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Links 11/9/2016: 20 Years of KDE, Budgie 10.2.7 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • issue #45: Zines, Kubernetes, Trojans, myLG, InfluxDB, hop & more!
  • HPE Boosts SUSE, Rootkit Targets Linux & More…

    Damn if the days aren’t already getting too short for this old soul who no longer feels comfortable driving after dark. This is made worse by the fact I live way out in the country — miles from nowhere, as they say — meaning I’m pretty much stuck in the house at night. The good news is, this means that these days I’m getting a lot of writing done.

    Now on to this weeks FOSS news…

    We’ll start with the good news. The Creative Commons has scored a victory in Austria. This started as one of those right versus left sort of stories, involving a left leaning film collective, Filmpiraten, and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria, or FPO. It seems that Filmpiraten posted a video to YouTube documenting protests against Akedemikerball, an annual event hosted by the FPO each year in Vienna that brings right wing leaders to Austria. Also, each year it brings thousands of protesters.

  • Server

    • IBM unveils new Linux-based servers to boost AI, deep learning

      IBM on Thursday revealed a series of new servers designed to help propel cognitive workloads and to drive greater data centre efficiency.

      Featuring a new chip, the Linux-based lineup incorporates innovations from the “OpenPOWER” community that deliver higher levels of performance and greater computing efficiency than available on any x86-based server.

  • Kernel Space

    • [Older] Linux is 25. Yay! Let’s celebrate with 25 stunning facts about Linux.
    • Memfd Transport Now Enabled By Default For PulseAudio

      With this summer’s PulseAudio 9.0 release was support for Memfd-based transport. That support is now enabled by default in time for PulseAudio 10.

      This feature is about using Memfd on modern versions of the Linux kernel as a transport / shared memory method in place of the existing POSIX SHM shared memory transport. Memfd has been around since Linux 3.17 and this transport method for PulseAudio should be more secure and modern — for allowing better sandboxing/container support, etc.

    • Graphics Stack

      • It’s Been Another Exciting Week Of RADV Development (Radeon Vulkan)

        The RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver continues to look promising and there’s been a lot more code being merged the past few days.

        Since last weekend when writing about RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver Continues Building Up Features Quickly, there have been 17 pages of commits landing in the code repository (Mesa semi-interesting branch) by David Airlie and Bas Nieuwenhuizen.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Frameworks 5.26.0 Improves the Breeze Icons, Plasma Framework, and Sonnet

        Today, September 10, 2016, the KDE project announced the release of the KDE Frameworks 5.26.0 collection of over 70 add-on libraries for the Qt5 GUI toolkit.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.26 Released
      • KDE neon – Weak lighting

        KDE neon is an interesting project. If we ignore the world, it does bring some fresh new changes into the Plasma universe, with significant improvements but also a handful of bugs and glitches. If we expand our view to include all other distributions, the scintillating allure of neon begins to fade. It does not have any killer features that make it a worthy rival to other, well-established home players.

        The visual distinction from Kubuntu is a small one, the smartphone support is lacking, the media support can be slightly polished, the package manager is awful, the app layer thin, and you can’t really pimp the distro because the beauty framework is utterly broken. I did like that more stuff works than before, but it’s like priding yourself on getting the highest fail grade in the classroom. Overall hardware support, network excluded and resource utilizations are probably the only redeeming features, but even then, by a tiny margin. Which gets quickly drowned in the sea of bugs, errors, problems, and glitches. Samba is another sore point.

        At the end of the day, this distro is a cool test bed for what Plasma has in store, but it does not have the critical mass of goodies needed for any serious use. The recent wave of distros was pretty much awful, so you might be tempted to look at them, but no. Any old Ubuntu based on 14.04 is way better, and so is the new Fedora. CentOS 7, too. In the end, neon needs a lot more work before I can phrase the word recommended in association with its behavior. Overall, 5/10. But, compare it to the K-flavored Xerus, and there’s still hope. To be continued.

      • Project: Integrating Sentinel-2 data into Marble

        In conclusion the project has paved the groundwork for future efforts on Sentinel-2 data integration, which will lead to Marble Virtual Globe being the first in it’s kind to possess this quality data, it being open for users all around the world to create and develop with.

      • Embedded Notifications for Externally Modified Files

        In the past, KTextEditor notified the user about externally modified files with a modal dialog. Many users were annoyed by this behavior.

      • Kate & Akademy Awards 2016

        Dominik and me got the Akademy 2016 Award for our work on Kate and KTextEditor.

      • [Krita] Experimental OSX Build Available
      • Another Happy Birthday
      • Hello World

        I guess I should tell you all a little about myself. I learned C++ in high school computer science, but that was long ago. Since then, I have never stopped programming toys for myself and others. I have been a Linux user since around when I started in computer science and have used KDE as my main DE for just about the entire time. Around 2003, I switched to purely open source software. You see, I had always dabbled, but I just was not really ready to stop using the other proprietary operating systems. Then, in 2005, I started to become a fairly active member over at the Kubuntu forums. I started mostly doing it as a fun way to expand my knowledge base while helping others.

      • AtCore test
      • First Year As a Mentor
      • QtCon wrap up

        We had an incredible time in Berlin. First the training day by KDAB and then three conference days packed full with topics ranging from how to set up an open source organisation to fine tuning Qt graphics.

        Second. a shout out to the communities that we had the pleasure to work with to create QtCon, FSFE, KDE and VideoLAN, and of course to our partners KDAB, you guys rock!

        Last but definitely not least, Thank You obviously to all the volunteers from the different communities!

      • Day 6 at Akademy 2016
      • Back from Akademy
      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 14-Akademy Day3-4)
      • Akademy
      • Plasma 5.8: Per-screen Pagers

        The other day I wrote about the Pager improvements awaiting in Plasma 5.8. In the comments user btin re-raised the issue of limiting the Pager’s display to the screen it’s currently on, instead of being all-exclusive.

        At the time I wasn’t sure we could still sneak this in before feature freeze, but thanks to the screen-awareness of the new backend (which, to recap, is shared with the Task Manager and already needs to determine what screen a given window resides on), it turned out to be easy enough to do!

      • Kdenlive 16.08.1 released

        We are happy to announce a new dot release with some improvements and various fixes. We also celebrate some code contribution from Harald Albrecht (TheDive0) hoping to see more devs joining our team.

      • Akademy 2016 is over :(
      • New features in Krita 3.0.1
      • “20 Years of KDE” book released!
      • 20 Years of KDE

        A tour through the moments that marked the 20 years of community history, starting with the technologies that made possible its existence.

      • Happy 20 Years, KDE
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Spending GNOME’s privacy money

        In 2013, the GNOME Foundation ran a successful campaign that raised funds for enhancing privacy features in the GNOME desktop and application suite. Unfortunately, subsequent changes in the organization left GNOME without a clear plan for how best to use the earmarked funds, so they remain—untouched—in GNOME’s bank account. At GUADEC 2016 in Karlsruhe, Germany, the topic of how to utilize the money was revisited, and a plan has now begun to take shape.

      • Announcing Gtef, an incubator for GtkSourceView

        Gtef – the acronym for “GNOME Text Editor Framework” – is a new library that eases the development of GtkSourceView-based text editors and IDEs. It can serve as an incubator for some GtkSourceView features.

      • Wrap-up from this cycle of Outreachy

        Now that all interns have completed their work, I wanted to share a few final thoughts about this cycle of Outreachy. Hopefully, this post will also help us in future usability testing.

        This was my third time mentoring for Outreachy, but my first time with more than one intern at a time. As in previous cycles, I worked with GNOME to do usability testing. Allan Day and Jakub Steiner from the GNOME Design Team also pitched in with comments and advice to the interns when they were working on their tests and analysis.

      • GNOME 3.22 – Whats New | GNOME Files (Nautilus)
  • Distributions

    • Budgie 10.2.7 Released

      We’re thrilled to announce the release of Budgie 10.2.7, the last release in our 10.2 series that aims to resolve a multitude of issues as well as land some user experience improvements.

    • Solus Released

      Today we are providing a minor update to Solus 1.2 in the form of Solus This release enables us to address a multitude of issues that have since been resolved after the release of Solus 1.2…

    • This Week in Solus – Install #35
    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • LinuxScreenshots.org is closed.

        LinuxScreenshots.org is closed.

        An archive of all screenshot tours from this site have been made freely available to the community, which consists of 2300 releases from 580 distributions.

        You may download this archive for fun, or to start your own Linux screenshots website. Please help seed torrents.

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Trying out openSUSE Tumbleweed

        While distribution-hopping is common among newcomers to Linux, longtime users tend to settle into a distribution they like and stay put thereafter. In the end, Linux distributions are more alike than different, and one’s time is better spent getting real work done rather than looking for a shinier version of the operating system. Your editor, however, somehow never got that memo; that’s what comes from ignoring Twitter, perhaps. So there is a new distribution on the main desktop machine; this time around it’s openSUSE Tumbleweed.

        Most rational users simply want a desktop system that works, is secure, and, hopefully, isn’t too badly out of date. Tumbleweed is not intended for those users; instead, it is good for people who like to be on the leading edge with current versions of everything and who are not afraid of occasional breakage. It’s for users who like an occasional surprise from their operating system. That sounds like just the sort of distribution your editor actively seeks out.

        More to the point, Tumbleweed is a rolling distribution; rather than make regular releases that are months or years apart, the Tumbleweed developers update packages individually as new releases come out upstream. Unlike development distributions like Rawhide, Tumbleweed does not contain pre-release software. By waiting to ship a release until it has been declared stable upstream, Tumbleweed should be able to avoid the worst unpleasant surprises while keeping up with what the development community is doing.

      • Daimler AG Migrates its Mission Critical Servers to Suse Linux

        SUSE technologies are helping Daimler AG, the German automotive behemoth, to migrate a large proportion of its mission-critical servers from proprietary UNIX operating systems to ‘the open and flexible Linux platform’.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Weeks 2016/36

        Another week with 4 snapshots has passed, sadly some issues managed to sneak in but, as you are used to by Tumbleweed already, we managed to resolve the issues on the mailing list in no time and made sure that upcoming snapshots get the fixes asap. The snapshots published were 0901, 0905, 0907 and 0908.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • The New Features Expected In DNF-2, Currently In Development

          DNF(Dandified YUM) is a relatively new package manager for Fedora , a community-supported Linux distribution. Referred to as the next generation YUM package manager, DNF was introduced in Fedora 18 and has ever since been the default package manager for this popular distribution.

        • PHP 5.5 is dead

          After PHP 5.4, and as announced, PHP version 5.5.38 was the last official release of PHP 5.5

          Which means that since version 5.6.25 and version 7.0.10 have been released, some security vulnerabilities are not, and won’t be, fixed by the PHP project.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Paramount Wipes “Infringing” Ubuntu Torrent From Google

            It’s no secret that copyright holders are trying to take down as much pirated content as they can, but targeting open source software is not something we see every day. Paramount Pictures recently sent a DMCA takedown to Google, listing a copy of the popular operating system Ubuntu. An honest mistake, perhaps, but a worrying one.

          • The first international UbuCon in Europe

            UbuCon Europe 2016 is the first conference dedicated to the European Ubuntu community. Look forward to two days full of talks, workshops, demos, exhibitions and (hopefully) great food! Social events in the evenings will give you the opportunity to meet fellow community members and visit some of Essen’s most beautiful sights!

          • [Older] Canonical certifies big software solutions at Facebook’s new lab

            Today at the OCP Technology Day, Facebook announced the grand opening of its new hardware lab space in Menlo Park to validate and certify software solutions and Canonical was one of the first to test its solutions are OCP compliant.

            At the new lab, enterprise and carrier-grade Big Software solutions were deployed including OpenStack Mitaka and Ubuntu Storage on OCP Leopard, Honey Badger, and Knox. These solutions were deployed to bare metal in time measured in minutes and hours instead of days or weeks due to the use of two key technologies: Juju and MAAS, both of which are tested and validated at Facebook’s new facilities.

          • Compiling Ardour on Ubuntu Linux from Source Code
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Design Team working on Spices website

              About a week ago, I decided to create a new team, dedicated to artwork, style and design for Linux Mint. The main goal of this team is to restyle our various websites, but also long term to work in coordination with the development team to make various aspects of our distribution more pleasing to the eye.

              Artists who recently helped with web design were invited to join, and the team now has 8 members.

              I’d like to thank Carlos Fernandez already for his involvement and Eran Gilo for the beautiful work he’s already produced.

            • Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon Edition : See What’s New

              Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon Edition is the latest version of Linux Mint 18 featuring the latest Cinnamon 3.0 as default desktop environment.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Sun gets it wrong, we’re here to help. [Ed: for context]

    Recently the Sun published an article by Ryan Sabey (@ryansabey), “UNION HACK Jeremy Corbyn’s digital democracy manifesto ‘would let foreign spooks rob UK’”. The post included several criticisms from government officials and pundits challenging the quality and security of open source software, cautioning readers, “sensitive data could be at risk under Labour leader’s plans.”

    Mr. Corbyn’s, “Digital Democracy Manifesto” calls for public bodies in the U.K. to, “encourage publicly funded software and hardware to be released under an Open Source license,” and “financially reward staff technicians who significantly contribute to Open Source projects”.

    Neil Doyle, who the Sun simply identified as an expert, warned, “cyber-criminals and foreign intelligence agencies would have a field day” under such an approach while, “private firms or individuals would be reluctant to get involved in public sector projects.”

    Adding further criticism was British MP Nigel Adams who said Mr. Corbyn’s initiative, “ignores the issue of Internet abuse” adding, “his shambolic policies could leave us open to malicious attack and put our national security at risk.”

  • Open source at the European Broadcasting Union/Eurovision

    Exactly ten years ago, motion graphics artist Jonas Hummelstrand posted a message on a web forum. It read: “In 15 minutes the Swedish election TV-show airs, and we’ll be outputting a lot of real-time graphics directly from Flash!” Jonas was excited. He stood at the cradle of something new, but he probably had no clue how big his baby would turn out to be.

    Jonas is the main person behind CasparCG, the open source professional graphics and video playout software developed by Swedish public broadcaster SVT. This year, a decade after its conception, CasparCG was used for the Eurovision Song Contest graphics, including all of the animated votes counting.

  • Yahoo! Open Sources Pulsar, a Pub/Sub Messaging Platform

    According to Yahoo!, Pulsar is a low latency Pub/Sub messaging system that can be scaled horizontally across multiple hosts and datacenters. Yahoo! has been using Pulsar in production for Mail, Finance, Gemini Ads, Sherpa, and Sports since Q2/2015. By making it open source, they hope it will be widely used by being integrated with other open source products. Yahoo! has deployed Pulsar in over ten datacenters, reaching over 100B msgs/day spread over 1.4 million topics with an average publish latency of less than 5ms. Pulsar comes with guaranteed delivery of messages and two persisted copies, automatic cursor management for message readers and cross-datacenter replication.

  • Penn researchers develop open-source software to infer evolutionary track of tumor metastasis

    Individual cells within a tumor are not all the same. This may sound like a modern medical truism, but it wasn’t very long ago that oncologists assumed that taking a single biopsy from a patient’s tumor would be an accurate reflection of the physiological and genetic make-up of the entire mass.

    Researchers have come to realize that cancer is a disease driven by the same “survival of the fitter” forces that Darwin proposed drove the evolution of life on Earth. In the case of tumors, however, individual cells are constantly evolving as a tumor’s stage advances. Mobile cancer cells causing metastasis are a deadly outcome of this process.

  • Open365 mail – You’ve got … something?

    Ladies, gentlemen, everyone else. Not that long ago, I reviewed Open365, a free, open-source, cloud-based productivity suite based on LibreOffice, with some nice spicy additions. I liked it. It’s a pretty decent product, with a lot of potential. But there’s still a lot more work to be done.

