliani embraced a theory of crime fighting called “broken windows,” popularized a decade earlier by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in an influential article in The Atlantic. “If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired,” they observed, “all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.” So too, tolerance of small crimes would create a vicious cycle ending with entire neighborhoods turning into war zones. But if you cracked down on small crimes, bigger crimes would drop as well.

    • ‘This “Independent” Academic Is Promoting Public Policy Issues for a Private Corporation’

      Janine Jackson interviewed Carey Gillam on the conflicts of interest of food science experts for the February 5, 2016, CounterSpin.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • These Vigilante Hackers Aim To Hack 200,000 Routers To Make Them More Secure

      Remember the white hat hackers — The White Team — responsible for creating the Linux.Wifatch malware last October? The same hackers are now planning to take over Lizard Squad’s botnet of infected IoT devices in an attempt to shut down their operations.

    • Skimmers Hijack ATM Network Cables

      If you have ever walked up to an ATM to withdraw cash only to decide against it after noticing a telephone or ethernet cord snaking from behind the machine to a jack in the wall, your paranoia may not have been misplaced: ATM maker NCR is warning about skimming attacks that involve keypad overlays, hidden cameras and skimming devices plugged into the ATM network cables to intercept customer card data.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Airport workers seen with laptop used in Somalia in-flight jet blast

      Somali intelligence officials say two airport workers handled a laptop containing a bomb that later exploded in a passenger plane.

      In a video made public on Sunday by officials, one airport worker takes the laptop and hands it to another employee.

      The employees then hand it over to a man who was killed when the laptop explosion blew a hole in the plane’s fuselage, said Abdisalam Aato, a spokesman for the Somali Prime Minister.


      Investigators believe the attack was orchestrated by Al-Shabaab, although they are not certain Borleh was a direct member of the group, according to the source. No group immediately claimed responsibility.

    • Techdirt Crowdsourcing: How Will The TSA Idiotically Respond To The Laptop Terror Bomb?

      The terrorism arms race marches on, apparently. You may have heard of the recent attack on a passenger plane taking off from Somalia. By all accounts, the attacker managed to get onto the plane with a laptop that contained a bomb, which he detonated during takeoff. The result? The bomber was sucked out of the hole he created in the plane and died, while a couple of other passengers were mildly wounded. The universe, it seems, is not without either a sense of justice or humor.

      Still, you absolutely know that this will create a typical shitstorm at the TSA. Security theater stops for nobody, after all, and this latest attempt is sure to put a focus on any computer devices passengers are bringing with them on flights. Laptops and tablets are already screened by the TSA, of course, but somehow this guy got on the plane with his bomb-filled notebook. Even though it happened outside the US (so not directly a TSA failing), it’s not difficult to expect that things are predictably and stupidly going to get more strict on the rest of us.

    • These Quakers Are Asking Tougher Questions Than Many in the Press

      For all the talk about this election revolving around national security and government spending, the AFSC group is the only one dedicated to asking candidates about President Barack Obama’s planned $1 trillion nuclear arms program, bloated military programs such as the Pentagon’s F-35, and how to diminish the influence of lobbying by military contractors. Activists trained with the group have also asked about fracking, ethanol subsidies, and other issues they say are clouded by the pervasive role of money in politics.

    • U.S. Allies Have No Interest in Anti-ISIS Coalition

      Over the course of a decade and a half of coalition warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials have frequently found themselves pleading and cajoling with the Europeans to contribute more, and they generally have responded with pledges to do just a little bit more. The pattern may be repeated in Brussels.

    • Israeli extremist detained for death threats against Palestinian MK

      Israeli police on Thursday detained a far-right Israeli extremist who reportedly threatened the life of Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset Ayman Odeh.

      The MK, member of the Joint List party, told Ma’an that the extremist was detained by Israeli police who carried out investigations into comments left by the Israeli on social media.

    • The researched-based responses to troublemaking MKs

      News from the Knesset in the last week raises myriad questions about democracy, and Israel Democracy Institute president Yohanan Plesner tries to provide answers.

    • Condemnation, not censorship

      Israel is not a merchant of corpses. Perhaps in the past Israel has traded the bodies of terrorists (or, worse, live enemy combatants) in exchange for the bodies of Israelis, but this policy was dangerous and wrong. The point of armed conflict is to take as take those who would hurt us out of the game. The dead, ours and theirs, are out of the game. Humanity obligates giving them to their families for a proper burial. This is true of the enemy’s dead and of our dead.

    • Syria civil war: Prospect of Saudi incursion raises fears of a conflict without end

      The first fateful steps have been taken for Saudi-led troops to enter Syria’s civil war, a move that has raised fears of powers across the region being drawn into a bloody conflict without end.

      Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Defence Minister and heir apparent to the throne, presented his country’s military plans to a summit organised by a US-led coalition on Syria at Nato headquarters in Brussels. Ashton Carter, the US Defence Secretary, reported afterwards that a “wide variety of things” had been discussed with the Saudis on the use of ground forces.

    • Anguish as North Korea Marches Into 1955

      We need Trident, they say, to deter rogue nuclear states like North Korea.

      Extraordinary, isn’t it.


      Now they throw in Russia. In all the reams of analysis of Putin’s Russia, nobody has ever been crazy enough to argue that nuclear attack on the UK (or even conventional invasion of the UK) is something Putin would wish to do. Because to claim that would look absolutely stupid. Plainly the desire of Russia to attack with nuclear weapons is at absolute zero. Anybody writing otherwise would rightly be written off as crazed.

    • Hillary Clinton IS The Guardian

      Hillary Clinton is American, owned by financial interests to whom she is completely in thrall, a rabid neo-conservative warmonger, completely uncritical of Israel and focused for any claim to be progressive entirely on identity politics. Which is also a precise description of today’s Guardian newspaper. The once august and intellectual title is now a shrill cheerleader for far right Blairites and wealthy American feminists.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Branded a rapist for daring to be an NHS whistleblower: How brave surgeon sacked for exposing needless deaths was smeared as sex attacker by bosses

      A surgeon has revealed he was smeared by NHS bosses and left with his career in ruins after he spoke publicly about dangerous overcrowding at a hospital.

      Doctor Raj Mattu, who has been left with a £1.4million legal bill following the dispute, has warned against whistleblowing as he revealed the shocking practices he reported at Walsgrave hospital in Coventry still haven’t been investigated.

      In this interview, the 56-year-old describes the ‘terrible’ and ‘humiliating’ experience of being labelled a sexual pervert by bosses desperate to quash his claims as he reveals his life will never be the same.

    • California Department of Justice Agrees to Stop Skirting Open Meeting Rules

      The California Department of Justice (CADOJ) is ending its practice of holding meetings in ways that impede the public’s ability to meaningfully participate in oversight of the state’s sprawling network of police databases. The new reforms, announced in response to EFF advocacy, will allow greater opportunity for Californians to review and comment on policy changes that impact their privacy and civil liberties.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Satellites and Tide Stations, Working Together

      This is an illustration of the Jason-3, launched into orbit in January 2016. Measuring sea surface heights is a primary mission of the new satellite. The accuracy of these space-based sea surface measurements are validated by comparing them with real-time observations of water levels made by tide stations in the ocean.

  • Finance

    • Elizabeth Warren Catches Investment Advisors Fibbing

      Glass’s company and other are pouring millions of lobbying dollars into opposing the rule. President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers estimates that “conflicted” advice costs individual investors $17 billion a year in retirement savings.

    • TTIP: A locked room, no internet access, two hours, 300 pages and lots of typos

      A German MP has given an insight into the surreal restrictions imposed around the upcoming US-EU trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      Katja Kipping has written a personal account of her visit to a special reading room at the German Ministry of Economics that was set up after Parliamentarians fought and won the right to see the text being negotiated on their behalf by bureaucrats.

      In it, she describes the extraordinary lengths that the German government has gone to in order to prevent any useful information on the trade deal being made public.

    • It Takes a Greek to Save Europa

      This past Tuesday, at the Volksbühne Theater in Berlin, Varoufakis launched a new project: the DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025), whose aim is to ultimately transfer power from Europa’s unaccountable, fiercely authoritarian elite and distribute it – fairly – among European citizens.

    • Are Americans Too Insouciant To Survive? — Paul Craig Roberts

      Whether you agree with Thomas Frank’s answer or not, Americans do, on a regular basis, harm themselves by voting for people who are agents of vested interests diametrically opposed to the interests of American citizens.

      How is it possible, if Democrats are informed people, that half of them prefer Hillary Clinton? Between February 2001 and May 2015 Bill and Hillary collected $153 million in speaking fees. The fees averaged $210,795 per speech.

    • Uber-Unionist Deutsche Bank Tanks

      Deutsche Bank was the central pivot of the LIBOR fixing scandal. In the great banking crash it wrote off 92 billion dollars of junk assets that Folkerts-Landau had failed to notice was a liability. Today its share price has fallen even below the 2008 levels it reached after that write-off, and the German Finance Minister has just announced his full confidence in the bank and that there is nothing to worry about. Deutsche Bank shares have fallen 40% in a month.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Missing the Days When Candidates Pretended We Had No Big Problems

      If that’s your idea of the kind of problems you face, then resigning yourself to the “limits of the situation” makes sense. If, on the other hand, you’re in the large majority that’s gotten the short end of the stick on income inequality, if you have one of the working-class jobs that’s been subject to being shipped overseas, if your health insurance is unaffordable or nonexistent, if you’re part of a community that’s subject to being shot by police or driven to an early grave by despair—then maybe a little “epic social disruption” doesn’t sound so unappealing.

    • Sanders a Bourgeois Deviationist, Washington Post Declares

      Of course, that was last month, before Sanders nearly tied Hillary Clinton in Iowa and beat her by 22 percentage points in New Hampshire—which clearly has Milbank worried that maybe Democrats are insane enough to nominate a socialist, after all. So now Sanders’ problem isn’t that he’s too radical; it’s that he’s not radical enough.

    • An open letter to older women voting for Hillary, from a younger woman voting for Bernie

      Everything you’re telling us now goes against everything you’ve taught us before, everything you seemed to stand for when you were young. Asking women to vote for Hillary based on her gender rather than policy is sexist. Telling women they’ll to go to hell if they don’t vote for Hillary is evil. Telling women that they are only voting for Bernie to impress guys tells us you no longer respect women.

      We know the fight is uphill, but understand that this rhetoric makes you part of that uphill battle we are now fighting, part of the uphill battle that you fought, too. We understand the allure of a woman president after everything you’ve been through in your lifetime. But understand that based on the principles you’ve taught us, we know having a female presidency is less important than gaining true gender equality. Understand that we’re not willing to give up the values you’ve instilled in us for a trophy, even at your request.

    • Pro-Trump Alex Jones Threatens Violence Against Supporters Of “Inhuman, Parasitical Maggot,” “Hitler” Bernie Sanders

      Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones, who is being courted by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is smearing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as “a dangerous, evil,” man comparable to Hitler and Lenin, and falsely claiming he wants to put people in “forced relocation” camps. Jones has also launched unhinged attacks against “stupid” and “self-propelled trash” Sanders supporters, suggesting they need to have their “jaws broken” and their “moron heads” slapped.

    • IRS Gives Up, Grants Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group “Social Welfare” Certification

      In the face of the Republican-led Congress’ hostility to the IRS clarifying the rules for nonprofit political activity, the tax agency has apparently given up.

      The IRS has granted nonprofit status to Karl Rove’s dark money political operation, Crossroads GPS, which for the past five years has pushed the legal envelope in order to influence elections but keep its donors secret.

      Formed in the wake of Citizens United, Crossroads GPS has been one of the biggest secretly-funded political players, raising and spending $330 million on election-related ads attacking Democratic candidates or praising Republicans, but without doing anything that might be described as advancing “social welfare.” Although the majority opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision endorsed disclosure of donors, in the five years following the decision, spending by secretly-funded 501(c)(4) nonprofits has exploded.

    • Biased Pluralism and the Defense of “Reality” in the Democratic Primary

      Last week, I pointed to a problem with Jonathan Chait’s defense of Hillary Clinton’s “pluralistic” approach to governance, noting that in an era of weak labor organization, such an approach leaves out the views of the great majority of working people, precisely the kinds of people Bernie Sanders is attracting.

      I didn’t think of it at the time, but since got reminded of an important paper by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, released in 2014. It used a dataset matching polling data to policy outcomes to test four theories for how our political system works: Majoritarian Democracy (meaning policies adopted reflect what most people want), Dominance by Economic Elites (meaning the rich get what they want), Majoritarian Pluralism (meaning interest groups, including those that represent the non-wealthy, get what they want), and Biased Pluralism (meaning interest groups that represent the views of the economic elite get what they want).

  • Censorship

    • Censorship rules at Croydon Council

      On Monday 25th January 2016, a decision was taken by Croydon Council to limit democratic scrutiny, to restrict the views of the people and to limit the voices of elected representatives. Did you notice?

    • Judge Changes Mind, Says James Woods Can Likely Unmask Guy Who Made Fun Of Him On Twitter

      As the lawsuit noted, Abe List had also mocked Woods in the past, such as calling him a “clown-boy.” Of course “clown-boy” is not something than a statement of fact and thus can’t be defamation. The real issue is whether or not saying “cocaine addict James Woods” is a statement of fact that is defamatory. Of course, considering that Woods is a public figure, this seemed like a really high bar to cross. With a public figure, the statements need to be made “with actual malice” or a “reckless disregard for the truth.” In other words, it needs to be a case where Abe List knew those things weren’t true, but said them anyway. That seems unlikely here. Oh yeah, and also, hyperbolic statements that are obviously hyperbole are not considered defamation, and this one seemed to qualify.

    • Don’t Trash Your Old Flash Drives, Send Them to North Korea
    • Your Outdated Flash Drive Could Help Fight North Korea’s Censorship
    • The mute button called self-censorship

      In his book The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom (2014), Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), writes, “Deluged with data, we are blind to the larger reality. Around the world new systems of control are taking hold. They are stifling the global conversation and impeding the development of policies and solutions based on an informed understanding of the local realities. Repression and violence against journalists is at record levels, and press freedom is in decline.”

    • Apple Rejects Game Based On Bible Story Due To Content Including Violence Against Children

      Apple has a long and annoying history of trying to keep the content within its app store as pure as the driven snow. To do this, Apple employs an arbitrary and downright stupid sense of morality. That’s how you end up with Apple banning a VR representation of the Ferguson shooting, for instance, despite the fact that it was non-graphic. Or that time the company killed off a Civil War simulation because the game contained historically accurate representations of the Confederate flag. Or when it removed an image-searching app from the store because, hey, somebody somewhere might use it to see naughty-bits.

    • Battling State Censorship In The Westport Independent

      Of course, as with any game, there are rules in place. Although the censorship bill has yet to be passed, the state will look disapprovingly upon stories which cite their apparent corruption and impropriety. In response, they’ll send strongly-worded letters to your paper, encouraging you to desist unless you’re prepared to face to the consequences.

    • Google Expands Right-to-Be-Forgotten Removals Under Europe Rules

      Google will take more steps to comply with Europe’s right-to-be-forgotten rule by removing links from all of its search websites across the globe, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

      Google, part of Alphabet Inc., is taking the steps to better embrace a landmark ruling in 2014 by the European Union’s top court, which granted the region’s citizens the right to ask Web-search engines to remove personal information about themselves. Implementation can be tricky, because of the different versions of search sites operating in different countries, leading to questions about how far Google must go to make sure that it doesn’t fun afoul of the right-to-be forgotten rule.

  • Privacy

    • The French data protection authority publicly issues formal notice to FACEBOOK to comply with the French Data Protection Act within three months

      The Chair of the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) issued formal notice to FACEBOOK to fairly collect data concerning the browsing activity of Internet users who do not have a FACEBOOK account. FACEBOOK must also provide account holders with the means to object to the compiling of their data for advertising purposes.

    • Open Letter to Věra Jourová: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield, Words in the Wind

      We will remain wary of the negotiation’s outcome. This landmark ruling of the ECJ repealing the Safe Harbor must not result in discarding our civil liberties. A watered-down agreement would most likely be repealed again by the Court and would have serious consequences for the confidence of both Europeans and European and American companies involved with the “Privacy Shield”. Europe’s credibility in the world is at stake, in an era of globalization driven by digital transformation.

    • Data Retention: Will the French Council of State Defy the ECJ?

      As the French Council of State is set to render a first decision on this burning issue this Friday1, Privacy International (PI) and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) have submitted a third party intervention aiming to support the legal challenges brought by FDN, the FDN Federation and La Quadrature du Net. The goal: repeal the provisions enforcing the generalised retention of metadata in France and allow the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to play its role of guardian of fundamental rights.

    • NYPD Used Cell Phone Spying Tools Over 1,000 Times Since 2008: NYCLU

      The New York Police Department (NYPD) has used the covert cell phone spying devices known as Stingrays more than 1,000 times since 2008, including for the investigation of low-level crimes and typically without a warrant, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) revealed on Thursday.

    • NSA’s spy-on-Americans plan goes before judge, again

      U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has scheduled a status hearing for several of the ongoing cases naming the NSA – or the CIA – for allegedly violating the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

      “As Judge Leon observed, these cases are at the ‘pinnacle of national importance,’” said Larry Klayman of Freedomwatch, who is a plaintiff in one case as well as a lawyer.

      “Mass surveillance of the citizenry cannot be permitted when it is likely based on reasons that go far beyond catching terrorists. Indeed, as Judge Leon found on two occasions in issuing his prior preliminary injunctions, Obama and his agents at the spy agencies have not been able to cite one instance when the unconstitutional mass surveillance caught even one terrorist.”

    • DC Federal Court To Hold Hearing On Status Of Three NSA Mass Surveillance Cases

      The Honorable Richard J. Leon will hold a hearing to discuss the status of three on-going cases against the NSA and the CIA from violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution through its various “programs” which have been spying on virtually all American citizens.

    • A How-to for Tech Firms: Doing the Right Thing on Privacy & Free Speech

      Good practices aren’t just the right thing to do, they’re good for the bottom line.

      Last year, the privacy and free speech mistakes of tech companies led to tons of embarrassing and costly stories. Often, these missteps would have been avoidable with good planning and processes in place, but many companies lack the resources to navigate this increasingly thorny terrain.

    • White House Executive Order on Privacy Falls Short

      This morning, the White House announced an Executive Order establishing a federal interagency privacy council composed of senior privacy officials from two dozen federal agencies. While seeming to offer some promise, however, the council has a limited mandate, and ultimately represents an overdue nod to privacy principles the administration has repeatedly abused in practice.

      If the Obama administration wants to support privacy, it can start by finally offering straight answers to Congress on surveillance and intelligence practices that offend privacy. Instead, Congress has legislated surveillance policy in the dark while enduring a long series of executive misrepresentations.

      Last week, mere days after an independent panel (notably including current U.S. intelligence officials) refuted recent FBI claims about encryption tools, Congress began examining surveillance powers set to expire next year in a closed hearing, enabling a familiar pattern of executive obfuscation and congressional confusion.

      As we wrote over two years ago, “It’s time for Congress to reassert its oversight role and begin a full-scale investigation into the [government's] surveillance and analytic activities….Congress cannot rely solely on mandating more reports from [intelligence agencies] as a solution.”

    • The NSA’s Credibility Takes Another Hit

      To be honest, I’m surprised the crypto community—especially overseas—is willing to cooperate with the NSA at all, given what we now know. They are plainly pretty obsessed with sneaking backdoors into both crypto standards and network devices. If the Snowden leaks didn’t destroy their credibility on this subject forever, I’m not sure what would.

    • Marsh recruits ex-GCHQ director for cyber role [Ed: Time for profit in the private sector]
    • Marsh brings in ex-GCHQ chief as cyber consultant
    • Marsh Appoints Lobban as Senior Adviser on Cyber Risk
    • Former spymaster to help fight City cyber crime
    • ‘Think harder’ about new GCHQ powers MPs and Peers tell Home Office [Ed: How the GCHQ's mouthpiece ('press') responded to outrage over GCHQ wishlist approved,]

      MPs and Peers are concerned that proposals to force communications companies to keep records on individuals internet activity for up to a year to allow GCHQ to catch terrorists and criminals are not properly thought through.

  • Civil Rights

    • A Fashion (and Civil Liberties) Faux Pas: Don’t Profile Passengers Based Solely on Their Religious Headwear

      Waris Ahluwalia, a Sikh-American fashion designer and actor, was refused boarding in Mexico because of his turban.

      As we all know from the famous “Project Runway” tagline, “In fashion, one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” But no one told Mexico City airport officials that acclaimed fashion designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia, a Sikh-American who wears a turban and beard, is still very much in and that news of the airport’s profiling of him would spark outrage worldwide.

      On his way home to New York City for Fashion Week, Ahluwalia’s boarding pass was marked for additional screening before he even went through the initial security protocol. During the secondary screening, airline officials demanded that Ahluwalia remove his turban. A Sikh’s turban is a sacred head covering that shows devotion to God, and, like many Sikhs, Ahluwalia never removes it in public, so he refused the demand. That’s when Aeromexico officials told him that he would be banned from boarding the flight.

