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Links 3/9/2017: Linux 4.13 Out Shortly, Manjaro 17.0.3, ReactOS 0.4.6, Oracle Solaris Layoffs

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Linux Laptops are on the rise: meet the Entroware Zeus

      Laptops that run Linux-based Operating Systems out of the box have been on the rise lately. The latest and arguably the most powerful addition to the lineup is the “Zeus” laptop by UK-based computer seller “Entroware.” The Zeus manages to gear powerful specs up its chassis while maintaining impressive portability. This 15.6″ laptop is just 18.6 mm thick while weighing at 1.9 KiloGrams.

    • How to Become a Full-Blown Privacy Fanatic With Purism’s Librem Laptop

      Concerns over online privacy and security are increasingly changing the way consumers spend their money and behave online. According to a Pew Research study conducted one year ago, 86 percent of internet users have now taken at least some steps to conceal their digital footprints, though many say they would like to do more, if only they knew how.

  • Server

    • A Comparison of Linux Container Images

      Going back to basics, there are two major parts of an operating system – the kernel and the user space. The kernel is a special program executed directly on the hardware or virtual machine – it controls access to resources and schedules process. The other major part is the user space – this is the set of files, including libraries, interpreters, and programs that you see when you log into a server and list the contents of a directory such as /usr or /lib.

      Linux containers essentially break the two pieces of an operating system up even further allowing the two pieces to be managed independently – the container host and the container image. The container host is made up of an operating system kernel and a small user space that has a minimal set of libraries and daemons necessary to run containers. The container image is made up of the libraries, interpreters, and configuration files of an operating system user space, as well as the developer’s application code.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Family Tech Support | Unleaded Hangout

      In this episode of Unleaded, my Patreon supporters discuss family tech support. Do they offer it, if so, how and do they support Linux? Those that don’t offer tech support, why not? All this and more! (Forgive the rough audio – AC running)

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs Zstd Support Coming To Linux 4.14

      Queued in the btrfs-next tree for Linux 4.14 is Zstd compression support.

      Last month we reported on Facebook looking to add Zstd support to the Linux kernel as well as Btrfs, the file-system widely in use within Facebook and employing the key maintainers. So it’s not to much surprise that queued in btrfs-next for Linux 4.14 is this zstd compression support.

    • Power-efficient workqueues

      Power-efficient workqueues were first introduced in the 3.11 kernel release; since then, fifty or so subsystems and drivers have been updated to use them. These workqueues can be especially useful on handheld devices (like tablets and smartphones), where power is at a premium. ARM platforms with power-efficient workqueues enabled on Ubuntu and Android have shown significant improvements in energy consumption (up to 15% for some use cases).

      Workqueues (wq) are the most common deferred-execution mechanism used in the Linux kernel for cases where an asynchronous execution context is required. That context is provided by the worker kernel threads, which are woken whenever a work item is queued for them. A workqueue is represented by the workqueue_struct structure, and work items are represented by struct work_struct. The latter includes a pointer to a function which is called by the worker (in process context) to execute the work. Once the worker has finished processing all the work items queued on the workqueue, it becomes idle.

    • Two more approaches to persistent-memory writes

      The persistent-memory arrays we’re told we’ll all be able to get someday promise high-speed, byte-addressable storage in massive quantities. The Linux kernel community has been working to support this technology fully for a few years now, but there is one problem lacking a proper solution: allowing direct writes to persistent memory that is managed by a filesystem. None of the proposed solutions have yet made it into the mainline, but that hasn’t stopped developers from trying; now two new patch sets addressing this issue are under consideration.

    • Static analysis on the Linux kernel

      Typically each tool can take 10-25+ hours of compute time to analyze the kernel source; fortunately I have a large server at hand to do this. The automated analysis creates an Ubuntu server VM, installs the required static analysis tools, clones linux-next and then runs the analysis. The VMs are configured to minimize write activity to the host and run with 48 threads and plenty of memory to try to speed up the analysis process.

    • Linux 4.9.47

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.9.47 kernel.

      All users of the 4.9 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.9.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.9.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.4.86
    • Linux 3.18.69
    • Some weekend stable kernels

      The 4.9.47, 4.4.86, and 3.18.69 stable kernel updates have been released; each contains another set of important fixes. Note that there is no 4.12 update in this series.

    • Linux 4.13 Should Be Released Today With Its Many New Features

      Unless there is a last minute hiccup, the Linux 4.13 kernel should be officially released before the day is through.

      Linus Torvalds is anticipating on releasing Linux 4.13 today as the latest stable kernel release. Following that, the Linux 4.14 kernel merge window immediately opens. There’s a lot of interesting work being queued up for Linux 4.14, which is also significant because it will be the next Long Term Support (LTS) kernel version.

    • Google is Mandating Linux Kernel Versions in Android Oreo

      Google has been offering Android as a mobile operating system for close to a decade. The company acquired it in 2005, unveiled it to the public in 2007 and then in 2008 we saw the first commercially available Android smartphone. There are some rules and limitations that Google has in place for a company to be allowed to use the main configuration of Android (which they have faced legal action about in the past), but for the most part they’re giving companies free reign with certain aspects. One aspect that has been up to the OEM is the Linux kernel version but this is changing with Android Oreo.

      As long as the OEM was able to pass the certification tests that Google lays out, then they didn’t care what kernel version was used in a new device. This generally wasn’t an issue as most OEMs would use the same version of the kernel for that generation that other OEMs were using, as it is tied heavily to what the hardware drivers support. However, some had been falling through the cracks and this started to cause security issues. This is something that Google has been taking seriously lately so it makes sense that they would want to start mandating this.

    • With Android Oreo, Google is introducing Linux kernel requirements

      Android may be a Linux-based operating system, but the Linux roots are something that few people pay much mind. Regardless of whether it is known or acknowledged by many people, the fact remains that Android is rooted in software regarded as horrendously difficult to use and most-readily associated with the geekier computer users, but also renowned for its security.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Autumn is here (wait, this is GSoC, not GoT)

        So, as summer is coming to an end, Google Summer of Code is also wrapping up, and the KDevelop Rust plugin is looking good at this point. It now supports semantic highlighting, go-to-definition, renaming declarations, some code completion, debugging, highlighting code errors, and code formatting. I’ll go into a bit more detail for the last three since they were the most recent additions.

        I also focused on a lot of minor improvements this past month to make the plugin easier to build and use, to make it more reliable, etc., so at this point kdev-rust is a solid basis for anyone looking for a Rust IDE.

      • [kdenlive] Design choices ahead

        As many of you may know by now, we are currently doing a code refactoring which will be taking a step forward in making our software more suitable for professional use. In the process, we are facing some critical design choices, and want to hear the opinion of the editors of the community.

      • RX Vega + AMDGPU-PRO + KDE Neon

        Earlier this week I got my dirty hands on an RX Vega 64 card to run on my daily workstation. With the aim to eventually run open drivers in the future my main goal for now was to get AMDGPU-PRO running for day-to-day activities, possibly also moving to Wayland from X11. I’m very interested in Wayland as Kwin has several Wayland-only enhancements, and even if I wouldn’t use it now I wanted to be ready for testing. The Vega card would be replacing an Nvidia GTX 1080 card.

      • Latte bug fix release v0.7.1

        Latte Dock v0.7.1 has been released containing many important fixes and improvements for which you can find more details in the end of the article.

      • KDE: Libmediawiki has been released!
      • KDE: New release for Libkvkontakte!

        The release enables distribution packagers to enable the new features in the latest Digikam release.

      • Farewell GSoC’17

        It has been a great journey, thanks to my mentor, KDE and digiKam coordinators, and great community for the continuous feedback and the encouraging comments. I’m proud to be contributing to this great software and planning to continue.

      • Great Web Browsing Coming Back to KDE with Falkon, New Packaging Formats Coming to KDE with Snap

        Today is a good day filled with possibility and potential. The browser formerly known as QupZilla has gained a better name Falkon and a better home, KDE. This bring quality web browsing back to native KDE software for the first time in some years. It’s a pleasingly slick experience using QtWebEngine and integrating with all the parts of Plasma you’d expect.

        At the same time we at KDE neon are moving to new packaging format Snaps, a container format which can be used on many Linux distros. Falkon is now built by KDE neon CI and is in the edge channel of the Snap archive.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Builder 3.26 Sightings

        We’re getting close to 3.26 and a number of features have landed. Let’s take a quick screenshot tour to see what you’re likely to see in 3.26.

  • Distributions

    • Bitkey A Linux Distribution Dedicated For Conducting Bitcoin Transactions

      Are you looking for a dedicated Linux distro for conducting Bitcoin transactions? You got BITKEY (TURNBITKEY). BITKEY is a bootable system image based on Debian containing everything you need to perform highly secure air-gapped Bitcoin transactions. Under the hood, it comes with a swiss army knife of handy Bitcoin tools that support a wide range of usage models, including a few very secure ones which would otherwise be difficult to perform. BITKEY is based on the Turkey GNU/Linux build system and aims at providing an air-gapped system that is physically disconnected from the internet.

    • Reviews

      • Budgie Desktop – You Shall Not Pass!

        The quest for the ultimate desktop environment continues. In the last few months, we have looked at a range of Qt-based desktops, starting with Ze Papa, Plasma, and then looked at several other new and not so new players, the bold and the beautiful, the less successful and the more rad. The list covers the likes of LXQt, Liri, Nomad, and recently, Lumina, as well.

        Today, we will explore Budgie. Now, this is a rather interesting one. First, we had a taste of it way back when. In the day, it was quite slow, buggy and not very appealing. But then, through my Solus OS testing in the past year or so, I’ve come across Budgie again, and I was rather intrigued by the look & feel and the obvious progress. While my endeavors with Solus were less glamorous, Budgie did impress me as something worth a deeper consideration. For the moment, it’s Gtk and heavily interwoven with Gnome. Moving forward, it will also be using the Qt technology, starting with the upcoming release 11. Let’s have a look.

    • New Releases

      • KaOS 2017.09

        As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.37.0, Plasma 5.10.5, KDE Applications 17.08.0 & not yet released ports of KDE Applications. All built on Qt 5.9.1. New is the addition of preview plugins to Kate/Kwrite (also usable in KDevelop), which when enabled turns Kate into full fledged Markdown editor.

    • Arch Family

      • Changes for ArchLabs

        So ArchLabs has had some changes to the internal team and also a change in direction.

        As you all know we released R2-D2 at the beginning of July and while R2 was well received we became the recipients of some harsh criticism regarding the size of the ISO and the multiple options of applications as well as a lot of negativity regarding the over abundance of themes, icons and other related cruft.

        The ISO size has never sat well with some of the team and we have had multiple requests for a minimal release. Nate (also known as SmokeKing) got working on a super trimmed down edition of R2-D2 which we named Mínimo.

      • [Maintenance] 2017-09-02 – Phasing out i686 support

        The decision means that v17.0.3 ISO will be the last that allows to install 32 bit Manjaro Linux. September and October will be our deprecation period, during which i686 will be still receiving upgraded packages. Starting from November 2017, packaging will no longer require that from maintainers, effectively making i686 unsupported.

      • Manjaro Linux To Drop 32-bit Support

        The Arch-based Manjaro Linux distribution is deciding to retire their x86 32-bit support.

      • Manjaro v17.0.3 released

        Manjaro Gellivara was a great release! Now we are proud to announce v17.0.3, our final release of Gellivara. It took us a little over two months to finish this updated version. We improved our hardware detection, fixed some features in our installer (Calamares), added the latest packages available to our install media and polished our release as a whole. Everyone, who used older install media than v17.0.2 release, should read also this announcement about password weakness and follow its advice to secure your systems.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Free software activities in August 2017
      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (July and August 2017)

        The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

        Ross Gammon (rossgammon)
        Balasankar C (balasankarc)
        Roland Fehrenbacher (rfehren)
        Jonathan Cristopher Carter (jcc)

        The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

        José Gutiérrez de la Concha
        Paolo Greppi
        Ming-ting Yao Wei
        Boyuan Yang
        Paul Hardy
        Fabian Wolff
        Moritz Schlarb
        Shengjing Zhu

      • Indexing Debian’s buildinfo

        Debian is currently collecting buildinfo but they are not very conveniently searchable. Eventually Chris Lamb’s buildinfo.debian.net may solve this problem, but in the mean time, I decided to see how practical indexing the full set of buildinfo files is with sqlite.

      • My free software activities, August 2017

        This is my monthly Debian LTS report. This month I worked on a few major packages that took a long time instead of multiple smaller issues. Affected packages were Mercurial, libdbd-mysql-perl and Ruby.

      • F/LOSS activity, August 2017
      • My free software activities, August 2017

        This is my monthly Debian LTS report. This month I worked on a few major packages that took a long time instead of multiple smaller issues. Affected packages were Mercurial, libdbd-mysql-perl and Ruby.

      • Derivatives

        • Elive is getting closer to version 3.0!

          I also discovered that Elive was criticized because it was a project that offered free live CDs but, to be able to install the distro, one had to pay. Back then, I believed that free software had to be also cost-free, so I did not pay. However, I kept thinking about the project for a long time and, after understanding more about free software, my vision changed.

          I have to say that this took some years. While some distros seem rushed to get releases according to an inflexible calendar, let us just say that Elive prefers to take its time. The last stable release I was referring to dates from 2010… It is so old that the EliveCD page suggests visitors to download the latest beta instead of trying out Elive Topaz!

          In October 2014, my need to have Elive running on my laptop was so big that I paid for the module to install beta 2.3.9, the 19th release of a long development stage that started back in 2013. And I could not have been happier than I did: the beta has run like a stable release on my hardware. What’s more, I have never had a problem with it since the install!

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” Preview Part 3: File Manager

            Here, I show you some screenshots and GIF animations for the Nautilus File Manager 3.25 at Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark”. Because the switch from Unity to GNOME, Ubuntu now has some different looks-and-feels when you operate its file manager. So, it’s time to see how much it differs. Artful will be released at October 2017 and this article is a preview based on its development version. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Enjoy!

          • Finally, Budgie Desktop 10.4 Is Now Available for Ubuntu 16.04, 17.04, 17.10

            The latest Budgie Desktop 10.4 is finally available for Ubuntu 17.10, 17.04, and 16.04 LTS. The 17.10 users can install it directly from repo, while 17.04 users can use ubuntubudgie PPA, and 16.04 LTS users can use budgie-remix PPA. Big thanks for David and Ubuntu Budgie Team to package and provide all these binary packages of the latest Budgie!

          • Budgie Desktop v10.4 released for Debian and Ubuntu

            Budgie Welcome has been updated with all the latest translations; all the above applets can be installed from Budgie Welcome.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Beta 1 All Flavors Released

            At 31 August 2017 Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” Beta 1 released. This means you can download the ISO images and help test them. You can find the official announcement by Martin Wimpress (on behalf Ubuntu Release Team) at ubuntu-release mailing list. Beware, normal users should not use these Beta version because they’re meant for developers & testers, unless you install them on a dedicated machine (a PC or a virtual machine).

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Monthly News – August 2017

              First, I would like to thank you for your donations and for your support. It’s a real pleasure to work on improving Linux Mint not only because it’s fun to develop and integrate software and technology but also because we see how happy and excited you are about what we do.. and that’s an amazing feeling for us.

            • Ubuntu MATE 17.10 Beta 1

              We are preparing Ubuntu MATE 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) for distribution on October 19th, 2017 With this Beta pre-release, you can see what we are trying out in preparation for our next (stable) version.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux on the GPD Pocket 7: The Return of the Hacker Netbook.

      I love netbooks. They’re the mopeds of computing: small, cheap, lightweight and actually kinda cute. They’re also fitted with an actual proper keyboard and therefore my favorite choice when it comes to a portable hacking station. But Netbooks PCs once hailed as the future of mobile computing are almost disappeared from retailer shelves. The most similar devices in the market are those convertible mobile devices running windows. But they are little more than a tablet with a keyboard, and almost nil compatibility with linux.

    • [Video] Librem 5, Linux-powered smartphone w/Privacy features – Lunduke Show

      Todd Weaver, CEO of Purism, joins me to talk about the Librem 5. Their crowd-funded project to build a 5″ smartphone that runs a traditional Linux distribution (shipping with a variant of Debian) — complete with hardware kill switches for the cellular modem and other components.

    • Android

      • Google ARCore brings augmented reality to relatively small audience

        Google on Tuesday released a preview of its augmented reality toolkit, although the company acknowledged that only a small portion of Android’s installed base will be able to use the software.

        ARCore is Google’s answer to ARKit, Apple’s software development kit for creating augmented reality (AR) applications. It’s also the heir to Google’s Tango SDK, which was designed for creating AR applications on specialized hardware with sensors for measuring depth.

        AR differs from virtual reality, or VR, in that it doesn’t demand expensive headgear that shuts out the real world, isn’t known for inducing nausea, and hasn’t been stigmatized by consumer indifference. AR places computer graphics in photorealistic scenes; VR reimagines the visual world completely.

      • LG V30 hands on—LG’s OLED displays still have quality issues
      • 100 days of postmarketOS

        We are building an alternative to Android and other mobile operating systems by not forking but bending the time-proven Alpine Linux distribution to fit our purpose. Instead of using Android’s build process, we build small software packages that can be installed with Alpine’s package manager. To minimize the amount of effort for maintenance, we want every device to require only one device-specific package and share everything else.

        At this point our OS is only suitable for fellow hackers who enjoy using the command-line and want to improve postmarketOS. Telephony or other typical smartphone tasks are not working yet.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Jobs Report 2017: open source skills in strong demand

    Hiring managers are increasingly looking for open source professionals, and two thirds of them say that the numbers of these specialists they hire will increase more than other areas of their businesses. Main drivers are company growth (60%), increasing use of open source technologies (42%), and open source becoming core to the business (30%).

  • ReactOS 0.4.6 released

    The ReactOS Project is pleased to release version 0.4.6 as a continuation of its three month cadence.

    0.4.6 is a major step towards real hardware support. Several dual boot issues have been fixed and now partitions are managed in a safer way avoiding corruption of the partition list structures. ReactOS Loader can now load custom kernels and HALs.

    Printing Subsystem is still greenish in 0.4.6, however Colin Finck has implemented a huge number of new APIs and fixed some of the bugs reported and detected by the ReactOS automated tests.

  • ReactOS 0.4.6 Fixes Dual Boot Issues, NFS Driver Added

    ReactOS 0.4.6 is now available as the latest version of this “open-source Windows” operating system still striving for API/ABI compatibility.

  • Events

    • Ubuntu Rally in NYC

      The Ubuntu Rally, taking place in New York City September 25th-29th, is a forward-thinking five day software hackathon attended by major software vendors, Ubuntu developers working at every level of the stack, and community contributors.

    • Waiting for GNOME 3.26 Stable Release!

      GNOME 3.26 “Manchester” planned to be released at 13 September 2017. Reading the FeaturePlans and Schedule from its wiki makes me want to run it sooner! I hope Ubuntu will successfully include 3.26 on Artful Aardvark release so I can make a review for it later. However, this short article mentions some of its new feature, new apps, some links from GUADEC 2017′s participants, and further GNOME links. Enjoy!

    • GNOME GUADEC 2017: Presentations, Videos, & Links

      GUADEC 2017, the latest GNOME Project annual conference, has been held at 28 July-2 August 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. I collect as many resources as possible here including presentations & videos (so you can download them), poster & template, write-ups by attendees, and of course the links about GUADEC 2017. So, if you didn’t attend GUADEC 2017, you still can find the resources here! Enjoy!

    • Randa Roundup – Part I

      Our intrepid developers are getting ready to make their way to Randa, and we are gradually finding out what they will be doing up there in the Swiss mountains.

      As Valorie said in a recent blog post, accessibility is useful for everybody at some point or another. Clear, highly contrasted icons, easy to reach keyboard shortcuts, and scalable fonts are things we can all appreciate most of the time, whether we have any sort of physical disability or not.

      With that in mind, Jean-Baptiste Mardelle will be working on Kdenlive, KDE’s video editing software. He’ll be reviewing the user interface; that is, the different panels, toolbars, etc., to make it easier to use for people who start editing for the first time. He’ll also be working on packaging – creating AppImages and Flatpaks – so the latest versions of Kdenlive can be installed anywhere without having to worry about dependencies.

    • Takeaways from SRECon17 Europe

      As every last three years in a row, I attended SRECon in Europe. I can literally say this year was totally broken comparing with former conferences. I think it’s because I had much higher expectations from this conference. The first shot in 2014 was more than awesome, but year to year it’s getting worse. Almost all talks from Google were like a summary of every chapter in SRE book. We just skipped all the rest of the talks sourced by Google.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • All Hands On Deck – How you can use your skills to contribute to Firefox 57 success

        If you’ve been following Firefox development over the last year, you probably know that we’re hard at work on a major refactor of the browser, codenamed Quantum.

        It’s been a very exciting and challenging time with hundreds of engineers bringing to life new concepts and incorporating them into our engine – Gecko. Those refactors, which will culminate in the release of Firefox 57, touch the very foundation of our engine and require massive changes to it.

  • Databases

    • Founder Stories: A Hacker’s Hacker

      Monty is a programming genius. At 19, he dropped out of the Helsinki University of Technology to work full time, because there was little more the university could teach him. At 33, he released MySQL, the most popular open-source database in the world, after coding the entire thing up himself with the exception of one library. At 55, he defies ageism and is still the best programmer at his company.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Layoffs Hit Longtime Solaris Developers Hard

      It looks like the Oracle layoffs just before the US Labor Day indeed hit the SPARC and Solaris groups hard.

      There hasn’t been any official announcement from Oracle, but unconfirmed reports put it at 1,000~1,500 Oracle staff losing their jobs, particularly in the Solaris and SPARC divisions.

      Solaris has been slowly dieing and these latest layoffs seem to further reinforce that and some anonymous reports as well that Solaris 11.4 isn’t going to happen, or at least not as planned, and Solaris 12 can definitely be kissed goodbye.

    • Oracle Finally Killed Sun

      The news from the ex-Sun community jungle drums is that the January rumours were true and Oracle laid off the core talent of the Solaris and SPARC teams on Friday. That surely has to mean a maintenance-only future for the product range, especially with Solaris 12 cancelled. A classic Oracle “silent EOL”, no matter what they claim.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • VMware, Google, Pivotal Package Kubernetes for the Enterprise
    • Open Source Leaders: Dirk Hohndel Brings Open Source to VMware [Ed: New openwashing puff piece for VMware, which paid the Linux Foundation to help combat GPL enforcement]

      Dirk Hohndel loves to keep a low-profile in the open source world but he can’t escape the limelight. He can often be seen in keynote discussions with his close friend, Linux creator Linus Torvalds. Both share a love for Linux and beyond. Hohndel is also a fellow scuba diver who dives with Torvalds in deep waters around the globe.

      Their shared love for open source and scuba diving also lead to Subsurface, a scuba dive log program that was created by Torvalds. Now Hohndel is the maintainer of the project. On a lighter note, one big difference between Hohndel and Torvalds can be seen in their underwater photography; while Hohndel could very easily quit VMware and become a full-time ace underwater photographer, Linus is content with blurry butt pictures of underwater creatures.

      Hohndel also occasionally contributes to libdivecomputer, Kirigami, Qt, and a fair number of random small projects that he uses in running the infrastructure for the Subsurface project.

      But Dirk Hohndel’s influence has spread beyond his Github numbers.

  • BSD

    • Trip Report: FreeBSD in China at COPU and LinuxCon

      In May of 2017, we were invited to give a talk about FreeBSD at COPU’s (China Open Source Promotional Unit) Open Source China, Open Source World Summit, which took place June 21-22, in Beijing. This was a tremendous opportunity to talk about the advantages of FreeBSD to the open source leaders and organizations interested in open source. I was honored to represent the Project and Foundation and give the presentation “FreeBSD Advantages and Applications”.

    • A return-oriented programming defense from OpenBSD

      Stack-smashing attacks have a long history; they featured, for example, as a core part of the Morris worm back in 1988. Restrictions on executing code on the stack have, to a great extent, put an end to such simple attacks, but that does not mean that stack-smashing attacks are no longer a threat. Return-oriented programming (ROP) has become a common technique for compromising systems via a stack-smashing vulnerability. There are various schemes out there for defeating ROP attacks, but a mechanism called “RETGUARD” that is being implemented in OpenBSD is notable for its relative simplicity.

    • FreeBSD 10.4-BETA3 Now Available

      The third BETA build of the 10.4-RELEASE release cycle is now available.


  • Licensing/Legal

    • The supposed decline of copyleft

      Reproducible observations are necessary to the establishment of solid theories in science. Sullivan didn’t try to contact Black Duck to get access to the database, because he assumed (rightly, as it turned out) that he would need to “pay for the data under terms that forbid you to share that information with anybody else”. So I wrote Black Duck myself to confirm this information. In an email interview, Patrick Carey from Black Duck confirmed its data set is proprietary. He believes, however, that through a “combination of human and automated techniques”, Black Duck is “highly confident at the accuracy and completeness of the data in the KnowledgeBase”. He did point out, however, that “the way we track the data may not necessarily be optimal for answering the question on license use trend” as “that would entail examination of new open source projects coming into existence each year and the licenses used by them”.

      In other words, even according to Black Duck, its database may not be useful to establish the conclusions drawn by those articles. Carey did agree with those conclusions intuitively, however, saying that “there seems to be a shift toward Apache and MIT licenses in new projects, though I don’t have data to back that up”. He suggested that “an effective way to answer the trend question would be to analyze the new projects on GitHub over the last 5-10 years.” Carey also suggested that “GitHub has become so dominant over the recent years that just looking at projects on GitHub would give you a reasonable sampling from which to draw conclusions”.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • cron.weekly issue #96: LogDevice, qmail, redis, Linus, HAProxy, libraries, concert, restic & more

      There’s some old-skool Linux news in this one with qmail & some Apple history, even more open source venture rounds & some practical guides for monitoring & securing containers. Should keep you occupied for at least a morning coffee.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Colorado to study open source materials to lower textbook costs

        A statewide council is looking at how to increase the use of open educational resource materials in colleges to address the high cost of textbooks.

        The council plans to create a digital repository of open educational resources for colleges and to determine how those resources are used in college classrooms across the state. It will make recommendations about how to increase their use.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Barbot Needs Only Two Motors

        [Lukas Šidlauskas’s] Open Source Barbot project uses only two motors to actuate nine bottles using only a NEMA-17 stepper to move the tray down along the length of the console and a high-torque servo to trigger the Beaumont Metrix SL spirit measures. These barman’s bottle toppers dispense 50 ml when the button is pressed, making them (along with gravity) the perfect way to elegantly manage so many bottles. Drink selection takes place on an app, connected via Bluetooth to the Arduino Mega running the show.

  • Programming/Development

    • Redesigning Python’s named tuples
    • 5 ways to nurture DevOps culture
    • Oracle could leave Java EE to an open source foundation and more news

      Database giant Oracle wants to hand Java EE over to an open source foundation. With this move, Oracle hopes a foundation will be able to “adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing and change the governance process.” Possible candidates are the Apache Software Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation, to which Oracle has passed software in the past. Oracle got Java EE as part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems back in 2010.

    • Return to old school programming

      When my brother and I were growing up, our parents brought home an Apple II personal computer. Actually ours was one of the first Apple “clones,” a Franklin ACE 1000, but it ran all of the original Apple software. And more importantly, you could write your own programs with the included AppleSoft BASIC.

      My brother and I cracked open the computer guide that came with it, and slowly taught ourselves how to write programs in BASIC. My first attempts were fairly straightforward math quizzes and other simple programs. But as I gained more experience in BASIC, I was able to harness high resolution graphics mode and do all kinds of nifty things.


  • Court Dumps Lawsuit Against Zillow Over Its Inaccurate ‘Zestimates’

    Earlier this year, real estate litigator and aggrieved homeowner Barbara Andersen sued Zillow for providing a lower “Zestimate” than she believed her house was worth. She alleged Zillow violated Illinois state law by portraying its estimates as appraisals, even though it lacked the proper licensing to perform appraisals. Andersen sought an injunction blocking Zillow from posting information about her home (even publicly-available information) and offering a “Zestimate” on its selling price.

    Andersen has just had her case tossed, although she’s now representing others in a proposed class action against Zillow. At some point between February and earlier this week, Andersen’s case was moved to a federal court and she’s now listed on the bottom of court documents (as counsel of record), rather than up top as a plaintiff.

  • “It was like hell in miniature”: how Rostov-on-Don lost a whole neighbourhood in one day

    On 21 August, the southern Russian city of Rostov suffered the worst fire in its history. In the space of a few hours an entire district in the city centre, which is known locally as Govnyarka, burned to the ground.

    The fire broke out at about 1pm and spread at incredible speed. Ten buildings, mostly of one and two storeys, were destroyed in the first hour, and 25 in the following three hours. More than 600 people were evacuated. Two thousand fire fighters and 200 fire engines battled with the blaze on the ground, while seven helicopters and two planes sprayed water from above. The city authorities declared a state of emergency.

  • Science

    • How Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest Hook Users

      Habit-forming technology creates associations with “internal triggers,” which cue users without the need for marketing, messaging, or other external stimuli.

    • An asthma medication seems to lower Parkinson’s disease risks

      Evolution may have been our planet’s first recycler. When organisms evolved useful proteins, they tend to get re-used in unrelated processes. So, a single family of proteins may regulate the development of everything from the brain to the blood to the bones.

      This is one reason that drugs often have off-target effects. While the drug was designed to latch on to a specific protein in one tissue, that protein or a close relative may be doing something important in a different tissue. While that’s generally viewed as a problem, it can also be helpful. Researchers are finding that some drugs can be effective against diseases for which they were never intended.

      That may be the case for an asthma medication called clenbuterol. It and a series of related drugs came through a screen that targeted a very different disorder: Parkinson’s disease, caused by the death of specific nerve cells in the brain. And a search through the drug-use history of Norway suggests that the discovery is more than a fluke.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • CDC: Homeopathic “healing bracelet” poisons baby with high levels of lead

      A nine-month-old baby in Connecticut had dangerously high levels of lead in her blood after chewing on a homeopathic “healing bracelet” used to ease teething pain, according to a report published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      The baby’s condition came to light last September during a routine health screening. Healthcare workers found that the baby was anemic and had a blood lead level of 41 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL). While no level of lead is known to be safe, the CDC recommends health interventions when a child’s blood lead level reaches 5 μg/dL.

    • [Older] The Case Against Factory Farming
    • Older victims of Hurricane Harvey may need special attention as Texas recovers

      News and social media reports from coastal Texas have shown many striking images of Hurricane Harvey flood victims, but few were as arresting as a photo of older women in a Dickinson nursing home, sitting in waist-high water in their wheelchairs. Although the women were moved to safety, the picture highlighted how vulnerable older adults can be during and after major disasters.

      My work focuses on answering pressing questions about the health of older adults after events such as Hurricane Harvey. While age alone does not make people more vulnerable to disasters, many health issues that are common with aging do, including frailness, memory impairment, limited mobility and chronic illness. Sixty percent of Hurricane Katrina deaths were age 65 and older, and more older adults died after Hurricane Katrina and in the year after than any other age group.

    • Texas Chemical Plant Company Has Industry Ally Writing Rules At The EPA

      Beck, the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator, was appointed to the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention in April, just a month after she testified to Congress on improving use of science at the EPA as a Senior Director at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the chemical industry’s leading lobbying group. Beck worked at the ACC, which counts Arkema as a member, from 2012 to 2017, a period in which the Council spent more than $65 million on lobbying, according to an International Business Times review of congressional lobbying records. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s appointment of Beck drew condemnation from a variety of groups as Beck, who has a Ph.D. in environmental health from the University of Washington, went to work at her new job overseeing the development of rules governing toxic chemicals.

      The Environmental Working Group’s Melanie Benesh called Beck “the scariest Trump appointee you’ve never heard of.” Rep. Frank Pallone, D-NJ, wrote Beck has “existing and potentially problematic relationships with the companies that she is now in charge or regulating,” in a June letter to Pruitt. And career staff at the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance raised concerns about changes Beck instituted to the agency’s review process for potentially hazardous chemicals in an internal memo, according to Politico.

    • We should serve kids food in school, not shame

      For the past several years, reports have surfaced about the “shaming” of students for outstanding school meal debts. These students, often from low-income families, are being publicly humiliated because they have unpaid debt in their school meal accounts. Policies that shame students can include stamping on children’s hands or arms, taking their food away and dumping it in the trash or giving them stigmatized cold, partial meals in lieu of the regular hot lunch.

      As an education researcher who studies food in schools, I believe it’s our duty in schools to treat students with dignity and compassion. Moreover, access to food is a basic human need and should be considered a right – regardless of income. The best way to combat meal debt shame in U.S. public schools is to provide every student with free meals.

    • The War on Medicaid Is Moving to the States

      In the early 1960s, as the Johnson administration worked to enact Medicare and Medicaid, then-actor Ronald Reagan traveled the country as a spokesman for the American Medical Association, warning of the danger the legislation posed to the nation. “Behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country,” he said in one widely distributed speech. “Until one day … you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Two years after Windows 10: Windows 7 is still threatening a 2020 EOL meltdown

      No. The issue is Windows 7. People and more especially businesses are still refusing to give it up. Yes, it has lost its market share – down from 60.75 in August 2015 to 48.43 percent in August 2017. But again – it’s actually UP on this time last year, where it was at 47.25.

    • Intel ME controller chip has secret kill switch

      Security researchers at London-based Positive Technologies have identified an undocumented configuration setting that disables Intel Management Engine 11, a CPU control mechanism that has been described as a security risk.

      Intel’s ME consists of a microcontroller that works with the Platform Controller Hub chip, in conjunction with integrated peripherals. It handles much of the data travelling between the processor and external devices, and thus has access to most of the data on the host computer.

    • “Roboto Condensed” Social Engineering Attack Targets Both Chrome and Firefox Users. Various Payloads Being Delivered.
    • [Older] One Week With Tor

      A few people have asked me why I don’t trust exit nodes with sensitive tasks like online banking. My distrust is mainly in the horrible state of SSL/TLS PKI. With hundreds of trusted roots, each with SSL/TLS certificate resellers, the amount of trust I must place in the least secure certificate vendor is huge. Any certificate vendor whose chain of trust resolves to a trusted root can issue certificates for any domain I visit. If a malicious exit node also has compromised or coerced a certificate vendor to produce (what we would consider, but our browser wouldn’t) fraudulent certificate, I’m now in a pickle.

    • Thousands of mercenary resumés found exposed on Web

      The sensitive personal details of the job applicants, many claiming top-secret security clearance from the US government, were left unsecured by a recruiting company with whom TigerSwan had cut ties in February 2017, according to UpGuard.

    • Exclusive: India and Pakistan hit by spy malware – cybersecurity firm [Ed: When you use Microsoft Windows in government in spite of back doors]

      Symantec Corp, a digital security company, says it has identified a sustained cyber spying campaign, likely state-sponsored, against Indian and Pakistani entities involved in regional security issues.

      In a threat intelligence report that was sent to clients in July, Symantec said the online espionage effort dated back to October 2016.


      Symantec’s report said an investigation into the backdoor showed that it was constantly being modified to provide “additional capabilities” for spying operations.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Need for Diplomacy More Clear Than Ever After North Korea Claims H-Bomb Test

      Calls for restraint and diplomacy emerged on Sunday after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb capable being placed on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

      A statement released from North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Institute says Pyongyang conducted the test with “perfect success” at noon local time Sunday, and purportedly showed that the country’s nuclear weapons’ power and technology were “in consideration of the targets and purposes.”

    • North Korea says conducts hydrogen bomb test, Trump to meet with advisers

      North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, which it said was an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile, marking a dramatic escalation of the regime’s stand-off with the United States and its allies.

    • Deterrence Believers Should Cheer the North Korean Bomb

      If the theory of nuclear deterrence holds true – and it is the only argument the supporters of WMD have got – then we should all be cheering the North Korean bomb. The logic of nuclear deterrence is that it is much better that every state has nuclear weapons, because then we can all deter each other. It is demonstrably true that possession of nuclear weapons is not a deterrent to other nations acquiring them. But it is supposed to deter other nations from using them. In which case, surely the more the merrier, so we can all deter each other.

      The madness of the argument is self-evident. We are borrowing hundreds of billions we cannot afford for Trident, yet in all the reams of analysis of what to do about North Korea, Trident never gets a mention. It is a system entirely useless even in the one situation in which it was supposed to be effective.

      How did we get here? In the 1950s the USA dropped 635,000 tonnes of bombs on North Korea including 35,000 tonnes of napalm. The US killed an estimated 20% of the North Korean population. For comparison, approximately 2% of the UK population was killed during World War II.

    • North Korea Says It Has Developed Advanced Hydrogen Bomb

      North Korea said it has “succeeded in making a more developed” hydrogen bomb and mounting it on the tip of a long-range missile, and threatened a high-altitude nuclear blast that experts fear could wipe out electrical networks in the U.S.

      Leader Kim Jong Un witnessed a hydrogen bomb being mounted onto a new intercontinental ballistic missile while visiting the Nuclear Weapons Institute, North Korea’s state media said Sunday. The state media also published what experts said could be the North’s first photos of a purported hydrogen bomb.

    • North Korea ‘has missile-ready nuclear weapon’

      North Korea says it has developed a more advanced nuclear weapon that can be loaded on to a ballistic missile.

      The state news agency released pictures of leader Kim Jong-un inspecting what it said was a new hydrogen bomb.

      There has been no independent verification of the claims.

      International experts say the North has made advances in its nuclear weapons capabilities but it is unclear if it has successfully miniaturised a nuclear weapon it can load on to a missile.

    • There’s a disaster much worse than Texas. But no one talks about it

      As it happens, Harvey has killed an estimated 44 Texans and forced some 32,000 into shelters since it struck, a week ago. That is a catastrophe for every one of those individuals, of course. Still, those figures look small alongside the havoc wreaked by flooding across southern Asia during the very same period. In the past few days, more than 1,200 people have been killed, and the lives of some 40 million others turned upside down, by torrential rain in northern India, southern Nepal, northern Bangladesh and southern Pakistan.

    • We already know what Erik Prince’s Afghanistan would look like because he’s done it before

      See, we don’t have to guess at what Prince’s plan would entail or what its outcome would be. We already know what providing Prince with an opportunity to operate in the Arab world would look like. It’s been done before. It didn’t work then, and it’s unlikely to salvage America’s longest-running engagement in history.

      In a 2009 article for The Nation, investigative journalist and author of “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” Jeremy Scahill, offered a deep glimpse behind the inner workings of Prince’s Blackwater (the company that has since been sold, and rebranded as Academi). Sworn statements provided by two former Blackwater employees detail the culture and actions of the private security contractor’s operations during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, only a fraction of what we would witness if Prince got his way in Afghanistan.

    • “We’ve Lost Our Geopolitical Compass”: John Feffer on North Korea

      The enormous fluctuations in Donald Trump’s policies toward North Korea are a “truly disorienting experience,” says John Feffer, a leading expert on US policy toward Korea who currently serves as a project director and associate fellow at Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies.

      In this interview, Feffer — the author of North Korea/South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis — discusses the history of the conflict between the United States and North Korea. Feffer also talks about the foreign policy of President Donald Trump and his conflicting messages about his desire to “bomb them out of existence” on the one hand, and to sit down to talk with Kim Jong-un on the other.

    • The FBI Pressured a Lonely Young Man Into a Bomb Plot. He Tried to Back Out. Now He’s Serving Life in Prison.

      When he was born in Cuba, Suarez had blue skin. His fragile brain had been deprived of oxygen, a tragedy his family points to in explaining his lifelong social and intellectual challenges. As a child, Suarez also suffered several significant head injuries, including being struck by a brick and falling off motorcycles without a helmet on. His parents brought him to Key West, Florida, in 2004, when he was 12 years old. He struggled in the public education system and dropped out of high school. He then took odd jobs in Key West — stocking store shelves, cleaning up restaurants, working in kitchens. Even after more than a decade in the United States, he spoke English without confidence.

      In 2015, seeing reports about the Islamic State on cable news, Suarez became intrigued by the terrorist group, he explained to an FBI informant. He was 23 years old at the time and still living in Key West. He was slender and fit, with tattoos covering his chest, stomach, and arms. He wore his brown hair cropped close to his scalp, and a goatee covered the bottom of his chin.

      Suarez began to identify as Muslim and gave himself an Arabic name: Almlak Alaswd, which translates to “dark angel.” He said he wanted to be part of ISIS, but he knew little about the group or its rival organizations. He thought Osama bin Laden had founded ISIS, and he admitted to an FBI informant that he didn’t know what Hamas was or how the group was different from ISIS.

    • ‘Sad Day for Warmongers’ as UN Finds Iran in Total Compliance with Nuke Deal

      On what one observer called “a sad day for warmongers,” the United Nations declared Friday that Iran is fully adhering to the nuclear deal reached in 2015, and that inspectors will not go looking for infractions at the request of the Trump administration.

      Trump and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, have regarded Iran and the agreement with suspicion, with Trump threatening to withhold certification of Iranian compliance, and saying in an interview in July, “If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Menominee Tribe seeks stricter federal oversight in Michigan mine fight.

      EPA spokesperson, Allison Nowotarski, said the agency received the Menominee request on Wednesday afternoon but would not comment further.

    • How some African farmers are responding to climate change — and what we can learn from them
    • Greenpeace & Indigenous Water Protectors Respond to Lawsuit Accusing DAPL Activists of Eco-Terrorism
    • Analysis: Harvey Triggered Release of Nearly a Million Pounds of Toxic Air Pollutants
    • There is a Clear Link Between Climate Change & Stronger Hurricanes
    • Hurricane Harvey and the Dialectics of Nature

      Although not nearly as well-known as Katrina or Sandy, Houston had been clobbered by Hurricane Ike on Sept. 11, 2008. It resulted in $30 billion in damages and cost the lives of 74 people. But the city had not borne the full brunt of Ike that had veered away at the last minute. However, if it had hit the bulls eye of the city, it would “kill America’s economy”, according to Pete Olson, a Republican congressman from Sugar Land, a Houston suburb.

    • Hell Hath No Fury Like Mother Earth Scorned

      On Tuesday, President Donald Trump, peddler of the lie that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese to hurt the U.S. economy, made a predictably superficial visit to Texas. “What a crowd, what a turnout,” Trump boasted as he landed in Corpus Christi. He made no mention of the victims.

      Climate denial in the face of Harvey’s devastation is incomprehensible, ignorant and immoral.

    • Harvey Won’t Be The Last Thousand-Year Storm

      All our eyes have been glued to the devastation that is Hurricane Harvey. Here in New Jersey, we are still waiting on the help we were promised to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy, so we know the road home will be long and full of challenges.

      We feel heartbroken at the sight of thousands of Gulf Coast families displaced by the storm, which dumped over 50 inches of rain in just four days. As the storm was hitting, Houston experienced over 56,000 calls to 911 in just 15 hours.


      Yet it’s sobering to remember that almost exactly a year ago, that we were talking about the last “thousand year flood” that hit Louisiana that August, and the “thousand year flood” that left West Virginia and Texas underwater just a few months before.

    • Antifa and Leftists Organize Mutual Aid and Rescue Networks in Houston
    • Responding to Antifa and Riseup: On Revolutionary Politics and Non-Violence

      Riseup worries that critics of Antifa have “made a monolith of Antifa and have simplified their actions to black-bloc-ing and street fighting Nazis. We exercise our political agency in so many more ways! In this moment, anti-fascists are providing hurricane relief in Texas right now. We’re also on the border helping refugees survive their long journey north. Building community infrastructure outside the state, prisoner support, permaculture gardens and the list goes on. Antifa is a facet of a larger struggle that we engage in myriad ways.”


      It’s a false dichotomy to frame Antifa supporters as revolutionaries and their critics as tepid liberals who are too feeble to push for radical change. Antifa has no monopoly over radicalism. Many on the left came of age reading the works of radical historical thinkers such as Mikhail Bakunin, Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Eugene Debs, and contemporary radicals such as Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. But I see little of the insights from these thinkers embraced by Antifa, which prioritizes opposition to fascism over efforts to cultivate mass support for radical change. For a group claiming to support revolution, there seems to be little understanding among many supporters I’ve spoken with and followed regarding how this is to be achieved. One need look no further than Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin for a serious discussion of the conditions necessary for revolutionary transformation. As a revolutionary advocate of participatory unionism and libertarian socialism, Bakunin was clear in his writings that revolution would only be achieved under specific preconditions. These included: 1. A serious effort on the part of leftists to cultivate mass support for socialism. This required a mass outreach campaign, and the development of mass critical consciousness in demand of social change; and 2. Growing economic desperation on the part of the masses, which would create the conditions necessary for an urgent push for a system-wide transformation via the destruction of capitalist systems that had lost the support of the mass public.

    • Hurricane Harvey Exposes Danger of Tax Cuts, Deregulation, Aging Infrastructure, Ignoring the Environment and ‘Limited Government’
    • As Texans return to flood-hit homes, many say ‘Our house is history’

      As flood waters recede from Hurricane Harvey, thousands are set to return to their homes on Sunday to survey damage from unprecedented flooding that devastated densely populated areas of Texas, as worries mount about health risks.

      Harvey, which came ashore on Aug. 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in 50 years, is expected to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, having displaced more than 1 million people and leaving wreckage in an area stretching for more than 300 miles (480 kms) which officials said would take years to repair.

    • As Hurricane Harvey Winds Down, Texas Members of Congress Tour European Castle

      As the Texas coast looks toward recovery amid the death and destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey, several lawmakers from the state were at a popular tourist spot in the Czech Republic this weekend.

      Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, a senior Appropriations Committee member, was spotted taking a tour of Prague Castle on Saturday. Carter was seen strolling through the castle complex along with Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. The group snapped photos and were told the history of St. Vitus Cathedral.

      Carter told The Intercept that he was thinking about Houston while on a foreign operations congressional delegation.

      “That’s my hometown, I was born and raised in Houston. I’m concerned about Houston,” Carter said, when asked about the crisis in his home state. “We increased FEMA funding, and we continue to increase funding,” he added.

    • Fire Erupts Again at Houston-Area Chemical Plant as Public Remains in Dark

      Fire and smoke erupted for a second time Friday evening at the Houston-area Arkema chemical plant, but what exactly is going up in flames appears to remain a mystery to the public still reeling from a trail of devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.

    • For the Love of Earth

      On July 9, New York magazine published “The Uninhabitable Earth,” a worst-case climate change scenario suggesting that our current human course may produce an unlivable future for Earth. A burst of media commentary and controversy followed, and it quickly became the most-read article in the magazine’s history.

    • San Francisco smashes all-time record high temperature, hits 106 degrees

      When you think of San Francisco, you think of clammy, foggy weather stuck forever in the 50s and 60s. But on Friday, the City by the Bay soared to an astonishing 106 degrees, its hottest temperature in recorded history.

      The 106-degree reading downtown shattered the previous record of 103, set June 14, 2000. Records have been kept there since June 1874 or almost 150 years.

      The National Weather Service forecast office serving the Bay Area called the record “incredible.”

    • Hurricane Harvey’s Impact — And How It Compares To Other Storms

      Hurricane Harvey, which dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of water on Texas and Louisiana, looks to be one of the most damaging natural disasters in U.S. history. Flooding continues to affect large areas of Houston, Beaumont and other areas of Texas. Tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes, and rig shut downs and evacuations along the Gulf have curbed oil and gas production. The White House, meanwhile, is expected to ask Congress for $14.5 billion in relief funding. While we don’t know Harvey’s ultimate toll on life and property — and won’t for some time — here are the best estimates of the hurricane’s impacts so far, and how they compare to the destruction wrought by other major storms.

    • From Carpet to Clean Air: It’s Time for California to Stand Up for Environmental Justice

      Enough is enough. For too long, California’s low-income communities and communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the health impacts of industrial pollution, including refineries, power plants, and transportation corridors—putting residents at a higher risk for asthma, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, cancer, and birth defects.

      Every person, regardless of the color of their skin, income level, or neighborhood they live in, deserves equal access to clean water, air, and soil.

      California has always been on the cutting-edge of environmental policy, passing landmark laws that often serve as models for the nation to follow. Yet, well-meaning legislation often makes matters worse for low-income communities and our struggle for environmental justice even harder.

    • Who’s Behind Fossil Fuel Extraction? It’s Not Just Republicans

      The interests of the oil, gas and pipeline industries are connected — and so are the related problems that all of us face. No matter where fossil fuels are extracted, carried, refined, exported or used, the need to avoid contamination and deter climate change connects all people. It’s no longer about just one community’s backyard. And to stall climate change and contamination, people need to connect the dots.


      President Obama signed the Koch-backed bill that sped up permitting on December 4, 2015 — just eight days before he signed the Paris Climate Accord.

      Though many see the Paris Accord as Obama’s shining moment for the environment, the plan to speed the construction of fossil fuel infrastructures cast a shadow over the US’s well-publicized but halfhearted participation in the agreement. Moreover, although the Paris Accord was significant, it contains no enforcement mechanisms: There are no penalties for breaching provisions.

      As Trump stood poised to withdraw the US from the Paris Accord in May, New York Senator Charles Schumer spoke out. “If the United States were to un-sign the agreement, all of the progress in combatting climate change would be undone in one fell swoop,” Schumer said.

    • Disability Erasure And The Apocalyptic Narrative

      This week hasn’t exactly been a fantastic time for me. Losing a parent can really make you get stuck in a maudlin, even slightly dark frame of mind. So it’s no secret that seeing photos coming out of Hurricane Harvey of elder folks near drowning in a nursing home due to lack of evacuation and inability to move well put me in a foul mood. It also got me thinking of conversations I’ve heard over the years about disability and the end of society.

    • African-Americans fighting fascism and racism, from WWII to Charlottesville

      The Pittsburgh Courier, a leading African-American newspaper at the time, praised Wallace for endorsing what they called the “Double V” campaign. The Double Victory campaign, launched by the Courier in 1942, became a rallying cry for black journalists, activists and citizens to secure both victory over fascism abroad during World War II and victory over racism at home.

      There is a historical relationship between Nazism and white supremacy in the United States. Yet the recent resurgence of explicit racism, including the attack in Charlottesville, has been greeted by many with surprise. Just look at the #thisisnotwhoweare hashtag.

      As a scholar of African-American history, I am troubled by the collective amnesia in U.S. politics and media around racism. It permeates daily interactions in communities across the country. This ignorance has consequences. When Americans celebrate the country’s victory in WWII, but forget that the U.S. armed forces were segregated, that the Red Cross segregated blood donors or that many black WWII veterans returned to the country only to be denied jobs or housing, it becomes all the more difficult to talk honestly about racism today.

  • Finance

    • Teachers Shouldn’t Have to Panhandle to Prep for a New School Year

      The problem? Teachers have been spending out of their own pockets for generations to decorate their classrooms and the like. Now they’re having to spend their own money for basic school supplies — everything from pens and pencils to cleaning fluids — or go without.

    • Trump Furthers War on Workers With Announcement of Slashed Pay Increases

      Continuing his war on workers, President Donald Trump on Thursday announced he was slashing the scheduled pay raises for federal workers.

      The president, who declared during his bid for the White House, “the American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them,” cited his authority to issue the “alternative plan for pay increases” during a “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.” His plan, he argued, is necessary to “to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal course.”

    • France seeks US$715m in back-taxes from Microsoft

      France has asked Microsoft to pay €600 million (US$715 million) in what it claims are back-taxes owed by the American software giant for billing local customers from Ireland.


      It said that Microsoft had paid corporate taxes of just €32.2 million last year.

    • Alphabet Finishes Reorganization With New XXVI Company

      The new entity, called XXVI Holdings Inc., will own the equity of each Alphabet company, including Google. The new structure legally separates Google from other units such as Waymo, its self-driving car business, and Verily, a medical device and health data firm.

    • A decade of G7 central bank collusion – and counting…

      Since late 2007, the Federal Reserve has embarked on grand-scale collusion with other G-7 central banks to manufacture a massive amount of money. The scope and degree of this collusion are historically unprecedented and by admission of the perpetrators, unconventional in approach, and – depending on the speech – ineffective.

      Central bank efforts to provide liquidity to the private banking system have been delivered amidst a plethora of grandiose phrases like “unlimited” and “by all means necessary.” Central bankers have played a game with no defined goalposts, no clock rundown, no max scores, and no true end in sight.


      With a decade of failed policy experiments behind us, why should we have faith that the Fed — or any other central bank — has any clue about what to do next? The answer is simple. We shouldn’t.

      As Fischer went on to tell the Financial Times on August 15, 2017:

      “It took almost 80 years after 1930 to have another financial crisis that could have been of that magnitude. And now after 10 years everybody wants to go back to a status quo before the great financial crisis. And I find that really, extremely dangerous and extremely shortsighted. One can understand the political dynamics of this but one cannot understand why grown, intelligent people reach the conclusion that [you should] get rid of all the things you have put in place in the last 10 years.”

      In other words, why should we hope that a 10-year global “solution” to instill long-term financial stability and economic growth, even as it’s been repeatedly touted as such, should do what central bankers said it will? The answer again is, we shouldn’t.

    • Economic Update: A Tale of Two Crises

      This week’s episode discusses the working conditions of the US in 2017, the looming US recession and plans for negative interest rates, how schools raise funds by shaming poor schoolchildren, and the economics of fascism. Also included is a discussion of why FDR’s New Deal was not repeated after 2008 and the consequences of the post-1945 destruction of the coalition that produced the New Deal.

    • Job Growth Weakens in August

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 156,000 jobs in August, somewhat less than most economists had expected. This figure, combined with downward revisions of 41,000 to the prior two months data, brought the average over the last three months to 185,000. The household survey also showed some evidence of weakness with the unemployment rate edging up to 4.4 percent and the employment-to-population ratio falling back 0.1 percentage point to 60.1 percent. Perhaps more noteworthy was a drop of 0.3 percentage points in the employment rate of prime-age (ages 25 to 54) workers to 78.4 percent.

      Other data in the household survey were mostly positive. The number of people involuntarily working part-time fell by 27,000; it is now only slightly larger as a share of the workforce than before the recession. The number of people choosing to work part-time went up by 187,000, reaching a new high. This number has increased by more than 2.6 million since the end of 2013 when the Affordable Care Act took effect. It indicates that many people are taking advantage of the opportunity to get insurance outside of employment and therefore opting to work part-time.

    • Exclusive: Mueller Enlists the IRS for His Trump-Russia Investigation

      And it goes without saying that the IRS has access to Trump’s tax returns—documents that the president has long resisted releasing to the public.

      Potential financial crimes are a central part of Mueller’s probe. One of his top deputies, Andy Weissmann, formerly helmed the Justice Department’s Enron probe and has extensive experience working with investigative agents from the IRS.

    • Princess Diana: the monarchy’s Brexit moment

      The one exception to the story of degeneration and loss of belief of the central, defining institutions of the United Kingdom is the monarchy. However galling for republicans, the monarchy played a long game helped by the Queen’s personal longevity, and saved itself. With the next three kings lined up, it is already projecting its claim into the twenty-second century. How it achieved this and at what price helps to demonstrate the larger argument. The traditional, constitutional settlement built around the absolute sovereignty of the core institutions of the Commons, the Cabinet, the Lords and the Crown, have lost their claim to a pre-modern form of allegiance. The monarchy went through its own equivalent of a Brexit shock with Princess Diana. It then found a way back, but only after discarding its precious freight of untouchability.


      When Diana died two years later, Blair declared she was ‘The People’s Princess’. The use of ‘The People’ entered British political vocabulary with a new meaning, perhaps for the first time. Not because of the prime minister but because ‘The People’ occupied the huge spaces of the royal Mall in an enormous, spontaneous mobilisation. Quite unlike official events, such as celebration of royal marriages, the crowd was completely outside of official control. It also stayed with a sense of resolve. The People would not have the princess scorned. In her Balmoral Scottish fastness, the Queen declined to have the royal flag flown at half-mast over Buckingham Palace. She and her family responded just like the cold, heartless, oppressive ‘Establishment’ that Diana had warned about. Had this standoff continued, the Palace and the royals could have been overwhelmed. Elizabeth conceded to the prime minister’s unequivocal advice, flew to London, made a TV address and briefly joined the crowds to examine the myriad of bouquets. The day was saved. It was a harbinger of Brexit, of the public willing to separate itself, calmly and deliberately, from a distrusted, traditional authority; with quiet resolve, to borrow a phrase from Theresa May.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Impeach Donald Trump Now’ Billboard Goes Up a Mile from Mar-a-Lago

      About a mile from the so-called “Winter White House,” the Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump has installed a crowd-funded billboard to advocate for removing the president from office.