    The one aspect of the five-app combo you get in Open365 that I missed in the earlier article is the mail functionality. You have the three power programs – LibreOffice Writer, Calc and Impress – plus GIMP, with the mail client as the fifth element. Get the joke? Oh my. Well, it is time to right all past wrongs and give the final piece of the cloud suite its due review. Rhyme. Word.

  • Julia Reda, MEP: “Proprietary Software threatens Democracy”

    Julia Reda ended the QtCon, a conference for the Free Software community, with a closing keynote on, among other things, Free Software in the European Public Sector.

    Ms Reda, a member of the EU Parliament for the Pirate Party, explained how proprietary software, software that forbids users from studying and modifying it, has often left regulators in the dark, becoming a liability for and often a threat to the well-being and health of citizens.

    An example of this, she said, is the recent Dieselgate scandal, in which auto-mobile manufacturers installed software that cheated instruments that measured fumes in test environments, only to spew illegal amounts of toxic exhaust into the atmosphere the moment they went on the road.

    Ms Reda also explained how medical devices running proprietary software posed a health hazard for patients. She gave the example of a woman with a pacemaker who collapsed while climbing some stairs due to a bug in her device. Doctors and technicians had no way of diagnosing and correcting the problem as they did not have access to the code.

    Also worrying is the threat software with restrictive licenses pose to democracy itself. The trend of substituting traditional voting ballots with voting machines is especially worrying, because, as these machines are not considered a threat to national security, their software also goes unaudited and is, in fact, unauditable in most cases.

  • Events

    • LibreOffice Conference 2016

      It was the third big open source desktop conference we’ve managed to get to Brno (after GUADEC 2013 and Akademy 2014). 3 days of talks, 150 attendees from all over the world, 4 social events.

      The conference went pretty well from the organizational point of view. Feedback has been very positive so far. People liked the city, the venue (FIT BUT campus is really, really nice), the parties, and catering during the conference. TDF board even lifted Red Hat to the highest sponsorship level for the amount of work we did for the conference. The only major bummer we had was no online streaming. It’s quite easy to set it up with the university’s built-in video recording system, but the university didn’t allow it in the end. Nevertheless, we treated online streaming as nice-to-have. Video recordings are important to us and we’ll do our best to get them online as soon as possible.

    • Git microconference accepted into LPC 2016
    • Git Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      The Linux kernel community has been using Git for more than a decade, but it is still under active development, with more than 2,000 non-merge git commits from almost 200 contributor over the past year. Rather than review this extensive history, this Micro Git Together instead focuses on what the next few years might bring. In addtion, Junio will present on the state of the Git Union, Josh Triplett will present on the git-series project, and Steve Rostedt will present “A Maze Of Git Scripts All Alike”, in which Steve puts forward the radical notion that common function in various maintainers’ scripts could be pulled into git itself. This should help lead into a festive discussion about the future of git.

    • Rumors of OpenOffice Demise Exaggerated

      LibreOffice spun out from OpenOffice in the aftermath of the Oracle/Sun acquisition. It was one of many projects including Hudson/Jenkins and MySQL/MariaDB that got forked. To the best my knowledge while all those forks have strong user bases and have become the default tools in their respective domains – the original projects persist.

    • Token-based authorship information from Git

      At LinuxCon North America 2016, Daniel German presented some research that he and others have done to extract more fine-grained authorship information from Git. Instead of the traditional line-based attribution for changes, they took things to the next level by looking at individual tokens in the source code and attributing changes to individuals. This kind of analysis may be helpful in establishing code provenance for copyright and other purposes.

      German, who is from the University of Victoria, worked on the project with Kate Stewart of the Linux Foundation and Bram Adams of Polytechnique Montréal. It was a “combination of research plus hacking”, he said, and the results were fascinating.

  • BSD

    • TrueOS vs. DragonFlyBSD vs. GhostBSD vs. FreeBSD vs. PacBSD Benchmarks

      For your viewing pleasure this weekend are benchmarks of TrueOS 20160831 (the rolling-release distribution formerly known as PC-BSD), DragonFlyBSD 4.6, GhostBSD 10.3, FreeBSD 11.0-RC2, and PacBSD 20160809 (formerly known as Arch BSD) all benchmarked from the same system! Plus for reference to the Linux numbers are Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS and Clear Linux 10040 being compared to these BSDs on the same tests and hardware.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • GPL Time-bomb an interesting approach to #FOSS licensing

      In short I have put a time limit of 3 years to make money out of the product and if I am unable it is turned over to the world to use as they see fit. Even better, assuming searchcode server becomes a successful product I will be forced to continually improve it and upgrade if I want to keep a for sale version without there being an equivalent FOSS version around (which in theory could be maintained by the community). In short everyone wins from this arrangement, and I am not forced to rely on a support model to pay the bills which frankly only works when you have a large sales team.

      Here’s hoping this sort of licencing catches on as there are so many products out there that could benefit from it. If they take off the creators have an incentive to maintain and not milk their creation and those that become abandoned even up available for public use which I feel is a really fair way of licencing software.

    • The kernel community confronts GPL enforcement

      Some of the most important discussions associated with the annual Kernel Summit do not happen at the event itself; instead, they unfold prior to the summit on the planning mailing list. There is value in learning what developers feel needs to be talked about and, often, important issues can be resolved before the summit itself takes place. That list has just hosted (indeed, is still hosting as of this writing) a voluminous discussion on license enforcement that was described by some participants as being “pointless” or worse. But that discussion has served a valuable purpose: it has brought to the light a debate that has long festered under the surface, and it has clarified where some of the real disagreements lie.

      It all started when Karen Sandler, the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), proposed a session on “GPL defense issues.” Interest in these issues is growing, she said, and it would be a good time to get the kernel community together for the purposes of information sharing and determining what community consensus exists, if any, on enforcement issues. It quickly became clear that some real differences of opinion exist though, in truth, the differences of opinion within the community may not be as large as they seem. Rather than attempt to cover the entire thread, this article will try to extract some of the most significant points from it.

  • Programming/Development

    • Moving to Pelican and GitHub pages

      I have decided to move to using GitHub pages and Pelican to create my person ‘hub’ on the Internet. I am still in the debate about moving some content over to the new hub, but have not made a decision yet.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Marylanders face hefty rate increases for Obamacare

      The cost of health insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act will jump 20 percent or more next year under rates to be announced Friday by Maryland regulators.

      The CEO of Maryland’s largest insurer defended the hefty rate increases and said the federal law that expanded health insurance to most Americans needs to be changed if it is to remain sustainable.

      “We regret that such rate increases are needed,” said Chet Burrell of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. “It is the last thing on earth we want. But no company can sustain the kinds of losses we have seen.”

    • A fourth Zika-positive mosquito pool identified in Miami Beach

      Despite local backlash against the use of a controversial insecticide, the first round of aerial spraying to curb the spread of Zika virus in South Beach took place early Friday. It lasted about 30 minutes.

      A plane contracted by Miami-Dade County flew in the darkness just after 5 a.m. for the first of four spraying cycles that officials hope will quickly bring down the number of mosquitoes carrying Zika virus in Miami Beach.

      The drone of the plane could be heard and lights could be spotted from Ocean Drive as it passed over the water three times. Few people were out. Some joggers hurried by in Lummus Park, where a few men slept along the rock wall. Restaurant staff were cleaning sidewalk tables.

    • NHS in England at ‘tipping point’ – hospital bosses

      NHS leaders in England say they have reached a “tipping point” and cannot maintain standards for patients on the funding they are getting.

      Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said many hospital bosses wanted to “sound a warning bell” to political leaders.

      It comes after latest figures showed record levels of delayed hospital discharges and patient waiting times.

      The government has said it is giving NHS England the £10bn it asked for.

      NHS Providers, the organisation that represents hospitals in England, says unless urgent funding is provided it will have to cut staff, bring in charges or introduce “draconian rationing” of treatment.

      It highlights that 80% of England’s acute hospitals are in financial deficit, compared with 5% three years ago – while missed A&E waiting time targets have risen from 10% to 90%.

    • Arizona Drug Firm Insys Makes Synthetic Pot Compound, Spends Big to Defeat Legal Pot

      A Chandler-based drug firm under investigation for its aggressive sales of a lethal painkiller claims that the large donation it made to a group that opposes marijuana legalization was an attempt to protect the public’s safety.

    • Seriously ‘Sinister’ Big Pharma: Opioid Maker Bankrolls Opposition to Pro-Pot Referendum

      It has been revealed that the maker of a powerful, addictive opioid drug is bankrolling the opposition to the effort to legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use in Arizona.

      The Phoenix New Times reported Thursday that Insys Therapeutics, the company behind the fentanyl-based medication Subsys, made a $500,000 donation to the group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP), which is leading the campaign against Proposition 205.

      On the ballot in November, Prop. 205 would allow people 21 years of age or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes as well as establish a department to regulate the drug’s cultivation and sale.

      It appears that Insys is trying to “eliminate the competition,” according to the New Times, which noted that the company “expects to soon launch a pharmaceutical version of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.”

      What’s more, Insys is currently facing numerous state investigations for deceptively marketing and selling Subsys, which is intended to treat cancer pain, and coercing doctors to promote it to patients for off-label uses. Fentanyl is estimated to be 80 times as potent as morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and may be fatal to users.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Sen. Bob Graham: Before 9/11, Bush and Cheney Made Sure Plot and Saudi Gov. Role Would Not be Exposed

      Senator Bob Graham, former co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells Paul Jay that the Bush administration created a culture of “not wanting to know” about potential terrorist attacks among American intelligence agencies, who have rewritten history with “aggressive deception” since 9/11.

    • House unanimously passes bill to allow 9/11 lawsuits against Saudi Arabia

      The House on Friday passed legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, days before the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

      The legislation passed unanimously by voice vote, to thunderous applause.

      The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in May, now heads to President Obama’s desk, where its future is uncertain.

      The White House has hinted strongly it will veto the measure. Obama has lobbied fiercely against it, arguing it could both strain relations with Saudi Arabia and lead to retaliatory legislation overseas against U.S. citizens.

      But lingering suspicion over Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks and pressure from victims’ families made the bill a popular bipartisan offering on Capitol Hill.

      The bill’s popularity puts the president in a delicate position. Supporters are hoping Obama will be leery of expending political capital he desperately needs during the lame-duck session.

      The president is hoping lawmakers will pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and a criminal justice reform measure and confirm Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

      If Obama does choose to veto the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, supporters believe that they have the two-thirds majority needed to override him — a first during his presidency.

    • Despite Obama’s Veto Threat, US House Votes to Allow 9/11 Victims to Sue Saudi Arabia
    • Netanyahu’s Land-Grab Strategy

      Behind the smokescreen of the broader Mideast chaos, Israel pursues a strategy of gobbling up Palestinian lands to establish de facto control of the West Bank while confining indigenous Arabs to isolated cantons, explains Alon Ben-Meir.


      Netanyahu is not deterred by the criticism and condemnation from the international community. He takes the position that building new housing units is largely in settlements that will eventually be part of a final status deal in exchange for land swaps, as if he has the right to unilaterally decide which settlements will be incorporated to Israel proper without an agreement with the Palestinians.

    • Palestinian Hunting Season

      May 2017 will mark fifty years of Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank characterized by institutionalized inequality and injustice toward Palestinians. At the bidding of the government, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) routinely and violently confronts Palestinians, but also Israeli and international dissidents who dare challenge the continued expansion and entrenchment of the illegal settlements in the West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza strip. Protesters run the risk of getting cursed, spat on, detained, beaten up, stoned, stabbed, shot, kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured or any combination thereof. Moreover, in an unfortunate yet predictable move, the Israeli government has recently declared war on the nonviolent boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

      Like clockwork, every few years a cycle of violence disproportionately bathes Palestinian society in blood and tears and serves to further fortify the occupation (see Israeli Occupation for Dummies). According to renowned scholar Ilan Pappe, Israeli society needs a regular dose of war not only as a means to justify its excessive military budget and lucrative arms industry, but as a tool to reaffirm itself as a cohesive settler-colonialist entity faced with an existential threat.

    • How Everything Became War

      The laser-guided Hellfire missile is highly accurate. When one is fired from a Predator drone at an alleged enemy of the United States, whether in the deserts of Yemen, the mountains of Pakistan or elsewhere, it rarely misses. The remarkable innovation of pairing an unmanned aerial vehicle with a deadly precise missile emerged soon after Sept. 11, 2001. The United States has reportedly used this tool extensively against potentially thousands of terrorist targets around the world in the subsequent 15 years.

      Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown University law professor, former adviser at the Defense Department and influential voice in U.S. policy circles, is one of the many critics of America’s “direct action” program using these drones. In her new book, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything,” she argues that drone strikes rely on problematic legal justifications and that their effectiveness and legitimacy cannot be independently evaluated because of the program’s secrecy. These strikes, along with government opacity about them, she believes, will ultimately undermine the international rule of law, further weaken America’s moral standing and set the stage for others to follow our law-bending lead.

      For Brooks, drone strikes are but one illustration of the challenges we face in this new era of conflict. She contends that the distinction between war and peace has blurred and that the consequences for international law are enormous and underappreciated. Her core argument is that international law, as well as U.S. government organizations, have not kept pace with this smudging of the line. Her book is a cri de coeur that unless we build legal foundations that stand some chance of containing war and legitimating our actions, and restructure our agencies to accommodate new realities, we risk inviting further chaos, eroding the values upon which America was built and failing future generations. While ambitious and astute, the book is also diffuse and in some important ways misses its targets.

    • Nearly 500 more US Troops sent to Iraq for Mosul Attack in advance of Election Day

      Stars and Stripes is reporting that the number of US troops in Iraq has risen from 4,000 to 4,460 in preparation for the Iraqi government campaign against Mosul.

      The WSJ reported that the government of Iraqi prime minister Haydar al-Abadi wants to begin the campaign in October.

    • Demonize and Distract: Sanitizing Syria for the Masses

      But we know that the entire Syrian fiasco was engineered by the CIA with cash, guns, and training, and unceasing support from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at our behest. It is a long-standing neoconservative plan to break the so-called Shia Crescent that runs from Lebanon through Syria to Iran. These are, of course, the independent-minded states that have thus far refused to accept either Israeli colonization of Palestinian land or permit Western-backed energy projects to take shape on their territory. Hence the need to dismember them into tiny, feckless statelets that pose no challenge to either Tel Aviv or Washington.

      But this is hidden behind the fog of war and a domestic haze of media nuance. This entire conflict could reasonably be said to hinge on a single phrase: “moderate rebels.” The words “moderate” and “rebel” make all the difference in the telling of this fable. The truth is that we have hijacked Arab Spring discontent and festooned it with brigades of terrorist mercenaries procured from around the Middle East and Asia, all with the singular mandate to take down the Assad government. Tens of thousands of jihadists have been injected by NATO into a multi-confessional state governed by an elected leader who won a larger percentage of the electorate than our liberal messiah Barack Obama.

    • The Death of One of Washington’s Favorite Tyrants

      The death of long-time Uzbekistan dictator Islam Karimov has brought rare U.S. media attention to the Central Asian country of 30 million. Uzbekistan is ranked among the half dozen worst countries in the world for human-rights abuses. What U.S. government officials and our media mostly ignore, however, is that American taxpayers subsidized that regime and its brutal security apparatus for most of Karimov’s thirty-five years in power.

      Torture has been endemic in Uzbekistan, where Karimov banned all opposition groups, severely restricted freedom of expression, forced international human-rights workers and NGOs out of the country, suppressed religious freedom, and annually took as many as two million children out of school to engage in forced labor for the cotton harvest. Thousands of dissidents have been jailed and many hundreds have been killed, some of them literallyboiled alive.