    • Why I Have Hope For American Muslim Equality

      Blaming the bad acts of a few on any religious or racial community is the essence of bigotry. Sadly, it’s not new in our country. At various times in U.S. history, Catholics, Jews, African-Americans, and Japanese-Americans — to name just a few — have all been scapegoated as national security threats, and suffered as a result. I’m glad that the president reminded Americans of that past and talked about the history and diversity of American Muslims, starting from those brought here as slaves in colonial times, to the generations who helped build this nation, to all who are part of our rich, pluralistic society today.

    • To Annoy or Not To Annoy: That Was The Question

      But amidst the intense focus on Reno v. ACLU, a less noticed provision of the CDA criminalized any “indecent” computer communication intended to “annoy” another person. It wasn’t surprising that it attracted little attention. The clause was hidden among a string of words—“lewd, lascivious, filthy, indecent and obscene” communications intended to “threaten, abuse, annoy or harass” another person.

    • The Stories Behind the Government’s Newly Released Army Abuse Photos

      The photos we did get mostly show close-ups of body parts — arms, legs, and heads, many with injuries. There are also wider shots of prisoners, most of them bound or blindfolded. The government didn’t provide any information about the human beings depicted or the contexts in which they were photographed.

      But with a little digging, we were able to learn about the stories behind them. Sixty of the 198 photos have legible Army criminal investigation file numbers printed on them. We used those numbers to search our Torture Database, which contains some 6,000 reports, investigations, emails, and other documents the government has been forced to release to us in the course of our 11-year-old FOIA suit.

      We found 14 separate cases of alleged or proven detainee abuse relating to 42 of the photos. Here’s what we learned.

    • The Danish refugee bill and what happens when you treat everyone the same

      The seizure of asylum seekers’ assets in Denmark confirms that the state sees refugees as economic burdens by default, but this new bill makes them dependent by design.

    • WI Supreme Court Again Tries Thwarting SCOTUS Review of Its Conflicts of Interest

      Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s majority took another step to insulate itself from review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the latest twist in the long-running “John Doe” legal saga that has brought national attention to dysfunction on the state’s highest court.

      “It is hard to imagine how a state Supreme Court could throw more roadblocks in front of an attempt to file [an appeal] with the U.S. Supreme Court than this court has,” said former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, who is now a professor at Marquette Law School.

    • How Police Use a Dangerous Anti-Terrorism Tactic to End Pursuits

      If Calhoun had been alone in the car, he might have received little or no prison time, as he had with all his previous arrests for minor crimes. He was driving with a suspended license — and some counterfeit currency was later found in the wreckage — but his most serious offense was running from the police. That Tuesday, however, he had two friends as passengers, 20-year-old Relpheal Morton and 19-year-old Marion Shore. In court, Trooper Saddler described seeing Morton at the scene. “He was still in the back seat,” Saddler said. “He was kind of just looking around … I will never forget it. He just kept looking around.”

      Morton, whom I was not able to interview for this article, must have been stunned to be alive and relatively unharmed. The crash was so violent that the car’s roof was ripped completely off. The car looked flattened, like a tank had ridden over it. In one of the police dashcam videos that shows the crash, pieces of the car fly dozens of feet in the air toward the camera. According to a report by the Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team, “The damage to the Toyota Corolla was too extensive to describe all the damage.” It seems almost impossible that two people survived.

      Marion Shore was not so lucky. She was sitting in the passenger seat, wearing her seatbelt, but the force of the crash was so strong that she was partially ejected from the car while it was flipping and rolling. Shore, the mother of a 3-year-old boy, was trapped halfway inside the car, in an in-between place where death was certain. The car rolled over her several times. The chief medical examiner for the state of Georgia examined Shore’s body and said in court that, as the car was rolling, the forces propelling it “literally bent her body almost in half.”

    • 10 Secret CIA Prisons You Do Not Want To Visit

      The US Central Intelligence Agency has, according to multiple investigative reports from both mainstream media outlets and human rights organizations, operated numerous “black sites” across the world. These locations, according to the reports, are secret prisons used to house “ghost prisoners.” Those sent to these places are held captive without being charged with any crime and are not allowed any form of legal defense.

      Ghost prisoners are subject to what the CIA calls “enhanced interrogation tactics”; most others call it torture. The CIA and their operatives’ methods allegedly include waterboarding, sleep deprivation, humiliation, physical beatings, electric shocks, and worse.

    • U.S. Passports of Sex Offenders to Be Marked

      In addition to the new law being the first time in U.S. history that a special class of Americans would be marked on their passports, a chilling event of its own, the law ignores the reality that the sex offender registry is another government “list,” such as no fly, that is relatively easy to get on and very hard to leave.

    • Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West

      Last week, the United Nations Working Group (UNWG) on Arbitrary Detention ruled that journalist Julian Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention by the Swedish and British governments and that it must end. The Center for Constitutional Rights noted the significant precedent in the law of detention and the larger implications this has, not only for Assange’s case, but also for the protection of whistle-blowers and refugees around the world.

    • Lawsuit Demands Information on Shadowy “Countering Violent Extremism” Programs in U.S.

      Last February, the White House held a three-day summit on the topic of “Countering Violent Extremism.” At the summit, government officials announced the launch of pilot programs in Boston, Los Angeles, and Minnesota to explore “the preventative aspects of counterterrorism as well as interventions to undermine the attraction of extremist movements.”

      One year later, it’s still unclear what that entails, exactly. The government has provided few details on how it actually intends to “counter extremism” in the U.S., despite calling CVE an “administration priority” in the 2017 fiscal budget and allocating tens of millions of dollars in spending. In an indication of how these efforts are ramping up, this week a Senate subcommittee on Homeland Security approved a bill to create of an “Office for Partnerships Against Violent Extremism,” which will soon head to the full Senate for approval. A 2017 budget submission for the Office of Justice Programs also mentions “$69 million for CVE programs” proposed for the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice.

    • Beyonce’s Super Bowl Touchdown for Black Lives Matter

      The video of “Formation” includes images of a flooded city, reminiscent of New Orleans after Katrina, with Beyoncé singing atop a partially submerged police car. The video ends with a camera panning to a wall graffitied with the words “Stop shooting us.” Zirin lauded Zandria Felice Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of Memphis, for her explanation of the imagery in the video: “Layered in and through the landscape of a black New Orleans still rigorous and delightful, past and present, the black southern signifiers and simulacra are unrelenting here,” Zandria wrote in “New South Negress,” her blog. Beyoncé, she continues, “becomes every black southern woman possible for her to reasonably inhabit, moving through time, class, and space.”

    • First Circuit ruling affirms accountability for wrongful police killings

      The lawsuit at issue stems from the 2011 Framingham, Massachusetts SWAT police killing of 68-year-old African American grandfather Eurie Stamps. In the early morning hours of January 5, 2011, the Framingham SWAT team raided Mr. Stamps’ home with a search warrant because they suspected his stepson of selling drugs there. Mr. Stamps, whom officers knew would be in the home and posed no known threat, ended up dead.

    • Brendan Dassey, Max Soffar, and the False Confession Playbook

      How police extract false confessions from the innocent, with horrific consequences.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Should India’s Internet Be Free Of Charge, Or Free Of Control?

      In a far-reaching ruling, India has prohibited telecom service providers from charging different prices to consumers to access content on the Internet — a blow to Facebook and its aggressive bid to offer a free but stripped-down version of the Internet aimed at India’s poor.

    • Zuckerberg Admits His Defeat, Facebook Shuts Down Free Basics In India

      The world’s biggest social network Facebook has decided to shut down its controversial Free Basics service in India. This decision is being seen as a big win for the net neutrality advocates, who were opposing the service as it promoted differential data pricing.

    • One Year Later, ISP Claims That Title II Would Demolish Broadband Investment Found To Be Total, Indisputable Bullshit

      In late 2014, the Obama Administration and the FCC shocked everybody by announcing that the government would be uncharacteristically ignoring telecom lobbyists and reclassifying broadband service under Title II — ensuring it had adequate legal foundation for tougher net neutrality rules. As you might expect, the cable and phone companies immediately set to work with a blistering public relations barrage, with think tankers, editorials, industry consultants and thousands of industry mouthpieces all making one common refrain: Title II would utterly decimate broadband sector investment and crush innovation.

    • Facebook Board Member Offends 1 Billion Indians, Suggests British Rule Was Good For India

      Facebook board member and Silicon Valley luminary Marc Andreessen offended India with his colonialism tweet. He suggested that India should embrace Free Basics as the denial will harm the country is a big manner. He suggested that India’s anti-colonialism mindset has hurt the country’s economy and the government is repeating the same mistake by opposing Free Basics.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US Industry IP Index Rates Nations

      The United States Chamber of Commerce has released an index rating countries on their use and treatment of intellectual property and innovation, finding the United States to be top in the world. The report scores the largest emerging economies relatively low, including China, despite that country’s dominance in rates of IP filings in recent years, far outstripping the United States.

    • Discussions On Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge Resume At WIPO Against Stormy Background

      After a hiatus of one year, the WIPO Committee working on the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore against misappropriation resumes its work next week. The subject is touchy, with most developing countries asking for legal protection, while some developed countries do not want to consider binding rules. Disagreement already arose at the end of 2015 over interpretation of the committee’s mandate, freshly approved in October.

    • Trademarks

      • Not Mormon®, But Still Mormon

        Who is a Mormon? This is a fundamental question of self-identity, religion, and even Wikipedia. One would think, however, that that answer would not be found in trademark law.

        Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (IRI), which owns and manages the trademarks of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has made a series of trademark claims against small startups and organizations using the term “Mormon” in their names and URLs, including our client, the Mormon Mental Health Association (MMHA).

        We first heard of IRI making claims to own the word “Mormon” when they got into a legal dispute with a company called “Mormon Match.” IRI claimed that both the company name and the associated URL infringed on IRI’s trademarks in the terms “Mormon” and “Mormon.org” (among others).

      • Navajo Nation’s Trademark Suit Against Urban Outfitters Proceeds; But Should It?

        Alright, this one has me more than a bit puzzled. We’ve written here before about Urban Outfitters, which has previously been on the receiving end of intellectual property disputes in the form of the company’s use of famous Obama iconography and for trying to inject a bit of humor into its coffee offerings. This time around, however, the clothing retailer is facing a lawsuit from the Navajo Nation for selling clothing and merchandise with patterns inspired by Native American designs and including the word “Navajo” or “Navaho” in the offerings.

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. Copyright Law Forces Wikimedia to Remove “Public Domain” Anne Frank Diary

        This year The Diary of Anne Frank entered into the public domain in the Netherlands, allowing millions of people around the world to read it for free. However, under U.S. law the book remains copyrighted, which prompted the Wikimedia Foundation to remove a copy of the book from its servers, under protest.

      • Law Students Line Up Behind ‘Baby Blue’ — Will Harvard Law Review Sue?

        Back in 2014, we wrote about a crazy story, where the Harvard Law Review was claiming copyright over legal citation standards. It’s true that the Harvard Law Review Association has published the famous “Bluebook” of legal citation standards for many years, but the idea that such citations are copyrightable is crazy. In response to this, law professor Chris Sprigman and open records guru Carl Malamud alerted the world of their intention to publish “Baby Blue” — a competing legal citations publication. They noted that the 10th edition of the Bluebook, which as published in 1958, had clearly fallen into the public domain, and they were going to use that as the starting point for their competing product. Late in December, we pointed out that Harvard Law Review freaked out after its expensive Ropes & Gray lawyers saw a few tweets from Malamud suggesting Baby Blue was almost ready for publication. On Christmas Eve, a pricey lawyer sent off a nastygram, threatening a copyright infringement lawsuit if Baby Blue were published.

      • US Congress Passes Customs Bill With Strong IP Enforcement Provisions

        The United States Congress today passed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, establishing clearer rules on customs officials’ work to stop infringing goods from entering the US. The Act creates a new National IP Coordination Center for coordinating investigations, training and other activities.

      • Years Later, White House Sends Two Copyright Treaties To Senate For Ratification: One Good, One Bad

        It’s not clear why it’s taken this long, but late Wednesday, the White House sent two WIPO treaties over to the Senate for ratification: The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled — usually just called “The Marrakesh Treaty” or “The Marrakesh Treaty for the Blind” — and the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, usually just called “The Beijing Treaty.” The Beijing Treaty was completed in 2012. The Marrakesh Treaty in 2013. It’s not clear why it took the White House until 2016 to move on them, but such is life.


Links 11/2/2016: LibreOffice 5.1, HMRC and FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • SourceForge Loses DevShare
  • SourceForge Acquisition and Future Plans

    Our first order of business was to terminate the “DevShare” program. As of last week, the DevShare program was completely eliminated. The DevShare program delivered installer bundles as part of the download for participating projects. We want to restore our reputation as a trusted home for open source software, and this was a clear first step towards that. We’re more interested in doing the right thing than making extra short-term profit. As we move forward, we will be focusing on the needs of our developers and visitors by building out site features and establishing community trust. Eliminating the DevShare program was just the first step of many more to come. Plans for the near future include full https support for both SourceForge and Slashdot, and a lot more changes we think developers and end-users will embrace.

  • Stealth Company Datawise Makes Contributions to Kubernetes

    This year is shaping up to be a big one for container technology, and the Container Summit conference is going on this week in New York. At the event, Datawise, a stealth company developing network and storage solutions for Linux containers, announced that its contributions for container networking and storage have been accepted for the upcoming release of Kubernetes. Kubernetes, of course, is the open source container management system pioneered by Google and now supported by many leading open source vendors.

    Here is more on what Datawise intends to bring to Kubernetes.

  • Google Releases ION OpenGL Open-Source Library

    Google engineers have open-sourced today a new suite of libraries and tools relating to OpenGL called ION.

    Details are limited thus far and without yet diving into the source code, ION is described as “a portable suite of libraries and tools for building client applications, especially graphical ones. It is small, fast, and robust, and is cross-platform across many platforms and devices, including desktops, mobile devices, browsers, and other embedded platforms.”

  • San Francisco prepares to open source its voting system software

    San Francisco, home of the tech startup, is trying to show its tech credentials by becoming the first city to use open source software for elections.

    The proposal to adopt a solution in time for the end of the current contract on January 1, 2017 reappeared at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday when Supervisor Scott Wiener called for a hearing on how the city is progressing with the plan to use standard hardware and open-source software to carry out future balloting.

  • Open source demonstrates the future of work

    Open source communities and projects are examples of non-standard work structures that are successfully productive while existing outside typical paradigms for “work.” OpenSSL, for example, is an incredibly important software library that serves a large majority of websites across the web. The authors of the software, ranging from one time collaborators to continuous contributors, have collectively forged arguably the most important networking encryption library to date, and they’ve done it outside traditional business models. The software is a the result of effort from a diverse community of volunteers working on “their own time,” rather than on the rigid production model of a proprietary software development firm.

  • Open source in the enterprise brings opportunities and challenges

    The final challenge open source presents relates to staff skills. Simply put, open source requires a higher level of technical talent than traditional proprietary solutions, because there’s a world of difference between building a solution and operating someone else’s solution. The latter is the world of certifications and cookie-cutter solutions; the former requires creativity, self-reliance, and technical chops. Newly-hired technical employees tend to come with open source experience and an inclination toward self-generated solutions, while many long-term IT employees are much more comfortable with a vendor-centric world. However, most organizations can’t (and shouldn’t) do a wholesale replacement of personnel. So IT organizations face the task of reskilling existing employees, integrating new staff, all while architecting new systems and ripping out old ones.

  • UCLA researchers release open source code for powerful image detection algorithm

    A UCLA Engineering research group has made public the computer code for an algorithm that helps computers process images at high speeds and “see” them in ways that human eyes cannot. The researchers say the code could eventually be used in face, fingerprint and iris recognition for high-tech security, as well as in self-driving cars’ navigation systems or for inspecting industrial products.

    The algorithm performs a mathematical operation that identifies objects’ edges and then detects and extracts their features. It also can enhance images and recognize objects’ textures.

  • Events

    • My first travelling experience to Myanmar

      We were instructed to go very early at 8:30AM in the morning at the Myanmar ICT (MICT) Park to be able register our topics that we wish to talk for the BarCamp Yangon. Finally we arrived early as the hotel and venue is very closer and on the time of the event opening ceremony and everything were spoken in Burmese.

    • First timer’s guide to FOSS conferences

      I’ve been going to FOSS (free and open source) conferences since 2006. My first open source conference was FreedomHEC in Seattle, a little 30-person conference for Linux users to protest Microsoft’s WinHEC. My next open source conference was OSCON, which had over a thousand attendees. They were both very different conferences, and as a college student, I really didn’t know what to expect. Going to your first open source conference can be intimidating, so I’ve complied ten tips for people who are new to the conference circuit.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome on Android communicates with smart devices around you

        Folks running Chrome on iOS have had a chance to tap into the Physical Web devices around them since last July, but Google’s finally opened that functionality up to its own ecosystem. To that end, Chrome 49 on Android will support the objects (like parking meters, for instance). The first time you encounter one there will be a push notification alerting you one is nearby, and future run-ins will populate a list of the gadgets nearby. It’s starting in the beta channel, a post on the Chromium Blog notes, with wider support rolling out soon. In case you’re curious of how it all looks in action, the GIF below should give you a good idea.

      • Google issues Chrome update to fix Windows, Mac, and Linux bugs

        Google issued a Chrome update to address Windows, Mac, and Linux vulnerabilities that, if exploited, would allow remote attackers to take control of affected systems.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why open source can save companies from drowning in the data lake

      The end goal of any big data initiative is to deliver key insights very quickly, if not in real-time. While the first step of gathering data is challenging, today’s technology is more than capable of this.

      What comes next – extracting accurate insights in real-time and gaining foresight from it – is something enterprises have yet to nail.

      When put to good use, data can provide endless opportunities for innovation and growth, saving money and time, while also expediting services. Despite the opportunity to yield big insights from big data, many businesses are struggling with one of two challenges: those unable to tap their big data reserves and those drowning in data overload.

    • OpenStack Keystone Q and A with the Boston University Distributed Systems Class Part 1
    • How Open Source is Driving New Innovations in Data Analytics

      It wasn’t long ago when open source software was on the fringe of cutting edge technology. The software then was rough, untested and insecure. No longer is this the case. From tiny startups to the largest Fortune 20 companies, open source technology is permeating every corner of the business world.

  • Cisco

  • LibreOffice

  • HMRC

  • Education

  • Apple/Openwashing

  • Funding

    • VCs who miss the point of open source shouldn’t fund it

      The errors highlighted here are not merely mistakes; rather, they reveal a worldview. People who believe that Apache is a competitor, OSI approves licenses that permit monopolization, Red Hat is a business that’s succeeded through artificial scarcity, and open source communities with diverse agendas are “broken” are not the people you want in your new open source business.

      They will try to persuade you to secure software patents so that they have an asset to trade when you fail; they will eject you from your own company when you try to hold true to software freedom principles; and they will treat your business as a failure if all it does is earn a decent living for you and your employees. You may want to grow your open source-based business another way.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • U.S. Cyber Effort Targets Open Source Software

      A growing list of cyber attacks targeting U.S. government employees has prompted the Obama administration to launch a high-profile cyber security effort that among others things will target Internet “utilities” such as open source software.

      The Cybersecurity National Action Plan announced by the White House on Tuesday (Feb. 9) as part of its annual budget submission to Congress gives the Internet and its components equal status with other critical infrastructure. The initiative responds to massive data breaches such as last year’s hack of the Office of Personnel Management. The personal data of 21.5 million federal employers may have been stolen in the breach.

    • UNICEF Is Launching A Venture Fund For Open-Source Civic Technology

      From unmanned aerial vehicles to 3-D printing, new technology has a lot of potential to “flatten” the world and spread social good. And now, by launching its first venture capital-type fund for civic technology, the United Nations wants to accelerate the development of those ideas.

    • UNICEF innovation fund is looking for open source tech

      “We’ll be identifying opportunities from countries around the world including some that may not see a lot of capital investment in technology start-ups. We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children,” says UNICEF Innovation co-lead, Christopher Fabian in a recent statement.

  • Licensing

    • Confused by license compatibility? A new article by Richard Stallman may help

      Richard Stallman has published a new guide on gnu.org titled License compatibility and relicensing. Gnu.org is home to a whole host of resources on free software licensing, including frequently asked questions about GNU licenses and our list of free software licenses. Our license list contains information on which licenses are compatible with the GNU General Public License as well as a brief description of what it means to be compatible. This latest article by Stallman provides a more in–depth explanation of what compatibility means and the different ways in which it is achieved.

    • The most important part of your project might not even be a line of code

      What is licensing? Why does it matter? Why should you care? There are many reasons that licensing is an important part of a project you are working on. You are taking the time to write code and share it with the world in an open way, such as publishing it on GitHub, Bitbucket, or any number of other code-hosting services. Anyone might stumble across your code and find it useful.

      Licensing is the way that you can control exactly how someone who finds your code can use it and in what ways.

    • Happy GPL Birthday VLC!

      The ever-popular VLC turned 15 a few days ago–that’s 15 years since the project was GPLed and released to the world. If we were pedants, we might point out that the project actually came into existence in 1996, but that was a different lifetime.