      “No one is above the law. Not even the president,” reads the billboard, located on Southern Boulevard, which leads directly to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

    • Trump names former coal executive to top mining safety post

      President Trump has nominated a former coal executive whose company clashed with federal officials over mining safety rules under President Obama to the top mining safety post in his administration.

      Trump on Friday named David Zatezalo, the former chairman of Rhino Resources, to be an assistant secretary of Labor overseeing the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The position is currently vacant, according to the Department of Labor’s website.

      During Zatezalo’s time as an executive at Rhino, the company was issued two “pattern of violations” letters from MSHA over safety issues at their mines, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. The letters were sent in 2010 and 2011.

    • Exclusive: Read the Inauguration Day letter Obama left for Trump

      The enormous fluctuations in Donald Trump’s policies toward North Korea are a “truly disorienting experience,” says John Feffer, a leading expert on US policy toward Korea who currently serves as a project director and associate fellow at Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies.

      In this interview, Feffer — the author of North Korea/South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis — discusses the history of the conflict between the United States and North Korea. Feffer also talks about the foreign policy of President Donald Trump and his conflicting messages about his desire to “bomb them out of existence” on the one hand, and to sit down to talk with Kim Jong-un on the other.

    • What if Silicon Valley is to blame for all of this?

      Fake news traffics pretty much exclusively through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which intentionally work like hermetically sealed ideological bubbles — showing users more of what they like, and less of what they don’t, to keep them on these sites for as long as possible. Like most sewer companies, they don’t really care what kind of shit flows through their pipes as long as they can profit off the traffic.

    • How Right-Wing Media Played the Mainstream Press in the 2016 Election

      [...] a new study of the online “media ecosystem” by researchers at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society finds that throughout the 2016 campaign the political press consistently focused its coverage of Trump on the key issues he was running on—immigration, jobs, and trade—and just as consistently focused on Hillary Clinton’s scandals to the exclusion of the issues she ran on.

    • Before Trump Pardoned Him, Arpaio Was Promoted by Media

      There’s a great deal to be said about Donald Trump’s pardon for criminal racist Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, found guilty of criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a court’s order that he stop unconstitutionally profiling Latinx people.

    • How to Preserve Your Right to Protest

      Bills limiting protest rights have been introduced in at least 19 states, including Minnesota, Washington, South Dakota, Indiana, Florida, Mississippi, Iowa, Michigan, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, North Dakota, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Arizona. While some of these bills have been voted down or delayed, others are still in session, and governors from North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have signed anti-protest bills into state law this year. Given this disturbing trend, it’s imperative that you know how to use your voice to preserve your right to protest.

    • The Terrifying Truth About Journalists

      Michelle Jones remembers graduating journalism school twenty-five years ago and being warned that the industry was declining because advertisers were pulling out, salaries were dropping and the internet would ruin everything. And that’s pretty much what happened.

    • Trump taps Bridenstine to run NASA. Some senators have reservations.
    • Melania Trump and the Chilling Artifice of Fashion

      Yesterday, heated debate over Melania Trump’s travel attire nearly overshadowed the very purpose of her trip: to bear witness to the devastation of the Houston hurricane. At stake was whether Melania’s look — slim black pants, face-framing blowout, green silk bomber, mirrored aviators, and sky-high snakeskin stilettos — was appropriately sober and practical for communing with victims of biblical-level flooding.

      Those shoes especially drew critical fire. “Melania is wearing stilettos to a hurricane zone,” tweeted a Wall Street Journal reporter. “Trump is the kind of woman who refuses to pretend that her feet will, at any point, ever be immersed in cold, muddy, bacteria-infested Texas water,” observed the Washington Post. Some rushed to defend the First Lady, wielding the usual claim that women’s fashion should be beneath our notice. “I don’t know why anyone should care what anyone wears when they’re on their way to help people,” declared Trevor Noah on his show.

    • Trump aides averted more detailed letter justifying Comey firing

      A draft letter from President Donald Trump justifying the firing of FBI Director James Comey and now reported to be in the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was substantially watered down before Trump dismissed Comey in May, according to people familiar with the events.

      The decision to fire Comey was made by the president the weekend before the firing as he huddled at his country club in Bedminster, N.J., with his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and top policy adviser Stephen Miller, the people said.

    • The state of Channel 4

      Channel 4’s Chief Executive, David Abraham, and Chief Creative Officer, Jay Hunt, are leaving on a high note. The channel’s four-part drama series, ‘The State’, written and directed by Peter Kosminsky, was bold and provocative, a clear-eyed depiction of the fate of four British volunteers who travel to Syria to join ISIS.

      Kosminsky has many outstanding drama credits to his name, including “The Promise”, another four-part Channel 4 series on the founding of the state of Israel; but his tightly-managed and unflinching depiction of disastrously misdirected idealism and utter disillusionment is his most accomplished to date. This was drama at the same level as HBO’s remarkable ‘The Night Of…’: and it is hard to see any British broadcaster other than Channel 4 devoting four successive nights of its peak-time schedule to such a risky project.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Copyright Issues and Censorship – Key Reasons Why Internet Needs Blockchain

      Sometimes censorship seems like the practice is as old as writing itself and that, for as long as we have writers, we’ll always have someone that is willing to censor or silence them for their own personal gain.

      From Socrates’ untimely death to internet sandboxing, censorship has taken many forms throughout history and the truth is that it deprives us of knowledge and keeps us from prospering as a society.

      It goes far beyond what you don’t get to read in the newspaper or watch on TV. News and entertainment have a great impact on our society, shaping opinions and influencing the way we experience the world on many levels.

    • UK Foreign Office complaint sees RT Twitter account suspended

      A Kremlin-linked Twitter account that was part of an online re-enactment of the 1917 Russian revolution has been suspended after a UK Foreign Office (FCO) complaint.

      The @BritishEmb1917 account, created by the Russian government-backed news channel RT, used the FCO’s official crest in its profile, The Guardian reported.

    • Snip Announces Crowdsale for Censorship-Resistance News Platform

      Snip announced this week that it will be launching a crowdsale to raise funds for the development of its decentralized, user-generated news platform.

    • Twitter Bots Use Likes, RTs for Intimidation

      Upon further examination, it appears that almost all of my new followers were compliments of a social media botnet that is being used to amplify fake news and to intimidate journalists, activists and researchers. The botnet or botnets appear to be targeting people who are exposing the extent to which sock puppet and bot accounts on social media platforms can be used to influence public opinion.

    • EFF Calls on New York Court to Vacate Unconstitutional Injunction Against Offensive Speech

      A court’s order preliminarily enjoining a website from publishing certain images and statements about a former governmental official is an unconstitutional prior restraint and must be rescinded, EFF argued in an amicus brief filed yesterday in the New York state appellate court.

      The case, Brummer v. Wey, is a dispute between Christopher Brummer, a Georgetown law professor and a former presidential nominee to the Commodities and Futures Trade Commission and the online publication The Blot. Several articles were published on The Blot that were highly critical of Brummer’s actions as an appeals adjudicator of decisions of the Financial Industry Regulation Authority, particularly those in which he affirmed the lifetime ban of two African American brokers. The articles, consistent with other content on The Blot, used highly charged and hyperbolic language, including characterizing Brummer’s actions as a “lynching” and posting images of Jim Crow-era lynchings.

    • The Scale Of Moderating Facebook: It Turns Off 1 Million Accounts Every Single Day

      For years now, we’ve discussed why it’s problematic that people are demanding internet platforms moderate more and more speech. We should be quite wary of internet platforms taking on the role of the internet’s police. First, they’re really bad at it. As we noted in a recent post, platforms are horrendously bad at distinguishing abusive content from those documenting abusive content and that creates all sorts of unfortunate and bizarre results, with those targeted by harassing content often having their own accounts shut down. On top of that, the only way to actually moderate content at scale requires a set of rules, and any such set of rules, as applied, will create hysterically bad results. And that’s because the scale of the problem is so massive. It’s difficult for most people to comprehend even slightly the scale involved here. As a former Facebook employee who worked on this stuff once told me, “Facebook needs to make one million decisions each day — one million today, one million tomorrow, one million the next day.” The idea that they won’t make errors (both of the Type 1 and Type 2 category) is laughable.

    • Pakistani School Drops Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ From Concert Amid Protest By Vocal Minority

      For those of us that advocate principles of free speech, the most hallowed battleground for that fight must necessarily be in schools. If these ideals are to win the day on the longer timeline, it will be because subsequent generations take up the banner of free speech and conversation in more numbers than do their opponents. In the West, these fights amount to issues that are indeed important, but pale in comparison to what occurs elsewhere in the world. To that end, it’s as important to see how far we’ve come as it is to understand how far we have to go.

    • Twitter Suspends Reporter’s Account… After He Gets Targeted By Russian Twitter Bots

      Over the last few weeks, we’ve written a number of times about how systematically bad internet platforms are at determining how to deal with abuse online. This is not to mock the platforms, even though many of the decisions are comically bad, but to note that this is inevitable in dealing with the scale of these platforms — and to remind people that this is why it’s dangerous to demand that these companies be legally liable for policing speech on their platforms. It won’t end well. Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about how Twitter suspended Ken “Popehat” White for posting an email threat he’d received (Twitter argued he was violating the privacy of the guy threatening him). From there, we wrote about a bunch of stories of Facebook and Twitter punishing people for documenting abuse that they had received.

      But this latest story is even slightly crazier, as it appears that abusers were taking advantage of this on purpose. In this case, the story involves Russian Twitter bots. First, the Atlantic Council wrote about Russian Twitter trolls trying to shape a narrative after the Nazi event in Charlottesville. In response, those very same Twitter bots and trolls started bombarding the Twitter feeds of the researchers. And here’s where the story gets even weirder. When Joseph Cox, writing for The Daily Beast, wrote about this (at the link above), those same Twitter bots started targeting him too.

    • Al Jazeera Gives A ‘Voice To The Voiceless’ By Killing News Comments

      We’ve noted time and time again how numerous websites have been killing news comments because they’re too lazy and too cheap to cultivate an on-site community, and/or don’t like having story errors pointed out in quite such a transparent, conspicuous location. Of course editors and publishers can never admit this is their real motivation, instead offering a rotating crop of disingenuous prattle about how they’re muzzling their readers and shoving them over to Facebook because they’re just so very into building relationships and are breathlessly-dedicated to improving conversation.

    • YouTube accused of CENSORSHIP over controversial new bid to ‘limit’ access to videos
    • Russian complaint brings accusations of censorship for Estonia
    • Russian complaint brings accusation of censorship for Estonia
    • Censorship in Nigeria: Musical free expression in the shadow of Fela
    • The Free Speech Issue on College Campuses Is a Far-Right Distraction from the Real Threats to Students
    • The Liberal Lockdown in Academia: the Case of Fawzia Afzal-Khan
    • The evolution of China’s Great Firewall: 21 years of censorship [Ed: just republished]

      In September 1987, a Beijing laboratory sent what became China’s first email. The message, to a German university, read: “Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner of the world.”

      The development of internet infrastructure in the past few decades has enabled Chinese people to continue crossing the “Great Wall” and communicate with the rest of the world. But Chinese authorities soon threw up another wall to prevent the people from accessing information they deemed threatening to the Chinese Communist Party.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Unsung hero of Bletchley Park to finally be recognised as book ‘rectifies damage of Imitation Game’

      In life, he was the first head of GCHQ, who spotted the talent of Alan Turing and helped win the Second World War. By the time Hollywood got their hands on him, he was turned into a “pompous prat” obsessed with hindering the efforts of Bletchley Park’s stars.

      The true story of Commander Alastair Denniston’s life is now to be revealed to the public, after historian, GCHQ and his own family team up to set the record straight.

    • Google promised not to scan Gmail for targeted ads—but for how long?

      On July 23, Google promised with great fanfare that it would stop scanning consumers’ Gmail messages to serve targeted, contextually aware ads. The announcement—which put Gmail in line with competing services and Google’s paid e-mail for government, business, and education sectors—was published widely, from tech blogs to the mainstream media. “Free consumer Gmail users,” Google said, “can remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount as we continue to innovate.”

    • New York City Bar Cautions Lawyers to Use Care if U.S. Customs Asks to Review Electronically-Stored Information

      New York City Bar Opinion 2017-5 (July 2017), here, provides some interesting information about the care lawyers must take before allowing a lawful search of an attorneys’ smartphone, laptop, or the like. The opinion is obviously important given the international nature of intellectual property practice and the growing frequency (still small, though) with which Customs officials ask for passwords that could reveal client confidences.

      The opinion states in part that lawyers should consider whether they should not carry electronic devices that could permit disclosure to sensitive client information when traveling abroad, and, if asked upon return to provide access to the device, the opinion states…

    • You Are the Product

      At the end of June, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit a new level: two billion monthly active users. That number, the company’s preferred ‘metric’ when measuring its own size, means two billion different people used Facebook in the preceding month. It is hard to grasp just how extraordinary that is. Bear in mind that thefacebook – its original name – was launched exclusively for Harvard students in 2004. No human enterprise, no new technology or utility or service, has ever been adopted so widely so quickly. The speed of uptake far exceeds that of the internet itself, let alone ancient technologies such as television or cinema or radio.

      Also amazing: as Facebook has grown, its users’ reliance on it has also grown. The increase in numbers is not, as one might expect, accompanied by a lower level of engagement. More does not mean worse – or worse, at least, from Facebook’s point of view. On the contrary. In the far distant days of October 2012, when Facebook hit one billion users, 55 per cent of them were using it every day. At two billion, 66 per cent are. Its user base is growing at 18 per cent a year – which you’d have thought impossible for a business already so enormous. Facebook’s biggest rival for logged-in users is YouTube, owned by its deadly rival Alphabet (the company formerly known as Google), in second place with 1.5 billion monthly users. Three of the next four biggest apps, or services, or whatever one wants to call them, are WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, with 1.2 billion, 1.2 billion, and 700 million users respectively (the Chinese app WeChat is the other one, with 889 million). Those three entities have something in common: they are all owned by Facebook. No wonder the company is the fifth most valuable in the world, with a market capitalisation of $445 billion.

    • Facebook boss Zuckerberg has been blocked so many times, you can’t block him

      If you try, you get the message “Block Error”. The problem came to a head because Zuck gets preferential treatment from the Facebook algorithm, meaning he’s more likely to pop up in your feed.

    • You can’t block Mark Zuckerberg or Priscilla Chan as too many already have

      With Zuckerberg, it was a particularly noticeable problem, since his posts are seemingly given extra viral oomph by Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm, leaving him ever present in the feeds of many.

    • Facebook has mapped the entire human population of earth as it prepares to build an internet in space

      Facebook used satellite-based data and government census information to map the earth’s entire human population.

    • Third-party Google Assistant speakers put “OK Google” in tons of form factors

      IFA (the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) is happening in Germany right now, and the show is apparently the coming out party for third-party speakers with an integrated Google Assistant. Imagine a Google Home, but made by somebody else, without the all-white, air freshener design. The companies are in various stages of rolling out information, ship dates, and pricing, but we have a few details and lots of pretty pictures.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Centering Women of Color Is Key to Understanding and Resisting Police Violence

      When police violence is publicized, of course, it’s usually police violence against men. The violence inflicted on women of color is often minimized or completely erased. For that reason alone, this book is extraordinarily necessary. But Ritchie goes further: She emphasizes that devoting space and analysis to the impact of police violence on women and gender-nonconforming people of color is not simply about filling in gaps. She emphasizes that we cannot truly understand what state violence means in this country without wholly recognizing its gendered scope. And without that understanding and recognition, we cannot effectively resist it.

    • President Trump’s ‘Arms for Cops’ Program is Just More Militarization of the Police

      It’s a good question and gets to the larger question of why American cops need any of the gear that they’re being offered — once again — by the US military: everything from MRAP “tanks” so heavy that if called out for a SWAT raid, a route has to first be carefully plotted and followed that doesn’t cross over any of this country’s worn-out and and crumbling bridges and culverts (an MRAP weighs 14-18 tons, while local street viaducts in many communities frequently have tonnage limits in the single digits).

    • How not to join the police: Stand in a field, get arrested.

      Now, for anyone outside Scotland, there’s something you need to know: You can walk through fields here. It’s not illegal. It’s specifically protected in law, in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. And although not relevant in this case, if there’s a crop then you can still walk in the field, you just have to stay at the edge.

    • Controversial Singaporean Atheist Amos Yee Still Can’t Get Asylum in the U.S.

      BuzzFeed just published a lengthy account by reporter Atossa Araxia Abrahamian about Singaporean YouTuber Amos Yee, the 18-year-old atheist provocateur who has been repeatedly targeted for his supposedly “blasphemous” videos and who has been held in U.S. detention facilities since December.

    • Officers With Personal Body Cams Taking The ‘Public’ Out Of ‘Public Accountability’

      America’s largest sheriff’s department is rolling towards an accountability train wreck. Despite years of discussing the issue, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department still has no cohesive policy on body cameras, nor has it taken steps to outfit its officers with the devices.

    • The long road to gender equality in southeast Asia

      Gender-based discrimination limits women’s employment opportunities, and contributes to wider economic underdevelopment. Although more women than men attend higher education in southeast Asia, they are underrepresented in the official workforce. The gender gap in employment ranges from 16% in the Philippines to 20% in Sri Lanka. There is an average gender wage gap in the region of 30% to 40%.

    • The Plot Sickens: the Death Penalty and American Politics

      What is it about Arkansas that so often makes the state the perfect measure for the distemper of the times? Twenty-five years ago, Bill Clinton interrupted his presidential campaign by rushing home to supervise the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a brain-damaged black man who had shot himself in the head after killing a police officer. The gunshot obliterated Rector’s frontal lobe, leaving him severely disabled. For his last meal, Rector ordered a steak, cherry Kool-Aid and a slice of pecan pie. Rector wrapped the pie in a napkin, telling the prison guards he was “saving it for later.” Bill Clinton spent the evening of Rector’s execution dining with the actress Mary Steenburgen.

      The killing of Rector was a political execution, meant to symbolize the death of the old liberalism that obsessed over the rights of prisoners and the morality of capital punishment. Since that grim spectacle, the Democrats have never again made the death penalty a political issue, except to help engineer its expanded application, as Clinton and Gore did by pushing through the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1994, which gutted habeas corpus in federal appeals courts and allowed for the death penalty to be imposed in cases that didn’t involve homicides.

    • Georgia officer who said ‘We only kill black people’ to retire
    • DOJ to retry woman who laughed during Sessions’ confirmation hearing

      The Department of Justice will retry a woman whom prosecutors say disrupted Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general by laughing.

      After rejecting a plea deal, Desiree Fairooz will again face charges of unlawful conduct for disrupting Sessions’ hearing in January.

      According to court records, Fairooz rejected a deal offered by prosecutors that would have required her to plead guilty in exchange for a recommended sentence of time served.

    • Memphis Wants to Remove a Statue Honoring First Grand Wizard of the KKK

      Berlin Boyd, chairperson of the Memphis City Council, was seated at the head of a conference table at Memphis City Hall when he held up a pair of local newspaper ads published in the 1850s. “N.B. Forrest, Dealer in Slaves, has just received from North Carolina twenty-five likely young negroes, to which he desires to call the attention of purchasers,” the Memphis Daily Appeal announced. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s “Negro Depot,” located at 87 Adams St., promised customers “A.1 field hands, sound and perfect in body and mind.” Another ad boasted “fresh supplies” on the daily, inviting buyers “to examine their stock before purchasing elsewhere.”

      Around Boyd, who is black, the room was packed. The hallway outside had been crowded with constituents hoping to attend the City Council meeting, to hear members discuss, yet again, what could be done about the city’s Confederate statues. In the wake of the deadly events in Charlottesville, Virginia, a long simmering national controversy over such monuments had just boiled over. As President Donald Trump gave his tacit support to white supremacists on TV, Memphians returned to a place they had been protesting for years: the large bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.

    • “Vindictive”: CODEPINK Activist Who Laughed During Jeff Sessions’ Hearing to Face New Trial

      CODEPINK activist Desiree Fairooz, who was arrested after laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing, will face a second trial this fall after she rejected a plea deal on Friday.

      “I still cannot believe the government refuses to drop this. Vindictive!” she wrote on Twitter, while CODEPINK called it “ridiculous.”

      As Common Dreams reported, she was convicted in May of disorderly and disruptive conduct during the hearing. While Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) argued that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” Fairooz, who was in the hearing room, laughed. She held up a sign that read “Support Civil Rights; Stop Sessions” as she was placed under arrest and taken out of the room.

    • Freedom Rider: Joe Arpaio Is No Aberration

      Even most leftish white Americans like to think that their country is good and its institutions are fair and equitable. According to this wishful thinking human rights abuses only happen in faraway places and injustices here are resolved by reining in a few bad apples. The facts say otherwise and prove that the United States is consistently one of the worst human rights violators in the world. The cruelty of its prison system extends far beyond headlines of a few well known villains like David Clarke and Joe Arpaio.

      Donald Trump’s pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio is quite rightly a big news story. Trump’s pardon is easily denounced as an obvious violation of the spirit of the presidential pardon process. It was a sham used to circumvent an established process. Arpaio had not even been sentenced for his misdemeanor contempt of court conviction. Full pardons are rare in any case, with examples such as Chelsea Manning’s being far more common. She received a commutation and only after serving seven years of her sentence.

    • Imploring President Trump to Reconsider Reinstating Program Offering Military Surplus to Police

      On August 28, the Trump administration unveiled a new plan to roll back limits President Obama had placed in 2015 on the controversial 1033 program, which provides local law enforcement agencies and even some campus and school police with surplus military gear. Obama issued an executive order to end the program, which had provided law enforcement agencies with everything from armored vehicles, grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and camouflage uniforms.

      In doing so, Obama noted the militarized response to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting of Michael Brown, where police responded to nonviolent protesters in armored vehicles, riot gear, and with pepper spray, and previously to the use of armored vehicles and military gear by police during the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Obama said, “We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them. It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message.”

    • Why are the Danes so happy? Because their economy makes sense

      The World Happiness Report puts Danes consistently in the top tier. Twice in the past four years Denmark came in first. Danes also report more satisfaction with their health care than anyone else in Europe, which makes sense, since happiness is related to a sense of security and others being there for you. A fine health care system makes that real.

      The Danish approach is especially interesting to Americans because of the U.S. suspicion of centralization. Danes prefer to administer their health care locally. On the other hand, they’ve found that the fairest and most efficient way of paying for their system is through income tax, most of which is routed through Copenhagen.

    • Charlottesville, Bacon’s Rebellion and the Miasma of Whiteness

      If anyone still buys the idea that we are “post-race,” Charlottesville showed us that white Americans are still willing to kill over white pride. While this most recent tragedy was triggered by a plan to move a statue of Robert E. Lee, its roots are rooted much more deeply into the soil of our national psyche. If we are ever going to pull ourselves out of our centuries-old cycle of racial violence and recrimination, we need to find a way to do more than just condemn white supremacism and figure out how to keep its violence from returning to kill innocent people and deny us all of a country where we might live together in peace.

    • We Must Love One Another Or Die

      Today, over 75 years later, W.H. Auden’s poem September 1, 1939 resonates more than ever. First published in The New Republic in October 1939, it marks the outbreak of World War ll as Germany marched into Poland. Exploring the dark psychological forces driving the German, Auden sits in a New York City dive “uncertain and afraid.” He feels the “waves of anger and fear,” foresees the suffering ahead, mourns what may be lost, but defiantly insists, “The lights must never go out/ The music must always play.” With “our world in stupor,” Auden writes, the need remains “to show an affirming flame.”

    • Abolitionists From Around the World Gather to Plan for the End of Prisons

      In July 2017 more than 200 people from across the globe met for four days in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which was once home to abolitionist Frederick Douglass and a major stop on the Underground Railroad. Meeting intentionally in a place with such historical significance to the abolition movement, conferees came together to learn more about the relationship between the carceral state and struggles against colonialism and slavery.

    • Trump’s war on children: Deporting the Dreamers is next, and the GOP base will love it

      Vice President Mike Pence went down to the Hurricane Harvey disaster area on Thursday and, unlike his weird boss, behaved the way politicians typically behave in such a situation. He prayed with the locals and hugged the victims and promised that the administration will be there with whatever is needed. It was a standard performance. So far, members of Congress have also pledged all the federal help they need, and even Rep. Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus said that Congress should not take the hurricane relief and reconstruction hostage to pay for Trump’s wall. (This probably means that the proposed $800 million in cuts to FEMA for the border wall is also off the table, thank goodness.)

    • Ai Weiwei puts human face on migrant crisis in ‘Human Flow’

      The United Nations says there are 65 million forcibly displaced people around the world — a number so huge it can be overwhelming to contemplate.

      Artist Ai Weiwei wants to make viewers see both the scale of the crisis and the humanity of the migrants with his documentary “Human Flow,” premiering Friday at the Venice Film Festival.

      The film, one of 21 competing for the festival’s Golden Lion prize, draws on a deep empathy with his subjects — one the artist came to through direct experience.

    • Union Denounces ‘Chilling’ Assault on Nurse Defending Her Patient from Police

      The nation’s largest nurses union is among those condemning the Salt Lake City police department after a video released Friday showed an officer physically assaulting and then arresting a nurse who refused to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient.

      While attempting to force registered nurse Alex Wubbels to draw the sample without the appropriate warrant or authority, Detective Jeff Payne became infuriated when Wubbels’ supervisor defended her refusal. Payne lunged at the nurse and tried to arrest her while she screamed for help and her shocked colleagues protested.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s Broken Comments System Could Help Doom Net Neutrality

      If you look only at unique comments, as opposed to form letters using boilerplate text, those in favor of keeping the Title II rules outweigh those who want to jettison the rules 1.52 million to 23,000.

      The only hitch: the commenting process was such a debacle that the legitimacy of the entire body of comments is now in question.

    • The entire net neutrality debate is because the old telco monopolies think they still run the world

      The Net Neutrality debate, hot as it is, would not exist if the old telco monopolies were behaving like ordinary companies who had to compete for customers. Most of their attitude can be traced back to when they were national monopolies who didn’t have to compete, and the fact that in several areas of the United States and elsewhere, they still don’t have competition.

  • DRM

    • Squeezed for profits, maker of $400 connected juice press closes up shop

      In a letter posted on its website on Friday, Juicero said that it would be closing down its business. The Silicon Valley startup sold a cold-press juice machine that squeezed juice out of proprietary bags of fruit and vegetable matter. The bags were delivered to the Juicero owner’s home on a subscription basis.

      “[A]fter selling over a million Produce Packs, we must let you know that we are suspending the sale of the Juicero Press and Produce Packs immediately,” Juicero wrote today.

      The company was hailed by tech investors, but it ran into problems with price. The juice press was very expensive—it started out at $700 until the company reduced the price of the hardware to $400. That was not including the price of the juice bags, which cost $5-$8 each.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Kaspersky wins cash from a patent troll

      “it’s not just any old victory; it’s truly a landmark one. Indeed, our shooing off Wetro Lan with its tail between its legs will go down in the annals of patent law as a crucial precedent, since no one before has ever secured a victory like we just have: we not only forced the troll to withdraw its lawsuit; we also got it to pay us compensation!,” he said.

    • Deputy Attorney General Trots Out All Sorts Of Silly Analogies About ‘Intellectual Property’

      We’ve always had difficulty understanding why copyright or trademark law should even have “criminal” components to them. It seems fairly obvious that they can be handled easily enough with civil actions, without involving law enforcement. And this matter is only reinforced every time law enforcement tries to get involved in copyright and trademark enforcement. They seem oddly… almost unable to comprehend that infringement is different than theft and that it requires a different thought process and analysis. Time and time again, we see this crop up, both in the US and around the world. And it remains consistent no matter who is in charge. Under Obama, the DOJ was terrible on intellectual property issues, and that’s now carrying over to the Trump administration.

    • Copyrights

      • Lawsuit Over Bogus DMCA Complaint Actually Moves Forward

        We’ve discussed many times about how unfortunately toothless section 512(f) of the DMCA is in practice. That’s the section that can supposedly be used against “misrepresentations” under the DMCA. But, in practice, nearly all attempts to use DMCA 512(f) have failed. That’s why it’s always so interesting to see one that is succeeding. But as law professor Eric Goldman notes, there’s a case where a 512(f) claim has survived a motion to dismiss.

        The background to the case is a bit involved, but apparently someone named Shirley Johnson was posting YouTube videos criticizing “New Destiny Christian Center” and the “Paula White Ministries.” Paula White Ministries claimed copyright infringement to YouTube and Johnson counternoticed. Paula White Ministries then sued, claiming copyright infringement over Johnson’s use of images and videos in her criticism. The case was dismissed, but the judge suggested that Johnson file a lawsuit against the plaintiff for “malicious prosecution.” She did so, though included in that suit was also a claim about “false copyright infringement complaints.” The court dismissed those claims, noting that those are not part of a malicious prosecution claim, so a separate lawsuit was filed claiming 512(f) violations. The defendants in this case made a motion to dismiss, but the big news here is that the 512(f) claim lives on.

      • Search Engines Will Open Systems to Prove Piracy & VPN Blocking

        Leading Russian search engines have met with local telecoms watchdog Rozcomnadzor to work out how the services will stop pirate sites, mirrors, VPNs, and other anonymization tools from appearing in search results. Search engines will now receive lists of banned resources automatically and will mesh their IT systems with the government’s so the latter can ascertain compliance.

      • Director of Kim Dotcom Documentary Speaks Out on Piracy

        Last week the documentary “Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web” was released to the public. While sales are going well, it was inevitable that the film would be widely shared among pirates too. Today we catch up with director Annie Goldson to hear her thoughts on piracy and how the movie industry should respond.


Links 1/9/2017: PiCluster 2.1, Wine 2.16, LibreOffice 5.4.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • INL releases new open-source software projects

    Idaho National Laboratory has released multiple new open-source software projects that are freely available to the public and open to collaboration directly with researchers and engineers outside of the laboratory. Fostering widespread distribution of this software will accelerate the adoption of these technologies within industry and fuel innovation in other research organizations that may build on them.

  • Open source data platform for smart agriculture proposed

    New Delhi, Aug 31 (PTI) A plan to create an open source data platform for “smart agriculture” was mooted by the Department of Biotechnology in a two-day conference that concluded today.

    It has been envisaged that the data platform FarmerZone will help cater to the needs of farmers by providing market intelligence, weather predictions, and information on soil, water and seed requirements.

    The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, convened the Smart Agriculture Conclave here in partnership with the UKs Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Research Councils UK (RCUK), India.

  • Dharma wants to let anyone borrow a small amount of cryptocurrency

    dApps, or decentralized apps, are open-source applications built on top of a blockchain. But here’s the thing – users usually can’t interact with these dApps unless they have tokens issued by these projects. For example, both Augur, a decentralized prediction market and REXMLS, a free global listing network for real estate, require tokens to interact with.

  • OpenStack ‘Pike’ Focuses on Basics Instead of Gee-Whiz New Features

    There’s a new release of OpenStack, the open source infrastructure-as-a-service platform for cloud computing. The new release, Pike, isn’t chock-full of new features, as OpenStack’s focus for the next several releases will be on stability, scalability, performance and ease-of-use.

    Actually, this is a good time for the platform’s developers to step away from any mad rush to add new features and concentrate on improving the basics. Back in April, when we reported on Open Stack’s ninth User Survey, we noted that although use of the platform was on the rise, in some cases user satisfaction was declining, most likely over usability issues.

  • Petition Asks the Developers of Phoenix OS to Open Source the Kernel

    Android is mainly considered an open source mobile operating system, but there are a number of closed source elements that hundreds of millions of people use every day. The actual requirements of Android is that the kernel be open sourced for the public. This is enforced by the GPL but sadly this is one of those gray areas where someone actually needs to take legal action to enforce it. Some companies have violated this time and time again, and a new petition is calling for the developers of Phoenix OS to do the right thing.

    For those who are unaware, Phoenix OS is one of the only full desktop versions of Android that is still being maintained. We’ve covered another popular platform, RemixOS, on a number of occasions but even they dropped out recently to focus on being a 2B2 company. This has left a lot of people to look towards Phoenix OS as their desktop Android solution, but there’s one glaring flaw here. The developers have yet to release the source code for the kernel that’s being used.

  • 78 Open Source Replacements for Expensive Applications

    Back when Datamation first started making lists of open source software that could replace expensive proprietary applications, most commercial software came in a box and required a flat fee for purchase. These days, with the advent of cloud computing and software as a service, most applications require a regular monthly or yearly subscription.

    Those subscriptions make it seem like software has become more affordable. After all, $10 or $20 a month doesn’t seem like a lot. But when you add up those repeating fees, users often pay more under the new subscription plans than they did under the old flat-fee arrangements. If you use a lot of different applications, those fees can quickly add up. And it can be particularly hard to justify the expense for a piece of software that you only use once in a while.

  • Six strategies for scaling an open source community

    Lately, I have been revising some of the OpenStack community’s processes to make them more sustainable. As we grew over the last seven years to have more than 2,000 individual contributors to the current release, some practices that worked when they were implemented have begun causing trouble for us now that our community is changing in different ways. My goal in reviewing those practices is to find ways to eliminate the challenges. OpenStack is developed by a collection of project teams, most of which focus on a feature-related area, such as block storage or networking. The areas where we have most needed to change intersect with all of those teams, such as release management and documentation. Although the teams responsible for those tasks have tended to be small, their members have been active and dedicated. At times that dedication has masked the near-heroic level of effort they were making to keep up with the work load. When someone is overloaded in a corporate environment, where tasks are assigned and the performance and workload of team members are reviewed regularly, the employee can appeal to management for help. The solution may be to hire or assign new contributors, change the project schedule, or to make a short term trade-off that incurs technical debt. However, open source projects are largely driven by volunteers, so assigning people to work on a task isn’t an option. Even in a sponsor-driven community such as OpenStack, where many contributors are being paid to work on the project overall, sponsors typically give a relatively narrow mandate for the way their contributors can spend their time. Changing the project schedule is always an option, but if there are no volunteers for a task today, there is no guarantee volunteers will appear tomorrow, so it may not help. We must use a different approach to eliminate the need for heroic effort.

  • Open source or proprietary: how should we secure voting systems?

    The stakes are always high when it comes to software security, which is why the ongoing debate over open-source vs. proprietary tends to be passionate.

    But the stakes rise to a new level when it comes to the security (and integrity) of a nation’s voting systems. Which makes a recent, relatively civil, squabble over the topic – 15 months out from the next national US election – both passionate and significant.

    There isn’t much debate that something needs to be done to make voting systems – more than 8,000 jurisdictions in the 50 states – more secure.

    While the US intelligence community concluded that Russian hackers were “probably unsuccessful” in tampering with votes in last year’s presidential election, that doesn’t mean they didn’t try, or that their chances of future success are low.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Diversity and inclusion: Stop talking and do your homework

        At Mozilla, we believe that to influence positive change in diversity and inclusion (D&I) in our communities, and more broadly in open source, we need to learn, empathize, innovate, and take action. Open source is missing out on diverse perspectives and experiences that can drive change for a better world because we’re stuck in our ways—continually leaning on long-held assumptions about why we lose people. Counting who makes it through the gauntlet of tasks and exclusive cultural norms that leads to a first pull request can’t be enough. Neither can celebrating increased diversity on stage at technical conferences, especially when the audience remains homogeneous and abuse goes unchallenged.

      • Statement on U.S. DACA Program

        We want DREAMers to continue contributing to this country’s future and we do not want people to live in fear. We urge the Administration to keep the DACA program intact. At the same time, we urge leaders in government to enact a bipartisan permanent solution, one that will allow these bright minds to prosper in the country we know and love.

      • Prepare For Firefox +57 With These 10 Web Extensions

        Mozilla Firefox browser is moving to “web extensions” and is dropping support for the legacy XPCOM & XUL add-ons. This means that every single add-on you have on your browser won’t work with Firefox +57 unless it was rewritten using this new technology.

        This is bad news for a lot of us. Thousands of add-ons won’t be used anymore because of this. A lot of developers do not plan to invest more time in porting their add-ons into the new technology. However, things have to move on. Mozilla’s point of view is that it’s time to drop this legacy technology and move into more modern ways of creating add-ons.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 1st code donation is complete

      Hi all, The 1st NetBeans code donation from Oracle to Apache is complete and http://bits.netbeans.org/download/apache-donation/ApacheNetBeansDonation1.zip is the first code drop. Everyone is welcome to look at the code, which will be imported into the Apache NetBeans repository. The 1st code donation, i.e., the NetBeans Platform + the Java SE tooling, which includes the new Jigsaw and JShell features, comprises around 45,000 files (around 4 million lines of code) to be transferred from Oracle to Apache. Hereby we are at step 5 of the process outlined below. Mentors, can you create the official Apache NetBeans repository so that we can import the code into it. Many thanks, Geertjan

    • The Sounds Of More Oracle Layoffs, SPARC Execution Could Be Near

      America this weekend by reportedly doing a fresh round of layoffs and it’s sounding like it could affect a number of heads.

      Thelayoff.com/Oracle is once again a vibrant discussion board today with word that massive layoffs are set for Friday, 1 September, and sound squarely aimed at their hardware division, SPARC. There are many reported Oracle employees stating notification of a FedEx shipment tomorrow from Oracle headquarters, widely expected to be their termination papers, etc.

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 5.4.1 “fresh” and LibreOffice 5.3.6 “still”

      The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 5.4.1, the first minor release of the new LibreOffice 5.4 family, which was announced in early August, and LibreOffice 5.3.6, the sixth release of the mature LibreOffice 5.3 family, which was announced in January 2017.

      LibreOffice 5.4.1 represents the bleeding edge in term of features, and as such is targeted at technology enthusiasts and early adopters, while LibreOffice 5.3.6 is targeted at conservative users and enterprise deployments.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 11.1 BETA1 is ready!

      This first beta of the development of GhostBSD 11.1 release is ready for testing. All MATE and XFCE image is available with i386 and amd64 architectures. We hope to see a lot of people helping to test this next release.

    • Trying Out AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper On TrueOS, DragonFlyBSD

      Following the AMD Threadripper Linux tests of this week today I finally had a chance to try out some of the BSDs with this 16 core / 32 thread system.

      With the AMD Threadripper 1950X with Gigabyte X399 AORUS Gaming 7 is how I was running these tests. Initial targets were with TrueOS (formerly known as PC-BSD, the desktop-oriented branch of FreeBSD) and DragonFlyBSD.

    • August 2017 Development Projects Update
    • My first patch to OpenBSD

      I followed Preparing a diff and Making your first patch (OpenBSD) to submit my first OpenBSD patch. Guess what? just few hours later, dmesg source file was changed base on my code. Although the final modification is not my code, it is still a great pleasure that I contribute my own effort to help make OpenBSD better!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Estonia considering Ethereum-based cryptocoin

      Estonia is considering the issue of crypto-tokens, which would make it (almost) the first country to attract investment through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). The scheme would let buyers of the new estcoin hold a stake in the Estonian economy.

      The estcoin would be based on the Ethereum infrastructure, a public open-source blockchain specifically developed to facilitate smart contracts.

    • Bundestag elections: parties support free software

      The Digital Agency of Belgium’s Walloon Region is promoting smart farming. At the Libramont agriculture, forestry and agri-food fair and exhibition this week, the agency co-organised a section showcasing nine companies that have developed innovative ICT uses for farming.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Artifex v. Hancom: Open Source is Now an Enforceable Contract

      The U.S. District Court recently ruled in favor of Artifex – developer of Ghostscript which is an open-source PDF interpreter and against Hancom Office – a South Korean developer of ”office” apps. The Northern District of California said that General Public License (GPL) can be treated like a legal contract, and developers can sue if the obligations of these licenses are not followed. This ruling provides strong legal support to the enforceability of open source licenses.

    • An economically efficient model for open source software license compliance

      “The Compliance Industrial Complex” is a term that evokes dystopian imagery of organizations engaging in elaborate and highly expensive processes to comply with open source license terms. As life often imitates art, many organizations engage in this practice, sadly robbing them of the many benefits of the open source model. This article presents an economically efficient approach to open source software license compliance.

      Open source licenses generally impose three requirements on a distributor of code licensed from a third party:

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open-source genomic platform could aid plant breeding in developing nations

      The Genomic Open-source Breeding Informatics Initiative (GOBII), a global project funded by an $18.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is helping bridge the gap [between crop breeders and the growing populations they feed in developing countries]. The project – a partnership between an Ithaca-based hub of researchers at The Institute of Biotechnology, Cornell and the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) and other hubs in agricultural research centers in Mexico, India and Philippines – is making state-of-the-art genomic breeding techniques available to everyone. In May, GOBII released its first products, which include a data management system to organize and access huge amounts of genomic information, and user interface tools for efficient breeding.

      “The purpose of the project is to help transform breeding programs in the developing world by implementing the most current methods being used by all major ag-tech companies around the world,” said Liz Jones, GOBII director. “

    • Big Ag Gets Ag-Gag Envy, Helps Bring In ‘Seed-Preemption’ Laws Across The US

      Supporters of the move claim that a system of local seed rules would be complicated to navigate. That’s a fair point, but it’s hard to believe Big Ag really cares about farmers that much.

  • Programming/Development

    • Introducing Fastify, a Speedy Node.js Web Framework

      Why have we written yet another web framework for Node.js? I am committed to making the Node.js platform faster, more stable and more scalable. In 2016, myself and David Mark Clements started Pino, which was designed to be the fastest logger for Node.js, and it now has four active maintainers and an ecosystem of hundreds of modules.

      Fastify is a new web framework inspired by Hapi, Restify and Express. Fastify is built as a general-purpose web framework, but it shines when building extremely fast HTTP APIs that use JSON as the data format. These are extremely common in both web and mobile software architectures, so Fastify could improve the throughput of the majority of applications.

    • The evolution of DevOps [Ed: DevOps is just a buzzword]

      A few years ago, I wrote that DevOps is the movement that doesn’t want to be defined.

    • Why Python is a crucial part of the DevOps toolchain

      DevOps is built for agility and handling change. In this year’s Skill Up survey, Packt found that Python is one of the primary languages used by DevOps engineers. In this article, Richard Gall explores why Python is such a popular part of the DevOps toolchain.

      DevOps is a way of thinking; it’s an approach, not a specific set of tools. And that’s all well and good – but it only gives you half the picture. If we overstate DevOps as a philosophy or a methodology, then it becomes too easy to forget that the toolchain is everything when it comes to DevOps. In fact, DevOps thinking forces you to think about your toolchain more than ever – when infrastructure becomes code, the way in which you manage it, change it is constantly.

    • Updated AMD Zen Scheduler Model Lands For LLVM 6.0

      With the soon-to-be-released LLVM 5.0 there is the initial AMD Zen scheduler model for the compiler to benefit Ryzen / EPYC processors. But now already hitting the LLVM development code for LLVM 6.0 is a revised scheduler model.

    • [Fedora/Red Hat] PHP version 7.0.23 and 7.1.9
    • RcppAnnoy 0.0.9


  • Heading Back to School? Brazzers Has Some Free Porn for You [Ed: bizarre publicity stunt promoted by IDG as if it's "news"]

    A new promotion from the porn site offers 5,000 US university students of legal age a free, four-month membership to Brazzers.com.

  • Pope reveals he had weekly psychoanalysis sessions at age 42

    Pope Francis has revealed that he sought the help of a psychoanalyst for six months when he was 42 and the leader of the Jesuit order in Argentina during the country’s military dictatorship.

    The pope’s disclosure was made in a book based on 12 in-depth interviews with the French sociologist Dominique Wolton, to be published next week.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • California moves to become the first US state to legalise magic mushrooms

      California could become the first US state to legalise magic mushrooms, as early as next year if proposed legislation is passed. The move, known as a ballot measure in the US, was filed last week with the state Attorney General’s office.

    • No action on opioid emergency three weeks after Trump declaration

      President Trump on Aug. 10 said the nation’s opioid epidemic was officially a national emergency.

      More than three weeks later, Trump is dealing with a natural disaster.

      Hurricane Harvey has displaced tens of thousands, leading Trump to declare federal emergencies in Texas and Louisiana. The decisions have freed up funding to help people who have lost their homes to rising waters.

      In contrast, nothing has happened yet since Trump’s declaration on opioids. No paperwork has been issued formally declaring an emergency, and no new policies have been announced.

      One reason is that there’s no established procedure for an emergency related to opioid abuse, which is new territory for the federal government.

      The opioid epidemic is a chronic problem, and national emergencies are usually only intended to provide short-term relief.

    • “Reckless” Tories have no solution for the crisis in the NHS

      It’s not just Tory MPs alarmed by this week’s news that Theresa May believes she’s “in this for the long-term”, anyone who cares about the future of the NHS is desperately worried that this Prime Minister intends to go on and on.

      What have we seen this summer in our NHS?

      A huge increase in the number of occasions expectant mums are being turned away from over stretched, under staffed maternity units; almost 40,000 patients left stranded on trolleys in overcrowded A&E departments and shockingly over four million now on the waiting list for operations.

    • Galveston Bio-Lab Declared Safe

      The Galveston National Laboratory in Texas, which contains samples of some of the most deadly and incurable diseases, has issued a statement reporting itself safe five days after Hurricane Harvey struck on Friday amid safety concerns for a lab built in one of America’s most active hurricane zones.

    • Pioneering cancer drug, just approved, to cost $475,000 — and analysts say it’s a bargain


      he Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a futuristic new approach to treating cancer, clearing a Novartis therapy that has produced unprecedented results in patients with a rare and deadly cancer. The price tag: $475,000 for a course of treatment.

      That sounds staggering to many patients — but it’s far less than analysts expected.

      The therapy, called a CAR-T, is made by harvesting patients’ white blood cells and rewiring them to home in on tumors. Novartis’s product is the first CAR-T therapy to come before the FDA, leading a pack of novel treatments that promise to change the standard of care for certain aggressive blood cancers.

    • The Sinister Side Effect of Amazing New Cancer Drug: One Dose Costs Nearly $500K

      On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a new cancer therapy developed by the pharmaceutical company Novartis that experts hope may revolutionize the way doctors treat cancer—but the half-million dollar price tag has sparked a national conversation the costs of life-saving treatments.

  • Security

    • FDA, Homeland Security Issue First Ever Recall, Warnings About Flimsy Pacemaker Security

      We’ve well established that the internet of things (IOT) market is a large, stinky dumpster fire when it comes to privacy and security. But the same problems that plague your easily hacked thermostat or e-mail password leaking refrigerator take on a decidedly darker tone when we’re talking about your health. The health industry’s outdated IT systems are a major reason for a startling rise in ransomware attacks at many hospitals, but this same level of security and privacy apathy also extends to medical and surgical equipment — and integral medical implants like pacemakers.

      After a decade of warnings about dubious pacemaker security, researchers at Medsec earlier this year discovered that a line of pacemakers manufactured by St. Jude Medical were vulnerable to attacks that could kill the owner. The researchers claimed that St. Jude had a history of doing the bare minimum to secure their products, and did little to nothing in response to previous warnings about device security. St. Jude Medical’s first response was an outright denial, followed by a lawsuit against MedSec for “trying to frighten patients and caregivers.”

    • What Being a Female Hacker {sic} Is Really Like
    • Even encrypted data streams from the Internet of Things are leaking sensitive information; here’s what we can do

      As the Internet of Things (IoT) begins to enter the mainstream, concerns about the impact such “smart” devices will have on users’ privacy are growing. Many of the problems are obvious, but so far largely anecdotal. That makes a new paper from four researchers at Princeton University particularly valuable, because they analyze in detail how IoT devices leak private information to anyone with access to Internet traffic flows, and what might be done about it. Now that basic privacy protections for Internet users have been removed in the US, allowing ISPs to monitor traffic and sell data about their customers’s online habits to third parties, it’s an issue with heightened importance.

    • The Epic Crime Spree Unleashed By Onity’s Ambivalence To Its Easily Hacked Hotel Locks

      Back in 2012, we wrote about Onity, the company that makes a huge percentage of the keycard hotel door locks on the market, and how laughably easy it was to hack its locks with roughly $50 of equipment. Surprisingly, Onity responded to the media coverage and complaints from its hotel customers with offers of fixes that ranged from insufficient (a piece of plastic that covered the port used to hack the door locks) to cumbersome (replacing the circuit boards on the locks entirely) and asked many of these customers to pay for these fixes to its broken product. Many of these customers wanted to sue Onity for obvious reasons, but a judge ruled against allowing a class action suit to proceed. That was our last story on the subject.

    • Site sells Instagram users’ phone and e-mail details, $10 a search

      At first glance, the Instagram security bug that was exploited to obtain celebrities’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses appeared to be limited, possibly to a small number of celebrity accounts. Now a database of 10,000 credentials published online Thursday night suggests the breach is much bigger.

    • Celebs’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses exposed in active Instagram hack
    • Intel kill switch code indicates connection to NSA

      Dmitry Sklyarov, Mark Ermolov and Maxim Goryachy, security researchers for Positive Technologies, based in Framingham, Mass., found the Intel kill switch that has the ability to disable the controversial Intel Management Engine (ME).

      Experts have been wary of the Intel ME because it is an embedded subsystem on every chip that essentially functions as a separate CPU with deep access to system processes and could be active even if the system were hibernating or shut off.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Media Obscure US/Saudi Responsibility for Killing Yemeni Civilians

      A coalition of Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, with minor support from several other Middle Eastern nations, has relentlessly bombed Yemen since March 2015. This August, the coalition ramped up the ferocity of its airstrikes, killing dozens of civilians.

      On August 23, the US/Saudi coalition bombed a hotel near Yemen’s capital Sanaa, killing 41 people, 33 of whom—80 percent—were civilians, according to the United Nations.

      Then on August 25, the coalition bombed homes in Sanaa, massacring a dozen civilians, including eight members of the same family.

      Major Western media outlets have, however, obscured the responsibility Saudi Arabia, and its US and European supporters, bear for launching these airstrikes.

    • The Last of the Mad Pirates?

      There is clear evidence of a world increasingly steeped in conflict and violence: The degradation of U.S.-Russian relations, territorial tensions in the South China Sea, the hostile rhetoric between North Korea and the United States, an escalation of the border conflict between China and India, growing tension between Israel and Iran, and the continuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine; among other hostilities around the globe yielding death and destruction.

    • Pentagon Dumps Tons of Hazardous Waste Yearly Without Disclosing Pollution Harm
    • Iran, and a diplomacy deficit

      A key point to grasp is that the US-Iran relationship has been problematic for many decades. Its strains long predate 9/11 to the coup against Mohammad Mosaddegh’s elected leadership in 1953, decades of support for the subsequent Shah’s regime, and the multiple upheavals of the late 1970s which culminated in the Iranian revolution of 1979. The sudden collapse of the Shah’s order, seen by Washington as a vital and irreplaceable ally in the intense cold-war rivalry with the Soviet Union, was a heavy geopolitical blow. A seminal event in the aftermath made it even more traumatic: the detention by young revolutionaries of fifty-two American diplomats and their family members in Tehran, a hostage incident which lasted 444 days.

      The US’s frustrated impotence in a key security dispute left a bitter residue, which makes the nuclear deal negotiated during Barack Obama’s second term of office all the more remarkable. That helped avert a dangerous confrontation over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Nothing is settled, however. For the moment, Trump’s Washington is focusing most security attention on North Korea. But Iran remains a potent background concern, and recent developments could well spark a sudden crisis.

    • If Hillary Had Won

      The Clinton 45 administration would be loaded with top globalist ruling-class and imperial operatives from Wall Street and the Council on Foreign Relations. A dangerous Russophobic war hawk and a dedicated enemy of left popular nationalism in Latin America, Mrs. Clinton might well have initiated significant direct and dangerous military conflict with Russia in Syria or Ukraine and already orchestrated a U.S overthrow of the Maduro regime in Venezuela. She would be doing this to the measured applause of CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

      Just how much a President Hillary’s likely mass-murderous militarism would reflect her strong ideological commitment to the American Empire Project (never forget her U.S. Senate vote to let George W. Bush criminally invade Iraq if he wanted to [he did]) and how much it would reflect a “wag the dog” need to deflect attention from domestic political chaos is an interesting question.

    • Retired Police Major: Police Militarization Endangers Public Safety

      This week, the Trump administration revoked President Obama’s Executive Order 13688, which limited the scope of a federal program that allows state and local police departments to obtain military equipment free of charge – and without oversight or training in how to use it. After spending 34 years as a police officer, I’m convinced that the 1033 Program has been one of the single greatest contributors to the public losing trust in law enforcement.

      Scrapping Executive Order 13688 means police departments will again have unfettered access to high caliber guns, grenade launchers, and armored vehicles, among other forms of military equipment. During a time when criminal justice and police reform have bipartisan support, this decision shows a clear misunderstanding both of what Americans want and, more perilously, of what’s truly effective at improving public safety.

    • The Reasons for Netanyahu’s Panic

      A very senior Israeli intelligence delegation, a week ago, visited Washington. Then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke into President Putin’s summer holiday to meet him in Sochi, where, according to a senior Israeli government official (as cited in the Jerusalem Post), Netanyahu threatened to bomb the Presidential Palace in Damascus, and to disrupt and nullify the Astana cease-fire process, should Iran continue to “extend its reach in Syria.”


      Belatedly, Israel has understood that it backed the wrong side in Syria – and it has lost. It is not really in a position to demand anything. It will not get an American enforced buffer zone beyond the Golan armistice line, nor will the Iraqi-Syrian border be closed, or somehow “supervised” on Israel’s behalf.

    • The government must come clean about its secret wars

      When David Cameron made his case for airstrikes in Syria in 2015, he explicitly ruled out sending in UK ground forces to fight Islamic State. Yet the following year British soldiers were photographed on the ground, reportedly fighting alongside Syrian rebels. All without any disclosure to parliament.

      How is this possible?

      The answer comes through the use of special forces. As far as the government is concerned, the operations of any units that come under the command of the Director of Special Forces are exempt from public disclosure and scrutiny. In theory, this means British troops can operate anywhere in the world without the public or parliament ever knowing about it, let alone getting the chance to debate or vote.

      This may not seem unreasonable at first glance. After all, aren’t we talking about a very small number of elite troops carrying out a similarly small number of ‘quick-in, quick out’ operations? We could hardly equate missions like ending the Iranian embassy siege in 1980 or the rescue of British soldiers captured by the ‘West Side Boys’ in Sierra Leone in 2000 with full-blown military interventions. And secrecy has arguably been understandable to avoid compromising these missions and endangering the personnel involved.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Media Largely ‘Blind’ to Harvey’s Devastating Impact on Poor Communities
    • Disaster Coverage Still Has Blind Spot for Low-Income Victims

      Numerous media outlets (e.g., CNN’s Reliable Sources, 9/18/05) vowed to do better in the future—though within months, reports on poverty and the poor had retreated to background levels, and CNN (2/27/06) was approvingly reporting on how New Orleans had ripped out the carpet at the convention center to “[bring] it back ahead of schedule,” even as at least half of the city’s actual residents remained displaced.

      Twelve years later, as Hurricane Harvey has wreaked devastating flooding across southeast Texas, reporters’ ability to notice the nearly one-third of Americans living in or near poverty has again been put to the test. And though direct comparisons with Katrina are tough—Harvey is a different storm, playing out over days of rising waters instead of mere hours, and Houston chose not to call for residents to evacuate as New Orleans did in 2005—news coverage has revealed some of the same blind spots that have plagued reporting on previous natural disasters.

    • A woman tried to shame Michelle Obama. It backfired, badly

      In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, Rice was photographed shoe shopping in New York City.

      At the time, the story that she had spent thousands of dollars in an expensive Manhattan retailer was broken by the New York Daily News.