      Karimov became leader of the Uzbek Communist Party in 1989 while the country was still part of the Soviet Union. He backed the unsuccessful coup by Communist Party hardliners against reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 and personally opposed Uzbek independence. But finding himself president of a sovereign state when the Soviet Union suddenly dissolved, he quickly modified his position, changing his first name to “Islam” and morphing into an Uzbek nationalist.

    • North Korea’s Understandable Fears

      Every year, America pays its vassal-state South Korea huge sums of U.S. taxpayer money to mount 300,000-man-strong military “games” that threaten North Korea. North Koreans view images that never seem to make it to U.S. kitchen tables: hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. armaments swarming in from the sea, hundreds of tanks and thousands of troops – their turrets and rifles pointed north – and nuclear-capable U.S. warplanes screaming overhead.

      But when a young dictator straight out of central casting responds to U.S. threats with an underground test on North Korea’s founding day, it’s the number-one story on the front page of the New York Times.

    • Donald Trump’s View of Military Sexual Assault Is Chauvinistic — and Not Uncommon

      Donald Trump’s latest attempt to deflect criticism about a 2013 tweet in which he blamed the prevalence of sexual assault in the military on the presence of women has been to criticize the military court system for letting offenders go unprosecuted.

      But a big reason the military court system is so ineffective at punishing sexual assault offenders is precisely because senior members of the chain of command are involved — and too many share Trump’s view that rape and sexual assault are inevitable given the circumstances.

    • Fifteen Years After 9/11, Neverending War

      In the days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Congress voted to authorize military force against the people who “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the hijackings, few Americans could have imagined the resulting manhunt would span from West Africa all the way to the Philippines, and would outlast two two-term presidents.

      Today, U.S. military engagement in the Middle East looks increasingly permanent. Despite the White House having formally ended the wars Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of U.S. troops and contractors remain in both countries. The U.S. is dropping bombs on Iraq and Syria faster than it can make them, and according to the Pentagon, its bombing campaign in Libya has “no end point at this particular moment.” The U.S. is also helping Saudi Arabia wage war in Yemen, in addition to conducting occasional airstrikes in Yemen and Somalia.

      Fifteen years after the September 11 attacks, it looks like the War on Terror is still in its opening act.

    • The Truth About 9/11

      Internationally, the greatest threat to America’s security is, of course, nuclear armed Russia which has enough intercontinental and sea-launched missiles to wipe the United States off the map. Accordingly, Washington’s most important foreign and national security priority is maintaining calm, well-mannered relations with Russia and its leadership.

      Instead, we have Hillary Clinton and her frantic war party neocons trying to provoke Russia at every turn and giving Moscow the impression that she will start a war with Russia. It was precisely such war talk and sabre rattling that in 1983 during the Able Archer crisis brought the US and USSR to within minutes of a full-scale nuclear war.

      For all Trump’s bluster and Islamophobia, he is absolutely right about seeking good relations with Moscow. The schoolyard demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin by the Clinton camp and its tame US media is childish, shameful and unworthy of a great power.

    • A 9/11 Retrospective: Washington’s 15-Year Air War

      On the morning of September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda launched its four-plane air force against the United States. On board were its precision weapons: 19 suicidal hijackers. One of those planes, thanks to the resistance of its passengers, crashed in a Pennsylvania field. The other three hit their targets — the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. — with the kind of “precision” we now associate with the laser-guided weaponry of the U.S. Air Force.

      From its opening salvo, in other words, this conflict has been an air war. With its 75% success rate, al-Qaeda’s 9/11 mission was a historic triumph, accurately striking three out of what assumedly were its four chosen targets. (Though no one knows just where that plane in Pennsylvania was heading, undoubtedly it was either the Capitol or the White House to complete the taking out of the icons of American financial, military, and political power.) In the process, almost 3,000 people who had no idea they were in the bombsights of an obscure movement on the other side of the planet were slaughtered.

      It was a barbaric, if daring, plan and an atrocity of the first order. Almost 15 years later, such suicidal acts with similar “precision” weaponry (though without the air power component) continue to be unleashed across the Greater Middle East, Africa, and sometimes elsewhere, taking a terrible toll — from a soccer game in Iraq to a Kurdish wedding party in southeastern Turkey (where the “weapon” may have been a boy).

      The effect of the September 11th attacks was stunning. Though the phrase would have no resonance or meaning (other than in military circles) until the U.S. invasion of Iraq began a year and a half later, 9/11 qualifies as perhaps the most successful example of “shock and awe” imaginable. The attack was promptly encapsulated in screaming headlines as the “Pearl Harbor of the Twenty-First Century” or a “New Day of Infamy,” and the images of those towers crumbling in New York at what was almost instantly called “Ground Zero” (as if the city had experienced a nuclear strike) were replayed again and again to a stunned world. It was an experience that no one who lived through it was likely to forget.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks Source Chelsea Manning Starts Hunger Strike

      Chelsea Manning, the U.S. army private convicted in 2013 for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, has announced she has started a hunger strike to protest what she calls “constant and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”

    • How should history measure the Obama administration’s record on transparency?

      Given the fundamental role that whistleblowers play in highlighting fraud, waste and abuse, an administration’s record upon the incidence, manner and prosecution of whistleblowers (or policies that protect or expose them) is a critical part of its open government record. The way a White House takes legal or administrative action regarding leaks that demonstrate unconstitutional behavior in the executive branch matters.

      On the one hand, the Obama administration added to congressional legislation with more protections for whistleblowers through an executive order, save for an exemption for those working in or contracting for the intelligence agencies. On the other, there have been a record number of cases filed against whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The double standard for “senior administration officials” quoted in stories favorable to the White House and whistleblowers who go to the press with embarrassing facts is one that no future administration should espouse.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 10 Percent of the World’s Wilderness Has Been Lost Since 1990s

      Wilderness areas around the world have experienced catastrophic declines over the last two decades, with one-tenth of global wilderness lost since the 1990s, according to a new study.

      Since 1993, researchers found that a cumulative wilderness area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon has been stripped and destroyed.

      The shrinking wilderness is due, in part, to human activity such as mining, logging, agriculture, and oil and gas exploration. The researchers said theirfindings underscore the need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness and to protect wilderness areas from the threats they face. [In Images: One-of-a-Kind Places On Earth]

      “Globally important wilderness areas — despite being strongholds for endangered biodiversity, for buffering and regulating local climates, and for supporting many of the world’s most politically and economically marginalized communities — are completely ignored in environmental policy,” study lead author James Watson, an associate professor in the School of Geography Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Queensland, in Australia, said in a statement.

    • Erased By False Victory: Obama Hasn’t Stopped DAPL

      All Native struggles in the United States are a struggle against erasure. The poisoning of our land, the theft of our children, the state violence committed against us — we are forced to not only live in opposition to these ills, but also to live in opposition to the fact that they are often erased from public view and public discourse, outside of Indian Country. The truth of our history and our struggle does not match the myth of American exceptionalism, and thus, we are frequently boxed out of the narrative.

      The struggle at Standing Rock, North Dakota, has been no exception, with Water Protectors fighting tooth and nail for visibility, ever since the Sacred Stone prayer encampment began on April 1.

      For months, major news outlets have ignored what’s become the largest convergence of Native peoples in more than a century. But with growing social media amplification and independent news coverage, the corporate media had finally begun to take notice. National attention was paid. Solidarity protests were announced in cities around the country. The National Guard was activated in North Dakota.

    • Texas Tribes Mobilize in Solidarity With Sioux Against Dakota Access Pipeline

      As members of more than 100 tribal nations continue their historic standoff against the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, Texas tribes protested in solidarity at the headquarters of the Dallas-based company behind the project — Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) — and spotlighted the company’s conflicts of interest and corrupt practices in their own state.

      Just before poorly trained private security officers sicced dogs on Indigenous water defenders protecting sacred burial grounds in North Dakota over the weekend, Indigenous activists with the American Indian Movement of Central Texas (AIMCTX) gathered more than 1,000 miles away at the corporate headquarters of ETP in Dallas on September 2 to decry CEO Kelcy Warren’s “Black Snake” pipeline projects and pray in rhythm to Native drumsongs.

    • Fasten your seat belt – turbulence is on the rise

      United Airlines Flight 880 was carrying more than 200 passengers from Houston, Texas, to London’s Heathrow airport two weeks ago when it was battered by turbulence that threw people on to the cabin ceiling. Twenty-three people were injured. “We were flying along as smooth as can be and then were just slapped massively from the top as if someone had torpedoed us,” one passenger told journalists.

      The aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, made an emergency landing at Shannon airport and the injured were taken to University Hospital, Limerick. No one was seriously hurt but all went through a terrifying experience and one, say experts, which will increasingly affect flights.

  • Finance

    • British Trade Secretary Calls Country ‘Too Lazy and Fat’

      Britain’s international trade secretary called the country “too lazy and fat” and described business leaders as more interested in playing golf on a Friday than seeking new trade opportunities.

      “This country is not the free trading nation that it once was. We have become too lazy and too fat on our successes in previous generations,” Liam Fox said at an event on Thursday for the right-wing group Conservative Way Forward, BBC News reported.

    • Panama Papers: Denmark to pay $1.3M-plus for leaked data to probe tax evasion

      Tax officials in Denmark are reportedly paying an unknown source around £1 million (~$1.3M) for secret financial information on hundreds of Danish nationals.

      Their names appear in the Panama Papers, leaked earlier this year, which consist of 11.5 million files from the database of Mossack Fonseca—the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm.

      This is the first time, according to Danish newspaper Politiken, that Denmark has agreed to buy information on possible tax evaders in this way. Denmark also seems to be the first country to admit that it’s acquiring data from a source with access to the leaked Mossack Fonseca documents. [Update: apparently Iceland made an earlier deal—see comment below.]

    • Stop the Fed Before it Kills Again

      Why has the Fed created incentives for US corporations to loot their companies and drive them deeper into debt?

      Despite four consecutive quarters of negative earnings, weak demand and anemic sales, US corporations continue to load up on debt, buy back their own shares and hand out cash to their shareholders that greatly exceeds the amount of profits they are currently taking in. According to the Wall Street Journal: “SandP 500 companies through the first two quarters of the year collectively returned 112% of their earnings through buybacks and dividends.”

      You read that right, US corporations are presently giving back more than they are taking in, which is the moral equivalent of devouring one’s offspring.

    • Did Obama Administration’s Policies Contribute to Chicago’s Deadly Violence?

      For many years, parents and education activists in Chicago have warned that the deliberate destruction of neighborhood public schools was causing a rise in violence. The city, first under Arne Duncan, now under Rahm Emanuel, ignored the critics, and made a virtue of closing public schools, opening charter schools, and sending kids long distances to new schools. Mayor Emanuel recognized that the critics’ complaints had some validity. He didn’t stop the school closings–in fact, he closed 50 public schools in a single day, an unprecedented action in American history. But to assuage the critics, he established “safe passages,” supposedly to assure students’ safety as they adapted to new and longer routes to their new schools. In 2013, a student was raped while walking to school on a “safe passage” route.

    • Palestinian Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley Ask PayPal to Level the Playing Field

      The letter to Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, states, “We are writing to urge you to extend PayPal’s services to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza thereby removing a major limitation on the Palestinian technology sector, one of the only bright spots in the overall economy. More importantly, extending PayPal services would resolve the current discriminatory situation whereby PayPal’s payment portal can be accessed freely by Israeli settlers living illegally (per international humanitarian law) in the West Bank while it remains unavailable to the occupied Palestinian population.”

    • Rio’s Olympic wounds are still raw

      Project 100 is a special report on Olympic-related evictions in Rio de Janeiro, run by Brazil’s Agencia Publica – an independent, woman-led and non-profit investigative journalism agency committed to the facilitation of democratic debate and the promotion of human rights. The project investigates one of the untold stories of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro: what has happened to the lives of those affected by the city’s large-scale evictions programme?

      Between 2009 and 2015, the Rio de Janeiro City Hall reported that 22,059 families – 77,206 individuals – had been subject to eviction. Authorities claim only one community removal, the highly publicised Vila Autódromo, was a consequence of Olympics development and a general lack of official data on Olympics-related removals provides a veil of secrecy as to the true social impact of the event.

    • Priorities

      I am being laid off by my employer, IBM. Jobs in the Netherlands move to lower-wage countries like Poland and India, while IBM changes course towards a “cognitive” future in which there is less interest in the traditionally skilled technical IT jobs.

      Unparalleled (because forced) job cuts in the Netherlands are the result of that change of focus. Almost 10% of the IBMNL work force is sent away in a “re-balancing” operation and I am out of a job per November 1st.

      On an intellectual level I understand the reasons for this. It is nothing personal and it also has nothing to do with the appreciation of my performance. I have scored among the top 5% of IBM Netherlands employees during my performance reviews of the last couple of years, which is quite decent for someone aged 55 in a technical role. Nevertheless, I am affected personally and my close circle is affected too.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • North Dakota issues arrest warrant for Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman

      Amy Goodman, host and executive producer for Democracy Now, has been criminally charged for documenting attacks on indigenous protesters.

      Last week, a Democracy Now film crew captured footage of private security contractors hired by the oil companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline attacking protesters with dogs and pepper spray. Video of the attacks went viral on social media, with Democracy Now’s story about the attacks garnering over 131,000 shares on Facebook as of this writing. WDAZ reported that Goodman, along with Cody Charles Hall, a media spokesman for the Red Warrior Camp, have both been charged with criminal trespassing.

    • Breaking: Arrest Warrant Issued for Amy Goodman in North Dakota After Covering Pipeline Protest [iophk: "DN is closer to what NPR used to be than what NPR is now. These days NPR just toes the line in all areas, but especially in regards to tech policy coverage."]

      An arrest warrant has been issued in North Dakota for Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman. Goodman was charged with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor offense. A team from Democracy Now! was in North Dakota last week to cover the Native American-led protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.

      On Sept. 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company using dogs and pepper spray to attack protesters. Democracy Now!’s report went viral online and was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and Huffington Post.

      “This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” said Amy Goodman in a statement. “I was doing my job by covering pipeline guards unleashing dogs and pepper spray on Native American protesters.”

    • Donald Trump Is Us

      We cannot look at the sun for long. When reality gets too painful and unbearably bright, we avert our eyes. But let’s hear it for the military, the same military that counseled caution before our mad, destabilizing plunge into Iraq and Afghanistan arranged by George W. Bush’s coterie of erstwhile draft-dodgers.

      Military analysts are talking climate change as a prime “national security” issue. Small wonder; a lot of their island and coastal naval bases are on the brink of inundation. Also, the military appreciate “the chain of causation” from climate change disasters to the destabilization of nation states and the rise of new forms of terrorism.

      The DOD’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review called climate change an “accelerant of instability” and a “threat multiplier.” The National Academy of Sciences in 2015 noted that climate change fueled the beginning of Syria’s civil war. Longer-lasting and more severe droughts, combined with government refusal to deal with crop failures and livestock deaths. set the stage for the current chaos.

    • For Clinton v. Trump: Blame Corporate Media

      Labor Day has come and gone; the campaign season is now in high gear. Getting to this point was hard for anyone paying attention. It will soon be worse a hundred-fold.

      The collective intelligence of the American people is about to be insulted even more shamelessly than it has already been — as the sales campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump rev up, seemingly without budget constraints.

      Now would therefore be a good time to lay in a supply of anti-emetics, before the stores run out.

      Ahead lies a barrage of news, impossible to avoid, of an electoral contest that makes a mockery of American “democracy.” That, unfortunately, is the least of it. The more portentous problem is what it is all leading to – a Clinton presidency.