      VLC originally was a very different application. For one thing, it was a closed-source project, and its original purpose was to stream videos from a satellite receiver to a computer science lab.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Unity Getting Native Cardboard Support, Design Lab App Going Open Source
    • Open Access/Content

      • SGA, MassPIRG work together on open source textbook initiative

        Members of the Student Government Association and MassPIRG are seeking further support from the University of Massachusetts Provost of Academic Affairs Katherine Newman for the W.E.B. Du Bois Library’s Open Education Initiative.

        The OEI, which has been operating for six years, provides UMass professors with $1,000 grants to write their own textbooks and syllabi using information which has an open copyright license.

        “Our goal this semester is to get 10 to 15 professors to sign onto Open Education,” said Chris Earls, the SGA’s secretary of University policy and a senior political science and economics major.

        Earls and Matthew Martin, coordinator of MassPIRG’s Affordable Textbooks Campaign, wrote an open letter to Newman in which they argued that open source textbooks were an affordable solution to the rising costs of college textbooks.

    • Open Hardware

      • Turning Open Source into a Multicore Standard

        Hoping to forestall potential compatibility issues, the Multicore Association is looking to build an API standard on the shoulders of open-source OpenAMP.

      • France Craft Pixel: an Open Source Electric Car

        The all-electric Chevy Bolt was the automotive star of the 2016 CES show, for sure- but there was more to the electric vehicle side of the Las Vegas show than just the efforts of Tesla and the Big Three. Meet the Pixel, a modular, “open source” electric hybrid vehicle designed by France Craft.

  • Programming

    • GitHub’s Atom 1.5 Hackable Text Editor Out Now, Atom 1.6 Enters Beta Testing

      On February 9, 2016, GitHub’s devs made some big announcements for its awesome and acclaimed Atom open-source hackable text editor, which reached stable version 1.5 for all supported operating systems.

    • Big? GitHub Enterprise 2.5 thinks massive

      Keeping up its push to be an enterprise presence, GitHub has announced the latest version of the for-pay, enterprise edition of its code-hosting platform.

      The company says GitHub Enterprise 2.5′s focus is “companies operating at massive scale” — enterprises with more than 10,000 developers and exponential year-over-year growth. The new toolset for GitHub Enterprise 2.5 helps large teams add new users, collaborate safely on large projects, and deal with GitHub-related performance issues that can crop up around such large projects.


  • Don’t Spam, Don’t Spy; Ask Permission and Satisfy – Musings on media, advertising and big data

    Zero point five-six percent. Just over one half of one percent? And this they think is good news? To borrow the phrase from Monty Python and the Holy Grail – “I fart in your general direction!” If you are doing under 1% reactions for your advertising on mobile, you are FAILING. Get out of the business. You are a waste. You are polluting the gene pool. Its exactly what I have preached forever in mobile: Don’t spam !!! Its spam !!! Don’t spam !! (Recently I’ve evolved that even further so now I say: Don’t spam, don’t spy; ask permission and satisfy!)

  • Here’s How Well Twitter’s Execs Use Twitter—Or, Um, Not

    The company has struggled to attract new tweeters to join its free-wheeling service, and its stock has spiraled to an all-time low this year. Despite Twitter’s efforts, many users continue to face abuse and harassment, and terrorists have disseminated propaganda on the service. In a somewhat self-conscious move, the company rolled out a set of new features this week ahead of its quarterly earnings report , including a new Trust & Safety Council as well as changes to how the Twitter feed works.

  • Science

    • Prominent scientist: “One-fifth of people will believe anything”

      Emeritus Professor Esko Valtaoja says the internet is like an endless ocean of knowledge – but there is plenty of rubbish to be found in the deep. In a television appearance Wednesday morning, the recently retired quasar researcher and award-winning writer encouraged everyone to take a month-long break from social media.


      The information revolution has now made more data available in contemporary society than people have time to consume in a lifetime. Valtaoja says that for a long time, it was easy to believe that there were certain absolute truths, because information was much harder to find.

      There are still people who believe in absolutes, he says, but they are quickly becoming the minority.

      “We jump about rather nervously trying to ascertain the truth, even in this matter,” he says.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Flint e-mails: CDC voiced concerns over Legionnaires’ actions

      More than eight months before Gov. Rick Snyder disclosed a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Flint area, federal health officials worried a lack of cooperation in Michigan could be hampering the public health response.

      Thousands of pages of e-mails obtained by the Detroit Free Press through the Freedom of Information Act on Monday show increasing concern about the quality of the Flint’s drinking water as tensions grew over a lack of coordination to combat the waterborne disease.

      County health officials were warned for reaching out to federal experts for help while they struggled to persuade Flint city officials to provide needed information, the e-mails show. Others in e-mails wondered about ethical breaches and the possibility of a cover-up.

    • Dems accuse Mich. governor of ducking accountability in Flint

      House Democratic leaders are heaping new scorn on Gov. Rick Snyder, accusing the Michigan Republican of ducking his responsibilities to the victims of the Flint water crisis.

      “If you have it within your power to correct your mistake, to make it up to those whom you wronged, you have a moral obligation to do that,” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who represents Flint, told reporters Wednesday. “He hasn’t done that. The governor of Michigan has treated this as … a public relations problem for him, not a public health crisis for 100,000 people.”

    • Too many Flints to count: America’s infrastructure is rotting — and poisoning our children

      “I know if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself if my kids’ health could be at risk,” said President Obama on a recent trip to Michigan. “Up there” was Flint, a rusting industrial city in the grip of a “water crisis” brought on by a government austerity scheme. To save a couple of million dollars, that city switched its source of water from Lake Huron to the Flint River, a long-time industrial dumping ground for the toxic industries that had once made their home along its banks. Now, the city is enveloped in a public health emergency, with elevated levels of lead in its water supply and in the blood of its children.

    • Flint fuels finger pointing, political maneuvering

      As the Flint water crisis evolves from ongoing public health crisis to the search for a costly solution, the situation also has taken on the air of a football game, a political football game, that is.

      “Some of the actions seem to be more about the people making the statements rather than helping the people of Flint,” said Lansing political consultant Tom Shields, of Marketing Resource Group. “It’s tough not to be cynical because it has become such a political football.”

      The crisis over lead-tainted water has become fodder for local, state and national politics where Democrats are assigning blame to the Republican-led administration of Gov. Rick Snyder and Republicans are pointing the finger at Democrats in Flint as well as the Environmental Protection Agency under the control of President Barack Obama.

    • Remember 11th February 2016. It’s the day Jeremy Hunt tried to kill the NHS

      We joke about Mr Hunt having shares in Australian emigration, but really this is no laughing matter. Record amounts are leaving the country – or the medical profession altogether

    • Jeremy Hunt imposes contract on junior doctors in brutal end to “damaging” pay row

      He was given the green light in a letter last night from NHS chief negotiator Sir David Dalton, after his 11th-hour “final offer” to doctors’ union the British Medical Association was rejected.

  • Security

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Government Lawyers Think Open Records Reform Proposal Hands Over Too Much Power To The People

      The state of Massachusetts has some of the worst open records laws in the nation, which have not been updated since the 1970s. The main problem is the statutes provide no deterrence for abusive behavior by government agencies and very little in the way of recourse for public records requesters.

      The laws — as they stand now — operate on the presumption of secrecy, which is completely antithetical to the purpose and spirit of the statutes. There’s really no reason the state’s public record laws should contain this much secretive bloat. Here’s Allison Manning of Boston.com detailing just one of the many problems with the laws.

    • Here’s how bad public records laws are in Massachusetts

      I spent the last five years as a police reporter in Columbus, Ohio, before moving back home to Boston a few months ago. What I’ve rediscovered about my home state: Our public records laws are abysmal, especially compared to those elsewhere.

    • Will Swedish prosecutors question Assange in London?

      A Swedish prosecutor still aims to question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange over a rape allegation in Sweden, despite a UN report condemning Sweden for his ‘arbitrary detention’.

    • The Continuing Saga of Julian Assange

      The Swedish prosecutor’s office says it is working on a renewed request to interview the Wikileaks founder at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

    • Lies about Assange and UN human rights jurists imperil us all

      The defence secretary, ‘comedians’ on BBC Radio’s News Quiz, and the entire media commentariat have ganged up this weekend up to pour mockery and poisonous lies over Julian Assange and the UN’s human rights jurists, writes Jonathan Cook. As they attempt to fight off the UN’s ‘guilty’ verdict against the British state, they are putting dissidents at risk everywhere.

    • Federal Judge Not Amused By State Department’s Continued Withholding Of Hillary Clinton’s Emails

      Contreras undersells the public interest — which has been high ever since it was discovered Clinton had been conducting official (and sensitive) business using a private email server. Now that Clinton is a presidential candidate, the release of the emails could adversely affect her campaign.

      I don’t believe the State Department has a personal stake in Clinton’s potential presidency, but it’s operating in a way that would encourage people to come to that conclusion. Instead, this is likely business as usual for the agency.

      For one, government agencies protect their own. Clinton’s use of a private server makes the State Department look bad because no one with the power to do so ever made an effort to shut her down. Released emails show Clinton dealt with classified material, something that should never have been routed to a private email account. The State Department’s lackadaisical handling of this matter would only be highlighted further by additional releases.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Fight

      Corruption has once again taken center stage in Indonesia, following the resignation in December of House Speaker Setya Novanto for being caught attempting to extort Indonesia’s largest taxpayer, U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoRan’s subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia, and mounting evidence that the devastating fires that negatively impacted the country late last year, to the tune of $30 billion, were fueled by local corruption. Political infighting has meant that Indonesia’s long-simmering, critically important fight against corruption has been in limbo for nearly a year, and soon President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will face a decision whether or not to make fighting corruption the centerpoint of his administration, or its downfall.

      To the surprise of many, Indonesia actually improved in the recently released Corruption Perception Index, moving up from 107th last year to 88th this year, which the organization credited to improvements in the country’s bureaucracy and public services – initiatives pushed forward by Jokowi – but also partly to increasing corruption in other countries. However, the report noted that Indonesia could take a huge step forward if it empowered its once famous, internationally renowned anti-corruption agency.

      That would be Indonesia’s most trusted public institution, the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi, KPK). The KPK has made a reputation for itself globally for thoroughly investigating, researching, and trying high-level targets, and, in its first 13 years, achieving an astounding 100% conviction rate.

    • Indonesian forest fires ‘most expensive disaster in 2015′

      The biggest economic disaster in 2015 was the Indonesian forest fires that cost $16.1bn, according to a report.

      The fires, caused mainly by illegal slash and burn clearing of forest areas for crops including palm oil, cost the country around 1.9% of its GDP, said Aon Benfield.

      In its annual catastrophe report the company said that while 2015 replaced 2014 as the warmest year on record, global economic losses from natural catastrophes stood at $123bn – 30% below the 15-year average of $175bn.

      The report said 300 separate global natural disasters occurred in 2015, above the 15-year average of 269 events.

    • 5 Realities Of Smog So Bad It Blots Out The Sun

      Beijing, we’re finding out, has the kind of pollution that makes it seem like you’re downwind from a freaking volcano eruption. But, a picture like that doesn’t get across the reality of life in a place where the air actively hates you. We sat down with an anonymous source who works as a magazine editor in Beijing, who told us …

    • Palm oil is in everything and it’s killing rain forests, endangered species and people. Here’s how.

      In September and October 2015, one of the worst environmental disasters of the 21st century happened in Indonesia. And despite its apocalyptic consequences, the story was largely ignored by the western media.

      In order to clear the Indonesian rain forest for a palm oil, it was lit completely on fire. A toxic cloud of haze resulted, hanging over Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore for weeks. The haze killed people and endangered wildlife, and put the lives of millions of others at risk -– all for the benefit of a selected few.

  • Finance

    • Yanis Varoufakis: Europe is sliding back into the 1930s and we need a new movement

      Former Greek finance minister says Europe is disintegrating, run by a cartel and in dire need of reform.

    • First Report From Inside Germany’s New TAFTA/TTIP Reading Room Reveals Text’s Dirty Secret

      Last week we wrote about the only place that German politicians are currently allowed to view the latest texts of TAFTA/TTIP: a tiny room, guarded at all times, and involving all kinds of humiliating restrictions for visitors. Katja Kipping was one of the first to enter, and she has written up her experiences for lesser mortals like you and me, who are not permitted to besmirch this sacred place with our unworthy presence.

    • Labour furious as 83% of fund to ease council cuts will go to Conservative authorities

      Labour MPs have expressed their fury after Tory rebels dropped their objections to council cuts because of a new £300m government fund to ease funding difficulties in mostly wealthy Conservative-run areas.

      Greg Clark, the communities secretary, insisted the new cash was not a “political bung” to stop up to 30 Tories revolting against the local government settlement.

      However, several Tory MPs openly acknowledged they were persuaded to back the government only after the new “transitional relief” was announced, of which about 83% will go to Conservative councils.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A map of the world according to Donald Trump
    • YIKES: We just found out what Hillary said in her Goldman Sachs speeches

      As both Democrat candidates like to portray themselves as an enemy of the financial industry, Bernie Sanders appears to have more leverage (to borrow a finance term). He’s blasted Hillary Clinton for taking over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in early debates, and has continued his criticism into the Democrat town hall debates.

      We don’t know exactly what was said in those speeches because Hillary refuses to release the transcripts, but the attendees at those speeches haven’t forgotten. They’re speaking out, and it doesn’t bode well for Hillary.

    • Is Britain full? Home truths about the population panic

      The northern ticket hall of King’s Cross St Pancras tube station is supposed to be a wonder of the London underground, with its expanses of gleaming floor and high-ceilinged walkways that would be wide enough for cars. In 2008, the tube’s then managing director, Tim O’Toole, assured the London Evening Standard that, with the new hall, which cost £395m, “the underground station complex will … be capable of handling all the extra demand predicted for years ahead”.

  • Censorship

    • Now, filmmakers turn to Youtube to beat censorship

      With censorship issues plaguing the film industry, filmmakers are now looking to release movies on Youtube and other internet sites that do not create hurdles to their creative freedom. In fact, as if to cock a snook at the issue of censorship, director Ram Gopal Varma has announced a film titled `Single X’, which would be dedicated to the censor board.

    • Ram Gopal Varma says goodbye to Telugu films
    • Index unveils 2016 Freedom of Expression Awards shortlist

      An Aleppo-based journalist training women to report on the crisis in war-torn Syria, an Indonesian comic who jokes about Islamic extremism and a 19-year-old campaigner against repression in Eritrea are among those shortlisted for the 2016 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards.

      Drawn from more than 400 crowdsourced nominations, the Index awards shortlist celebrates artists, writers, journalists and campaigners tackling censorship and fighting for freedom of expression. Many of the 20 shortlisted nominees are regularly targeted by authorities or by criminal and extremist groups for their work: some face regular death threats, others criminal prosecution.

    • Méxicoleaks recognized by the Index on Censorship for digital activism

      Méxicoleaks, a digital platform that accepts anonymous information from the public, has made the shortlist for the 2016 Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards in the category of digital activism.

      “In a country where, between drug cartels and the government, censorship and self-censorship is rife, Méxicoleaks is on the forefront of the fight against corruption,” said the Index on Censorship website.

    • Twitter’s Most Harmlessly Charming Account Was Mysteriously Suspended

      The account was so simple it’s kind of a miracle that it wasn’t done before. That reasoning, however, is the most probable explanation we have for why it got banned.

    • For Israeli bloggers, the rules are the same but different

      That changed last week when reports emerged indicating as many as 30 well-trafficked Israeli blogs and popular Facebook users would henceforth be required to submit copy to the military censor prior to publication. As the news spread, some of those affected by the new rules lashed out online, questioning whether the military – and, by extension, the state – was actively trying to limit freedom of expression. A few even vowed to circumvent censorship, though, given that the office of the military censor already possesses algorithmic technology to root out problematic web posts, this seems easier said than done.

    • Israel Censoring Bloggers

      Israel is like other fascist police states, wanting criticisms of its ruthless policies suppressed.

      Its new military censor, Col. Ariela Ben-Avraham, demanded bloggers and social media users submit their material for screening before posting.

      Failure will be considered a crime. Regime critics risk prosecution, censorship now elevated to a higher level.

      Israel wants control over pre-published material relating to its policies – vetted so anything it disapproves of gets trashed, the right of free expression abolished.

    • University of Calgary student art show cut short after censorship confusion

      A student took down their show after they weren’t happy with the University of Calgary’s treatment of the art show

    • Twitter launches Trust and Safety Council to help put end to trolling

      The Twitter Trust & Safety Council will initially be formed of around 40 bodies, including the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, EU Kids Online, ICT Watch, National Cyber Security Alliance, NetSafe, and Samaritans.

      These organisations, along with safety experts, academics and security researchers, will work to ensure a safe and secure platform for users to express themselves freely and without fear.

      The company said in a release that the Council’s main focus will be to protect minors, encourage ‘greater compassion and empathy on the internet,’ and promote efforts in media literacy and digital citizenship. It added that community groups will also participate to help prevent online ‘abuse, harassment, and bullying,’ as well as mental health problems and suicide.

    • Twitter forms anti-troll team to tackle online torment and threats

      MICROBLOGGING WEBSITE Twitter has put together an anti-troll squad to help protect users from abuse and threats.

    • Say Hello To Twitter’s Tweet Police

      Now Twitter is going to tell us all how to express ourselves by forming a ‘Trust and Safety Council.’ That’s not intimidating or anything.

    • Censorship incoming? Twitter partners with Islamists and radical feminists to create ‘safe space’

      Social media website Twitter is creating a “Trust & Safety Council” to stop and censor opinions that might upset Islamists and radical feminists such as Anita Sarkeesian.

    • Twitter forms safety council to help prevent abuse
    • Twitter’s latest social justice brainwave is to implement an Orwellian “Trust & Safety Council”

      The move by Twitter to further police speech which doesn’t agree with its social justice worldview doesn’t come as a surprise and follows on from the possible news earlier this week that they were planning to control what content appears in people’s timelines by implementing an algorithmic timeline, ostensibly to censor speech that they don’t want people to read.

    • EDITORIAL: Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council won’t halt cyberbullying

      Facebook allows users to report offensive posts and follows through on investigating and disabling hateful accounts. Instagram immediately takes down photos that violate its community guidelines, and it has sometimes even gotten carried away in doing so.

    • Twitter Unveils New ‘Trust and Safety Council’ Featuring Feminist Frequency

      Among the members are the Anti-Defamation League, Childnet International, Thorn, Family Online Safety Institute, the Dangerous Speech Project, and the University of California-Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

    • Twitter Forms A “Trust and Safety Council” to Balance Abuse Vs Free Speech

      Twitter has taken the steps for balancing free speech without also handing a free pass to orchestrated harassment via its platform. According to the announcement, the company is establishing a “Trust & Safety Council”.

    • Twitter Announces Safety Panel Then Bans an Account Critical of Twitter Safety

      On the day Twitter announced a new “Trust and Safety Council,” the social network again suspended an account that calls attention to the plight of people who have been harassed on Twitter.

      My colleague Sarah Jeong followed the saga of Trusty Support, a Twitter Support parody account that has been, as she wrote, “lampooning the absurdities of the Report Abuse system” by tweeting about the network’s canned and automated responses to harassment and death threats.

    • Twitter announces ‘trust and safety’ panel to police content

      Twitter on Tuesday announced the formation of a new “Trust and Safety Council,” which will work to develop policies censoring speech on the site. The group will be comprised of more than 40 organizations from 13 regions around the world. “With hundreds of millions of tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power,” Twitter said in a statement.

    • New ‘Trust and Safety Council’ Is Twitter Version of 1984’s Ministry of Truth

      In order for users to feel confident expressing themselves “freely and safely,” Twitter is debuting a new advisory group dubbed the “Trust & Safety Council.” But a quick glance at its membership roster suggests the council is almost as Orwellian as it sounds—and overwhelmingly biased in favor of speech suppression.

      If you thought Milo Yiannopoulos losing his blue checkmark was the opening salvo in the next great culture war (I tended to agree with Popehat’s Ken White that the controversy was overblown), then this might be your virtual invasion of Poland.

    • Twitter’s growth screeches to a halt

      Twitter’s growth stalled at the end of last year as the number of people using the service flatlined, raising yet more questions about the troubled service.

      The social network announced that monthly users had stubbornly remained at 320 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, the first time it has reported no growth in active members.

    • Jewish Group Lauds Twitter Council Established to Combat Extremism

      The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) applauds Jack Dorsey and Twitter for the company’s efforts to combat violent extremism, and we congratulate it on the formation of the Trust & Safety Council, an important step forward to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and hate, and protecting free speech.

    • Twitter Inc. forms Trust & Safety Council to fight hate speech and harassment

      The aim of the council is to be able to come up with specific conditions that would allow the company to filter more than hundreds of millions of posts every day to spot any kind of misconduct, and judge whether any of the content protrudes beyond ethical boundaries of free speech.

    • Honda Tried To Get Jalopnik To Dox Commenter, Delete Posts, Meets The Streisand Effect Instead

      Criticism is part of life, of course, and I tend to believe that people show their true selves most transparently when they show how they deal with criticism. Unfortunately, we’ve covered entirely too many stories involving people and companies responding to online criticism poorly here at Techdirt. Typically, these unfortunate responses amount to trying to censor the criticism, but it can more dangerously involve the attempted silencing of journalism as well as threats of legal action against those making the critical comments.