      In her 2011 memoir, ‘No Higher Honor’, Rice admitted she should not have done that.

      The memoir confirmed she had travelled to New York to see a play on Broadway, and then done some shoe shopping Ferragamo.

    • Harvey: Fierce Climate Change at Work

      Clearly, Harvey is a natural disaster of monstrous proportions. Its destructiveness is the hottest topic on TV coast-to-coast and around the world. Still, cynics of climate change say natural disasters, like hurricanes, are normal and nothing more than nature’s way. The evidence, however, points in another direction; climate change is no longer simply nature doing its thing. It’s lost purity of the force of nature, only nature.

      Similar to the record setting massive meltdown of Arctic ice in a flash of geologic time, fierce storms and zany weather patterns are setting all-time records, hyper-speeding nature’s time clock. In point of fact, bigger/faster all-time records have become the norm, racing ahead of nature, prompting the question: Why is this happening?

      The likely answer is: The human footprint is driving climate change to hyper speed; in some instances 10xs faster than climate change over the past millennia.

    • Can the Politicians Heed the Lessons of Hurricane Harvey?

      Hovering Hurricane Harvey, loaded and reloading with trillions of gallons of water raining down on the greater Houston region—ironically the hub of the petroleum refining industry—is an unfolding, off the charts tragedy for millions of people. Many of those most affected are minorities and low-income families with no homes, health care or jobs to look forward to once the waters recede.


      While Trump tweets and hopefully reconsiders his earlier cruel budget cuts for FEMA and other life-saving federal agencies – such as the Centers for Disease Control and the EPA – the people are swinging into action on the ground. May they swing into wise and just action in the next elections – both as new candidates and, high horizon, informed voters. For there is a much better America to be had.

    • Before Harvey, Houston Sought Funding to Mitigate Floods — But Congress Refused

      The rains were going to come eventually. It was only a matter of when, and how bad.

      With flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey still inundating Houston — exacting a toll of 31 deaths and incalculable damage so far — the city is left asking what could have been done to prevent the extent of the catastrophe, or at least diminish its effects. One of the questions is why federal funding that should have been in place to help Houston deal with flood mitigation never arrived.

      Houston and surrounding Harris County, in Texas, had many ambitious proposals for flood mitigation projects lined up, but couldn’t afford them. And, despite the efforts of one of the city’s congressional representatives, Capitol Hill declined to fund the cash-strapped local governments.

    • Harvey Victims Face Toxic Pollution as Hurricane Recovery Begins

      Texas communities that have long experienced health problems from nearby oil refineries and chemical plants are now facing the fossil fuel industry’s longer-term impacts: storms made more severe by climate change and the painful recovery process that follows their landfall — a recovery made far worse by industrial contamination.

      A number of low-income communities that sit on the fence-lines of the Gulf Coast petrochemical industry have been hit particularly hard by Hurricane Harvey. On Thursday morning, Hilton Kelley stood at a makeshift first responders headquarters in Port Arthur, Texas, directing out-of-state rescue professionals to parts of his neighborhood where he knew people were probably still trapped. A curfew put in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. was just ending and the streets were eery and barren, with a few alarms going off in nearby buildings. Kelley’s home had filled with a foot and a half of water, and his wife and granddaughter had taken shelter at his soul food restaurant, Kelley’s Kitchen.

    • How forests balance the books in a changing climate
    • Crosby, Texas, Chemical Plant Explodes Twice, Arkema Group Says

      Two explosions shook a flooded chemical plant near Houston early Thursday, sending a plume of black smoke into the air and triggering an intense fire that continued to burn.

      Authorities warned that further blasts were likely to occur on site since chemicals weren’t being stored at the appropriate temperatures after the facility lost power following Hurricane Harvey.

    • The Chemical Plant Explosion in Texas Is Not an Accident. It’s the Result of Specific Choices.

      So, conservative ideas have triumphed in Texas. A business-friendly environment has been created, based on free-market principles, deregulation, and a return to 10th amendment freedoms just as the Founders designed them, because the best government is the one that is closest to the people.

    • Engine maker Cummins shows off all-electric truck, high-efficiency diesels

      This week, diesel truck engine company Cummins made an unusual announcement. In addition to several new high-efficiency diesel engines, it also showed off an all-electric truck called the Concept Class 7 Urban Hauler EV. The truck is just a concept at the moment, but it’s coming in the nick of time—just as Tesla is about to announce its own semi EV.

  • Finance

    • Job growth slows in August

      Employers added only 156,000 jobs in August as the pace of hiring slowed, according to the Labor Department report Friday.
      The unemployment rate crept up to 4.4% from the 16-year low of 4.3% reached last month, as fewer adults reported that they had a job during the month.
      The Labor Department also revised down earlier estimates for job growth in both June and July by a total of 41,000 jobs, suggesting that the labor market is not quite as strong as it appeared to be a month ago.

    • Illinois Democrat Picks Democratic Socialist as Running Mate for Gubernatorial Run

      But Biss is countering his capitalist opponent by picking as his running mate someone who is Pritzker’s direct opposite: a democratic socialist.

      At a rally Thursday night, Biss announced that Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, would be his running mate.

    • ‘Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves’: From fishing patriotism to pragmatism

      Pop quiz: which UK industry is approximately equal in size to sewing machine manufacturing, yet claims to have swung the Brexit vote?

      You may have guessed it – it’s the fishing industry. The vociferous complaints of loss of control, sovereignty and access to our waters and fish have become the symbolic talisman of the Brexiteers. But would people have felt the same way seeing Nigel Farage aboard a sewing machine, or a lawnmower – another economic equal?

    • Brexit: UK ‘must not allow itself to be blackmailed’

      The UK must not be “blackmailed” into agreeing a Brexit “divorce” bill before trade talks begin, Liam Fox has said.

      Talks should begin soon “because that’s good for business”, the international trade secretary added.

      EU negotiator Michel Barnier has said trade talks are still a way off, due to slow progress on other key issues.

    • The EU Sails Serenely Past the Wreck of the United Kingdom

      The disgraced former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has accused the EU of “blackmail” in the Brexit talks. This puzzles me. The disgraced former Defence Secretary has repeatedly asserted that the EU is desperate for a trade deal with the UK, and that German manufacturers of Mercedes and BMWs will insist that the UK leaving the EU brings no interruption in free trade, with no concomitant requirements for the UK to comply with EU practice.

      But if the UK’s hand is so strong, and the EU’s hand is so weak, then the EU surely is in no position to “blackmail” the UK?

      The disgraced former Defence Secretary has never struck me as a man of great intellect. It is perhaps unsurprising that it has not occurred to him, that to accuse your negotiating partner, in the most public manner possible, of blackmail, is not a tactic designed to inculcate the cooperative spirit necessary in any complex negotiation. Worse than that, “Blackmail” is a cry of “please don’t hurt me, I am weak on this one”. Fox contrives to be both insulting and inept all at the same time. It really is quite astonishing that a man who is both entirely incompetent, and has the corruption and inanity of the Werritty affair permanently inscribed on his record, is in office.

      But the most incredible thing of all is that, standing in Japan next to Theresa May, the disgraced former Defence Secretary looks competent and assured by comparison. The collapse of the UK is not a pretty sight.

    • Green MEP makes freedom of information request for government to release secret Brexit study on NHS

      Having exposed that the government has undertaken secret studies into the impacts of Brexit on at least 50 sectors of the economy, Molly has put in a freedom of information request for further details. She wrote to the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, requesting he release the findings of any studies the government have carried out into the potential impacts of Brexit. In a response, the Department of Health or the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) revealed they had “conducted analysis of over 50 sectors” but did not offer to share any findings.

    • House flippers triggered the US housing market crash, not poor subprime borrowers

      The grim tale of America’s “subprime mortgage crisis” delivers one of those stinging moral slaps that Americans seem to favor in their histories. Poor people were reckless and stupid, banks got greedy. Layer in some Wall Street dark arts, and there you have it: a global financial crisis.

      Dark arts notwithstanding, that’s not what really happened, though.

    • France demands €600 million in tax from Microsoft

      France’s tax authority is seeking 600 million euros ($715 million) from Microsoft’s local subsidiary for billing French customers from Ireland, the weekly L’Express reported on Wednesday.
      The magazine reported that the bills concerned internet advertising and keywords for internet searches.

      Despite a considerable presence in France, Microsoft paid only 32.2 million euros in corporate tax there last year, according to L’Express.

    • Neil deMause on Hurricane Harvey, Sarah Anderson on Corporate Tax Cuts

      Trump’s talking about changes to tax policy and, unsurprisingly, he’s found a way to present cuts to corporate taxes as being good for everyone: New jobs! Higher wages! What won’t cutting the social contributions of wealthy corporations bring us! Will the press see through it? We’ll talk about myths about corporate taxes with Sarah Anderson. She directs the Global Economy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies, co-edits the IPS web site Inequality.org, and is lead author of now 24 annual reports on CEO pay.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Robert Mueller Eliminates Trump’s Trump Card

      Donald Trump’s ability to issue presidential pardons has been the ultimate weapon looming over Robert Mueller’s investigation. Trump could potentially pardon himself of any crimes. More important, he could dangle a pardon to his former staffers to encourage them not to supply Mueller with any incriminating information on Trump. Mueller is apparently handling his investigating like the prosecution of a mob boss, pressuring underlings to flip on the boss. Trump’s advantage is that, unlike a mob boss, he can give out an unlimited number of get-out-of-jail-free cards. Trump has reportedly mused in public about using the pardon — and his pardon of Joe Arpaio flaunted his willingness to use it on behalf of a political ally, even in outrageous fashion.

    • Three Californias? Calexit effort joined by new state-splitting plan

      California secession efforts are plentiful this year, but tech billionaire Tim Draper wants to go old school: Just split the Golden State into three.

      Draper spent more than $5 million in 2014 on an unsuccessful effort to qualify a ballot measure asking voters to divide California into six states. He never gave up on the idea, though.

      His newest measure, filed Friday, says the “political representation of California’s diverse population and economies has rendered the state nearly ungovernable.”

      “The citizens of the whole state would be better served by three smaller state governments while preserving the historical boundaries of the various counties, cities and towns,” Draper wrote in the proposed measure’s statement of findings.

    • Tony Blair in Wonderland

      Tony Blair is clearly a piece of work. Incidentally, I’ve known about him for decades before he became well-known.

      Blair went to Fettes, the Scottish equivalent of the elite English private school Eton (the former’s alumni include the composer Michael Tippett, the winner of the Nobel Prize in economics Angus Deaton, Churchill’s foreign secretary John Simon, the actress Tilda Swinton, the golfer Tommy Armour, the gay climber and child psychiatrist Menlove Edwards (who committed suicide after living a difficult personal life), and numerous legal figures and army generals). Blair was at Fettes from 1966 to 1971.

      A good friend of mine during my undergrad days in the late 60s/early 70s had the misfortune (his term) to attend Fettes the same time as Blair.

      My Old Fettesian undergraduate friend, like me a future university teacher, moved in very different circles from Blair at Fettes (admittedly my friend was a couple of years older), who at that point had seeming thespian aspirations and gloried in the nickname “Emma”.


      Why put up with this Tory Little Englander pantomime, just to get votes from a xenophobic, and largely elderly and less educated, base, when you can have the option of voting for a flat-out neoliberal party, now unburdened by having jettisoned both Little Englanderism– Conservatives belonging to the 1% view this confining xenophobia as a drag on wealth that has been parked offshore in places like Panama and on lucrative deals to be made with dictators from balmier climes), and also Corbyn’s Labour (which, dear oh dear, wants a return to all that outdated socialist stuff)?

    • Google is losing allies across the political spectrum

      Eight years ago, Google was on top of the world. People across the political spectrum saw the search giant as a symbol of high-tech innovation. During the just-completed 2008 presidential campaign cycle, candidates as diverse as Ron Paul, John McCain, and Barack Obama had all made pilgrimages to Google’s Mountain View headquarters to burnish their reputations for tech savvy.

    • Making America White Again

      If we are willing to be honest, there was no ambiguity in Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The word “again” says we aren’t great any more but we used to be. It is an aspiration to go back to the past, to the time when we were great. When was that? Trump has never said. But we all know what he meant – again, if we’re willing to be honest.

      If you began last weekend early, you may have missed Trump’s Friday afternoon pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. The man Trump affectionately calls “Sheriff Joe” had been convicted of criminal contempt in July for ignoring a court order to stop racial profiling Hispanics. The president, thus making his condoning of racial profiling official, had foreshadowed the pardon a few days before at a campaign-style rally in which he shamelessly exhorted his hero-worshippers to join him in condemning Democrats, unsupportive Republicans, the media and just about everyone else except Sheriff Joe, white nationals and Vladimir Putin.

    • Alleging national security ignorance, Trump’s cybersecurity advisors resign

      Seven members of Donald Trump’s cybersecurity team, including an Indian-origin data scientist, have resigned, accusing the United States (US) president of ignoring the pressing national security matters.

      In a group resignation letter, the members of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), whose purview includes national cybersecurity, cited both specific shortfalls in the administration’s approach to cybersecurity, and broader concerns that have undermined the “moral infrastructure” of the US, Fortune reported.

      “You have given insufficient attention to the growing threats to the cybersecurity of the critical systems upon which all Americans depend, including those impacting the systems supporting our democratic election process,” the letter reads.

    • In Berkeley, Attacks by Antifa Turn ‘Alt-Right’ Trolls into Fox News Heroes

      Still, a segment broadcast on Fox Wednesday night deserves some of our attention. That’s because it was an interview with a far-right video blogger from California, Keith Campbell, whose work, which consists mainly of stalking left-wing activists, had attracted almost no attention until Sunday, when he was beaten by anti-fascist activists in Berkeley.


      As a result, a 54-year-old fringe activist who spends his days crashing far-left events for the benefit of his 878 YouTube subscribers has become a hero to millions of Fox News viewers. Images of Campbell being thrashed are now also Exhibit A for supporters of Donald Trump who argue that the president was right to condemn “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” after the killing of an antiracist protester by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia, this month.


      Shane Bauer, who shot the most widely shared video of Campbell’s beating, observed in Mother Jones that images of violence carried out by a small number of anti-fascists drew press attention almost entirely away from the fact that the vast majority of the thousands of antiracist demonstrators were peaceful.

    • The Real ‘Fake News’ Crisis

      Everything you need to know about “fake news” happened on July 19, 2017. That was the day the media stopped in its tracks and turned like well-coiffed, bronzer-addicted lemmings to collectively hurtle themselves into the abyss of infotainment. It was a truly telling moment because they actually had to hit the pause button on the morphine drip of TrumpTV to carry the live feed of O.J. Simpson’s piddling parole hearing in a Nevada conference room.

      Amazingly — or, perhaps, predictably — this utterly inconsequential event was carried by CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News and ESPN. That’s right, this scandalous ghost of obsessions past received the same treatment as a spectacular terrorist attack or a deadly hurricane or a political assassination.

      But, no … it was just O.J. pandering to a parole board. As expected, he was granted his release for a crime unrelated to the famous murders, troubled investigation and showy trial that made him America’s first news-cycle superstar. And it provided a strangely poetic full-circle moment for the media.

    • The NY Times’s Newest Op-Ed Hire, Bari Weiss, Embodies its Worst Failings — and its Lack of Viewpoint Diversity

      In her short tenure, Weiss (pictured, right) has given the paper exactly what it apparently wanted when it hired her. She has churned out a series of trite, shallow, cheap attacks on already-marginalized left-wing targets that have made her a heroine in the insular neocon and right-wing intelligentsia precincts in which she, Stephens, and so many other NYT op-ed writers reside.

      Exactly as she was doing a decade ago as a “pro-Israel” activist at Columbia and thereafter at various neocon media perches, her formula is as simple as it is predictable: She channels whatever prevailing right-wing grievance exists about colleges, Arabs or Israel critics (ideally, all of those) into a column that’s supposed to be “provocative” because it maligns minority activists or fringe positions that are rarely given platforms on the New York Times op-ed page.

    • The New CEO of Uber Sits on the Board of The New York Times Company

      On Wednesday, the New York Times wrote about a Google-funded think tank terminating an entire team run by an anti-monopoly scholar who was critical of Google’s practices. It is an important story about how corporate interests, by virtue of their position inside key outlets of communication, can influence what information flows to the general public.

      Now, The New York Times Company, the newspaper’s governing body, needs to figure out what to do about a similar problem at its own publication.

      On Tuesday, ride-sharing company Uber announced the hiring of Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO, replacing Travis Kalanick. Khosrowshahi, an Iranian immigrant, previously spent 12 years as CEO of travel company Expedia.

    • Sky stops broadcasting Fox News in UK

      Sky is to stop broadcasting Fox News in the UK after low audience figures, the media firm has said.
      21st Century Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, said the channel was being withdrawn as it was not commercially viable.
      The decision was not related to Fox’s takeover bid for Sky, a source told the BBC.
      Culture secretary Karen Bradley has previously said she may refer the bid to competition regulators.
      “[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK,” a company spokeswoman said.

    • Ed Miliband: evidence against Murdoch bid for Sky is growing

      Ed Miliband has claimed that evidence against the Murdochs being allowed to take full control of Sky is growing, and there is an “overwhelming” case for the government to launch a full investigation into how the proposed deal would affect broadcasting standards in the UK.

    • Britain doesn’t need a Fox News. The regulators must block the Murdochs’ bid

      Imagine a media organisation where senior employees at its biggest-selling Sunday paper were convicted of criminal acts including phone-hacking and perverting the course of justice. Then imagine that the same organisation, having claimed a few years later to have cleaned up its act, is revealed to have its most high-profile TV station rife with claims of sexual harassment by its former chief executive and onscreen star, as well as allegations of widespread racial harassment – both the subject of legal action and US federal investigation.

      Imagine also that the TV station was a byword for bias and slanted coverage and that as recently as May this year it falsely besmirched the name of a murdered Democratic staff member by claiming he, not the Russian government, had leaked thousands of emails from the Democratic party during the presidential campaign. Imagine that it had then withdrawn the story, but three months on taken no action against those responsible nor apologised to the dead man’s parents, who had publicly explained how the claims their son was a traitor had added to their grief. Imagine also that the media organisation was unique among commercial organisations in its combined power over newspapers, radio and TV in the UK.

      In any fair and just world, the notion that this media organisation was fit and proper to be given greater power over the media landscape in the UK would be dead in the water. But, no doubt in part because the relevant media organisation is 21st Century Fox, run by the Murdochs, the idea that it should get 100% control of Sky is not yet dead.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Do We Want Tech Giants as Internet Censors?

      Monopolistic tech giants are increasingly acquiring massive amounts of control over the manner in which the public is obtaining and communicating information.

    • Scholar says Google criticism cost him job: ‘People are waking up to its power’

      “Every day I see people waking up to the power of Google, Facebook and Amazon. We have to do something as a people, we have to do something through our government and address the power of these companies. The number of congressmen and others making statements on Capitol Hill about this is growing very rapidly. The number of businesses who are saying that something must be done about the power of these companies and the way they use their power.”

    • UT fires teacher whose tweet blamed Harvey on Texas GOP vote

      A tweet suggesting that the devastation of Hurricane Harvey was “instant karma” for the red state of Texas has cost a University of Tampa professor his job — making him just the latest academic fired for off-duty speech.

    • Reporter: Google successfully pressured me to take down critical story

      The recent furor over a Google-funded think tank firing an anti-Google scholar has inspired Gizmodo journalist Kashmir Hill to tell a story about the time Google used its power to squash a story that was embarrassing to the company.

      The incident occurred in 2011. Hill was a cub reporter at Forbes, where she covered technology and privacy. At the time, Google was actively promoting Google Plus and was sending representatives to media organizations to encourage them to add “+1″ buttons to their sites. Hill was pulled into one of these meetings, where the Google representative suggested that Forbes would be penalized in Google search results if it didn’t add +1 buttons to the site.

      Hill thought that seemed like a big story, so she contacted Google’s PR shop for confirmation. Google essentially confirmed the story, and so Hill ran with it under the headline: “Stick Google Plus Buttons On Your Pages, Or Your Search Traffic Suffers.”

    • New Think Tank Emails Show “How Google Wields its Power” in Washington

      Barry Lynn, the critic of monopolies fired this week from the New America Foundation, insisted in emails to his superiors that pressure from Google got him and his Open Markets program terminated. Anne-Marie Slaughter, the think tank’s CEO, has denied that Google played any role in Lynn’s termination from the think tank.

      Last night, New America released three emails from Slaughter to Lynn. They reference two separate events: an anti-monopoly conference organized by the Open Markets program in June 2016 that featured Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as the keynote speaker, and a series of communications in June and July 2017, involving the termination of Lynn and his group.

    • Charlie Hebdo May Now be Criticized Because They Mocked White Texans Rather Than Muslims

      The newfound free speech crusaders borne of the January, 2015 murders of 10 Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in Paris sought to promulgate a new, and quite dangerous, standard. It was no longer enough to defend someone’s right to express their ideas while being free to condemn those ideas themselves: long the central tenet of the free speech movement (I defend their right to free speech even while finding them and their ideas repugnant). In the wake of the Hebdo killings, one had to go much further than that: it was a moral imperative to embrace and celebrate the ideas under attack and to glorify those who were expressing them, even to declare ourselves to be them (#JeSuisCharlie).

      As a result, criticizing the content of Charlie Hebdo’s often-vile cartoons became virtually blasphemous. It became common to demand that one not only defend the right of the cartoonists to publish them but also, to show “solidarity,” one had to re-publish those cartoons no matter how much one objected to their content – thus adopting that speech as one’s own. Opposition to lavishing these cartoonists with honors and prizes was depicted as some sort of moral failure or at least insufficient commitment to free speech rights, as evidenced by the widespread, intense scorn heaped on the writers who spoke out in opposition to bestowing Charlie Hebdo with an award at a PEN America gala.

      A dangerous conflation was thus imposed between the right to express Idea X and one’s opinion of Idea X. Of all the articles I’ve written in the last several years, perhaps the most polarizing and anger-generating were the ones I wrote in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings: one article which rejected the demand that one must celebrate and even re-publish Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons by criticizing those cartoons and illustrating the results of applying this new, dangerous standard (celebrate offensive and blasphemous cartoons by re-publishing them) universally; and then a series of articles defending the PEN America writers who objected to the Charlie Hebdo award on the ground that one could simultaneously defend free speech while refusing to praise, honor and glorify those whose speech rights were under attack.

    • Amnesty International Takes On Cuba’s Censorship on and off the Internet

      his week, Amnesty International had its eyes on Cuba for two reasons. The first involved concern for Internet censorship on the island, and the second focused on the fate of graffiti artist Yulier Rodríguez Pérez, better known as Yulier P.

      AI conducted an investigation using data from the Online Open Interference Observatory between May and June 2017, in which 1,458 websites were surveyed from eight locations in Havana, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba. The goal, officials said, was to “increase transparency and raise public debates about the legality and ethics of information control.”

    • Thai junta steps up internet censorship drive

      After being finger printed and charged with sedition by Thailand’s Police Technology Crime Suppression Division in early August, Pravit Rojanaphruk, a Thai journalist, stepped out of its Orwellian confines to make a dramatic point about censorship under military rule. He extended his arms and opened his ink-stained fingers for waiting photographers to snap. “This is the first time I was made to look like a criminal,” he said.

      Pravit was back with the police cyber sleuths on Aug. 18 to hear more charges stemming from a clutch of political comments, critical of the junta, posted on his Facebook page, which has 24,500 followers. But the 49-year-old columnist is defiant, despite the threat of a 14-year jail term for violating Article 116 of Thailand’s criminal code, which covers sedition. “This is the price I have to pay for criticizing the junta,” he said.

    • Anti-Corporate Voices On Both Right And Left Claim Google Censorship
    • Zodwa Wabantu will not perform: Censorship Board
    • Google censoring the BIBLE? Censorship by Google and Facebook growing in the US [Ed: not actually true]
    • Google and Facebook Censor Black Conservatives [Ed: as above, rightwing spin]
    • Russian court acquits journalist Sergei Vilkov of defamation charges
    • Tech companies declare war on hate speech—and conservatives are worried

      “One of the greatest strengths of the United States is a belief that speech, particularly political speech, is sacred,” wrote Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in a 2013 blog post. Both then and now, the CDN and Web security company has protected websites from denial-of-service attacks that aim to drown out targets with fake traffic. Prince vowed that this service would be available to anyone who wanted it.

      “There will be things on our network that make us uncomfortable,” Prince wrote. But “we will continue to abide by the law, serve all customers, and hold consistently to a belief that our proper role is not that of Internet censor.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ePrivacy: La Quadrature against dangerous MEPs’ propositions

      Radical amendments in favor of lowering the protection of our communications have been tabled on the draft ePRivacy Regulation, mainly by Members of European Parliament (MEPs) from the right wing. Today, La Quadrature du Net publishes its positions against such dangerous shifts.

    • Snoops ‘n’ snitches auditor IPCO gets up and running

      The latest agency that audits state spying in the UK, the Investigatory Powers Commission (IPCO), formally started operating today.

      IPCO is the latest incarnation of the public sector snooping regulator, the body previously having been called the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO).

      In plain English, IPCO is supposed to ensure that UK state spying, covering everything from covert police operations to GCHQ’s bulk cable-tapping and decryption exercises, is carried out in accordance with the UK’s notably fast and loose laws on this sort of thing.

    • Spying on the spies: State surveillance of Britons now being monitored

      A new watchdog charged with regulating state surveillance has started work, with the aim of keeping in check the state’s ability to spy on its own citizens.

    • UK surveillance and spying watchdog begins work

      An expanded watchdog charged with regulating the intelligence services and surveillance by state agencies has officially begun work.

      The role of the first investigatory powers commissioner, Lord Justice Fulford, combines the work of three former oversight bodies and will provide judicial checks on some investigations. His office, the IPCO, will employ about 70 staff, including 15 serving and retired judges.

      Inspectors will check that the interception of phone calls, and the handling of agents, surveillance and powers permitting bulk collection of communications data are carried out within the law.

    • Post-Snowden surveillance changes begin in UK

      It marks the dawn of a new era of more rigorous oversight which is intended to keep the authorities’ stronger investigatory powers in check.

      Lord Justice Fulford has taken office as the first Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC), amalgamating the three watchdog roles which had previously overseen surveillance powers in the UK.

      His role was created by the Investigatory Powers Act, also known by the epithet Snoopers’ Charter, which became law at the end of last year.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation, ACLU Win Court Ruling That Police Can’t Keep License Plate Data Secret

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the ACLU won a decision by the California Supreme Court that the license plate data of millions of law-abiding drivers, collected indiscriminately by police across the state, are not “investigative records” that law enforcement can keep secret.

      California’s highest court ruled that the collection of license plate data isn’t targeted at any particular crime, so the records couldn’t be considered part of a police investigation.

    • NSA enters stage two of its spying revival plan: Getting Trump onboard

      Uncle Sam’s intelligence agencies have embarked on the next stage of their plan to retain spying powers over US citizens: getting Donald Trump onboard.

      Knowing what we do about Donald’s approach to policy issues, it seems unlikely that the American president is aware of what is going on. But somehow he has been persuaded to revive a civil liberties oversight body that was torn apart for criticizing a controversial spying program that requires reauthorization by Congress at the end of the year.

      The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) has been dead for over a year. After it concluded that several of the NSA’s spying programs were unconstitutional back in 2014, the intelligence services set about shutting it down. And they succeeded.

    • Your local supermarket may soon be as scary as Google or Facebook

      What if there were no prices on anything in your local supermarket, because everything in the entire selection was priced individually just for you, and the food prices would vary with your habits, the time of day, and hundreds of other factors? That time may not be as far off as most would expect.

    • Twitter (and Others) Double Down on Advertising and Tracking

      In June, Twitter discontinued its support for Do Not Track (DNT), the privacy-protective browser signal it has honored since 2012. EFF argued that Twitter should reconsider this decision, but that call has gone unheeded. In response, EFF’s Privacy Badger has new features to mitigate user tracking both on twitter.com and when you encounter Twitter content and widgets elsewhere on the web. (More technical details are covered in the accompanying technical post.) How did we get here and what can we do about it?

    • Innovative Police Transparency Measure Dies in California

      We are deeply disappointed to learn that a powerful surveillance transparency reform bill in California has died in the Assembly Appropriations committee today. S.B. 21 sought to hold police departments accountable by giving the public a voice in how law enforcement acquires and deploys new surveillance systems. The bill would have required California sheriffs, district attorneys, and state law enforcement agencies to craft surveillance use policies and hold public meetings before they acquire or use new surveillance equipment and software, as well as to publish such policies online.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Confederate Symbols

      My view, then and now, is that the focus on symbols – mainly flags in 2015, now also statues — is misguided, but that, in matters such as these, since African Americans have the most at stake, they should call the shots.

    • Finding the white supremacists who beat a black man in Charlottesville

      The videos show how the beating unfolded, revealing its brutality and shocking speed from multiple perspectives.

      On Aug. 12, white supremacists at the “Unite the Right” rally in downtown Charlottesville converged on counterprotesters outside the Market Street parking garage — a facility right next to the Charlottesville Police Department.

      First, a white supremacist attempted to spear a counterprotester with the pole of a Confederate flag. Then, DeAndre Harris, a former special-education instructional assistant, swung a flashlight at the man, possibly striking him.

    • Standing Up to Nazism

      Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Steve Bannon, hastily left the White House a few days after the events in Virgina. By all accounts, he had planned to leave in the next few weeks. The Nazi rally in Charlottesville, greatly embarrassing for the Republican Party, hastened his departure. Bannon had come to Trump’s side a year ago from his perch at Breitbart News, a pillar of the Nazi-style American Right. He had shouted about the decline of white power and of the erosion of America’s role in the world. Bannon wanted Trump to withdraw from trade deals and to be more aggressive with U.S. military action abroad. Multilateralism and globalism remain the enemies for Bannon. His close association with the “alt-right”, the Nazi variant of the American Right, meant that Trump was being isolated increasingly from even moderate Republicans. Bannon had to go.

    • Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Hurricane Harvey Is Proof We Need To Militarize Our Police Forces

      Earlier this week, we wrote about Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions bringing back the Defense Department’s 1033 program, which helped militarize local police forces with surplus military equipment. We’ve been covering all sorts of problems with the 1033 program over the years, and people like Radley Balko have written entire books on the problem. And the previous ban on the 1033 only put a fairly narrow limit on the practice of militarizing police — but now even those modest limits are gone.

      What’s truly incredible, however, is the complete nonsense being used to justify this. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a speech about this on Monday, in which he trotted out his standard misleading and out-of-context stats, falsely claiming that there’s some massive new crimewave across the country, when there’s really just been a tiny bump after decades of decline in crime rates (the use of percentages by Sessions shows the he likely knows the absolute numbers are so meaningless that he has to mislead with percentages working off a small base).

    • This Teen Troll Fled To The US For Political Asylum. Now He’s Stuck In A Detention Center

      18-year-old Amos Yee went up against the repressive Singaporean government with ideas and tactics he learned on YouTube. Then he fled to the US to seek asylum in the country that all but invented trolling. Now, he’s stuck in an immigration detention center, in limbo. At a time when internet politics are global, which countries will defend the right to free speech?


      How Yee got here — and, indeed, why a citizen of a wealthy, sophisticated developed country would need to beg the US government for asylum at all — speaks to what happens when politics are global, but the right to express them is not. It’s a story about the regulation of the internet, and whether it’s reasonable for a government to grant its citizens the right to read and watch what they like online, but not express the views they form themselves. It’s about how a child’s blog can end up having lifelong repercussions; it’s about whether the Trump administration’s hard line on immigrants and refugees will extend to someone whom human rights groups around the world have described as a prisoner of conscience.

    • A Victory Seen Over ‘State-Sponsored Racism’

      Nolan Cabrera, associate professor at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona, has been involved from the beginning in resisting the controversial removal of ethnic studies from the Tucson Unified School District. I spoke to Cabrera on Aug. 26, after a U.S. District Court judge’s decision in favor of the restoration of the program.

      Cabrera is a recipient of the prestigious education early-career award the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral fellowship and is a fellow for the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education.

    • ICE Is Abusing the ACLU’s Clients Because They are Fighting Trump’s Deportation Machine

      It was an evening in late July when an ICE guard told France Anwar Elias and several other Iraqi men in immigration custody in Arizona that they were going to be released. France described the feeling as, “going from death back again to life.” The men broke out in tears and embraced one another. Many of them had been in immigration custody for months, unsure of the future and frightened for what could happen if they were deported to Iraq, where they face near-certain persecution, torture, or death.

      Hours later and only after the men shed their uniforms and changed into regular clothes, the guards broke the news that they were actually just being transferred to yet another immigration detention facility. Kamran Malik said that the news felt like “a knife through the heart.” He had already called his family to tell them that he was coming home, and they were waiting to celebrate.

    • Screaming nurse ‘arrested and dragged out of hospital after refusing to let police take blood from an unconscious patient’

      A nurse was apparently dragged screaming from a hospital after she refused to let a police officer take a blood sample from a patient who was unconscious after a car crash.

      In dramatic footage, Alex Wubbels can be seen being put in handcuffs, taken out of the facility and placed in a patrol car in the US while shrieking: “I did nothing wrong!”

      Police officers reportedly insisted that the University of Utah nurse take the man’s blood as he lay in a coma – or she would be arrested for impeding an investigation.

      Ms Wubbels, who once competed as an Olympic skier, later released the video of her apparent arrest and the build up to it, in which she tells the officers they have no rights to the blood.

    • ‘This is crazy,’ sobs Utah hospital nurse as cop roughs her up, arrests her for doing her job

      By all accounts, the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit was professional and restrained when she told a Salt Lake City police detective he wasn’t allowed to draw blood from a badly injured patient.

      The detective didn’t have a warrant, first off. And the patient wasn’t conscious, so he couldn’t give consent. Without that, the detective was barred from collecting blood samples — not just by hospital policy, but by basic constitutional law.

    • Mother of ‘Christian’ child in Islamic foster row was from Muslim family, court papers show

      The mother of the five-year-old ‘Christian’ girl who complained her daughter had been placed with Muslim foster carers was herself born into the Islamic faith.

      Court documents released on Wednesday show the girl’s maternal grandparents “are of a Muslim background but are non practising”.

      Her mother had protested that her daughter is a Christian and should never have been placed with devout Muslim foster parents.

      The dispute has caused a furore amid allegations the child’s foster carers had taken a necklace from her that contained a cross and refused to allow her to eat her favourite meal – spaghetti carbonara – because it contained pork products.

    • Nurses Condemn Police Assault on Utah Hospital RN for Advocating for an Unconscious Patient
    • Reality Winner Was Not Told She Had the Right to Remain Silent

      At a court hearing on Wednesday, a federal judge agreed to delay accused leaker Reality Winner’s trial until March. The delay will allow Winner’s lawyers and expert witnesses to acquire the required security clearances needed to access classified information that the government may use against her in court.

      A potentially critical pre-trial battle, however, is brewing right now, according to court documents filed on Tuesday. Winner — the 25-year-old Air Force veteran and ex-NSA contractor indicted under the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking a top-secret document — has accused the FBI of violating her Miranda rights. Winner’s lawyers are arguing that any alleged confession should be barred from a jury trial.

      “Because Winner was not read her Miranda rights prior to law enforcement questioning,” Winner’s lawyers said in a memo supporting their motion, “any statements elicited by law enforcement from Winner during the encounter must be suppressed, as should any evidence obtained as a result of those statements.”

    • NSA leak suspect asks judge to throw out her statements to the FBI

      Reality Winner, the suspect in the National Security Agency leak investigation, is asking a judge to throw out the initial statements she made to FBI agents when she was arrested her at her Augusta home, arguing they didn’t advise her of her Miranda rights.

    • Seymour Hersh Honored for Integrity

      An organization led by former U.S. intelligence officials has selected legendary journalist Seymour Hersh to be the recipient of an annual award for integrity and truth-telling, named for the late CIA analyst Sam Adams.

    • Outgoing sheriff Clarke expected to take job in Trump administration

      David Clarke, the controversial outgoing sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, is expected to take a job in the Trump administration, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

      Clarke resigned as sheriff on Thursday. A regular presence on Fox News, Clarke has become a well-known figure in conservative circles in recent years. He is also an avowed supporter of President Donald Trump, and he spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last year.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Apple’s Real Reason for Finally Joining the Net Neutrality Fight

      But why, at the 11th hour and well after other tech giants joined the fight, is Apple speaking up now? And why, for that matter, is it speaking up at all?

    • Aral Balkan on an Internet of People from DiEM25′s “Next Stop 2019?” event

      “We are talking about a very different type of social system that we live in. We’re talking about a corporatocracy.” (Video, 7 mins)

      “Today whether it is your smart television that you have in your home or whether it’s your smart phone you have or smart watch that you’re wearing or a smart teddy bear that your children are playing with or a smart pill that you swallow that sends information from within you. All these modern technologies work in the same way. They work by gathering data – information about us. And that’s an aspect that were not going to change, that’s a fact of life. The real question is who owns and controls these technologies, and the data and the insight that is being gathered about us?

      Now if we can answer that question with ‘we do, as individuals’ there’s no problem here. We have individual sovereignty. We own and control them and we are getting smarter about ourselves. But if the answer is that corporations own and control these technologies and this data then they are getting smarter about us and by extension if this data is available to governments as we know that it is from the Snowden revelations then we are talking about a very different type of social system that we live in. We’re talking about a corporatocracy.”

    • AT&T Blatantly Lies, Claims Most Consumers Want Net Neutrality Killed

      So we’ve noted time and time again how the vast majority of consumers support net neutrality, and the current rules on the books protecting it. Survey after survey (including several from the telecom industry itself) have found net neutrality has broad, bipartisan support. To try and undermine this reality, ISPs have spent more than a decade trying to frame the desire for a healthy, competitive internet — free of entrenched gatekeeper control — as a partisan debate. And they’ve largely been successful at it, sowing division and derailing discourse on a subject that, in reality, isn’t all that controversial in the eyes of the Comcast-loathing public.

    • Comcast sues Vermont to avoid building 550 miles of new cable lines

      Comcast has sued the state of Vermont to try to avoid a requirement to build 550 miles of new cable lines.

      Comcast’s lawsuit against the Vermont Public Utility Commission (VPUC) was filed Monday in US District Court in Vermont and challenges several provisions in the cable company’s new 11-year permit to offer services in the state. One of the conditions in the permit says that “Comcast shall construct no less than 550 miles of line extensions into un-cabled areas during the [11-year] term.”

  • DRM

    • Digital property rights complicate NAFTA talks

      The lock provisions mean that only the company who sells the machines has access to the codes to repair them. Tampering with the digital locks is prohibited by intellectual property {sic} rules enshrined in trade agreements.


      “User rights and flexibility in the laws must be treated equally in the digital and analog world,” Geist told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 31/8/2017: Linux Lite 3.6, PHP 7.2 Release Candidate

Posted in News Roundup at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Powering Digital Transformation with In-Memory Computing and Open Source Software
  • GMO Blockchain Open Source Software project enters third phase

    Blockchain technologies keep conquering new territories. GMO Internet Inc. (TYO:9449) has just announced the launch of the third phase of GMO Blockchain Open Source Software Project, introducing its new Region Token. The open source Region Token is a program whereby municipalities and companies can issue their own tokens (points).

    Through storing processing rules of tokens in a blockchain without having to build a dedicated server for managing tokens and employing an administrator, it is possible to issue tokens and register shops as point service participants on the blockchain. The use of such a token is seen as a means for regional revitalization.

  • Events

    • How People Collaborate on Linux Kernel Mailing Lists

      Linux is one of the largest and most successful open source projects in history. According to a 2016 report from The Linux Foundation, more than 13,500 developers from more than 1,300 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since tracking began 11 years ago.

      At Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, Dawn Foster, a part-time consultant at The Scale Factory and a PhD student at the University of Greenwich in London, will share her research into how these many developers and contributors collaborate on the Linux kernel mailing lists, including network visualizations of mailing list interactions between contributors.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla announces a ₹1 crore fund to support Open source projects in India

        Mozilla has announced the launch of “Global Mission Partners: India”, an award program specifically focused on supporting open source and free software.

        The new initiative builds on the existing “Mission Partners” program. Applicants based in India can apply for funding to support any open source/free software projects which significantly further Mozilla’s mission.

      • A ₹1 Crore Fund to Support Open Source Projects in India

        Today Mozilla is announcing the launch of “Global Mission Partners: India”, an award program specifically focused on supporting open source and free software. The new initiative builds on the existing “Mission Partners” program. Applicants based in India can apply for funding to support any open source/free software projects which significantly further Mozilla’s mission.

        Our mission, as embodied in our Manifesto, is to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all; an Internet that truly puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience and are empowered, safe and independent.

        We know that many other software projects around the world, and particularly in India, share the goals of a free and open Internet with us, and we want to use our resources to help and encourage others to work towards this end.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source pivotal in digital agenda of German party The Left

      One month before the German federal elections, which take place on 24 September, the socialist party Die Linke (The Left) presented its ’10 Points for a digital agenda’. Open standards and open source play a pivotal role in the transition to what the party calls “Social State 4.0″.

    • France: VAT fraud rules allow free and open source

      The French government has clarified its new rules on combatting VAT fraud to allow the continued use of free and open source software. In June, the Ministry of Public Action and Accounts confirms that the scope of the policy will be limited to cash systems and cash systems software. The update follows meetings with the April advocacy group, which worried that the rules could block the use of VAT systems based on free and open source software.

    • Open source helps Schiphol fly to multi-clouds

      Amsterdam airport Schiphol is utilising open source software to create and use a multi-cloud platform with an open API

      Schiphol airport, just south of Amsterdam, is on a journey underpinned by open source software, with Red Hat helping the Dutch airport along.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Culture: The Hazy Glue Between Music & Technology

      Music industry people claim to know tech, and people who work at technology companies say they understand music. Regardless of how true that is in either case, it’s clear that music and technology are continuing to converge in entirely new ways in the 21st century. But there’s no way anyone can understand how music and tech work together without examining culture, the unifying, nebulous piece between them. After all, no matter how much a business spends on cultural marketing, culture still belongs to humans, not companies — and authentic cultural production happens on a street level, not in a conference room.


      Technology advances quickly in large part because of its widely-used open-source cultural model, which encourages an environment where information is shared for the sake of innovation.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Colorado Looks at Open Source Materials to Cut Textbook Cost
      • State to study open source materials to lower textbook costs

        A statewide council is working on how to increase the use of open educational resource materials in colleges to address the high cost of textbooks.

        The council plans to create a digital repository of open educational resources for colleges and to determine how those resources are used in college classrooms across the state. It will make recommendations on how to increase their use.

        Open educational resources can be freely copied and distributed and potentially reduce what students pay each semester.

  • Programming/Development

    • XOD: A New Open Source Visual Programming Language

      To start let’s quickly go over some of the basic fundamentals of what exactly the XOD programming language is before we get into it more in depth. In short, it is a visual programming language that use nodes to allow you to build programs. A node would be any type of blocks that are some sort of a physical operating device (sensor, relay, motor are all types of nodes). So pretty much a node is anything that is a physical representation of many smaller levels of software/hardware working together to create an end, physical object.

    • PHP on the road to the 7.2.0 release

      Version 7.2.0RC1 is released. It’s now enter the stabilisation phase for the developpers, and the test phase for the users.

    • PHP 7.2.0 Release Candidate 1 Released

      The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 7.2.0 Release Candidate 1. This release is the first Release Candidate for 7.2.0. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs and incompatibilities in the bug tracking system.

    • PHP 7.2 Release Candidate Arrives

      PHP 7.2 has matured past the alpha and beta stages and is now out with its first release candidate.

      PHP 7.2 is being fitted with the new libsodium extension for better cryptography, a number of bug fixes, updated SQLite, improved error messages, DOM enhancements, and many other changes as outlined in the NEWS file.

    • 3 consequences of coding in the open

      I’d never rule out going back to anything closed source (not that I plan on leaving Reaction!), but working full-time in open source has opened my eyes to a whole new side of things that I’ve truly enjoyed. Absolute transparency has made me a better planner and developer. Having to express my ideas to the world before, during, and after implementing them changes the way I do things. The 24/7 availability is both engrossing and also overwhelming. And finally, working with not just the core team, but our GitHub community, pushes me to make decisions together and grow as a developer.

    • GStreamer Rust bindings release 0.8.0

      As written in the previous blog post, I’m working on nice Rust bindings for GStreamer. Now it’s finally time for the first release, 0.8.0.

      First of all, I should thank Arturo Castro a lot. He worked on the previous GStreamer bindings (versions < 0.8.0), which were all manually written instead of mostly autogenerated like the new ones. As such, the API is now completely different but the old bindings can still be found here.


  • Billionaire Brothers Want to Build a Cheaper Rival to Slack [iophk: "IRC"]

    Flock has set its sights on disrupting a segment where Slack and Microsoft have staked out claims, said Neha Dharia, a senior analyst at Ovum Ltd and its global specialist tracking business collaboration and communication products. Flock’s monthly charges are $3 per user for its premium version while Slack’s per-user charges start from $6.67, according to its website. Both offer a free plan.

  • Science

    • [Older] This is why you can’t put down your phone

      When we stop working on a task to check emails it takes the brain about 23 minutes to get back into the task at hand.

    • Why I Stopped Using Multiple Monitors

      Many developers believe multiple monitors improve productivity. Studies have proven it, right? Well, keep in mind, many of those studies are commissioned from monitor manufacturers like Dell and NEC.

    • For politicians, the more data, the more they ignore

      There are few types of people we like to complain about more than politicians. They’re often painted as two-faced, blockheaded liars—with the possible exception of the ones you voted for. But politicians’ views are typically in line with the bulk of the people who identify with their party, and it’s not always clear whether the politicians are driving their party or if everyone’s just marching to the beat of the same drum.

      After all, politicians’ thought processes shouldn’t be much different from those of voters. All of us are subject to biases and cognitive cheats that block out information we don’t like. Is it fair to hold politicians to a higher standard, given that they’re the people we elect to process decisions carefully for the rest of us?

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • This miracle weed killer was supposed to save farms. Instead, it’s devastating them.

      Clay Mayes slams on the brakes of his Chevy Silverado and jumps out with the engine running, yelling at a dogwood by the side of the dirt road as if it had said something insulting.

      Its leaves curl downward and in on themselves like tiny, broken umbrellas. It’s the telltale mark of inadvertent exposure to a controversial herbicide called dicamba.

      “This is crazy. Crazy!” shouts Mayes, a farm manager, gesticulating toward the shriveled canopy off Highway 61. “I just think if this keeps going on . . .”

      “Everything’ll be dead,” says Brian Smith, his passenger.


      After the Environmental Protection Agency approved the updated formulation of the herbicide for use this spring and summer, farmers across the country planted more than 20 million acres of dicamba-resistant soybeans, according to Monsanto.

      But as dicamba use has increased, so too have reports that it “volatilizes,” or re-vaporizes and travels to other fields. That harms nearby trees, such as the dogwood outside Blytheville, as well as nonresistant soybeans, fruits and vegetables, and plants used as habitats by bees and other pollinators.

      According to a 2004 assessment, dicamba is 75 to 400 times more dangerous to off-target plants than the common weed killer glyphosate, even at very low doses. It is particularly toxic to soybeans — the very crop it was designed to protect — that haven’t been modified for resistance.

    • The scheme to pump desert water to L.A. could destroy the Mojave. California’s Legislature needs to block it

      Cadiz Inc. wants to build a pipeline on a railroad right of way and pump groundwater from the Mojave to Los Angeles County and beyond. The company is proposing to drain 50,000 acre-feet of water every year for 50 years — more than five times the aquifer’s natural recharge rate, according to an independent analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey.

    • Column: Flint residents deserve results

      No amount of compensation can make up for the suffering, loss and devastation the people of Flint have endured over the last three years. However, strides can still be made to rebuild trust in the city’s leadership. That is, if officials are willing to finally take the steps necessary to fix Flint once and for all.

    • Researchers estimate lead released from Flint water pipes

      Now, chemical and microscopic analyses of the city’s water pipes reveal a pockmarked pattern that confirms the lead came from corrosion of the pipes. The analysis also allowed the researchers to estimate the amount of lead released into the city’s water system.

    • Flint’s water crisis killed people. Now Michigan officials face manslaughter charges

      Jonathan Masur, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School who teaches both criminal and environmental law, told me the involuntary manslaughter charges are important are because they indicate the length Schuette is willing to go to hold public officials accountable for the water crisis.

    • CDC investigating rare Salmonella outbreak across 13 states—linked to turtles

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an investigation Tuesday into an ongoing outbreak of a rare subtype of Salmonella enterica linked to exposure to pet turtles.

      So far, the outbreak involves 37 cases of Salmonella enterica serovar Agbenia infections across 13 states, which led to 16 people being hospitalized. Overall, 12 of the sickened people are children aged five or younger, an age group particularly vulnerable to the bacteria. No deaths have been reported.

  • Security

    • Angelfire

      Today, August 31st 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the Angelfire project of the CIA. Angelfire is an implant comprised of five components: Solartime, Wolfcreek, Keystone (previously MagicWand), BadMFS, and the Windows Transitory File system. Like previously published CIA projects (Grasshopper and AfterMidnight) in the Vault7 series, it is a persistent framework that can load and execute custom implants on target computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system (XP or Win7).

      Solartime modifies the partition boot sector so that when Windows loads boot time device drivers, it also loads and executes the Wolfcreek implant, that once executed, can load and run other Angelfire implants. According to the documents, the loading of additional implants creates memory leaks that can be possibly detected on infected machines.

      Keystone is part of the Wolfcreek implant and responsible for starting malicious user applications. Loaded implants never touch the file system, so there is very little forensic evidence that the process was ever ran. It always disguises as “C:\Windows\system32\svchost.exe” and can thus be detected in the Windows task manager, if the operating system is installed on another partition or in a different path.

      BadMFS is a library that implements a covert file system that is created at the end of the active partition (or in a file on disk in later versions). It is used to store all drivers and implants that Wolfcreek will start. All files are both encrypted and obfuscated to avoid string or PE header scanning. Some versions of BadMFS can be detected because the reference to the covert file system is stored in a file named “zf”.

      The Windows Transitory File system is the new method of installing AngelFire. Rather than lay independent components on disk, the system allows an operator to create transitory files for specific actions including installation, adding files to AngelFire, removing files from AngelFire, etc. Transitory files are added to the ‘UserInstallApp’.

    • WikiLeaks ‘hacked’ as OurMine group answers ‘hack us’ challenge [Ed: not Wikileaks' fault at all]

      The group appears to have carried out an attack known as “DNS poisoning” for a short while on Thursday morning. Rather than attacking WikiLeaks’ servers directly, they have convinced one or more DNS servers, which are responsible for turning the human-readable “wikileaks.org” web address into a machine-readable string of numbers that tells a computer where to connect, to alter their records. For a brief period, those DNS servers told browsers that wikileaks.org was actually located on a server controlled by OurMine.

    • More Than 700 Million Passwords Exposed in Massive Spambot Data Breach

      In one of the largest data breaches in history, a misconfigured spambot computer program publicly leaked more than 700 million email addresses and passwords, though experts say that repeated or fake email addresses could reduce the number of real people impacted.

    • Eureka! The Intel Management Engine can finally be disabled, thanks to the NSA

      Researchers from security firm, Positive Technologies have just stumbled upon something truly phenomenal. They have found a method to disable the much hated Intel Management Engine (ME) in a way that still allows the computer to boot up. This discovery could potentially secure many businesses and state institutions from being compromised by highly sophisticated malware.

    • A Workaround To Disable Intel Management Engine 11

      Positive Technologies is now reporting on a discovery by one of their researches to be able to disable Intel Management Engine 11 (Skylake era) after discovering an undocumented mode.

      The security researchers discovered “an undocumented PCH strap that can be used to switch on a special mode disabling the main Intel ME functionality at an early stage.” Those wanting to learn more can read this blog post.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Quebec man fights back after dealer remotely disables car over $200 fee

      A car dealership in Sherbrooke, Que., may have broken the law when it used a GPS device to disable the car of a client who was refusing to pay an extra $200 fee, say consumer advocates consulted by CBC News.


      “To turn off somebody’s vehicle after he had already paid off the loan is clearly illegal … it’s not your car anymore,” Iny said.

    • 465k patients told to visit doctor to patch critical pacemaker vulnerability

      Talk about painful software updates. An estimated 465,000 people in the US are getting notices that they should update the firmware that runs their life-sustaining pacemakers or risk falling victim to potentially fatal hacks.

      Cardiac pacemakers are small devices that are implanted in a patient’s upper chest to correct abnormal or irregular heart rhythms. Pacemakers are generally outfitted with small radio-frequency equipment so the devices can be maintained remotely. That way, new surgeries aren’t required after they’re implanted. Like many wireless devices, pacemakers from Abbott Laboratories contain critical flaws that allow hijackers within radio range to seize control while the pacemakers are running.

    • FDA alerts on pacemaker recall for cyber flaw

      The FDA issued an alert Aug. 29 regarding manufacturer Abbott’s recall notice affecting six pacemaker devices. The recall is for firmware updates that will “reduce the risk of patient harm due to potential exploitation of cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” the FDA wrote in its alert.

    • FCC “apology” shows anything can be posted to agency site using insecure API

      The Federal Communications Commission’s website already gets a lot of traffic—sometimes more than it can handle. But thanks to a weakness in the interface that the FCC published for citizens to file comments on proposed rule changes, there’s a lot more interesting—and potentially malicious—content now flowing onto one FCC domain. The system allows just about any file to be hosted on the FCC’s site—potentially including malware.

    • Inside an Epic Hotel Room Hacking {sic} Spree

      Even after my article on Brocious’ lock hacking and his high-profile Las Vegas reveal, Onity didn’t patch the security flaw in its millions of vulnerable locks. In fact, no software patch could fix it. Like so many other hardware companies that increasingly fill every corner of modern society with tiny computers, Onity was selling a digital product without much of a plan to secure its future from hackers. It had no update mechanism for its locks. Every one of the electronic boards inside of them would need to be replaced. And long after Brocious’ revelation, Onity announced that it wouldn’t pay for those replacements, putting the onus on its hotel customers instead. Many of those customers refused to shell out for the fix—$25 or more per lock depending on the cost of labor—or seemed to remain blissfully unaware of the problem.


      and demanded Cashatt’s entire communication history from Facebook.

    • How I lost 17,000 GitHub Auth Tokens in One Night

      Turns out that there was a bug in my logic but not necessarily my code. After all, it did run flawlessly for a few years. So if my code was fine, where was the bug?

      Looking at the update time of some of the records, I was able to place them roughly around the time of another event: A GitHub outage.

    • 7 Things to Know About Today’s DDoS Attacks

      Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks continue to be a weapon of choice among threat actors seeking to extort money from victims, disrupt operations, conceal data-exfiltration activities, further hacktivist causes, or even to carry out cyberwar.

      What was once a threat mostly to ISPs and organizations in the financial services, e-commerce, and gaming industry, has become a problem for businesses of all sizes. A small company is just as likely these days to become a target of a DDoS attack, as a big one — and for pretty much the same reasons.

    • Security ROI isn’t impossible, we suck at measuring

      As of late I’ve been seeing a lot of grumbling that security return on investment (ROI) is impossible. This is of course nonsense. Understanding your ROI is one of the most important things you can do as a business leader. You have to understand if what you’re doing makes sense. By the very nature of business, some of the things we do have more value than other things. Some things even have negative value. If we don’t know which things are the most important, we’re just doing voodoo security.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Is it Wrong to Blame Islam?
    • Myanmar: 71 Die in Militant Attacks on Police, Border Posts

      Muslim militants in Myanmar staged a coordinated attack on 30 police posts and an army base in Rakhine state on Friday, and at least 59 of the insurgents and 12 members of the security forces were killed, the army and government said.

    • All Europe can bring itself to do is “pray for Barcelona”

      But not because Islamic fanatics dream of regaining Spain or killing Westerners on the Ramblas. We are finished because it has become fashionable in the West to romanticize the Islamic past of Spain, to treat the Catholics of Reconquista as fanatics and to present the lost caliphate as a paradise of tolerance. Islamic fanatics consider history, culture, religion and symbols much more seriously than we do. In this sense, we are finished!