    • Trump vs. Clinton: Predictions Have Consequences

      That brings us to the last factor, which I shall call the factor of the “importance of voting” at all. There are many eligible voters who are skeptical that voting makes any real difference in what happens after the election. This group may be subdivided into those who feel it is of no importance at all and those who waver on this question. The waverers may be persuaded not to vote for their only mildly preferred candidate if they feel they know the outcome but not if they feel uncertain about the outcome.

    • Servicewomen Get Short Shrift in Commander-in-Chief Forum

      Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton sparred separately on military matters with back-to-back appearances on NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday. Trump stuck with his usual empty bombast, assuring a meek Matt Lauer that he would fix things up just fine – while offering no concrete plans or budgets. Clinton had more substance, stating she would not put ground troops in Iraq or Syria, and stressing the steadiness and temperament needed for the job.

      Lack of timely treatment of veterans in Veterans Affairs hospitals got a good deal of the attention from both candidates. But in all the discussion about PTSD and the need for mental health treatment, one group was all but ignored – female service members. They were barely mentioned, except when one questioner from the audience asked Donald Trump what he would do about sexual assault in the military.

  • Censorship/Free Speech


      The one line I remember from high school history is “clear and present danger.” Established in the Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States, this phrase outlines that speech creating a “clear and present danger” can be punished. So what speech constitutes a “clear and present danger” that someone’s First Amendment rights can be abridged?

      This past April, Lindsey Riback, the news editor at the Albany Student Press, wrote an informative article detailing the resources available to report sexual assault in her article, “Sexual Assault Reports up 200 Percent at UAlbany.” Although this headline may seem shocking, the content explained that the increase in resources on campus to report sexual assault contributed to the sharp increase in reports. This headline came into question as the Accepted Student Open House rolled around. A University at Albany tour guide instructed other guides to remove any newspapers from the Lecture Center that displayed this headline so that prospective students and their families wouldn’t see it.

      On Saturday, April 16, I attended this open house. At the time, I was a high school senior and had decided to major in English. I wanted to double major, but I was wrestling with which second major to pick. History? Linguistics? Journalism? These possible majors circulated in my mind; I couldn’t pick a definitive path. That is, until I heard Professor Rosemary Armao speak for the Journalism Department. The idea that I could talk to others and learn mounds of information—all through researching and reporting—appealed to me. Even more, the enthusiasm with which Professor Armao presented drew me to the right path: journalism.

    • YouTubers are accusing the site of rampant censorship

      YouTube is the third-largest website on Earth, a behemoth viewed by millions each day. It’s also “over” — or on the brink of it — according to a group of outraged creators who claim the company has begun censoring them.

      The controversy springs from confusion over YouTube’s long-standing policy of disabling ads on videos that could draw advertiser complaints. Those include videos that are violent, sexually suggestive, or that contain drug use or bad language.

      But whereas YouTube has historically hidden demonetization notifications in its video analytics dashboard — meaning that some creators never saw them — the company recently began sending notices by email and alerting them directly on video pages.

    • YouTube Video Creators Not Happy With “Demonetization” Of Some Content
    • New censorship restrictions on YouTube hit users in the pocket

      Kiwis who post videos online featuring “contentious issues” like sex, drugs and political speech could be hit in the pocket as YouTube clamps down on users profiting from them.

      User Dolan Dark, who only wanted to be known as “Jay”, has 191,000 subscribers but said he was unable to make money from two of his videos which were not deemed “advertiser friendly” under new regulations.

      Users who post videos to the site have the option to “monetise” their content whereby adverts are added to the start of the video.

    • Facebook censors iconic napalm photo: Are algorithms undermining news?

      A Norwegian newspaper editor publicly censured Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg after his social media platform took down a famous wartime photograph, citing concerns about child pornography.

      Facebook’s decision to censor the famous photo of a naked child fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam war has prompted questions about Facebook’s policies and its use of algorithms to control the content posted online.

    • Facebook will follow in Murdoch’s footsteps

      Once Rupert Murdoch performed this role, now increasingly Zuckerberg and Google do. To think they were ever likely to be more benevolent than the corporations of old is to subscribe to magical thinking.

    • Censoring Our War Crimes

      Facebook has backed down amidst outraged charges of censorship after deleting the iconic photo of a naked burned Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. Demonstrating questionable journalistic standards now being increasingly challenged, the social network deleted the harrowing, Pulitzer Prize-winning image by AP photographer Nick Ut – which shows nine-year-old Kim Phuc running screaming from her village of Trang Bang after she was severely burned by napalm dropped by South Vietnamese planes on June 8, 1972 – in the name of “maintaining a safe and respectful experience for our global community.”

      Phuc survived. Despite years of ongoing pain and surgeries related to her burns, she now lives in Canada, runs a foundation dedicated to help other child victims of war, and sometimes speaks about the powerful impact of one of the most famous war photographs of all time taken by the Vietnamese, then-21-year-old Ut. The recent uproar came after Norwegian author Tom Egeland included it in a Facebook post about photos that changed the history of wars, and in this case perhaps helped end one. Facebook removed the picture, Egeland protested, Facebook banned him and then proceeded to remove the image several more times when it was defiantly re-posted by other high-profile Norwegians – including Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who charged, “If you edit past events or people, you change history, and you change reality.”

    • Vietnam photo censorship reignites debate over Facebook’s responsibilities

      Facebook’s decision to temporarily censor the iconic Vietnam War photo of Kim Phúc has set off alarm bells for journalism watchdogs and reignited the debate over the social media company’s editorial responsibilities.

    • Does Facebook need to act more like a news organization?

      Facebook’s decision Friday to reverse its ruling about an iconic photo from the Vietnam War that it initially said violated company policy is raising the issue about whether it is a social media platform or a news distributor.

      The reversal followed online uproar after Facebook deleted the famous photo of Kim Phuc running naked from a napalm attack from a Norwegian author’s Facebook page.

    • ‘Facebook needs an editor’: media experts urge change after photo dispute

      Tensions between Facebook and the news industry boiled over this week when the social media corporation censored a Pulitzer-winning Vietnam war photo, because it featured a naked child and violated site “community standards”.

      The dispute over the “napalm girl” image, which a Norwegian writer published in a post about historic warfare photography, ended Friday when Facebook reversed its decision, acknowledging the “global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time”.

      But the spat has exposed what journalists and ethicists say are fundamental flaws in the way Facebook controls and spreads news. Critics say the company’s decisions were driven by PR concerns and should serve as a wake-up call to free speech advocates about how powerful Facebook has become– and how ill-equipped the corporation is for its role, however unwilling, in journalism.

    • Facebook’s Censorship Problem Is What Happens When a Tech Company Controls the News

      In the space of a single day, Facebook has managed to: Draw condemnation from a Norwegian news organization for censoring a famous work of photojournalism from the Facebook News Feed.

    • Dear Mark. I am writing this to inform you that I shall not comply with your requirement to remove this picture.

      The demand that we remove the picture came in an e-mail from Facebook’s office in Hamburg this Wednesday morning. Less than 24 hours after the e-mail was sent, and before I had time to give my response, you intervened yourselves and deleted the article as well as the image from Aftenposten’s Facebook page.

      To be honest, I have no illusions that you will read this letter. The reason why I will still make this attempt, is that I am upset, disappointed – well, in fact even afraid – of what you are about to do to a mainstay of our democratic society.

    • What Facebook’s Aftenposten Censorship Teaches Us About Facebook’s Role As Worldwide Editor In Chief
    • Facebook reverses ‘napalm girl’ photo censorship following media pressure
    • Correction: Norway-Facebook-Napalm Girl story
    • Facebook makes u-turn on decision to censor an iconic Vietnam War photo
    • Facebook Pulled Down This Iconic Image From The Vietnam War, Restored It After Social Uproar
    • Facebook’s big content problem
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • [Purism] We updated our FAQ — Here’s why it matters

      Recently, we have updated our Frequently Asked Questions. “Who cares!” you might say. Well, here’s why I think it may be more important than you think. For the longest time we had five FAQ’s. Five. As a small company with little staff, FAQ’s and documentation were initially not as big of a priority as they perhaps should have been. Things that needed to be addressed have often been put on the back burner as we had larger issues to address. But, in recent weeks, we have begun to try and make changes in our approach, changes in our communication with you.

      As we have begun this process, we are altering our previous method of outreach and communication to focus, quite simply, on these aspects: “more,” “better” and “engagement.” We have heard many of your calls for us to communicate more often and better. We consider important, especially for the free and open source community, to have engagement and a back and forth dialogue between you and us. From here on, this blog will be updated more often with all of us chipping in at times. Our FAQ’s have been updated to address many of the common questions that we get asked and it will continue to be updated as more questions come in to us. With our new communication team, we have also recently changed our approach on social media as well, aiming for more engaging conversations with you and moving away from the previous “privacy news fire hose” approach where we were sharing too many Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt (FUD) articles that overall impaired our credibility. All in all, we’d like to bring some fun back to our social media process and to talk WITH you instead of AT you.

    • Brexit won’t harm UK security, says US former spy chief

      Brexit will not make “one bit of difference” to Britain’s intelligence relationship with the rest of Europe and the US, according to a former senior official with the National Security Agency.

      William Binney, a technical director for the US intelligence agency turned whistleblower, said GCHQ will continue to share data and resources with organisations around the world following Britain’s retreat from the EU.

    • Zachary Quinto: Calling Snowden a ‘Treasonist is Absurd’
    • ‘Let him come home:’ Star Trek’s new Spock calls Espionage Act charges against Snowden ‘absurd’

      Hollywood heartthrob Zachary Quinto, who plays Star Trek’s new Spock and Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone’s new film, has spoken out in defense of the NSA whistleblower, who is now in exile in Russia, calling the Espionage Act charges against him “absurd.”

      The star was speaking at the premier of the latest film, Snowden, which tells the story of the young programmer’s interest in espionage work and eventual disillusionment with it, leading to one of the most significant revelations in recent history.

    • Star Trek’s new Mr Spock Zachary Quinto slams spying charges against whistleblower Edward Snowden as ‘absurd’

      Hollywood heartthrob Zachary Quinto has spoken out in defence of Edward Snowden, slamming the spying charges made against him as “absurd”.

      Quinto, who plays Star Trek ‘s new Spock, said the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower should be returned to the US and called for authorities to drop charges against him.

      Fugitive Snowden, who is seeking asylum in Russia granted by Vladimir Putin, is responsible for the biggest leak in modern US history.

      He quit his £130,000-a-year job at the NSA after claiming he could not stand by and watch the civil liberties of millions of people be eroded.

      Quinto, who stars in Oliver Stone’s new film Snowden, which tells the story of the young programmer’s early interest in espionage work, said at the Toronto premiere: “I do think he should be able to come back [to America].

    • Toronto Film Review: Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’

      Oliver Stone’s docudrama, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, is the director’s most exciting — and relevant — movie in years.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Kazakhstan makes former deputy PM new prime minister

      Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev promoted a former deputy premier on Friday to succeed longtime ally prime minister Karim Massimov, who he has transferred to the role of security chief.

      Massimov, who had led the cabinet since 2014 was dismissed and made the Central Asian country’s internal security chief Thursday, on the back of a summer that saw a spike in homegrown radical violence.

      The appointment of Bykytzhan Sagintayev as premier temporarily ends speculation that Dariga Nazarbayeva -Nazarbayev’s 53-year-old daughter – might take up higher office.

    • Senate investigator breaks silence about CIA’s ‘failed coverup’ of torture report

      For six years, Daniel Jones was the chief investigator for the Senate intelligence committee’s inquiry into CIA detentions and interrogations carried out in the post-9/11 Bush era. Jones and his team turned 6.3m pages of internal CIA documents into a scathing study which concluded that torture was ineffective and that the CIA had lied about it to two presidents, Congress and the US public.

      But before Jones’s investigation was released in December 2014, the CIA searched through Senate files on a shared, firewalled network that had been set up by the agency for Jones and his team to securely receive classified documents.

      The CIA accessed Jones’s work and even reconstructed his emails, sparking an unprecedented clash between the agency and its legislative overseers on Capitol Hill.

    • Follow Colin Kaepernick, Change the World

      Take Colin Kaepernick. By choosing not to stand for the national anthem, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback has stood up for justice. He has raised awareness of police brutality and oppression against African-Americans in the United States. He has exposed the anti-Muslim origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and forced us to address the uncomfortable: institutional racism. Kaepernick’s act of rebellion was a risk from the start. The cost to him has been a stream of criticism and public blowback. But his courage has sparked a national conversation on free speech and what it means to be an American in the 21st century.

    • Diversity Bloat Is All About Colleges Looking Good While Not Doing Much

      Yet, there are so many programs — and not just in college — where fellowships, for example, are offered based on skin color. That’s not fair and its also insulting to black students from middle-class environments (or better) and from intact families who do well in school, but may be lumped in by skin color as having gotten special boosts.

    • 7 Police Officers to Be Charged in Bay Area Sex Scandal

      A prosecutor in California said on Friday that criminal charges would be filed against seven current or former police officers in the San Francisco Bay Area, capping a monthslong investigation into allegations of officers having sex with a teenage prostitute.

      The allegations had roiled the Oakland Police Department, and five of those being charged were from that agency.

      The charges include obstruction of justice, engaging in an act of prostitution and engaging in a lewd act in a public place, Nancy E. O’Malley, the district attorney for Alameda County, Calif., said in a statement.

      A former deputy from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and a former officer from the Livermore Police Department also face charges, the statement said.

      A prostitute, the 19-year-old daughter of a police dispatcher, claimed that she had had sex with multiple officers from agencies around the Bay Area. At least one of the relationships began while she was a minor, Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland has said. The prostitute said the police had routinely tipped her off to raids.

    • A Grammar Lesson of Experience

      It was so successful in turning out ersatz privately educated pupils that I have been mistaken for one more or less since. And there is no doubt at all that this helped me get in to the fast stream of the FCO – in an intake in which I was one of only two state school educated entrants in the fast stream. There were two graduate entry streams – administrative (fast stream) and executive (slow stream). In 1984 there were just two state school entrants in the fast stream, and no private school entrants in the slow stream.

      It is this plucking of hearty young yeomen and turning them into officers for which Theresa May nostalgically yearns. But I absolutely hated the school. I hated the discipline, I hated the militarism, I hated the narrow thought. I hated it so much I performed terribly – I got a B and two E’s at A Level and scraped into university on clearing. Yet once in University with much more personal freedom, I flourished and never in my entire University career came less than top in any exam I took, culminating in a first class degree. The grammar school system had almost destroyed my potential because of my reaction against its class divisiveness.

    • The Politics of Nonviolence

      These days, the question for me is: What are the politics of nonviolence? Nonviolence is a whole new way of life, but it is also a methodology of social change, a power at our disposal, a spiritual path, a way to relate to others, and a way of hope for the whole human race, despite the odds.

    • If You’re Not a Feminist – What the Hell is Wrong with You!!?

      I am a male human being.

      And you’d better believe I’m a feminist.

      I wear that label proudly.

      The other day a friend of mine heard one of my articles was published in Everyday Feminism. And he said, “Kind of a backhanded compliment. Isn’t it?”

      Hell no!

      What does that mean? Would someone suppose that a man being considered a feminist somehow made him less of a man?

      On the contrary. I think it makes him more of one. It makes him a decent freakin’ person.

    • Truthdigger of the Week: Former British Ambassador and Whistleblower Craig Murray

      This week, Murray was denied entry into the United States via the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. The program is intended to enable “most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa.” Murray is set to chair the presentation of this year’s Sam Adams Award for integrity in intelligence, which takes place Sept. 25, to CIA-torture whistleblower John Kiriakou.

    • Federal Regulation Saves Millions of Lives

      Fifty years ago this month (on September 9, 1966), President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety laws that launched a great life-saving program for the American People.