      Too many times, websites and web services cave to this sort of censorship. But not everyone. Gawker Media, about whom I could fill these pages with criticism, appears to be pushing back on once such attempt levied against its site Jalopnik. Apparently, car-maker Honda took a negative view of some comments made at the site, purportedly by a Honda employee. For some reason, Honda decided that this distinction meant that it could not only silence the comments, but that it should receive help from the site in outing the commenter. The whole thing starts off, as seems so often the case, with some rather mild criticism in the form of a comment.

    • These charities want to send your old USB sticks to North Korea

      Human Rights Foundation and Forum 280 seek to counter North Korean censorship with USB sticks full of banned content

    • Fighting Censorship With ‘Friends,’ ‘Desperate Housewives’

      Free speech advocates are fighting censorship in North Korea by illegally importing popular American TV shows. The goal: To undermine propaganda, give people a taste of freedom and eventually fuel the fall of the regime.

      Pyongyang’s government insists that its dictator Kim Jong-un is a heavenly superhero, Americans are evil, South Korea started the region’s civil war in the 1950s and that the rest of the world is not as free or prosperous as North Korea. In order to support these teachings, nearly all media from outside North Korea is banned and citizens are discouraged from questioning the government about problems such as famine or its use of slave labor.

    • [Far right site] San Francisco Federal Judge Who Rules For Government Censorship Should Be Impeached

      This is also the clown who ruled against investigative reporting in the case of The National Abortion Federation versus the Center for Medical Progress by issuing a preliminary injunction barring the anti-abortion group from releasing undercover videos taken at annual conferences of the National Abortion Federation.

    • China’s ‘black box’ of mutinous secrets

      Also mentioned as plotters in the scheme were General Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission who was expelled from the party and was being investigated for corruption when he died of cancer in March 2015; and Su Rong, a longtime regional chief who was accused of corruption as party chief in Jiangxi province. Su was also blamed for showing “blatant disregard for party political rules” and having “poisoned the local political environment.”

    • China Communist Party Elder Speaks Out Against Censorship

      Censorship has gone too far, contends Zhou Ruijin, 76, in an essay published in China in January and on Phoenix TV’s ifeng.com early this month. “To be frank, some leaders in the party’s propaganda department were managing the press like how they would manage a train schedule, directly intervening in the approach and procedure of news reporting,” he wrote.

      Zhou, a leading liberal writer in the 1990s, attacked today’s propaganda chiefs for taking down offending websites and deleting postings, calling these actions contrary to the concept that the Communist Party govern the country according to law. Moreover, he condemned “waves of campaigns, strict clampdowns, and public shaming,” the last a reference to the parading of people making Cultural Revolution-style confessions on television.

    • Criteria behind censorship

      Is there any logic or coherence in the way the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has tried to block objectionable online content? The short answer is ‘no’. Last month, the PTA had provided internet service providers with a list of over 400,000 domains that needed to be blocked for pornographic content. According to the PTA, it had been asked by the Supreme Court to “take remedial steps to quantify the nefarious phenomenon of obscenity and pornography that has an imminent role to corrupt and vitiate the youth of Pakistan”. It has now emerged that among the hundreds of thousands of websites on the list provided by the PTA, there are countless websites whose content cannot be considered obscene by any stretch of the imagination. Among these is the microblogging website ‘Tumblr’ as well as websites for photography, ecommerce, blogging and business.

    • Facebook Prude-Patrol Nixes Another Work Of Art By A Feminist, Entirely Proving Her Decades-Old Point

      We’re still fresh on the heels of Facebook’s overly broad and prudish decency rules resulting in the takedown of a bronze piece of artwork in the form of a mermaid statue that features bare metal breasts. Womens’ breasts, as we all know, are shameful things to be hidden from view, lest they corrupt the minds of the young children that were so nourished by them in their youth. Sigh.

      Still, as dumb as that story was, and as indicative as it was of the problem of overly broad censorship guidelines employed in the name of decency, at least there were breasts. Metallic breasts, but breasts nonetheless. I have no idea how Facebook keeps this recent story from looking even more silly, in which it takes down a piece of artwork shared by Philidelphia Museum of Art that was constructed specifically to show how objectified women were in the 1960s.

    • Enough censorship by the majority

      I would further question the supposed centrality of free speech and intellectual discourse in combatting oppression and bigotry. Too often, “debate” is merely smokescreen. For example, there exists an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists and the international community that climate change is caused by humans. Despite this general agreement, the U.S. continues to “debate” (really, deny) this fact. This is not a debate in which all sides are seeking to move towards the truth. This is a debate constructed because massive corporate interests will cling onto the idea that climate change isn’t real for as long as possible. The debate is merely for show. On the individual level, the problem with bigots who use slurs (or commit other acts of oppression) isn’t that they haven’t heard a good argument about why using slurs is wrong. The problem is, in spite of hearing those arguments and the continuous requests of marginalized groups, they don’t care. And if people don’t care whether or not they’re a bigot, what’s the point in arguing with them?

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Donald Trump Praises Sean Hannity For Their Indistinguishable Views on Torture
    • CIA Director Freaks Out After Senator Wyden Points Out How The CIA Spied On The Senate

      If you’re a CIA Director, one would assume that you know how to be cool under fire, right? Apparently that’s not the case for current CIA Director John Brennan who seemed to completely freak out when Senator Ron Wyden started asking questions about the CIA’s infamous decision to spy on the network and computers of Senate Intelligence Committee staffers who were compiling a report on the CIA’s torture program. The details are a bit complex, but the short version is that the Intelligence Committee, which has oversight powers over the CIA, had been set up in a CIA building, with special access to CIA documents, and a special search tool. Apparently, at some point, that search tool returned a document which the CIA had never intended to share with the intelligence committee staffers. That document, called “the Panetta Review” was a draft document that then-CIA chief Leon Panetta had tasked people internal at the CIA to prepare on what the Senate Intelligence Committee staffers were likely to find as they went through the documents.

    • Drug Dogs Don’t Even Have To Be Right Half The Time To Be Considered ‘Reliable’ By The Courts

      All in all, this motion to suppress evidence worked out for the plaintiff, but it does little to address concerns that drug dogs are basically blank permission slips for inquisitive cops.

      The defendant — Emile Martin — was in a vehicle driven by another person (simply referred to as “Montgomery” in the opinion). This vehicle crossed the centerline multiple times and was pulled over by Deputy Brandon Williams. The driver could not produce registration or proof of insurance, which led to the issuance of a citation… eventually. But the citation process was unnecessarily prolonged to provide the deputy with a chance to have a K9 unit brought in to sniff the car for drugs.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google Decides To Kill Flash Ads, Goes 100% HTML5

      Google today told the world that its ad service is ditching the notorious Flash for HTML5 in upcoming months. The company will stop accepting ads based on this security nightmare, starting on June 30, 2016, and will complete drop them on January 2, 2017.

    • Congressmen Upton, Walden Latest To Insist Nobody Needs Faster Broadband

      A little over a year ago, the FCC voted to raise the minimum definition of broadband from 4 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream — to 25 Mbps downstream, 3 Mbps upstream. The standard better reflects household usage in the gigabit connection and Netflix binge watching era. However, the broadband industry has been whining like a petulant child ever since, largely because the change highlights how a lack of competition and the resulting failure to upgrade networks means a huge swath of the country doesn’t technically have broadband.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • President Obama Sends Two WIPO Copyright Treaties To US Senate For Ratification

      Today, United States President Barack Obama sent two signed multilateral copyright treaties negotiated at the World Intellectual Property Organization to the US Senate for ratification.

      The treaties are the 2012 Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and the 2013 Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • “Happy Birthday” is public domain, former owner Warner/Chapell to pay $14M

        Music publisher Warner/Chappell will no longer be allowed to collect licensing royalties on those who sing “Happy Birthday” in public and will pay back $14 million to those who have paid for licensing in the past, according to court settlement papers filed late Monday night.

        The settlement is a result of a lawsuit originally filed in 2013 by filmmaker Jennifer Nelson, who challenged the “Happy Birthday” copyright. “Happy Birthday” has the same melody as “Good Morning to You,” a children’s song dating to the 19th Century. But despite the song’s murky early history, music publisher Warner/Chappell has stuck to its story that the song was copyrighted in 1935, and a royalty had to be paid for any public use of it—until now.

      • Warner Pays $14 Million For Illegitimate “Happy Birthday” Claims

        After raking in dozens of millions in licensing fees, Warner/Chappell has admitted that it doesn’t own the rights to the song “Happy Birthday”. The music company has agreed to set aside a $14 million settlement fund for people who paid to use Happy Birthday in public. In addition, the court has been asked to enter the song into the public domain.

      • MPAA May Like Donuts, but They Shouldn’t Be the (Copyright) Police

        The companies and organizations that run the Internet’s domain name system shouldn’t be in the business of policing the contents of websites, or enforcing laws that can impinge on free speech. The staff of ICANN, the organization that oversees that system, agrees. That’s why it’s not surprising that the Motion Picture Association of America, which has consistently sought power to edit the Internet, is now bypassing ICANN and making private deals with domain name registries.

      • Inside MPAA’s Piracy Deal With the Donuts Domain Registry

        The MPAA and the Donuts domain registry have announced a new partnership aimed at curtailing movie and TV show piracy. Donuts controls the .movie gTLD so the arrangement is symbolic for the MPAA, but how will it work in practice? TF has obtained details of the deal which could act as a blueprint for future voluntary agreements.

      • Kenyan Musicians Escalate Fight For Royalties

        The battle for music royalties in Kenya has spurred musicians and artists to demand transparency and accountability in the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), the body that collects and distributes the fees.

      • Artist Sues Wu-Tang Clan Member, Martin Shkreli, Vice Magazine For Copyright Infringement

        In the continually developing saga that is the Wu-Tang Clan’s unexpected entanglement with the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the pharmaceutical industry, it is now apparently time for the bogus lawsuits to begin.

        Artist Jason Koza, a Wu-Tang Clan fan, is suing Tarik Azzougarh, a rapper, producer and manager “associated” with the group, along with one of its members (RZA) and pharma supervillain Martin Shkreli, last seen pleading the smirk in front of a Congressional hearing.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Appeal Set For August

        The United States government will have to wait another six months for the appeal in the Kim Dotcom extradition case to be heard. A judge in the High Court in Auckland has just denied US requests for Dotcom’s appeal to be fast-tracked, instead setting a date for this coming August.

      • Canada Is a Hotbed for Online Piracy, Rightsholders Claim

        The MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups are unhappy with how the Canadian Government is approaching the problem of online piracy. The country remains very appealing to pirate sites, they claim, while ISPs often fail to warn infringing subscribers effectively.

      • NHL Streaming Service Descends Into Blackout Hell; NHL Threatens Anyone Trying To Circumvent Blackouts

        While we have written quite a bit about major professional sports leagues marching towards expanded streaming options for viewers, and while each league is making progress in that direction, not all of the leagues are equal in how they’re going about it. The NHL has been by far the least progressive in this arena, which is somewhat strange given how much more progressive it has been on other issues of modernity. On streaming, however, there seems to be some flip-flopping, with the league banning the use of services like Periscope by journalists, but then seeking to piggyback on baseball’s fantastic MLB Advanced Media product to get better streaming to its viewers. The entire point of increased streaming options is to get the product out to as many people as possible, grow the fanbase, and ultimately rake in more money via increased viewership.


Links 9/2/2016: Linux in Robotics, Hyperledger Project

Posted in News Roundup at 8:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Building a culture of more pluggable open source

    If there is one word that often percolates conversations hailing the benefits of open source, it is choice. We often celebrate many of the 800+ Linux distributions, the countless desktops, applications, frameworks, and more. Choice, it would seem, is a good thing.

    Interestingly, choice is also an emotive thing.

  • IT sector: Promote open source, bring enabling provisions for Start-up India

    The IT/ITeS sector, one of the largest contributors to exports in the country, has played a vital role in shaping the overall growth story of India. In view of the challenging business environment, the sector has significant expectations from the ensuing Union Budget 2016 on the tax and policy initiatives front.

  • S.F. Officials Push for Adoption of Pioneering Open-Source Voting System [Ed: Beware Microsoft]

    San Francisco could launch a major makeover of its voting systems this year, an effort that supporters say will lead to cheaper, more transparent elections in the city.

    On Tuesday, Supervisor Scott Wiener will call for a Board of Supervisors hearing into the city’s efforts to adopt a voting system that would use off-the-shelf hardware and open-source software. Elections officials, politicians and voter-participation activists have all touted such publicly owned balloting systems as cheaper and more trustworthy than using products supplied by private vendors.

    “We want to set a trend here and around the country toward more open and transparent voting systems,” Wiener said in an interview.

  • Open Source Assignments for Non-Programming Classes

    I’ve been flirting with the idea of asking students in my Educational Game Design module to make their projects “open source”.

    I am wary of the way non-computer scientists use the term “open source”. I often hear people mistakenly refer to free software as “open source”, when its code is not at all open source. I have also heard people in open education talk about how we can learn from open source, but I always felt cautious about this because the contexts are usually different.

  • What Have We Learned From This Open Source Project?

    Start an open source project if you want to learn all you can about software design, development, planning, testing, documenting, and delivery; enjoy technical challenges, administrative challenges, compromise, and will be satisfied hoping that someone out there is benefitting from your work. Do not start an open source project if you need praise, warmth and love from your fellow human beings.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Mon 2016/Feb/08

        After a couple of months of work and thanks to the kind code reviews of the folks at Google, we got the feature landed in Chromium’s repository. For a while, though, it remained hidden behind a runtime flag, as the Chromium team needed to make sure that things would work well enough in all fronts before making it available to all users. Fast-forward to last week, when I found out by chance that the runtime flag has been flipped and the Simplify page printing option has been available in Chromium and Chrome for a while now, and it has even reached the stable releases. The reader mode feature in Chromium seems to remain hidden behind a runtime flag, I think, which is interesting considering that this was the original motivation behind the dom distiller.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 44.0.1 Patches Graphics Startup Crashes on Linux, Adds Gecko SDK

        Mozilla released just a few hours ago the first hotfix for the latest stable and most advanced branch of the popular Firefox web browser for all supported operating systems.

        Mozilla Firefox 44.0.1 is now available for download (see download links in the last paragraph), and according to the release notes that popped up minutes ago, it adds quite a few improvements, a couple of new features, and fixes for several issues reported by users since the release of Firefox 44.0.

      • Firefox 44.0.1 Has Been Released

        As you may know, Mozilla Firefox is among the most popular internet browsers available, being very appreciated by FOSS users.

      • The Internet is a Global Public Resource

        I committed myself to the idea that the Internet is a global public resource that we all share and rely on, like water. I committed myself to stewarding and protecting this important resource. I committed myself to making the importance of the open Internet widely known.

        When we say, “Protect the Internet,” we are not talking about boosting Wi-fi so people can play “Candy Crush” on the subway. That’s just bottled water, and it will very likely exist with or without us. At Mozilla, we are talking about “the Internet” as a vast and healthy ocean.

      • Martin Thomson Appointed to the Internet Architecture Board

        Martin’s appointment recognizes a long history of major contributions to the Internet standards process: including serving as editor for HTTP/2, the newest and much improved version of HTTP, helping to design, implement, and document WebPush, which we just launched in Firefox, and playing major roles in WebRTC, TLS and Geolocation. In addition to his standards work, Martin has committed code all over Gecko, in areas ranging from the WebRTC stack to NSS. Serving on the IAB will give Martin a platform to do even greater things for the Internet and the Open Web as a whole.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Impetus’ Analytics Platform Extends to Work with Multiple Apache Projects

      Impetus Technologies, a big data solutions company, has announced StreamAnalytix 2.0, featuring support for Apache Spark Streaming, in addition to the current support for Apache Storm. Streaming data analytics has become a big deal, especially with the Internet of Things and other emerging technologies helping to produce torrents of streaming data that enterprises need to make sense of.

      Impetus’ platform is open source-based, and here are more details on how enterprises can leverage it along with tools like Spark.

  • Databases

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • The Money In Open-Source Software

      It’s no secret that open-source technology — once the province of radicals, hippies and granola eaters — has gone mainstream. According to industry estimates, more than 180 young companies that give away their software raised roughly $3.2 billion in financing from 2011 to 2014.

      Even major enterprise-IT vendors are relying on open-source for critical business functions today. It’s a big turnaround from the days when former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously called the open-source Linux operating system “a cancer” (and obviously a threat to Windows).

  • Licensing

    • GNU social and #RIPTwitter

      What a weekend! Buzzfeed sent rumours soaring that Twitter was going to stop displaying tweets in order and instead have an “algorithm” optimise it. Scary, right? I have no idea if it’s true but the possibility hit a nerve. #RIPTwitter was trending globally and it encouraged a small fraction of Twitter users to wonder “what could I use instead?” That is, one heck of a lot of people.

      Next minute, thousands of new users are pouring into GNU social—a social network whose existing users only numbered in the thousands to begin with. It’s free software’s decentralised answer to Twitter and to date it has a fairly niche following. Not any more. The admin of the largest server, quitter.se, reported 1200 new signups in two days.

    • License Compatibility and Relicensing

      Only the GNU licenses give authors a choice about whether to permit upgrades to future license versions. When I wrote the first version of the GNU GPL, in 1989, I considered including a license upgrade option as is found now in CC licenses, but I thought it more correct to give that choice to each author. Thus, the author could release a program either under “GPL 1 only” or “GPL 1 or later.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Students, librarians urge professors to use open-source textbooks

        A student advocacy group, along with one of the University of Washington’s top librarians, is urging faculty members to take a good look at using more free online textbooks.

        And two bills in the state Legislature would promote and facilitate the use of such open-source textbooks and course materials.

      • Student Group Releases New Report on Textbook Prices

        Earlier today, U.S. PIRG released a new report investigating the real impact of high textbook prices on today’s students. The report, titled “Covering the Cost,” is based on a survey of nearly 5,000 students from 132 institutions.

        Over the last decade, the price of college textbooks has soared. Since 2006, the cost of a college textbook increased by 73% – over four times the rate of inflation. Today, individual textbooks often cost over $200, sometimes as high as $400.

  • Programming

    • GHC performance is rather stable

      Johannes Bechberger, while working on his Bachelor’s thesis supervised by my colleague Andreas Zwinkau, has developed a performance benchmark runner and results visualizer called “temci”, and used GHC as a guinea pig. You can read his elaborate analysis on his blog.

    • Ready for a nostalgia kick? Usborne has put its old computer books on the web for free

      UK publishing house Usborne is giving out its iconic 1980s programming books as free downloads.

      The books, which are available for free as PDF files, include Usborne’s introductions to programming series, adventure games, computer games listings and first computer series. The series was particularly popular in the UK, where they helped school a generation of developers and IT professionals.

    • LLVM Patches Confirm Google Has Its Own In-House Processor

      Patches published by Google developers today for LLVM/Clang confirm that the company has at least one in-house processor of its own.

      Jacques Pienaar, a software engineer at Google since 2014, posted patches today seeking to mainline a “Lanai” back-end inside LLVM. He explained they want to contribute their Lanai processor to the LLVM code-base as they continue developing this back-end with a focus on compiling C99 code. He mentions Lanai is a simple in-order 32-bit processor with 32 x 32-bit registers, two registers with fixed values, four used for program state tracking, and two reserved for explicit usage by user, and no floating point support.


  • Judge Blocks Release Of Anti-Abortion Videos As The Arbiter Of Journalism

    In other words, whatever your opinion on abortion might be, these people suck. Editing videos to make it seem like something that isn’t happening is happening isn’t virtuous. It’s called lying, and it’s a no-no.

  • Apple Bye Bye

    I was clumsy, and I spilled some beer on the keyboard of my Mac Air laptop, bought July 9, 2014. I immediately started drying my precious computer, overturning it, and my greedy Mac didn’t gulp all that much beer, but….

    I knew that liquid spills can easily kill a laptop. However, this beer fatality was a first time for me. I realized that only luck has saved me in dozens of my plane trips and train trips, where a few seconds of air bumps or rail vibration might tip a plastic cup and immediately drown a precious machine, the ally and partner in my everyday life.

    The Mac Air immediately went dark. In bitter days to follow I struggled to get it back on its feet from its alcoholic overdose. But the battery had shorted out and the motherboard was fouled beyond repair. The screen misbehaved like delirium tremens. Beer is not so fatal to laptops as sugary Coca-Cola, but even pure water can drown delicate microelectronics.

    I managed to retrieve my precious files from the faltering hard disk and I migrated promptly to a new Mac Air, the same model, but running the latest version of the OSX operating system. The machinery was the same, but in the meantime Apple had “upgraded,” or rather transformed, its software.

  • Tim Cook just tweeted the worst iPhone camera advert ever

    APPLE SUPREMO Tim Cook has brought shame on his company, its hardware and its status as a camera option by tweeting one of his own photos.

    The problem is with the photo and the photographer, but there is no schadenfreude in that. Cook took his photo during a leisurely night out. He didn’t take it for one of those ‘taken on the iPhone’ promotional efforts or to show off.

  • How WIRED Is Going to Handle Ad Blocking

    Over the past several years, there’s been a significant increase in the number of people using ad-blocking software in their web browser. We have certainly seen a growth in those numbers here at WIRED, where we do all we can to write vital stories for an audience that’s passionate about the ongoing adventure of our rapidly changing world.