    • Kenyan Christians killed for refusing to recite Islamic Shahada

      The three men were held at machete point and ordered to recite the Shahada. When none of them did, the attackers began to tie them up. When the men resisted, they were hacked to death. Then the attackers went to the home of Joseph’s older brother, Charo, who was in his late forties, and killed him.

    • Boko Haram militants ramp up attacks on refugee shelters in northeast Nigeria

      The Islamists are seeking softer targets – such as camps hosting the displaced – as Nigeria’s military offensive against the group intensifies, said the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

    • Exclusive: Nigeria’s Chibok girls say kidnap by Boko Haram was accidental

      A few others have escaped or been rescued, but about 113 of the girls are believed to be still held by the militant group.

    • The Same Ol’ Afghan War Fallacies

      Trump used the term safe haven four times in his speech. He declared that the basic purpose of the military expedition in Afghanistan was, “We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America.”

      One hears this same idea over and over. The current U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General John W. Nicholson, Jr., says, “The requirement to keep pressure on these terror groups to prevent another attack on our homeland .?.?. fundamentally, that is why we are here.” Such statements — and not only about Afghanistan — are minor rephrasing of the old notion of “fight them over there or else we’ll have to fight them at home.”

    • US Military Battles Syrian Rebels Armed by CIA

      US ground troops were attacked outside of the Syrian city of Manbij today, according to coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon. They came under fire from Syrian rebels allied with Turkey, and US forces returned fire before fleeing back into Manbij.

    • NYT Only the Latest Corporate Media Outlet to Give Free Publicity to Mercenary Profiteer

      The New York Times (8/30/17) decided to turn over a large chunk of the most precious opinion space in the English-speaking world to mercenary entrepreneur Erik Prince, so he could promote his plan to privatize and profit from the US occupation of Afghanistan.

      Though the Times did disclose in its bio of Prince that he was “the chairman of Frontier Services Group,” and “founded the company formerly known as Blackwater, a security contractor,” it never specified his direct profit motive in the plan. Perhaps it was thought to be implied, since Prince says the strategy is his, but the average reader could understandably miss what, exactly, “Frontier Services Group” does to generate revenue.

    • Gov’t Must Pay Legal Fees In Court Battle Over ‘Secret’ Drone Docs Gov’t Couldn’t Stop Talking About

      The government will be paying its opponent’s legal fees after needlessly drawing out FOIA litigation, the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court has decided [PDF]. The First Amendment Coalition sued the Department of Justice after it refused to produce documents discussing the legal rationale for extrajudicial drone strikes targeting American citizens.

      The legal memo FAC sought was the same legal memo the ACLU and New York Times sued the DOJ for refusing to release. (Or so the FAC thought. But its litigation — along with the ACLU/NYT litigation — made it clear the government was holding on to more than one legal memo.) In the NYT/ACLU case, the Second Circuit Court told the DOJ to cough up its justification for killing Anwar al-Awlaki, pointing to several public comments made about the drone strike by prominent US government officials. The court wasn’t interested in the DOJ’s arguments something publicly discussed frequently would be too “sensitive” to put in the hands of the ACLU and New York Times.

      The DOJ made the same arguments in this case, but the Second Circuit decision undoes its attempt to fend off FAC’s legal fees claims. Factoring into the Ninth’s conclusions is the leak of a white paper by the US government providing its legal analysis of extrajudicial drone strikes. This was then followed by an official release of the same white paper.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • FBI says lack of public interest in Hillary emails justifies withholding documents

      Hillary Clinton’s case isn’t interesting enough to the public to justify releasing the FBI’s files on her, the bureau said this week in rejecting an open-records request by a lawyer seeking to have the former secretary of state punished for perjury.
      Ty Clevenger has been trying to get Mrs. Clinton and her personal attorneys disbarred for their handling of her official emails during her time as secretary of state. He’s met with resistance among lawyers, and now his request for information from the FBI’s files has been shot down.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Kuwait’s inferno: how will the world’s hottest city survive climate change?
    • California Proves That Environmental Regulations Don’t Kill Profits

      For the past nine years, a Golden State-centric think tank Next 10 has been releasing its California Green Innovation Index. The results this year show a continuing trend: For two and a half decades, California’s GDP and population have continued to rise, while per capita carbon dioxide emissions have stayed flat.

    • Feds urge judge not to shut down Dakota Access pipeline during review

      Government lawyers are urging a federal judge not to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline while regulators conduct a new environmental review of the project because there is a “serious possibility” the review will reaffirm the pipeline’s earlier permits.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Owner Sues Greenpeace For ‘Criminal Activity’

      The developer behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, which for months drew thousands of protesters, has sued Greenpeace and several other environmental groups for their role in delaying the pipeline’s construction. In the racketeering lawsuit it filed in federal court Tuesday, Energy Transfer Partners alleges these groups inflicted “billions of dollars in damage” with their “criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation” against the pipeline.

    • Port: Whoa: Dakota Access Pipeline owners file racketeering lawsuit against #NoDAPL activists

      Anyway, today Energy Transfer Partners (the company behind DAPL) filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing some of the environmental groups involved in the protests of racketeering.

    • Dakota Access owner accuses green groups of inciting terrorism

      The owner of the Dakota Access oil pipeline sued environmental groups Tuesday, accusing them of fraud, racketeering, inciting terrorism and other charges stemming from their opposition to the project.

    • In the heartland, a David and Goliath battle over a pipeline

      Nebraska is just about the last bureaucratic hurdle before giant excavators begin to slice open the ground to insert 1,179-miles of 36-inch pipe four feet underground. An outnumbered but stubborn group of farmers, ranchers, Native Americans, and environmentalists staged a furious last-stand defense of their pipeline opposition this month in Lincoln, where the Nebraska Public Service Commission held hearings.

    • Public transportation is key to honoring the Paris Agreement

      We know that making the switch to public transportation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing a low-emissions alternative to driving. The average passenger vehicle produces about 1 lb. of carbon dioxide per mile traveled whereas bus transit only produces .18 lbs. of CO2 at full capacity. By the year 2020, when the first round of long-term plans are due from countries participating on the Paris Agreement, it’s estimated that more than 50 percent of carbon emissions could be abated by “the combined impact of second-generation biofuel, traffic flow, shifts to public transportation, and eco-driving measures.”

    • Brazilian court blocks abolition of vast Amazon reserve

      A Brazilian court has blocked an attempt by the president, Michel Temer, to open up swaths of the Amazon forest to mining companies after an outcry by environmental campaigners and climate activists.

      The federal judge Rolando Valcir Spanholo said the president went beyond his authority in issuing a decree to abolish Renca, an area of 46,000 sq km (17,760 sq miles) that has been protected since 1984.

      Approving an injunction requested by public prosecutors, the judge said the dissolution of Renca (more formally known as the National Reserve of Copper and Associates) could only be done by Congress.

    • Mosquitoes with West Nile virus found in 4 more Pittsburgh neighborhoods

      Recent samples of mosquitoes collected from the North Side, Lawrenceville, South Side Slopes and Knoxville tested positive for the virus, according to a county news release.

    • Worries about a Galveston Bio-Lab

      Concern is rising for the safety of a biological lab containing deadly diseases on Galveston island, which has been hit by the massive storm devastating southeast Texas.

      The Galveston National Laboratory on the campus of the University of Texas Medical Branch contains samples of hundreds of viruses, insects and microbes, which could spread extreme danger if they were to escape. There are several Bio-safety Level 4 labs at Galveston. BSL-4 is the highest level precaution taken for work with agents that can be transmitted through the air and cause fatal diseases in humans for which there are no known cures.

    • 538 hot spots detected as Indonesia gears up for peak of dry season in September

      The bulk of the fires were detected in West Kalimantan province (193 hot spots) and Papua (143), while the areas closest to Singapore, such as South Sumatra (8), Riau (3) and Jambi (1), were largely spared, according to figures released by the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) on Tuesday (Aug 22) .

    • Central Kalimantan latest Indonesian province to declare state of emergency on forest fires

      Hotspots have also continued to increase across the archipelago.

    • Sixth Indonesian province declares emergency as fires spread

      The number of dry season fires burning across Indonesia has jumped to more than 500 and a sixth province has declared a state of emergency, the disaster mitigation agency said Tuesday.

    • >Alaska’s Permafrost Is Thawing

      Once this ancient organic material thaws, microbes convert some of it to carbon dioxide and methane, which can flow into the atmosphere and cause even more warming. Scientists have estimated that the process of permafrost thawing could contribute as much as 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit to global warming over the next several centuries, independent of what society does to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels and other activities.

    • It’s Time To Ditch The Concept Of ‘100-Year Floods’

      [...] a “100-year flood” is not a flood that you should expect to happen only once every 100 years. Instead, it refers to a flood that has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage, a house in a 100-year floodplain has a 26 percent chance of being inundated at least once.

    • New study: We’re outpacing the most radical climate event we know of

      If we want to know what to expect from our climate as it continues to warm over the next few centuries, looking at similar examples of climate change in Earth’s past would be helpful. But there certainly haven’t been any similar temperature excursions in the instrumental record. Using indirect measures, we can tell that there probably haven’t been any since the last ice age. Even the exit from that ice age isn’t especially relevant; while the planet warmed considerably, it was driven by a complicated mixture of orbital changes, greenhouse gases, and melting ice.

    • Power company kills nuclear plant, plans $6 billion in solar, battery investment

      On Tuesday, power provider Duke Energy Florida announced a settlement with the state’s public service commission (PSC) to cease plans to build a nuclear plant in western Florida. The utility instead intends to invest $6 billion in solar panels, grid-tied batteries, grid modernization projects, and electric vehicle charging areas. The new plan involves the installation of 700MW of solar capacity over four years in the western Florida area.

      There’s excitement from the solar industry, but the announcement is more bad news for the nuclear industry. Earlier this year, nuclear reactor company Westinghouse declared bankruptcy as construction of its new AP1000 reactors suffered from contractor issues and a stringent regulatory environment. Two plants whose construction was already underway—the Summer plant in South Carolina and the Vogtle plant in Georgia—found their futures in question immediately.

      At the moment, Summer’s owners are considering abandoning the plant, and Vogtle’s owners are weighing whether they will do the same or attempt to salvage the project.

  • Finance

    • Corporate Tax Cuts Don’t Create Jobs, They Enrich CEOs

      A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies shows this isn’t true. US companies are already paying minimal amounts in corporate taxes, and the ones most likely under Republican theory to pour tax savings into job creation have instead been more likely to cut their workforce over the past nine years. The data shows that low corporate tax rates more often lead to increases in CEO pay and boosts for shareholders.

    • Will Brexit Lead to a ‘Brexodus’?

      When Britons voted to leave the European Union last year, they did so in part so they could have more control over European immigration into the United Kingdom—giving them the power to decide who can come live and study and in the U.K., and who can’t.

      “We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again,” Prime Minister Theresa May, whose Conservative party pledged to reduce overall immigration to below 100,000 per year, told fellow Tory lawmakers at their party’s conference in October. “We have voted to leave the European Union and become a fully independent, sovereign country. We will do what independent, sovereign countries do. We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration.”

    • Theresa May wants to copy and paste deals the EU has already signed after Brexit

      Britain wants copycat trade deals which have been shaped by the EU, Theresa May admitted today.

      The Prime Minister laid out Brexit plans to copy and paste a raft of pacts signed by Brussels with other nations – rather than negotiate specialised arrangements.

      The switch – announced as Mrs May jetted on a trade trip to Japan – marks the latest blow to Tory boasts about Britain striking out on its own after Brexit.

      In a second blow, the government conceded reports that Japan is prioritising an EU deal over any trade pact with Britain. “It is right Japan focuses on concluding that deal,” a government spokesperson said.

    • Brexit-fuelled energy efficiency myths

      Despite negative reports in the British press, EU regulations that cut the amount of energy wasted by household appliances are overwhelmingly popular throughout the UK, writes Dr Jonathan Marshall.

      Dr Jonathan Marshall is an energy analyst at the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, a non-profit organisation. This opinion piece was first published on the ECIU’s blog.

      As reliable as night following day, or Arsenal’s first capitulation of the season pushing fans over the edge, the Daily Express is outraged by ‘bonkers’ EU energy efficiency regulations.

    • UK Brexit charm offensive falls flat

      It was meant to be a charm offensive directed at national capitals across Europe to help smooth the Brexit negotiations — but the British government’s decision to hold confidential briefing sessions for EU ambassadors in London appears to have fallen flat.

      In the last two weeks, the U.K. held two such events in a bid to explain London’s negotiating positions on key issues ahead of the latest round of Brexit talks, which are now underway in Brussels. If the effort was intended to win a sympathetic ear, it flopped.

    • Now Comes the Uncomfortable Question: Who Gets to Rebuild After Harvey?

      In the decade-plus since Katrina, Houston has been debating what it needs in order to protect itself from a catastrophic weather event. While that conversation has gone on, the city did what most cities do, carried on business as usual, constructing more than 7,000 residential buildings directly in Harris County’s FEMA-designated flood plain since 2010.

      That kind of construction spree, which was detailed in a prescient investigation by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune last year, is not just head-slapping in hindsight, it actually produces its own greater risks, as it means paving over the kinds of wetlands that can help buffer against extreme flooding events.

      But from a financial perspective, there was a logic behind those 7,000 buildings, as each is eligible for subsidized flood protection through the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal program that just so happens to be expiring at the end of September, meaning debate over its re-authorization will compete for time with everything else on a packed fall congressional calendar.

    • A new t-shirt sewing robot can make as many shirts per hour as 17 factory workers

      Sewing simple items of clothing is one of those repetitive, labor-intensive tasks that seems like it would have been automated ages ago. But getting a robot to do it right is tricky. Fabric stretches, especially the comfy, flexible knits used for t-shirts. A human can easily adjust on the spot, guiding the fabric as it moves around to make sure seams stay straight, but robots aren’t always great at that sort of improvisation. (Putting shoelaces on sneakers is similarly challenging.)

    • Why male unemployment rates should scare women

      ‘Money is power, and when men are denied power in one area, they’ll try to claim it in another’

    • When Male Unemployment Rates Rise, So Do Sexual Harassment Claims

      Controlling for the change in the number of other types of discrimination complaints made to the EEOC (race discrimination complaints are the most common type), a higher level of unemployment among married men leads to more sex discrimination complaints — but only when their unemployment is equal to or higher than that of women. For instance, if women have an unemployment rate of 6% (right around the mean for the time period covered), there are fewer sex discrimination complaints in the state than in the previous year if men have an unemployment rate of 2% or 4% — but there’s more reported sex discrimination than in the previous year if men have an unemployment rate of 6% or 8%.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Saudi Arabia ‘bribes’ Egyptian journalists with free Hajj visas

      Saudi Arabia is giving free Hajj visas to 1,000 Egyptian journalists and their families in an attempt to lobby media coverage on the handing of two Red Sea islands to the kingdom, a source at the Saudi embassy in Cairo told The New Arab.

    • The Democratic National Committee’s abysmal fundraising

      The committee has also seen its debts rise to $3.4 million. Combining its cash on hand with its debt, the DNC was $7.4 million in the black shortly after Perez took over at the end of February and is now just $3.4 million in the black.

    • Gerrymandering is ruining our democracy. Will television news ever care?

      A yearlong Media Matters study found that cable news shows brought up gerrymandering in only five segments between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. During that same time period, broadcast morning news programs and nightly newscasts didn’t discuss gerrymandering at all. And this isn’t a new trend; for years, media have shown a reluctance to discuss gerrymandering and redistricting. Given the outsized influence partisan and racial gerrymandering has on American democracy, these issues deserve more coverage.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan calls German leaders ‘enemies’

      Germany will hold a general election on 24 September, and about one million ethnic Turks living in Germany can vote. A majority of them backed Mr Erdogan in an April referendum.

    • Iran-born AfD politician investigated over Islamophobia accusations

      Hadjimohamadvali was born in Iran and has said that she fled to Germany to get away from Islam in the 1980s after the 1979 Iranian Revolution led to the establishment of an Islamic Republic.

    • The Sordid Double Life of Washington’s Most Powerful Ambassador

      Roman Paschal recalled about seven women to choose from. They dropped their long cloaks, he said, revealing “nightclub clothes” underneath. He picked a woman who turned out to be from Romania.

      Paschal had been flown to the United Arab Emirates by his friend Yousef Al Otaiba, in whose apartment they were gathered. It was the winter of 2003-2004, and Otaiba was a rising star in the UAE, though still a few years away from becoming the nation’s ambassador to the United States.

      He had recently befriended Otaiba at a Washington, D.C., strip club, quickly becoming a charter member of a tightknit crew that the Emirati once affectionately referred to as “team ‘Alpha.’” This was Paschal’s introduction to the high-flying life Otaiba led. And it wouldn’t be his last. For four years, he partied with Otaiba in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, and Abu Dhabi, with Otaiba footing the eye-popping bills.

      Paschal dropped out of the group of friends in 2007, but the lifestyle from their days together would eventually collide with Otaiba’s public life. In 2008, Otaiba hired an original member of his partying crew, his college buddy Byron Fogan, to run a personal foundation with millions of dollars in UAE funding. He also arranged for Fogan to be simultaneously employed by the embassy as a legal adviser, and by the Washington public relations firm, The Harbour Group, working on behalf of the UAE.

      After Fogan was arrested for pilfering more than $1 million dollars from the foundation, he told prosecutors that secret alcohol and gambling addictions had driven his crime. With the foundation defunct, Otaiba paid Fogan’s legal bills and kept him on in his two remaining roles with the embassy as he awaited sentencing. Emails obtained by The Intercept, spanning more than a decade of Otaiba’s interactions with Fogan, suggest the ambassador was anything but unaware of Fogan’s habits.

    • May Says She’ll Run for Re-Election. Tories Laugh in Reply
    • Weather Underground Members Speak Out on the Media, Imperialism and Solidarity in the Age of Trump

      Seven months into the so-called administration of President Donald Trump, things are going further off the rails with each passing day. From the fires of war to attacks on health care to the stoking of the white supremacist far right, living in the bowels of a rotting empire has, perhaps, never been as intense.

      As questions swirl around the nature of contemporary resistance, another period of rising protest comes to mind: the Vietnam-war era, when radical political activism in this country reached new levels.

      In 1970, the Weather Underground Organization (WUO), a group that emerged out of Students for a Democratic Society, issued a “Declaration of a State of War” against the US government, and shortly thereafter began carrying out bombings against symbols of US Empire, including even the Pentagon itself. Targeting mostly government buildings and several banks — and taking care not to injure human beings — the actions were designed to “bring the war home” in order to highlight imperial injustices against the oppressed, and the egregious violence of US imperialism.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Air Force Vet Admitted To Leaking NSA Documents, But Her Confession Might Not Count In Court
    • Fmr. NSA contractor in leak case wants FBI admission suppressed

      A former government contractor charged with leaking classified U.S. documents is asking a federal judge to rule that comments she made to FBI agents before her arrest can’t be used as evidence.

      Reality Winner is charged with copying a classified report and mailing it to an online media organization. The initial criminal complaint against the former Air Force linguist says she admitted to leaking the documents in a June interview with FBI agents serving a search warrant at her apartment in August, Georgia.

    • Low-tech privacy breach earns Aetna lawsuit for revealing HIV patients

      It seems like we hear about a new data breach every day. Today, we’re bringing news of yet another—but this one happened in the old-school sense of the term. And it has earned the Aetna insurance giant a class-action lawsuit.

    • Federal Court Says Warrants Are Needed For Stingray Deployment

      The DOJ — despite issuing its own guidance requiring warrants for Stingrays in 2015 — argued in court earlier this year that no warrant was needed to deploy the Stingray to locate a shooting suspect. It actually recommended the court not reach a conclusion on the Fourth Amendment implications of Stingray use, as it had plenty of warrant exceptions at the ready — mainly the “exigent circumstances” of locating a suspect wanted for a violent crime.

      Unfortunately for the federal government (and all other law enforcement agencies located in the court’s jurisdiction), the court declined the DOJ’s offer to look the other way on Constitutional issues. It found a Stingray’s impersonation of cell tower to obtain real-time location information is a search under the Fourth Amendment.

    • Tech giants will learn to respect Indian laws, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

      The order said that called for need to regulation regarding the extent to which information of a person can be stored, processed and used by non-state actors. “There is also a need for protection of such information from the State,” the apex court said. Prasad said that the government has formed a committee to give its recommendation for a robust data protection framework in the country.

    • Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are going to work together
    • Microsoft and Amazon link to create Alexa and Cortana Inception Metacrisis

      We’re still completely at a loss as to who this actually helps.

    • Student Privacy Tips for Teachers

      The new school year starts next week for most schools across the country. As part of the first line of defense in protecting student privacy, teachers need to be ready to spot the implications of new technology and advocate for their students’ privacy rights.

      Our student privacy report offers recommendations for several stakeholder groups. In this post, we’ll focus specifically on teachers. Teachers play the role of intermediaries between students and the technology being deployed in classrooms. In addition to administering technology directly to students, teachers can integrate digital literacy and privacy education across their existing curricula.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why 1 Anarchist Is Choosing Jail Over Grand-Jury Testimony

      Aside from Liberia, the United States is the only country under common law to continue to use grand juries in order to bring criminal indictments.

    • Draconian Immigration Law Hangs in the Balance as Texas Recovers from Harvey

      When a storm like Hurricane Harvey hits, it’s not easy for impacted communities to get back on their feet. In addition to dealing with the potential mental and physical trauma that comes with the storm, they have to assess damage to their houses and cars and file endless insurance claims. But in Texas, where 1.7 million people are immigrants without proper legal documents, there’s one more thing to worry about: an anti-immigrant law that will outlaw so-called sanctuary cities is set to kick in Friday, September 1.

      The ACLU has challenged the law, and a ruling is expected before he end of the week.

      Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law in a Facebook broadcast May 7, sparking outrage from cities across the state, immigrants’ rights activists, and even some police officers. The law, similar in many respects to Arizona’s infamous 2010 “Show Me Your Papers” law, requires local law enforcement agencies to comply with all immigration detainer requests to transfer detained immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. It also bars municipalities and local and campus police from prohibiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The law specifically requires local entities to allow officers to ask those they arrest or lawfully detain about their immigration status, to share information and cooperate with immigration authorities, and to allow immigration authorities into jails.

      Sheriffs, police chiefs, and jail administrators face misdemeanor charges and fines up to $25,500 for violating the law.

    • The media highlights ‘terrorism’ but not bee stings: an interview with Mo Dawah
    • Here’s “Rape Culture” For You: Cops Cavity-Searching Women On The Roadside

      When Corley refused to remove her clothes in the dimly lit parking lot where she was being detained, one of the officers threw her to the ground, pushed her partially underneath her own car, and yanked Corley’s pants down to her ankles. For the next 11 minutes, dash cam video of the incident shows, she was held down by two officers while being searched. Corley claims that fingers repeatedly probed her vagina and that the officers ignored her protests. A third officer stood nearby holding a flashlight. No drugs were found on Corley’s person.

    • Women in small Muslim sect say they have had FGM in Canada

      The first research of its kind to probe the practice within this tightly knit South Asian community, the study found that 80 per cent of Bohra women surveyed have undergone FGM and two of the study’s 18 Canadian participants said it happened within Canada’s borders.

    • Need To Go Beyond Triple Talaq, Abolish Sharia Law, Says Taslima Nasreen

      Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen today reacted to the Supreme Court verdict abolishing triple talaq, saying while it was “definitely not women’s freedom” there was need to go beyond by doing away with “1400 yrs old Quranic laws”.

    • Why Is the Southern Poverty Law Center Targeting Liberals?
    • Migrant crisis: Facebook publishes torture used to extort ransom

      People smugglers and slave trading gangs are using Facebook to broadcast the abuse and torture of migrants to extort ransom money from their families.

    • Sex offender may face deportation after York sex attack

      He then sexually attacked her and offered her money for sex, according to a CPS summary given to York magistrates two days later.

    • Christian child forced into Muslim foster care

      The five-year-old girl, a native English speaker, has spent the past six months in the care of two Muslim households in London. The foster placements were made, against the wishes of the girl’s family, by the scandal-ridden borough of Tower Hamlets.

    • Yet Another Defeat Of The Inhumane Trumpists

      The state of Texas tried to enforce Trumpist treatment of citizens and others by cities refusing to enforce federal rules about immigration. The cities rebelled at a proposed new law and sued. They won an injunction preventing enforcement tomorrow.

    • No Immunity For Cops Who Arrested Man Recording Them For Obstruction

      A case involving a bogus arrest stemming from a citizen’s attempt to record officers has resulted in the denial of qualified immunity to the officers involved. The Eighth Circuit Appeals Court upheld the lower court’s decision on both First and Fourth Amendment issues.

    • Feds: Man jailed for not decrypting drives has “chutzpah” to ask to get out

      Federal prosecutors wrote to a US judge Wednesday saying that a child-porn suspect jailed for nearly two years for refusing to decrypt his hard drives should remain jailed until he complies with a court order to unlock them. The defendant has a lot of “chutzpah” to even ask to get out of jail while he appeals the contempt-of-court order to the US Supreme Court, prosecutors said in a new court filing.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 98.5% of unique net neutrality comments oppose Ajit Pai’s anti-Title II plan

      A study funded by Internet service providers has found something that Internet service providers really won’t like.

      The overwhelming majority of people who wrote unique comments to the Federal Communications Commission want the FCC to keep its current net neutrality rules and classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, according to the study released today.

      The study (available here) was conducted by consulting firm Emprata and funded by Broadband for America, whose members include AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, CTIA-The Wireless Association, Comcast, NCTA–The Internet & Television Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and USTelecom.

    • 98.5% Of Original Comments To The FCC Oppose Killing Net Neutrality

      Let’s not mince words: the FCC’s plan to gut net neutrality protections in light of severe public opposition is likely one of the more bare-knuckled acts of cronyism in modern technological and political history. That’s because the rules have overwhelming, bipartisan support from the vast majority of consumers, most of whom realize the already imperfect rules are some of the only consumer protections standing between consumers and giant, uncompetitive companies like Comcast. Repealing the rules only serves one interest: that of one of the least liked, least-competitive industries in America.

    • AT&T absurdly claims that most “legitimate” net neutrality comments favor repeal

      Despite a study showing that 98.5 percent of individually written net neutrality comments support the US’s current net neutrality rules, AT&T is claiming that the vast majority of “legitimate” comments favor repealing the rules.

      The Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality docket is a real mess, with nearly 22 million comments, mostly from form letters and many from spam bots using identities stolen from data breaches. AT&T is part of an industry group called Broadband for America that just funded a study that tries to find trends within the chaos.

  • DRM

    • Sega Releases ‘Sonic Mania’ Without Informing PC Customers Of Denuvo Inclusion And Always Online Requirements

      Searching for stories about Sega here at Techdirt results in a seriously mixed bag of results. While the company has managed to be on the right side of history on issues like SOPA and fan-made games, it has also managed to be strongly anti-consumer on game mods and has occasionally wreaked havoc on the YouTube community, all in the name of copyright protectionism. Despite all of this, Sega has gone to some lengths to successfully craft for itself a public image more accessible and likeable than its long-time rival Nintendo.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Between Human Rights And IP: An Interview With Laurence Helfer, Co-Author Of Guide To Marrakesh Treaty Implementation

        When in 2013, in Marrakesh, Morocco, a new World Intellectual Property Organization treaty establishing exceptions and limitations for people with visual impairment was adopted, it was hailed by some as a miracle. Entered into force in 2016, the way states implement the treaty is of major importance for the World Blind Union (WBU) so that the treaty serves its purpose to expand access to books for visually impaired people. On 14 August, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) held its 18th session. During the session, Laurence Helfer delivered a statement [doc] on behalf of the WBU, calling on states to ratify the treaty, and to avoid implementing two optional clauses that permit states to restrict or condition the exercise of the rights granted by the treaty.

      • New Guide Shows How Best To Implement Marrakesh Treaty So Books Are Accessible To Visually Impaired

        The World Blind Union (WBU) has recently issued a guide to the World Intellectual Property Organization treaty providing copyright exceptions for visually impaired people. The treaty was widely hailed, but the way it is implemented could be a gamechanger, and the WBU provides advice to all stakeholders, and in particular governments, so that the treaty is interpreted and implemented to the best interest of the visually impaired. The union also warns against the implementation of two optional provisions, which they say could run counter to the aims of the treaty.

      • Developer Puts Game On The Pirate Bay Because Steam Key Resellers Are The Bigger Evil

        Leaving aside the AAA publishers for a moment, the video game industry is actually starting to get really good on recognizing better ways to react to copyright infringement other than pounding their fists on their tables and knee-capping their customers with DRM. This still occurs, of course, but we’ve also seen stories of publishers treating pirates as potential customers with whom it’s worth connecting, giving away Steam keys on torrent sites, or just playfully messing with pirates instead of screaming at them. These efforts generally are done to the tune of great PR and the humanization of a content company that can only help their businesses.

      • Kim Dotcom Wants K.im to Trigger a “Copyright Revolution”

        Kim Dotcom hopes that his new file-sharing service K.im will create a “copyright revolution.” The platform will offer a secure platform for people to share files and get paid for them while offering copyright holders the option to monetize piracy.


Links 30/8/2017: New Stable Kernels, Paper on Security Record of Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 3:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • If Machine Learning is the question, open source is the answer. Right?

    A big reason for this gap is talent. Or, rather, a lack thereof. There’s a chance, however, that an influx of open-source code into the ML universe could improve things. How so? By lowering barriers to entry to experiment on and become proficient with high-quality ML software. Perhaps not surprisingly, the cloud giants that stand to gain from an influx of data-heavy ML applications are the same ones open sourcing the ML code in the first place.

  • VMware partners with Pivotal, Google Cloud to launch Kubernetes-based container service
  • Confluent Brings SQL Querying to Kafka Streaming Data

    With ever-increasing volumes of data comes an ever-increasing need to process that data. Confluent has made a business out of helping enterprises handle never ending streams of data with its commercial packaging of Apache Kafka. And now, at Kafka Summit in San Francisco this week, Confluent introduced a new open source project, called KSQL, that it says will allow users to apply SQL queries against streaming data.

  • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 17.08

    The flagship feature of Genode 17.08 has been in the works for more than a year: The support for hardware-accelerated graphics on Intel Gen-8 GPUs. This is an especially challenging topic because it is riddled with terminology, involves highly complex software stacks, carries a twisted history with it, and remains to be a moving target. It took up a lot of patience to build up a profound understanding of the existing driver architectures and the mechanisms offered by modern graphics hardware. On the other hand, with the proliferation of hardware-based sandboxing features like virtual GPU memory and hardware contexts, we found that now is the perfect time for a clean-slate design of a microkernelized GPU driver. Section Hardware-accelerated graphics for Intel Gen-8 GPUs introduces this work, which includes our new GPU multiplexer as well as the integration with the client-side Mesa protocol stack.

  • Genode 17.08 Now Supports Broadwell Graphics, Xen DomU Support

    Version 17.08 of the Genode open-source operating system framework is now available with a variety of changes.

    Genode OS 17.09 now features support for Intel “Gen 8″ Broadwell graphics thanks to its ported open-source Intel Linux driver code and also upgrading to Mesa 11.2.2. They have made other improvements too for their graphics driver stack in Genode, including an experimental GPU multiplexer.

  • BeOS-Inspired Haiku OS Had A Successful GSoC 2017: Swift, Btrfs, Preferences GUI

    With Google Summer of Code 2017 now in the books, the final reports on the various projects carried out within the BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system are now available.

  • Upskill U: OPNFV Director on Open Source & Automation

    As service providers strive to reduce costs, drive innovation and increase network capacity, they are exploring the ways white box initiatives, virtualization, open source and SDN can be combined with data analytics to further the automation of network processes. Enabling automation is central to improving network efficiency and customer experience by eliminating human errors and manual process delays.

    As they move forward in this endeavor, operators face a range of opportunities — such as applying best practices from web-scale companies — in addition to challenges such as interoperability in multi-vendor architectures.

  • Legal Technology and Smart Contracts: Open Source and Industry Source (Part III)
  • Focus: Open source

    Open source used to be an alternative to commercial off –the-shelf software. Today, the largest commercial software providers are big supporters of open source technologies. Enterprises are finding their software stacks increasingly rely on open source components, and developers have access to extensive open source repositories, which they can draw on to help them produce code more efficiently or to work around a particular technical problem they may have. Some enterprises are also contributing code back, supporting open source development, while at the same time, enabling a wide pool of open source developers to improve the code. Some companies are also starting to use open source to foster interest and develop a community to bolster their digitally-enabled product strategies.

  • Will Data Eat the World? Yes, With Some Help from Open Source

    In the Valley of the Geeks (not to be confused with Silicon Valley) open source magicians are laying place a number of the foundational innovations for enabling the next generation of intelligent software. The first software revolution was made possible by open source technologies such as Linux, Apache, MySQL, PhP, TCP/IP, and Ethernet. Industry creatively co-opted these open source innovations and made it the basis of the first wave of software innovation. A similar dynamic is at play today. Open source, which includes the academic research community, is spawning new technologies and methodologies which are now beginning to be at the data-driven intelligent software.

  • OpenStack sees new use cases in edge computing and fast-growing interest in China

    OpenStack, the massive open-source project that aims to bring the power and ease of use of public clouds like AWS and Azure to private data centers, today launched Pike, the sixteenth major version of its software. As usual, there’s a massive number of updates here, but the core theme is that the various development teams have focused on making OpenStack more composable, so that companies can more easily pick and choose the features they want. In addition, the community has renewed its focus on helping OpenStack operators manage the lifecycle of the various OpenStack tools with services like Kubernetes and Ansible.

    Mark Collier, the OpenStack Foundation’s COO, and Lauren Sell, the organization’s VP of Marketing and Community Services, told me earlier this week that they are now seeing a number of emerging use cases for OpenStack. One of these is edge computing — a trend that Microsoft, Amazon and other public cloud providers are also now addressing. “There is a huge demand for cloud computing in many different forms,” Collier said. “That’s impacting what we’re doing.” Some of the most prominent companies that are now looking at using OpenStack for their edge computing solution include Verizon (TechCrunch’s corporate overlords), Walmart (which wants to do computing right in its stores) and Inmarsat (which is looking at using OpenStack to power the on-board computing power on large ships).

  • OpenStack Pike Debuts Re-Defining the Open-Source Cloud Platform

    The OpenStack Foundation debuted its 16th milestone release today with the launch of the OpenStack Pike cloud infrastructure platform. Pike follows the OpenStack Ocata release which came out in February and had a focus on cloud federation.

    Unlike Ocata, the new Pike release has a particular emphasis on enabling standalone OpenStack services, without the need for an entire set of OpenStack projects. For several years, the OpenStack community debated a definition for a common set of projects, known as Defcore that define what it is to be an OpenStack cloud. Among the projects that Pike now enables to run in a more standalone, composable approach are the Ironic bare-metal and Cinder block storage projectS.

  • Events

    • Real-Time Linux Summit, KVM Forum, Fossology, and More Happening Along With ELC Europe in Prague

      The Embedded Linux Conference Europe is just around the corner. This year’s event — which is co-located with Open Source Summit Europe — will take place Oct. 23-26 in Prague, Czech Republic.


      The Real-Time Summit, organized by the Linux Foundation Real-Time Linux (RTL) collaborative project, gathers developers and users of the PREEMPT_RT patch. The aim is to facilitate discussion between developers, tooling experts, and users

    • Building Healthy Open Source Communities: Please Join Me for a Very Special Event

      Community — what a profound difference it can make for projects, businesses and organizations of all types. I’ve spent my entire career helping organizations build communities, ranging from internal communities to developer communities, with a strong focus on open source communities. The goal in fostering a healthy community around open source is to engage consumers, customers, and others and encourage them to contribute. With these thoughts in mind, let us consider a few of the important first steps in setting a community strategy, and then I want to tell you about a very special community-focused event that is coming up.

    • MesosCon Europe Features Expert Talks from Netflix, Verizon, Microsoft, and More
    • The Linux Foundation Announces Agenda for MesosCon Europe

      MesosCon Europe is an annual conference organized by the Apache Mesos community, bringing together users and developers to share and learn about the project and its growing ecosystem. The conference will feature a one-day hackathon followed by two days of sessions focused on the Apache Mesos Core and related technologies. It is co-located with Open Source Summit Europe (separate registration required).

    • “Qubes OS from the POV of a Debian developer” and “Qubes OS user meetup at Bornhack”

      I wrote the following while on my way home from Bornhack which was an awesome hacking camp on the Danish island of Bornholm, where about 200 people gathered for a week, with a nice beach in walking distance (and a not too cold Baltic Sea) and vegan and not so vegan grills, to give some hints why it was awesome. (Actually it was mostly awesome due to the people there, not the things, but anyway…)

  • Databases

    • MongoDB quits Solaris, wants to work on an OS people actually use

      MongoDB has killed off its Solaris development efforts. The company’s director of platform engineering Andrew Morrow calls the decision “bittersweet,” but says “lack of adoption among our user base” made the decision easy and necessary.

      “Of our commercial users, we knew of only a handful who had ever been running on Solaris, and all confirmed that they had migrated away, or were in the process of doing so,” he writes. “Our download numbers for our Solaris builds confirmed this lack of interest, as did stats gathered from our managed operations tools.”

      Morrow also says that the company doesn’t think it is a good idea to invest in Solaris expertise. “While several of our senior developers know their way around Solaris well, our junior devs have never touched it. Investing in teaching them is of questionable value,” he writes.

  • CMS

    • Create your own Blog with Jekyll

      Every once in a while I think about creating a personal website. Something I could maybe use as an online CV, portfolio or a little blog. For the beginning, nothing special. It would be easy to spin up a WordPress page, find a nice template and within short time it would be ready to use. But first of all, I think it would be an overkill to use a big CMS with all it’s crazy features for “just” a small page with few sites that don’t change often plus a bunch of blog posts.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • How to do open source right: LinkedIn shows the way

      If you want to know how to do open source the smart way, pay attention to LinkedIn. It has delivered some of the industry’s most impressive open source software, most recently its Cruise Control load-balancing tool for Apache Kafka, a distributed streaming platform also developed by LinkedIn that is used to build real-time data pipelines and streaming apps in big data applications.

  • Programming/Development

    • [Old] Why We Argue: Style

      Code is read many more times than it is written, which means that the ultimate cost of code is in its reading. It therefore follows that code should be optimized for readability, which in turn dictates that an application’s code should all follow the same style. Adhering to a common style saves you money.

    • [llvm-dev] [5.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 4 tagged
    • LLVM 5.0 Release Should Be Imminent

      LLVM 5.0 was supposed to be officially released last week, but instead another release candidate was warranted while the stable debut is expected in the days ahead.

      LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg opted for a 5.0-RC4 release on Tuesday due to a few more changes trickling in as they try to clear their blocker bug list for this six-month update to the LLVM compiler infrastructure.

    • 3 open source Python GUI frameworks

      There comes a time in the journey of most any programmer when they are ready to branch out past the basic examples and start to build a graphical interface to their program.

      In Python, the steps to get started with GUI programming are not terribly complex, but they do require the user to begin making some choices. By its nature as a general purpose programming language with interpreters available across every common operating system, Python has to be fairly agnostic as to the choices it presents for creating graphical user interfaces.

    • Today is a Good Day to Learn Python

      The cool thing about Linux and FOSS is also an aggravating thing, which is that sometimes there’s too much of a good thing. There is such an abundance of goodies that it can be overwhelming. So I am here to help you decide which programming language you should learn next, and that is Python. Oh, yes, it is.

      Why Python? I like it because it is clean and straightforward. It’s a great introduction to object-oriented languages. The Python world is beginner-friendly and, as a general-purpose language, Python can be used for all sorts of things: quick simple scripts, games, Web development, Raspberry Pi — anything you want. It is also in demand by employers if you’re thinking of a career.

      There are numerous excellent Python books and tons of online documentation. I want to show off Python’s coolness for beginners so you will get excited and go “Yes! I too must love Python!”

      But what about all the other languages? Don’t worry, they won’t get lonesome, and everything you learn in Python is applicable to many other languages as well.


  • What the Controlled Chaos of Burning Man Reveals About Cities

    [...] but the festival’s most impressive feat may be this infrastructural coup. In a moment when the powers at be can’t even fund the country’s shambling roads and bridges, the 2,000 organizers and volunteers who run Burning Man put together—and then take apart—a 70,000-person city in the space of two months. (That figure does not include emergency workers, government personnel, vendors, or contractors.)

  • Crowdsourced gaming of Google Translate dubs Kim Jong Un “Mr. Squidward”

    Google Translate—the Web and mobile tool that performs machine-learning-based translation of over 100 languages—has a small problem: to some degree, it depends on the kindness of strangers, both directly and indirectly. And that dependence can be gamed for amusing (or enraging) result, as we discovered today while working on a story about North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches.

    When using Google Translate’s live feature—which performs machine-learning-driven translation of text viewed through a mobile device’s camera—to translate an article in the North Korean periodical Tongil Sinbo, we discovered that the feature translated the Korean characters for “Supreme Leader” as “Mr. Squidward,” as shown in the image above.

  • Tech support scam victims lost $120 million—and will get $10 million back

    The Federal Trade Commission is sending e-mails to victims of the scam with instructions on how to claim a partial refund, the agency said today. Scam victims will have until October 27 of this year to apply for a refund.

    The case stems from November 2014, when the FTC announced that “a federal court has temporarily shut down two massive telemarketing operations” that raked in more than $120 million “by deceptively marketing computer software and tech support services.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • NOAA Announces $2.2 Million in Marine Debris Grants

      On Aug. 29, NOAA announced 15 new marine debris projects that will support marine debris removal and research received nearly $2.2 million in fiscal year 2017 funding through the NOAA Marine Debris Program. These projects support efforts to address the pervasive global problem of marine debris that can impact wildlife, navigation safety, human health, and the economy. Shown here: In an earlier NOAA-funded project, derelict fishing gear and other large marine debris were removed from remote Alaskan shorelines by the Gulf of Alaska Keeper.

    • Dubious stem cell clinic got hold of smallpox vaccine. FDA just took it away

      The agency announced plans on Monday for new policies and enforcement efforts to stamp out what it called “unscrupulous actors” peddling unproven, potentially dangerous, and often expensive stem cell therapies—including a bizarre and troubling instance involving smallpox vaccine.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Pentagon Officials May Have Encouraged a 2009 Coup in Honduras

      Fort McNair, one of the oldest U.S. military posts in the country, is nestled on an outcropping of land where the Anacostia and Potomac rivers meet in Washington, D.C. There, within the National Defense University, is the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, where hundreds of Hondurans took courses over the years. In mid-July 2009, Honduran military officials sought the center’s help to solve a problem that had recently arisen.

      The Honduran military had just dispatched of its previous problem, President Manuel Zelaya, with a military coup. Now, the Central American military was facing international and regional condemnations for a brazen display of 1970s behavior in the 21st century. The military officials needed friends in the U.S. to rally behind it, but the Americans were wary of open shows of support. The U.S. had just revoked visas from top Honduran civilian and military officials, and suspended some security assistance.

    • Violent Alt-Right Chats Could Be Key to Charlottesville Lawsuits

      The chatroom transcripts and a related audio recording offer a new window into the mind set of march organizers before and after the August 12 rally. They were obtained and disclosed by Unicorn Riot, which describes itself as a “media collective” focusing on “dynamic social struggles.” Lawyers say the discussions could be useful in the criminal case against James Alex Fields Jr., accused of driving the car that killed Heyer, or civil lawsuits filed by people injured in the confrontation.

    • The Alt-Right’s Alternative Reality

      One thing to keep in mind during the Age of Trump is that reality shows are far more scripted than they appear. That simple fact should be used like a decoder card to decipher the combative stories and click-baited headlines emanating from Steve Bannon’s portentous reboot of Breitbart.

    • Entire Families Are Being Killed by U.S. Airstrikes in Raqqa, Syria

      On June 6, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced the beginning of a military campaign to liberate the northern Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State. In an interview at the time, the commander of the force, which is known as SDF, highlighted the critical role that the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition would play in the fight to take back the city. “The coalition has a big role in the success of the operations,” the commander said. “In addition to warplanes, there are coalition forces working side by side with the SDF.”

      Nearly three months later, the battle for Raqqa is still raging, and more and more civilians are dying from U.S. airstrikes. A relatively small number of ISIS militants are fighting to the death to defend their putative capital, while an estimated 160,000 civilians are trapped in dire circumstances, caught between the armed factions on the ground and bombarded by U.S. airstrikes and artillery barrages.

    • Moscow’s mercenaries reveal the privatisation of Russian geopolitics

      Mercenaries are illegal under Russian law, but that doesn’t stop them from being a central element of the Kremlin’s geopolitical adventurism, whether in Ukraine or, even more clearly, Syria. The tale of Wagner, a St Petersburg outfit at the heart of the fighting in Syria, says much about the privatisation of statecraft and the mobilisation of private enterprise in modern Russia.

      The private security industry is a major sector in Russia, but private military companies (PMCs), those directly involved in fighting in combat operations rather than simply guarding people, goods and facilities, remain outside of Russian law. ChVK (Private Military Company) Wagner, despite having offices in St Petersburg and a training camp on the grounds of a Russian commando base in southern Russia, has managed to thrive, perhaps because its main client has been the Russian state and its Syrian ally.

    • As US Empire Fails, Trump Enters a Quagmire

      Trump’s Afghan policy is inaccurately described as a new approach but has only one element that is new – secrecy, as Trump will not tell us how many soldiers he will send to this war. His so-called new strategy is really a continuation of the permanent war quagmire in Afghanistan, which may be an intentional never ending war for the empire’s geopolitical goals. Ralph Nader reviews 16 years of headlines about Afghanistan, calling it a “cruel boomeranging quagmire of human violence and misery… with no end in sight.”

    • The Empire Stopper
    • Trump’s Afghan War Speech: More Of The Same, With More Killing

      As a private citizen and presidential candidate, Donald Trump railed against the Afghan war. A waste, he said. Americans should withdraw, he said. But in last night’s speech, Trump went against his own instincts (so he said) and went with the failed policies of his predecessors. The war will continue, no timetable set, no troop levels determined, with conditions on the ground dictating America’s actions, according to the president.

    • Why the US and Japan didn’t shoot down latest North Korean missile

      At 6am local time on August 29, a ballistic missile was launched from near Pyongyang in North Korea. Flying 2,700 kilometers (about 1,700 miles), the missile arced over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, prompting Japanese officials to issue a civil defense warning to citizens.

    • Tension boils as North Korea says missile strikes near Guam are still a possibility

      Tension between the US and North Korea heated overnight (Aug. 30) as the hermit state confirmed that the waters near Guam—a US territory in the Pacific with a strong American military presence—are still very much a target.

      North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the latest missile test, which yesterday sent a domestically made Hwasong-12 missile over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island, was “a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” according to an article today in government mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Earlier this month Pyongyang threatened to conduct an encircling strike around Guam involving four Hwasong-12 missiles landing in the surrounding sea.


      WHEN NORTH KOREA launched a ballistic missile toward northern Japan’s Hokkaido Island late Monday, its trajectory was initially unclear. Fearing the worst, the Japanese government interrupted television programming and issued digital alerts advising locals to find shelter. Though the missile ultimately flew over Japan and landed in the northern Pacific Ocean after a roughly 1,700-mile journey, the flyover was a powerful symbol of North Korea’s resolute effort to develop its missile program in spite of longstanding international opposition.

      North Korea has flown projectiles over Japan twice before. The first instance, in 1998, came with no warning; North Korea gave advance notice of the second, in 2009. The country couched both of those events as being part of satellite launches. Monday’s surprise launch came with no such explanation. But it fits into the larger context of North Korea’s rapidly escalating nuclear and missile ambitions—and, more alarmingly, it shows outright disdain for President Donald Trump’s recent bluster.

    • US may send more military might to Korean Peninsula, including F-35s and warships
    • Finnish president denies Trump claim of fighter jets sale

      Niinistö did not comment on Trump’s assertion at the time but looked surprised. He later denied the Boeing deal on Twitter and to reporters in Washington, as reported by Reuters.

      “It seems that on the sale side, past decisions and hopes about future decisions have mixed … The purchase is just starting, and that is very clear here,” Niinistö said.

      Finland already has purchased roughly 60 Boeing-made F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, but in late 2015, sought to replace the aircraft.

      Five companies, including U.S. defense firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are in the running for the Finnish new contract, but the country will not make its decision until 2021. Also competing are Saab, Dassault Aviation and the jointly made Eurofighter.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Taking the Fight to the Appeals Court: Don’t Lock Laws Behind Paywalls

      It’s almost too strange to believe, but a federal court ruled earlier this year that copyright can be used to control access to parts of our state and federal laws—forcing people to pay a fee or sign a contract to read and share them. On behalf of Public.Resource.Org, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public access to law, yesterday EFF challenged that ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

      Public.Resource.Org acquires and posts a wide variety of public documents, including regulations that have become law through what’s called “incorporation by reference.” That means that they were initially created at private standards organizations before being adopted into law by cities, states, and federal agencies. By posting these documents online, Public Resource wants to make these requirements more available to the public that must abide by them. But six standards development organizations sued Public Resource, claiming that they have copyright in the regulations, and that Public Resource shouldn’t be allowed to post them at all.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This is probably the worst US flood storm ever, and I’ll never be the same

      Lightning crashed all around as I dashed into the dark night. The parking lot outside my apartment building had become swollen with rains, a torrent about a foot deep rushing toward lower ground God knows where. Amazingly, the garage door rose when I punched the button on the opener. Inside I found what I expected to find—mayhem.

      In dismay, I scooped up a box of books that had been on the floor. As I did, one of the sodden bottom flaps gave way, and a heavy book splashed into the water: From Dawn to Decadence, a timeless account of the Western world’s great works by Jacques Barzun. Almost immediately, a current from the rushing water beyond the garage door pulled the tome away, forever. Damn, I loved that book. An indescribably bad night had just gotten that little bit worse.

    • Hurricane Harvey: About That Wall…

      As I write this, Hurricane Harvey hovers off the Gulf Coast, menacing Louisiana and possibly ramping up for another go at Texas. Much of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is under water.

      It may be weeks before the storms end, the waters recede, and basic utilities are restored. But this, too, shall pass — and then begins the rebuilding. Who’s going to do that rebuilding?

      A few years back, a contractor who built houses in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 answered that question for me. Demand for construction workers was high, but many American workers weren’t especially interested in spending months away from home, living in trailers or tents. And those who were willing to take jobs that didn’t have them home every night understandably commanded premium pay.

    • How Washington Made Harvey Worse

      Storms are natural events, but floods are usually man-made disasters. That’s because flood damage depends not only on how much water is involved, but on how many people and structures are in its path and how prior human intervention had affected that path. Government policies affect all three of those variables, which is one reason why “500-year floods”—which are supposed to have a 1-in-500 chance of occurring in a particular place in a particular year—are becoming so common.

    • Houston’s Big Dams Won’t Fail. But Many Neighborhoods Will Have to Be Flooded to Save Them.

      As Tropical Storm Harvey continues to pummel an already devastated Houston, many residents are terrified that the dams on two of the region’s massive reservoirs will fail, releasing a torrent of water into portions of the city that are already submerged — including downtown.

      The extra water that has accumulated in the Addicks and Barker reservoirs has strained their earthen dams — which have been considered in critical condition for several years in large part because of how ruinous it would be if they failed.

    • In Houston’s Fort Bend County, a furniture showroom becomes an unlikely refuge from the storm

      Fort Bend County is a part of the new Texas: fast-growing, prosperous, diverse and dynamic where it segues into suburban Houston – rural and traditional in its outer reaches. Hindu temples and Indian restaurants co-exist with gun stores and ranchers in cowboy hats.

      Now it is the scene of an unfurling disaster as levees are stretched beyond their limits, water spills from creeks and rivers rise from relentless rain. The area’s population of 750,000 have either evacuated, stayed in place in subdivisions that are now islands or decamped for shelters that fill up almost as soon as they open.

      While central Houston was hammered by tropical storm Harvey over the weekend, fresh visions of calamity emerged on Monday in the sprawling suburbs to the city’s west and south-west, where housing developments and strip malls have ravenously consumed what once was absorbent prairie land.

      Their proximity to the area’s many lakes and streams was a selling point. On Monday it was an existential threat.

    • Undocumented and Seeking Safety During a Natural Disaster

      Hurricane Harvey has already resulted in at least 10 deaths and dozens of injuries. Unfortunately, immediate relief is not in sight for Texas residents. As individuals, families, and entire communities prepare to assess the catastrophic damage this storm has wrought on lives, homes, and livelihoods, it is critically important that the federal government’s immigration agenda does not put more people at risk.

      Regardless of their immigration status, the people of Texas are in the midst of a serious and dangerous natural disaster. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should have put public safety first from the beginning. Yet, they have not been sufficiently transparent about their enforcement operations during Hurricane Harvey, so that undocumented Texans and mixed status families can make informed decisions about their safety.

    • Are Texas Shelters Safe for Undocumented Immigrants Fleeing Hurricane Harvey?

      Houston is reeling from Hurricane Harvey. Houses on the Texas Gulf Coast were devastated over the weekend, and tens of thousands of people fled their homes. The National Weather Service expects the rain to continue through Thursday. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates more than 30,000 people will be housed in temporary shelters, calling for all hands on deck in helping Texas recover from the disaster.

      But for unauthorized immigrants, dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster has an extra layer of complexity and risk.

    • Harvey to make landfall again, Texas death toll mounts from record floods

      Tropical Storm Harvey was set to make landfall again on Wednesday near the Texas-Louisiana border, adding more precipitation after a record rainfall that has caused catastrophic flooding and paralyzed the city of Houston.

      The storm that first came ashore on Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years has killed at least 17 people, forced tens of thousands of people to leave deluged homes and caused damage estimated at tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the costliest U.S. natural disasters.

    • Tropical Storm Harvey takes out 911 centers, cell towers, and cable networks

      Tropical Storm Harvey has disrupted at least 17 emergency call centers and 320 cellular sites, and it has caused outages for more than 148,000 Internet, TV, and phone customers.

      The numbers come from the Federal Communications Commission, which activated its Disaster Information Reporting System to track Harvey’s impact on communications services. Communications providers are being asked to submit outage information each morning, and the FCC is publishing a daily summary.

      In 55 Texas and Louisiana counties that are part of the disaster area, 320 out of 7,804 cell sites were down as of yesterday at 11am EDT, according to the FCC’s latest summary published yesterday. That’s 4.1 percent across the area, but in a few Texas counties the cell blackouts affected more than 80 percent of cell sites.

    • Resting Sea Shepherd: A Pause in the Whale War Saga

      What a colourful run this outfit has had. Branded in 2013 by Judge Alex Kozinski of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as pirates, the Sea Shepherd crew will be hanging up their hooks while rethinking their whale protection strategy. Their long designated enemy, the Japanese whaling fleet, will be given some respite this hunting season.

      A crucial point here is evolution. The environmental battle, spearheaded by the Southern Ocean Whale Defence campaign, had become more troublingly sophisticated. “Military” tactics, claimed founder Captain Paul Watson, were being used by Japan. An already slippery adversary had raised the bar.

      But Watson, in his announcement, was attempting to give some lustre to the long term efforts of the project. Against absurdly gargantuan odds, a small organisation’s resources were mustered to save whale species from imminent extinction.

    • Heroism in the Age of Crisis

      The flood waters are still rising in Texas, swallowing up homes and whole communities. Rain is predicted to continue for days. Our hearts go out to those who have lost lives, family members, homes and possessions, including the many on this list who have been affected or are still in the storm’s path

      While Hurricane Harvey is “unprecedented” in its destructive power, it is not unexpected by those who take climate science seriously. It is not an aberration, but rather a symptom of the climate crisis. Indeed, flooding in Bangladesh, Nepal and India has killed 1,200 people this month.