      I was there that day at the White House at the invitation of President Johnson who gave me one of the signing pens. In 1966, traffic fatalities reached 50,894 or 5.50 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. By 2014, the loss of life was 32,675 or 1.07 fatalities per hundred million vehicle miles traveled. A huge reduction!

      This was an astounding success for a federal safety program that included mandatory vehicle-safety standards (seat belts, airbags, better brakes, tires and handling among other advances) and upgrading driver and highway-safety standards.

      When the crashworthy standards were first proposed in 1967, Henry Ford II warned that they “would shut down the industry.” Ten years later on NBC’s Meet the Press he conceded, “We wouldn’t have the kinds of safety built into automobiles that we have had unless there had been a federal law.”

    • We need bolder politicians
    • Protest Targets Expo ‘Spreading War on Our Communities’

      Hundreds of people gathered in California on Friday to protest Urban Shield, the annual expo showcasing police and military weapons and offering SWAT training in the Bay Area.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Who controls the internet? Ted Cruz’s fantasy vs. the reality

      In June, Senator Ted Cruz released a video declaring that President Obama is on the verge of “giving the internet away” to Iran, Russia and China. The video deploys an appropriately menacing soundtrack, some cyber-spooky glitch effects, and the threat of a “mini UN” taking over our beloved bastion of free speech and free enterprise—unless Congress acts before a deadline of September 30. Cruz upped the drama last week, in preparation for Congress returning from summer vacation, by launching a countdown clock on his website.

  • DRM

    • DRM products are defective by design. Time to tell users what they’re buying

      Digital products are weird: they are inert without software to animate them, and software is so technologically and legally weird that it can be very hard to know exactly what you’re buying.

      But there just might be some clarity on the horizon, thanks to documents I recently filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), signed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), several publishers and public interest groups and 20 EFF supporters with important (and alarming!) stories to tell.

      In 1998, the US Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), whose Section 1201 makes it a felony to bypass or tamper with “access controls” (today we call these “DRM” or “digital rights management”). Originally this was used to ensure that no one reconfigured their games console to play unofficial games (meaning that the console maker could extract fees from games companies without fear of competition) and that DVD players weren’t modified to play out-of-region discs. But software proliferated and the DMCA wasn’t far behind.


      Apple repeatedly did this with iTunes, while Nintendo designed the 3DS game system to render itself permanently inoperable if an update detected evidence of tampering. This means that any solution the FTC comes up with will require extensive disclosures from the more baroque DRM schemes – which is as it should be. You can’t consent without being informed, and the entire basis for taking away our rights with DRM products is that we’re consenting when we “choose DRM”. All of this is just a sticking plaster, of course.

      The real solution is to reform the laws that protect DRM – DMCA 1201 in the US, EUCD Article 6 in the EU, among others – to ensure that doing legal things with your own property remains legal. The fact that this principle needs legal protection tells you how bonkers the whole thing is. That’s why EFF has filed a lawsuit against the US government seeking to invalidate Section 1201 of the DMCA.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Trolls Claim Student Pirates Could Lose Scholarships, Face Deportation

        Copyright trolls are known for their dubious tactics but a new report from Canada shows just how low they can sink. According to the University of Manitoba’s copyright office, among a flood of 8,000 piracy notices are some warning students that they could lose their scholarships or even be deported if they don’t pay a fine.

      • Linking after GS Media … in a table

        Readers may remember that a few months ago I published a table that I had prepared for my students at the University of Southampton, attempting to summarise the position of the Court of Justice of the European Union as regards linking to protected content.


Links 10/9/2016: Elementary OS Loki, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Edition

Posted in News Roundup at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Cub Linux Is a Worthy Chromixium Offspring

      Cub Linux 1.0 has much of the stability and maturity of a more established Linux distro.

      It is a great alternative to Google’s semi-proprietary Chrome OS locked into the popular Chromebook hardware.

      Cub Linux is a Chrome OS clone that runs on nearly any aging or newer computer with the user’s choice of the fully open-sourced Chromium Web browser or Google’s Chrome browser.

    • How Chromebooks Are About to Totally Transform Laptop Design

      Google’s first Chromebook was the kind of laptop you’d design if you didn’t give a damn about laptop design. It was thick, heavy, rubbery, boring, and black. Black keys, black body, black trackpad, black everything. Everything about the Cr-48 was designed to communicate that this device was still an experiment. Even the name, a reference to an unstable isotope of the element Chromium, was a hint at the chaos raging inside this black box. “The hardware exists,” Sundar Pichai told a crowd of reporters at the Cr-48’s launch event in December of 2010, “only to test the software.”

      Moments later, Eric Schmidt took the stage and preached about how the “network computer” tech-heads had been predicting for decades was finally ready to change the world. “We finally have a product,” Schmidt said, “which is strong enough, technical enough, scalable enough, and fast enough that you can build actually powerful products on it.” Apparently already sensing the skeptical feedback Chrome OS would get, he gestured toward the audience and told them “it does, in fact, work.”

    • 7 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Chromebook

      Chromebook is a different thing from Netbooks with the fact that it does not have Windows being a huge difference. Chromebooks thus run on a fresh and different operating system that while it is not an old OS it isn’t a desktop kind of OS either but a mobile one.

      Chromebooks have pretty hardware, especially if the Haswell processors they are running on, which are energy efficient, are anything to go by. Nonetheless, there are many reasons why buying Chromebooks make a lot of sense.

    • Why Linux? – Some Reasons For Converting To Linux

      Many organisations and businesses world wide are converting their core computer operating system to Linux as opposed to other operating systems for a number of reasons some of which we shall discuss here in after (why linux),this is mostly because of problems faced in daily computer usage both at home and at the work place.

  • Server

    • Containerizing Stateful Applications

      In this post, we discussed what application state is, the different types of application states you are likely to encounter. We also covered how each type of state can be managed in a containerized environment. In most cases, several options are available to choose from. So, although containers are ephemeral, the application state does not need to be!

      My goal for this post was to show that stateful applications can be containerized. So, how did I do? We would love to hear your feedback and experiences, or if you have any questions I can help answer.

  • Kernel Space

    • Stabilising performance after a major kernel revision

      A topic related to upstreaming patches on kernel forks related to embedded platforms is currently being discussed for Kernel Summit 2016. This is an age-old topic related to whether it is better to work upstream and backport or apply patches to a product-specific kernel and worry about forward-porting later. The points being raised have not changed over the years and still comes down to getting something out the door quickly versus long-term maintenance overhead. I’m not directly affected so had nothing new to add to the thread.

    • The Hyperledger Project is growing like gangbusters

      If you had any doubt there is broad industry interest in blockchain, look no further than the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project. It has grown by 170 percent since its formal launch in February, now counting 80 members compared to the original 30 founding members.

    • Great Technology Never Gets Old? Linux Celebrates 25 years!

      In the IT world of 1991, the desktop market was just blossoming, the personal computer was becoming more powerful, intel were breaking Moore’s law with reckless abandon, and Microsoft were starting to get their act together with a brand new exciting development that was to hit the streets a year later, called Windows. The server market was also expanding. An interminable list of organizations including IBM, HP, Sun, TI, Siemens, ICL, Sequent, DEC, SCO, SGI, Olivetti were building proprietary chips, machines and UNIX variants. UNIX had already by that stage enjoyed significant success since making the leap from academia to commerce, and everyone was trying to get a share of the spoils.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14 LTS Is About to Reach End of Life, Update 3.14.78 Out Now

      After informing the community about the availability of Linux kernel 4.7.3 and Linux kernel 4.4.20 LTS, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the release of Linux kernel 3.14.78 LTS.

      Linux kernel 3.14.78 LTS is the seventy-eighth maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 3.14 kernel series, which appears to approach its end of life soon, according to Greg Kroah-Hartman, who states “The 3.14.y kernel series is coming to an end. There will be only one more release after this one, of this kernel series before it will be marked as end-of-life. You have been warned.”

    • ZFSOnLinux Now Supports The Latest Linux Kernels

      ZFS On Linux was released on Friday as the newest version of this OpenZFS file-system implementation.

      ZFSOnLinux is an important release as it finally is the first stable version providing support for the past few Linux kernel versions: Linux 4.6, 4.7, and 4.8 are now supported by ZOL. Meanwhile this code remains compatible with kernels going back to Linux 2.6.32.

    • Graphics Stack

      • SLPC-Based Power Management Still Being Worked On For Intel’s DRM Driver
      • NVIDIA Releases 370.28 Drivers for Linux

        Unfortunately, I don’t tend to notice when Linux drivers get released; it’s something I want to report more frequently on. Luckily, this time, I heard about NVIDIA’s 370.28 graphics drivers while they were still fresh. This one opens up overclocking (and underclocking) for GeForce 10-series GPUs, although NVIDIA (of course) mentions that this is “at the user’s own risk”. It also fixes a bunch of Vulkan bugs.

      • Input threads in the X server

        A great new feature has been merged during this 1.19 X server development cycle: we’re now using threads for input [1]. Previously, there were two options for how an input driver would pass on events to the X server: polling or from within the signal handler. Polling simply adds all input devices’ file descriptors to a select(2) loop that is processed in the mainloop of the server. The downside here is that if the server is busy rendering something, your input is delayed until that rendering is complete. Historically, polling was primarily used by the keyboard driver because it just doesn’t matter much when key strokes are delayed. Both because you need the client to render them anyway (which it can’t when it’s busy) and possibly also because we’re just so bloody used to typing delays.

      • The Threaded Input Support In X.Org Server 1.19
    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Xeon E5-2609 v4 Broadwell-EP Linux Benchmarks

        Recently I purchased a Xeon E5-2609 v4 Broadwell-EP processor as a $300 Xeon with eight physical cores but clocked at just 1.7GHz and without any Turbo Boost while the TDP is 85 Watts. Here are some benchmarks compared to other LGA-2011 v3 CPUs in my possession under Linux along with an AMD FX reference point too and followed by some Skylake Xeon benchmarks.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 3.01 Beta Released

        The popular Krita painting program keeps getting even better. This new beta release of 3.01 includes features added from Google Summer of Code programmers. This screencast does a very good job explaining the new features, including new animation tools.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Photos final landing with Google Photos

        Well, that doesn’t go hand in hand, right? Things are awesome but they are not stable initially. GNOME Photos faced things no differently. While we had landed patches for Google Photos sharing earlier this summer,it took time to get stable and handling those shared images. It’s not only about the sharing but all the things around it.

      • Presenting at the Government IT Symposium

        I’m pleased to announce that I will be presenting “Usability testing in open source software” at the 35th Annual Government IT Symposium, in December 2016!

      • Thank you, Karlsruhe!

        GUADEC is the GNOME Foundation’s primary annual event, held every year in a different European city. The conference brings together contributors, enthusiasts, and partners from around the world for three days of talks, followed by three days of workshops (called “Birds of a Feather” sessions). This year, the event took place in Karlsruhe, Germany between the 12th and 17th of August. As always, the conference was a great opportunity for contributors from around the world to meet, make plans, and have fun.

        Presentations covered significant developments in GNOME technologies such as Flatpak, GNOME Software, Builder, and new GTK+ features. There were also talks by GNOME’s partners, including Red Hat, SUSE, and Endless. In addition, the Foundation announced the debut of its newest conference, LAS GNOME, to be held this September in Portland, Oregon. In case you couldn’t make it, here’s a link to the 2016 GUADEC talks.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Linux Lite 3.2 to Land on November 1, 2016, Offer Dual-Booting with Other OSes

        Softpedia has been informed today by the creator and lead developer of the user-friendly Linux Lite operating system, Mr. Jerry Bezencon, about a few interesting facts regarding the upcoming major release of the GNU/Linux distribution.

      • Elementary OS Loki Has Arrived

        If you have been using Elementary OS Freya, you should be incredibly excited about the prospect of seeing your platform of choice gain even more polish. For those that have never given Elementary a chance, Loki will be a perfect introduction to one of the most elegant and user-friendly Linux desktops on the market.

        I highly recommend that every Linux user at least kick the tires of Elementary OS Loki. Elementary was the first distribution to permanently sway me from Ubuntu and it shows no signs of releasing me any time soon. And since today, September 9, 2016 is the official release day of Loki, now is the perfect time to find out if Elementary OS Loki can sway you.

      • Elementary OS 0.4 “Loki” Released

        Elementary OS 0.4 is powered by the Linux 4.4 kernel.

      • elementary OS 0.4 “Loki” Officially Released, It’s Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Just a few minutes ago, the guys over elementary were extremely proud to announce the release and immediate availability of the elementary OS 0.4 “Loki” GNU/Linux operating system.

        elementary OS 0.4 “Loki” has been in development for the past three or four months, during which it received two Beta milestones, and we have to admit that we were expecting to see the Release Candidate (RC) build as well, but it looks like the devs decided it’s time for the popular operating system to hit the stable channels.

        And there you have it, elementary OS 0.4 “Loki” in all of its beauty is now ready to take over your personal computers, and the best part is that it’s based on Canonical’s Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, which means that Loki is also an LTS (Long Term Support) OS, which will receive security and software updates until 2021.

      • Elementary OS 0.4 ‘Loki’ Ubuntu-based Linux distribution achieves stable release

        There are too many Linux distributions nowadays. While many people feel that there is no such thing as too much choice, I respectfully disagree. Quite frankly, the Linux developer community is spread too thin, leading to wasted resources and slow movement on projects. For end users, it can be hard to find the best operating system for them, as there are far too many from which to pick.

        With all of that said, there is plenty of room for some distributions — when they make a substantial impact, that is. Elementary OS (stylized as elementary OS) isn’t the most popular Linux distro, and it certainly isn’t the best. However, this Ubuntu-based operating system is focusing on something that some competitors do not — user interface, which ultimately contributes to the overall user experience. It is because of this that Elementary is so important to the Linux community — it matters. Today, Elementary 0.4 (code-named ‘Loki’), achieves stable status.

      • Upcoming Linux Distributions Releasing In September 2016
    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Now Has a Default Wallpaper, Available in Two Flavors

            The development of the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system continues at a fast pace, and we can see more and more software updates arriving every single day in its official software repositories.

          • You Can Now Register for the First European Ubuntu Conference, UbuCon Europe

            Softpedia was informed by Marius Quabeck from UbuntuFun.de that the registration for the upcoming UbuCon Europe conference for Ubuntu Linux users and developers is now open.

            We informed our readers about UbuCon Europe, which is the very first European Ubuntu conference put together by a group of Ubuntu members, earlier this year, and told them that it would take place between November 18-20, at the Unperfekthaus in Essen, Germany.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Edition Officially Released, Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

              Today, September 9, 2016, Clement Lefebvre has proudly announced the release and immediate availability of the final version of the Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Edition operating system.

            • Mint 18 KDE Released as Spices Designed Team Announced

              Linux Mint 18 for KDE users is finally here more than two months after the MATE and Cinnamon versions. Clement Lefebvre announced the release today on the Linuxmint.com blog saying, “It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.” The day before Lefebvre introduced his new Artwork Design team and some of their early work. They’re to make Mint even more beautiful.

              Linux Mint 18 KDE features Plasma 5.6 decorated with the same general Mint theme and images as found in the other spins. The KDE edition previously featured a more blue colored theme, but with version 18 it sports a very similar look as the others with green and gray the prominent colors. Man hours were a part of the reason for the change, but primarily it was probably to provide a more uniform look across the various desktops. However, if it was a matter of personnel and time, perhaps that is no longer a problem.

              Yesterday Lefebvre announced the formation of a new artwork design team. This new team is to dress up the Cinnamon Spices Website, then perhaps others, and finally will collaborate with the development team on the distributions’ look and feel. According to Lefebvre’s post, the eight member team consists, at least partially, of artists who have helped Mint in the past and joined the new team by invitation. Lefebvre singled out two such artists in his post and shared Eran Gilo’s new Cinnamon logo as well as the site’s new look. The new updated Website theme is not live as of yet, but it will be a major improvement when it is. The Cinnamon Spices Website is a gallery and repository for Cinnamon desktop themes, applets/desklets, and extensions.