    On an average day, more than 20 percent of the traffic to WIRED.com comes from a reader who is blocking our ads. We know that you come to our site primarily to read our content, but it’s important to be clear that advertising is how we keep WIRED going: paying the writers, editors, designers, engineers, and all the other staff that works so hard to create the stories you read and watch here.

  • Wired Is Launching an Ad-Free Website to Appease Ad Blockers

    More than 1 in 5 people who visit Wired Magazine’s website use ad-blocking software. Starting in the next few weeks, the magazine will give those readers a choice: stop blocking ads, pay to look at a version of the site that is unsullied by advertisements, or go away. It’s the kind of move that was widely predicted last fall after Apple allowed ad-blocking in the new version of its mobile software, but most publishers have shied away from it so far.

  • Microsoft defends new Windows Server licensing

    After Texas law firm Scott & Scott issued its analysis of the changes to Windows Server licensing, Microsoft responded by addressing each of Scott & Scott’s points in an email. The issues described by Scott & Scott, Microsoft contends, would be limited to a very small customer segment, and even then wouldn’t be as significant an issue as claimed.

  • Ballmer: Hardware, mobile strategy essential for Microsoft’s future

    Microsoft’s hardware—Surface, HoloLens, and Xbox—is “absolutely essential” to its future, according to former CEO Steve Ballmer in a new interview with Business Insider. That’s because of the interrelationship between devices and the cloud: so many devices are supported by and dependent on cloud software, Ballmer feels that the company needs to participate both on the cloud side and on the device side.

  • Two killed & 150 injured in head-on train crash in Bavaria as medics rush to save trapped

    A fleet of emergency helicopters has been scrambled to take injured passengers to hospitals after the crash at Bad Aibling, an hour from Munich.

    Police say at least four people have died and around 150 have been injured – 15 critical and 40 seriously – in the smash in southern Germany.

    It is feared that of the four dead, one is a train driver. The other train driver is missing, with local fire services hunting for him.

  • Twidiots rage on Twitter about new algorithmic timeline

    Twidiots around the world are very angry right now. Twitter has decided to follow in the footsteps of Fakebook and introduce an algorithmic timeline. When the news of this hit Twitter, there was a twidiot storm the likes of which has seldom been seen on the service. They went on a rage-filled tweet rampage, vowing that Twitter was dead to them, they would never tweet again (the world should be so lucky), and other hysterical dramatics.

  • Worst tech mergers and acquisitions: Novell and Unix, Borland and Ashton-Tate

    In 1991, if you were running a personal computer network in your business or enterprise, there was a good chance it was running on Novell’s NetWare, which was the predominant server-based network operating system at the time.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital

      If ever one wondered about the efficacy of a state government agency imposing officials on local governments, Flint has answered that question forever.

      In April, 2014, the state-appointed emergency manager, in order to save money, ordered that the city’s water source be changed from Lake Huron to the notoriously polluted Flint River.

    • Sanders Blasts Michigan Officials for Denying Undocumented People Clean Water

      Senator Bernie Sanders blasted the state of Michigan after reports circulated that undocumented immigrants living in Flint, Michigan have been denied clean drinking water. “This is a humanitarian crisis,” the presidential candidate declared.

      The comments came after the Detroit Free Press reported earlier this week that Flint’s roughly 1,000 undocumented immigrants have faced significant barriers accessing the bottled water now being distributed throughout the city. According to both immigrants and advocates, some people have been turned away because they lacked proper identification, while many others do not even bother because they don’t speak English and fear being deported.

    • The world’s forests will collapse if we don’t learn to say ‘no’

      An alarming new study has shown that the world’s forests are not only disappearing rapidly, but that areas of “core forest” — remote interior areas critical for disturbance-sensitive wildlife and ecological processes — are vanishing even faster.

    • UPOV Works To Improve Breeders’ Applications, Civil Society Calls For Alternative System

      The Geneva-based International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) provides intellectual property rights protection for plant breeders. In 2016, the organisation is planning to work on systems to facilitate breeders’ applications for new varieties. Meanwhile, civil society is calling for ways to protect plant varieties other than through UPOV, which they see as hindering farmers’ rights.

    • Plant Treaty In 2016: Sustainability Solutions, Farmers’ Rights, Global Information System

      Civil society has been concerned with the interrelations between the ITPGRFA, UPOV and WIPO, in particular on the implementation of farmers’ rights, which they say are undermined by the last version of the UPOV Convention (1991) (IPW, WIPO, 2 April 2015).

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Iraq Goes Medieval: Will Build Wall Around Baghdad to Stop ISIS

      In medieval times, cities were walled. At night the gates were locked, the towers guarded, and thieves and brigands were kept outside. At least in theory, because walls could be scaled, or blown up, or tunnels dug, or guards bribed.

      And so in what may turn out to be the ultimate 21st century Renaissance Faire, the Iraqi government, no doubt with the support of, if not the checkbook of, the United States, is building a wall around the city of Baghdad in hopes that that will stop ISIS where nothing else has.

    • Opposing the Plutocracy Means Opposing the Warfare State

      Bernie Sanders wants to stay on message. So his presidential campaign has focused on economic issues. The American economy is rigged, Sanders says, in the interests of the wealthy and well connected. Banks and Wall Street brokerage houses get what they want at the expense of everyone else. The government should step in on the side of ordinary people.

      It’s hard not to resonate with Sanders’s message that the rules of the game are designed to benefit those best positioned to shape them. When power is concentrated in the hands of a few people, when there’s one ultimate rule-making authority, politicians and their cronies can engage in self-dealing with relative impunity. Eliminating the privileges that prop up the crony class would likely prove more efficient and just than Sanders’s proposals to increase the power of the state – which tends persistently to favor the well-connected. But you can find his prescription unappealing while appreciating his diagnosis.

    • In the 2016 Campaign, US Foreign Policy Establishment Not Faring Well Either

      This underlying reluctance of large swaths of the American electorate of both parties to continue such long-standing US meddling in faraway conflicts – which it intuitively, if vaguely, realizes is the major cause of blowback terrorism – is reflected by the better-than-expected standing of antiestablishment candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. Although Trump and Cruz have made some over-the-top comments about bombing ISIS into smithereens, in general they are less hawkish than the mainstream candidates, with their traditional Republican jingoistic foreign policy: Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush. Moreover, the pall of George W. Bush’s disastrous Iraq War still hangs over the 2016 election to such an extent that so far, the candidacy of Bush #3 – who the at the beginning of the campaign in 2015 the media was trying to anoint as the Republican frontrunner – has done abysmally.

    • The Might of the American Empire Was on Full Display at Super Bowl 50: A Bizarre War Spectacle Extraordinaire

      From the fighter jets soaring overhead to the armed troops patrolling Levi Stadium, Super Bowl 50 was a highly militarized event, its 70,000 spectators and millions of television viewers subject to a showcase of war propaganda and heavy security crackdown.

      To much fanfare, the Armed Forces Chorus, comprised of 50 men and women from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force, kicked off the massive sports event by singing “America the Beautiful” from the field. CBS’ broadcast of the song cut away to footage of uniformed troops standing at attention, with text on the screen reading, “United States Forces Afghanistan.” The clip was a nod to a brutal war and occupation, now stretching into its 15th year, as top generals press for an even slower withdrawal.

      Following the national anthem, the U.S. Navy flew its signature Blue Angels Delta formation over the cheering stadium, located in Santa Clara, Calif. The Navy is open about the propaganda purposes of such flights, stating in a press release they are intended to demonstrate “pride” in the military. In a country that dropped 23,144 bombs on Muslim-majority countries in 2015 alone, the war planes are not just symbolic.

    • Israel frets about “Iran as Neighbor” if Aleppo falls & al-Assad Regime Wins

      An Arabic site that aggregates Facebook and other social media postings reports that Israeli officials are filled with anxiety and consternation about the possibility that the regime of Bashar al-Assad will conquer Aleppo with Russian and Iranian help, and will go on to reconstitute itself. It would be, in the view of Israeli hardliners, an Iranian puppet and would give Lebanon’s Hizbullah a free hand in the region. Yuval Steinitz, a cabinet member with a portfolio for strategic affairs, warned that the victories of the Syrian Arab Army in the Aleppo area constitute a long-term threat to Israel.

    • Erdogan Threatened Europe with Refugees, now Demanding US abandon Syrian Kurds

      Reuters reports that Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan allegedly bullied European leaders and threatened to drown Europe in refugees if his terms were not met. He wanted 6 Bn Euros to keep the 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey happy enough in that country to discourage them from moving to Europe.

    • Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Fight for Feminist Crown

      One would be the first woman to get the Democratic presidential nomination and, if successful, go on to become the first female president of the United States. The other is an old, white man. Yet the question of who’s more of a feminist, Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has provoked surprisingly impassioned debate and a volatile divide on the left.

      Since the Sanders campaign started, female fans have had to fend off accusations that their support is anti-feminist. Last week, women’s rights icon Gloria Steinem even suggested that young women only support Sanders to attract boys, and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright opined to Democratic voters that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Meanwhile, Bill Clinton accused “Bernie Bros”—a term that seems to have become a derogatory catchall for Sanders supporters of any gender—of “vicious” and “profane” sexism. Since then, an array of feminists for Bernie have come out swinging, challenging the idea that XX-chromosomes a feminist candidate makes.

    • Dear Hillary, Madeleine and Gloria: Full Feminism Demands We Say No to America’s Deadly Imperial Wars

      Two powerful backers of Hillary Clinton attracted headlines—and outrage—this weekend when they uttered sweeping statements under the banner of “feminism,” calling on young women to back the former Secretary of State’s presidential bid.

      Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of Sate, introduced Clinton in New Hampshire on Saturday by declaring, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

    • GOP Candidates Compete Over Who Will Commit Most War Crimes Once Elected

      At a rally in New Hampshire on Monday night, Donald Trump was criticizing Ted Cruz for having insufficiently endorsed torture – Cruz had said two nights earlier that he would bring back waterboarding, but not “in any sort of widespread use” – when someone in the audience yelled out that Cruz was a “pussy”. Trump, in faux outrage, reprimanded the supporter, repeating the allegation for the assembled crowd: “She said he’s a pussy. That’s terrible. Terrible.”

    • The US Military Bombs in the Twenty-First Century

      Maybe Washington should bluntly declare not victory, but defeat, and bring the U.S. military home.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Could a President Hillary Clinton Be Impeached Over Her Emails?

      If Hillary Clinton is elected president, could her slow-bleeding email scandal lead to her impeachment?

      The question has been percolating in right-wing circles since last October, when Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama broached the subject in an interview with conservative talk-radio host Matt Murphy. If Clinton makes it to the White House, Brooks declared in no uncertain terms, “the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors” arising from her use of a private email server to discuss matters of national security during her tenure as secretary of state.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sanctuary Ocean Count

      Every year in January, February, and March, volunteers count whales from the shores of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and the Big Island for the annual Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count.

    • Iowa Will Soon Decide Whether To Allow An Oil Company To Seize Residents’ Land

      The thought of a massive pipeline moving crude oil some 60 inches underneath his farmland troubles Richard Lamb. It isn’t just the risk of an accident or the burden of clashing with the powerful oil industry. It’s the helplessness of facing Iowa’s eminent domain.

    • No, Poor Countries Aren’t The Only Ones That Will Suffer From Climate Change

      A well-meaning but ultimately flawed new study tries to argue that climate change is even more unfair than we thought. It has long been understood that climate change is uniquely inequitable and immoral since most of the world’s poorest countries will suffer greatly from its impacts, even though they have contributed little or nothing to the problem because they are historically low emitters of carbon pollution.

      A study released Friday by The University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society goes even further, however, arguing that the world’s big carbon polluters won’t suffer greatly from climate change.

  • Finance

    • David Cameron’s MUM joins the fight against Tory cuts in campaign to save children’s centres

      They say mother knows best – and in David Cameron’s case it certainly seems to be true.

      The Prime Minister’s mum Mary has signed a petition aimed at stopping Tory cuts.

      Jill Huish, who runs the campaign that Mary backed, said: “It shows how deep austerity is cutting our most vulnerable when even David Cameron ’s mum has had enough.”

    • Record Number of Investor-State Arbitrations Filed in 2015

      Geneva, 2 February 2016 – UNCTAD has updated its recently launched Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator. The ISDS Navigator is now up to date as of 1 January 2016.

      The update reveals that the number of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases filed in 2015 reached a record high of 70. Spain was by far the most frequent respondent in 2015, with 15 claims brought against it. The Russian Federation is second on this list with 7 cases.

    • PayPal blocks VPN, SmartDNS provider’s payments over copyright concerns

      PayPal has stopped accepting payments for Canadian outfit UnoTelly—a provider of VPN and SmartDNS services—because these might be used to facilitate copyright infringement.

      UnoTelly said in an update on its website that Paypal had “severed payment processing agreement unilaterally and without prior warning.” It added: “Paypal indicated that UnoTelly is not allowed to provide services that enable open and unrestricted Internet access.”

      Ars sought comment from PayPal on this story, however, it had not immediately got back to us at time of publication. We’ll update this story, if the online payments giant does get in touch.

      UnoTelly told its customers that it had no control over PayPal’s decision, and apologised for the inconvenience.

    • Privatization Is the Atlanticist Strategy to Attack Russia — Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson

      Two years ago, Russian officials discussed plans to privatize a group of national enterprises headed by the oil producer Rosneft, the VTB Bank, Aeroflot, and Russian Railways. The stated objective was to streamline management of these companies, and also to induce oligarchs to begin bringing their two decades of capital flight back to invest in the Russia economy. Foreign participation was sought in cases where Western technology transfer and management techniques would be likely to help the economy.

      However, the Russian economic outlook deteriorated as the United States pushed Western governments to impose economic sanctions against Russia and oil prices declined. This has made the Russian economy less attractive to foreign investors. So sale of these companies will bring much lower prices today than would have been likely in 2014

    • Top German Judges Tear To Shreds EU’s Proposed TAFTA/TTIP Investment Court System

      As Techdirt has repeatedly pointed out, one of the most problematic aspects of the TAFTA/TTIP deal being negotiated between the US and the EU is the inclusion of a corporate sovereignty chapter — officially known as “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS). Techdirt isn’t the only one worried about it: no less a person than the EU’s Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, said last year that she “shares” the concerns here. Her response was to draw up the new “ICS” — “Investor Court System — as an alternative. US interest in ICS is conspicuous by its absence, but Malmström keeps plugging away at the idea, evidently hoping to defuse European opposition to TTIP by getting rid of old-style corporate sovereignty.

    • Australia’s Arrogant, Irresponsible Trade Minister Rejects Calls For Cost-Benefit Analysis Of TPP

      Mike has just written about the way the US public is being short-changed over the promised “debate” that would follow the completion of the TPP negotiations. That broken promise is just part of the general dishonesty surrounding the whole deal. For example, the public was told that it was not possible for it to make its views known during the negotiations, because they had to be secret — even though many other trade deals aren’t — but that once everything was agreed there would be ample time for a truly democratic debate. Of course, at that point nothing could be changed, so the debate was little more than a token gesture, but now it seems the US public won’t even get that.

    • Austerity Ireland: Europe open your eyes

      Some rights reserved.On a wet and windy winter evening in December 2015, a crowd of 1,000 people gathers around a doorstep in Dublin’s city centre, a stone’s throw from the Irish parliament. A representative of the Irish traveling community, a group of under 65,000 people that has long been fighting unsuccessfully for official recognition as an ethnic minority, enters the stage. The woman reluctantly explains that she is not a good public speaker. The crowd nonetheless breaks into cheer when she emphatically declares: “Europe has to see now what’s going on, they really do have to see what’s going on.”


      Nominal income exceeds that of 2014 by €20billion and public debt is predicted to sink below the 100% GDP mark. The American Chambers of Commerce announced in December 2015 that US multinationals are expected to create an additional 14,000 jobs in Ireland over the next two years. Those relying on government statistics and mainstream media reports might ask “What’s not to like?”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Ordinary Americans Fought Big Money and Won in 2015

      Americans believe in democracy—and they’re ready to reclaim it from the wealthy special interests that have grown ever-more dominant since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

      The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that money has too much influence over elections, and that the system for financing political campaigns needs a radical overhaul.

      Over 90 percent of Iowa caucus voters—in both parties—recently told pollsters they are unsatisfied or “mad as hell” about the role of money in politics.

    • Top Hillary Clinton Advisers and Fundraisers Lobbied Against Obamacare

      Hillary Clinton is campaigning as a guardian of President Barack Obama’s progressive policy accomplishments. In recent weeks, she has called the Affordable Care Act “one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party, and of our country,” and promised that she is “going to defend Dodd-Frank” and “defend President Obama for taking on Wall Street.”

      Meanwhile, however, Clinton’s campaign has been relying on a team of strategists and fundraisers, many of whom spent much of the last seven years as consultants or lobbyists for business interests working to obstruct Obama’s agenda in those two areas.

    • Why Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Called Bernie Sanders “Dangerous”

      Lloyd Blankfein, longtime CEO of Goldman Sachs, didn’t like what Bernie Sanders said about him in early January, and he fired back on CNBC’s “Squawkbox” last week, saying Sanders’ critique “has the potential to be a dangerous moment.”

      But there’s more to that story than it appears. It’s not simply that Sanders uses Blankfein as a symbol of the “greed of Wall Street” — it’s that Sanders does so while highlighting the evocative contrast between the 2008 bailout of Wall Street and Blankfein’s public advocacy for cuts to entitlements.

    • Taxpayers Give Big Pensions to Ex-Presidents, Precisely So They Don’t Have to Sell Out

      “We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Hillary Clinton complained in an interview in 2014, justifying her spree of paid speeches on Wall Street and elsewhere.

      Those speeches have now turned into a major political controversy, with the campaign refusing to agree to release the transcripts of what was said.

      Despite Clinton’s protestations, however, the reality is that this country does not allow its former presidents to live “dead broke.” Running the country has great retirement benefits. Ex-presidents are given pensions of nearly $200,000 annually as well as funding for office space and custodial staff.

    • NRA’s Ted Nugent: Jewish Supporters Of Gun Safety Laws Are “Nazis In Disguise”
    • Key Members of Hillary Clinton Team Lobbied Against Bills She Now Touts as National Accomplishments

      As she campaigns for the presidency, Hillary Clinton is heralding the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, yet she has infused her staff with former lobbyists and consultants who did all they could to block the two reforms.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade

      In the ‘80s and ‘90s, she served on the board of Wal-Mart — a company notorious for its horrendous treatment of workers and union-crushing efforts — and, while the corporation waged a war against its labor force, Clinton said nothing, did nothing, and fought nothing.

      In 1990, she made the statement: “I’m always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do, and the way that we do it better than anybody else.”

      This is a company that has used foreign labor (including child workers), stolen its worker’s wages by forcing them to work while off-the-clock, and discriminated against elderly and disabled employees.

    • The Failed Record of the Establishment: Why Talk Is Cheap in 2016

      Clinton, meanwhile, has zigzagged sharply to the Left to try to tap into the energy of Sanders.

    • I’m a Woman and I Will Vote for the Best Feminist for President: Bernie Sanders

      I won’t vote against Hillary Clinton because she’s female, but I don’t intend to vote for her because I am. We need more fundamental changes in this country

  • Censorship

    • Protesting does not equate to censorship

      Campus is rife with controversy over an event hosted by the Young Americans for Liberty set for Jan. 9. The event titled, “How the Progressive Left is Destroying American Education,” will feature the very loud personality Milo Yiannopoulus. For those who are not familiar with Yiannopolous, otherwise known and self-labeled as “The Most Fabulous Supervillain on the Internet,” he allegedly stands to reclaim free speech from social justice activists. Yiannopolous has garnered strong opposition as his planned tours across campuses stand to continue. Opposition stems from Yiannopolous’s incendiary, often sexist, racist and homophobic comments and tweets. One such example is Yiannopolous’s tweet stating, “Feminists want to do away with gender pronouns in that they’re all so disgustingly fat no one can tell what sex they are anyway.” Posters around campus advertising the event write, “Feminism is cancer” and “Prepare to get triggered.” Despite the frustration and anger over Yiannopolous, I think we must all remember that his comments, and the ideology that it stands for, is simply not worth engaging with.

    • Historical censorship can’t change the past

      Censorship is a dirty word in a country where the liberty to say and print what we want is the very lifeblood of not just our government and legal system, but our lives.

      On Jan. 14, the Houston Independent School District board voted to rename four schools bearing the names of known Confederate figures. One of those schools bore a name familiar to University of Georgia students: Henry W. Grady — the very man after whom our college of journalism is named.

    • The campus court of Versailles

      Debates on abortion are cancelled because having two people without uteruses discuss the issue is apparently harmful to students’ ‘mental safety’. Trashy pop songs like ‘Blurred Lines’ have been banned for similar reasons. And, more recently, there was an attempt to bar Germaine Greer from speaking at Cardiff University. Groupthink and censorship are the order of the day.

    • Campus censorship is a dangerous trend that has to stop

      Censorship is having a devastating impact upon freedom of speech on university campuses and is a threat to the freedoms and liberty of us all.