    • Dr. Robert Bullard: Houston’s “Unrestrained Capitalism” Made Harvey “Catastrophe Waiting to Happen”

      The death toll continues to rise as massive amounts of rain from Hurricane Harvey flood Houston and other parts of Texas and Louisiana. The Houston police and Coast Guard have rescued over 6,000 people from their homes, but many remain stranded. Meteorologists forecast another foot of rain could fall on the region in the coming days. While the National Hurricane Center is now calling Harvey the biggest rainstorm on record, scientists have been predicting for years that climate change would result in massive storms like Harvey. We speak with Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the “father of environmental justice.” He is currently a distinguished professor at Texas Southern University. Dr. Bullard speaks to us from his home in Houston, which he needs to evacuate later this morning due to the rising Brazos River.

  • Finance

    • DOJ investigating Uber for possible violation of foreign bribery law

      The Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating whether managers at the ride-hailing app Uber illegally bribed foreign officials to do business in their country, according to a Tuesday report.

    • Robin Hood had the right idea: Why the left needs to deliver on the financial transaction tax

      This article was written for International Politics and Society and is republished here with permission. A financial transaction tax (FTT) — a charge on the buying and selling of stocks, bonds and derivatives — is an idea with widespread support amongst leading academics, many politicians and, most importantly, citizens. It was initially proposed by Maynard Keynes, the greatest economist of the twentieth century, and developed by Nobel Prize winner James Tobin.
      The economist’s answer to Robin Hood

      Numerous studies have shown a transaction tax helps diminish risks of costly financial crises by discouraging speculative behaviour and the short-term churning of assets. It is easy to implement, and can yield valuable tax revenue which can be used for financing investment. This in turn leads to inclusive and sustainable growth. Nicknamed the ‘Robin Hood Tax’, FTT is very progressive, as it is paid mainly by those with the deepest pockets. Indeed, a recent study by the US Tax Policy Center estimates that if an FTT were implemented in the US, the top one per cent of the population would pay 40 per cent of the total tax bill, and that the top 20 per cent would pay 75 per cent of the tax. This is because ownership of financial assets is concentrated among the richest people.

    • The Currency of Localism

      Local currencies favour local producers and discourage predation by multinationals, thereby retaining wealth locally and reducing environmental damage.

    • How President Trump’s Tax Plan Would Really Affect the Middle Class

      President Trump is set to speak in Missouri today where he will reportedly continue to tout his tax plan’s benefits for the middle class even though it would actually concentrate its tax cuts at the top — and could even hurt low- and middle-income families.

      Over the last two years, the President has released several different tax plans that would deliver trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations but do little to help working families. Yet, he’s consistently promised to help the middle class: in his inaugural address, for example, he said that “every decision” on taxes will “be made to benefit American workers and American families.” In fact, if President Trump’s proposed tax cuts are paid for through the types of spending cuts he has proposed in his budget, low- and middle-income Americans would clearly end up far worse off.

    • Ivanka Defends Trump Administration’s “All-Out Attack on Equal Pay”

      Civil rights groups spoke out on Wednesday about the Trump administration’s decision to scrap a rule aimed at preventing pay discrimination.

      President Obama introduced a directive that would have gone into effect early next year, requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to track wages for workers of various genders, race, and ethnicities and report the data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In defending their decision, the Trump administration claimed the rule would put unrealistic expectations on large employers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Michigan Suffers From Some of the Most Extreme Gerrymandering in the Country
    • Trump Is Failing Because He’s a New Yorker, Argues Incoherent WaPo Op-Ed

      What? The idea that there is “resentful bewilderment” between two rich, powerful, prep school–educated corridors of power is nonsensical. Firstly, most of the “DC” players in question don’t actually live in DC, nor are they from there. Secondly, the whole premise strips race, class, profession and other actually consequential factors out of the equation, and instead reduces two wildly diverse cities to handful of essential properties—presumably those the author has observed in his narrow, wealthy circle while at the Post. Aside from being dopey and racist, it’s unclear how this taxonomy illuminates anything beyond pandering to this very same narrow, wealthy circle.

    • ‘Media’s First Instinct Is to Strip Ideology From the Conversation’

      The spectre of white supremacists marching with guns and torches, throwing KKK salutes, and screaming about Jews and Commies is a test for Americans, individually and institutionally, and we’re still seeing how various folks are responding. One of the primary institutions that should be asking themselves some questions right now are corporate media. Trouble is, the press being among the most sacred of cows for the press, how likely are we to see serious consideration of their own role? Not just Fox News, which aired a video of cars driving into protestors in January, with instructions to viewers to “study the technique,” but, say, CBS, whose CEO Les Moonves joked that Donald Trump’s candidacy “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” a line that has yet to be seriously interrogated by media elites.

    • No Mention of the Victims, But ‘What a Turnout!’ Trump Declares in Texas

      President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in southeast Texas today to survey the damage and relief efforts there as the region continues to cope with the impact of Hurricane Harvey—but in keeping with his demeanor during most of his public appearances, the president was unable to address a crowd of residents without mentioning the size of the audience.

      “What a crowd! What a turnout!” Trump remarked to a crowd of supporters in Corpus Christi who had come out to see him speak at a fire station after he met with local and state officials.

      According to a media pool report, “Reporters heard no mention of the dead, dying or displaced Texans and no expression of sympathy for them.”

    • Georgia GOP Rep. Tells Former Colleague She May ‘Go Missing’ Over Criticism of Confederate Monuments

      Former Georgia Democratic State Rep. LaDawn Jones is a long-time advocate of removing the state’s confederate monuments. In 2015, she pushed for a boycott of Georgia’s Stone Mountain after a white supremacist massacred nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., arguing that the Confederate etching there had become a rallying point for far-right extremists.

      Jones’s advocacy, however has spawned a vitriolic reaction from some of her opponents. On Monday, GOP state representative Jason C. Spencer posted a photograph with a Jefferson Davis memorial on Facebook, saying that it represents the state’s history.

    • More than 100 charities claim they are being gagged by anti-lobbying rules

      More than 100 charities have warned that they are being gagged by controversial government legislation that they claim is preventing them from campaigning on issues affecting the poorest and most marginalised groups in society.

      An open letter signed by 122 organisations including Save the Children, Greenpeace and Christian Aid says campaigning is being “lost” from public debate due to the “draconian” requirements of the Lobbying Act.

      Dubbed the “charity-gagging law”, it dictates what charities can do publicly in the 12-month run-up to elections in order to ensure individuals or organisations cannot have an undue influence over the vote.

      Given the possibility of a snap election, charities say they are not able to carry out political campaigns now for fear of being hit with retrospective fines.

    • What Can We Do If A President Has A Conflict Of Interest But Doesn’t Think He Does?

      And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to government transparency, has been compiling a list of the president’s alleged conflicts of interest from news reports and legal documents. As of July 5, their count sat at 609 different ethical quandaries, of which only 46 had been resolved through the dissolution of a company, divestment by the Trumps, or some other means. That’s a lot for a leader who assured America back in December that the president “couldn’t have conflicts of interest” and promised he’d solved all of his in a January press conference.

      How do you deal with conflicts of interest when the person at their center doesn’t believe they exist? That’s not a question unique to the presidency. Twenty years ago, the medical and scientific fields were in much the same position, with a handful of ethicists struggling to convince doctors and researchers that financial conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical companies and other industry sponsors were real and dangerous. As the political community weighs the options for increasing presidential transparency, it’s worth looking at how the same process has changed science — and at how little we still know about whether those changes worked.

    • The Folly of White American Denial

      Let me be clear and unequivocal: While corporate media may not have noticed, Trump revealed over and over again precisely what he was during the campaign. Between dog-whistles and out-and-out racist siren calls, Trump telegraphed the fact that he was, as it were, one “bad hombre,” one who only condemned leaks when they didn’t (allegedly) come from Russian prostitutes. He defiantly adopted neo-Nazi catchphrases (“America First”), chose a white supremacist, the now, hopefully, politically moribund Steve Bannon, as a key advisor, and when asked whether he would reject support from David Duke, incredibly not only denied that he knew “anything about him” but also white supremacists – only belatedly and disingenuously to denounce them when called out on it (sound familiar?).

    • AntiFa’s Moral Superiority and the Potential for Left-Wing Unity

      It is false to qualitatively compare an organization that explicitly seeks to exterminate certain ethnic groups with another whose goals are to protect those very people and their rights. Further, though AntiFa are stigmatized as activists whose sole purpose is violence, they are in reality engaged in a multitude of other tactics that are aimed at combatting fascism. Finally, a simple quantitative comparison of the violence perpetuated by these groups, their targets and results, proves the complete moral bankruptcy of drawing such an equivalency.

      Let us examine Charlottesville as a case study. There, neo-Nazis marched with torches across the University of Virginia campus chanting “blood and soil” (a Nazi slogan), “Jews will not replace us” and “white lives matter”, paraded alongside militiamen in full combat gear and assault rifles, fired at counter protesters unimpeded by police, threatened clergymen and women, and finally drove a car into a crowd, killing Heather Heyer and injuring many others. What’s more, a recent article has shown that some of the fascists at Charlottesville were planning for murderous violence in advance.

      In contrast, counter protesters were predominantly nonviolent and used defensive, not offensive tactics other than publicly shaming members of the other side. Cornel West went so far as to say that AntiFa activists saved his life as well as the lives of other clergymen and women trapped in a church.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Judge throws out Sarah Palin lawsuit against New York Times

      A federal judge has thrown out a defamation lawsuit that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin brought against the New York Times over an editorial.

      Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said Tuesday there were a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Palin that were rapidly corrected. He says it may have been negligent, but was plainly not defamation of a public figure.

    • ‘University censorship tactics are a threat to freedom of speech’

      Brendan O’Neill made the comments in a wide-ranging article for the Spectator magazine – in which he also slammed student groups for resembling “factories of conformism”.

      O’Neill said freedom of speech and liberty was under threat as universities “socialise youths to think censorship is good and other people’s opinions are bad”.

    • Have You Experienced Hate Speech on Facebook? We Want To Hear From You.

      Earlier this month, in the wake of the Charlottesville attack on protesters, a post began circulating on Facebook titled: “Heather Heyer, Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut.”

      You might have thought that the post violated Facebook’s rules against hate speech. But, in fact, it did not. Facebook’s arcane hate speech rules, revealed by ProPublica in June, only prohibit hate speech attacks against “protected categories” of people — based on gender, race or religious affiliation — but not against individuals.

    • In Europe, Hate Speech Laws are Often Used to Suppress and Punish Left-Wing Viewpoints

      Terrorist attacks, and the emotions they spawn, almost always prompt calls for fundamental legal rights to be curtailed in the name of preventing future attacks. The formula by now is routine: The victims of the horrific violence are held up as proof that there must be restrictions on advocating whatever ideology motivated the killer to act.

      In 2006, after a series of attacks carried out by Muslims, Republican Newt Gingrich called for “a serious debate about the First Amendment” so that “those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules.”

    • Miami Beach Mayor’s Lawyers Say Censorship Suit Is “Embarrassing” Him

      Poor, poor Philip Levine. The Miami Beach mayor has long been suspected of running a massive social-media-blocking campaign — over the past few years, he’s cut off critics, local activists, and even the main Miami New Times twitter account from reading his tweets. Multiple courts have ruled that politicians are not allowed to block people from viewing their social media accounts because those pages disseminate vital public information.

      So Levine is getting sued. And his lawyers tried to argue in court yesterday that the mayor shouldn’t have to sit for a deposition because answering basic questions under oath would apparently humiliate him.

    • The Evolution of China’s Great Firewall: 21 Years of Censorship

      In September 1987, a Beijing laboratory sent what became China’s first email. The message, to a German university, read: “Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner of the world.”

      The development of internet infrastructure in the past few decades has enabled Chinese people to continue crossing the “Great Wall” and communicate with the rest of the world. But Chinese authorities soon threw up another wall to prevent the people from accessing information they deemed threatening to the Chinese Communist Party.

      In 1996, Beijing enacted a set of interim provisions for governing computer information, and in 1998, the Ministry of Public Security launched the Golden Shield project — a national filter that blocks politically sensitive content from entering the domestic network.

      This censorship tactic scheme has long been nicknamed the Great Firewall, and has undergone periodic upgrades since it was first introduced, given that people’s efforts to cross the Great Firewall have been non-stop. Some describe the interplay between the Great Firewall and Chinese netizens as an ongoing “prison break”.

    • Blizzard vows tougher policies to punish Overwatch trolls

      Overwatch will soon start laying down harsher penalties on trolls that face player complaints under its existing reporting system, according to Director Jeff Kaplan. Posting in the Battle.net forums, Kaplan says that the current system of temporarily silencing accounts for abusive chat will be replaced with immediate account suspension for such issues “pretty soon.”

    • Western social media firms under fire as Iranians hint at dialogue over censorship

      Several social media companies in the West have been criticised for a perceived lack of transparency in alleged talks with the Iranian authorities on censoring content to the approval of the country’s strict religious authorities.

      Instagram, currently available in the country – as well as Twitter and YouTube, which are blocked but widely visited by Iranians using proxy servers – have all been reported by local media in recent weeks as as co-operating with the authorities to aid them in blocking or censoring “immoral” content.

      Newly installed communications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi has been clear that he intends to shake up the status quo, promising citizens easier access to the internet and app platforms.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • India’s Supreme Court Rules Privacy Is A Fundamental Right; Big Ramifications For The Aadhaar Biometric System And Beyond
    • Court Calls Out Government For The ‘General Warrant’ It Served To Facebook

      In a disturbing case involving the sex trafficking of minors, the 11th Circuit Appeals Court has reached a few interesting conclusions involving digital searches and the Fourth Amendment. Included in the court’s findings are rulings on the use of the All Writs Act to force Apple to unlock a device, an email warrant served to Microsoft, and warrants used to obtain a vast amount of information from Facebook. [h/t Orin Kerr]

    • EU Intelligence vanity Project
    • IOT Devices Provide Comcast A Wonderful New Opportunity To Spy On You

      For some time now we’ve noted how poorly secured IOT devices provide a myriad of opportunities for hackers looking for new attack vectors into homes and businesses. That’s of course when these devices aren’t just coughing up your personal data voluntarily. Whether it’s your smart fridge leaking your Gmail credentials or your internet-connected TV transmitting your personal conversations over the internet unencrypted, we’ve noted time and time again how IOT manufacturers consistently make privacy and security an afterthought — one that’s going to ultimately cost us more than some minor inconvenience.

      But in addition to the internet of broken things being a privacy and security dumpster fire, these devices are providing a wonderful new opportunity for larger ISPs looking to monetize the data you feed into their networks on a daily basis. A new study out of Princeton recently constructed a fake home, filled it with real IOT devices, and then monitored just how much additional data an ISP could collect on you based in these devices’ network traffic. Their findings? It’s relatively trivial for ISPs to build even deeper behavior profiles on you based on everything from your internet-connected baby monitor to your not so smart vibrator.

    • Uber to stop tracking customers after ride is over

      The company last year began tracking customers from the time they requested a ride until five minutes after it was over. The surveillance strategy, Uber said at the time, would allow Uber to analyze whether people were being dropped off and picked up properly—like on the correct side of the street.

      That five minutes of post-ride monitoring is being discontinued first with an update to the iOS app this week, and was abandoned months ago for Android devices. An Uber spokeswoman tells Ars that Uber “never collected” post-ride data on iOS devices.

      The development comes days after Uber’s board picked Dara Khosrowshahi as its new chief executive. Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia, is replacing Travis Kalanick, who resigned under pressure after a bruising investigation into Uber’s toxic corporate culture.

    • New real name rules introduced for China’s internet users

      But now the country is going one step further with new rules that require websites to verify the real identity of their users before allowing them to comment online.

    • A Promising California Bill Could Help Communities Stop Secret And Discriminatory Police Surveillance

      California is on the verge of passing Senate Bill 21 (SB 21), a strong bill that, in its current form, would help empower communities and their local elected officials to stop secret and discriminatory use of police surveillance technologies. Making sure state lawmakers enact robust surveillance reform laws is all the more important right now as the Trump administration equips its deportation force with surveillance capabilities, aggressively pursues political activists, and escalates pressure on sanctuary cities. Now is the time to make sure a strong SB 21 — with no further amendments — gets across the finish line.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Body-slammed reporter wants to know why Rep. Gianforte still won’t grant interview

      Ben Jacobs, the reporter who was assaulted by Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte, says Gianforte has reneged on what Jacobs believed was a commitment to grant him an interview.

    • Man born and raised in UK told he is not a British citizen

      A 21-year-old man who was born and raised in Britain has been told to leave the UK by the Home Office because he is not a British citizen.

      Shane Ridge, a joiner from Colne in Lancashire who describes himself as “as British as they come”, received a letter from the Home Office last week informing him that his driving licence would be revoked as he had “no lawful basis to be in the UK”.

      It came as a surprise because all of Ridge’s relatives are British citizens. His mother was born in Australia during a family holiday, but has lived in Britain since then and has dual citizenship.


      The letter said the Home Office was working with the DVLA, NHS and banks to “stop access to benefits and services for those with no lawful basis to be in the UK”. It added: “This includes you.”

    • I’m a Police Officer Serving My Community. My Pregnancy Made Me Unwelcome On the Force.

      As a woman working in law enforcement, I’ve become accustomed to being in the minority — it’s something women know when choosing a career in policing. But after six years on the job, what I didn’t anticipate was the discrimination I would face for being pregnant.

      I joined the police department in my hometown of Cromwell, Connecticut, four years ago. I’ll never forget the pride I felt when my mother pinned my badge on me at my swearing in ceremony while my family looked on.

    • Trump’s Pardon Aside, Reporters Have Built Long Rap Sheet Against Sheriff Joe

      President Donald Trump issued his first pardon to Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff famous for using his local police force to aggressively pursue undocumented immigrants. In its official statement, the White House credited Arpaio with “more than fifty years of admirable service to our nation,” which made him “a worthy candidate” for a pardon.

      Below is a list of essential reading on one of the most reviled and beloved lawmen in the U.S.

      In November 2004, Arpaio won re-election to his fourth term as sheriff and quickly set about reorganizing the police force by transferring some 140 deputies to different positions. Mark Flatten, then a reporter at the East Valley Tribune, found evidence the moves were tied to the deputies’ political loyalty, or lack thereof, to Arpaio. “Those who worked to re-elect the sheriff moved into more prized positions,” Flatten wrote. “An analysis of the transfers of sworn officers by the Tribune shows deputies who backed Saban, Arpaio’s rival in the Republican primary last September, were moved to such jobs as transporting prisoners or standing watch in courtrooms.”

    • At Guantánamo, Men Accused in 9/11 Attacks Faced Their 24th Round of Pretrial Hearings

      Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his nephew Ammar al-Baluchi donned new Baluchi hats last week for the 24th round of pretrial hearings in the military commission case against the five men accused in the 9/11 attacks.

      A small group of media representatives and non-governmental observers, family members of five people who died at the World Trade Center, and a survivor of the Ground Zero recovery cleanup were witnesses to the week-long proceedings, as prosecution and defense argued over procedural issues involving document declassification and weighty issues involving legality of the death penalty charges against the defendants, and the destruction, most likely between July 2014 and December 2015, of a CIA black site where at least one of the men was tortured.

    • Bias in Arizona’s Reaction to Immigrants

      President Trump’s pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio over a contempt-of-court conviction when he refused to comply with an order to end racial-profiling in detaining suspected undocumented immigrants again shows Trump’s readiness to flout the law in protection of friends while his administration declared that even Hurricane Harvey wouldn’t stop the immigration crackdown.

      “The Border Patrol is a law enforcement agency and we will not abandon our law enforcement duties,” said a statement from the Rio Grande Valley Sector office last Thursday, vowing to “remain vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.”

      Though overshadowed by the Arpaio pardon and the storm, Arizona students and their parents won a victory in Federal Court in Arizona with the restoration of a popular Mexican-American ethnic studies program. On Friday, I spoke with Cesar Cruz, an author and educator who was in Tucson to witness the court case.

    • Brexit makes labour exploitation more likely in the UK

      A report published today by Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) and the Labour Exploitation Advisory Group (LEAG) reveals how growing uncertainty about the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK is increasing the risk of labour exploitation. It shows how rising levels of hate crime, and growing migrant worker uncertainty about their rights, have already had an impact on workers. More worrying for the future, it is now clear that Brexit poses a real threat to future rights and protections for all workers. By creating the conditions in which exploitation can thrive, Brexit is now a major obstacle to the prime minister’s commitment to tackle so-called ‘modern slavery’.

    • Turkish Security Officials Indicted for Attacking US Protesters

      A grand jury in Washington has indicted 19 people, including 15 Turkish security officials, in connection with a brawl that broke out during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the U.S. capital in May.

      The indictments, announced Tuesday, charge the defendants with attacking peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence.

      All 19 are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony punishable by a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison. Several face additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

    • Finally, MLK Jr’s Revolution? Challenging Confederate Generals and US Generals Today

      King’s revolutionary call to “get on the right side of world revolution” insists that we cannot separate the fight at home against white supremacy (and its legacy of slavery and Confederate generals) from resistance to US militarism wherever it is at work in the world today.

      Challenging statues of Confederate generals could become a way to begin the “revolution” that Martin Luther King, Jr. called for in his speech at New York’s Riverside Church. The militarism of the Confederate generals, however, is best resisted today by criticizing it within King’s vision of a world resistance to US militarism.

      2017 marks 50 years since King gave that address in 1967 on April 4. Maybe finally – after five decades and ten presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Donald Trump – U.S. peoples will begin a comprehensive challenge to their own militarized government, one that King named that day as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” King’s joining of resistance to U.S. white supremacy with resistance to U.S. wars abroad was a theme of his last year, between that Riverside Church speech and his assassination a year later to the very day, on April 4, 1968.

    • Fighting the Klan in Reagan’s America

      The recent far-right rallies in Charlottesville and Boston seem to offer two possible visions of the future. Will the resurgence of white supremacist organizing take us down a path of chaos and spiraling violence, as in Charlottesville? Or will the far right — a still relatively powerless, if vocal, minority — be outnumbered, humiliated, and beaten back with little fanfare, as in Boston?

      At times it can seem like this dramatic reappearance of racist, far-right movements is a return to an uglier time. It’s harder to visualize such events as peaks in a long-running continuum.

      But examined from the perch of history, this is precisely how they appear. In fact, one of the last major resurgences of white supremacist organizing occurred relatively recently — not way back amid the rise of fascism in the 1930s, but at the start of the 1980s. Examining this history not only provides some much-needed perspective — it may provide lessons for antifascists today.

    • Samim Bigzad: UK Government’s attempt to deport Afghan asylum seeker fails after pilot refuses to take off

      The deportation of a young Afghan man refused asylum by the Government has been dramatically stayed after the pilot of the plane he was supposed to be removed on refused to take off.

      Samim Bigzad’s friends and family feared their efforts to prevent him being forced back to Kabul had failed when he was detained and booked on commercial flight to Afghanistan via Istanbul.

      The 22-year-old’s cousin previously told The Independent he feared he would be killed in the city he fled two years ago after being threatened with beheading by the Taliban.

    • France tells Philippines’ Duterte: human rights important

      France on Wednesday rejected claims by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that people were guilty until proven innocent in its legal system, as it emphasised the importance of human rights and rule of law.

      The statement released by the French embassy followed Duterte’s assessment of the judicial system in France on Monday as he defended his controversial war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives.

      “We have to point out that, as in the Philippines, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is at the core of the French judicial system, based on the principles enshrined in the French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights of August 26, 1789,” the statement said.

    • Man in jail 2 years for refusing to decrypt drives. Will he ever get out?

      A now-fired Philadelphia cop has been behind bars for almost two years for refusing to decrypt hard drives that authorities found at his residence as part of a federal child-porn investigation. On Thursday, his lawyers are set to ask a federal judge to release him while he appeals the reason for his confinement to the Supreme Court. If the justices take the case, it would be the first time they weighed the constitutionality of whether forcing somebody to decrypt hardware amounts to a Fifth Amendment violation.


      All of which is why Rawls has been behind bars for longer than anybody who has refused to unlock passcode-protected devices.

    • Georgia GOPer warns black attorney she ‘may go missing’ if she tries to remove Confederate monument

      A Republican member of the Georgia House of Representatives issued a veiled threat of lynching to a black former colleague who expressed anti-Confederate memorial sentiments on his Facebook.

      According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia State Rep. Jason Spencer (R) did exactly that on a Facebook post when former state representative LaDawn Jones expressed a distaste for a photo he took with a Confederate monument.

      “This is Georgia’s history,” Spencer wrote on a post accompanied by a selfie he took with a South Georgia monument to Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

    • Suit blaming iPhone for student’s death by texting driver is defeated by Apple

      A California judge is dismissing a lawsuit brought by the family of a 20-year-old Minnesota college student who blames Apple for his 2013 death by an iPhone-wielding texting teen.

      The dead boy’s family claims that Apple had a legal duty to help prevent texting while driving and that it could have used patented technology it has developed to prohibit motorists from driving while distracted.

      Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Maureen Folan, however, took Apple’s side. She agreed with Cupertino’s position that Apple didn’t cause the crash that killed David Riggs while he was riding his scooter. What’s more, the court agreed with Apple’s contention that it does not have a legal obligation to help prevent distracted driving.

      “The chain of causation alleged by plaintiffs in this case is far too attenuated for a reasonable person to conclude that Apple’s conduct is or was a substantial factor in causing plaintiffs’ harm,” the judge wrote (PDF). Further, the judge said that “defendant Apple does not owe a duty of care to plaintiff.”

    • Warrant Affidavit Shows How Easy It Is To Bilk The Government Out Of Excess Equipment

      Seamus Hughes, the Deputy Director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, happened across an extraordinary story — told in warrant affidavit form — of a man who faked up a research lab and started scoring himself truckloads of free equipment from the US government.

      According to the allegations in the warrant [PDF], Patrick R. Budic discovered a nifty way to exploit government excess equipment giveaways, utilizing a nonexistent company to make off with nearly $11 million in equipment ranging from GPS units to aircraft radios to hospital beds. The figure might have been much, much higher. The affidavit shows Budic tried (but failed) to acquire aircraft on more than one occasion.

      The setup echoes the sting operation the Government Accountability Office performed as part of its investigation of the Defense Department’s 1033 program. The GAO set up a fake law enforcement agency and was able to obtain over $1 million in excess military gear before wrapping up its investigation. In that case, there appeared to be almost zero follow-up by the agencies in charge of disbursement. No one called. No one visited the fake address to verify the fake law enforcement agency’s existence.

    • Human smuggling: the pride of Niger’s economy

      I’m Luca Raineri, and I’m a research fellow at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa Italy. I have been carrying out field research mostly in the Sahel, Mali, Niger, and Senegal dealing with extra-legal economies and the trafficking taking place in this huge Saharan region. This includes weapons trafficking, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and human smuggling.

    • Trump’s Pardon of Joe Arpaio Is Deeply Disturbing

      During a speech to a group of police officers in July, President Trump returned to one of his favorite themes of the campaign season: violence. “Please don’t be too nice” to the “thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon,” Trump advised the officers. Be “rough.”

      The president’s endorsement of police brutality was met with applause from the officers and shock from activists and pundits alike.

      Sensing the brewing backlash, the White House insisted that the president was simply making a joke. Even Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the country’s top law enforcement official — a man with his own complicated history of encouraging the worst impulses of the police — attempted to distance himself from the controversy.

    • Trump Is Trying to Cut Disaster Relief to Build a Border Wall

      Texas is still underwater, but the administration is so focused on mass deportation that it is openly neglecting real risks.

    • Trump Hides Behind the Storm

      As Hurricane Harvey raged, the president tried to use the disaster as cover. It may have worked.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality comment deadline is tomorrow; 21.9 million comments in so far

      You have until midnight Eastern Time tomorrow night (Wednesday) to file comments on the Federal Communications Commission plan to deregulate broadband service and roll back net neutrality rules.

      There are 21.9 million filings on the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” docket already, blowing away the four million received before the 2015 decision that imposed net neutrality rules. Many comments are apparently from spam bots and form letters, but Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to undo net neutrality rules has received massive attention.

    • California Case Against Backpage Moves Forward Over Money Laundering Claims

      Late last year, we wrote about ridiculous charges by California’s then Attorney General, Kamala Harris, against Backpage.com for “pimping.” As we pointed out at the time, Harris clearly knew the case was a loser. It completely exaggerated what Backpage had done, and Harris herself had earlier admitted that she had no authority to go after an internet platform for how people used it. A judge quickly threw out the charges against Backpage… and Harris turned around and filed even more charges against Backpage’s execs, including repeating the pimping charge and adding in “money laundering.”

      As we noted at the time, the money laundering charges seemed pretty questionable. It’s based on the fact that Backpage had set up a separate (and separately named operation) to handle billing. The complaint argues that this was a form of money laundering, to hide from credit card companies that the money was being spent on prostitution. That leaves out, of course, that part of the reason why Backpage likely had to set up such a structure was because Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart had threatened credit card companies if they didn’t stop working with Backpage — a move that was later deemed to be a clear First Amendment violation against the company by Sheriff Dart.

    • Sex Trafficking Expert: CDA 230 Helps Victims And SESTA Would Harm Trafficking Victims

      Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about SESTA — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. Part of our argument is that the bill will be completely counterproductive to its own goals. As we explained in a letter to Congress (signed by a bunch of tech companies), after two decades of watching CDA 230 in practice, it’s clear that SESTA will do the exact opposite of what supporters claim it will do. But that’s from the point of view of internet companies who know how the law intersects with technology.

      But what about experts in trafficking. In our letter, we admitted that area is not our expertise, but that we’re all supportive of the idea of stopping trafficking. However, someone who is an expert in trafficking is Alexandra Levy, a law professor at Notre Dame, who works at the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center and teaches a class entirely about human trafficking. She’s written up a fascinating blog post for professor Eric Goldman’s blog where she explains why SESTA will be a total disaster for human trafficking.

    • How Section 230 Helps Sex Trafficking Victims (and SESTA Would Hurt Them) (Guest Blog Post)

      When courts first tackled the question of whether internet intermediaries should be held accountable for material they publish, they struggled to come up with the right analogy. Were computer networks more like bookstores, or like newspapers? Should they be treated like real property, like common carriers, like radio stations, or as something else altogether?

      Congress finally addressed the issue in 1996. It found that the nature of the Internet called for an entirely new regulatory approach. Encouraging the proliferation of “political, educational, cultural, and entertainment services,” while minimizing the spread of “lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable” material, required careful consideration of what, exactly, online intermediaries were in a position to do.

    • Even Many ISP-Backed Allies Think Ajit Pai’s Attack On Net Neutrality Is Too Extreme

      With its quest to gut net neutrality, privacy and other consumer broadband protections, the FCC is rushing face first toward stripping meaningful oversight of some of the least-liked — and least competitive — companies in America. The FCC’s plan, based on flimsy to no data and in stark contrast to the will of the public, involves gutting most FCC oversight of broadband providers, then shoveling any remaining authority to an FTC we’ve noted is ill-suited, under-funded, and legally ill-equipped for the job. That’s a real problem for a sector that’s actually getting less competitive than ever in many markets.

      Giant ISPs and their armies of policy allies often try to frame the effort as a noble quest for deregulation, often insisting they’re somehow “restoring internet freedom” in a bare-knuckled attempt to pander to partisan constituents. But by any sane measure the FCC’s quest is little more than a massive gift to despised duopolies like Comcast — at what might be the worst possible time for a severely dysfunctional industry. But there are signs that even many traditional big ISP allies think Ajit Pai’s plan is absurdly extreme.

    • China dwarfs the rest in the digital world

      With 751 million Internet users — nearly 55% of the population — and 663 million smartphone users, China dwarfs every other country when it comes to digital metrics. Of those Internet users, 72.1% are between 10 and 39 years old.

    • The Return of the Static Site

      Taking advantage of those pieces allows us to build fast, reliable, scalable sites using the technology we prefer — and as a bonus, weekends are a lot more carefree, knowing an entire site won’t go down without us. If the return of static sites is the way of the future (even if it was also the way of the past), we’re definitely on board.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • After Previously Claiming the Economics Would Never Work, HBO Streaming Now A Major Windfall

        For years, HBO and owner Time Warner fell into the trap of telling customers what they wanted instead of the other way around. You might recall that HBO and Time Warner spent years waging a rather scorched earth assault on piracy and other “unauthorized viewing,” going so far as to poison show torrents and shut down “Game of Thrones” viewing parties. A major problem with this approach is that HBO wasn’t fully providing pirates an alternative. While HBO was offering streaming to existing cable customers, it spent years ignoring consumer calls for a standalone streaming video platform that didn’t require cable.

        There were any number of reasons for this myopia, the biggest being that like any good legacy company, HBO and Time Warner execs were afraid of wounding the traditional cable cash cow (even if said cow was already showing signs of notable mortality at the time). More specifically, HBO was afraid of hurting the cozy, heavily-subsidized relationship HBO enjoys with many cable providers, who all but give the channel away on occasional promotion. So while offering a standalone streaming platform was essential in evolutionary context, HBO consistently insisted it just couldn’t make the economics work for such an option.

      • Horrible or non-existent Mayweather-McGregor fight streams prompt lawsuit

        Showtime was hit with a federal class-action lawsuit amid reports that it delivered shoddy or non-existent $99 streams of the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight Saturday. This is contrary to Showtime’s promise of 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second.

      • Mayweather V. McGregor: Showtime Got Injunctions On Pirate Stream Sites Which Didn’t Work & Neither Did Their Own Stream

        As you will already know, a boxing match recently took place between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor. The fight itself was far better than it should have been, but you may not know it if you couldn’t manage to actually see it. Much as it did in the run up to the Mayweather v. Pacquiao fight of a couple of years ago, Showtime went out and got some rather questionable injunctions against 44 sites it believed would be offering up the fight via an illegitimate stream during the live pay-per-view broadcast. That effort resulted in, ahem, only three million viewers watching the fight via illegal live streams. Thousands more downloaded video of the fight illicitly after it occurred. So, Showtime got a court to agree to questionable pre-crime activities with the result being rather mixed.

      • Judge Cracks Down on LinkedIn’s Shameful Abuse of Computer Break-In Law

        Good news out of a court in San Francisco: a judge just issued an early ruling against LinkedIn’s abuse of the notorious Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to block a competing service from perfectly legal uses of publicly available data on its website. LinkedIn’s behavior is just the sort of bad development we expected after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit delivered two dangerously expansive interpretations of the CFAA last year—despite our warnings that the decisions would be easily misused.

        The CFAA is a criminal law with serious penalties. It was passed in the 1980s with the aim of outlawing computer break-ins. Since then, it has metastasized in some jurisdictions into a tool for companies and websites to enforce their computer use policies, like terms of service (which no one reads) or corporate computer policies. Violating a computer use policy should by no stretch of the imagination count as felony. But the Ninth Circuit’s two decisions—Facebook v. Power Ventures and U.S. v. Nosal—emboldened some companies, almost overnight, to amp up their CFAA threats against competitors.

      • Renowned Kodi Addon Developer MetalKettle Calls it Quits

        MetalKettle, one of the most famous Kodi addon developers of recent times, has called it quits. Citing concerns over the current legal environment, ‘MK’ says he considered what would happen if he found himself targeted by lawyers. Not wanting to take any more risks, he says he’ll concentrate on being a husband and father instead.


Links 29/8/2017: Bodhi Linux 4.3.0, FSFE’s Digital-O-Mat for Germany

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Bugs? What bugs? Microsoft sees no evil.

      On Aug. 23, Microsoft released Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Build 16273. This late beta doesn’t introduce new features. It’s all about stabilizing the next Windows 10 update before releasing it to the public. In short, it’s a bug-fix version — with a twist. While Microsoft tells us which bugs have been fixed in this build, it doesn’t say anything about new bugs, or old bugs that haven’t been fixed.

  • Server

    • What you should know about CephFS

      Today, new storage system interfaces are created regularly to resolve emerging challenges in distributed storage. For example, Amazon Simple Storage Service [S3] (an opaque object store) and Amazon Elastic Block Storage [EBS] (a virtual machine image provider) both provide an essential, scalable storage service within a cloud ecosystem; however even with these new technologies, the conventional file system remains the most-widely used storage interface in computing.

      Virtually all programs are written to use a file system at some level. This makes the file system the lingua franca for all storage access on any computing device—from small devices such as smartphones, to large high-performance computing (HPC) clusters at CERN and national labs. Programs are still written to communicate and store data through file systems because of their convenience, familiarity, and interoperability.

    • Finding a digital transformation roadmap with containers

      But to make containers actually work, you need to use them in the right way. Creating a digital transformation roadmap with containers is not as simple as installing Docker and letting everything else fall into place on its own.

    • DH2i Adds Docker Support to App Portability Platform for Windows and Linux
    • DH2i Launches DxEnterprise v17 – Unified Smart Availability™ for Windows, Linux & Docker
    • Distributed Systems Are Hard

      A lot of the traditional mechanisms for recovering from failure may make things worse in a distributed environment. Brute force retries may flood your network, restores from backups are not straightforward. There are design patterns for addressing all of these issues but they require thought and testing.

      If there were no errors, distributed systems would be pretty easy. That can lull optimists into a false sense of security. Distributed systems must be designed to be resilient by accepting that all possible errors are just business as usual.

  • Kernel Space

    • DRM Synchronization Object Improvements Queued For Linux 4.14

      Introduced in the Linux 4.13 kernel for the Direct Rendering Manager drivers was the concept of DRM synchronization objects while for Linux 4.14 this feature will be improved upon.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Lands Vulkan External Fences Support

        Lead Intel ANV Vulkan driver developer Jason Ekstrand has landed support for the VK_KHR_external_fence extension within this open-source Linux Vulkan driver.

        The external fence work landed with Vulkan 1.0.54 and is about allowing synchronized access to external memory using fences. In Mesa 17.3-dev Git, that work is turned on for ANV.

      • AmanithVG Brings Fast OpenVG To Linux, OpenGL ES Rendering
      • Work Begins On Kernel DRM Driver For BCM7268 With VC5

        Eric Anholt of Broadcom has been working on a new VC5 Gallium3D driver for supporting a new generation of Broadcom 3D graphics hardware that goes beyond the “VC4″ 3D notably used by the current Raspberry Pi boards. So far he’s been working on this new VC5 Gallium3D driver but now he’s beginning work on the related Direct Rendering Manager kernel driver for this next-gen hardware.

    • Cairo 1.15.8 Released With Support For Colored Emoji

      It has been a few months since the last Cairo 2D graphics library update, which is used by programs ranging from Firefox to GTK and WebKit, but today the notable 1.15.8 release is now available.

    • Vulkan-CPU Is Off To A Good Start Thanks To GSoC 2017

      Google Summer of Code participant Jacob Lifshay has written his final recap about the work he did this summer on starting the “Vulkan-CPU” project for writing a soft/CPU-based implementation of the Vulkan API.

      As we’ve been covering throughout the summer, he’s hit milestones like SPIR-V to LLVM IR translation, initial graphics pipeline setup, and the start of vertex shader support.

    • Benchmarks

      • Keeping The Ryzen Threadripper Busy With An Array Of Compiler Benchmarks

        While there are an array of interesting AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Linux benchmarks in this morning’s review, after hitting a 36 second Linux kernel compilation time with this 16 core / 32 thread processor, I spent this afternoon seeing what I was getting for some other compile times of popular programs.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 7.4 M3 Released With OpenBenchmarking Seamless/Dynamic Comparisons
      • AMD Replaces Ryzen CPUs for Users Affected By Rare Linux Bug

        AMD’s Ryzen 7 has been generally well-received by the enthusiast community, but there’s been one low-level problem that we’ve been watching but haven’t previously reported on. In early June, Ryzen users running Linux began reporting segmentation faults when running multiple concurrent compilation workloads using multiple different versions of GCC. LVVM/Clang was not affected, and the issue appears confined to Linux. Moreover, it wasn’t apparently common, even among Linux users — Michael Larabel, of Phoronix.com, reported that his own test rigs had been absolutely solid, even under heavy workloads.

        Like the Pentium FDIV bug of yesteryear, this was a real issue, but one that realistically only impacted a fraction of a fraction of buyers. AMD had previously said it was investigating the problem (which isn’t present on any Epyc or Threadripper CPUs) and it’s now announced a solution: CPU replacement.

      • Core i7 / Core i9 / Ryzen 7 / Threadripper OpenGL+Vulkan Linux Gaming Benchmarks

        For those craving to see some fresh OpenGL and Vulkan Linux gaming benchmarks with the recent high-end Intel/AMD CPUs at Phoronix, this article is for you.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDevelop 5.1.2 released

        We are pleased to announce the release of KDevelop version 5.1.2, the second bug-fix release for the 5.1 series. This update contains bug fixes only, and we highly recommend all users of KDevelop 5.1.x to switch to this version. Given that it has been a few months since the release of KDevelop 5.1.1, this version contains quite a lot of changes.

      • Last week in Kube

        “Kube is a modern communication and collaboration client built with QtQuick on top of a high performance, low resource usage core. It provides online and offline access to all your mail, contacts, calendars, notes, todo’s and more. With a strong focus on usability, the team works with designers and UX experts from the ground up, to build a product that is not only visually appealing but also a joy to use.”

      • Summing up my GSoC experience

        The best thing about this experience is that I learnt a lot of new and exciting stuff: new technologies, pattern and development methodologies. Not only I improved my skills with modern web development tools but I also got quite proficient with the Vue.js and Webpack ecosystems. At the same time I got a bit better at writing and structuring documentation, something that many developers forget about.

      • Finalizing the GSoC project for KStars

        I worked on the KStars during this summer to improve the codebase with C++11 features with Google Summer of Code. I spent the last month to write the first GUI tests for KStars and KStars Lite. KStars Lite can be built and run also on Linux host now although it was developed for Android by a previous GSoC student in 2016. Additional contributions include fixing some bugs found by Clang Sanitizers, usability improvements and templeted FITS decoding. The GSoC period was successful, the goals were reached, but if I would have still more time…

      • My experiences with Summer of Code 2017

        How quickly the summer ran away, in a wild mix of fun, frustration, development, and success! It seems like just yesterday that I received news of working with Marble in the summer, yet now September quickly approaches, and it’s time to look back on all our experiences this summer.

      • Final Blog Gsoc 2017

        Over the past three months, I’ve been working on a telemetry project for the graphic editor Krita. I achieved almost all the goals. A working prototype was created, you can help in its testing by downloading a test version of the Krita with telemetry support. link

      • GSoC – Final Period

        I implemented some scripts to the showcase and some new plugins as well. You can find my task here and see more details about my progress during GSoC.

      • Kubuntu Artful Aardvark (17.10) Beta 1 testing

        Artful Aardvark (17.10) Beta 1 images are now available for testing.

        The Kubuntu team will be releasing 17.10 in October. The final Beta 1 milestone will be available on August 31st.

      • That was quick: Falkon web browser is now available as a Snap app

        The newly-named Falkon web browser is now available for testing on Ubuntu and KDE Neon.

        KDE Neon is adopting Snap packages as its containerised packaging format of choice (sorry Flatpak fans) and with Falkon now under the auspices of KDE its arrival as a Snap app was always a matter of when and not if.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • 3.26 Release Video in the Works

        3.26 is sneaking up on everyone and last week I started working on the release video which process you can follow on the wiki, I will keep it updated as I move on. I plan to be doing major work in the green screening, animation areas and video editing myself but others are contributing with soundtrack, writing the manuscript and recording videos.

      • Wrapping up GSoC 2017

        So, GSoC ends in a short while and I want to take advantage of that and show a preview of both features that we’ve worked on :).

        As I have described here and here, I worked on the gnome-shell search results and made them look different and then I added system actions to the mix. Without further ado, let’s see how they turned out.

        First up, the updated gnome-shell results. The idea was that we needed to fit as many results as possible on the screen, making it possible for lower resolutions to handle fitting those results on the screen. At the same time, we had to make sure that the screen won’t be cluttered, or it would’ve turned into a mess.

      • How Glib-rs works, part 2: Transferring lists and arrays

        In the first part, we saw how glib-rs provides the FromGlib and ToGlib traits to let Rust code convert from/to Glib’s simple types, like to convert from a Glib gboolean to a Rust bool and vice-versa. We also saw the special needs of strings; since they are passed by reference and are not copied as simple values, we can use FromGlibPtrNone and FromGlibPtrFull depending on what kind of ownership transfer we want, none for “just make it look like we are using a borrowed reference”, or full for “I’ll take over the data and free it when I’m done”. Going the other way around, we can use ToGlibPtr and its methods to pass things from Rust to Glib.

      • GSoC 2017 : wrap-up and code submission

        This post pretends to summarize what has been done during my project in the Google Summer of Code. This is also my Work Product Submission. The project has consisted on implementing a plugin manager for Pitivi and adding a plugin called the Developer Console.

      • GtkBuilder, Vala and WebKit

        To use a WebKitWebView inside a GTK+ template, one needs to workaround the fact that WebKitWebView breaks the heuristics in GtkBuilder to guess the GType from the human readable type name. That’s easy. Anybody who has used GObject is likely to have encountered some dialect of g_type_ensure, or, as the more learned will point out, GtkBuilder has a type-func attribute for cases like these.

      • Remote desktop capabilities set to make a comeback in GNOME on Wayland

        Remote desktop under Wayland seems to finally be happening; thanks to work on new APIs and a new GNOME Remote Desktop service undertaken by Jonas Ådahl!

        GNOME’s Vino remote desktop server was left behind when GNOME transitioned their desktop from the X compositor to Wayland. This meant that people who use distributions that stay close to upstream, like Fedora 25, have been left without a working VNC or even an RDP server for almost a full year.

      • Gnome Pie – A Circular Application Launcher (Menu) for Linux

        You know about Dash to Dock and Dash to Panel. But do you know about Gnome Pie? It’s a completely different concept from the app launchers typical of Windows, Mac, and Linux systems because it implements an idea known as “Fitts’ law”.

      • GNOME Tweaks 3.25.91

        The GNOME 3.26 release cycle is in its final bugfix stage before release.

        Here’s a look at what’s new in GNOME Tweaks since my last post.

        I’ve heard people say that GNOME likes to remove stuff. If that were true, how would there be anything left in GNOME? But maybe it’s partially true. And maybe it’s possible for removals to be a good thing?

      • These Pictures Show How GNOME Shell Search Is Improving

        GNOME 3.26 improves the appearance of GNOME Shell search results, making better use of screen space to show more results on screen.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Window Maker Live: Cool Retro Look, Even Cooler Performance

        Window Maker Live (WML) takes an unusual approach to desktop interface management. It has an old-fashioned look with a productive new feel.

        The latest version of Window Maker Live (0.95.7-4), released this month, is a Debian-based Linux distribution that uses the Window Maker window manager as the default graphical user interface. It integrates well-known open source components in a surprisingly satisfying interface.

        Window Maker itself has been around since 1997. It is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment, a free adaptation of Cocoa (formerly OpenStep).

        A framework with application development tools for Unix-like operating systems and Microsoft Windows, Window Maker is part of the GNU Project.

        If you are into retro computing, you will marvel at Window Maker’s success in reproducing the cool look and feel of the Nextstep user interface. That nostalgia is reminiscent of Thinkpad T61 technology.

        If that level of computing nostalgia is not your passion, WML’s user interface can bring you a productivity boost without the excessive GUI bloat of modern-day Linux desktop environments.

    • New Releases

      • Bodhi Linux 4.3.0 Released

        Today I am pleased to announce the release of Bodhi Linux 4.3.0. This is a normal update release and it comes three months after the release of Bodhi 4.2.0. Existing Bodhi 4.x.y users do not need to reinstall as the primary goal of this update release is to simply keep the current ISO image up to date. This release image includes EFL 1.19.1, Terminology 1.1.0, Ephoto 1.5, and Linux kernel 4.11. As with every release in the 4.x.y Bodhi series it is built on top of the rock solid foundation that is Ubuntu 16.04.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Vs Funny People Wearing Red Hats

        Watching this video from SUSE, you might be excused for thinking you’re watching a trailer for a new Netflix original which looks suspiciously like “Game of Thrones.” To paraphrase an old Dodge commercial: “You can tell they’re bad guys because they all wear Red Hats.”

      • Run your Xen VMs on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        While SLES does offer a specific installation pattern to make a server a Xen host, it’s mainly a DYI configuration, where the installation is like any other Linux installation. There is, for instance, no notion of a storage pool easily connected to external storage; the administrator who uses all default choices ends up with locally stored VM images.

    • Red Hat Family

      • How a leader can move forward without consensus
      • Intermountain begins shift to open IT platform

        Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare has begun the work of replacing its proprietary platform to an open one. The goal is to create a modern IT environment across the 22-hospital systems, which also includes 180 clinics and 1,500 physicians.

        Intermountain is using Red Hat platforms to transform its existing infrastructure by replacing legacy tools and migrating services from a proprietary platform to an open source Red Hat stack.

      • Red Hat (RHT) Names Narendra Gupta as Chairman
      • Red Hat Appoints Narendra Gupta as New Chairman of the Board [Ed: as above]

        Gupta co-founded Integrated Systems Inc. (ISI) in 1980 to develop products for embedded software development. He served as ISI’s president and CEO from founding until 1994 and as chairman until 2000 when ISI merged with Wind River Systems, Inc., a provider of device software optimization solutions. Gupta served as Wind River’s vice chairman from 2000 until its acquisition by Intel in 2009. He currently serves on the board of trustees of the California Institute of Technology, the advisory board of Asia Society Northern California, and on the boards of several privately held companies.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • GSoC: Final Report

          This is the final report of my work on Google Summer of Code program. My name is David Carlos and I am a Brazilian software engineering student, at University of Brasilia. I already work as programmer, and really love what I do for a living. When I am not working I am with my family and friends, enjoying good beer and listening to the best Brazilian music style, Samba.


          Static analyzers are computer programs that analyze other computer programs. This is generally done by checking source code through static analysis methods. This is a good means to support software assurance, since static analysis can in theory enumerate all possible interactions in a program, having the potential to find rare occurrences that would be harder to find with automated testing.

          kiskadee is a system designed to support continuous static analysis in software repositories using different static analyzers and to store this information in a database. Based on such database information, kiskadee will rank warnings reported by the different static analyzers, where warnings with the highest rank are more likely to indicate real and more critical software flaws, while warnings with the lowest rank are more likely to be false positives. In this context, a warning is a single issue produced by a static analyzer. Finally, kiskadee maps software flaws inserted in specific software versions, providing developers with a relatively small list of warnings to be investigated in a suggested order.

        • Fedora 26 – the MuseScore software.
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Must Have Linux Mint Software

              must admit that I’m still shocked at how popular Linux Mint has become. The reasons why are covered in my “Why Linux Mint won” article. But there’s more to Linux Mint than the distro itself. There are also what I’d call “must have” applications. This article will share my own must have applications that I think every Linux Mint user should check out.

            • [elementaryOS] AppCenter & The Future of The Universe

              About 3 months ago, we launched a new version of elementary OS and a new service that we call AppCenter Dashboard. In that time, we’ve helped developers publish nearly 40 new apps.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Do the Most Successful Open Source Projects Have In Common?

    Thriving open source projects have many users, and the most active have thousands of authors contributing. There are now more than 60 million open source repositories, but the vast majority are just a public workspace for a single individual. What differentiates the most successful open source projects? One commonality is that most of them are backed by either one company or a group of companies collaborating together

  • IBM in Blockchain Collaboration for Food Safety

    Another new use has been found for blockchain. Last week, IBM announced that it’s collaborating with a group of 10 major food suppliers “to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.” It appears that initially the focus will be on tracking food products as they move their way from farm to processing facilities to grocery store shelves. The deal includes Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart.

  • Eurovision, Matrox, Telvue join open source alliance

    The SRT Alliance, an open-source initiative dedicated to overcoming the challenges of low-latency video streaming, announces that 14 new members have joined the initiative including Eurovision Media Services, Matrox and Telvue.

    Now with more than 35 members, the SRT Alliance’s rapid growth supports continued adoption and development of the low latency SRT open source video transport protocol across a variety of industries. Founded by Haivision and Wowza, the SRT Alliance is focused on developing SRT to be an alternative to proprietary and expensive transmission protocols by offering an open source solution that can deliver low-latency video with greater reliability and performance in sub-optimal networks.

  • Rocket.Chat Extends Support to Open Source Initiative and Community

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the founding organization of the open source software movement, announced Rocket.Chat has joined the global non-profit as a Premium Corporate Sponsor. Rocket.Chat joins Craigslist Foundation, Facebook, Github, Google, Heptio, HPE, IBM, USB Direct, and many more sponsors, supporters and members committed to increasing awareness of open source software, and participation within the innovative communities that enable its continued advancement.

  • The next release of OpenStack, Pike leaps up

    Whatever else has ever been said about OpenStack, no one has ever said the open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud was easy to deploy or update. With the release of Pike, the 16th version of OpenStack, that’s changing.

    Pike, and the two updates, Queens and Rocky, to follow it, won’t bring major new features or changes. Instead, each will build on the Ocata release. Ocata, too, was focused on improving stability, scalability, and performance of the core services.

  • What Do the Most Successful Open Source Projects Have In Common?

    Thriving open source projects have many users, and the most active have thousands of authors contributing. There are now more than 60 million open source repositories, but the vast majority are just a public workspace for a single individual. What differentiates the most successful open source projects? One commonality is that most of them are backed by either one company or a group of companies collaborating together

  • Leadership lessons from open source software

    As chief information officer, I leverage many of the lessons I learned from maintaining or contributing to open source software. While I find insights from other areas, experience drives learning, and my twenty years of personal experience in open source software has taught me much about accepting feedback, listening to others, and sharing the burden. This applies directly to my professional career.

  • The Importance of Choosing the Correct Mastodon Instance

    Remember, Mastodon is a new decentralized social network, based on a free software which is rapidly gaining users (already there is more than 1.5 million accounts). As I’ve created my account in June, I was a fast addict and I’ve already created several tools for this network, Feed2toot, Remindr and Boost (mostly written in Python).

    Now, with all this experience I have to stress out the importance of choosing the correct Mastodon instance.


    As a social network, Mastodon is truly decentralized, with more than 1.5 million users on more than 2350 existing instances. As such, the most common usage is to create an account on an open instance. To create its own instance is way too difficult for the average user. Yet, using an open instance creates a strong dependence on the technical administrator of the chosen instance.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Using Client Side Decoration (Video)

        If you’ve been longing to see some progress on Firefox GTK header bar support you’re going to want to feast your eyes on this.

        Alex of WOGUE fame has posted a new video to showcase Firefox CSD as it looks and works right now.

        Now, he had to build (painfully, I hear) >from Git to try this out, but his video shows “all upstream work from Mozillians [and] no patches!”.

      • AdNauseam extension blocked

        Since proponents of this extension will likely be unhappy or have questions as to why, and likely want to be vocal about this addition:

        After investigating the AdNauseam extension’s behavior and the results for web publishers, the extension has been added to the Pale Moon blocklist with a severity level of 2 (meaning you won’t be able to enable it unless you increase the blocking level in about:config to 3). For those unfamiliar with this extension: it generates false ad “clicks” to ad servers in an attempt to generate “noise” for the ad networks in a protest against the advertising network system as a whole.
        While the premise behind this is similar to poisoning trackers with false fingerprints (which we are proponents of, ourselves), and we normally let users decide for themselves what they want to do with their browser, we are strictly against allowing extensions that cause direct damage (including damage to third parties). There is a subtle but important difference between blocking content and generating fake user interaction.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • How open source analytics can boost your cybersecurity arsenal

      Data growth never stops and the sheer volume and variety of this data has challenged organizations to makes sense of it all. Over the last few years, these groups have been turning to big data solutions to extract valuable insights and actionable intelligence from these massive new sets of data. Now organizations are beginning to leverage this same technology to modernize and reinforce their cybersecurity posture.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • HAMMER2 File-System Continues To Stabilize For DragonFlyBSD

      For those interested in the work being done to the HAMMER2 file-system that’s being developed by Matthew Dillon for DragonFlyBSD, it is indeed getting closer to being a working reality.

      We recently heard how the next DragonFlyBSD release will offer it as an experimental option following recent advancements to it. That next DragonFly release should be coming in September.