            • Linux Mint 18 KDE is here — download the open source Windows 10 alternative now

              Regardless of your feelings about the iPhone, you cannot deny that this week belongs to Apple. The company is certainly dominating much of the world’s attention. With that said, there is certainly more going on in the technology world than a new version of a popular smartphone. Some desktop Linux users for instance, would probably be more excited about a new version of a distribution, and today, a significant OS sees release.

              What is the desktop OS of which I speak? Linux Mint 18 ‘Sarah’. True, that distribution is not really new, but this variation is — KDE. Yes, a new version of Mint — featuring the Plasma desktop environment and associated apps — is available today. Could the open source operating system be a good alternative to Windows 10?

            • wattOS R10 Linux Distribution Released, Now Based on Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS

              The much-awaited wattOS R10 has arrived in all its glory. This power efficient GNU/Linux distribution is based on the latest Ubuntu 16.04.1 long term release. The current release only provides LXDE desktop environment and Microwatt edition will be released later. The wattOS R10 release also brings broader support for older hardware.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Your Open Source Project Is Not A Product

    I’ve spent a good bit of time explaining the ins and outs of open source products: what they are, how to make money with them, and what they are not. Namely, products are products, no matter the source code license they are published under. But there’s a journey that a software project must undergo before it can be accurately labeled with the moniker “product.” This journey includes, but is not limited to, the open source supply chain going from upstream bits to downstream product, as well as a bit of special sauce branding, complete with trademark, that applies only to the supported product. But, I can feel a bit of grousing bubbling just under the surface: Why does it have to be so complicated?

  • The 7 Dimensions of Good Open Source Management

    Organizations use open source software to gain competitive advantage in many ways: to speed up software delivery, save money on development, to stay flexible, and to stay on the leading edge of technology.

    But using open source software, and especially integrating and redistributing it in products and services, carries with it added complexity and risk. Code coming in from multiple sources, under different licenses and with varied quality and maturity levels, can expose organizations to issues with security, integration, support and management — not to mention legal action — if the code is not properly managed.

  • Abbott: Success with Interns

    Laura Abbott marks the end of the latest round of open-source internships at Outreachy with a blog post reflecting on “what makes an internship successful,” especially as seen in the kernel team’s internships.

  • Keeping DOS alive with FreeDOS

    I wanted to share a recent interview with OpenSource.com about the FreeDOS Project, an open source software project that’s been close to me since 1994. Jason Baker from Red Hat interviewed me about FreeDOS, why we started it, and what to expect in FreeDOS 1.2 (out later this year).

  • Open source technology gains steam in data center, but challenges loom

    Despite new developments with the Open Compute Project and other groups, challenges remain when it comes to open source implementation in the data center. Explore them with these FAQs.

  • May the Fork Be with You: A Short History of Open Source Forks

    Debian is one of the oldest Linux-based distributions that became the base of many distros. One of the most popular Debian forks is Ubuntu. Ubuntu takes Debian packages and builds its own packages. It has its own software repository, it’s own kernel. Though many would argue whether Ubuntu is a fork or not, even Mark Shuttleworth is not fully sure.

  • Penn software helps to identify course of cancer metastasis, tumor ‘evolution’

    Canopy is an open-source software so oncologists will be able to use it to identify potential biomarkers for different cancer cell populations within tumor specimens that are associated with drug resistance and invasive malignancy, among other characteristics.

  • The New Research and Development (R&D) Model – Open Source Projects

    I have written in the past how the International Multimedia Telecommunication Consortium (IMTC) has generated some great use case specifications on Real-Time Media and Software Defined Networking (RTM SDN) and how the Open Network Foundation (ONF) has realized these use cases with a new open source project for RTM SDN called Project Atrium Enterprise. However, what most don’t realize is how open source has changed the world in how we do Research and Development (R&D) as an industry.

    I for one, having been in a closed source world for many years, didn’t realize how innovation is being incubated in a totally different model than the past. I always thought open source projects were what developers did in their spare time and that features were just punted over the wall with no rhyme or reason. Now, I knew that open source Linux was widely used as the operating system of choice for embedded systems; however, what I didn’t understand is how open source projects really worked and how they have been funded.

  • Descent: Underground builds open-source gaming depot

    Descendent Studios, makers of Descent: Underground, announced the open-source release of several Unreal Engine 4 plugins they developed for the game. The studio rolled out their GitHub repository on the heels of last week’s announcement that Descent: Underground won an Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) Fund grant from Razer. Descent: Underground was the first high-end action title to natively support all of the major desktop VR headsets: OSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.

  • FRAUDAR: How A New Open Source Algorithm Aims To Kill Social Media Frauds
  • Events

    • What you need to know about PostgresOpen 2016

      PostgresOpen is the longest running PostgreSQL conference in the United States. This week I had the pleasure of chatting with Stephen Frost, who is the program committee chair and a main organizer of PostgresOpen, which takes place this year in Dallas, TX from September 13-15. We talked about who goes, what sessions to look for, and their charity event which will be helping a cause near and dear to my heart: diversity in tech.

    • Bloomberg to Hold Weekend Node.js Hackathons in New York and London

      In 2014 Bloomberg hosted its first “Open Source Day” event, which was an experiment to see if we could combine the company’s long history of volunteerism with open source collaboration. We brought one of the Git project’s core developers to New York City, got about 30 employees signed up, and they spent the day learning how to build, test, and improve Git. The event was such a success that we’ve held a half-dozen more, and they’ve grown into weekend events with attendees from our Engineering team, local universities and colleges, and of course the open source community.

  • Databases

    • Open Source InfluxDB 1.0 Time-Series Database Released

      InfluxData Inc. said its new open source InfluxDB time-series database — just moved to version 1.0 — was almost three years in the making.

      Written in the Go programming language, InfluxDB 1.0 was designed to process time-series data with high availability and high performance requirements, the company said.

      Although most popular in Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data analytics development, time-series databases have many other use cases, according to InfluxData.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Trying Out & Failing With OpenIndiana, Solaris 11.3 On The Broadwell-EP System

      After testing seven Linux distributions and eight BSDs on the new Xeon E5-2609 v4 Broadwell-EP + MSI X99A WORKSTATION system, I next decided to try getting some fresh Solaris-based results.

      Unfortunately, using OpenIndiana nor Oracle Solaris was successful.

      With the OpenIndiana tests I was using their newest “Hipster” ISOs bundled with the MATE desktop. I was able to get to the MATE desktop after selecting the VESA driver option from the boot-loader, then it looked like things may be going well for this Illumos-based operating system on this modern Broadwell-EP system where I’ve been testing all these Linux/BSD distributions as of late. However, after firing up the graphical installer, as soon as the actual installation process began the installer window immediately disappeared… Then a few seconds later the system was completely unresponsive. Rebooting again, same problem.

    • LibreOffice 5.2.1 Open Source Office Suite Released With 105 Bug Fixes

    • Free Software Foundation stresses necessity of full user control over Internet-connected devices

      The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the integration of Internet technology into a wider range of home devices than previously envisaged by most users. Early adopters of IoT may now have homes with Internet-connected lightbulbs, alarm systems, baby monitors and even coffee machines. Internet integration allows owners to have greater flexibility over their devices, making it possible to turn on their air conditioning as they leave work to cool the house before they return, to have curtains that automatically close based on sunset time, or lights that automatically turn off after the owner has left the house. Each individual benefit may seem marginal, but overall they add significant benefit to the owners.

    • GnuTLS 3.5.4

      Released GnuTLS 3.4.15, and GnuTLS 3.5.4 which are bug fix releases in the current and next stable branches.

      Added the GnuTLS-SA-2016-3 security advisory.

    • Friday “Golden Oldies” Free Software Directory IRC meetup: September 9th
    • Free Software Directory meeting recap for September 2nd, 2016

      This week’s meeting had a special theme of looking at the categories and other user interface elements of the directory. The directory is one of the most frequently visited resources maintained by the Free Software Foundation, often by users who may not be familiar with free software. So we want to make sure the way that it presents itself is welcoming and useful. The first hour of the meeting was dedicated solely to discussing these issues.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • The rise of the shareable document

        Higher education is increasingly embracing different concepts of openness, from open access to open education resources (OER). But where does that other open concept—open source—fit into this model? Open source represents the best way to ensure these materials can be easily modified, without risk of material suddenly becoming unchangeable or inaccessible.

  • Programming/Development

    • V8 JavaScript Engine 5.4 Brings More Performance Improvements

      Version 5.4 of the V8 JavaScript Engine has been released. This is another hefty update to V8 and it brings the favorite kind of work we like talking about: more performance improvements.

      V8 Release 5.4 brings reductions in peak memory usage of on-heap memory up to 40% by tuning the garbage collector for low-memory systems. The off-heap peak memory usage has improved by up to 20% as well thanks to simplifying the V8 JavaScript parser.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Adobe Flash Player Free Download Available for Linux [Ed: Adobe realises too late that GNU/Linux isn’t going away]
    • Flash has become so outcast, even Porn websites are ditching it
    • Pornhub, RedTube ditch Flash to hook up with HTML5
    • Top smut site stops Flashing, adopts HTML5
    • Tasty open standards: Pornhub to dump Flash in favor of HTML5

      The march of HTML 5 dominance across the web has received an arousing boost with the news that popular porn site Pornhub is dumping flash in favor of the open web standard.

      Whereas porn usually leads when it comes to embracing new technologies, the decision by Pornhub to abandon Flash was a case where instead it was following others, in particular Google The search giant announced in August that it would begin removing all support for Flash in its market-leading Google Chrome browser from version 53 that was due to be released in September.
      Pornhub does, however, lead the porn industry, with competitors including YouPorn, xHamster, and RedTube still relying on Flash to serve their content.

    • [Older] Is the GPL the right way to force IoT standardization?

      The Internet of Things has tremendous potential, but remains a mishmash of conflicting “standards” that don’t talk to each other. As various vendors erect data silos in the sky, what is actually needed is increased developer communication between disparate IoT projects.

      I’ve argued before that this is one reason IoT needs to be open sourced, providing neutral territory for developers to focus on code, not business models. But there’s still an open question as to what kind of open source best facilitates developer-to-developer sharing. In Cessanta CTO and co-founder Sergey Lyubka’s view, the restrictive GNU General Public License (GPLv2) is the right way to license IoT, at least for now.


  • Acquiring Apigee, Google Makes Another Big Cloud Move

    Google is making some significant moves to bolster its presence in cloud computing. In its latest move, the company said it is acquiring cloud software company Apigee in a deal valued at about $625 million. Apigee offers API management solutions that help companies’ digital services interact with applications used by customers and partners. For example, Apigee Edge is an intelligent API management solution that helps businesses manage open source APIs “to securely share services and data across multiple channels and devices.”

    Just this week, Google also partnered with Box to allow users of the popular Box enterprise cloud storage and content services platform edit documents with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, while keeping them stored on Box. Many enterprise users will applaud that move as it will give them more coud storage freedom. What is behind all these cloud moves from Google?

  • The Real Impact Of Your Phone

    Your phone uses the equivalent of two refrigerators’ worth of electricity every year.

    No, charging your phone doesn’t suck up as much energy as your TV, Apple TV, your fridge, or your vacuum does. But if you add in all of the electricity required to store and move data across high-speed cable and wireless networks and climate-controlled server farms to deliver an hour of video to your phone each week, in the space of a year it adds up to more power than two new Energy Star refrigerators consume in the same time.

    The estimate, from a 2013 report by the U.S. National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity—is a controversial one, but perhaps no estimate of the energy impact of our electronics use isn’t: measuring the aggregate impact of the supply chain and infrastructure behind your phone across its life cycle is a very difficult thing to do.

  • 5 Foreign School Rules Way Better Than The American Version

    If you’ve ever read anything on the internet, you know that the American education system isn’t doing so hot. Of course, poorly spelled rants against barely understood aspects of politics and culture aren’t the sole provenance of the United States, but global national education statistics do give some weight to the “Stupid American” stereotype. There are, however, several ready-made solutions to our many, many problems. All we have to do is swallow our pride and let other countries teach us how to become more better at schooling.

  • html email comments

    I’m not sure which is more disturbing. The decision to embed version history in every email they send, or the inconsistent date formats, or the strange mix of HTML, C, and C++ style comments. Using — is a particularly poor choice of decoration within an HTML comment, by the by.

    I’m also having a fun time imagining staying at a hotel 50 years ago, then receiving a follow up letter spattered with white out covering up various notes from the marketer to the secretary. “Insert reference to upcoming holiday here.”

  • The 100% correct way to validate email addresses

    Congratulations. From this day forward, you will no longer squander your time trying to work out the perfect regex to validate email addresses. You will also never again run the risk of rejecting what is, in fact, a strange, valid email address.

    The trick is to first define what we mean by ‘valid’.

  • Science

    • Australia’s ‘innovation future’ needs a kick along, says Internet Australia

      Internet Australia wants to see the country do more to achieve its potential as a world-leading “innovation nation” and has repeated its call for a Digital Future Forum of government and industry leaders, trade unions and academics to develop a roadmap for innovation.

      IA chief executive Laurie Patton told the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit in Sydney on Wednesday there needs to be agreement between all political parties and industry on the direction Australia should take to achieve a national innovation agenda for the country.

    • 13 Academics Who Have Become Shills for Corporate Giants in the Food, Agrochemical and Fossil Fuel Industries

      There’s nothing new or unusual about corporate and academic collaboration. IBM, for instance, has partnered with universities around the country since the 1940s to support computer science education. This relationship is mutually beneficial both for the tech giant and the institutions sponsored. IBM’s grant dollars provide welcome funding for research and equipment for students, all while fostering a new class of computer scientists and engineers.

      University-business partnerships, however, require a careful balance. Take the tobacco industry. According to a 2012 study by Harvard professor Allan Brandt, cigarette makers all but invented the concept of industry-academic conflicts of interest. Since the 1950s, cigarette companies have sought to influence the debate about the dangers of smoking to sell more of their products. One tactic used was aligning with university-based science and underwriting millions of dollars for favorable research.

  • Hardware

    • Why water sports and the iPhone 7 don’t mix

      APPLE’S NEW iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are being advertised as “water and dust resistant” but water sports enthusiasts should take note that they are not water and dust proof.

      The difference is important if you are a scuba diver who always needs to be connected, because you’ll get nowhere with Cook & Co if you send your waterlogged phone back for replacement under warranty.

      “iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are splash, water and dust resistant and were tested under controlled laboratory conditions with a rating of IP67 under IEC standard 60529,” said Apple’s get-out clause.

      “Splash, water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear. Do not attempt to charge a wet iPhone; refer to the user guide for cleaning and drying instructions. Liquid damage not covered under warranty.”

      Interestingly, the blurb doesn’t mention dust damage so speedway riders may be OK.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Washing Our Hands of Toxins

      The bacteria on your skin is safer than these two chemicals the FDA just banned from your soap.

    • Your brain is sponging up toxic nanomagnets from polluted air

      Anyone who’s lived in a smoggy city would likely welcome the idea of using widely dispersed air filters to soak up all those toxic tidbits floating around—unless, of course, those filters were functioning human brains.

      Our noggins naturally catch and collect the toxic, magnetic nanoparticles that we inadvertently inhale from polluted air, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Those wee particles, made of the strongly magnetic iron oxide compound, magnetite, have been found in human brains before and were thought to be normal and harmless byproducts of biological processes. But according to the new study, a closer examination of minuscule metal balls in 37 human brains revealed that they’re actually from smog, formed during combustion or friction-derived heating, such as slamming on the brakes of a car.