    • How censorship works in Vladimir Putin’s Russia

      Russia can be a murderously difficult place to do independent journalism; the killing of reporter and activist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 ought to have made that manifestly clear. But journalism isn’t the only kind of speech that’s under threat in Russia. A new report from PEN America makes it clear how a confluence of laws ostensibly aimed at combating terrorism and religious hatred and protecting children have created an environment in which it’s increasingly hard to publish fiction, broadcast independent television or put on theatrical and musical productions that don’t toe an ever-shifting party line.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Proposed Utah law would make doxing a six-month jail crime

      A bill proposed in the Utah State House of Representatives on Monday would update and amend passages in the state’s criminal code regarding “offenses committed by means of electronic or computer functions.” However, in attempting to address the issue of “doxing”—meaning, publishing personally identifying information on the Internet as a way to harass or attack someone—the bill’s language may consequently target free online speech.

      Utah HB 255, titled “Cybercrime Amendments,” counts State Representative David E. Lifferth as its lead sponsor, and it includes amendments that would penalize denial-of-service attacks and false emergency reports at specific locations (i.e. swatting). Utah state criminal code already punishes certain kinds of electronic communications “with intent to annoy, alarm, intimidate, offend, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another,” and HB 255 would append that specific passage to count the act of “distributing personal identifying information” as actionable, should that be done with any of the aforementioned intent.

    • Dangerous Speech: Would the Founders Be Considered Domestic Extremists Today?

      Not only has free speech become a four-letter word—profane, obscene, uncouth, not to be uttered in so-called public places—but in more and more cases, the government deems free speech to be downright dangerous and in some instances illegal.

      The U.S. government has become particularly intolerant of speech that challenges the government’s power, reveals the government’s corruption, exposes the government’s lies, and encourages the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.

      Indeed, there is a long and growing list of the kinds of speech that the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation and prosecution: hate speech, bullying speech, intolerant speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, incendiary speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, right-wing speech, extremist speech, etc.

    • Law and policy round-up: three points about Cameron’s prisons speech

      First, prisons are expensive even if “law and order” rhetoric is cheap. Wise politicians realise this and know that the current approach to prisons policy is financially unsustainable, regardless of what lines voters and tabloids clap along with. The current policy also makes no real sense from a crime prevention perspective and is best seen as one devised by a mischievous demon.

    • The Power of Pictures

      This is the power of imagery. It often captures what words can’t. It angers, it frustrates, it provokes. And it is the reason that the American Civil Liberties Union has been fighting in court for more than 10 years for the release of photographs documenting the maltreatment of prisoners in U.S. military custody in the so-called “war on terror.”

    • Documents Show Chicago Cops Routinely Disabling Recording Equipment

      When the dashcam footage of the shooting of Laquan McDonald was finally released by the city of Chicago, it was notably missing the audio. In fact, no surviving footage of the shooting contains any audio. It’s 2016 and the Chicago PD is still producing silent films.

    • What role were you born to play in social change?

      In California, Moyer went to graduate school to study social movement theory and indulge his love of analytical thinking. He became best known for identifying eight stages of successful social movements, which he named the Movement Action Plan, or MAP. I found activists using MAP as far away as Taiwan, where they had already read it in translation before I got there.

    • Officials Outraged After ‘Shocking’ Report on NYPD Kicking People Out of Homes

      A wide swath of public officials are calling for change in response to a Daily News and ProPublica investigation about the NYPD’s use of an obscure type of lawsuit to boot hundreds of people from homes. The cases are happening almost exclusively in minority neighborhoods.

      Several city council members said they were considering amendments and other reforms to safeguard abuses.

      Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson said the statistics included in the story are “shocking.”

    • There are 72 DHS Employees on Terrorist Watch List

      Either the terror watch list is complete bull, or the Department of Homeland Security has a big problem. Come to think about it, maybe you can read it both ways.

    • France: Abuses Under State of Emergency

      France has carried out abusive and discriminatory raids and house arrests against Muslims under its sweeping new state of emergency law. The measures have created economic hardship, stigmatized those targeted, and have traumatized children.

      In January 2016, Human Rights Watch interviewed 18 people who said they had been subjected to abusive searches or placed under house arrest, as well as human rights activists and lawyers working in affected areas. Those targeted said the police burst into homes, restaurants, or mosques; broke people’s belongings; terrified children; and placed restrictions on people’s movements so severe that they lost income or suffered physically.

    • Part 2: Seth Freed Wessler on Uncovering the Deaths of Dozens at Privatized Immigrant-Only Jails

      A shocking new investigation about private prisons has revealed dozens of men have died in disturbing circumstances inside these facilities in recent years. We continue our conversation with journalist Seth Freed Wessler, who spent more than two years fighting in and out of court to obtain more than 9,000 pages of medical records that private prison contractors had submitted to the Bureau of Prisons.

    • Donald Trump called Ted Cruz a “pussy” — and the media won’t repeat it

      Trump was criticizing the Texas senator’s unwillingness to support widespread uses of torture when a woman in the audience called Cruz, Trump’s chief rival for more conservative voters, a “pussy.”

      Then, amazingly, Donald Trump repeated it so the entire crowd could hear.

      “She said — I never expect to hear that from you again!,” he told the crowd, in mock disapproval. “She said: ‘He’s a pussy.’ That’s terrible.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Adopt open source for connectivity: TRAI

      In a visit to India in December 2015, Google CEO Sundar Pichai had said the company had ‘tonnes of data’ from its tests in Sri Lanka and Indonesia to demonstrate that Project Loon created no such interference and would be sharing it with the government.

    • Adopt open source technology for unbiased internet connectivity: Regulator tells telcos
    • Net Neutrality Again Puts F.C.C. General Counsel at Center Stage

      Every day for one month last fall, Jonathan Sallet, the general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, sneaked into a small, windowless office at the agency, its location undisclosed except to senior staff.

      From 6 a.m. until early evening, with Bach streaming in the background, he worked mostly alone, marking up stacks of law books and standing in front of a lectern. His job: Defend in court the F.C.C.’s most contentious policy — rules to classify broadband Internet providers as utilities, widely called net neutrality.

      “I did nothing for one month but prepare,” Mr. Sallet said in an interview. “I talked a lot to the wall.”

      His arguments, though — like nearly all of his actions for the agency — have had far-reaching reverberations.

    • The Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Internet

      Nafkot Nega thinks journalists are terrorists. When I visited him and his mother, Serkalem Fassil, at their tiny apartment in the outskirts of Washington, DC, in early January, 9-year-old Nafkot intermittently murmured and jabbed his hands, pretending to be a superhero fighting criminals.

      Perhaps some of those criminals were journalists like his father, Eskinder Nega, who was convicted of violating Ethiopia’s anti-terror law in July 2012. Eskinder is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence.

      “Journalism is a crime or a terrorist act in his mind because what has been portrayed about [his dad],” Serkalem explained to me through a translator. “Not only his dad, but if you mention any journalist he will scream and say ‘I don’t like journalists!’”

    • Facebook’s free Internet app banned by India’s new net neutrality rule

      Facebook’s attempt to provide free access to a selection of websites in developing countries was dealt a blow today when India’s telecom regulator banned arrangements that charge different amounts for access to different parts of the Internet. The move effectively prevents “zero-rating” schemes in which certain Web services count against data caps while others do not.

    • India deals blow to Facebook in people-powered ‘net neutrality’ row
    • India Shuts Down Zuckerberg’s ‘Free Basics’
    • Zuckerberg Says Banning Free Basics Won’t Keep Internet.org Away From India
    • TRAI rules in favour of Net neutrality
    • India Blocks Facebook’s Free Basics, Other Zero-Rated Mobile Services Over Net Neutrality
    • Take your digital media abroad

      At the moment, if you travel abroad you often can’t access digital media that you’ve paid for at home. The European Commission is proposing draft legislation that would let people who have paid for digital media in their country of residence watch that media while they’re temporarily in another EU country.

    • Does Cyberspace Exist? Is It Free? Reflections, 20 years Later, on A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

      Twenty years ago tonight, I was at a staff party for the closing of the World Economic Forum, lured there by a coven of the contemporary geishas that staffed the Forum in those days, composed largely of doctoral students in Foreign Affairs at the University of Geneva. But I had also agreed to write something about that moment for a book called 24 Hours in Cyberspace. This was a slightly silly proposition, given that it was largely a book of photographs, and a photograph has yet to be taken of anything in Cyberspace.

    • Comcast Using Minority Astroturf Groups To Argue Cable Set Top Box Competition Hurts Diversity

      For years one of the greasier lobbying and PR tactics by the telecom industry has been the use of minority groups to parrot awful policy positions. Historically, such groups are happy to take financing from a company like Comcast, in exchange repeating whatever memos are thrust in their general direction, even if the policy being supported may dramatically hurt their constituents. The tactic of co-opting these groups helps build the illusion of broad support for awful policy, and was well documented during AT&T’s attempted takeover of T-Mobile, and Comcast’s attempted takeover of Time Warner Cable.

    • T-Mobile urges FCC to “tread lightly” on video throttling and zero-rating

      A T-Mobile USA executive yesterday urged the Federal Communications Commission not to take any action against the carrier’s “Binge On” program, which throttles nearly all video content and exempts certain video services from data caps.

    • States Wake Up, Realize AT&T Lobbyists Have Been Writing Awful Protectionist State Broadband Laws

      For more than fifteen years now companies like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink have quite literally paid state legislatures to write protectionist broadband laws. These laws, passed in around 20 states, protect the incumbent duopoly from the faintest specter of broadband competition — by preventing towns and cities from either building their own broadband networks, or from striking public/private partnerships to improve lagging broadband networks. They’re the worst sort of protectionism, written by ISPs and pushed by ALEC and ISP lobbyists to do one thing: protect industry revenues.

      Despite the fact the laws strip away citizen rights to decide local infrastructure matters for themselves (because really, who better to decide your town’s needs than AT&T or Comcast executives), ISPs for more than a decade managed to forge division by framing this as a partisan issue. But then something changed: companies like Google Fiber and Tucows began highlighting how public/private partnerships are actually a great way to fill in the broadband gaps left by an apathetic, uncompetitive broadband duopoly.

    • The Battle for the Web: Five Years After Egypt’s #Jan25 Uprising

      Behind the Western-supported government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s lies a troubling trend threatening free speech in Egypt. CPJ’s latest figures list Egypt as the second highest jailer of journalists, second only to China. Eighty-two percent of all journalists in prison in Egypt used the Internet as a medium, according to the organization’s 2015 prison census. A recent report [PDF] from the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression found 366 violations of freedom of the press in the latter six months of 2015, 36 of which related to “news networks or websites.”

  • DRM

    • Dismantling The Repair Monopoly Created By The DMCA’s Anti-Circumvention Rules

      One of the biggest victories of the copyright maximalists was the successful adoption of the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty, implemented by the DMCA in the US, and the Copyright Directive in the EU. Its key innovation was to criminalize the circumvention of copyright protection mechanisms. That strengthens copyright enormously by introducing yet another level of legal lockdown, and thus yet another powerful weapon for copyright holders to wield against their customers. But as Techdirt has reported, the anti-circumvention laws are now being used to prevent people from exploring or modifying physical objects that they own.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Performer Lady Gaga (And Mom) Defend Internet Domain

        A cease-and-desist letter was sent on 1 December, to which the respondent replied that the website was for sale, that two offers had already been received (for $7000 and $4000) but that she would prefer to sell it to the Lady Gaga foundation itself.

    • Copyrights

      • ‘Historic result’: Happy Birthday public domain deal agreed

        Music publisher Warner/Chappell has agreed that “Happy Birthday to You” can enter the public domain and will pay out $14 million in damages, in what has been described as a “historical result” by the film makers that brought the case.

        Good Morning to You Productions submitted its settlement deal to the US District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, February 8. The deal will need to be signed off by Judge George King in a hearing scheduled for March 14.

        The case stemmed from a class action lawsuit filed against Warner/Chappell in 2013 that said it was not the owner of the copyright to the lyrics in the popular song and had unfairly collected royalties.

      • Warner To Pay $14 Million In ‘Happy Birthday’ Settlement; Plaintiffs Ask For Declaration That Song Is In Public Domain

        This is indeed a large payoff, one that indicates Warner/Chappell is not willing to test the merits of its case in front of a jury. The merits of the case, of course, are pretty much some random assertions with little documentation to back them up, but assertions that have, nonetheless, allowed Warner to obtain an estimated $50 million in licensing fees over the years. The $14 million Warner will pay is roughly in line with what it expected to make during the remaining years of the copyright term.


Links 8/2/2016: Vista 10 Nags Help GNU/Linux, Nautilus Updated

Posted in News Roundup at 7:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • OpsClarity Extends Monitoring to Open Source Suites

    OpsClarity’s intelligent monitoring solution now provides monitoring for a growing and popular suite of open source data processing frameworks, including Apache Kafka, Apache Storm, Apache Spark as well as datastores such as Elasticsearch, Cassandra, MongoDB. The solution is intended to enable DevOps teams to gain visibility into how these technologies are dependent on each other and troubleshoot performance issues.

  • The future of the network is open source and programmability, says industry expert

    Network technology has changed considerably in the last 20 years, but most of the changes have been incremental – particularly as they relate the roles and responsibilities of network engineers and administrators.

  • HFOSS: Reviewing “What is Open Source?”, Steve Weber

    This blog post is part of an assignment for my Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Development course at the Rochester Institute of Technology. For this assignment, we are tasked with reading Chapter 3 of Steve Weber’s “The Success of Open Source“. The summary of the reading is found below.

  • Events

    • Linux.Conf.Au 2016 Videos Now Online

      Linux.Conf.Au 2016 ran last week from 1 to 5 February in Geelong, Australia. If you weren’t able to go to this annual Linux conference down under, the videos from all of the presentations have now been uploaded.

    • First Open Source Scholarship recipients

      Catalyst is delighted to announce the first two recipients of the Catalyst Open Source Scholarship. Recipients Liam Sharpe and Aleisha Amohia will receive $2000 towards study costs each year for the next three years, while they complete their Bachelor of Science degrees. Both are majoring in computer science.

    • coala at FOSDEM 2016

      coala was present at FOSDEM 2016 – it was a pleasure for us to be able to show you what we created at our stand and in the talk.

    • LowRISC

      As well as being open, there are a couple of key features that make LowRISC stand out. According to Alex Bradbury, co-founder of the LowRISC project: “I guess the notable features that we’re looking at adding are tagged memory support and minion cores. Tagged memory gives you the ability to annotate memory locations to, say, limit access for security purposes, and minion cores are very small, simple RISC-V processor.”

    • DevConf 2016 is over

      I have also some notes to android mobile apps. First, I have received some negative comments. I must admit I am not Android user and I am not very familiar with Android UX practices. I can fix something, but you must give me detailed description of it.

      The app required Internals privileges. I am sorry for that mistake, I must check AndroidManifest settings.

      I will try to add some features for DevConf 2017. I hope, I will find some time for that.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Apache Spark rises to become most active open source project in big data

      A healthy interest is not a surprise. In Apache Spark’s relatively short life, there’s been much discussion of its ascendancy. In September, Databricks, the company behind Spark, released results from a survey showing that Spark is the most active open source project in big data with more than 600 contributors within the past year, which is up from 315 in 2014. Plus, Spark is in use not just in the IT industry, but areas like finance, retail, advertising, education, health care, and more. That survey also showed that 51% of Spark users are using three or more Spark components.

    • IBM Provides New Analytics Tools, and Big Datasets for Testing

      IBM has already made many big commitments to data analytics and the cloud. It is committing huge finanical resources to Apache Spark for example, and expanding its cloud portfolio. Now IBM has announced four new data services: Analytics Exchange, Compose Enterprise, Graph, and Predictive Analytics.

    • Free RightScale Tool Lets You Compare Public Clouds
    • Eclipse Che Open Source Cloud IDE Now Available in Beta

      Eclipse Che, an open source cloud IDE with RESTful workspaces and Docker-based machines, is now available in beta.

      Che offers a workspace that is composed of projects and its associated runtimes, making its state distributable, portable and versionable. The platform use VMs, containers, and Web services to bring repeatability, consistency, and performance to workspaces.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • a lambda is not (necessarily) a closure

      But if you said “it’s a closure” — well you’re right in general I guess, like on a semantic what-does-it-mean level, but as far as how Guile represents this thing at run-time, hoo boy are there a number of possibilities, and a closure is just one of them. This article dives into the possibilities, with the goal being to help you update your mental model of “how much do things cost”.

      In Guile, a lambda expression can be one of the following things at run-time:




      Code pointer


      Let’s look into these one-by-one.

  • Public Services/Government


  • Brexit will make Britain less safe: police chief

    Leaving Europe will make it harder for the U.K. to protect itself against terrorists, according to the director of the European law enforcement agency, Europol.

    “I think it will make Britain’s job harder to fight crime and terrorism because it will not have the same access to very well-developed European cooperation mechanisms that it currently has today,” Rob Wainwright told the BBC in an interview.

  • Sorry EC2 Amazon Visitors

    I’d like to apologize to people using Amazon EC2 to visit this blog. Sadly, a few hundred of your peers decided to be abusive, so I was forced to block most of EC2 subnets from access.

    Having hundreds of IPs in the EC2 IP range crawling this site constantly just cannot be allowed. It isn’t like we post articles more than once a day – sometimes not even once a month.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • America Is Flint

      WE have been rightfully outraged by the lead poisoning of children in Flint, Mich. — an outrage that one health expert called “state-sponsored child abuse.”

      But lead poisoning goes far beyond Flint, and in many parts of America seems to be even worse.

      “Lead in Flint is the tip of the iceberg,” notes Dr. Richard J. Jackson, former director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Flint is a teachable moment for America.”

      In Flint, 4.9 percent of children tested for lead turned out to have elevated levels. That’s inexcusable. But in 2014 in New York State outside of New York City, the figure was 6.7 percent. In Pennsylvania, 8.5 percent. On the west side of Detroit, one-fifth of the children tested in 2014 had lead poisoning. In Iowa for 2012, the most recent year available, an astonishing 32 percent of children tested had elevated lead levels. (I calculated most of these numbers from C.D.C. data.)

      Across America, 535,000 children ages 1 through 5 suffer lead poisoning, by C.D.C. estimates.

    • The Water Next Time: Professor Who Helped Expose Crisis in Flint Says Public Science Is Broken

      Working with residents of Flint, Mr. Edwards led a study that revealed that the elevated lead levels in people’s homes were not isolated incidents but a result of a systemic problem that had been ignored by state scientists. He has since been appointed to a task force to help fix those problems in Flint. In a vote of confidence, residents last month tagged a local landmark with a note to the powers that be: “You want our trust??? We want Va Tech!!!”

      But being right in these cases has not made Mr. Edwards happy. Vindicated or not, the professor says his trials over the last decade and a half have cost him friends, professional networks, and thousands of dollars of his own money.

  • Security

    • Docker Engine Hardened with Secure Computing Nodes and User Namespaces

      Enterprise systems need enterprise-grade security. With this in mind, Docker Inc. has updated its core container engine with some potentially powerful security measures.

      Docker Inc. has described this release as “huge leap forward for container security.” The company also added a plethora of networking enhancements to Docker 1.10, released Thursday.

    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – Defending, Detecting, and Responding to Hardware and Firmware Attacks
    • Vulnerabilities in Font Processing Library Impact Firefox, Linux: Report

      Security researchers have found vulnerabilities in Graphite, also known as Libgraphite font processing library, that affects a number of systems. The vulnerabilities, if exploited, allow an attacker to seed malicious fonts to a machine. The Libgraphite library is utilised by Linux, Thunderbird, WordPad, Firefox, OpenOffice, as well as several other major platforms and applications.

      Security researchers from Cisco have posted an advisory to outline four vulnerabilities in the Libgraphite font processing library. One of the vulnerabilities allows the attackers to execute arbitrary code on the machine, and among other things, crash the system.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Jack Straw’s ministries among worst on freedom of information requests

      The former cabinet minister Jack Straw, who has been tasked with considering how to tighten up the Freedom of Information Act, led two of the Whitehall departments most likely to reject public requests for information.

      Straw’s ministries never ranked higher than 15 out of 21 government departments in terms of releasing information in full, according to a Guardian analysis of government-wide figures.

      In 2010, his final year as lord chancellor, the Ministry of Justice was the worst ranked government department, providing none of the information requested more often than any other ministry.

    • Leaked police files contain guarantees disciplinary records will be kept secret

      Guardian analysis of dozens of contracts revealed by hackers shows more than a third allow or require destruction of civilian complaint records

  • Finance

    • The Trouble With the TPP, Day 26: Why It Limits Canadian Cultural Policies

      The intersection between the TPP and Canadian cultural policies is likely to emerge as one of the more controversial aspects of the TPP, particularly given the government’s emphasis on a stronger cultural policy in its election platform. Earlier in the Trouble with the TPP series, I wrote that the TPP fails to protect Canadian cultural policy. I pointed to U.S. lobby pressure to limit Canadian protection of cultural policies as well as provisions that restrict Canada’s ability to consider expanding Cancon contributions to entities currently exempt from payment. I have not been a supporter of mandating Cancon contributions to online video provides such as Netflix, but restricting Canada’s right to do so in a trade agreement is shortsighted, bad policy.