    • OpenBSD Community Goes Platinum [iophk: "paypal is not an option, I'll have to send some bitcoin their way"]

      Paypal and bitcoin donations from the OpenBSD community have made the community the OpenBSD Foundation’s first Platinum level contributor for 2017!

    • openbsd changes of note 627

    • Richard Stallman – the freedom defender whom we may not deserve but definitely need

      Stallman was always interested in Physics as much as in Maths. For him, the decision to opt for Physics in college was simply a matter of academic requirements. He explains, “To get an honours degree in Mathematics, one had to write a thesis whereas for Physics it didn’t require a thesis. I had an experience in my last year in high school where I had a class which required writing long papers and it was really hard for me.” In practice it didn’t make any big difference because he took classes in both and was happy to do so. But he didn’t take classes of things related to computers because he found another way to work on that.

    • Digital-O-Mat: Compare your views on Internet policies with the parties for the German federal election 2017

      CDU/CSU (conservatives) and FDP (liberals) marked their position as “neutral” and answered in a very similar fashion. Unfortunately, these parties avoid making a clear stance and ultimately confirm the status quo. On one hand, they do consider the use of Free Software, on the other hand, so they say, there are multiple other aspects to consider weigh in. However, they list functionality and usability for example, even though they have no relation to the licence in use. When asked about the migration of existing IT systems, CDU/CSU prefer decision making on a case-by-case basis, while FDP dodged our question.

      Although the SPD (labour) also marked their answer as “neutral”, they support the deployment and development of Free Software in public administrations and educational institutions, “to foster the creation of innovative businesses in the local market”. Die Linke (lefts) and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (greens) position themselves as supporters of deployment and public funding of Free Software. The greens consider Free Software to be a “cornerstone for secure and future-proof IT systems”, and the lefts also fully support it, as long as there are no concerns regarding security or operation.

    • Putting German Politicians On The Record

      In Canada, there seems to be only one party on the record as favouring FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software), but the other parties don’t even have a position… Too bad. Now that I’m determined to use renewable energy and drive an electric car, I may be in the mood to change my vote next election over one last issue.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Why Not to Overreact to Facebook’s React Patents License

      The reaction to this news is surprising, given the parallel patent licensing model is nothing new. Facebook released its “BSD+Patents” grant in 2013 (with a revision in 2015). But a similar model was used with some fanfare by Google with its WebM codec in 2010. This licensing model involves two parallel and simultaneous grants of rights: a BSD license to the copyright in the software, and a separate grant to practice patents that read on the software. Putting the two together means there are two independent and parallel grants of rights. In this respect, it is quite similar to the Apache 2.0 license which, like BSD, is a permissive license, and which also contains a defensive termination provision that exists alongside the copyright license grant.

      Much of the reaction to Apache Foundation’s announcement has just created confusion, such as this article misleadingly calling it “booby-trapped.” In fact, many open source licenses have defensive termination provisions — which are mostly considered a reasonable mechanism to discourage patent lawsuits, rather than a booby trap. They are also the rule rather than the exception; all major open source licenses with patent grants also have defensive termination provisions — each with slightly different terms. The difference between the Facebook grant, which Apache has rejected, and the Apache 2.0 license, which Apache requires for its projects, is more subtle than the controversy suggests.


      Defensive termination provisions of the scope in the Facebook grant are very common in patent licensing, outside of the open source landscape. Most patent licenses terminate if the licensee bring patent claims against the licensor. The reason is that a licensor does not want to be unilaterally “disarmed” in a patent battle. Most patents are only used defensively — asserted when a competitor sues the patent owner. A sues B and then B sues A, resulting in mutually assured destruction. If B has released its software under an open source license without a broad defensive termination provision, B is potentially without recourse, and has paid a high price for its open source code release. A gets to simultaneously free ride on B’s software development and sue B for patent infringement.

      Finally, the Facebook grant itself is not new. The grant was released in 2013, and ReactJS’ popularity has been growing since then. As with many open source licenses, the industry’s willingness to absorb a new license depends on the tastiness of the code released under it. In the case of ReactJS, the code was great, and the patent license terms were new, but reasonable.

    • The Faces of Open Source: Till Jaeger

      Dr. Till Jaeger features in the fifth episode of Shane Martin Coughlan’s, “The Faces of Open Source Law.” The series was shot during breaks at the FSFE Legal Network ‘Legal and Licensing Workshop’ in Barcelona during April 2017, and is provided here to promote greater understanding of how the law and open source projects and communities are interacting and evolving.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • TinyCircuits Portfolio of Tiny Open Source Electronics Available Globally from Digi-Key

        TinyCircuits’ selection of small-size open source electronics, including the TinyDuino, is available for immediate shipment worldwide through Digi-Key Electronics, a global electronic components distributor, thanks to a new distribution agreement between the two companies.

      • Numworks graphing calculator is made for students raised on tech

        Now, an open-source calculator called Numworks is taking them on with a clean, simple look, an intuitive interface and open source programming and design.

      • Retrocomputing With Open Source FPGAs

        A few years ago, we saw the reverse engineering of the Lattice iCE40 bitstream, opening the door to a completely Open Source development tool chain for FPGAs. This was an astonishing amount of work from [Clifford Wolf], [Mathias Lasser], and [Cotton Seed], but since then we haven’t seen a whole lot from Project IceStorm. Now, that’s about to change, and in the coolest way possible. [hoglet] is retrocomputing on an ICE40 development board.

        This is an implementation of the Acorn Atom on a myStorm BlackIce board. This board is basically just a Lattice iCE40 FPGA, a few support components, and a bunch of pin headers, some of which are in the not-so-handy Arduino pinout footprint. By porting some Acorn Atom implementations and a 6502 core to verilog, [hoglet] was able to stuff a cool old retrocomputer onto an Open Source FPGA development board. Video output is through a resistor DAC driving a VGA cable, and keyboard input is through PS/2.

  • Programming/Development

    • My use-case for Go

      After using a few very good applications written in Go (Syncthing, Docker and Hugo are some examples) I wanted to get to learn a bit more about the language.

      I’m very interested in programming languages theory and how it could give developers the tools they need to write software in the best possible way and with as many guarantees as possible on the correctness of the resulting applications.

      To get an idea of where programming languages theory is headed have a look at the post Graydon Hoare (the creator of Rust and now one of Swift’s developers) published discussing possible new research directions for programming languages.

    • What was your first programming language?

      Whether you first learned to program in a classroom setting, on the job, or by teaching yourself, everyone who has contributed code to an open source project has a story of how they first picked up programming. And no matter if you still use it today, your first language played an important role in shaping your understanding of computer systems.

    • NVIDIA & Co Continue Working On LLVM Fortran “Flang” Compiler

      Since earlier this year NVIDIA posted their work on “Flang”, an LLVM-based Fortran compiler, to GitHub while now they have done a formal announcement and update about its status.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • PKI is needed for micro-services

      Someone would say: but we can trust the source IP!
      The short answer to this is: no.

      The long answer is: no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no!

      An IP address is not secure by design, the network can be manipulated quite easily with an L2 access (like one server compromised).

      Also, the IP layer is not encrypted by default, so if you have to use some kind of encryption on top in your application, what’s the point of encrypting everything with a pre shared key when you can use an asymmetric layout?

    • Google opens up on Titan security: Here’s how chip combats hardware backdoors

      Google has detailed how its custom Titan security chip will prevent threats that use firmware-based attacks.

      When it unveiled its tiny Titan chip, Google said it planned to use the processor to give each server in its cloud its own identity.

    • Disabling Intel ME 11 via undocumented mode

      Our team of Positive Technologies researchers has delved deep into the internal architecture of Intel Management Engine (ME) 11, revealing a mechanism that can disable Intel ME after hardware is initialized and the main processor starts. In this article, we describe how we discovered this undocumented mode and how it is connected with the U.S. government’s High Assurance Platform (HAP) program.

      Disclaimer: The methods described here are risky and may damage or destroy your computer. We take no responsibility for any attempts inspired by our work and do not guarantee the operability of anything. For those who are aware of the risks and decide to experiment anyway, we recommend using an SPI programmer.


      Some users of x86 computers have asked the question: how can one disable Intel ME? The issue has been raised by many, including Positive Technologies experts. [, ]. And with the recently discovered critical (9.8/10) vulnerability in Intel Active Management Technology (AMT), which is based on Intel ME, the question has taken on new urgency.

      The disappointing fact is that on modern computers, it is impossible to completely disable ME. This is primarily due to the fact that this technology is responsible for initialization, power management, and launch of the main processor. Another complication lies in the fact that some data is hard-coded inside the PCH chip functioning as the southbridge on modern motherboards. The main method used by enthusiasts trying to disable ME is to remove everything “redundant” from the image while maintaining the computer’s operability. But this is not so easy, because if built-in PCH code does not find ME modules in the flash memory or detects that they are damaged, the system will not start.

      Intel representatives have been informed about the details of our research. Their response has confirmed our hypothesis about the connection of the undocumented mode with the High Assurance Platform program.


      We believe that this mechanism is designed to meet a typical requirement of government agencies, which want to reduce the possibility of side-channel leaks. But the main question remains: how does HAP affect Boot Guard? Due to the closed nature of this technology, it is not possible to answer this question yet, but we hope to do so soon.

    • Researchers Find a Way to Disable Much-Hated Intel ME Component Courtesy of the NSA

      Researchers from Positive Technologies — a provider of enterprise security solutions — have found a way to disable the Intel Management Engine (ME), a much-hated component of Intel CPUs.

      Intel ME is a separate processor embedded with Intel CPUs that runs its own operating system complete with processes, threads, memory manager, hardware bus driver, file system, and many other components.

      Intel has always advertised Intel ME as a way for companies to manage computers running on their internal networks. Intel ME includes tools that allow system administrators to monitor, maintain, update, upgrade, and repair computers from a remote, central location.

    • Now you, too, can disable Intel ME ‘backdoor’ thanks to the NSA

      A team of researchers from Positive Technologies discovered an undocumented configuration setting, designed for use by government agencies, to disable Intel Management Engine 11. Now you too can partake in this government privilege to inactivate Intel’s proprietary CPU master controller.

    • Researchers say Intel’s Management Engine feature can be switched off

      That’s not an option for the general public, but researchers at Russian security firm Positive Technologies have found a way to use these government-only privileges to disable ME.

      ME is a core component of modern Intel chips that if compromised can provide an attacker with a powerful backdoor. As the researchers note, ME can’t be completely disabled because of its role in initializing hardware, power management, and launching the main processor.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #122
    • Security Concerns Engulfing IoT Applications, and What Vendors Are Doing About It

      If one device is compromised, it’s next to impossible for a vendor to issue an OTA and update millions of devices. An insecure device in a network is enough to put the whole network and the devices connected to it in jeopardy: servers, smartphones, and desktops in addition to IoT devices, letting a single device to compromise confidential data from bank and health information.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Get Trump’s Finger Off the Nuke Trigger

      President Trump’s ability to trigger a nuclear war is ‘pretty damn scary’ said former US intelligence director James Clapper this week. Remember when Trump vowed to ‘bomb the shit’ out of his enemies?

      I don’t have much respect for Clapper, who brazenly lied to Congress and is a ringleader of the deep government’s efforts to overthrow Trump. But this time, Clapper is 100% right. He’s scared and I am too.

    • Should South Korea Worry About Donald Trump?

      More recently, Trump is upset by the fact that he lost the popular vote in last fall’s election. The presidency is determined by winning the Electoral College, which depends on winning states. It doesn’t matter whether a state is carried by a huge margin or single vote. Since Hillary Clinton in effect wasted large numbers of votes in winning large states with large margins, she managed to lose in the Electoral College even though she beat Trump by more than two million votes.

    • How History Explains the Korean Crisis

      Many Americans simply view North Korea and its leaders as “crazy,” but the history behind today’s crisis reveals of a more complex reality that could change those simplistic impressions, as historian William R. Polk explains.

    • Finnish President refutes Trump’s claim on fighter jets

      Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has refuted President Trump’s claim that Finland would be “purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircrafts from Boeing.” At their joint Monday press conference, Trump said that Finland, which is gearing up to spend $8–10 billion on new fighter jets, will spend those dollars on Boeing-made planes. But Finland is not expected to make a final decision until the early 2020s, Reuters reports.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Is Wikileaks A “Non-state Hostile Intelligence Service” As Some Claim?

      Just before the annual rush to get out of town for the August District Work Period, the Senate Intelligence Committee passed its annual Intelligence Authorization bill by a 14-1 vote. The lone dissenter was Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, a recent guest at Cato and arguably the most articulate and well-informed member of Congress on Intelligence Community oversight issues. Almost a month after the vote, Wyden explained to The Hill why he elected to oppose the bill, which includes language aimed at Wikileaks and its founder and leader, Julian Assange:

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • When the Rains Came to Houston

      When this storm finally stops, upwards of 50 inches of rain will have fallen.

    • Harvey Didn’t Come Out of the Blue. Now Is The Time to Talk About Climate Change.

      Now is exactly the time to talk about climate change, and all the other systemic injustices — from racial profiling to economic austerity — that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes.

      Turn on the coverage of the Hurricane Harvey and the Houston flooding and you’ll hear lots of talk about how unprecedented this kind of rainfall is. How no one saw it coming so no one could adequately prepare.

      What you will hear very little about is why these kind of unprecedented, record-breaking weather events are happening with such regularity that “record-breaking” has become a meteorological cliché. In other words, you won’t hear much, if any, talk about climate change.

      This, we are told, is out of a desire not to “politicize” a still unfolding human tragedy, which is an understandable impulse. But here’s the thing: every time we act as if an unprecedented weather event is hitting us out of the blue, as some sort of Act of God that no one foresaw, reporters are making a highly political decision. It’s a decision to spare feelings and avoid controversy at the expense of telling the truth, however difficult. Because the truth is that these events have long been predicted by climate scientists. Warmer oceans throw up more powerful storms. Higher sea levels mean those storms surge into places they never reached before. Hotter weather leads to extremes of precipitation: long dry periods interrupted by massive snow or rain dumps, rather than the steadier predictable patterns most of us grew up with.

    • As Harvey Batters Houston, Donald Trump Is Focused Like a Laser Beam on His Twitter Feed

      As Hurricane Harvey battered the Gulf Coast, and floodwaters inundated Houston, pushing emergency responders to the brink, the nation’s president was clearly, as the New York Times reported, “riveted by the drama unfolding in Texas,” sending out two dozen Twitter updates on the storm over the weekend.

    • FLASHBACK: Trump took $17 million payout for hurricane damage that reportedly only cost $3,000

      As Hurricane Harvey bears down on Texas, some are recalling that Donald Trump claimed that a hurricane damaged his private Mar-a-Lago club in 2005, but investigators found little evidence to back up the assertions.

      LawNewz flashed back to the 2005 revelation in a Monday report about Trump’s $17 million insurance claim.

      According to an investigation by the Associated Press in 2016, there was “little evidence of such large-scale damage” at Mar-a-Lago.

      Trump claimed in a 2007 deposition that the damage was widespread: “Landscaping, roofing, walls, painting, leaks, artwork in the — you know, the great tapestries, tiles, Spanish tiles, the beach, the erosion.”

    • Extreme Storms Like Harvey and Climate Change: ‘This Is the New Reality’

      As Hurricane Harvey continues to batter Texas—and as the death toll from monsoon flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh surpasses 1,200—experts are putting a spotlight on how climate change is linked to the “unprecedented” storm’s devastation.

      Trying to attribute Harvey to climate change “is an ill-posed question,” argues Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. “While we cannot say climate change ’caused’ Hurricane Harvey,” writes Mann at the Guardian, “we can say is that it exacerbated several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life.”

    • Scientists fear censorship in new climate report

      It could be the biggest climate showdown of the entire Trump administration. On one side: dozens of America’s leading scientists. On the other: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and other top Trump officials promoting dangerous denial of climate science.

      Recently, scientists working on a legally mandated federal assessment of global warming’s threats to America expressed grave concerns that Trump officials may try to alter or suppress the report, which is currently awaiting “final clearance” by the EPA and other agencies.

    • Thousands of Katrina evacuees who moved to Houston are reliving a nightmare

      Among those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey’s unprecedented flooding of Houston are likely thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 strike on Louisiana, who in some cases are once again seeing their homes destroyed by rising floodwaters.

      Katrina hit New Orleans 12 years ago today. After the levees failed, inundating the city, as many as 250,000 evacuees temporarily relocated to Houston, and about 40,000 stayed permanently, according to a 2015 report in the Houston Chronicle. They and other Louisianans who came later generally praised Houston for its growing economy, with better jobs and salaries than in the New Orleans area. Parents also saw Houston as having a stronger school system, though many evacuees lamented the region’s sprawl and other cultural differences.

  • Finance

    • I Helped Low-Income Americans Save for Retirement—Until Trump Ended the Program

      The argument against myRA’s expense is hard to swallow, since the next item on President Donald Trump’s agenda is a tax reform plan that could cost as much as $7 trillion over the next decade. The myRA program would be 0.001 percent of the cost. The claim that enrollment has been unenthusiastic isn’t much easier to stomach, since the program was so new. Publicity efforts, such as partnerships with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs and promotions through government websites and TurboTax, have not yet been executed.

    • Spain: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

      When the Catalans goes to the polls Oct. 1, much more than independence for Spain’s restive province will be at stake. In many ways the vote will be a sounding board for Spain’s future, but it is also a test of whether the European Union—divided between north and south, east and west—can long endure.

      In some ways, the referendum on Catalan independence is a very Spanish affair, with grievances that run all the way back to Catalonia’s loss of independence in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). But the Catalans lost more than their political freedom when the combined French and Spanish army took Barcelona, they lost much of their language and culture, particularly during the long and brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco from 1939 to 1975.

      The current independence crisis dates back to 2010, when, at the urging of the rightwing Popular Party, the Spanish Constitutional Court overturned an autonomy agreement that had been endorsed by the Spanish and Catalan parliaments. Since then, the Catalans have elected a pro-independence government and narrowly defeated an initiative in 2014 calling for the creation of a free republic. The Oct. 1 vote will re-visit that vote.


      The European Union is in a crisis of its own making. By blocking its members from pursuing different strategies for confronting economic trouble and, instead, insisting on one-size-fits-all strictures, the trade group has set loose centrifugal forces that now threaten to tear the organization apart.

      The eastern members of the EU have charted a course that throttles democracy in the name of stability. The southern members of the bloc are struggling to emerge from austerity regimes that have inflicted widespread, possibly permanent, damage to their economies. Even members with powerful economies, like Germany and France, are trying to keep the lid on the desire of their people for a better standard of living.

    • Trump’s tough new sanctions will harm the people of Venezuela

      The Trump administration announced new, unprecedented sanctions against Venezuela on Friday that are designed to cut off financing to Venezuela. The Trump team pretends that the sanctions are only directed at the government. But as any economist knows, this is clearly false. By starving the economy of foreign exchange, this action will harm the private sector, most Venezuelans, the poor and the vulnerable.

      These sanctions will deepen the severe depression that Venezuela’s economy has been in for more than three and a half years, which has already shrunk income per person by more than a third. They will worsen the shortages of food and essential medicines. They will exacerbate the country’s balance of payments crisis, and therefore feed the spiral of inflation (600 percent over the past year) and depreciation of the currency (on the black market) that has been accelerating since late 2012.

    • Trump’s Labor Day

      This will be the first Labor Day of the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who came to office riding a wave of anti-establishment anger from average working people. No one can say they didn’t see it coming.

      By the time Trump was elected, the typical American household had a net worth 14 percent lower than the typical household in 1984. The richest 1 percent owned more than the bottom 90 percent.

      Last year’s annual Wall Street bonus pool alone was larger than the annual year-round earnings of all 3.3 million Americans working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

    • 54 Years After the March on Washington, We’re Far From Racial Pay Equity

      Fifty-four years ago this week, on Aug. 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event marked a turning point in our society in recognizing the need for civil rights and equality for African Americans. But it’s painfully clear we have yet to achieve the dream set forth that day by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Why 85% of Houston homeowners have no flood insurance

      Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Houston, Texas alone by Hurricane Harvey. The long-term damage from the catastrophic flooding engulfing the US’s Gulf Coast is expected to cost companies, small businesses, and homeowners as much as $100 billion, according to Imperial Capital. The insurance industry alone may pay out $10-$20 billion, JP Morgan estimates.

      While big corporations will probably survive the hit, many individual homeowners in Houston could be forced into debt or bankruptcy because they don’t have flood insurance. That’s despite the fact that scientists have been warning for years that unchecked development and climate change could cause severe flooding in Houston.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts

      Andrei Iancu of California, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property {sic} and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce.


      Adam I. Klein of the District of Columbia to be a Member and Chairman of the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Mr. Klein is the Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, where [...]

    • Arpaio Pardon May Be Opening Act of a Constitutional Crisis

      Donald Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio marks the real beginning of the coming constitutional crisis in America.

      Trump started tweeting trial balloons about this a month ago — “all agree the US president has the complete power to pardon” — and he has even asserted the unlitigated idea that he can pardon himself. But what he did yesterday puts his presidency on a whole new plane: a Category 5 political hurricane. By pardoning a man convicted of criminal contempt for direct violation of a federal order, Trump is now flaunting his eagerness to overturn the rule of law in America.

    • When a President is Unfit

      A recently revealed memo by Rich Higgins, a top official of the National Security Council, was very interesting on this count and was responsible for his firing. Penned in May under the title, Potus & Political Warfare, he offers a full array of Trump’s opposing forces, his intention seeming to be to leave nobody out.

      His dominant theme is that cultural Marxism erodes the nation’s Judeo-Christian culture. He restricts cultural Marxism to relate to “programs and activities that arise out of Gramsci Marxism, Fabian Socialism and most directly from the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt strategy deconstructs societies through attacks on culture by imposing a dialectic that forces unresolvable contradictions under the rubric of critical theory. The result is induced nihilism, a belief in everything that is actually the belief in nothing.”

    • Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president

      While Donald Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow, according to several people familiar with the proposal and new records reviewed by Trump Organization lawyers.

      As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.

    • Trump Trumped

      In the grand scheme, this doesn’t amount to much to irk citizens who love Trump, but, for the rest of us, this is a nice wrapping and a big fluffy bow to finish off the case against Trump. Now that all the smoke and fire comes together sensibly, there’s no reason not to impeach Trump and even lock him up.

    • Lurid Trump allegations made by Louise Mensch and co-writer came from hoaxer

      Explosive allegations about Donald Trump made by online writers with large followings among Trump critics were based on bogus information from a hoaxer who falsely claimed to work in law enforcement.

      Claude Taylor tweeted fake details of criminal inquiries into Trump that were invented by a source whose claim to work for the New York attorney general was not checked, according to emails seen by the Guardian. The allegations were endorsed as authentic and retweeted by his co-writer Louise Mensch.

    • Trump associate boasts Russia deal ‘will get Donald elected’: report

      “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Sater wrote on Nov. 3, 2015, almost exactly a year before Election Day. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

    • Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal ‘Will Get Donald Elected’

      A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.

    • Trump Is A 19th-Century President Facing 21st-Century Problems

      Since President Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, commentators have asked whether he really understands the office. Over the last few tumultuous months, some have concluded that he does not.

    • Why Trump’s Lawyer Was Sued Over $350,000 He Says He Doesn’t Remember Cashing

      Long before he became Donald Trump’s feared attack dog, or began to visit the White House as the president’s personal attorney, or took a position with the Republican National Committee, or partnered with powerhouse lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, Michael Cohen ran a small legal practice in Hell’s Kitchen.

      He was a one-man show and handled a little bit of everything, from personal injury cases to a Ukrainian investment fund to a fleet of taxis to a trust account he managed for clients.

      One day in 1999, a check for $350,000 was deposited into that trust account, to be disbursed to a woman living in South Florida. As the lawyer in charge of the account, Cohen was supposed to ensure that she got the money.

      But he didn’t.

      Why not? And what ultimately happened to all that money?

    • How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders

      Even before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, with devastating impact on the infrastructure of a flooded Houston and other communities, the Trump administration was thinking about and acting on flood-control policies.

      Unfortunately, the president’s team was thinking about what corporate interests wanted, and acting on their behalf—even as specialists on flooding issues pleaded with the administration to do otherwise. On August 15, Trump and his team overturned an Obama-administration rule requiring that infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges, be designed to withstand the consequences of climate change—such as rising sea levels.

      Experts in climate change, coastal management, and environmental policy begged the administration to maintain the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for “climate resilience.” The concern crossed traditional lines of ideology and partisanship, as free-market economic groups and Republican members of the House praised the standard.


      Donald Trump’s presidency already has been one of the most controversial in U.S. history, and its ending could be just as action-packed and unpredictable as his first seven months in office.

      As the 45th president deals with his stalled agenda, his sinking approval ratings and the investigations into his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia, White House advisers have reportedly been warning Trump about his potential political doom: the exhaustive impeachment process that could result in his removal from the Oval Office. And he isn’t doing himself many favors.

    • We Are Taking Trump to Court to Stop His Illegal and Cruel Ban on Transgender Service Members

      Military personnel who are transgender deserve better from their Commander-in-Chief.

      When President Trump took to Twitter on the morning of July 26 to issue a series of lies about transgender individuals serving in the United States armed forces and announce a ban on open transgender service, he disrupted the lives and careers of thousands of transgender troops.

      His announcement came as a shock to almost everyone, including members of Congress, military experts, and the Secretary of Defense.

      While he claimed to have consulted with his “Generals and military experts,” that was not the case. Instead, he allied himself with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council who dismissed the service of transgender individuals as the “social experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our nation’s military.”

      We hoped that the ill-advised ban would languish on the president’s Twitter feed, but unfortunately, he turned the tweets into a directive banning open transgender service on August 25.

      The new directive bars enlistment by transgender individuals, prohibits coverage for certain critical medical procedures, and bans those currently in the military from serving, with the Secretary of Defense given discretion to determine how to carry out that ban.

      Today, we and the ACLU of Maryland filed a lawsuit to challenge President Trump’s cruel policy on behalf of Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Staff Sergeant Kate Cole, Senior Airmen John Doe, Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, and Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert.

    • 45 After Dark: Trump’s Deluge edition
    • Trump’s long history of seeking a politically inconvenient business deal in Russia
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • CCTV + Lip-Reading Software = Even Less Privacy, Even More Surveillance

      That story from the Sunday Herald in Scotland focuses on the commercial “opportunities” this technology offers. It’s easy to imagine the future scenarios as shop assistants are primed to descend upon people who speak favorably about goods on sale, or who express a wish for something that is not immediately visible to them. But even more troubling are the non-commercial uses, for example when applied to CCTV feeds supposedly for “security” purposes.
      How companies and law enforcement use CCTV+lip-reading software will presumably be subject to legislation, either existing or introduced specially. But given the lax standards for digital surveillance, and the apparent presumption by many state agencies that they can listen to anything they are able to grab, it would be na&iumlve to think they won’t deploy this technology as much as they can. In fact, they probably already have.

    • Finding Aid to NSA History Collection Declassified

      The National Security Agency has declassified the finding aid for a collection of thousands of historically valuable NSA scientific and technical records that were transferred to the National Archives (NARA) last year.

      Up to now the contents of the collection had been opaque to the public. As David Langbart of NARA described the collection to the State Department Historical Advisory Committee last year:

      “These records mostly consist of technical, analytical, historical, operational, and translation reports and related materials. Most of the records date from the period from the 1940s to the 1960s, but there are also documents from the 1920s and 1930s and even earlier. The NSA reviewed the records for declassification before accessioning and most documents and folder titles remain classified. [. . .] The finding aid prepared by NSA was the only practical way to locate documents of interest for researchers, but it is 557 pages long and is classified.”

    • How the NSA identified Satoshi Nakamoto

      The ‘creator’ of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is the world’s most elusive billionaire. Very few people outside of the Department of Homeland Security know Satoshi’s real name. In fact, DHS will not publicly confirm that even THEY know the billionaire’s identity. Satoshi has taken great care to keep his identity secret employing the latest encryption and obfuscation methods in his communications. Despite these efforts (according to my source at the DHS) Satoshi Nakamoto gave investigators the only tool they needed to find him — his own words.

    • India’s Supreme Court Upholds Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right—and It’s About Time

      Last week’s unanimous judgment by the Supreme Court of India (SCI) in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs Union of India is a resounding victory for privacy. The ruling is the outcome of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Indian biometric identity scheme Aadhaar. The judgment’s ringing endorsement of the right to privacy as a fundamental right marks a watershed moment in the constitutional history of India.


      The decision is especially timely given the rapid roll-out of Aahaar. In fact, the privacy ruling arose from a pending challenge to India’s biometric identity scheme. We have previously covered the privacy and surveillance risks associated with that scheme. Ambiguity on the nature and scope of privacy as a right in India allowed the government to collect and compile both demographic and biometric data of residents. The original justification for introducing Aadhaar was to ensure government benefits reached the intended recipients. Following a rapid roll-out and expansion, it is the largest biometric database in the world, with over 1.25 billion Indians registered. The government’s push for Aadhaar has led to its wide acceptance as proof of identity, and as an instrument for restructuring and facilitating government services.

    • Sweden doubles down on data retention surveillance, includes VPN surveillance in new leaked proposal

      The Swedish government is doubling down on the court-banned and hated data retention surveillance. As a Western first, they’re also planning to introduce VPN surveillance, taking a page out of Russia’s and China’s oppression playbooks, and are mandating that the Internet be built not to optimize speed and throughput, but to optimize governmental surveillance. This is according to a leaked law proposal, which has been obtained by the Swedish internet provider Bahnhof.

    • Sarahah: Viral app surreptitiously collecting phone contacts data without notifying users

      Sarahah, the anonymous feedback app that recently went viral, has reportedly been silently collecting users’ phone contacts data, without the knowledge of its users. Once launched, the app reportedly harvests all phone numbers and email addresses stored on users’ phone contacts, without making any disclosure on the data collection.

    • Your broadband provider can use your smart devices to spy on you

      In March 2017, the US legislature voted to repeal Obama-era rules that would have prevented ISPs from selling personal information to third parties and given users more power over what information they shared with ISPs.

    • Aadhaar to be made compulsory for open learning examination

      Aadhaar will now be mandatory for those appearing for open school exams to ensure there are no proxy candidates appearing on others’ behalf.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How I Survived the Title IX Star Chamber

      Public scrutiny has finally arrived, most prominently in the work of Northwestern University scholar Laura Kipnis. Her April 2017 book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, is a sweeping indictment of how Title IX, originally intended to remedy campus sexism, has become a blight on American higher education.

    • Think innocent people are never wrongly convicted? Think again — then ask Marcellus Williams

      Last week, on the day he was scheduled to die, Marcellus Williams didn’t.

      Just hours before he was to be strapped down and pumped full of poison, Williams, the convicted killer of Felicia “Lisha” Gayle, a former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, received a reprieve. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens stayed the execution and announced formation of a panel to review the case.

    • Letters threatening acid attacks sent to Muslims in Bradford
    • White Supremacists Joked About Using Cars to Run Over Opponents Before Charlottesville

      Nearly a month before a car driven by an alleged neo-Nazi plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, white supremacists planning the “Unite the Right” rally joked about using vehicles to run over their opponents.

      That message and thousands of other conversations among white supremacists were leaked from a chat app called Discord and posted on the website of a left-wing media collective called Unicorn Riot. Many users’ participation could not be verified, but ProPublica was able to confirm that two people whose statements were included in the leaked trove made the comments attributed to them.

      The pre-Charlottesville chats include discussions of potential violence, the use of weapons, and excitement at the prospect of “fighting for the white race.”

    • ICE Plans to Start Destroying Records of Immigrant Abuse, Including Sexual Assault and Deaths in Custody

      Without a paper trail, it will become extremely hard for people who have been abused in immigration custody to seek justice.

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently asked the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), which instructs federal agencies on how to maintain records, to approve its timetable for retaining or destroying records related to its detention operations. This may seem like a run-of-the-mill government request for record-keeping efficiency. It isn’t. An entire paper trail for a system rife with human rights and constitutional abuses is at stake.

      ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody. Other records subject to destruction include alternatives to detention programs; regular detention monitoring reports, logs about the people detained in ICE facilities and communications from the public reporting detention abuses. ICE proposed various timelines for the destruction of these records ranging from 20 years for sexual assault and death records to three years for reports about solitary confinement.

    • Trump Just Gave Thousands of Bayonets And Hundreds of Grenade Launchers Back To Police

      Americans don’t want weapons of war in their towns, but President Trump is sending them anyway.

      President Trump continues to be a man of his word in all the wrong ways.

      Today the president made good on his campaign promise to the Fraternal Order of Police to rescind Executive Order 13688 and put thousands of bayonets and hundreds of grenade launchers from the U.S. military back in the hands of police. It also leaves law enforcement’s federally provided drones, explosives, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles without oversight.

      The result? Weapons of war will again be used to police our communities, no questions asked. Your town could be the next Ferguson or Fallujah.

    • Gov. Jerry Brown’s Draft “Sanctuary” Bill Creates New Routes for ICE in California

      After Donald Trump’s election, California Gov. Jerry Brown pledged to lead the resistance to the president’s anti-immigrant policies. “You don’t want to mess with California,” he said in March, when Trump threatened to withhold federal funding if California became the first “sanctuary state.” “I’m not going to just turn over our police department to become agents of the federal government as they deport women and children and people who are contributing to the economic well-being of our state, which they are.”

      Now, California is moving toward “sanctuary state” status. Senate Bill 54 — designed to bar local law enforcement from using resources to aid federal immigration agents — is moving through the legislature. But a draft of amendments to the bill authored by Brown’s office and obtained by The Intercept indicate that the hope of defending California’s immigrant population, the largest in the nation, from Trump’s long reach may be in danger.

    • Report: ‘Anti-protester’ bills gain traction in state legislatures

      Republican legislators in 20 U.S. statehouses have proposed — and six legislatures approved — new restrictions on the right to assemble and protest so far this year, according to a new report by the Democrat-aligned State Innovation Exchange.

      “These bills would create a new set of crimes, significantly harsher penalties, and costly fines that could apply broadly to anyone — whether they are supporters of the president, members of the Tea Party, or just concerned parents speaking out at a school board meeting,” according to an advance copy of the report. SiX works to advance progressive policies at the state level and calls the wave of bills a “new and disturbing trend.”

      “Given this passage rate, there is every reason to think we will see more of these efforts in 2018,” said the report.

    • Appeals Court Says Gov’t Can’t Seize Untainted Assets Ahead Of Trial

      Using nothing more than one of the easiest things the government can obtain — a grand jury indictment — accused criminals can be locked out of their choice of representation. In essence, the government, right up until the Supreme Court’s 2016 Luis decision, was allowed to take everything a defendant had, whether or not the property could be linked to criminal activity.

      What this did was make a mockery of the Sixth Amendment. Prior to even taking the case to court, much less securing a conviction, the government could leave defendants with no funds to hire a lawyer. The Supreme Court rolled this back, limiting the government to taking tainted assets. It wasn’t a complete win. A complete win would have required the government to secure a conviction before taking any assets, or at least not until it was proven certain assets were tied to criminal activity.

    • Trump Rolls Back Ban On Transfer Of Military Equipment To Law Enforcement Agencies

      Attorney General Sessions loves rolling things back. This will give police departments access to mine-resistant vehicles, grenade launchers, and firearms, which should “assist” them in fighting the Drug War 1980s-style and/or pitching in with ICE’s efforts to pitch migrants back over the wall Trump can’t seem to get built.

      This is prime law-and-order stuff. Trump has made it clear law enforcement is on the right side of history. Everyone who doubts or criticizes cops is simply wrong. A ban put in place as a reaction to militarized police responses is being reversed because no one up top cares how police are perceived. AG Sessions has already killed off federal civil rights investigations of local law enforcement agencies. Now, police will find it easier than ever to dude up as war-fighters, rather than easily-identifiable public servants.

    • Bucking FDA, Peter Thiel funds “patently unethical” herpes vaccine trial

      Heavyweight tech investor and FDA-critic Peter Thiel is among conservative funders and American researchers backing an offshore herpes vaccine trial that blatantly flouts US safety regulations, according to a Monday report by Kaiser Health News.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 28/8/2017: Linux 4.13 RC7, GnuPG 2.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 7 Business Advantages of Linux

    If you’re looking for a more affordable way of running your office than Windows, an open source alternative like Linux can be a very good alternative. A lot of businesses needlessly stick with Windows because it is what they are familiar and comfortable with, but learning to use a Linux system is easy once you get that hang of it and it has many advantages, as you can see below…

  • Desktop

    • Pinebook

      Anyhow, DHL also takes a fee for providing the service of paying the taxes for me. I can clear the taxes myself with customs (although they are taxes, not custom), but strangely I still have to pay the same fee to DHL. That adds another 60€ to the grand total.

      So we started with 110€ for the laptop itself plus extra storage, and have now arrived at a grand total of 213€! That certainly puts a damper on things, esp. considering that the hardware has been designed two years ago and hardly compares with even the cheapest netbooks (that can be gotten for a similar price) of 2017.

  • Server

    • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Embracing DevOps

      Sysadmins are increasingly looking to expand their skillsets and carve out new opportunities. With that in mind, many sysadmins are looking to the world of DevOps. At lots of organizations, DevOps has emerged as the most effective method for application delivery, including in the cloud.

    • Review: VMware’s Photon OS shines for Docker containers

      VMware provides its own Yum-compatible repositories for managing packages, and signs packages with GPG (GNU Privacy Guard) signatures. This helps make the system secure by default

    • conjure-up dev summary: you like LXD? we like LXD. Put your floaties on and step up to the Helm!

      We’ve taken some preliminary steps in providing the user better feedback when wanting to deploy onto the localhost provider. If conjure-up isn’t able to talk to the same API endpoints Juju can then our probability of success is next to none.

    • Twilio Voice to Pagerduty alert using Python Flask, Zappa, AWS Lambda & AWS API Gateway

      My SaaS product DevOps team at Quest Software uses several monitoring services to notice problems (hopefully before end users see them), and raises alerts for our team using PagerDuty. We also frequently need to integrate with existing company and partner products, for example our internal helpdesk and customer-facing technical-support processes. In this case, the helpdesk team wanted to have a phone number they could call to raise an alert to our team. The first suggestion was to simply put my name down as the 24×7 on-call contact, and make it my problem to alert the right people. I scoffed. We already had PagerDuty in place – why couldn’t we use that too? Simply because we didn’t have a phone number hooked up to PagerDuty. So, lets fix that.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • QupZilla Renamed, Ubuntu Feature Freeze, Fail2Ban, Librem 5 and more | This Week in Linux

      Coming up on This Week in Linux, we saw some new releases from GIMP, Fail2Ban, Audacious, Voyager Linux, and many more. Ubuntu has reached Feature Freeze, we’ll talk about the latest changes before the freeze. QupZilla has chosen the new name of the browser. Updates from System76 on Pop!_OS as well as some news on some Linux Hardware. Then we’ll check out this week’s Linux Gaming news which there is a surprising amount that may require a Rapid Fire approach. All that and more on today’s episode of This Week in Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.13-rc7

      Hmm. We had a few issues come up the past week, but nothing that is
      really impacting the release schedule.

      So here’s rc7, and I still expect this to the the last rc, although
      the best-laid plans of mice and men..

      rc7 is pretty small, with most of the changes in drivers and
      architecture as usual. That said, this time “most” is only _just_
      true, we have enough other changes that drivers and arch fixes is only
      about 60% of the patch. There’s header files, VM, networking, core
      kernel, documentation, scripts..

      A mixed bag, in other words, but all pretty small fixes. You can scan
      the shortlog, nothing stands out to me right now.


    • Linux 4.13-rc7 Kernel Released, Linux 4.13 Likely Coming Next Week

      Just days after Linux turned 26 years old, Linus Torvalds has announced the seventh weekly test candidate of the upcoming Linux 4.13 kernel.

    • At look back at Linux 1.0

      The Linux Kernel is 26 years old this year. And to mark this anniversary, I took a look back at where it all began. You can find my journey into Linux nostalgia over at OpenSource.com.

      I discovered Linux in 1993. My first Linux distribution was Softlanding Linux System (SLS) 1.03, with Linux kernel 0.99 alpha patch level 11. That required a whopping 2MB of RAM, or 4MB if you wanted to compile programs, and 8MB to run X windows.

    • Why Is Tux “Broken” Today? Is Linux Kernel Not Feeling Well?

      If you search Linux kernel today and look for Linux mascot Tux on the search result page, you’ll notice something unusual. The Google card showed along with the results features a little distorted logo of Tux (Read Tux origin story here). Why is it so? Is our beloved Tux not feeling okay?

      Before going ahead and telling you about the exact reason, let me tell you that everything is fine and Linux kernel development is being carried out without any hiccups. The final release of Linux kernel 4.13 is scheduled to arrive on September 3.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 17.04 With Intel Kabylake Mobile Graphics

        While we’ve seen the Radeon Linux OpenGL driver get competitive to the Windows Radeon OpenGL driver and the NVIDIA Windows/Linux OpenGL binary drivers have long been on a level playing field, how’s the Intel HD Graphics performance? Here are some quick and fresh benchmarks this weekend.

      • AMD Threadripper 1950X Linux Benchmarks

        Last week I was able to finally get my hands on a Threadripper 1950X system thanks to AMD for being able to deliver some Linux tests from this high-end desktop platform. The Threadripper 1950X as a reminder is a 16-core processor with 32 threads via SMT, 3.4GHz base frequency, 4.0GHz boost frequency, quad-channel DDR4 support, and support for 64 PCI-E lanes. Threadripper sits between the Ryzen 7 desktop processors and the AMD EPYC server/workstation processors, which are still soon to be tested at Phoronix. The Ryzen Threadripper 1950X will set you back $999 USD, but compared to the Core i9 7900X at the same price, has six more cores / 12 threads and a slightly higher base clock frequency of 3.4GHz vs. 3.3GHz but a lower boost frequency of 4.0GHz vs. 4.3GHz.

      • About shader compilers, IR’s, and where the time is spent

        Occasionally the question comes up about why we convert between various IR’s (intermediate representations), like glsl to NIR, in the process of compiling a shader. Wouldn’t it be faster if we just skipped a step and went straight from glsl to “the final thing”, which would be ir3 (freedreno), codegen (nouveau), or LLVM (radeonsi/radv). It is a reasonable question, since most people haven’t worked on compilers and we probably haven’t done a good job at explaining all the various passes involved in compiling a shader or presenting a breakdown of where the time is spent.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Had Another Successful Year With Google Summer of Code

        KDE saw more than one dozen student developers interact on various projects this summer thanks to the Google Summer of Code 2017.

        The KDE projects for GSoC 20917 ranged from digiKam improvements to developing a new chat bridge, Go language support in KDevelop, HiDPI improvements, and more.

      • QupZilla Web Browser Has Revealed Its New Name

        ‘Falkon’ is the new name of cross-platform Qt web-browser QupZilla.

        The developer behind the Qupzilla browser announced the intention to rename the project in early august, and invited users of the browser to submit their own name suggestions.

      • Sticklyst Shows How KDE Frameworks Can Be Used On The Web

        Qt/KDE developer Daniel Nicoletti has written “Sticklyst” to show how KDE Frameworks 5 code can be used to construct web sites/applications.

      • Warning: NVIDIA driver 384.69 seems to be broken with QtQuick

        Just a short warning to KDE Plasma users with NVIDIA drivers. Lately we have seen many crash reports from NVIDIA users who updated to version 384.xx. Affected is at least KWin and KScreenLocker, which means one cannot unlock the session any more. The crash happens in the NVIDIA driver triggered from somewhere in QtQuick, so completely outside of our code.

      • GSoC- Port of Lua to QProcess

        Hi, it has been a bit long since I last wrote a blog about the status of my GSoC project. This has been majorly because I got a job and it has kept me busy ever since. Anyway, I managed to complete my second month target , mostly by working on weekends. Here’s a quick update on what I did during the 2nd month

      • GSoC – Port of R to QProcess

        During the first two months I had ported 2 back ends to QProcess, which includes Lua and Qalculate. For the last month I was left with 2 more backends , which were R and Python . Due to time constraint I decided that I will be working on just one of the two. Python’s code base was a bit large because of the two versions of Python(2.7 and 3), hence I decided to work on R.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GSoC part 15: submission

        This is the last entry in the Google Summer of Code series that I have been writing weekly for the last three months. It is different from the usual updates in that I won’t be discussing development progress: rather, this will be the submission report for the project as a whole. I’ll be discussing the “why?” behind the project, the plan that my mentor and I came up with to execute the project, the work I have done over the summer including a video of the result, the things that are left to work on, what I’ve learned during the project and finally, the links to the code that I have written for the actual submission. Of course I finish with a thank-you. Enjoy!

      • Piper Has Turned Into A Very Competent Mouse Configuration UI For Linux

        Student developer Jente Hidskes’ work this summer on improving the Piper GTK3 user-interface for configuring gaming mice on Linux via libratbag is now the latest example of a very successful Google Summer of Code (GSoC) project.

        Jente was able to provide some much needed improvements to this GTK3 user-interface for configuring Linux mice via the libratbag daemon. Among the work he accomplished this summer were support for mouse profiles, resolution configuration, LED configuration, button mappings, welcome and error screens, and more.

      • GNOME Games Now Supports Controller Reassignment

        Thanks to this year’s Google Summer of Code, there is a branch pending for allowing game controllers to be re-assigned within GNOME Games.

        GNOME Games, of course, is the GTK desktop program to browse your video game library and when it comes to retro games, even play them within GNOME Games thanks to libretro, etc.

      • GNOME 20th Birthday Party in Lima, Peru

        This year I was pleased to receive the invitation for the 20th Birthday Party celebrated at the Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry during GUADEC 2017 in Manchester, UK .

      • GUADEC 2017 Manchester

        Really enjoyed this year’s GUADEC. Thanks everyone for coming and the local team for pulling off a perfectly organized conference.

      • GSoC Final Report

        Google Summer of Code 2017 has come to an end, I worked on adding Gamepad and Keyboard Configuration to GNOME Games. This post is a part of my final submission.

      • GSoC ’17 – Final Report

        This summer as part of Google Summer of Code 2017, I worked on the project “Pitivi: Color correction interface using three chromatic wheels”. As GSoC concludes, I’m writing this post as part of my final submission.

      • GSoC – Final report

        The Google Summer of Code is almost over and I want to give you a quick update on what has been done in the last months.

        You can have a look on how the integration of the Nextcloud client looks like in Nautilus in the following video. As GNOME will drop the support for status icons on the near future this will be the way for sync clients to give the user a way to access their functionally in the context of the synced folder.

  • Distributions

    • Cucumber Linux 1.0

      Cucumber Linux is a relatively young project and one of the newest additions to the DistroWatch database. While Cucumber is developed as an independent distribution, the project draws a great deal of inspiration from the Slackware project. Cucumber’s website has a similar style to Slackware’s and Cucumber uses the same low-level package management utilities. The similarities are also reflected in Cucumber’s stance on avoiding automatically configuring the system, the distribution’s apparent reluctance to customize upstream software and the project’s menu-driven system installer.

      Cucumber Linux 1.0 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. I downloaded the 64-bit build which has an ISO file 1.2GB in size. Booting from the installation media brings up a text-based menu where we can choose to launch the project’s system installer or drop to a command line shell. There is no live desktop environment available.

    • Reviews

      • Quick Look to Deepin Desktop on Manjaro

        Do you know that you can enjoy Deepin Desktop not only at Deepin GNU/Linux? For now, Manjaro OS has a community edition called Manjaro Deepin. Yes, this means an OS with always latest packages and with Deepin Desktop! I find latest Deepin Desktop is far more lightweight at Manjaro than at Deepin OS 15.4.1. The 3D desktop effect is pretty normal there, not consuming 100% of CPU like my latest review on 15.4.1. I recommend anyone to test Manjaro Deepin instead if he/she needs to see how amazing Deepin Desktop is. Now it’s time for the quick look!

    • New Releases

      • Trenta OS: August 2017 Update

        We’ve been quiet over the last few months while evaluating the future of Trenta OS and Trenta.io. We have landed on a decision that we believe is the only option at this time.

        In April of this year, we paused the release schedule of Trenta OS to reevaluate our strengths and weaknesses to determine the future of our organization. We reflected on our goal – to bring a beautiful and premium feeling operating system into the hands of everyone and to enable content creators to utilize a great open alternative to the standards set by the industry. We believe we were on the right track. The Trenta.io community, the fans and their love for Trenta OS and Rainier UI enabled us to press on. We knew we didn’t have a finished project by any means, but reaching nearly 100,000 downloads during the Trenta OS alpha let us know we were onto something special. Unfortunately, limited time and resources lead to countless roadblocks during this last year.

    • Gentoo Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Studio – Mix it up

        It’s been a long time since I played with SUSE Studio. Eight years to be exact. That’s a fairly hefty stretch of time, which means another review is due. Before you ask, no it’s not a German alternative rock band, nor a night club. And yes, it is an online portal that lets you create custom SUSE images. Very clever.

        In my original review, I focused on the simplicity and difficulty of use of the portal, assembling different packages into a working image, the testing, and the complexity of this whole deal. I built on my earlier experience with Kiwi and then Product Creator, and back in 2009, this was an amazing, revolutionary concept. Let’s see what gives now.

      • Did SUSE Linux Just Take a Dig at Red Hat Linux?

        I am a huge fan of SUSE Linux…. parody videos. I even call SUSE the coolest Linux enterprise for the awesome Linux parody songs they make. I mean, who can forget the catchy Uptime Funk. Even today I sing ‘don’t reboot it just patch’.

      • Video: SUSE Game of Thrones Parody

        More competition is good, right?

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Let’s send patches to debian-policy (rst file is your friend :-)

        As I posted before, now debian-policy package uses Sphinx. It means, you can edit and send patches for Debian Policy easier than ever. Get source (install devscripts package and exec ‘debcheck debian-policy’) and dig into policy directory. There are several rst files for each chapter.

      • BBQ Cambridge 2017 – post 2

        We were all up until about 0100 :) House full of folk talking about all sorts, a game of Mao. Garden full of people clustered round the barbeque or sitting chatting – I had a long chat about Debian, what it means and how it’s often an easier world to deal with and move in than the world of work, office politics or whatever – being here is being at home.

      • BBQ Cambridge 2017 – post 3
      • OMGWTFBBQ Cambridge 2017

        Funny this – I only blog when I’m in Cambridge :) I’m sure there’s a blog back in the day from a BBQ a good few years ago. This is almost deja vu – a room full of Debian types – the crazy family – Thinkpads on a lot of laps and lots of chat around the room.

      • On my way home from OMGWTFBBQ
      • BBQ Cambridge 2017 – post 4
      • BBQ Cambridge 2017 – post 5 – and a bit of a retrospective
      • Helping out around the edges …
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Artful Aardvark (to be 17.10) feature freeze

            While this email comes a bit late, if you’ve been watching your calendars, you know that Artful has been in Feature Freeze since yesterday.

            Ideally you will all now be focusing on bug fixing and not on getting new features into the release.

            As is the custom, packages that have been uploaded to artful-proposed prior to the feature freeze deadline, but have gotten stuck there, remain candidates for fixing between now and release.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Enters The Feature Freeze

            Ubuntu 17.10, the Artful Aardvark, has crossed into the feature freeze this week.

            Ubuntu developers are now to be focused on fixing bugs rather than on introducing new features for 17.10, which will be officially released at the middle of October.

            There still though is the possibility of feature freeze exceptions to be granted as well as those packages currently residing in artful-proposed are still able to land. Confirmation of the Artful feature freeze was posted today to the mailing list.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pop!_OS Weekly Update: 17.10, Distro Settings, and Default Apps

              At System76 we all work in the same office so keeping the external Pop!_OS community involved and up-to-date is an interesting challenge. So far we’ve been communicating our ideas and work through our chat channel and blog. This week we decided to hold our first System76+Community meeting in Pop!_Chat to discuss default settings and apps. While the overall outcome was fantastic, there are definitely ways we can increase bandwidth between those at System76 HQ and community members around the world. We’re working on some ideas.

            • System76′s Pop!_OS Not Using Wayland By Default, Figuring Out Default Apps

              System76 continues working on their Ubuntu fork called Pop!_OS that they intend to ship on their future laptops and desktops. They have now decided on some of the default applications as well as the decision to not yet ship Wayland by default.

              System76 has been migrating the Pop!_OS base from Ubuntu 17.04 to 17.10 and made improvements around that to reduce the ISO size and memory usage. They have also decided for their initial release they will continue using the X.Org Server while the Wayland session will just be optional. They aren’t yet moving to Wayland due to concerns around unsupported applications and confusion to users when applications are running into problems because of Wayland.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Jump-start your career with open source skills

    Although attending college is not required for success in software development, college programs can provide a great deal of useful information in a relatively short period of time. More importantly, they are designed to cover all necessary concepts without the knowledge holes some self-taught practitioners suffer. College programs also often include theory and history, which can form the foundation for professional exploration and decision-making.

    Yet college graduates entering the workforce often find their coursework has emphasized theory over the practice, technologies, and trends required for success on the job. The reason? Curricula take time to develop, so institutions of higher education often teach technologies and practices that are at the tail end of current usage.

  • Open source success starts at zero

    This has applicability in a lot of different areas in life. For example, I use it in my volunteer efforts with Cal Fire, where integrating as part of an overall team effort in fire prevention and firefighting is required to get the job done.

    Here are concrete ways you can aim to be a zero in an open source project, with your eye toward making +1 contributions in the future.

  • Leadership Lessons from Open Source Software

    I’ve been involved in open source software since I was a university student, both as a user and a contributor. Today, I’m a chief information officer in local government. While my day job is unrelated to my personal interest in open source software, I find leverage in many of the lessons I learned throughout my history in open source software projects.

    Let me first share my background. I’m of an age that I used MS-DOS when I was growing up. MS-DOS was pretty much the workhorse operating system of the 1980s and early 1990s. If you had a desktop computer in the office, the odds were good that the computer ran on MS-DOS.

    As an undergraduate physics student in the early 1990s, I used MS-DOS for everything. I wrote papers in a DOS word processor, I analyzed physics lab data using a DOS spreadsheet, and wiled away my free time by playing DOS games. I considered myself a DOS power user. So I was understandably upset when, in 1994, I read in technology magazines that Microsoft planned to do away with MS-DOS with the next release of Windows.

  • 4 digital technologies that are worth an investment this year

    Open source technology

    Organizations used to avoid releasing open source version of their products until a few years ago. However, Linux operating system and other open source projects proved that it could significantly generate more revenues.

    Arduino is a relatively new example of technology that has introduced open source hardware to the common market. It allows everyone to develop and release their projects without copyright constraints. A ray of the sunshine for students and professionals alike, making it convenient for them to develop an incredible amount of innovation. Arduino is a microprocessor capable of anything from lasers and 3D printers to fingerprint scanners and motion detectors.

    It is considered as a long term player in the tech sector and given its open source position in the market, is worth a look as a viable long term investment.

  • Intermountain Uses Open Source to Improve HIT Infrastructure

    Red Hat announced that Intermountain Healthcare is now using Red Hat solutions to migrate its proprietary legacy platforms to open source platforms to improve and modernize its HIT infrastructure.

    Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare is a non-profit health system with 22 hospitals and nearly 1,500 physicians at over 180 clinics. Its large size prompted the organization to seek more advanced technology that would offer the flexibility and automation needed to serve all its locations.

  • Is Open Source Software the Future of VR?

    We have seen a lot of hype about virtual reality (VR) in the past few years, and we’re currently seeing the same rush to VR that we previously saw with 3D printing. Right now, the barrier to entry for VR is still relatively high and geared towards large content providers and serious studios. But as the equipment and software to produce VR content become cheaper and more sophisticated, adoption of the technology will increase. This means that while we’re currently in the early adoption phase of VR, the landscape will be very different in the next five years. By then, VR will be well on its way to mainstream adoption.

  • Samsung partners 20th Century Fox & Panasonic to expand the new HDR10+ tech

    Digital technology giants 20th Century Fox, Panasonic Corporation, and Samsung Electronics have announced a new tripartite partnership which would see them creating an open, royalty-free dynamic metadata platform for High Dynamic Range (HDR). The platform would be created through an associated certification and logo program which is tentatively called HDR10+. The three partnership would form a licensing body which would begin issuing the license for the HDR10+ platform in January 2018.