      Whether the particles are harmful is hazy, but the authors note that the nanomagnets have two troubling features: they can interact with misfolded proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease to produce reactive oxygen species, which can severely damage cells; and large amounts of them in the brain correlated with Alzheimer’s disease in earlier studies. Given these potential risks, the authors—a team of researchers from the UK and Mexico—suggest that exposure to them “might need to be examined as a possible hazard to human health.”

      Lead author Barbara Maher, physicist and co-director of the Centre for Environmental Magnetism and Paleomagnetism at Lancaster University in the UK, got the idea to examine the brain-embedded particles knowing that magnetite nanoparticles are abundant in air pollution.

    • Anti-depressants given to children soar by nearly 30 per cent in 10 years

      There has been a massive increase in prescribing of anti-depressants to children over the last decade – but more than 40 per cent are drugs that have been shown not to work and which can have toxic side-effects, according to new research.

      A study of almost 360,000 patients aged six to 18 in Wales found there had been a 28 per cent rise in anti-depressants given out by GPs, raising fears of the “medicalisation” of unhappiness and the ordinary emotional turmoil experienced by teenagers.

      However the researchers said it could also be because children were now getting the help they needed due to a fall in the stigma attached to mental health problems.

      Curiously while the number of prescriptions per child, per year went up, the number of diagnoses of depression fell, which the academics suggested was a sign that doctors were trying to avoid “labelling” young people as mentally ill.

    • Sri Lanka conquers malaria

      Sri Lanka has become malaria-free. On September 5, the World Health Organisation officially recognised this huge public health achievement. The WHO certifies a country so when the chain of local transmission is interrupted for at least three consecutive years; the last reported case was in October 2012. With no local transmission reported, Sri Lanka’s priority since October 2012 has been to prevent its return from outside, particularly from malaria-endemic countries such as India. There were 95, 49 and 36 cases reported in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively, all contracted outside Sri Lanka. In a commendable initiative, Sri Lanka adopted a two-pronged strategy of targeting both vector and parasite, undertaking active detection of cases and residual parasite carriers by screening populations irrespective of whether malaria symptoms were present. Early detection and treatment of asymptomatic parasite carriers, who serve as reservoirs of infection, played a crucial role in interrupting the chain. While this was achieved by means of house visits and by starting mobile clinics in high-transmission areas, real-time monitoring through effective surveillance systems, community awareness and mobilisation also played their role. The public sector and the private sector were oriented to the common goal of eliminating malaria by enhancing case notification and achieving 100 per cent detection and confirmation through tests. Sri Lanka expanded the coverage of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets to protect high-risk populations, and used multiple methods to reduce mosquito numbers.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Ten-year-old Windows Media Player hack is the new black, again

      Net scum are still finding ways to take down users with a decade-old Windows Media Player attack.

      The vector is a reborn social engineering hatchet job not seen in years in which attackers convince users to run executable content through Windows Media Player’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) functionality.

      Windows Media Player will throw a DRM warning whenever users do not have the rights to play content, opening a URL through which a licence can be acquired.

      Now malware villains are packing popular movies with malicious links so that the DRM warning leads to sites where they’re fooled into downloading trojans masquerading as necessary video codecs.

    • Luabot Malware Turning Linux Based IoT Devices into DDoS Botnet

      The IT security researchers at MalwareMustDie have discovered a malware that is capable of infecting Linux-based Internet of Things (IoT) devices and web servers to launch DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.

    • Home-router IoT Devices Compromised for Building DDoS Botnet

      IoT (Internet-of-Thing) devices have been used to make a botnet earlier also just like attackers recently compromised 8 different popular home-routers that are IoT brands to make a botnet out of them which executed a DDoS attack at the application-level against several servers of certain website. Discoverer of this application-level DDoS alternatively HTTPS flood assault of Layer 7 is Sucuri the security company.

    • New Linux Trojan Discovered Coded in Mozilla’s Rust Language [Ed: don’t install it. Easy.]

      A new trojan coded in Rust is targeting Linux-based platforms and adding them to a botnet controlled through an IRC channel, according to a recent discovery by Dr.Web, a Russian antivirus maker.

      Initial analysis of this trojan, detected as Linux.BackDoor.Irc.16, reveals this may be only a proof-of-concept or a testing version in advance to a fully weaponized version.

      Currently, the trojan only infects victims, gathers information about the local system and sends it to its C&C server.

    • The Limits of SMS for 2-Factor Authentication

      A recent ping from a reader reminded me that I’ve been meaning to blog about the security limitations of using cell phone text messages for two-factor authentication online. The reader’s daughter had received a text message claiming to be from Google, warning that her Gmail account had been locked because someone in India had tried to access her account. The young woman was advised to expect a 6-digit verification code to be sent to her and to reply to the scammer’s message with that code.

    • Telnet is not dead – at least not on ‘smart’ devices

      Depending on your age, you either might or might not have used Telnet to connect to remote computers in the past. But regardless of your age, you would probably not consider Telnet for anything you currently use. SSH has become the de facto standard when it comes to remote shell connection as it offers higher security, data encryption and much more besides.

      When we created our first honeypots for the Turris project (see our older blog articles – 1, 2, 3), we started with SSH and Telnet, because both offer interactive console access and thus are very interesting for potential attackers. But SSH was our main goal, while Telnet was more of a complimentary feature. It came as a great surprise to discover that the traffic we drew to the Telnet honeypots is three orders of magnitude higher than in the case of SSH (note the logarithmic scale of the plot below). Though there is a small apples-to-oranges issue, as we compare the number of login attempts for Telnet with the number of issued commands for SSH, the huge difference is obvious and is also visible in other aspects, such as in the number of unique attacker IP addresses.

    • Israeli Online Attack Service ‘vDOS’ Earned $600,000 in Two Years

      vDOS — a “booter” service that has earned in excess of $600,000 over the past two years helping customers coordinate more than 150,000 so-called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks designed to knock Web sites offline — has been massively hacked, spilling secrets about tens of thousands of paying customers and their targets.

      The vDOS database, obtained by KrebsOnSecurity.com at the end of July 2016, points to two young men in Israel as the principal owners and masterminds of the attack service, with support services coming from several young hackers in the United States.

    • Cisco’s Network Bugs Are Front and Center in Bankruptcy Fight

      Game of War: Fire Age, your typical melange of swords and sorcery, has been one of the top-grossing mobile apps for three years, accounting for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. So publisher Machine Zone was furious when the game’s servers, run by hosting company Peak Web, went dark for 10 hours last October. Two days later, Machine Zone fired Peak Web, citing multiple outages, and later sued.

      Then came the countersuit. Peak Web argued in court filings that Machine Zone was voiding its contract illegally, because the software bug that caused the game outages resided in faulty network switches made by Cisco Systems, and according to Peak Web’s contract with Machine Zone, it wasn’t liable. In December, Cisco publicly acknowledged the bug’s existence—too late to help Peak Web, which filed for bankruptcy protection in June, citing the loss of Machine Zone’s business as the reason. The Machine Zone-Peak Web trial is slated for March 2017.

      “Machine Zone wasn’t acting in good faith,” says Steve Morrissey, a partner at law firm Susman Godfrey, which is representing Peak Web. “They were trying to get out of the contract.” Machine Zone has disputed that assertion in court documents, but it declined to comment for this story. Cisco also declined to comment on the case, saying only that it tries to publish confirmed problems quickly.

      There’s buggy code in virtually every electronic system. But few companies ever talk about the cost of dealing with bugs, for fear of being associated with error-prone products. The trial, along with Peak Web’s bankruptcy filings, promises a rare look at just how much or how little control a company may have over its own operations, depending on the software that undergirds it. Think of the corporate computers around the world rendered useless by a faulty update from McAfee in 2010, or of investment company Knight Capital, which lost $458 million in 30 minutes in 2012—and had to be sold months later—after new software made erratic, automated stock market trades.

    • The H Factor – Why you should be building “human firewalls”

      It is often the illusive “H Factor” – the human element – that ends up being the weakest link that makes cyber-attacks and data breaches possible.

    • White House appoints first Federal Chief Information Security Officer

      The White House announced Thursday that retired Brigadier General Gregory J. Touhill will serve as the first federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

      “The CISO will play a central role in helping to ensure the right set of policies, strategies, and practices are adopted across agencies and keeping the Federal Government at the leading edge of 21st century cybersecurity,” read a blog post penned by Tony Scott, US Chief Information Officer, and J. Michael Daniel, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator.

    • Xen Project patches serious virtual machine escape flaws

      The Xen Project has fixed four vulnerabilities in its widely used virtualization software, two of which could allow malicious virtual machine administrators to take over host servers.

      Flaws that break the isolation layer between virtual machines are the most serious kind for a hypervisor like Xen, which allows users to run multiple VMs on the same underlying hardware in a secure manner.

    • This USB stick will fry your unsecured computer

      A Hong Kong-based technology manufacturer, USBKill.com, has taken data security to the “Mission Impossible” extreme by creating a USB stick that uses an electrical discharge to fry an unauthorized computer into which it’s plugged.

      “When the USB Kill stick is plugged in, it rapidly charges its capacitors from the USB power supply, and then discharges — all in the matter of seconds,” the company said in a news release.

    • WordPress urges users to update now to fix critical security holes

      WordPress is urging webmasters to update their CMS packages as quickly as possible to protect their domains from critical vulnerability exploits.

      On Thursday, the content management system (CMS) provider released a security advisory alongside the latest version of WordPress, 4.6.1. Now available, the update patches two serious security problems, a cross-site scripting vulnerability and a path traversal security flaw.

      The XSS flaw, discovered by SumOfPwn researcher Cengiz Han back in July at the Summer of Pwnage bug bounty project, allows attackers to use a crafted image file, upload to WordPress, and inject malicious JavaScript code into the software.

      An attacker can exploit this vulnerability to perform a range of actions, including stealing session tokens and login credentials, as well as remotely execute malicious code.

      The second critical issue, reported by Dominik Schilling from the WordPress security team, is a path traversal vulnerability discovered within the upgrade package uploader.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US Veterans Support Lawsuit over ‘Targeted Killing’ by Drone

      Three U.S. veterans are supporting Faisal bin Ali Jaber, whose brother-in-law and nephew were killed in 2012 in a drone strike.

      Three former drone operators backed a lawsuit against the U.S. drone program on Thursday to push for more accountability in deadly drone strikes.

    • Veterans back fight by relative of drone victims: People should know ‘how a screw-up can lead to the death of their family members’

      Three military veterans once involved in the U.S. drone program have thrown their support behind a Yemeni man’s legal fight to obtain details about why his family members were killed in a 2012 strike.

      The veterans’ unusual decision to publicly endorse the lawsuit against President Obama and other U.S. officials adds another twist to Faisal bin Ali Jaber’s four-year quest for accountability in the deaths of his brother-in-law and nephew, who he believes needlessly fell victim to one of the most lethal covert programs in U.S. history.

      The former enlisted service members told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a recent filing that they believe the 2012 drone strike serves as a case study of how mistakes frequently occur in the nation’s targeted-killing program, where life-or-death decisions are based upon top-secret evidence.

      The veterans say they “witnessed a secret, global system without regard for borders, conducting widespread surveillance with the ability to conduct deadly targeted killing operations.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s National Security Advisers Are a “Who’s Who” of the Warfare State

      Hillary Clinton is meeting on Friday with a new national security “working group” that is filled with an elite “who’s who” of the military-industrial complex and the security deep state.

      The list of key advisers — which includes the general who executed the troop surge in Iraq and a former Bush homeland security chief turned terror profiteer — is a strong indicator that Clinton’s national security policy will not threaten the post-9/11 national-security status quo that includes active use of military power abroad and heightened security measures at home.

      It’s a story we’ve seen before in President Obama’s early appointments. In retrospect, analysts have pointed to the continuity in national security and intelligence advisers as an early sign that despite his campaign rhetoric Obama would end up building on — rather than tearing down — the often-extralegal, Bush-Cheney counterterror regime. For instance, while Obama promised in 2008 to reform the NSA, its director was kept on and its reach continued to grow.

      Obama’s most fateful decision may have been choosing former National Counterterrorism Center Director John Brennan to be national security adviser, despite Brennan’s support of Bush’s torture program. Brennan would go on to run the president’s drone program, lead the CIA, fight the Senate’s torture investigation, and then lie about searching Senate computers.

    • Wolf Blitzer Is Worried Defense Contractors Will Lose Jobs if U.S. Stops Arming Saudi Arabia

      Sen. Rand Paul’s expression of opposition to a $1.1 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia — which has been brutally bombing civilian targets in Yemen using U.S.-made weapons for more than a year now — alarmed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday afternoon.

      Blitzer’s concern: That stopping the sale could result in fewer jobs for arms manufacturers.

      “So for you this is a moral issue,” he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. “Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?”

      Paul stayed on message. “Well not only is it a moral question, its a constitutional question,” Paul said. “Our founding fathers very directly and specifically did not give the president the power to go to war. They gave it to Congress. So Congress needs to step up and this is what I’m doing.”

    • Syrian conflict: US and Russia agree peace moves

      Russia and the US have announced an agreement on Syria starting with a “cessation of hostilities” from sunset on Monday.

      Under the plan, the Syrian government will end combat missions in specified areas held by the opposition.

      Russia and the US will establish a joint centre to combat so-called Islamic State and al-Nusra fighters.

      The announcement follows talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

    • US, Russia condemn latest North Korea nuclear test

      The U.S. and Russia led global condemnation of North Korea Friday, after the reclusive state said it had completed a fifth nuclear test.

      Speaking in Geneva ahead of talks on Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated the nuclear test carried out in the early hours of Friday would be referred to the Security Council.

      Kerry said that the topic will be discussed within “the context of the United Nations,” according to Reuters.

      Previous U.N. Security Council resolutions had banned North Korea from trialling new ballistic missiles, or carrying out nuclear testing. Lavrov said Friday that U.N. resolutions “must be followed.”

    • Putin Politely Expresses His Amazement At Western Stupidity

      In an interview with John Micklethwait of BloombergBusinessweek, Putin was asked about Russia’s desire to expand its influence geographically. Putin answered as follows:

      “I think all sober-minded people who really are involved in politics understand that the idea of a Russian threat to, for example, the Baltics is complete madness. Are we really about to fight NATO? How many people live in NATO? About 600 million, correct? There are 146 million in Russia. Yes, we’re the biggest nuclear power. But do you really think that we’re about to conquer the Baltics using nuclear weapons? What is this madness? That’s the first point, but by no means the main point.

    • Obama Flinches at Renouncing Nuke First Strike

      The U.S. threat to launch a first-strike nuclear attack has little real strategic value – though it poses a real risk to human survival – but President Obama fears political criticism if he changes the policy, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

    • Saudi Arabia cannot pay its workers or bills – yet continues to fund a war in Yemen

      In Saudi Arabia itself, the government seems unable to cope with the crisis. The ‘Arab News’ says that 31,000 Saudi and other foreign workers have lodged complaints with the government’s labour ministry over unpaid wages. On one occasion, the Indian consulate and expatriates brought food to the workers so that their people should not starve

    • Do tragedies like 9/11 have an expiration date?

      Fifteen years ago, the world watched as the deadliest terror attack in the history of the United States played out before their eyes.

      The images are unforgettable, and the stories of those who died and those who rushed to the scene dominated media coverage for months after the attacks.

      But the way people mark the anniversary has in many ways changed from a collective experience that the masses were a part of, to a more personal experience, according to Brian A. Monahan, an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at Marywood University in Scranton, Penn.

      Monahan notes that fifteen-years-later there are two groups of people who experienced the attacks in very different ways — those who were around and watched the events unfold, and the second group of people who weren’t alive or were too young to remember.