    • What I didn’t read in the TTIP reading room

      TTIP, the EU-US free trade deal, has secrecy written all over it. Those responsible for it live in dread of any public scrutiny. If it was up to me, I would give everyone who’s interested the chance to make up their own minds on the text of the agreement in its current form. Sigmar Gabriel, Minister for Economic Affairs and a top cheerleader for TTIP, has now set up a reading room in his ministry where since the beginning of February German MPs can each spend two hours looking at those texts on which consensus has already been reached.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How dark money stays dark: The Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and the right’s biggest, most destructive racket going

      How do you stop states and cities from forcing more disclosure of so-called dark money in politics? Get the debate to focus on an “average Joe,” not a wealthy person. Find examples of “inconsequential donation amounts.” Point out that naming donors would be a threat to “innocents,” including their children, families and co-workers.

      And never call it dark money. “Private giving” sounds better.

      These and other suggestions appear in internal documents from conservative groups that are coaching activists to fight state legislation that would impose more transparency on the secretive nonprofit groups reshaping U.S. campaign finance.

      The documents obtained by ProPublica were prepared by the State Policy Network, which helps conservative think tanks in 50 states supply legislators with research friendly to their causes, and the Conservative Action Project (CAP), a Washington policy group founded by Edwin Meese, a Reagan-era attorney general.

    • Fox & Friends Slam Beyonce’s Super Bowl Performance: She Saluted Black Lives Matter And Attacked Police Officers
  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • India blocks Facebook Free Basics internet scheme [Ed: it was a huge danger]

      India’s telecoms regulator has blocked Facebook’s Free Basics internet service as part of a ruling in favour of net neutrality.

      The scheme offered free access to a limited number of websites.

      However it was opposed by supporters of net neutrality who argued that data providers should not favour some online services over others.

      The free content included selected local news and weather forecasts, the BBC, Wikipedia and some health sites.

    • No discriminatory tariffs for data services in India

      Finally we have won. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued a press release some time ago telling that no one can charge different prices for different services on Internet. The fight was on in an epic scale, one side spent more than 100million in advertisements, and lobbying. The community fought back in the form of #SaveTheInternet, and it worked.

    • India Bans Zero Rating As The U.S. Pays The Price For Embracing It

      As expected, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has passed new net neutrality rules (pdf) that specifically ban the practice of zero rating. The rules are relatively clear in that they prevent either content companies or ISPs from striking deals that exempt select content from usage caps.

    • Verizon Gives Net Neutrality A Giant Middle Finger, Exempts Own Video Service From Wireless Usage Caps

      In 2010, Verizon successfully sued to demolish the FCC’s original net neutrality rules. In 2015, Verizon joined the rest of the industry in helping launch a barrage of lawsuits to try kill and kill a more legally-sound and updated version of those same rules. While that case continues through the courts, Verizon has made it clear that 2016 will be the year the telco raises a giant middle finger to the FCC and net neutrality supporters alike.

    • 20 Years Ago Today: The Most Important Law On The Internet Was Signed, Almost By Accident

      The internet as we know it would be a very, very different place if 20 years ago today, President Clinton hadn’t signed the Communications Decency Act. To be fair, nearly all of the CDA was a horrible mess that was actually a terrible idea for the internet. A key part of the bill was about “cleaning up” pornography on the internet. However, to “balance” that out, the bill included Section 230 — added by two Congressmen in the House of Representatives: Ron Wyden and Chris Cox. They had pushed this clause as a separate bill, the Internet Freedom and Family Empowerment Act, but it didn’t get enough traction. It was only when they attached it to the Communications Decency Act (which had passed the Senate without it), that it was able to move forward. And thus, 20 years ago today, when President Clinton signed the CDA, most of the attention was on the “stopping indecency” part, and very little on the “throw in” of Section 230. And yet, there’s a strong argument that Section 230 may be one of the most important laws — perhaps the most important — passed in the past few decades.

    • It’s Been 20 Years Since This Man Declared Cyberspace Independence

      When digital dystopians and critics of Internet libertarians need a rhetorical dart board, they often pull out a document written by John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, a former cattle rancher and Grateful Dead lyricist. On this day in 1996, Barlow sat down in front of a clunky Apple laptop and typed out one very controversial email, now known as the “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace,” a manifesto with a simple message: Governments don’t—and can’t—govern the Internet.

    • Also Turning 20 Years Old Today: John Perry Barlow’s Declaration Of The Independence Of Cyberspace
    • Sweden Telecom Official Göran Marby Named To Lead ICANN

      Senior Swedish official Göran Marby today (8 February) was announced as the new president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, succeeding Fadi Chehade who leaves the ICANN to join the World Economic Forum in mid-March. Marby will be the first European to lead ICANN, the internet domain system technical oversight body founded in 1998.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Ikea loses trademark in Indonesia

        Ikea has lost the right to use its name in Indonesia after a local furniture company was handed victory by the country’s Supreme Court.

        The court said that the trademark belonged to PT Ratania Khatulistiwa, a company based in the city of Surabaya, which manufactures rattan furniture. Rattan is made from palm.

        Although Ikea registered a trademark for its name in Indonesia in 2010, it did not open its first store until 2014.

      • 2015 in Canadian IP cases: trade mark

        Managing IP is rounding up important intellectual property decisions coming out of Canadian courts last year. Trade mark cases included a rare interlocutory injunction in a trade mark case and a ruling on the use of a competitor’s mark in metatags

      • Fox loses appeal over Glee TV series

        But the Court has said it will hear further arguments on the question of whether the trade mark at issue is invalid on the ground that series trade marks are incompatible with EU law.

        The decision, published today, is largely a victory for Comic Enterprises, which operates entertainment venues in the UK featuring comedy and music. It owns a UK trade mark for The Glee Club in class 41, which was registered in 2001 (pictured).

Links 8/2/2016: Zenwalk 8.0 Beta 2, Q4OS 1.4.7

Posted in News Roundup at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Chemnitz Linux Days 2016 Is Happening In Just Over One Month

      Alongside FOSDEM, the Czech events like this week’s DevConf.cz, one of the interesting and longstanding German Linux events that pairs open-source/Linux with beer is the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage that’s happening next month.

      Chemnitzer Linux-Tage (Chemnitz Linux Days) is happening this year from 19 to 20 March 2016. There are both German and English tracks with this year being around 90 lectures and 15 workshops.

    • DevConf.cz 2016 Videos Now Available

      Happening the past few days in Brno, Czech Republic has been the Red Hat sponsored DevConf.cz developers conference. For those that missed it and the live streaming, the videos are available to watch on YouTube.

      DevConf featured a variety of open-source / Linux talks particularly around Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, and CentOS. If you wish to watch this year’s videos, you can find the RedHatCzech playlist or start from the embedded player below.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Open Source and .NET — Why It’s Not Picking Up

      Open-source in .NET is not picking up. Despite good efforts from many good people and companies, it seems as if the Microsoft developers scene is far from embracing open-source. Why is this happening, and is there still hope for change?


      But, this doesn’t seem to be enough. OSS projects in .NET are not striving; there is not much innovation happening in this space; and OSS communities aren’t being formed. It is all left as a dream we keep dreaming, but never actually getting to fulfil.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.3 Now In Beta

      FreeBSD developers have released today their first official development media for the upcoming FreeBSD 10.3.

      FreeBSD 10.3 Beta 1 is now available from their FTP server.

    • LLVM Clang 3.8 Compiler Optimization Benchmarks With -Ofast

      A few days ago I posted a number of LLVM Clang optimization level benchmarks using the latest code for the upcoming Clang 3.8 release. Those tests went from -O0 to -O3 -march=native, but many Phoronix readers wanted -Ofast so here are those results too.

      I didn’t include -Ofast in the original tests since I don’t know of many using this optimization level within a production capacity considering it has the potential of doing unsafe math as it disregards standards compliance in the name of performance. However, since several readers requested it and I still had this LLVM/Clang 3.8 build around in the same system configuration, I added in extra runs with -Ofast and -Ofast -march=native.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Why I fought for open source in the Air Force

      I wanted an open source solution and faced a fair amount of resistance from our lawyers, management, users, and proprietary vendors. It was a difficult struggle at times, and it wasn’t until the DoD published their first official guidance on the use of open source software that we started to gain traction. Finally, in the middle of all of the drama, the DoD leadership issued a policy update explicitly stating that open source software was acceptable as long as there was support for it, and that the support could come in the form of government programmers, if necessary.

      This memo was a game changer, but it took more than just a policy update to get momentum to shift toward open source.

  • Programming


  • Hardware

    • Apple error 53 foils low cost repairs – bricks iPhone

      If you have an iPhone or iPad repaired by a company other than Apple, you are likely to encounter Error 53 that only it can fix – at a considerable cost.

      The error usually occurs if you save a few [hundred] dollars by having a third party replacement of the glass, screen, home button, or touch ID sensor regardless of whether genuine parts are used. The iPhone goes into a continual boot loop after attempting a future iOS software update.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Washington Post’s Food Columnist Goes to Bat for Monsanto–Again

      I pointed out that her columns are biased in favor of those industry groups, particularly on the topic of GMOs, even though her column is presented to readers as an unbiased effort to find middle ground in debates about our food system.

      My article was met with crickets of silence from Haspel, her Post editor Joe Yonan and the band of biotech promoters who prolifically praise Haspel on Twitter. I figured that, soon enough, Haspel might write another column that would warrant raising the concerns another notch up the pole. She didn’t disappoint.

    • Female Genital Mutilation Is Not a Uniquely Muslim Problem

      The Independent reports that about 5,000 girls and women in Britain are subjected to female genital mutilation each year: “FGM is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons within families and communities where it is believed to be a necessary preparation for adulthood and marriage.” Ian Tuttle is exasperated by their kid-glove treatment of the practice:

    • Flint’s Crisis Is About More Than Water

      What is in the mind of someone who knowingly poisons children and impairs their lives? Why did the politicians, regulators and bureaucrats who knew the water in Flint, Mich., was toxic lie about the danger for months? What does it say about a society that is ruled by, and refuses to punish, those who willfully destroy the lives of children?

      The crisis in Flint is far more ominous than lead-contaminated water. It is symptomatic of the collapse of our democracy. Corporate power is not held accountable for its crimes. Everything is up for sale, including children. Our regulatory agencies—including the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality—have been defunded, emasculated and handed over to corporate-friendly stooges. Our corrupt courts are part of a mirage of justice. The role of these government agencies and courts, and of the legislatures, is to sanction abuse rather than halt it.

    • Hillary’s Flint Gambit

      I’m completely agnostic about whether this particular trip will hurt or help (it’s very clear that Hillary’s focus on Flint two debates ago helped draw attention, though of course that came months after the lead poisoning was first revealed in October).

      It could be that next week Democrats in the Senate will be able to get Republicans to relent to their demand for Flint funding. But it could also be that Republicans will dig in, given that denying Flint funding becomes a way to deprive the presumptive Democratic nominee a win. That’s true, especially since John Cornyn already accused Democrats of trying to embarrass Republicans on this issue.

    • Why Is the Postal Inspection Service Investigating the Flint Water Crisis?

      They often get brought in as an investigative partner if the government needs to track what has been mailed, and mail fraud charges can serve as hand add-on charges in cases where someone used the mail to help commit a crime.

      I can imagine a lot of things the FBI might be investigating. But I know of no facts, thus far, that involve mail-related crimes.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Flint Strategy

      Clinton needs that firewall of African-Americans voters if she’s going to fend off Sanders’s surge. A clean water campaign—one that elevates the inequities that make African-Americans twice as likely to rely on substandard plumbing as non-Hispanic whites—helps her do that. But her clean water campaign isn’t just a narrow primary tactic to edge out Sanders. Flint is also a prime example of what happens when the government, on all levels, fails to do its job.

    • Flint Crisis: Harvey Hollins Not Giving Task Force Information that Implicates Harvey Hollins

      Some weeks ago, I noted that Rick Snyder had picked his Director of Urban Initiatives, Harvey Hollins, to coordinate response with his hand-picked Task Force to respond to Flint, in spite of the fact that Hollins was intimately involved in all his prior decisions involving Flint.

    • “Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants

      Have you ever read all of those pro-GMO scientists-cum-lobbyists professing their love of science? They are always talking about how science must prevail over ignorance and ideology then they play on the public’s ignorance by using ideology and sloganeering to try to get their points across.

      As as been well documented (see here and here), it is the pro-GMO lobby/industry that distorts and censors science, captures regulatory bodies, attacks scientists whose findings are unpalatable to the industry and bypasses proper scientific and regulatory procedures altogether.

    • Corporations Killed Medicine. Here’s How to Take It Back.

      For most of human history, life-saving drugs were a public good. Now they’re only good for shareholders.

  • Security

    • ‘White hat’ then, Red Hat now

      “From white hat to Red Hat,” was the joke a senior executive of Red Hat quipped to Alessandro Perilli, after hearing excerpts from The Manila Times interview with him, to which Perilli answered back with a wink, and a seemingly knowing smile. In the vast world of technology, a “white hat” is an internet slang, which refers to an ethical computer hacker or a computer security expert who hacks with the intention of improving security systems.

      Perilli is currently the general manager for Cloud Management Strategy for Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions. The technology company recently hosted a full-house Red Hat Forum Asia Pacific in Manila, where key senior executives were in attendance.

    • Vulnerability in Font Processing Library Affects Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox

      Four vulnerabilities in the Graphite (or libgraphite) font processing library allow attackers to compromise machines by supplying them with malicious fonts.

    • Air Force to develop cyber-squadrons, Gen. Hyten says at Broadmoor symposium

      The Air Force plans to revolutionize how it handles computer warfare by beefing up its force of cyberspace experts while contracting out easier jobs, like running the service’s network.

    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – Usable Security–The Source Awakens
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Thousands take part in anti-Islam Pegida protests across Europe

      Protesters from the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement marched in cities across Europe today.

      With around 2000 attendees, the largest was in Dresden, the home town of the group, the Daily Mail reported.

      There were also far right demonstrations in the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Poland, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia and even Australia.

    • Clashes in Calais as anti-migrant Pegida calls for protests across Europe
    • Virginia Man Is Accused of Trying to Join ISIS

      Another day, another faux-terrorism arrest by the FBI. Who do we really need to be protected from anyway?

    • Deadlock: North Korea’s Nuclear Test and US Policy

      The longstanding US approach to North Korea’s nuclear weapons is way off the mark.

    • America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation

      A survey of history shows that America has either been involved in armed conflict or conducted some form of military operations during 223 years of its 240 years of existence as a nation. This is over 90 per cent of the time.

    • What we’ve learned from fifty years of Saudi arms deals

      Aside from the financial gains that al-Yamamah provided for the British government, BP, Shell and above all BAE, there is substantial evidence that Saudi Prince Turki bin Nasser was also a beneficiary of a specially-created BAE “slush fund.”

      Peter Gardiner, one of the men “who lavished luxury on Prince Turki for more than a decade” through his travel agency, revealed to the BBC in 2004 how “on BAE’s instructions, he would lay on a seemingly endless stream of five-star hotels, chartered aircraft, luxury limousines, personal security and exotic holidays for Prince Turki and his entourage”, initially costing BAE “two hundred thousand pounds or three hundred thousand pounds” a year, before increasing “to about a million pounds a year and quickly to two and three and by the time it was completed it was moving up towards seven million pounds a year.”

    • Hillary Clinton, Conscription, and Militarized Feminism

      For hundreds of years in America, women did not have the same rights as men. They – more or less – do now and for some, the final flourish of equality is seen in decisions such as the Pentagon’s 2015 choice to open up all combat jobs to females. While the military exist, it makes practical sense to admit anyone who can hack it.

      However, this week the logical consequences of equality in all things, good and bad, came up in a news item. Turns out there are several important officials who believe that women should be required to register for the Selective Service if they are let into any branch of the military. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Marine Gen. Robert Neller said they supported this plan, and other high-up military guys said they wanted the matter discussed.

      The proper feminist – or anyone who supports women’s equality, no matter how they label themselves should support this, right? After all, the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment would have included a mandate. And yet, this is insane. The draft is wrong. Expanding a sexist evil does not alleviate it.

      Civil rights movements can always be co-opted. The San Francisco Pride Parade decided back in 2013 that Chelsea Manning was not worth honoring after all. Feminism just happened to start pretty early in terms of picking and choosing who matters, and how willing it is to be assimilated into the militarized whole.


      Walsh, it seems, was much more tepid about Clinton in 2008. But darn it, today she is “With Joy, and Without Apologies” in her support. Sen. Bernie Sanders is getting all the youth vote momentum – and even The Nation endorsed him – but Walsh argues that Clinton is “the right and even radical choice” today. She writes line after line about sexism, reproductive freedom, and then this teeny, laughably qualified truth finally appears: “I continue to wonder whether she’ll be more hawkish on foreign policy than is advised in these dangerous times.”

    • Obama Readies To Fight in Libya, Again

      No one is laughing in Washington now. President Obama came, saw and created the very opposite of what he sought, a hardly unusual outcome for the Obama and Bush Administrations in the Middle East. Instead of a pliable dependent government willing to do the bidding of Washington and its NATO foreign legion, there has been an explosion of civil war and Sunni jihadism.

    • Controversial Israel Supporter Funneling Millions Into Clinton Campaign

      Recent disclosures show media mogul and controversial Israel supporter Haim Saban is pouring millions of dollars into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

      Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl together contributed $5 million to the Hillary Clinton Super PAC—Priorities USA Action—between 2015 and 2016 alone, according to disclosures available on OpenSecrets.org, affiliated with the Center for Responsive Politics.

    • Cruz and Rubio: Heirs to Bush-Obama Militarism

      I see no point splitting hairs over whether Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio is the more egregious warmonger. Both love the bloody and costly U.S. empire. Both believe in American exceptionalism. (Rubio arrogantly calls for a “New American Century.”) Both want to make war in the Middle East (and beyond) and “stand behind Israel,” though such policies provoked the 9/11 attacks. Both want to pour money into the military, as though America were militarily threatened. (The US military budget equals the budgets of the next seven highest spending nations.) Both want to prevent détente with Iran, which poses no danger. Both hype terrorism as an existential threat. Both want the government to spy on Americans, especially Muslim Americans. Both want to “control the border,” code for violating the natural right of people to move freely and make better lives without government permission.

    • Capitalism, cronyism and Clinton

      A similar dilemma is at hand in any critical examination of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for this year’s US presidential election. Doug Henwood, an American journalist and a contributing editor at The Nation, has written a short, punchy book challenging Clinton’s campaign narrative, particularly her self-identification as a plucky underdog, by highlighting her cosy relationship with big business and her dubious track record on policy.

    • Hillary Is the Candidate of the War Machine

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down for six consecutive television interviews in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 20, 2011. Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed. “We came, we saw, he died,” she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi’s death by an aide in between formal interviews.

      There’s no doubt that Hillary is the candidate of Wall Street. Even more dangerous, though, is that she is the candidate of the military-industrial complex. The idea that she is bad on the corporate issues but good on national security has it wrong. Her so-called foreign policy “experience” has been to support every war demanded by the US deep security state run by the military and the CIA.

      Hillary and Bill Clinton’s close relations with Wall Street helped to stoke two financial bubbles (1999-2000 and 2005-8) and the Great Recession that followed Lehman’s collapse. In the 1990s they pushed financial deregulation for their campaign backers that in turn let loose the worst demons of financial manipulation, toxic assets, financial fraud, and eventually collapse. In the process they won elections and got mighty rich.

    • More Bombs, More Boots: The US War on ISIS Is Heating Up

      The intensified effort against ISIS won’t come cheap. The Obama administration is asking for more than $7 billion—a 35 percent increase—in the 2017 budget for the fight against ISIS. Despite the sudden military and financial push, Lt. General MacFarland assured reporters earlier this week, “We are closer to the end of the beginning of this campaign…The beginning of the end would be when we get Raqqa back.”

    • Close-Fisted Wealthy Nations Are ‘Failing the People of Syria’: Oxfam

      While some small European countries are donating more than their fair share to aid Syrians, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia are still far behind

    • Dragon & Phoenix: Khamenei Lauds New Sino-Iranian ‘Strategic Partnership’

      Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran this weekend, pledging new bilateral of $600 bn. Over 10 years.

    • Netanyahu demands more billions from US after Iran Deal, insults US Envoy, Steals more Land

      Netanyahu made the claim on the US taxpayer in the wake of his harsh words for the US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro.

      Shapiro had addressed a conference earlier this week in which he said that the Obama administration now questions the commitment of Netanyahu’s government to peace with the Palestinians. Shapiro said that Israel wasn’t acting credibly to curb the violence of Israeli squatters on the Palestinian West Bank against Palestinians, and that it should open more land to the Palestinians: “Too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seems to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law, one for Israelis, and another for Palestinians. . . Hovering over all these questions is the larger one about Israel’s political strategy vis-a-vis its conflict with the Palestinians.” He also criticized Palestinian violence.

    • Suicide Bomber Strikes near US Base; 125 Killed Across Iraq

      Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rejected plans for building a concrete barrier and trench around Baghdad. Instead, Abadi said, checkpoints would be reorganized to provide added security and easier transit.

    • Optimism of the Will

      So now we have another anti-Semite. Mazal Tov (“good luck”) as we say in Hebrew.