  • Samsung, 20th Century Fox, Panasonic to open source HDR10+ tech

    Samsung Electronics, 20th Century Fox and Panasonic have announced plans to join forces to create an open, royalty-free metadata platform for HDR10+ video technology. The aim is to form an entity that will begin licensing the HDR10+ platform to content companies, ultra-high definition TVs, Blu-ray disc players/recorders and set-top box manufacturers, as well as SoC vendors in January 2018.

  • Musician Taryn Southern on composing her new album entirely with AI

    Southern used an open source AI platform…

  • How Can Open Source Become User-Centric? [Ed: article from Phipps reposted just now]

    Including design and UX in a true community project is a challenging matter of balance because of the motivational model behind open source projects.

    According to The Cathedral and the Bazaar, the key motivation for participants in open source projects is “scratching their own itch.” One consequence of this is co-ordination of contributions to support user-centric design is inherently an optional extra in a true open source project with multiple independent participants. We all wish there was a way to get genuine user experience quality as a key dynamic of open source projects. But there are two big reasons that is challenging.

  • Outreachy Summer 2017 Yielded A New Coloring Book, Wine AppDB Improvements

    Not only is GSoC wrapping up now as school nears for many of the involved student developers, but the Outreachy internship program is also ending this coming week.

    The Outreachy Summer 2017 program is wrapping up on 30 August with running a similar length to Google Summer of Code. The Outreachy May – Augusy 2017 internship program offers stipends of $5500 USD and for this session was available to “(i) you are a resident or national of any country or region other than Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Sudan and identify as a woman (cis or trans), trans man, or genderqueer person (including genderfluid or genderfree) or (ii) you are a resident or national of the United States of any gender who is Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.”

    There wasn’t as much Outreachy coverage on Phoronix as with GSoC due to many of the projects surrounding documentation, quality assurance, and other areas not generally within our interest area on the site. But the participants do deserve praise for successfully completing their summer work and now becoming engaged with the open-source community.

  • [GSoC 2017 - BTRFS write supports] Third coding period – Final recap
  • Haiku Made Progress On Btrfs Support This Summer

    One of the Google Summer of Code projects this summer for the BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system was on porting the Btrfs file-system.

    The student developer working on adding write support for Btrfs to Haiku experienced partial success in this feat for having this next-generation Linux file-system be working under this BeOS-inspired platform. BeOS can now handle creating/removing directories, various other write-related functionality is in place, etc.

  • Events

    • freenode #live – even more confirmed speakers
    • Perl in Japan

      Perl is used in many different fields, by programmers from all over the world. Western countries have a large number of companies that use Perl and implicitly Perl developers, with a solid community that touches base every year through events like The Perl Conference formerly known as YAPC. But further east there are other YAPC events, a bit different and a lot bigger. They’re not exclusive to Perl developers and bring together more than a thousand participants each year.

      A quick search on Perl conferences in Japan would lead you to YAPC::Okinawa 2018 ONNASON. That will be the next Perl conference in Japan, with the same name that we’re accustomed too. As a side note, from 2006 to 2015 Perl conferences in Japan were called YAPC :: Asia Tokyo. These were the largest Perl conferences in terms of number of participants.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome wants to remember which Websites to silence

        Chrome’s developers are testing a permanent mute for Websites that insist on running autoplay videos the instant they load.

        Having a loud car advertisement or “listen to our editor talk about this story you’re trying to read” is a scourge for those who visit sites to read text, and that’s why Chrome’s François Beaufort posted this brief announcement of the feature-test.

      • starting the correct Chromium profile when opening links from IRC

        I am using Chromium/Chrome as my main browser and I also use its profile/people feature to separate my work profile (bookmarks, cookies, etc) from my private one.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Intel Haswell Scheduler Updated In LLVM

      Last month in LLVM there was new Sandy Bridge scheduler information to improve the instruction scheduling and other hardware detail changes so LLVM can generate more efficient code for those older CPUs. At that time we learned Intel developers were also planning improvements too for LLVM with newer Haswell / Broadwell / Skylake / Skylake-X CPUs. Improvements have now landed for Haswell.


    • Wanted: GNU Project Maintainers — Part 2

      This article is a continuation of my last article on GNU projects that are in current need of maintainers. When I first read about the projects GNU needed help with, I was drawn to Gnubik from my own personal love of Rubik’s Cube puzzles. I ended up liking the program and wanted to help so I reached out to the maintainer, who replied back asking about my background and letting me know where help was needed at if I was still interested. Since then, I’ve slowly been helping out where I could and enjoying learning more about the code behind the program. I’m hoping that by writing about these projects, someone will have the time and skill set to help out that wasn’t aware of these projects. I also hope that even if people can’t help out they will download the software, try them out and maybe end up like me.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • 3D Images of 20,000 Vertebrates Open Source with oVert Museum Specimen Initiative

        While 3D scanning has been used to solve a murder case and recreate a metal passenger aircraft, among other things, it’s really making a positive impact for museums. But I’m not just talking about recreating pieces of artwork: scientists and researchers all over the world are using CT scan 3D imaging to scan museum specimens to learn more about ancient species. Thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), a new initiative called oVert, short for openVertebrate, has launched, in order to get specimens off of museum shelves and onto the Internet – by CT scanning 20,000 vertebrates and making the 3D images available to students, researchers, educators, and the general public.

      • These Heroes Are Rescuing Our Government’s Data

        Organizing initially out of concern that the new administration might erase or obscure climate and other environmental data, data rescuers’ worst fears seemed to be coming true when one of the Trump White House’s first actions was to delete climate-change pages from its website. Then the US Department of Agriculture, after removing animal-welfare inspection reports from its website, responded to a National Geographic Freedom of Information Act request with 1,771 pages of entirely redacted material.

  • Programming/Development

    • LLVMpipe vs. OpenSWR Software Rendering On A 40 Core / 80 Thread Tyan Server

      With testing out a Tyan 1U server featuring dual Intel Xeon Gold 6138 CPUs, one of the uncommon test requests we have received but understandable given our audience is curiosity about the performance of OpenGL software rendering on this 40 core / 80 thread Xeon Scalable server when making use of Mesa’s LLVMpipe software rasterizer and the newer OpenSWR driver from Intel.

    • This Week in Numbers: Comparing Corporate Open Source Contributions on GitHub Organizations

      …a significant amount of development works happens outside of an employer’s GitHub organization accounts. For example, Red Hat employees represent a significant number of contributors across a wide range of cloud and container-related projects, but may not get recognized for this because it occurs in non-corporate organizations. Furthermore, it is common for a company to create a separate organization for popular projects. Thus, using this methodology Google does not get recognized for its Angular project, but Facebook gets to bask in React’s glow.

    • Monitoring network traffic more efficiently

      In today’s data networks, traffic analysis — determining which links are getting congested and why — is usually done by computers at the network’s edge, which try to infer the state of the network from the times at which different data packets reach their destinations.

      If the routers inside the network could instead report on their own circumstances, network analysis would be much more precise and efficient, enabling network operators to more rapidly address problems. To that end, router manufacturers have begun equipping their routers with counters that can report on the number of data packets a router has processed in a given time interval.

    • 5 Important Skills That Are About To Die Forever

      One Programmer Owns The World’s Best Email Encryption Software, And He’s Struggling To Make Ends Meet


  • Tokyo’s ‘Black Box’ exhibition creates a stir

    When the Black Box exhibition was announced, no information was released. Visitors were also asked to sign an agreement not to leak any facts about the exhibition until the end. In an age where information can be freely gathered from mobile devices at any time, Hitoyo has succeeded in capturing the hearts of young people by creating a completely ‘unsearchable’ “Black Box”.

  • Science

    • Collection of letters by codebreaker Alan Turing found in filing cabinet

      A lost collection of nearly 150 letters from the codebreaker Alan Turing has been uncovered in an old filing cabinet at the University of Manchester.

      The correspondence, which has not seen the light of day for at least 30 years, contains very little about Turing’s tortured personal life. It does, however, give an intriguing insight into his views on America.

      In response to an invitation to speak at a conference in the US in April 1953, Turing replied that he would rather not attend: “I would not like the journey, and I detest America.”

      The letter, sent to Donald Mackay, a physicist at King’s College London, does not give any further explanation for Turing’s forthright views on America, nor do these views feature in any of the other 147 letters discovered earlier this year.

      The correspondence, dating from early 1949 to Turing’s death in 1954, was found by chance when an academic cleared out an old filing cabinet in a storeroom at the University of Manchester. Turing was deputy director of the university’s computing laboratory from 1948, after his heroic wartime codebreaking at Bletchley Park.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Pentagon is Poisoning Your Drinking Water

      The nation’s biggest polluter isn’t a corporation. It’s the Pentagon.

      The Department of Defense, under a 1980 EPA exemption, is still allowed to burn weapons waste, detonate toxic explosives, and in certain cases even radioactive waste. Every year the DoD churns out more than 750,000 tons of hazardous waste — more than the top three chemical companies combined.

    • US Lobby Group Fights China’s Inclusion Of Generic Food Names In EU GI Deal

      China and the European Union appear to be on track to complete a deal on geographical indications that could include protection of some 100 products each from the EU and China. Comments have been received on the proposed list and are undergoing translation. Among them, a United States lobby group said the list for China to protect unfairly includes several generic food names that should not belong solely to the EU.

  • Security

    • benchmarking security tokens speed
    • How Quantum Computing Will Change Browser Encryption

      From a protocol point of view, we’re closer to a large-scale quantum computer than many people think. Here’s why that’s an important milestone.

    • If you’re surprised the NSA can hack your computer, you need a reality check

      Colour me shocked. It appears the NSA has been collecting a treasure trove of hacks for Windows, both desktop and servers, covering all versions of the OS bar Windows 10. And this toolbox of capabilities, which also included ways to get into banking and other related systems, has leaked to the public.

      I suspect your jaw isn’t gaping in surprise. What’s followed has been just as predictable.

      First, there’s shock that the NSA might have built such a collection of exploits. Sorry, what do you expect the NSA to be doing? Creating toolkits that can be used against undesirables is what it exists for. Injecting custom spyware onto the laptop of a terrorist could bring up incredibly useful intelligence information, after all.

    • Twenty-plus years on, SMTP callbacks are still pointless and need to die

      A rarely used legacy misfeature of the main Internet email protocol creeps back from irrelevance as a minor annoyance. You should ask your mail and antispam provider about their approach to ‘SMTP callbacks’. Be wary of any assertion that is not backed by evidence.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Identiv Raises the Standard of Physical Security With Its First Open Source Software Release

      The use of proprietary encryption schemes and measures — or “security through obscurity” — has proven to be inadequate against modern attack methods. By publishing and sharing its Open Access Card Format, Identiv raises the standard of physical access security by encouraging others to use, review, or extend its implementation. This tool will allow users to program and encode their own physical access cards with secure DESFire EV1/EV2 encryption keys and credential identification data. Customers get the benefit of Common Criteria-certified security without being locked into a single card source. Initially, Identiv will be releasing the OACF specification publicly while the source code will be available on request. The code will include a simple tool for reading and writing uTrust TS-compatible cards. All code will be shared via GitHub.

    • Helicopter security

      Now as we know from children, if you prevent someone from doing anything they don’t become your obedient servant, they go out of their way to make sure the authority has no idea what’s going on. This is basically how shadow IT became a thing. It was far easier to go around the rules than work with the existing machine. Helicopter security is worse than nothing. At least with nothing you can figure out what’s going on by asking questions and getting honest answers. In a helicopter security environment information is actively hidden because truth will only get you in trouble.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The ‘Human Side’ of War Criminals

      War criminals and sociopaths often have a “human side” that can obscure how heinous their actions are, as in ex-President George W. Bush’s budding career as an artiste, writes William Blum.

    • How the Deep State Ties Down Trump

      And in a further humiliation, Trump has been “rolled” by his military minders (Generals James Mattis, H.R. McMaster and John Kelly) on his Afghan policy: he has relinquished civilian oversight of this military expedition in Afghanistan to McMaster and Mattis — the former being the presumed author of the “new” Afghan policy. The President was “rolled” on his foreign military prerogatives too – as Commander in Chief – by his triumvirate of military minders in the White House. The “civilian” leadership has given place to the “military.”

    • Why Can’t Wheeler-Dealer Trump Cut a Deal with North Korea?

      The United States and South Korea are currently engaged in large-scale, joint-military war games that simulate an invasion of the North, the destruction of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons sites, and a “decapitation operation” to take out the supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. The objective of the operation is to intensify tensions between North and South thereby justifying the continued US occupation of the peninsula and the permanent division of the country.

      Imagine if North Korea decided to conduct massive “live fire” military drills, accompanied by a Chinese naval flotilla, just three miles off the coast of California. And, let’s say, they decided to send formations of strategic high-altitude aircraft loaded with nuclear bombs to fly along the Canada and Mexico borders while tens of thousands of combat troops accompanied by hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles rehearsed a “shock and awe” type blitz onto US territory where they would immediately crush the defending army, level cities and critical civilian infrastructure, and topple the regime in Washington.

    • Report: Saudi, UAE weapons end up with armed groups

      An investigative report by a Bulgarian journalist says Saudi Arabia and the UAE have supplied Eastern European-made weapons to armed groups in Syria and Iraq using different intermediaries and diplomatic cover to mask their points of origin and final destinations.

      The report, authored by Dilyana Gaytandzhiev, claims Saudi Arabia, UAE, the US military and several countries have used Azerbaijani state-owned airlines Silk Way Airlines to transport large quantities of weapons that ended up in the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) group, Kurdish fighters in the Middle East and armed groups in Africa.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks: Hostile is as Hostile Does

      US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) was the lone dissenting vote on the bill, which was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee in late August. Wyden is on board with Congress’s general anti-Russia/anti-WikiLeaks hatefest, but worries that the bill’s “novel” phraseology might be “applied to journalists inquiring about secrets.” That’s a valid concern as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Why Houston Isn’t Ready for Harvey

      The brunt of Hurricane Harvey is projected to miss Houston, but the sprawling metropolis is likely to face massive flooding from its third crippling storm in the past three years. It underscores a new reality for the nation’s fourth-largest city: Climate change is making such storms more routine. Meanwhile, unchecked development in the Houston area is wiping out the pasture land that once soaked up floodwaters. Last year, we explored in detail how Houston’s rapid expansion has greatly worsened the danger posed by flooding.

      How bad things get in Houston depends on where and how quickly the rain falls. But many are already drawing comparisons to 2001’s Tropical Storm Allison — the worst rainstorm to hit an American city in modern history. Allison dropped 40 inches of rain on the city in five days, killed nearly two dozen people and caused $5 billion in damage in the county that includes Houston. The map below shows how many homes, businesses, schools and other structures flooded. As you can see, a lot of flooded areas were outside the 100-year floodplain — the area the federal government says faces a 1 percent chance of flooding every year.

    • Houston knew it was at risk of flooding, so why didn’t the city evacuate?
    • Fear, Uncertainty And Doubt

      Is Houston’s reluctance to evacuate because they can’t or because they don’t believe the oceans are warming, and rising while Trump fires scientists who understand what’s happening? Oh, yes, Trump has been bellowing that CNN and others are enemies of USA and not to be trusted. Think the Bible forecasts weather better than meteorologists and supercomputers? Bet your life on it? Use your common sense, ditch Trump and move to higher ground.

    • Road accident saves 88 pangolins

      The drivers of the other two vehicles, a pickup truck and a sedan, said they had stopped at the intersection waiting for the lights to change when another car barrelled into them from behind, and the driver immediately ran off.

      Police station chief Pol Col Chamnote Kaewkhao said a check inside the car that caused the accident found 88 pangolins in baskets and sacks.

      All the seats except the driver’s had been removed to clear space for the animals, he said. The licence plates were false, and police found another set of counterfeit plates in the vehicle.

    • It’s a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly

      What can we say about the role of climate change in the unprecedented disaster that is unfolding in Houston with Hurricane Harvey? There are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding.

    • US government burying head deeper in sand on climate change

      It’s no secret that President Trump came into office rejecting the conclusions of the vast majority of the world’s scientists when it comes to our changing climate. But it wasn’t clear how that would translate to policy. At least some of his advisors, as well as his daughter, accept the conclusions of the scientific community. And there was the possibility that policy decisions would be constrained by reality, as Trump was sworn in as the most recent global temperature records were set.

      Over the past few weeks, however, it has become increasingly clear that there has been extensive push back against climate change throughout the government, with several push backs occurring in the last week alone. We’ll review those briefly below.

  • Finance

    • Should the rich be taxed more? A new paper shows unequivocally yes

      Denis Healey never actually said he intended to squeeze the rich until the pips squeaked. The man who would soon be Labour chancellor was referring solely to property speculators when he made the remark during the February 1974 election campaign.

      But the rich knew full well that Healey was coming for them, too. At the previous year’s Labour party conference, he said: “We shall increase income tax on the better off so that we can help the hundreds of thousands of families now tangled helplessly in the poverty trap, by raising the tax threshold and introducing reduced rates of tax for those at the bottom of the ladder. I warn you, there are going to be howls of anguish from the rich. But before you cheer too loudly, let me warn you that a lot of you will pay extra taxes, too.”

    • The Mindless Harm of Economic Sanctions

      American politicians love to hurl economic sanctions at disfavored governments, but the current labyrinth of sanctions is so complicated that it has unintended consequences, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump’s Inability To Hit His Own Deadlines is Becoming Darkly Comical

      We also know that Trump views the press as the enemy. So that could explain why this extreme lack of transparency extends to the relatively mundane question of whether the administration has fulfilled deadlines for actions mandated in executive orders and memoranda. Trump himself set these deadlines, but as of now, The Intercept can confirm that only 23 of 52 have been met since Inauguration Day.

    • Mexico to Trump: We will not negotiate NAFTA through social media

      “Mexico will not negotiate NAFTA, nor any other aspect of the bilateral relationship, through social media or any other news platform,” Mexico’s foreign ministry responded in a statement Sunday afternoon.

    • Oxford University professor resigns in Donald Trump protest

      A leading political academic has resigned from his Oxford University post after it emerged that one of the university’s key patrons is also one of Donald Trump’s biggest financial backers.

      Bo Rothstein was professor of government and public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, named after the Ukraine-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, who gave the university £75m to set up the school.

      Rothstein told the Guardian he had resigned on Monday after learning that Blavatnik had given a substantial donation to the Trump campaign, which he called “incomprehensible and irresponsible”.

    • Trump’s Antifa Moment: Police Repression, Nonviolence, and Movement Building on the Left

      Donald Trump’s train wreck of a speech in Phoenix was hardly unique. It was similar to the president’s previous outings, which were also marked by rambling, Orwellian propaganda, random bloviations, and authoritarian media scapegoating. But the speech was significant, nonetheless, as a sign of Trump’s growing attacks on leftist protesters. The president, who never left the campaign trail, absurdly spoke of “all Americans” as playing “on the same team” and uniting in “love,” a week after he insulted sensible peoples the country over by referring to many of the white supremacists in Charlottesville as not so bad, and celebrating the symbols of America’s white supremacist past.

      Trump’s demonization of reporters in the crowd, his incessant attacks on his political critics, and his singling out of a previously obscure, small leftist group – Antifa – for condemnation, suggests his agenda is driven by anything but unification. Rather, and as we’ve long known, his entire persona is based on deeply divisive, and hateful, incendiary rhetoric directed against Trump’s political critics. Vilifying protesters in the crowd as “anarchists,” the president spoke derisively of leftist anti-fascist militants who seek confrontations with the far right: “They show up in the helmets and the black masks and they’ve got clubs and everything. Antifa!”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • In China you now have to provide your real identity if you want to comment online

      The Chinese government under president Xi Jinping is continuing to make life on the internet difficult for its potential detractors. Yesterday (Aug. 25), the country’s highest internet regulator released new rules (link in Chinese) that govern who can post what online. The upshot: anonymity on the Chinese internet is just about dead.

      The new rules are the most recent instance of the Cyberspace Administration of China’s (CAC) efforts to enforce “real-name registration,” which aims to severely limit internet activity for users who do not provide identifying information. There are already rules in place that require using your real name to register for WeChat, mobile phone numbers, Weibo, and other services for a few years. But the latest rules target the relatively unruly world of online communities and discussion forums.

    • San Francisco group calls off right-wing rally, claims censorship by Democrats

      Protesters opposing a right-wing gathering in liberal San Francisco claimed victory Saturday when the event was cancelled after city officials walled off a city park — a move that the event’s organizer said was more about silencing his group’s message than preventing a violent clash.

      Civic leaders in San Francisco — a cradle of the free speech movement that prides itself on its tolerance — repeatedly voiced concerns that the event organized by Patriot Prayer would lead to a clash with counter-demonstrators.

    • Fighting For My Free Speech

      The state of censorship on the Internet is now verging the creepy. We’re told it’s necessary “because Nazis” (the perfect pretext/excuse other then pure criminality like drug-dealing, copyright infringement, terrorism or pedophilia) and it’s only expected that over time things will get worse. How long before even evidence of crime gets censored and those who document war crimes have their videos pulled down? Oh, wait, that happened only weeks.

    • Emerati filmmaker defies convention, avoids censorship

      An Emirati filmmaker is pushing boundaries and bypassing state censors by delicately unraveling a story about a traditional Arab family grappling with issues of homosexual love, gender identity, sectarianism and women’s rights.

      The movie focuses on a conservative Iraqi family who begin seeing and unearthing one another’s secrets after the family matriarch goes blind and dies.

    • Emirati filmmaker unsettles traditions, exposes hidden lives
    • The left needs to reject authoritarianism and censorship [Ed: So should the right. The issue isn't "wings" but people who are in Power, serving corporate objectives.]
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Canadian Courts Edging Towards A Warrant Requirement For Device Searches At Borders

      The problem with border searches making a mockery of rights respected (for the most part) elsewhere in the nation isn’t limited to the United States. Up in Canada, courts (and lawyers) are asking the same questions: how well are old, pre-smartphone laws holding up to today’s reality? Everyone already knows what the answer is: not well. The question is: when will the Canadian government do anything about it?

      Canadians — like Americans — have the right to be free of unreasonable searches. Unfortunately, just like in America, this right seems to evaporate when one approaches the border. According to the Canadian customs law, border guards can search a lot of stuff travelers carry without a warrant.

    • CIA created fake software update system to spy on intel partners: WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks has recently released documents which show that CIA is planning to siphon off the data through is technical liaison service from users’ smartphones. The international non-profit organisation that publishes secret information found out a secret CIA project, which dates back to 2009.

      CIA provides a biometric collection system to its partner agencies. A program called ExpressLane has been designed to be deployed alongside this system. Theoretically, these partners are agreeing to provide the CIA with access to specific biometric data. However, there is a chance that these agencies are actually holding out on them. ExpressLane is giving the agencies with the capability of stealing that data without anyone’s knowledge.

    • Secret Service conducts live test of ShotSpotter system at White House

      With the president at Camp David for most of the weekend, the United States Secret Service decided that now would be a good time to fire off a few live rounds on the grounds of the White House—so it can evaluate a gunshot-detection technology known as ShotSpotter.

      The mounted microphone and computer system is designed to detect gunshots via their audio signature and send prompt alerts to local authorities.

    • DAPL Security Firm TigerSwan Responded to Pipeline Vandalism by Launching Multistate Dragnet

      When the largest Dakota Access Pipeline resistance camp in North Dakota was forcibly shut down in February, the work of TigerSwan, the private security company hired by Energy Transfer Partners to guard its property, appeared to be nearly done. Then the pipeline was hit by several acts of vandalism targeting valve sites along the route. Starting in mid-March, saboteurs snaked down the line, piercing holes in exposed parts of the pipeline and setting equipment on fire.

      The vandalism, which disrupted completion of the pipeline, created new work for TigerSwan. But the company did more than deploy additional guards along the line — it also embarked on a multistate hunt for the culprits.

      By early May, TigerSwan had a pair of suspects. “The best assessment based on the known facts is that the attack was most likely conducted by Iowa activists; Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya,” states an internal report dated May 4.

    • Hit App Sarahah Quietly Uploads Your Address Book

      Sarahah, a new app that lets people sign up to receive anonymized, candid messages, has been surging in popularity; somewhere north of 18 million people are estimated to have downloaded it from Apple and Google’s online stores, making it the number three most downloaded free software title for iPhones and iPads.

      Sarahah bills itself as a way to “receive honest feedback” from friends and employees. But the app is collecting more than feedback messages. When launched for the first time, it immediately harvests and uploads all phone numbers and email addresses in your address book. Although Sarahah does in some cases ask for permission to access contacts, it does not disclose that it uploads such data, not does it seem to make any functional use of the information. Sarahah did not respond to requests for comment.­

      Zachary Julian, a senior security analyst at Bishop Fox, discovered Sarahah’s uploading of private information when he installed the app on his Android phone, a Galaxy S5 running Android 5.1.1. The phone was outfitted with monitoring software known as BURP Suite, which intercepts internet traffic entering and leaving the device, allowing the owner to see what data is sent to remote servers. When Julian launched Sarahah on the device, BURP Suite caught the app in the act of uploading his private data.

    • On social media, privacy is no longer a personal choice

      And because we are no longer in full control of our privacy, Garcia notes, it also means that protecting privacy isn’t something any one person can do. “In some sense it resembles climate change,” he says. “It’s not something you can solve on your own. It’s everyone’s problem or it’s no one’s problem.”

    • China orders internet comments linked to real identities

      China isn’t slowing down in its bid to silence online political opposition. As of October 1st, the country will require that tech firms hold on to records of the real identities of everyone posting comments on internet message boards. This is to discourage “false rumors, filthy language and illegal messages,” according to the government. Of course, it’s that last part that Chinese officials are really interested in — they know you’re less likely to challenge the political order if investigators can easily track you down.

    • A comparison of two very different European privacy cultures

      And therein lies the real privacy lesson here: the really bad things happen when people just take the absence of privacy for granted, and do as they’re told. It requires a contrast to somebody who does things right to realize that this is even happening.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • President Trump Should Be Impeached for Pardoning Joe Arpaio [iophk: “the pardon was a quantum step towards fascism”

      With courts powerless to stop this double assault on democracy, Trump must be held to account politically. This is precisely the situation for which impeachment was designed. The Constitution speaks of impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This term refers not to some narrow set of enumerated crimes but broadly to abuses of public power that threaten the democratic order.

    • Trump’s Drive-Thru Kleptocracy

      Yesterday’s pardon of a serial/mass denier of human rights in USA signals the beginning of a new era in USAian history, kleptocracy. Trump promised to create jobs, millions of them but he never mentioned that Nazis, Jew-haters, white supremacists, bad cops, and serial violators of the USAian constitution should queue up at the White House to receive their pardons for past, present and future crimes against humanity, foreign and domestic, great and small… This could be a growth industry.


      Guantanamo Naval Base, Cuba – The pretrial hearings of the five men charged with orchestrating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks reached a critical juncture on Friday as defense counsel sought to derail the proceedings because of what they say was the improper destruction of a CIA black site where their clients were tortured.
      And while government lawyers claimed the site was preserved through photographic duplication, the defense teams highlighted flaws in not being able to see evidence with one’s own eyes.
      David Nevin, the lead attorney for accused plot mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, asked the judge to disqualify both himself as well as the entire prosecution team for a series of events that allowed a sealed June 2014 “destruction order” to be withheld from the five defense teams for more than a year and half. The teams claim that secrecy prevented them from inspecting the site and developing evidence that could mitigate against the death penalty.

    • Court: Locating suspect via stingray definitely requires a warrant

      A federal judge in Oakland, California has ruled against the suppression of evidence derived from warrantless use of a cell-site simulator. The simulator, a device often referred to as a stingray, was used to locate the lead defendant in an ongoing attempted murder case.

      In the 39-page ruling, US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton notably found that the use of stingray to find a man named Purvis Ellis was a “search” under the Fourth Amendment—and therefore required a warrant. However, in this case, the judge also agreed with the government’s assertion that there were exigent circumstances, along with the “good faith exception” to the warrant requirement. In other words, use of the stingray was wholly justified.

      “Cell phone users have an expectation of privacy in their cell phone location in real time and that society is prepared to recognize that expectation as reasonable,” Judge Hamilton wrote, citing an important Supreme Court decision from 1967 known as United States v. Katz.

    • California Sheriffs Use Bare-Knuckle Tactics Against “Sanctuary State” Proposal

      Earlier this year, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones invited Immigrations and Custom Enforcement chief Thomas Homan to a community forum. The event was advertised to the public as an opportunity to clear up misinformation around the immigration debate.

      In private, however, Jones confided over email to Homan and other ICE officials that he wanted to use the event help to derail Senate Bill 54, legislation proposed to create so-called “sanctuary state” protections in California.

      In a follow-up email confirming the forum, Jones wrote to Timothy Robbins, the Los Angeles enforcement director for ICE: “I can’t thank you and the director enough for agreeing to do this. I’m sure there are more comfortable ways to spend a Tuesday evening, but I do believe this will turn the tide of SB54.”


      All but one of California’s elected county sheriffs have mounted a robust lobbying effort, deploying considerable advocacy resources along with a media campaign closely coordinated with the Trump administration. The sheriffs’ bare-knuckle advocacy efforts are detailed in emails obtained by The Intercept through California Public Records Act requests.

    • Boston Police Protected Far-Right Rally-Goers, Clashed with Black Counterprotesters

      “It’s unbelievable that this many police officers came here to protect them,” Ashley Lloyd said. “They’re not protecting us.”

      Lloyd, a Boston resident, expressed her frustration with the police after officers clashed with antiracist demonstrators over the weekend. A “free speech” rally in the city — which was tied to the “alt-right,” a conservative faction that espouses far-right ideologies grounded in white supremacy — turned out what police estimated to be between 50 and 75 people. Lloyd was among the estimated 40,000 counterprotesters who showed up. The numbers were overwhelmingly in favor of the antiracist demonstrations, but as the day progressed, counterprotesters still had reason to question if their city — and, in particular, its institutions — was behind them or the right-wing demonstrators.

    • Man Waving “Blacks for Trump” Sign at President’s Rally has Bizarre Beliefs about Race War

      Perfectly positioned in the crowd behind Donald Trump in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday night, as the president falsely claimed that he had not defended white supremacists, was a man waving a “Blacks for Trump” sign and wearing a T-shirt that read: “Trump & Republicans Are Not Racist.”

      The man, who was born Maurice Woodside but now goes by the name “Michael the Black Man,” was seated in the second row of the bleachers behind the podium, where he could be seen on television throughout Trump’s address.


      If Trump’s staff did play a role in securing a spot for Woodside at center-stage, however, they seem to have overlooked the fact that he holds some very bizarre beliefs about race, including a theory that the Senate is controlled by a secret underground of “Cherokee Mormons.”


      Woodside’s recent obsession seems to be with the idea that the Bible contains coded warnings of a plot by secret Cherokees, Masons, and “shape shifters” to enslave Americans and defeat Trump. “Real KKK Slave Master Revealed & is the Cherokee!” Woodside wrote in one recent post with eccentric punctuation and references to scripture. “Black & White Americans are really Hebrews, (Hos.4:6) & were in America before Cherokees. Solve America’s Debt. make all Indians pay Taxes! Trick: we’re all mixed with them, we pay taxes they don’t & they Hate us, (r.36)!”

    • Philippines’ Duterte says police can kill ‘idiots’ who resist arrest

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told police on Monday they could kill “idiots” who violently resist arrest, two days after hundreds of people turned the funeral of a slain teenager into a protest against his deadly war on drugs.

      Duterte broke off midway through a prepared speech at the Hero’s Cemetery on the outskirts of Manila and addressed impromptu comments to Jovie Espenido, the police chief of a town in the south where the mayor was killed in an anti-drugs raid.


      More than 1,000 people, including nuns, priests and hundreds of children, joined a funeral procession on Saturday for the 17-year old, turning the march into one of the biggest protests yet against Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign.

      Delos Santos was dragged by plain-clothes policemen to a dark, trash-filled alley in northern Manila before he was shot in the head and left next to a pigsty, according to witnesses whose accounts appeared to be backed up by CCTV footage.

    • Defense attorneys tell judge to quit Sept. 11 trial over destroyed CIA Black Site evidence

      The lawyer for the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks asked the Army trial judge on Friday to fire the prosecution and step down over a secret decision to destroy a CIA prison, and then provide defense attorneys with a partial forensic record as a flawed substitute.

      “You heard them out in secret,” said David Nevin, the death-penalty defender for Khalid Sheik Mohammed. “You did not follow the rules when you approved a substitution for a substitution of this evidence. There is no such thing as a substitution for a substitution.”

      Moreover, he added: “You don’t have a right to give them permission to destroy evidence.” And even though the judge ordered defense attorneys be told, prosecutors went ahead with the “decommissioning” of a so-called Black Site without notifying the alleged terrorists’ lawyers.

    • Arpaio Pardon Would Show Contempt for Constitution
    • UK Home Office ‘cannot be trusted’, say EU citizens’ rights groups

      Campaign groups representing EU citizens seeking to protect their right to remain in the UK after Brexit have warned they will reject any deal that gives the Home Office a say in their future.

      Grassroots campaign groups across the UK and Europe wrote to EU negotiators on Monday to say the Home Office “cannot be trusted” following last week’s debacle when the department mistakenly sent up to 100 letters to EU nationals living in the UK ordering them to leave the country or face deportation.

      “If serious errors like this can be made whilst the UK is still administering a system based on EU freedom of movement rights, what is likely to happen when it is running its own system, having ‘taken control again’?” asked British in Europe, a coalition of 11 citizen campaign groups across the EU and the UK.

    • Russian bots posing as regular people are trying to sow discord on Twitter after Charlottesville

      Although the recent events in Charlottesville happened 5,000 miles from Moscow, Russia didn’t sit this one out.

      As has become almost routine after every polarizing U.S. political event in the past 12 months, online Russian propagandists quickly got involved. This time around, they took to Twitter with an army of bots to promote and share extremist right-wing tweets and disinformation.

      The Alliance for Securing Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund that tracks efforts to undermine democratic governments, monitors a collection of 600 Twitter accounts that are known to be linked to Russian influence, including openly pro-Russian users, accounts that take part in Russian disinformation campaigns, and automated bot accounts that parrot Russian messaging.

    • ‘The Confederacy Was Brought About by a Small Class of Wealthy Slaveholders’

      It has been noted that Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville is not new or unique to him. One of the angles is that the removal of memorials to, say, Robert E. Lee, which some will maintain was the sole motivating factor of the people flying swastikas and yelling about the Jews, is an offense against history itself. You could hear that view from Fox’s Laura Ingraham, who decried “people who have no idea it seems about the history of this country just roundly denouncing anyone who had any connection to the South.” She went on to declare “this is about the control of the narrative and the destruction of historical recognition.” And she’s not wrong, except about who it is, in the main, doing the controlling and the destroying.

    • Baltimore Police Busted Yet Again for Staging Body Cam Footage

      On Thursday, the Baltimore Police Department released the third of three videos since July that have raised accusations of officers planting or staging evidence.

      In this latest video, taken in June, two officers chase down and tackle a man suspected of dealing drugs. After his arrest, CBS reports, the suspect revealed the location of drugs tossed during the chase. The next day, officers search a clearing for the drugs; one officer has his camera on, one does not.

      The officer with his camera turned off discovers the drugs hidden in a bag, then leans down to pick them up. Turning to his partner, he indicates he’s found what he’s looking for. The officer then puts the drugs backs down, turns his camera on and then “finds” the drugs again.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • State of the art in CSS

      Originally, web pages were designed to be informational pages with hyperlinks (even images should not be inlined — it is explained by the fact that in 1990, bandwidth and computer resources were very small): something like interactive books. CSS was designed to be able to add some basic styling, and originally it seemed like a good idea to have your own personal styles, which would override the external styles. Nowadays, it is definitely a crazy idea — to try to apply your own styles to, let’s say, headers — developers definitely don’t expect it from users.


      CSS is not a programming language — despite introducing variables, there is no functionality for functions, conditions and loops, so there is no way to somehow automate code generation. In case you create class names based on some properties in your code, you have to repeat all of them in your CSS code, and this is inevitable. Same is true for variables, so it is especially painful if you need to change all “green color”, to a slightly different one — sometimes colour might be the same, but semantically it is a different colour (e.g. primary vs header-title). All of this led to the development of preprocessors, languages very similar to CSS, but with extended capabilities — SASS, LESS, Stylus and PostCSS.

    • Experimental rocker EMA talks VR, the Dark Web, and hiding behind screens

      After a recent evening of dinner and drinks with artist/musician Erika Anderson, I was taken to a stranger’s apartment, then asked to put on a VR headset and lie on a floor. I did as I was told, without any explanation of what was about to happen. I could hear muffled giggling in the room through my headphones as a VR scene opened up above me.

      I had landed in an alternate reality of technicolor skies while laying on what appeared to be a massage table. The VR experience invited me to look to my left, where I saw a mirrored reflection of “myself.” I had become a brightly colored naked woman. Then, the ponies appeared. Little pink ponies began slowly prancing in my direction, and once they reached my virtual body, I could feel something in real life—like little hooves—”running” over my arm just as they appeared in VR.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Village Roadshow Promises To Mete Out Its Brand Of Justice As Inequitably As Possible

        Village Roadshow, an Australian film distributor, has always been something of a strange anomaly. Like many others in the copyright industries, the organization has embraced copyright trolling as a business model, even touting the kind of trolling-automation that has since seen so much backlash over its inherent collateral damage toll. On the other hand, Village Roadshow was also one of the few film distributors I’ve seen actually come out and state that windowed releases are really, really stupid. On the other, other hand, the distributor subsequently went ahead with windowed releases anyway.

      • Mayweather-McGregor piracy sites on the ropes: Are they down for the count?

        The Mayweather-McGregor fight is almost here. The boxing battle between Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. and UFC star Conor “the Notorious” McGregor is expected to start tonight at 9pm ET at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

        Millions are expected to tune in for the event on Showtime and elsewhere and pay up to $99 for the live video feed. Mayweather is being paid a $100 million fee and McGregor, $75 million. Overall, promoters are expected to earn up to $1 billion in pay-per-view revenue globally.

      • Live Mayweather v McGregor Streams Will Thrive On Torrents Tonight

        What many won’t know, however, is that the fight will also be streamed live using torrent technology. Unlike ordinary streams, that will groan and strain under unprecedented demand, live torrents will thrive under the pressure.


Links 26/8/2017: Audacious 3.9, Krita 3.2.1, Eolie 0.9.1, FreeBSD 10.4 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ideal OS: Rebooting the Desktop Operating System Experience

    Consider the Raspberry Pi. For 35 dollars I can buy an amazing computer with four CPU cores, each running over a gigahertz. It also has a 3d accelerator, a gig of RAM, and built in wifi & bluetooth & ethernet. For 35 bucks! And yet, for many of the tasks I want to do with it, this Raspberry Pi is no better than the 66 megahertz computer I used in college.

  • Server

    • Tales of an IT professional sailing around the Antarctic loop

      Of course, that kind of rerouting wasn’t an option. Instead, Pina i Estany accessed a remote server, downloaded and compressed all the e-mails to it, and then sent those compressed files to the ship using a piece of software called Rsync, which deals very well with unstable connections. He also wrote a script that meant if the program stopped downloading at any point, it would start again from the same place once a connection was re-established.

      “So I left this program running for eight or nine hours and then opened this huge file using Thunderbird,” he said. “With that, I was able to get all the wanted e-mails, including the permits we needed.”

    • Serverless May Kill Containers [Ed: Mac Asay is not technical. So he says a buzzword will "kill" something that's a real, working implementation. That's like saying containers will "kill" containers, only you lose control over them.]

      Kubernetes, the darling of the container world, seems set to dominate the next decade of container orchestration. That is, if containers last that long.

      While it seems obvious that containers, the heir apparent to virtual machines, should have a long shelf life, the serverless boom may actually serve to cut it short. Though serverless offerings from AWS and Microsoft are built on the backs of containers, they eliminate the server metaphor entirely (and, hence, the need to containerize that server).

    • IT Professionals Largely Unfazed by Cloud Outages
    • Harvey: Hurricane Preparation Tips for Data Center Managers

      As Hurricane Harvey bears down on the Texas coast, expected to make landfall around Corpus Christi either tonight or Saturday morning as a dangerous Category 3 storm, the men and women who work in data centers in the area are undoubtedly earning overtime as they prepare for the storm’s onslaught. Keeping data centers operational during natural disasters can be critical to the health and safety of the affected area’s residents, as they supply the lines of communications for many first responders and provide access to valuable information about weather conditions and the state of the area’s infrastructure.

      During pending disasters such as this, employees from Schneider Electric’s various data center divisions can often be found on the scene, offering their expertise to help data centers successfully get through the emergency. They’re good to have around, because as the old saying goes, they’ve been there and done that — countless times.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Solus 3, Ubuntu 17.10 News, Krita 3.2 & Lots of Gaming News | This Week in Linux

      Coming up on This Week in Linux, we saw some new releases from Solus, Krita, Ardour, feren OS and many more. Debian and GNOME both celebrated their Birthdays this week. We check out some cool software that lets you do Google Searches from the command-line and we’ll take a look at this week’s gaming news. All that and more on today’s episode of This Week in Linux. I’m Michael Tunnell of TuxDigital with Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews.

    • Linux Plex Box Demo | For The Record

      In part 2 of my continuing series on reducing dependencies on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Kindle books and more, today I talk about how I use Plex to make my local video content more accessible. This includes some TV shows and movies I have on DVD.

  • Kernel Space

    • A canary for timer-expiration functions

      A bug that allows an attacker to overwrite a function pointer in the kernel opens up a relatively easy way to compromise the kernel—doubly so, if an attacker simply needs to wait for the kernel use the compromised pointer. There are various techniques that can be used to protect kernel function pointers that are set at either compile or initialization time, but there are some pointers that are routinely set as the kernel runs; timer completion functions are a good example. An RFC patch posted to the kernel-hardening mailing list would add a way to detect that those function pointers have been changed in an unexpected way and to stop the kernel from executing that code.

    • Scaling the kernel’s MAINTAINERS file
    • Another attempt at speculative page-fault handling
    • The D-Bus Broker project

      The D-Bus Broker Project is an effort to rethink the D-Bus message bus and produce an implementation that addresses many of its longstanding problems; this project has now made its first public release. “Its aim is to provide high performance and reliability, while keeping compatibility to the D-Bus reference implementation. It is exclusively written for linux systems, and makes use of many modern features provided by recent linux kernel releases.” See this post for an introduction to the project, or the GitHub page for source. This is a purely user-space implementation.

    • Happy Birthday Linux

      Fast forward to today and Linux has more than 12 000 contributors from over 1300 companies that contribute to the Linux kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Real world Performance Comparison of Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD and Transcend 2.5″ SATA III SSD on Linux

        Recently I bought a Samsung 960 EVO 500GB SSD to replace my Transcend 128GB SSD360S 2.5″ SATA III. Earlier this PC had this 128GB SATA III SSD for OS and 1TB Seagate Barracuda drive for data. I had not really utilised this 1TB well – data was just around 300GB. So to get faster system at the cost of underutilised free space, decided to buy Samsung 960 EVO 500GB to have both OS and data (Having more free space helps for better performance in case of SSD. So I am planning to add another 500GB to free up a lot of space on this newly purchased 500GB). Here I try to compare my earlier system with SATA SSD with new NVMe SSD. The rest of the configuration of PC is same for both the cases. I use KDE Neon (Ubuntu derivative) Linux Operating System.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Give Your Desktop An Ancient Look With ‘Ubo Icons’

      You will find very few icons theme where creator work really hard to pencil icons for your desktop to make elegant. Ubo icons a great icons set drawn with ballpoint pen, then scanned and colored in GIMP. Isn’t it feels great to have such hand-crafted icons specially for your desktop, the icons are not glamorous, nor glossy finish but give a unique look to your desktop.

    • Intro To Budgie Desktop 10.4: Now With Control Center & Flexible Panel

      The latest Budgie Desktop 10.4 released at 18 August 2017 and this is a short review. The 10.4 brings huge changes on Budgie featuring new Desktop Settings, new Raven, more flexible panel for any position, ability to add new panel and change control buttons position, default bottom-left menu at bottom panel, and so on! This review is based on Solus OS 3 and not Ubuntu Budgie (because at this day no PPA available for 10.4 yet).

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE and the Menu Crisis

        The menu crisis has been slow in coming — so slowly that few people are aware of it. Bit by bit, they have become accustomed to the inconvenience and distraction of the menu on the computer desktop, and learned to endure it. Yet the fact that KDE’s Plasma 5 desktop offers three choices of menu layouts, as well as a couple of alternatives to alleviate the difficulties shows just how little consensus exists about the most usable menu design.

        The crisis exists because the menu was designed when thirty megabyte hard drives were the norm, yet we continue to use it. The purpose of a menu is to launch an application, preferably as quickly as possible, so a user’s work flow is uninterrupted. When personal computers were first introduced, menus easily filled this purpose. Few applications were available, and menus rarely had to be more than a couple of levels deep, so applications could easily be found.

        However, as hard drives became larger, users had to scan more and more applications to find the one they wanted. The most extreme case was the Debian menu, which in places was six or seven levels deep. All sorts of partial solutions were tried –for example, not listing all the applications, a search field, and favorite list — but the problem has steadily increased with the size of drives. Probably the only reason why all the stopgap designs and solutions for menus are tolerated at all is that their uses on phones and tablets means that they have conditioned all of us to endure the awkwardness as the norm. Most users simply assume that nothing can be done, and continue using menus the same as always — ironically, often at the same time as moving away from desktop launchers, which can have the same problems, but can at least take provide another solution to help keep menus functioning.

      • Angle and Windows Ink – a new test version of Krita for Windows
      • Krita 3.2.1 Released

        Krita 3.2.1 is a bug fix release.

      • Krita’s Updated Vision

        In 2010, during a developer sprint in Deventer, the Krita team sat down together with Peter Sikking to hammer out a vision statement for the project. Our old goal, be KDE’s Gimp/Photoshop, didn’t reflect what we really wanted to do.

      • Google Summer of Code: Help Alexey Kapustin by Testing His Work!
      • It seems like it works
      • Krita 3.2.0 Best Alternative To Photoshop for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

        Krita is a KDE program for sketching and painting, although it has image processing capabilities, offering an end–to–end solution for creating digital painting files from scratch by masters. Fields of painting that Krita explicitly supports are concept art, creation of comics and textures for rendering. Modelled on existing real-world painting materials and workflows, Krita supports creative working by getting out of the way and with a snappy response.

      • Gsoc Final Week Report

        Koko is a simple image gallery application that is designed to view, edit and share the images.

      • Look what you have done^W^Wdo!

        You are using Kate or KDevelop and often editing directly the sources of Markdown files, Qt UI files, SVG files, Dot graph files and whatever else formats which are based on plain text files?

        And you are having to use a workflow to check the current state which is saving the file and (re)loading it in a separate viewer application?

      • GCompris- Digital Electricity Tutorial levels
      • Hundreds of visual surveys in KStars!

        With the KStars “Hipster” 2.8.1 release, I introduced Hierarchical Progressive Survey (HiPS) in KStars with three sample catalogs in the optical, infrared, and gamma regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

      • A new QProcess::startDetached
      • Announcing Sticklyst – leveraging KDE Frameworks on the Web

        Sticklyst is a web paste tool, like pastebin, Stick Notes (paste.kde.org), build with Cutelyst and KDE Frameworks.

        Building this kind of tool has been on my TODO list for a long time, but never really put some effort into it. When the idea first came by, I decided to look at the code of http://paste.scsys.co.uk/ which is powered by a Perl Catalyst application, to my surprise the Perl module that handled syntax highlighting was a port of the code of Kate, and it even said it used Kate’s definitions.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GSoC Report 4

        This report is about Controller Reassignment.

        Previously, Games used to order controllers according to how they were plugged in. So. if I want to be the P1 (which I always want), I can simply exchange the controller with my brother. But hey, what if he is sitting 5 feet away from me?

      • GSoC Report – Part 1

        GJS is a complex piece of software that does some very low-level manipulation using various libraries; the GNOME libs (GLib and friends), libffi, and Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey JS engine.

      • GSoC ’17: Wrapping Things Up

        My GSoC project on GNOME Calendar was full of ups and downs (more ups of course). As this was my first GSoC project I was practically new to this workflow. Having weekly meetings, pushing code on a timely basis, discussing ideas regularly with my mentor etc. made things all the more intense. There were weeks were I made more progress than expected and then there were weeks where we headed nowhere (due to lack of knowledge regarding recurrences). The reason for this was using the sparsely documented library, ‘libical‘ and deciphering the cryptic code of ‘evolution calendar‘. But in the end everything came out just fine. 😀

      • Matcha GTK Is A Flat Design Theme For Linux Desktop

        There are many flat design themes available for Linux desktop, here is another one Matcha based on Arc theme. It is a flat theme with transparent elements. It has theme for Gnome Shell to go along with GTK theme. It is designed to work with most of the desktop environments including Gnome, Unity, Xfce, Mate, Cinnamon and so on. If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint then download zip file directly from theme page and install it in this location “~/.themes” or “/usr/share/themes”. There is also theme for Gnome Shell which can go along with its Gtk version. If you find any kind of bug or issue within this theme then report it to creator and hopefully he will fix it soon.

      • Eolie 0.9.1

        Web Browser for GNOME

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open-spec SBC features octa-core -A53 SoC

      The “Khadas Vim2” SBC runs Android 7.1 or Ubuntu 16.04 on an octa-core, -A53 Amlogic S912 with up to 3GB DDR4, WiFi, GbE, HDMI 2.0, and dual USB ports.

      Late last year, the Khadas project launched an open spec Khadas Vim SBC that runs on the Amlogic S905X, a cheaper version of the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 used on Hardkernel’s Odroid-C2. Now, Khadas is back with a similarly open-spec Khadas Vim2 board that advances to the octa-core Amlogic S912.

    • [Video] ODROID HC1 : Home Cloud One Introduction

      ODROID-HC1 is a mini PC which can be an affordable solution for a network attached storage (NAS) server. This home cloud-server centralizes data and enables users to share and stream multimedia files to phones, tablets and other devices on a network. Ideal for a single user on many devices, sharing between family members, developers or a group. Tailor the ODROID-HC1 to your specific needs. Plenty of software is available with only simple configuration. Determine the storage capacity of your server with a higher HDD/SSD. Depending on your needs, the frame is made to be stackable.

    • Purism

      • Purism Librem 13 v2 Linux laptop review

        At first glance, the Purism Librem 13 v2 looks like a lot of other laptops on the market. It’s a compact notebook that measures about 0.7 inches thick, weighs about 3.3 pounds, and which has a 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display, a backlit keyboard, and a large touchpad.

        But take a closer look at the touchpad and you’ll notice that there’s a rectangle where you’d normally find a Windows key. And glance up to the space above the touchpad and you’ll find two hardware switches.

      • The Librem 5: Your Ultimate GNU/Linux FLOSS Smartphone

        Purism is well known for Linux based laptop with Coreboot. Now they started a crowdfunding campaign today for its smartphone called Purism Librem 5. What is so special about this phone? It is 100% powered by GNU/Linux. You can run any Linux distro on it. The phone provides high security and privacy features, i.e., it does not track you. This seems like an excellent device. One that I would certainly purchase or recommend to a privacy-conscious person.

      • The Librem 5 from Purism: A Matrix Native Smartphone.

        We’ve been approached by Purism to partner up to provide the communications subsystem for their upcoming Librem 5 smartphone – for which they are launching a crowdfunding campaign starting today! The whole idea of the phone is to provide unprecedented privacy, security and autonomy by running an entirely FOSS Debian-based GNU/Linux stack (even including CPU & GPU drivers!), and we are incredibly proud and overexcited that the folks at Purism have asked the Matrix core team to provide the native dialler and messaging app for the phone. Yes, this means that the phone will literally boot by default into Matrix for all its primary communications (although, being FOSS, you could of course use a different dialler if you wanted). The intention is to be a very usable and flexible phone for folks who value freedom, privacy and simplicity over the (relative) quagmire of iOS or Android – and of course jumping way ahead of where Apple or Google are in terms of integrating next-generation communications into the very heart of the device.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Riot.im/Web 0.12 — WIDGETS HAVE LANDED!! + Jitsi Video conferencing + New Composer, Mentions & Emoji Picker!

    Riot.im 0.12 is here and by golly it’s a big one! The main headline is that WIDGETS HAVE LANDED!!! — small form web apps you can share with everyone in a room, unlocking a whole new dimension of collaboration within Riot😊. We’ve been working on this for months, and it’s insanely exciting to see us finally able to start decorating our rooms with Hangouts-quality video conferences (from Jitsi), document editors, graphing dashboards, and anything else you can imagine!

  • Convenient Industrial Ethernet Master Is Now Open-Source and Free

    Offered by Bosch Rexroth under MIT open-source license, the software can also come with a Sercos-on-a-Stick livesystem demo on a free USB thumb drive. The livesystem is useful for those looking to learn how to use the software.

  • Google Builds Open-Source Voice Kit For AI Devices

    Google researchers have open-sourced snippets of data to give developers using artificial intelligence tools the ability to create basic voice commands for smart devices. This will help users query content and help the devices recognize meaning and search for answers.

    The TensorFlow and AIY teams at Google built the Speech Commands dataset, a Voice Kit created with a collection of 65,000 utterances of 30 words. Google released the tool to help developers or anyone who wants to train AI models.

  • A heartfelt thank you to all who contribute to FOSS

    I am not good at TL:DR and this won’t be short to warn you up front. When I sat down to make the original post I was emotional because everything in my life is shit and breaking and hopeless. I was melting in the heat and humidity as the AC broke and my body doesn’t do well with extremes. Some people I had been waiting on for possible help with other things for a very long time had finally made it clear they were never going to help and had been jerking me around. My pain has been worse lately. I lost access to even the shit income based medical care I can get because of rule changes. My living situation is miserable. I was sitting there thinking about just getting it over with like I often do and is sadly all too common in people with chronic pain or other illness (don’t panic or post hotlines please..this is an ongoing thing and I have tried all the usual stuff…I need health and money and have done all I can to that end)…and the ONE thing that was working was this free OS and the tools I was using right then to distract myself. Everything else I need in life is some costly thing or service and never seems to work right and I am alone and miserable…and here was this FREE thing that people donate to that was my belay line in that moment. It was sort of an emotional drunk text if you will. All around me people and things suck and I just wanted to say thanks to the people who sat and braided that rope for little to nothing in return. When everything is so terrible you appreciate the things that aren’t with some intense clarity.

    So I post that thanks expecting it to drop off the page by the evening and instead of being ignored or argued with or told to pull on my bootstraps when I dont even have any proverbial boots at this point…people posted offers of laptops, practical suggestions for pain relief, and ways to help give back even though I am just one or two levels above everyone’s parents in tech competency. I’ve posted my story in moments of desperation several times over the years on various throwaway accounts. I’ve asked everyone I know irl and online for help and hope. Not once in any other community or place or time have so many people been so willing to help and giving practical advice rather than platitudes and word noise. No victim blaming, no absurd “The Secret” sort of advice, no empty gestures. It just further reinforces my feeling of thanks to the community. I thank you and you offer more. Most people really underestimate how much the smallest practical kindness can matter to someone. If more of the world’s problems were met with the FOSS attitude and community spirit it could only be a benefit.

  • Events

    • Embedded Linux Conference Europe schedule published

      The Linux Foundation has posted a schedule for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe, to be held Oct. 23-25 in Prague with the Open Source Summit Europe.

      Full program notes are available for the combined Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) and Open Source Summit Europe event to be held in Oct. 23-25 in Prague, with discounted registrations of $800 still available through Aug. 27. The Open Source Summit combines the previous LinuxCon, ContainerCon and CloudOpen conferences.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla ponders making telemetry opt-out, ‘cos hardly anyone opted in

        Mozilla may require users to opt-out of sending telemetry from its Firefox browser because so few have opted in that it’s hard for developers to get a good sample of what causes problems.