      His name is Ban Ki-moon, and he is the Secretary General of the UN. In practice, the highest international official, a kind of World Prime Minister.

      He has dared to criticize the Israeli government, as well as the Palestinian Authority, for sabotaging the peace process, and thereby making Israeli-Palestinian peace almost impossible. He emphasized that there is a worldwide consensus about the “Two-state Solution” being the only possible one.

    • “Bandage Me Quickly!” The Death of a Journalist in Yemen

      On January 17, Yemeni journalist Almigdad Mojalli was killed in a Saudi-led airstrike while reporting on civilian casualties in Jaref, a resort about 32 miles south of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. Mojalli was on assignment for Voice of America. Bahir Hameed, a photojournalist who accompanied Mojalli that day, was injured in the attack. The following is Hameed’s account of what happened, as told to Mohammed Ali Kalfood, a journalist in Sana’a.

    • Hands Up, Don’t Execute

      Many liberals passed sentence on the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom (CCF) weeks ago. The cowboys occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Oregon were criminals. Even worse, they were culturally unsympathetic criminals. “Y’all Qaeda,” was the taunt of choice for the smart set, which rocked with laughter when enterprising wags delivered sex toys to the squares.

      Yet when they put joking aside, many progressives called for these “militants” to be dealt with as “the terrorists they were”: lethally and with extreme prejudice. Besides, many said, the right-wing nuts were probably a bunch of Islamophobic racists.


      During the Ferguson unrest however, the law-and-order right would have none of it. To them, Michael Brown was just a “thug,” a known criminal who had recently shaken down a store. If he didn’t want to get shot, he shouldn’t have resisted a cop, thought many of the same conservatives now outraged over the bloody government response to CCF’s armed defiance.

      Both sides reduce all questions of justice to identity politics, and effectively treat rights as a sympathy-based concept.

      For the left, Michael Brown was a sympathetic figure (an underserved youth of color), so he had Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights which were violated by Officer Darren Wilson. On the other hand, LaVoy Finicum was an unsympathetic figure (a right-wing, gun-owning good ‘ol boy), and a potential threat, so he was fair game to be gunned down in the snow.

    • U.S. Air Force Veteran, Smeared as “an ISIS Fighter,” Just Returned to the U.S.

      The smearing of Long as an “ISIS fighter” by the rabidly anti-Muslim website “Pajamas Media,” based on anonymous government officials, was a sham. From the start, Long and his family were held only in a deportation center after the Turkish government claimed he intended to stay in the country without the proper visa — largely due to the fact that he was on the U.S.’s no-fly list — and he was never charged with (let alone convicted of) anything remotely to do with terrorism or ISIS.

    • Danger Ahead

      The prospects for peace are dimming


      The US military is preparing another invasion of Libya – Yes, they want to go back to the scene of their crime. Because more violence is going to “fix” the problems they created in the first place! Without congressional authorization, and without debate, US troops are getting ready to occupy Libya and put us in the middle of yet another war.

      More US troops are pouring into Iraq – So you thought the Iraq war was over? Think again! They’re not only sending as many as 800 more American soldiers on to Iraq, but they’re just now admitting that there are 4,000 already there – a lot more than they led us to believe. So much for President Obama’s pledge of “no boots on the ground”! This is just the first step toward Iraq War III.

    • Peace is the Keystone of Liberty

      The anti-war movement desperately needs libertarian leadership. And the libertarian movement urgently needs to be strongly anti-war. So in this essay I will offer some chief reasons for every libertarian to be 100% non-interventionist and actively engaged in the cause of peace.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • One Reason CIA Is Claiming Drone Emails Are Top Secret: ACLU’s FOIA

      The NYT has a really helpful description of the emails to Hillary that intelligence agencies are claiming are Top Secret. It explained how several of the emails almost certainly couldn’t derive from the intelligence the agency claimed they came from, such as this one on North Korea.

    • Pentagon Releases 200 Photos of Bush-Era Prisoner Abuse, Thousands Kept Secret

      The Pentagon on Friday was forced to release nearly 200 photographs of bruises, lacerations, and other injuries inflicted on prisoners presumably by U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The record-dump was the result of a Freedom of Information Act request and nearly 12 years of litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which fought to expose the Bush-era torture.

    • 11 Million Pages of CIA Files May Soon Be Shared By This Kickstarter

      Millions of pages of CIA documents are stored in Room 3000. The CIA Records Search Tool (CREST), the agency’s database of declassified intelligence files, is only accessible via four computers in the National Archives Building in College Park, MD, and contains everything from Cold War intelligence, research and development files, to images.

      Now one activist is aiming to get those documents more readily available to anyone who is interested in them, by methodically printing, scanning, and then archiving them on the internet.

    • Pentagon Releases Photos of Detainee Abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan

      These photos appear to be the most innocuous of the more than 2,000 images that the government has fought for years to keep secret. Lawyers for the government have long maintained that the photos, if released, could cause grievous harm to national security because they could be used for propaganda by groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The legal case has stretched on for more than a decade, since 2004, when the American Civil Liberties Union first sued to obtain photos beyond the notorious images that had been leaked from the prison at Abu Ghraib.

    • Establishment Family Values

      Joanna Gosling of BBC News won my prize for the news presenter who exuded the highest level of shrill indignation that the UN should dare to query the actions of the British Government. There was not, of course, any acknowledgement by the BBC that she is married to Craig Oliver, Cameron’s spin doctor in chief.

    • When in Rome: ‘Criminal Consequences’ for Assange’s Tormentors?

      When we consider the context and background – namely that Sweden and the UK have served and continue to serve as proxies for the United States in its pursuit of Assange for his role in exposing US war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere – an array of possible charges before the International Criminal Court quickly begin to look quite plausible.

    • Philip Hammond’s Astonishing Lie

      The official statement by the UK Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond:

      “I reject the decision of this working group. It is a group made up of lay people and not lawyers. Julian Assange is a fugitive from justice. He is hiding from justice in the Ecuadorian embassy.”

      These are the cvs of the group (including the ex-chair who started the work). Hammond’s statement that they are lay people and not lawyers is a blatant, a massive, an enormous, a completely astonishing lie. Yet nowhere has the media called him on this lie.

    • Kafka 2016

      To my astonishment, the FCO Official Spokesman has just confirmed to me that the FCO stands by Phillip Hammond’s statement that the members of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are lay persons, and not lawyers. Even though every single one of them is an extremely distinguished lawyer.

      I confess I am utterly astonished. I know there is nothing more dull than an old buffer like me droning on about falling standards in public life. But when I was in the FCO, the vast majority of colleagues would have refused to advance what is a total and outright lie, about which it cannot be argued there is an area of interpretation, doubt or nuance.

    • Why the Assange Allegation is a Stitch-up

      I am slightly updating and reposting this from 2012 because the mainstream media have ensured very few people know the detail of the “case” against Julian Assange in Sweden. The UN Working Group ruled that Assange ought never to have been arrested in the UK in the first place because there is no genuine investigation are and no charges. Read this and you will know why.

      The other thing not widely understood is there is NO JURY in a rape trial in Sweden and it is a SECRET TRIAL. All of the evidence, all of the witnesses, are heard in secret. No public, no jury, no media. The only public part is the charging and the verdict. There is a judge and two advisers directly appointed by political parties. So you never would get to understand how plainly the case is a stitch-up. Unless you read this.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • No Questions About Climate Change at GOP Debate Sponsored by Big Oil

      The Republican presidential candidates were asked about the Super Bowl but not the future of the planet Saturday night — there were no questions about climate change or global warming in the debate in St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.

    • Beyond Paris: avoiding the trap of carbon metrics

      Instead of changing our economic system to make it fit within the natural limits of the planet, we are redefining nature so that it fits within the economic system.

    • Useful waste offers win-win benefits

      The future is increasingly bright for renewable energy, with the US aiming to cut the price of solar photovoltaics by 75% between 2010 and 2020. Denmark plans to obtain 50% of its energy from wind just five years from now.

    • DEQ Employees Seem Unwilling to Take the Fall for Flint

      In the email, the supervisor noted that a spike in Legionnaires coincided with the switch to Flint’s water. Jerry Ambrose was then the Emergency Manager of Flint; it’s unclear why he was using a GMail address as EM.

    • The Republican Refusal to Aid Flint

      A House oversight committee held a hearing on Wednesday whose purpose was purportedly to identify those responsible for the Flint crisis and determine what could be done to alleviate it. But the committee failed to summon Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, whose environmental officials and emergency managers were the ones who made monumental blunders that led the city to draw water from the polluted Flint River without treating it properly. Instead, Republicans heaped blame on the Environmental Protection Agency, which made mistakes but was a bit player in this drama.

    • Rick Snyder Wasn’t Asked To Testify At Congressional Hearing About Flint Water Crisis

      On Wednesday, Congress will hear testimony from government officials and Flint residents about the years-long problem of contaminated water. Missing from the event, however, will be Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) as well as all of the emergency managers who were appointed to run the city over recent years.

      The Republicans who run the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed Darnell Earley late Tuesday night, the former emergency manager who served during the water switch and ensuing contamination issues, after he refused an earlier call to testify. They also invited the director of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. But no one else in state or city leadership was called to testify.

    • FBI is Now Involved in the Investigation Into the Flint Water Crisis

      The FBI is joining the investigation into the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported on Monday.

      Gina Balaya, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, told the Free Press that federal prosecutors are “working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, EPA’s [Environmental Protection Agency] Office of Inspector General, and EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.”

    • Can Burning Forests To Power The Grid Be Carbon Neutral? The Senate Just Said ‘Yes’

      When the first major update to the nation’s energy laws in nearly a decade began last week in the Senate, environmentalists were cautiously sympathetic to it. The bill didn’t open new land for oil and gas drilling, coal was mostly ignored and the Obama administration’s recent climate change policies were left unscathed.

      But environmentalists around the country are now incensed over an approved amendment categorizing bioenergy as carbon neutral — a move that groups say puts forests and even portions of the Clean Power Plan at risk.

      “I think it’s a very dangerous amendment,” said Kevin Bundy, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, in an interview with ThinkProgress. “It tries to dictate that burning forests for energy won’t affect the climate, that’s what the term carbon neutral is supposed to mean and that’s just not true. You can’t legislate away basic physics.”

    • New Study Ties Fracking Water Disposal To California Earthquakes

      Injecting old, used water from oil and gas drilling in California has been tied to earthquakes for the first time, according to a new study released Thursday. Wastewater injections have already been tied to earthquakes in Colorado and Oklahoma.

    • NY Governor Sounds Warning After Radioactive Water Leaks from Indian Point Nuclear Plant

      Radioactive water has reportedly contaminated the groundwater surrounding the Indian Point nuclear power plant, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday.

      A statement issued from Cuomo’s office reported evidence that “radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater” beneath the facility, which sits on the bank of the Hudson River, just 25 miles north of New York City in Buchanan.

    • The Pipeline Strikes Back: the audacity of TransCanada’s $15b suit against the U.S.

      But as any good Star Wars fan knows, the Empire strikes back. True to form, TransCanada filed a $15 billion legal action against the U.S. government on January 6. The company is demanding that U.S. taxpayers compensate it for the profits it had hoped to make from a pipeline it won’t get to build.

      How can the company do this? TransCanada is making use of a legal weapon so powerful that even Darth Vader would be envious—international trade rules.

      Here is how the system known as “Investor State Dispute Settlement” works. Tucked neatly away inside the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and more than 90 percent of the thousands of other international trade agreements in force around the world are provisions that allow foreign corporations to sue governments whenever a change in policy interferes with the company’s profit-making plans. Companies are allowed to drag governments before closed-door tribunals operated by the World Bank, the International Chamber of Commerce, and others. Companies can force compensation not only for the funds they actually invested, but for many, many times more than that for supposed “lost profits.”

      Who uses these secretive tribunals? The San Francisco-based engineering giant Bechtel sued Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, after the Cochabamba Water Revolt of 2000. This was a massive public uprising against the privatization of the city’s water and subsequent rate hikes for residents. After protests pushed Bolivia’s leaders to reverse the privatization, Bechtel sued Bolivia for $50 million, although it had invested just $1 million in the project.

  • Finance

    • Young Women For Sanders Not to Be Underestimated

      Normally, I would just stay silent if Gloria Steinem said something with which I did not agree. I admire her so much. She has shown so much courage on behalf of women’s issues throughout the years that it is a bit absurd for someone such as me to even consider challenging any comment she makes regarding women.

    • Are The Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?

      US economics statistics are so screwed up that they do not provide an accurate picture.

      Consider the latest monthly payroll jobs report. According to the report, in January 151,000 new jobs were created. Where are these jobs? According to the report, 69% of the new jobs are accounted for by retail employment and waitresses and bartenders. If we add in health care and social assistance, the entirely of the new jobs are accounted for. This is not the employment picture of a First World economy.

      According to the report, in January the retail sector added 57,700 jobs. Considering that January is the month that followed a disappointing Christmas December, do you think retailers added 57,700 employees? Such a large increase in retail employment suggests an expected rise in sales, but transportation and warehousing lost 20,300 jobs and wholesale trade added only 8,800.

      Perhaps it is mistaken to think that employment in these sectors should move together. Possibly the retail jobs, if they are real, are part-time jobs replacing a smaller number of terminated full-time jobs in order that employers can avoid benefits costs. If this is the case, then the retail jobs are bad news, not good news.

      The reported unemployment rate of 4.9% is misleading as it does not count discouraged workers. When discouraged workers are added, the actual rate of US unemployment is about 23%, a number more consistent with the decline in the labor force participation rate. In January 2006 the labor force participation rate was 66%. In January 2016 the labor force participation rate is 62.7%.

    • Sanders Argues for “Yes We Can” While Clinton Counters “No We Can’t”

      Who is the establishment? And why does it think people supporting Bernie Sanders are asking for too much?

    • Rebuke Swift After Albright Declares: ‘Special Place in Hell’ for Women Who Don’t Vote Clinton

      During a campaign event in Concord on Saturday, the former Secretary of State declared: “Young women have to support Hillary Clinton. The story is not over!”

      “They’re going to want to push us back,” she continued. “It’s not done and you have to help. Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

    • The “Bernie Bros” Narrative: a Cheap Campaign Tactic Masquerading as Journalism and Social Activism

      The concoction of the “Bernie Bro” narrative by pro-Clinton journalists has been a potent political tactic — and a journalistic disgrace. It’s intended to imply two equally false claims: (1) a refusal to march enthusiastically behind the Wall Street-enriched, multiple-war-advocating, despot-embracing Hillary Clinton is explainable not by ideology or political conviction, but largely if not exclusively by sexism: demonstrated by the fact that men, not women, support Sanders (his supporters are “bros”); and (2) Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive and misogynistic in their online behavior. Needless to say, a crucial tactical prong of this innuendo is that any attempt to refute it is itself proof of insensitivity to sexism if not sexism itself (as the accusatory reactions to this article will instantly illustrate).

      It’s become such an all-purpose, handy pro-Clinton smear that even consummate, actual “bros” for whom the term was originally coined — straight guys who act with entitlement and aggression, such as Paul Krugman — are now reflexively (and unironically) applying it to anyone who speaks ill of Hillary Clinton, even when they know nothing else about the people they’re smearing, including their gender, age, or sexual orientation. Thus, a male policy analyst who criticized Sanders’ health care plan “is getting the Bernie Bro treatment,” sneered Krugman. Unfortunately for the New York Times Bro, that analyst, Charles Gaba, said in response that he’s “really not comfortable with [Krugman’s] referring to die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters as ‘Bernie Bros’” because it “implies that only college-age men support Sen. Sanders, which obviously isn’t the case.”

    • Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?

      “Self-described socialist” … How many times have we all read that term in regard to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders? But is he really a socialist? Or is he a “social democrat”, which is what he’d be called in Europe? Or is he a “democratic socialist”, which is the American party he has been a member of (DSA – Democratic Socialists of America)? And does it really matter which one he is? They’re all socialists, are they not?

      Why does a person raised in a capitalist society become a socialist? It could be because of a parent or parents who are committed socialists and raise their children that way. But it’s usually because the person has seen capitalism up close for many years, is turned off by it, and is thus receptive to an alternative. All of us know what the ugly side of capitalism looks like. Here are but a few of the countless examples taken from real life:

      * Following an earthquake or other natural disaster, businesses raise their prices for basic necessities such as batteries, generators, water pumps, tree-removal services, etc.

      * In the face of widespread medical needs, drug and health-care prices soar, while new surgical and medical procedures are patented.

      * The cost of rent increases inexorably regardless of tenants’ income.

      * Ten thousand types of deception to part the citizens from their hard-earned ages.

    • Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem

      What was not clear until now is potentially as important. In Iowa it was demonstrated, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it is possible, here and now, to stave off a Clintonite Restoration – possible, that is, to free the country and the world from the thrall of neoliberal-neoconservative politics.

    • Canada and the TPP

      What are we to make of the Trudeau government’s schizophrenic attitude towards the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland formally signed the agreement yesterday in New Zealand but repeated her assurances that critics shouldn’t worry – the government hasn’t committed to ratifying it and consultations and a full Parliamentary debate will precede any ratification. Fair enough – ratification is at least two years away. Yet so far the consultation process has not penetrated the ideological bubble created by her trade department officials. In spite of the fact that by far the biggest concern of critics of the deal (including Joseph Stiglitz and a United Nations report) is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) feature (the one that allows corporations to sue governments for regulating), she seems to be either ill-informed or misled about its impact. At a panel discussion in Vancouver in January she seemed unaware of the ISDS. Her fellow panelists, both economics professors, actively downplayed the threat of ISDS.

    • TPP ‘fundamentally flawed,’ should be resisted – UN human rights expert

      The top United Nations expert on human rights has called on the 12 nations considering the Trans-Pacific Partnership to reject the massive trade agreement since in its current form it “is out of step with today’s international human rights regime.”

      Acknowledging global opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because of the agreement’s “undemocratic pedigree,”Alfred de Zayas, the UN’s independent expert on the promotion of democratic and equitable international order, said the largest trade agreement in decades “is fundamentally flawed and should not be signed or ratified unless provision is made to guarantee the regulatory space of States.”

    • Sanders Vows To Kill TPP If Elected. Will Clinton?

      As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free-trade” agreement was signed in New Zealand by representatives of the 12 participating countries, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strongly voiced his opposition and committed to doing what he can to kill the deal if he is elected president.

      Rival Hillary Clinton has also stated opposition to the TPP, but will she also vow to kill it if elected?

    • New Yorker Shooting Blindly at Bernie Sanders

      It’s clear that Bernie Sanders has gotten many mainstream types upset. After all, he is raising issues about the distribution of wealth and income that they would prefer be kept in academic settings, certainly not pushed front and center in a presidential campaign.

    • Credit Occupy in Bernie Sanders’ Surge

      For insight into Bernie Sanders’ unexpected surge, go back to 2011, to the then-scorned Occupy Wall Street movement and its drive against the 1 percent and income inequality.

      Written off that year as disorganized and ineffective, the Occupy movement has contributed volunteers and—even more important—its powerful message to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. The combination of progressive volunteers and a powerful attack on economic injustice helped Sanders come extremely close to beating Hillary Clinton in Iowa and could be of great help to him in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

    • WATCH: Bill Maher Doubles Down on Bernie Endorsement: ‘F*ck Yeah’ He’s Ready

      On Friday night’s Real Time Bill Maher made his love of Bernie Sanders even clearer and more unequivocal than before, issuing his most enthusiastic endorsement of the Vermont Democratic Socialist yet.

    • Yanis Varoufakis – the origins of the European and global economic crisis

      In this video, acTVism Munich interviews Yanis Varoufakis, a world renowned economist who was a former member of the Greek parliament. He gained immense popularity when he served as finance minister (27 January 2015 – 6 July 2015) for the Greek government, a post that he left shortly after he found out that Greek government made the decision to i mplement the austerity package of the Troika against the popular vote (OXI) of the Greek people.This interview focuses on the history of the global economic system, the transformations that it underwent after World War II and attempts to connect it to the current economic crisis that is sweeping throughout Europe and the globe.

    • VIDEO: Jeremy Corbyn Takes Down Big Banks During Surprise Appearance

      Corbyn began and ended his rousing speech by thanking his supporters and reminding them of the work they have cut out for them in the years leading up to the 2020 election, when he plans to run for prime minister of the United Kingdom. Reflecting on his campaign for Labour leadership in 2015, the British politician said, “The bankers created a crisis, the government’s responded by cutting services, increasing the costs of the poorest people and making the richest even richer. And we said, ‘No, that is the wrong way around.’ ”

    • We Can’t Afford These Billionaires

      In its 2015 report the World Economic Forum, aka the globe-grabbing business elite, pronounced from its opulent mountain fastness in Davos that, “Inequality is one of the key challenges of our time.” Paying $25,000 to attend this billionaires’ bash, and that’s after shelling out the compulsory $52,000 WEF membership fee, the said elite isn’t pronouncing on inequality out of any empathy for the poor and oppressed. This becomes perfectly clear on page 38 of the Global Risks Report 2016 where the reader is informed that inequality has consequences:

    • No ‘Artful Smear.’ Clintons Paid $153 Million in Speaking Fees, Analysis Sh