        The idea of opt-out telemetry has sparked a pretty lively mailing-list debate (at the time of writing, 42 posts in just a couple of days, from 31 authors, on what’s a moderately-obscure topic) about how to improve that data collection.

        The rough consensus so far is that if it approaches the question right, Firefox could flip to opt-out – just so long as it doesn’t become a stalker.

        The solution for that, as the thread discusses, is to follow Google’s lead and implement what’s known as differential privacy has used by Google’s project RAPPOR).

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • GSoC 2017: Charmap Integration

      These awesome three months of summer spent developing for LibreOffice under Google Summer of Code, have filled me with great zeal and zest. A plethora of important additions was made to the software bundle under the project titled “Usability of Special Characters”, and these new features will be made available in the version 6.0 of LibreOffice (Release Notes for 6.0). Here is a glimpse of what the users will be receiving in the new update.

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Making a Wrong into a Right: After Violating GPL and Filing for Bankruptcy, Chinese OEM IUNI Releases Source Code

      There are times in life when making the wrong decisions can have major repercussions in all the spheres that surround you. These repercussions can be so severe that they can literally turn your life upside down and nothing you say or do can change the self-consuming spiral that they set you on. Smartphone company IUNI learned this the hard way, and as a result they’ve finally decided to comply with the GPL.

      This was the case for a relatively small Asian manufacturer called IUNI, which was a small subsidiary company of the much-larger Gionee. As was the case with many Eastern OEMs, IUNI was the proud manufacturer of entry to mid range devices, with phones closely resembling those from Xiaomi, which coincidentally also resembles other manufacturers as well (plagiarism is the ultimate form of flattery after all). The company, unfortunately had a rough start, which ultimately led to its impending doom and eventual demise about a year ago.

    • Grsecurity Vendor Sues Open Source Pioneer Bruce Perens in GPLv2 Disagreement

      One of open source’s guiding lights, Open Source Initiative co-founder Bruce Perens, is being sued by Open Source Security, the company behind the Grsecurity patch management software for the Linux kernel, over a disagreement about the GNU GPLv2 license.

      Open Source Security alleges that Perens made “abusive and false” claims in a blog post that resulted in “substantial harm to Grsecurity’s reputation, goodwill, and future business prospects,” according to a complaint filed at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.

      Perens’ own attorney Heather Meeker sees the defamation lawsuit as “an attack on the free exchange of ideas in the free software community on matters of public interest.” Open Source Security did not respond to a request for comment.

    • Don’t Over-REACT to the Facebook Patents License

      Recently, Apache re-classified code under Facebook’s “BSD+ Patents” license to “Category X,” effectively banning it from future contributions to Apache Foundation projects. The move has re-ignited controversy over the patent grant, but like many events in the open source community, the controversy is more partisan than practical. In fact, it’s unlikely the move will affect adoption of ReactJS, and the criticisms of the BSD+patent grant mostly don’t survive the scrutiny of reason.

      The Facebook patent grant, officially called the Additional Grant of Patent Rights Version 2, has been in effect for years. It applies to the wildly popular ReactJS code — a Javascript library for rendering user interfaces. The roster of major technology companies using the code is impressive, including such consumer-facing giants as Netflix — and of course, Facebook itself.

  • Programming/Development

    • Reducing Python’s startup time

      The startup time for the Python interpreter has been discussed by the core developers and others numerous times over the years; optimization efforts are made periodically as well. Startup time can dominate the execution time of command-line programs written in Python, especially if they import a lot of other modules. Python startup time is worse than some other scripting languages and more recent versions of the language are taking more than twice as long to start up when compared to earlier versions (e.g. 3.7 versus 2.7). The most recent iteration of the startup time discussion has played out in the python-dev and python-ideas mailing lists since mid-July. This time, the focus has been on the collections.namedtuple() data structure that is used in multiple places throughout the standard library and in other Python modules, but the discussion has been more wide-ranging than simply that.

    • Makefiles for Golang

      Go’s toolchain is awesome. make makes the toolchain awesome-er. Go’s fast compile times and internal change-tracking eliminate the need for esoteric Makefiles. This is great since we can write simple Makefiles to get the job done in style.

    • Boostnote changes programmers’ note-taking experience

      Hi programmers, what apps do you use for your note-taking? Default Note-app? Evernote?

      But you know, it’s sometimes not useful to use for programming things.

    • OpenJDK may tackle Java security gaps with secretive group

      The proposed OpenJDK (Java Development Kit) Vulnerability Group would provide a secure, private forum in which trusted members of the community receive reports on vulnerabilities in code bases and then review and fix them. Coordinating the release of fixes also would be part of the group’s mandate. (Java SE, the standard edition of Java, has been developed under the auspices of OpenJDK.)

    • Final GSoC Blog Post – Results

      This is my final GSoC update post. My name is Paul Schaub and I participated in the Google Summer of Code for the XMPP Standards Foundation. My project was about implementing encrypted Jingle File Transfer for the client library Smack.

    • BH 1.65.0-1


  • Samsung heir convicted, sentenced to 5 years on corruption charges

    Lee Jae-yong, the head of the Samsung Group empire, was convicted in a South Korean court Friday on corruption allegations. He was sentenced to five years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that took down the nation’s president, Park Geun-hye. Among other things, Lee was found to have paid Park bribes in exchange for favors.

    The 49-year-old Lee, who is the heir to one of the world’s largest companies, was also found guilty of perjury, embezzlement, and of hiding assets outside of South Korea following a six-month trial. The development comes two days after Samsung unveiled its latest flagship mobile phone, the Note8.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • If ‘Everyone Just Wants Free Stuff’ Is Responsible For Piracy, Why Can’t Nintendo Keep Its Classic Consoles In Stock?

      For a long time, we’ve been trying to debunk the “But people just want stuff for free” myth that purports to explain why the only proper strategy for infringement is heavy enforcement. Everyone should have instantly recognized that this was a dumb meme put forth by the content industries, so simple was the offered explanation for what is a vastly complex issue. Still, the meme persists, even in the face of contrary evidence.

      Evidence such as the fact that Nintendo has had trouble keeping its classic consoles in stock to meet consumer demand. Earlier this year, Nintendo hit the brakes on manufacturing the classic NES mini console after selling over two million of them. The result on the secondary market was immediate. Prices for the retro console skyrocketed, with people desperately searching for one. The interest from the public was high enough that, as Nintendo is set to release the SNES mini console as a follow up, the company is going out of its way to assure the public that it is making enough of them to meet demands.

    • GameStop blames “lagging Xbox One sales” for poor software performance

      With Microsoft no longer reporting specific hardware or software shipments for the Xbox One, public market watchers are forced to use tidbits from other sources to try to divine the system’s performance relative to the console competition. GameStop provided one of those tidbits in its latest earnings report, noting that its new and preowned software sales were both hurt by “lagging Xbox One sales.”

      The mega-retailer, which has nearly 4,000 stores in the US and 2,000 more internationally, didn’t share specific breakouts for the Xbox One or other consoles, but it did say that new and preowned software sales had declined 3.4 and 7.5 percent, respectively. Microsoft’s “lagging” performance was the only reason for that drop that the retailer shared publicly; GameStop cited the slow sales a number of times in an earnings call yesterday. “In both new and preowned, we’re seeing underperformance in Xbox One versus PS4, which we believe is due to the coming Xbox One X launch,” GameStop CFO Robert Lloyd said in that call.

  • Security

    • MalwareTech’s legal defense fund bombarded with fraudulent donations

      Marcus Hutchins, the popular British security researcher, has a new legal headache beyond the criminal charges against him.

      Hutchins, AKA “MalwareTech,” pleaded not guilty two weeks ago to criminal charges in Wisconsin that accuse him of creating and distributing the Kronos malware that steals banking credentials. Now comes word that his legal defense fund was riddled with illicit donations.

    • Leak of >1,700 valid passwords could make the IoT mess much worse

      Security researchers have unearthed a sprawling list of login credentials that allows anyone on the Internet to take over home routers and more than 1,700 “Internet of things” devices and make them part of a destructive botnet.

      The list of telnet-accessible devices, currently posted at this Pastebin address, was first posted in June, but it has been updated several times since then. It contains user names and passwords for 8,233 unique IP addresses, 2,174 of which were still running open telnet servers as of Friday morning, said Victor Gevers, chairman of the GDI Foundation, a Netherlands-based nonprofit that works to improve Internet security. Of those active telnet services, 1,774 remain accessible using the leaked credentials, Gevers said. In a testament to the poor state of IoT security, the 8,233 hosts use just 144 unique username-password pairs.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly
  • Defence/Aggression

    • I Asked the U.S. Military for Its Leaflets About Joseph Kony. It Sidestepped the Request, Then Burned Them.

      Over the last six years, the United States invested the better part of $1 billion to make that statement a reality. America sent military advisers, set up bases, gathered intelligence, and funded and equipped local proxies across the region in an effort to kill or capture Kony and destroy his Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia that has committed atrocities since the 1980s. The U.S. military even created that flier to tout Kony’s death and sent reams of them to a shadowy outpost in the Central African Republic where they sat, waiting for the day they could rain down from the sky. Now that leaflet — and that dream — have gone up in smoke.

    • With the USS McCain collision, even Navy tech can’t overcome human shortcomings

      In the darkness of early morning on August 21, the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a tanker in the Strait of Malacca off Singapore. Ten sailors are believed to have lost their lives in the McCain collision. When added to the seven who died in the June 17 collision of the USS Fitzgerald with the container ship ACX Crystal, this has been the deadliest year at sea for the US Navy’s surface fleet since the 1989 turret explosion aboard USS Iowa (in which 47 sailors perished).

    • North Korea fires three missiles into sea

      They were launched from a site in the North Korean province of Gangwon and flew for about 250km (150 miles), officials in South Korea said.
      Since firing an intercontinental ballistic weapon last month, Pyongyang has threatened to aim missiles at the US Pacific territory of Guam.
      But this latest test did not threaten the US or Guam, the US military said.
      North Korean missile tests often come in response to South Korean military exercises involving the US.
      Thousands of US and South Korean troops are currently taking part in joint military drills, which are mainly largely computer-simulated exercises.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • With Trump in Charge, Heightened Fears of a Hurricane Harvey Petrochemical Nightmare

      Texas is bracing for potentially “catastrophic” flooding as Hurricane Harvey is set to make landfall Friday, and many are raising concerns that given the state’s role as the heart of the petrochemical industry, the storm could create a “nightmare situation” for the environment—one that the Trump administration’s aggressive deregulatory agenda will only make worse.

    • As Hurricane Harvey Approaches, Trump Appoints Deputy Chief of Staff Who Failed to Prepare for Katrina

      Hurricane Harvey, a storm expected to bring catastrophic flooding to Texas, could be the first major disaster under the watch of President Trump, attracting new attention to how the administration has staffed its emergency response teams.

      Trump has faced growing criticism for leaving vacancies in many government positions, as well as apparently handing out appointments to connected Republican insiders and lobbyists over experts and well-qualified public servants. But as the administration faces Harvey, a reshuffle that’s brought Kirstjen Nielsen to the White House may raise eyebrows even further.

      Until recently Nielsen served as the top aide to retired Gen. John Kelly as Kelly headed the Department of Homeland Security. But when Kelly moved from the DHS to become Trump’s chief of staff, Nielsen changed positions simultaneously, becoming deputy chief of staff to Trump.

    • VW engineer sentenced to 40 months in prison for role in emissions cheating

      In his guilty plea, Liang attested that Volkswagen gave him and his colleagues a mandate to build a new diesel engine for sale in the US. When the engineers realized they couldn’t build the engine to meet the US’ emissions standards, Liang and his colleagues designed software to help the car recognize when it was being tested for emission compliance and turn on the control system that would otherwise be off during normal driving. “VW tasked Liang with making the defeat device work by calibrating it to recognize specific US emissions tests’ drive cycles,” the Justice Department (DOJ) wrote in a press release.

      Liang also said he personally attended meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and deceived those regulators by omitting the fact that the new VW diesel models were in not compliance with emissions standards. Additionally, he “admitted that he helped his co-conspirators continue to lie to the EPA, CARB, and VW customers even after the regulatory agencies started raising questions about the vehicles’ on-road performance,” the DOJ said.

  • Finance

    • 35 Blockchain Startups to Watch

      There’s a reason that blockchain startups are hot. Technologies come and go over the years and raise their share of hype, but few can match the enthusiasm that has been shown for blockchain technology.

      Blockchain is the brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto, who may or may not be real and may or may not be one person or a group of people. All that is known is that Nakamoto is also the brains behind Bitcoin. Blockchain is in fact the technology behind Bitcoin but the two are totally separate. Blockchain provides the means to record and store Bitcoin transactions, but the blockchain technology has many uses beyond Bitcoin.

    • IBM Debuts Secure, ‘Enterprise-Ready’ Blockchain Platform

      For IBM, there’s no time like the present for enterprises looking to build their first of potentially many blockchain applications.

      Blockchain is ready to get to work with today’s introduction of the “world’s first enterprise-ready blockchain platform,” Angel Diaz, vice president of Developer Technology and Advocacy at IBM, told Datamation. The IT giant today officially launched its IBM Blockchain Platform, enabling developers to harness the IBM cloud and the high-performance compute and end-to-end encryption capabilities provided System Z hardware running in its data centers to build and deploy secure blockchain applications for business.

    • As Coding Boot Camps Close, the Field Faces a Reality Check

      But the coding boot-camp field now faces a sobering moment, as two large schools have announced plans to shut down this year — despite backing by major for-profit education companies, Kaplan and the Apollo Education Group, the parent of the University of Phoenix.

    • It Was 50 Years Ago Today: Abbie Hoffman Threw Money at the New York Stock Exchange

      Dancis conceded that the action failed to bring about Abbie’s proclaimed goal, “the death of money.” But the event did mark the emergence of Abbie Hoffman as the media maven of the anti-war movement. A few months later, he organized a march on Washington to, as he put it, “exorcise” or perhaps “levitate” the Pentagon. Tens of thousands showed up for that, on October 21, 1967.

    • Vote Tallies and Class Struggle

      With the United States stumbling toward a new post- pre-modernity, a state of unknowing where technocratic pedantry guided by an unrepentant id defines the realm of social truth, a remnant of the past is re-asserted through the division of social analysis into realms of alleged expertise. Economists address the economy, environmental scientists address the environment, political scientists address the political and historians address the historical.

      Less certain is the state of political economy that once united these to define the realm of social concern. In the domain of history the pitch of the sun, the smell of the grass, the feel of the breeze and the ties through remembrance to how these were, aren’t tales of land wars and presidents and anti-trust legislation, but neither are they nothing. And in fact, this embeddedness is political in the sense of grounding the social-discursive in ways that aren’t fungible.

    • ‘Time to Redistribute Wealth’: 1% Thriving While 78% Living Paycheck to Paycheck

      Top CEOs may be thriving, but most American workers are drowning in debt, saving little, and living paycheck to paycheck.

    • Government Greenlights Amazon’s Expansion Into Grocery Industry

      A proposed $13.7 billion takeover of Whole Foods Market, by the world’s largest online retailer, was approved by federal trust-busters on Wednesday.

      With regulatory hurdles now cleared, Amazon said it intends to finalize the deal sometime later this year, giving the tech giant an opportunity to bolster its grocery delivery services.

      Consumer advocates worry that Amazon could leverage its robust supply chain and soon-to-be acquisition of more than 465 Whole Foods stores to dominate the burgeoning home grocery delivery industry. The development would strengthen its grip on the online sales sector.

    • King of the Hate Business: Inside the Southern Poverty Law Center

      What is the arch-salesman of hate-mongering, Mr. Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center doing now? He’s saying that the election of a black president proves his point. Hate is on the rise! Send money!

      Without skipping a beat, the mailshot moguls, who year after year make money selling the notion there’s been a right resurgence out there in the hinterland with massed legions of haters, have used the election of a black president to say that, yes, hate is on the rise and America ready to burst apart at the seams, with millions of extremists primed to march down Main Street draped in Klan robes, a copy of Mein Kampf tucked under one arm and a Bible under the other, available for sneak photographs from minions of Chip Berlet, another salesman of the Christian menace, ripely endowed with millions to battle the legions of the cross.

      Ever since 1971 US Postal Service mailbags have bulged with Dees’ fundraising letters, scaring dollars out of the pockets of trembling liberals aghast at his lurid depictions of hate-sodden America, in dire need of legal confrontation by the SPLC. In 2000, Ken Silverstein wrote a devastating commentary on Dees and the SPLC in Harpers, dissecting a typical swatch of Dees’ solicitations. At that time, as Silverstein pointed out, the SPLC was “the wealthiest civil rights group in America,” with $120 million in assets.

    • DOJ To End Operation ChokePoint; Porn Stars Free To Bank Once More!

      You may recall that in 2014 we wrote about a strange occurrence having to do with Chase Bank refusing to provide its banking services to Teagan Presley, a rather well known adult film actress. When it became clear that Presley wasn’t the only performer to whom this was happening, it initially looked as though banks were engaging in a form of slut-shaming of adult film actors. It turned out, however, that it was the federal government doing the slut-shaming, with the emergence of the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point. This DOJ policy that was developed to combat financial fraud somehow bled over the stencil lines and became a sort of banking morality police, encouraging banks to cut off services to industries like adult film, fireworks retail stores, and sellers engaged in what the DOJ deemed to be “racist materials.” It’s worth highlighting that all of these industries and actions, whether you like them or not, are legal, yet the DOJ was essentially attempting to extra-judiciously scuttle them through secretive federal policy. That should have terrified everyone, but didn’t, and so the program went on.

    • Justice Department to end Obama-era ‘Operation Choke Point’

      The Justice Department has committed to ending a controversial Obama-era program that discourages banks from doing business with a range of companies, from payday lenders to gun retailers.

      The move hands a big victory to Republican lawmakers who charged that the initiative — dubbed “Operation Choke Point” — was hurting legitimate businesses.

    • Apple to build Iowa data center, get $207.8 million in incentives

      Apple Inc will build a $1.375 billion data center in Waukee, Iowa, Apple and state officials said on Thursday, with $207.8 million in incentives approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Waukee city council.

    • Tim Cook: Apple will invest $1.3 billion in Iowa

      It’s common for states to offer money to businesses in order to secure big investments. But the price tag of such packages can be controversial. The Wisconsin state legislature is currently debating whether to approve a whopping $3 billion in incentives for a Foxconn plant that could create between 3,000 and 13,000 jobs.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Paul Ryan Debated a Nun and the Nun Won

      Challenged by a former educator, the Speaker of the House got everything wrong— factually, and morally.

    • James Clapper calls Trump speech ‘downright scary and disturbing’
    • Trump nominates Andrei Iancu to be director of patent office

      Iancu is currently the managing partner of Irell & Manella LLP, a Los Angeles-based law firm that focuses on intellectual property {sic} law.

    • Piecemeal Reforms Won’t Stem the Tide of Fascist Politics

      The far-right assembly in Charlottesville, Virginia, represented a social and political crisis of consciousness for many people. Between Jimmy Fallon’s uncharacteristically morose words on the gravity of the event (despite playfully ruffling President Trump’s hair on his show just months before), growing criticisms about free speech absolutism (with the ACLU slightly modifying its defense of the “Unite the Right” with a new refusal to defend armed hate groups), a slowly growing mainstream acceptance of anti-fascist confrontation, and accelerating removals of Confederate statues, the value and values of liberalism in the face of increasingly publicly articulated fascistic politics are being more frequently and loudly contested.


      The United States’ liberal democratic political framework was created to maximize liberties in resistance to British monarchial impositions, and also, quite explicitly, around notions of empowerments and citizenship rights afforded only to white, landowning men. Even within the 1776 declaration of the apparently self-evident equality of all men, a declaration that in no way contradicted the flourishing institution of slavery, the universally assured unalienable rights were not applicable to everyone: Blacks — then categorized as chattel — were neither citizens nor recognized as fully human, and Native peoples were enduring a genocide that is still ongoing.

    • Trump Labor Department Announces It will Honor Ronald Reagan, the Man who Broke American Labor

      Every year the Department of Labor posthumously honors Americans “whose distinctive contributions to the field of labor have enhanced the quality of life of millions yesterday, today, and for generations to come.” Past honorees have included socialist leader Eugene Debs and labor organizer Cesar Chavez.

      Today, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced that the department’s first honoree under the Trump administration would be a former president: Ronald Reagan.

      This marks perhaps the first time the Department of Labor has honored someone who openly and actively diminished the power of American labor unions.

      The department press release notes that Reagan, a Republican, was a member of a union himself, the Screen Actors Guild, which he led. It also notes that he was vocally supportive of the Solidarity union in Poland, which did battle with the Soviet Union.

    • Washington lobbying firms receive subpoenas as part of Russia probe

      Lawyers for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, have issued subpoenas to several prominent Washington lobbying firms as the probe examines the finances of two former Trump campaign advisers, according to people with knowledge of the requests.

      The subpoenas asked the firms to answer questions and provide records regarding their interactions with the consulting firms led by Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to President Trump, and Paul Manafort, former chairman of the Trump presidential campaign, these people said.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Actors Guild Urges Judge to Save Age-Censorship Law to Combat Rampant Bias

      IMDb, an Amazon.com subsidiary, is suing over the law on free speech grounds. The plaintiff has brought a summary judgment motion that argues that the statute passed last year by California lawmakers is a content-based restriction that isn’t narrowly tailored to address the intended interest of combatting age discrimination in the entertainment industry. Besides nodding to how people like to debate actors’ ages and complaining how the law censors truthful information in the public interest, IMDb suggests there’s a better way to crack down on age bias.

    • Why Government Can’t Be Allowed to Make You Pay for Free Speech

      Imagine if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., future Congressman John Lewis, and their compatriots in the civil rights movement had been stuck with the bill for Sheriff Bull Connor’s harassment, beatings, and arrests. Under a proposal before the Pennsylvania Senate, people who take to the streets to express their political views would face exactly that if they end up on the wrong side of the law.

      On August 16, Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) introduced a bill that could hold protesters liable for public safety costs associated with demonstrations. The primary trigger for this proposed legislation was the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, though it was introduced just four days after the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    • Nazis, The Internet, Policing Content And Free Speech

      I’m going to try to do something that’s generally not recommended on the internet: I’m going to try to discuss a complicated issue that has many nuances and gray areas. That often fails, because all too often people online immediately leap to black or white positions, because it’s easy to miss the nuance when arguing about an emotionally potent issue. In this case, I want to discuss an issue that’s already received plenty of attention: how various platforms — starting with GoDaddy and Google, but with much of the attention placed on Cloudflare — decided to stop serving the neo-Nazi forum site the Daily Stormer. Now, I’ll note that as all that went down, I was focused on a multi-day drive out to (and then back from) the middle of absolute nowhere (a beautiful place) to watch the solar eclipse thing that everyone was talking about — meaning that for the past week I’ve been disconnected from the internet quite a bit, which meant that I (a) missed much of the quick takes on this and (b) had plenty of time to really think about it. And, the simple fact is that it is a complicated issue, no matter what anyone says. So let’s dig in.

    • TV Station Falls For Pranksters; Sues Them For Fraud

      Playing pranks on local newscasters is a proud tradition that dates back to the days when people actually watched local newscasts for news. All it takes is willing pranksters, segment producers looking for filler, and staffers unwilling to perform even the most basic due diligence.

      Enter Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, most famous for buying up flea market VHS recordings and dubbing comedic commentary over the top of them. Their current catalog covers everything from retailer-produced sexual harassment videos to jazzercise to a variety of self-appointed experts opining on subject matter in which they clearly have no expertise.

    • Why China hurts itself more than others with censorship

      Last week, Cambridge University Press proposed to limit access to The China Quarterly, a major academic journal in the field of Chinese Studies. A Chinese import agency had requested Cambridge University Press (CUP) alter the website to make articles concerning topics such as the 1989 Tiananmen killings and the Cultural Revolution unavailable to readers inside China.

      The reaction from the academic world was swift and outraged. Dr Tim Pringle, the editor of the journal, made an unequivocal statement that this was unacceptable: the standards of international academic freedom meant that either the whole journal must be made available, or none of it. CUP in fact reversed its decision very swiftly and it’s unlikely that they or any other publisher will try to promote selective access to its journals in the near future. But this tactic highlights why China remains hobbled when it comes to understanding a topic of more concern to the Chinese than to anyone else: the reasons for change and conflict in their own society. By obstructing free research by its own academics, the Chinese government limits the analysis and judgment of the experts it surely wants to advise it. In the end, China loses more from censorship than Westerners.

    • Cambridge University Press Refuses to Comply With Second Chinese Takedown Request
    • Cambridge University Press Censorship Storm Continues, Despite Reversal
    • Universities must stand up to Chinese censorship

      Cambridge University Press, or CUP, recently found itself at the centre of a storm of controversy when it tamely acceded to the demands of the censorship arm of the mainland Chinese government to remove 300 articles from the Chinese website version of one of its well-respected journals, The China Quarterly.

      Following critical press coverage and protests from academics, CUP made a sharp U-turn, claiming that the decision was only a temporary measure. Whatever the excuses, the incident is a worrying illustration of the lengths Beijing will go to in order to shore up the Great Firewall of China.

    • The Trump Administration Censors Climate Change Research as Hurricane Harvey Barrels Down on Texas
    • China’s New Wave of Internet Censorship: Name Verification for Online Commenting
    • Gab fights censorship with free speech social media platform
    • YouTube censors Jihad Watch, Daily Bible readings, and more
    • OPINION | Nancy Pelosi is on her way toward killing free speech
    • KRON4’s exclusive interview with Nancy Pelosi
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Student Privacy Tips for Students

      Students: As you get ready to go back to school, add “review your student privacy rights” to your back-to-school to-do list, right next to ordering books and buying supplies. Exciting new technology in the classroom can also mean privacy violations, including the chance that your personal devices and online accounts may be demanded for searches by school personnel.

    • Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner in court next week

      Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner will be in federal court in Augusta next week.

      Winner, who worked for a defense contractor here in Augusta, is charged with leaking classified information to an online news site called “The Intercept.”

      Prosecutors say the report she’s accused of leaking suggested Russian hackers attacked U-S voting software days before November’s Presidential election.

    • NSA ramps up PR campaign to keep its mass spying powers

      The NSA has begun what is likely to be a determined PR campaign to retain mass spying laws as they head toward expiration at the end of the year.

      In a post on its website titled “Section 702 Saves Lives, Protects the Nation and Allies,” America’s surveillance nerve center argues it “relies” on the controversial part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to “uncover the identities or plans of terrorists.”

      The law has “played both a unique and decisive role in national defense,” it goes on, adding that it also “informs” the intelligence community’s “cybersecurity efforts.”

    • Once Again, New Zealand’s Spying On Megaupload Execs Found To Be Illegal

      Earlier this week, the new documentary by Annie Goldson about Kim Dotcom, Kim Dotcom: Caught In The Web was released. It’s available on basically any authorized platform (and, not surprisingly, quickly showed up on a number of unauthorized platforms as well). I should note that I sat for two interviews with the filmmakers, and am very briefly in the film. It’s really worth watching. While it doesn’t go as deep into the weeds of the specific legal issues at play as I, as a legal geek, might enjoy, that’s understandable as a more mass market documentary. And I think it does a really great job of at least getting across the basic issues, of how people in Hollywood, the DOJ and New Zealand law enforcement, intelligence and government were so won over by the image of Kim Dotcom, that they didn’t bother much with the legal details.

      One aspect of the legal case that is definitely discussed in the documentary is the fact that the New Zealand intelligence service, GCSB, illegally spied on Kim Dotcom on behalf of the US government. That’s supposed to be forbidden, as the GCSB is only supposed to spy on foreigners, and not citizens or permanent residents. This came out fairly early on in the case against Dotcom, but there’s been an ongoing legal battle (one of many…) into what it means concerning the case against him. GCSB had said that they didn’t mean to break the law, so it shouldn’t matter. And New Zealand moved to change the law to expand GCSB’s surveillance powers over New Zealanders in the future.

    • GCSB found to have illegally spied on others in new Megaupload twist

      The GCSB has been found to have acted unlawfully when it spied on foreigners in the FBI-led Megaupload investigation.

      In doing so, it has raised the possibility the entire operation was illegal.

    • Dotcom’s lawyer calls for case to be dismissed after court rules that New Zealand’s GCSB illegally spied on Megaupload

      “The government’s illegal conduct has reached such an extreme level that we believe that no court should entertain an extradition proceeding so tainted with state sponsored abuse and violations of basic human rights.”

    • Entire Kim Dotcom Spying Operation Was Illegal, High Court Rules

      The whole New Zealand-based spying operation against Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload co-defendants was illegal, the High Court has ruled. The revelation appears in a newly released decision, which shows the GCSB spy agency refusing to respond to questions about its activities on the basis that could jeopardize national security.

    • Megaupload execs’ extradition may be at risk after new spying revelations

      The High Court of New Zealand, the country’s intermediate appellate court, has ruled that the entire government spying operation conducted against two of Kim Dotcom’s closest colleagues was not authorized under local law in 2011.

      According to a court filing newly released on Friday afternoon, Auckland time (late Thursday evening, Eastern Time), the Government Communications Security Bureau conducted an “unlawful” and “unreasonable search” of Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann, two Megaupload executives. The GCSB is the New Zealand equivalent of the National Security Agency in the United States.

      At the time, van der Kolk (like Dotcom himself) was a permanent resident of New Zealand, which meant that he should have been exempted from being spied upon by the GCSB, which apparently failed to adequately verify their immigration status.

    • Citizens of India today have right to privacy, says former Justice Puttaswamy

      While the Court will still hear the case on the use of Aadhaar, the judgment by the nine-judge bench delivered on Thursday deals with the larger issue of the right to privacy of an individual and its classification as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Hindu spoke to Justice (retd) Puttaswamy following the verdict.

    • ‘Data is the new oil’: Your personal information is now the world’s most valuable commodity

      Traditionally, this is where the antitrust regulators would step in, but in the data economy it’s not so easy. What we’re seeing for the first time is a clash between the concept of the nation state and these global, borderless corporations. A handful of tech giants now surpass the size and power of many governments.

    • Welcome to the Internet of listening, eavesdropping, spying things

      There’s a new frontier for digital privacy: home devices that understand spoken commands. That’s impressive and convenient, but it comes with definite risks, as Rick Falkvinge pointed out earlier this week. The product sites of the main players in the so-called “smart speaker” sector – Amazon, Apple, and Google – offer plenty of upbeat advertising copy about the convenience, but are naturally silent about the potential problems.

    • Facebook hires former NYT public editor to help with transparency [iophk: "official spinmeister"]

      According to the company, Spayd will be tasked with helping Facebook pull the curtain back on how it handles internal moves on matters like terrorism, fake new and privacy.

    • Instagram is listening to you

      In any of the two conclusions: the microphone is used to record your environment. Today I’m 100% sure about this.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nearly Half of Trump Voters Think Whites, Christians Are Most Oppressed Groups

      He has come for Mexicans, Muslims, Black people, trans people, Democrats, the news media, activists and even leading members of Congress from his own party. Few have been spared Donald Trump’s scorn, but when it came time to condemn white supremacists for inciting deadly violence last week, the president was quick to argue that it wasn’t entirely their fault.

      A storm of media controversy followed, but Trump refused to back down, defending his initial remarks about the racist invasion of Charlottesville, Virginia. Then he held a rally in Phoenix, Arizona this week where he threatened to shut down the government over funding for his unpopular border wall and flirted with pardoning former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a known racist who is facing jail time because he refused to stop racially profiling Latinos.

    • ‘Positively Evil’: Immigrant Checkpoints to Remain Open as Harvey Forces Evacuations

      As residents of Southeast Texas evacuate under strict orders in preparation for the rapidly-approaching Hurricane Harvey, members of the area’s immigrant community are being left with an impossible choice on Friday: face the potentially life-threatening storm or follow evacuation orders and risk being detained and even deported.

      Border Patrol officials said late Thursday they were not planning to close roadside immigration checkpoints north of the affected area as tens of thousands made their way out of several coastal counties, where Harvey was expected to make landfall by early Saturday.

    • Video: How White Nationalism Became Normal Online

      One of the most shocking images from the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 11 was the spectacle of several hundred young people taking up torches and marching in support of white nationalism.

      The avalanche of media coverage that followed the murder of antiracist activist Heather Heyer by far-right member James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, has touched on many reasons for the recent explosion in white supremacist organizing. The dehumanization of marginalized groups, from immigrants to racial minorities to Muslims, has played an increasingly overt role in mainstream conservative media and Republican election campaigns, culminating in the open bigotry of Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Many experts point to backlash against shifting racial demographics, newly won rights for gays and lesbians, and the rising economic power of women as other reasons to explain the growth of racist, far-right organizations.

    • Colin Kaepernick and the NFL: Man vs Machine

      Specifically, the 29-year old quarterback’s stand was undertaken in solidarity with the growing number of black and minority victims of police brutality in America, and in protest at the lack of prosecutions with regard to the officer’s involved. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”, he told the press afterwards. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

    • Trump signs directive banning transgender military recruits

      President Donald Trump on Friday directed the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban transgender people from serving.

      The presidential memorandum also bans the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.

      Trump also directed the departments of Defense and Homeland Security “to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant,” the White House official said.

    • Court: TSA Agents Can Be Shielded From Certain Civil Rights Lawsuits Because They’re Too Important

      A First and Fourth Amendment lawsuit filed against a TSA agent and a handful of Philadelphia police officers has reached the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, the court has decided the work TSA agents do, however incompetently, is too important to be in any way stifled by the threat of First Amendment lawsuits. [h/t Brad Heath]

      Roger Vanderklok was attempting to fly from Philadelphia to Miami to participate in a half-marathon. He packed his heart monitor and watch inside something certain to be flagged by TSA agents 5-7% of the time: a PVC pipe with both ends taped shut.

      In this case, a TSA employee did flag the “device” and had some questions about Vanderklok’s PVC-and-wires package. Agent Charles Kieser engaged in a conversation with Vanderklok about the pipe, ultimately resulting in the TSA employee having Vanderklok arrested for threatening to smuggle a bomb onto a plane.

    • Repeal All UK Terrorism Laws, Says UK Government Adviser On Terrorism Laws

      It’s become a depressingly predictable spectacle over the years, as politicians, law enforcement officials and spy chiefs take turns to warn about the threat of “going dark”, and to call for yet more tough new laws, regardless of the fact that they won’t help.

    • President Trump pardons controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio

      US President Donald Trump has pardoned ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of criminal contempt.

      Mr Arpaio, 85, was found guilty after he defied a court order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected immigrants. He was due to be sentenced in October.

      The president had hinted at the pardon at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday.

    • Home Office privately says it will pay back deportation legal fees

      The Home Office has privately told an EU national who received a deportation letter in error that it will be reimbursing the legal fees she incurred in fighting the order to leave the UK.

      After Eva Johanna Holmberg spent about £3,800 fighting the government decision to order her to leave the country or face deportation or detention, she discovered that the letter had been sent in error – and that up to 100 EU citizens had received similar ultimatums.

      When the Guardian raised the issue the Home Office apologised to Holmberg and the prime minister, Theresa May, called the incident an “unfortunate error”.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • A Title II opponent explains why Ajit Pai’s plan won’t protect net neutrality

      The Federal Communications Commission plan to repeal net neutrality rules depends partly on the argument that antitrust rules can protect consumers and websites from bad behavior by Internet service providers.

      “I think that antitrust and consumer protection authorities stand at the vanguard to make sure that consumers and competition are protected,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a recent interview with NPR.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Atari Sues Nestle Over A KitKat Commercial With An Homage To ‘Breakout’

        A few decades ago, Atari was one of the few indisputable titans in the the early gaming industry. With early titles like Pong and Breakout, Atari became a household name for gamers. At the present, however, Atari is little more than an intellectual property troll, scouring the world for anything it might frame as copyright or trademark infringement, often to laughable lengths. For the rest of this post, it is important to keep in your mind the fact that this is now Atari’s chief industry: licensing and lawsuits.

      • Nestle accused of pilfering Atari ‘Breakout’ game for ‘Kit Kat’ ads

        A new lawsuit accuses Nestle SA (NESN.S) of blatantly violating the rights of Atari (ATAR.PA) by using without permission the classic 1970s video game “Breakout” in a new marketing campaign for its Kit Kat chocolate-covered wafers.


Links 25/8/2017: Linux Turns 26 Years Old, QupZilla is Now Falkon, Introduction of Sailfish X, Go 1.9

Posted in News Roundup at 6:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why it’s time to open source the service mesh and end developer copycats

    As more and more enterprises embrace cloud-native applications and microservices, some argue that there is a need for a reimagined software stack. For cloud-native applications, there are new networking abstractions that engineers have to layer on (writing on new logic) to achieve reliability between services.

  • Food Industry Leaders Collaborate with IBM in Blockchain Consortium

    A group of leading companies across the global food supply chain today announced a major blockchain collaboration with IBM intended to further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system. The consortium includes Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, who will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain. Together they will help identify and prioritize new areas where blockchain can benefit food ecosystems and inform new IBM solutions. This work will draw on multiple IBM pilots and production networks in related areas that successfully demonstrate ways in which blockchain can positively impact global food traceability.

  • Cloud Foundry Foundation: A Platform Where Competitors Collaborate

    The Linux Foundation is host to more than 100 open source projects, but only a handful are foundations unto themselves. Cloud Foundry Foundation is unique in its standing as a Linux Foundation project: a nonprofit foundation and an open source project that came to the table fully formed. Incepted at VMware in 2010, Cloud Foundry was transferred to Pivotal in 2013 before being open sourced, at which point the Cloud Foundry Foundation was established.

  • Events

    • Moby Project and Open Source Summit North America

      Docker will be at Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, CA from September 11-14th to highlight new development with the Moby Project and it’s various components: containerd, LinuxKit, InfraKit, Notary, etc.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome Vs. Chromium

        Google Chrome is currently the most popular browser on desktop PCs. It has over 54% of desktop users usually in the Windows world choosing it over the other browsers. Here in the Linux world, Google Chrome is not the most popular as most distros prefer to ship other web browsers. The most popular of these is Firefox whilst others prefer Chromium. Chromium for all intents and purposes is very identical to Google Chrome. They share everything from looks to extensions, engine, and features. So why don’t they (Linux distros) just ship with Google Chrome? What are the differences between Google Chrome and Chromium?

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Servo Made Several Advancements This Summer

        Mozilla had several student developers contributing to their next-gen Servo engine via this year’s Google Summer of Code. Overall the work appears to be a big success and boost for Servo.

        For those interested in Servo’s GSoC 2017 successes, there was work done for supporting custom elements in Servo. Servo now has initial support for Custom Elements for allowing web developers to create reusable web components with “first-class support” in the browser. You can basically specify your own custom HTML tags and their behavior.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Carlo Ratti to transform Italian military barracks into open-source architecture laboratory

      Architect Carlo Ratti has revealed plans to transform a former 19th-century military complex in Turin, Italy, into a campus where students, workers and makers can set up their own labs and studios.

      Carlo Ratti Associati will transform the 20,000 square-metre Caserma Lamarmora barracks into “a testing ground for an open-source approach to architecture”.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • DIY Open Source Electric Longboard

        If you would rather build your very own electric longboard rather than purchase one of the numerous different styles and variations currently available for over and above $500.

        You may be interested in a new open source electric longboard design which uses 3D printer parts and can be constructed for under $400. Depending on your skill levels the project can take anywhere from four hours to one we tend to construct and is capable of providing users with a theoretical top speed of 35 km an hour and the theoretical range of up to 25 km.

      • OpenGarages encourages open innovation for automobiles

        Practically since the invention of the automobile, people have been customizing their vehicles. From the fade-away fenders of the 1930s, to the hot rods and muscle cars of the 1950s and 1970s, and on to the “Pimp My Ride” era of the 2000s, people have always expressed their individualism through their cars.

        Now that computers are literally driving automobiles, programmers have gotten in on the action. People like Craig Smith, founder of OpenGarages, are working to support open source car hacking tools that both help automobile enthusiasts fine-tune their cars and contribute to the overall security of modern vehicles.

        Smith has long been an advocate for open standards and was an early Linux adopter. He’s written multiple Linux kernel modules for his own use (personally or for his employer), but he’s focused his public contributions at the “application level around security or game development.”

      • Turtle Rover Offers Open Source System for Earth Exploration

        The team behind the Turtle Rover started in 2012 working on Mars rover prototypes at the Wroclaw University of Technology. After working on the FREDE and DREAM projects for space missions the group decided to develop an open source project for makers. The Turtle Rover is their project, an open source remote control rover designed for Earth exploration.

  • Programming/Development

    • Blog: Adopting an Agile Warrior Mindset Toward Software Development

      Companies and individual tech teams must tailor their approaches to meeting customer needs by using open source practices and assuming an agile warrior mindset…

    • Go 1.9 is released

      Today the Go team is happy to announce the release of Go 1.9. You can get it from the download page. There are many changes to the language, standard library, runtime, and tooling. This post covers the most significant visible ones. Most of the engineering effort put into this release went to improvements of the runtime and tooling, which makes for a less exciting announcement, but nonetheless a great release.

    • Go 1.9 Adds Type Aliases, Parallel Compilation

      Version 1.9 of Google’s Go programming language is now available for developers.

      Go 1.9 features a variety of changes, including on the language front where there is now support for type aliases. Exciting me a lot about Go 1.9 is that it now supports compiling functions for a package in parallel. The concurrent compilation of functions should really speed up the build process and is enabled by default although there is an option to disable it if you so choose.

    • Teaching Kids Coding, by the Book

      One sunny summer morning this month, a group of 20 teenage girls gathered in a conference room in the sleek offices of a tech company in Manhattan. It was their fifth week of coding camp, and they were huddled around laptops, brainstorming designs for their final projects. One group was building a computer game that simulates the experience of going through life with depression and anxiety, while others were drafting plans for websites that track diversity at companies and help connect newly arrived immigrants with local community groups.

      They were working intently when Reshma Saujani, the founder and chief executive of the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, dropped in to offer some encouragement.


  • Science

    • Lost Turing letters give unique insight into his academic life prior to death

      A lost and unique collection of letters and correspondence from the late Alan Turing has been found in an old filing cabinet in a storeroom at the University of Manchester.

      The file’s content, which potentially hasn’t seen the light of day for at least 30 years, dates from early 1949 until Turing’s death in June 1954.

      Altogether there are 148 documents, including a letter from GCHQ, a handwritten draft BBC radio programme about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and offers to lecture from some of America’s most famous universities, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 6 Enormous Dick Moves From Big Pharma (You Never Noticed)

      For being the industry that provides us with both life-saving drugs and boner pills, Big Pharma sure gets a lot of hate. But it turns out they’re even better at sucking than we thought, filling their day-to-day lives with lots of little acts of douchebaggery to keep us miserable through all of our waking moments. For example …

    • Did Monsanto Write Malawi’s Seed Policy?

      In late July, a short article was published in a Malawian newspaper: “Press Release on Organization of Seed Fairs.” Issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development, in conjunction with the Seed Traders Association of Malawi, the short statement advised the public that “only quality certified seed suppliers registered with Government to produce and/or market seed should be allowed to display seed at such events.” The release was signed by Bright Kumwembe for the Agriculture Ministry.

    • Deadline Next Week For Sida Training On Genetic Resources And IP Regulation

      Applications are due by 4 September for an all-expenses-paid Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) Advanced International Training Programme aimed at building capacity in intellectual property and genetic resources in support of innovation.

      The programme is open for applicants from the following countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Possible Education of Donald Trump

      Despite the chaos and ugliness of the past seven months, President Trump has finally begun to turn U.S. foreign policy away from the neoconservative approach of endless war against an ever-expanding roster of enemies.

    • North Korea Keeps Saying It Might Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons — But Most News Outlets Won’t Tell You That

      The current phase of the decades-long U.S.-North Korea standoff began this past July 4, when North Korea launched its first genuine intercontinental ballistic missile. In a statement, North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un called it “a gift for the American bastards.”

      Then, on August 8, President Trump terrifyingly declared that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Two days later he said, “maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” and tweeted that “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded.”

    • The FARC arrives at Congress to become a political party

      The next day, the leader of the FARC met for several hours with the Central High Command of the guerrilla. At the meeting they discussed, above all, the name of the political party. On August 15, ‘Iván Márquez’ had told the media that the name of that community “will surely be called Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionara de Colombia (Alternative Revolutionary Front of Colombia). We do not want to break ties with our past, we have been and will continue to be a revolutionary front.”

    • Trump ‘Presidential’ Again—for Ramping Up War in Afghanistan

      Donald Trump is finally “presidential” again, pundits insist, now that he is ratcheting up another US war.

      In a speech on August 21, the far-right US president did an about-face, announcing a surge in the 16th year of the war in Afghanistan, which he had previously harshly condemned. Trump did not reveal many specifics, but reports suggest his administration will deploy 4,000 more soldiers to the country (Fox News, 8/21/17), in addition to the roughly 8,400 US troops and 5,000 other NATO forces already there.

    • Cost Of US Empire – $1 TRILLION A Year
    • The War That Time Forgot

      For her part, Warren largely echoed McCain’s bellicose banter that Trump needs to double down militarily to finish off the Taliban, the impossible dream. No real surprise here. To the extent that she’s advanced any foreign policy positions during her stint in the senate, Warren has been a dutiful supplicant to the demands of AIPAC and the Council on Foreign Relations, rarely diverging from the neocon playbook for the global war on Islam. Warren’s Afghan junket is a sure sign of her swelling presidential ambitions. These days “national security” experience is measured almost exclusively by how much blood you are willing to spill in countries you know almost nothing about. It didn’t take long for Warren to matriculate to the company position.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange slams ‘absurd’ US plan to label WikiLeaks ‘non-state intelligence service’

      Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks, has spoken out against a passing US Senate bill which aims to officially label his organisation as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” that is “abetted by state actors and should be treated as such”.

    • Even WikiLeaks Haters Shouldn’t Want it Labeled a “Hostile Intelligence Agency”

      It used to be easy to cheer on WikiLeaks. But since 2010, many (myself included) have watched with dismay as WikiLeaks slid from the outlet courageous enough to host Chelsea Manning’s data dump to a murky melange of bad-faith propagandizing and newsworthy disclosures. At a time when WikiLeaks and its founder are willing to help push Pizzagate, and unable to tweet about sunglasses sans conspiracy-think, it’s not unfair to view Assange as being motivated as much by his various axes to grind as by a zeal for transparency. But even the harshest WikiLeaks critics should resist the Senate’s attempt to brand the website a “non-state hostile intelligence service” in the 2018 intelligence authorization bill.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications (1977–2014)

      We present an empirical document-by-document textual content analysis and comparison of 187 climate change communications from ExxonMobil, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed publications, internal company documents, and paid, editorial-style advertisements (‘advertorials’) in The New York Times.


      Available documents show a discrepancy between what ExxonMobil’s scientists and executives discussed about climate change privately and in academic circles and what it presented to the general public.

    • Failure to Set Cost of Carbon Hampers Trump’s Effort to Expand Use of Fossil Fuels

      The Trump administration plans to sharply reduce the government’s estimate of how much each ton of carbon emissions harms the planet. It hasn’t done so yet, and that delay is slowing Trump’s effort to expand coal mining and gas pipelines.

    • Border Patrol Checkpoints in Texas Will Stay Open as Hurricane Evacuation Is Underway

      As evacuations are underway for Hurricane Harvey, the Border Patrol is continuing to operate its immigration checkpoints, forcing undocumented immigrants to choose between staying put — and trying to withstand a hurricane — or risking deportation.

      The hurricane is expected be the most powerful storm to land in 12 years, and counties near the southern coast in Texas have ordered thousands of residents to leave, according to NBC.

      Jim Burns, a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection, told The Intercept that “U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints in the path of Hurricane Harvey in Texas will close as state highways close.” So in other words, as long as the highways are functional for evacuation, the Border Patrol will operate checkpoints.

  • Finance

    • The Trump Administration Just Approved a Dangerous Merger

      But like almost everything with Trump, he was just blowing hot air: Yesterday, his Federal Trade Commission handed Amazon its biggest victory yet. The First Amendment has been spared, but consumers, workers, and small businesses have not. The decision will have dreadful long-term effects, and the FTC did it with all the seriousness of an intern scheduling a lunch meeting.

    • Whole Foods price cuts are at center of Amazon-Walmart online war

      Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods in June, will begin a wave of price cuts on Monday following Walmart’s new focus on developing its online retail efforts

    • Billionaire Porn King Reinvents Himself as Japan’s Startup Guru

      The next big idea was a cash register Kameyama developed that looked like a tablet computer. He gave it to customers for free, in exchange for their sales records [...]

    • ‘I don’t feel welcome anymore’: EU citizens explain why they are leaving the UK in their thousands

      Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 122,000 Europeans left the UK in the year to March, with the unprecedented exodus driving a drop in net migration.

      Business groups have raised mounting concerns over “brain drain” from vital industries, while organisations representing EU migrants have urged the Government to offer solid guarantees over their status following Brexit.

      Lukasz, who did not want his second name published, moved to London as a young child when his mother was offered a better job in the capital.

    • Why is the government so afraid to publish its Brexit impact studies?

      Earlier this year, a leaked Department of Health study revealed that a hard Brexit would leave the NHS short of 40,000 nurses by 2026. This led me to write to Brexit secretary, David Davis, demanding the government urgently disclose any other findings into the potential impacts of the hard Brexit path it is pursuing.

      The response from the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) revealed that they have conducted analysis of over 50 sectors of the economy, but no indication was given as to the findings from these studies. So potentially more than 50 secret papers fill the shelves at DExEU offices.

      Attempted reassurances in the letter that the DExEU has “travelled up and down the country to listen to the hopes and concerns of businesses, civil society and of course the general public”, won’t wash. The government is sitting on crucial information that ought to be in the public domain. It could help determine future policy on key issues such as membership of the single market and customs union, freedom of movement and the rights of EU nationals.

    • Yellen Warns Against Erasing Regulations Made After the Financial Crisis
    • Fed Chair Yellen Rejects Trump Bank Deregulation

      Yellen correctly and courageously rejects the deconstruction of key financial safeguards supported by many on Trump’s team of Wall Street-sourced bank regulators.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Depiction of Trump in American flag giving Nazi salute is disturbing

      Wow. Check out this latest cover of German magazine Stern, that depicts Trump draped in the American flag, giving a Nazi salute.

    • Interior recommends Trump shrink national monuments

      Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday he’s asking President Trump to shrink “a handful” of national monuments that previous presidents designated to protect land and water.

      In a formal report he’s sending to Trump on Thursday, Zinke will not ask the president to eliminate any of the 27 protected areas that were under review since an April executive order, he told The Associated Press.

      He did not specify the changes he is recommending in the AP interview. But he said any areas removed from national monuments would remain under federal control and public access would either stay the same or improve.

    • The Taliban’s Response to Trump’s Afghanistan Address
    • Intel chief sheds light on ‘beautiful letter’ Trump says he wrote him

      When former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper questioned President Donald Trump’s “fitness to be in this office” after the President’s wild speech in Phoenix Tuesday night, it was likely only a matter of time before the President aimed his Twitter ire at the retired general.

      Indeed, Thursday morning came the tweet from the President: “James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?”

    • What Trump has undone

      President Trump has repeatedly argued that he’s done more than any other recent president. That’s not true, as measured by the amount of legislation he’s been able to sign. It is true, though, that Trump has undone a lot of things that were put into place by his predecessors, including President Barack Obama.

      Since Jan. 20, Trump’s administration has enthusiastically and systematically undone or uprooted rules, policies and tools that predated his time in office. Below, a list of those changes, roughly organized by subject area.

    • The Breakthrough: Behind the Scenes of Hillary Clinton’s Failed Bid for President

      “She’s partway through the primaries already and she’s saying, ‘I don’t understand what this populist uprising is,’” says Allen. He and Parnes were “dumbstruck” when sources first told them this, long before Election Day.

      Hear about these surprises and more on The Breakthrough, the ProPublica podcast where investigative reporters reveal how they nailed their biggest stories.

    • Mark Lilla’s Book Criticizes Identity Politics, But Falls Short On Proposing An Alternative

      Shortly after the 2016 election, Columbia University historian Mark Lilla published an op-ed in The New York Times lamenting that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.”

      He attacked “identity politics” as atomizing the American public and losing elections — contrasting it with a holistic variation of liberalism that powered the New Deal Coalition — Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, which focused not so much on who individual Americans were, but what rights they all needed. The column went viral, sparking countless hot takes, and he quickly padded out the argument into enough words to call it a book. Let the hot takes resume.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Nude Blogger Wins Censorship War With Instagram

      A nude blogger whose self-described “body positive” Instagram page was shut down for violating the social-media network’s nudity policy has celebrated her return to the site by posting a nude photo of herself partially obscured by a placard reading: “F*ck you Instagram.”

    • ‘A win for body positivity’: Aussie nude blogger back on Instagram

      A Queensland nude blogger is back on Instagram after her popular account was shut down without warning by the social media platform.

    • Google Begins Biggest Crackdown on Extremist YouTube Videos

      YouTube isn’t removing the selected videos, but is instead setting new restrictions on viewing, sharing and making money on them. A note detailing the changes will go to producers of the affected videos on Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for the Alphabet Inc. company.

    • Measuring the Internet for Freedom

      All of this was uncovered through the use of software called ooniprobe, which is designed to measure networks and detect Internet censorship. Ooniprobe was developed more than five years ago by the Tor-supported Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), with which I work, in order to boost transparency, accountability, and oversight of Internet censorship. The software is free and open source, meaning that anyone can use it. And, indeed, tens of thousands of ooniprobe users from more than 190 countries have already done just that.

    • Helping to track and combat creeping online censorship

      A piece of software that detects internet censorship is a critical tool for safeguarding human rights on the internet and beyond, writes Maria Xynou.

      Last year, during a wave of deadly political protests in Ethiopia, the government blocked more than 15 media websites and the smartphone chat application WhatsApp.

      Sites promoting freedom of expression and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as those offering censorship-circumvention tools, such as Tor and Psiphon, were also suppressed.

      All of this was uncovered through the use of software called ooniprobe, which is designed to measure networks and detect internet censorship.

    • Drop censorship of documentary films on human trafficking, refugees

      On 11 August, the Malaysian government wrongfully censored a documentary film on the human trafficking of Rohingya girls to Malaysia and banned a documentary on refugees in Kenya.

      “This censorship is unconstitutional and violates the rights of the filmmakers,” said Amy Smith, executive director of Fortify Rights. “Malaysia’s censorship law is inconsistent with human rights law and Malaysia’s own constitution, suppressing free speech and expression — the bedrocks of a free society. These films are in the public interest and deserve a wide audience.”

    • ‘Clever’ TapDance approach to web censorship that works at ISP level

      Both China and India have been found to block websites sometimes. Don’t feel smug if you live outside of Asia, the American government may block websites in the future. The UK government has already talked about blocking websites that feature pornography of consenting adults, unless an adult Briton specifically asks to be able to access it.

      Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Georgetown University Law Center, University of Michigan, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have found a way to circumvent web censorship, but ISPs worldwide would need to implement their technology. Their refraction networking system is called TapDance.

    • Why We Must Defend Free Speech

      The Trump era requires greater resistance against government’s power to restrict First Amendment rights.

      Does the First Amendment need a rewrite in the era of Donald Trump? Should the rise of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups lead us to cut back the protection afforded to speech that expresses hatred and advocates violence, or otherwise undermines equality? If free speech exacerbates inequality, why doesn’t equality, also protected by the Constitution, take precedence?

      After the tragic violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, these questions take on renewed urgency. Many have asked in particular why the ACLU, of which I am national legal director, represented Jason Kessler, the organizer of the rally, in challenging Charlottesville’s last-minute effort to revoke his permit. The city proposed to move his rally a mile from its originally approved site—Emancipation Park, the location of the Robert E. Lee monument whose removal Kessler sought to protest—but offered no reason why the protest would be any easier to manage a mile away. As ACLU offices across the country have done for thousands of marchers for almost a century, the ACLU of Virginia gave Kessler legal help to preserve his permit. Should the fatal violence that followed prompt recalibration of the scope of free speech?

  • Privacy/Surveillance