    • Air Force, Running Low on Drone Pilots, Turns to Contractors in Terror Fight

      The American military’s extensive use of drones against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups has resulted in a shortage of Air Force pilots and other personnel to operate the aircraft, leading the Pentagon to rely more on private contractors for reconnaissance missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Pentagon has used contractors to perform many duties traditionally carried out by uniformed personnel, like protecting military bases and feeding service members. The contractors who are now serving as drone pilots are based in the regions where the drones are flown, and they are legally prohibited from being “trigger pullers” and firing weapons, Air Force officials said. But there is no limit on the type of reconnaissance they can perform, and they are providing live video feeds of battles and special operations.

    • Mark Weisbrot on Brazilian Overthrow, Shahid Buttar on Copwatcher Retaliation

      This week on CounterSpin: A federal prosecutor in Brazil determined that the bookkeeping maneuver with which twice-elected president Dilma Rousseff had been charged by her right-wing opposition did not constitute a crime. Rousseff’s congressional opponents include a number of people themselves facing charges, including bribery, electoral fraud, kidnapping and homicide. Then Rousseff was ousted. Many Brazilians are calling it a coup, but the official US position is, what now? We’ll hear about what’s happening in Brazil from Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

    • ‘What Is Aleppo?’ A Fateful Question for Libertarian Presidential Nominee Gary Johnson
    • What Is Aleppo? This.

      Libertarian Gary Johnson’s blank gaze at the name “Aleppo” is shocking – about as shocking as yesterday’s chlorine gas attack constituting yet another war crime there, or the New York Times’ three corrections to get right just what Aleppo is and isn’t, or the way Twitter exploded about one guy’s unreal ignorance while generally ignoring almost an entire population’s annihilation, or the pitiable fact that another presidential candidate actually knows less than Trump, or the even more miserable fact that Johnson’s bewilderment pretty much sums up U.S. policy, press knowledge and levels of public awareness on Syria, which is, as Johnson so astutely noted, “a mess.” No, this wasn’t “a stumble” or “blunder” or “gaffe.” It’s the sorry state of our national political landscape. What’s not shocking here: Nobody in Aleppo has heard of Johnson either – they’re way too busy trying to stay alive.

    • What Aleppo Is and Is Not

      The fact that Johnson had apparently never heard of the strategically important city — and even failed to guess that it was the name of a city (he told Whoopi Goldberg later that he thought it might have been an acronym) — stunned Mike Barnicle, the columnist who asked him what he would do about the situation there if he was elected president.

      When Johnson asked what Aleppo (or A.L.E.P.P.O. — or, a leppo) might be, Barnicle replied, with open contempt, “You’re kidding.”

      But Johnson, it turns out, was not alone.

      As remarkable as that moment was, it was quickly followed by reports on Johnson’s cluelessness that included basic errors about who was fighting in the city and why the tragedy there matters to the rest of the world.

      Taken together, those error-strewn reports suggest that American journalists and pundits have become so completely focused on the horse-race aspect of electoral politics that they are paying almost no attention to the biggest foreign policy crisis that will face the next president.

      The tone was set by Christopher Hill, a former United States ambassador to Iraq who is now the dean of international studies at the University of Denver.

    • ‘What Is Aleppo?’ Asks Gary Johnson–and NYT Gives Three Wrong Answers

      Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, when asked in an MSNBC interview (Morning Joe, 9/8/16) what he would do about the battle raging over the Syrian city of Aleppo, responded, “What is Aleppo?”

      That’s troubling, that a presidential candidate would be unaware of one of the main battlefields in one of the world’s deadliest conflicts. But even more troubling is that the New York Times, the US paper of record, can’t seem to figure out what Aleppo is, either.

      As FAIR contributor Ben Norton noted in a piece for Salon (9/8/16), the Times‘ Alan Rappeport (9/8/16) wrote a piece about Johnson’s gaffe that described Aleppo as “the de facto capital of the Islamic State,” or ISIS. That’s wrong; the de facto capital of ISIS is Raqqa, a city halfway across Syria from Aleppo.

      This was then changed in an edit to describe Aleppo as “a stronghold of the Islamic State.” That’s also wrong; the main rebel faction in Aleppo is Jabhat al-Nusra, better known as the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria—a bitter rival of ISIS. ISIS itself has little presence in the city.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Three Devices

      I really don’t want to get bogged down in the Hillary email story. But given the ongoing discussions about whether claims she used the personal server to avoid oversight have merit, I did two more things. First, I did this timeline. Without going into too much detail, there are decisions made after requests for emails that suggest avoiding oversight was driving some of this. That’s especially true given the conflicting stories from Paul Combetta pertaining to his actions in late 2014 and March 2015; he ended up deleting Hillary’s emails after being informed of the House Oversight request for them. He may have only revealed that with an immunity deal.

      The other detail I want to focus on is the number of devices Hillary had. Hillary defenders often point to her claim that she used the Blackberry for convenience to claim she surely wasn’t avoiding oversight. But I think the FBI report shows that she had three devices, not just one.

      Most of the attention on the number of her devices focuses on the fact that she had 13 serial BBs, none of which were handed over to the FBI (instead of her actual BBs,, Williams & Connolly turned over two other BBs, though without SIM or SD cards).

      It is true that her 13 BBs were used serially, not at once, which makes Hillary Clinton just like Tom Brady in her serial use of phones: she’s just a famous person who likes to swap out her phones all the time. The difference being that Tom Brady was told he didn’t need to keep his phone, whereas Hillary was under record-keeping obligations even before any investigation started. And Brady at least had had his comms reviewed by lawyers before he deleted his phone.

      But it’s not the 13 BB detail that poses problems to Hillary’s single device claim. It’s this passage.

    • NBC’s Military Forum Was a Master Class on How Not to Hold Candidates Accountable

      The “Commander-in-Chief Forum” with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton that NBC’s Matt Lauer moderated Wednesday night was billed as a way to interrogate the presidential candidates on substantive veterans’ and national security issues.

      But from the questions chosen to the format, the event served as little more than a class on how not to hold the candidates accountable.

      In the 25 minutes devoted to Clinton, nearly half was spent by Lauer grilling her about her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state (one veteran also asked about the issue). That left little room for questions on policies she presided over while in office.

    • Documents Show U.S. Military Expands Reach of Special Operations Programs

      The United States is spending more money on more missions to send more elite U.S. forces to train alongside more foreign counterparts in more countries around the world, according to documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act.

      Under the Joint Combined Exchange Training program, which is designed to train America’s special operators in a variety of missions — from “foreign internal defense” to “unconventional warfare” — U.S. troops carried out approximately one mission every two days in 2014, the latest year covered by the recently released documents.

      At a price tag of more than $56 million, the U.S. sent its most elite operators — Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and others — on 176 individual JCETs, a 13 percent increase from 2013. The number of countries involved jumped even further, from 63 to 87, a 38 percent spike.

    • What’s Behind Barack Obama’s Ongoing Accommodation of Vladimir Putin?

      When a major party cynically espouses a set of beliefs as a tactic for winning an election, those beliefs get entrenched in popular discourse and often endure well past the election, with very significant consequences. The most significant such rhetorical template in the 2016 election — other than the new Democratic claim that big-money donations do not corrupt the political process — is that Russia is a Grave Enemy of the U.S.; anyone who advocates better relations or less tension with Moscow is a likely sympathizer, stooge, or even agent of Putin; and any associations with the Kremlin render one’s loyalties suspect.

      Literally every week ushers in a new round of witch hunts in search of domestic Kremlin agents and new evidence of excessive Putin sympathies. The latest outburst was last night’s discovery that Donald Trump allowed himself to be interviewed by well-known Kremlin propagandist and America-hater Larry King on his RT show. “Criticizing US on Russian TV is something no American, much less an aspiring prez, should do,” pronounced Fred Kaplan. Other guests appearing on that network include Soviet spy Bernard Sanders (who spoke this year to Putin crony and RT host Ed Schultz), Bill Maher (whose infiltrates American culture through his cover as a comedian hosting an HBO program), and Stephen Hawking (whom the FSB has groomed to masquerade as a “physicist” while he carries out un-American activities on behalf of Putin).

    • The ‘Ethiopian Spring’: “Killing is not an answer to our grievances”

      The Ethiopian leadership remains in denial. The long meetings of its ruling bodies have culminated in a report on 15 years of national “rebirth”, in which it awards itself good marks, while acknowledging the existence of a few problems here and there.

    • UN Team Heard Claims of ‘Staged’ Chemical Attacks

      United Nations investigators encountered evidence that alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian military were staged by jihadist rebels and their supporters, but still decided to blame the government for two incidents in which chlorine was allegedly dispersed via improvised explosives dropped by helicopters.

      In both cases, the Syrian government denied that it had any aircraft in the areas at the times of the purported attacks, but the U.N. team rejected that explanation with the curious argument that Syria failed to provide flight records to corroborate the absence of any flights. Yet, if there had been no flights, there would be no flight records.

    • Greenwashing Wars and the US Military

      The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has come in for criticism due to its lack of attention to the detrimental effects of wars and military operations on nature. Considering the degree of harm to the environment coming from these human activities, one would think that the organization might have set aside some time at its World Conservation Congress this past week in Hawaii to specifically address these concerns.

      Yet, of the more than 1,300 workshops crammed into the six-day marathon environmental meeting in Honolulu, followed by four days of discussion about internal resolutions, nothing specifically addressed the destruction of the environment by military operations and wars.

    • America’s new war: drone to death-ray

      The United States sent a senior official to the Arms Trade Treaty conference meeting in Geneva on 22-26 August to make the case for controls on exports of armed drones. The diplomat concerned, Brian Nilsson of the Bureau for Political Military Affairs, presented a draft document to establish principles for such exports, “with the express purpose of holding meetings with foreign delegations attending the conference and encouraging them to sign onto the declaration.”

      In its way this appears to be a milestone in arms proliferation and international diplomacy, where Washington at last recognises a reality that has long been tracked in this series of columns and elsewhere: the proliferation of armed drones across the world, a process which the US itself – as a leading global producer and exporter – is deeply implicated. The Pentagon thinks it is reasonable to develop a technology that gives it an edge in the new era of ‘remote warfare’. But once many other people learn to do it, the edge disappears. It is time, then, to argue for arms control.

    • Will Either Clinton or Trump End the Forever War?

      Perhaps the most enduring question of Barack Obama’s presidency is a deceptively simple one: is the United States at war?

      “America is at a crossroads,” Obama said in a speech at the National Defense University in 2013. “We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us.” He then quoted James Madison, the fourth US president, who wrote, “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

      The speech was the closest Obama has come while in office to winding down — rhetorically, at least — what George W. Bush famously called the “Global War on Terror.” Yet, if Obama’s goal was to end, or even simply define, the war by the end of his eight years as president, he has failed. The country remains on a “perpetual wartime footing,” a phrase he used in the 2013 speech. That is due in part to the rise of ISIS (also known as Daesh), but the Obama administration’s militarism extends far beyond Iraq and Syria. And even the rise of ISIS’s precursor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, came as a direct response to the US occupation of Iraq.

    • Are We Just Going to Pretend Another President Didn’t Give Iran Their Money?

      Hold on a second. Common sense got caught in my throat there for a minute. The crime dog on this case is…this guy? I mean, really, this guy? At least Trey Gowdy was a prosecutor once. This guy is a former reality show star who first got famous as a politician by whining about his congressional salary. This is that deep bench again.

      But, since we are handed this lemon, let’s make some lemonade, shall we? Let’s go back to the golden days of early 1981, when the great sunshine of Amon-Ra Reagan had fallen upon the land, and some hostages came home—after which $12 billion in Iranian assets that Jimmy Carter had frozen suddenly were thawed. Six years later, he let them have $454 million more of their assets. There was a great unfreezing under the Reagan Administration.

    • Robert Scheer: U.S. Pledge of $90 Million to Laos Glosses U.S. History Terrorizing Civilians

      As President Obama toured an exhibition of prosthetics made for Laotians who lost limbs when bombs exploded years or even decades after the United States dropped them on Laos during the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. announced it would provide $90 million over the next three years to help Laos clear the remaining explosives.

      The unexploded bombs are 30 percent of the total that the United States dropped on the country—a total Obama described as “more bombs on Laos than [on] Germany and Japan during World War II.” So far, such ordnance has killed or injured more than 20,000 people.

    • A 9/11 Retrospective: Washington’s 15-Year Air War

      On the morning of September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda launched its four-plane air force against the United States. On board were its precision weapons: 19 suicidal hijackers. One of those planes, thanks to the resistance of its passengers, crashed in a Pennsylvania field. The other three hit their targets — the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. — with the kind of “precision” we now associate with the laser-guided weaponry of the U.S. Air Force.

      From its opening salvo, in other words, this conflict has been an air war. With its 75% success rate, al-Qaeda’s 9/11 mission was a historic triumph, accurately striking three out of what assumedly were its four chosen targets. (Though no one knows just where that plane in Pennsylvania was heading, undoubtedly it was either the Capitol or the White House to complete the taking out of the icons of American financial, military, and political power.) In the process, almost 3,000 people who had no idea they were in the bombsights of an obscure movement on the other side of the planet were slaughtered.

      It was a barbaric, if daring, plan and an atrocity of the first order. Almost 15 years later, such suicidal acts with similar “precision” weaponry (though without the air power component) continue to be unleashed across the Greater Middle East, Africa, and sometimes elsewhere, taking a terrible toll — from a soccer game in Iraq to a Kurdish wedding party in southeastern Turkey (where the “weapon” may have been a boy).

    • Jill Stein calls for new 9/11 investigation

      “The Bush Administration initially said an inquiry was unnecessary, claiming that the perpetrators had been identified and their methods and motives were clear.”

      Stein described the 9/11 Commission report as containing many “omissions and distortions.”

      “The 9/11 Commission was not given enough money, time, or access to relevant classified information,” Stein said. “The Stein/Baraka campaign believes a new inquiry is necessary.”

    • Clinton: No US ground troops in Iraq, Syria; Trump: Steal Iraqi Oil

      The NBC Candidates Forum continued the shameful corporate coverage of the Great American Meltdown that is our election season. That season has given us a Faux Cable News that runs clips of only one side and pays out hush money to cover up how its blonde anchors were not so much hired as trafficked; a CNN that has hired a paid employee of the candidate as a consultant and analyst; and networks that won’t mention climate change or carbon emissions the same way they won’t mention labor unions. They aren’t even trying to do journalism any more– cable “news” is mostly infotainment as a placeholder between ads for toilet paper. I can’t bear to watch it most of the time and just read the news on the Web. If I have to watch t.v. I turn on local news (often does a better job on national stories too) or Alarabiya and Aljazeera, which for all their faults do actually have real news (and their faults cancel out one another). I can always get the transcript for the cable news shows; reading it is faster and less painful than having to watch.

      The NBC Forum didn’t really challenge either candidate on implausible statements, but on the whole engaged in a lot of badgering of Hillary Clinton while letting Donald Trump get away with outright misstatements of the facts and tossing him a lot of softballs.

    • What the U.S. Military Doesn’t Know (and Neither Do You)

      Sometimes the real news is in the details — or even in the discrepancies. Take, for instance, missions by America’s most elite troops in Africa.

      It was September 2014. The sky was bright and clear and ice blue as the camouflage-clad men walked to the open door and tumbled out into nothing. One moment members of the U.S. 19th Special Forces Group and Moroccan paratroopers were flying high above North Africa in a rumbling C-130 aircraft; the next, they were silhouetted against the cloudless sky, translucent green parachutes filling with air, as they began to drift back to earth.

      Those soldiers were taking part in a Joint Combined Exchange Training, or JCET mission, conducted under the auspices of Special Operations Command Forward-West Africa out of Camp Ram Ram, Morocco. It was the first time in several years that American and Moroccan troops had engaged in airborne training together, but just one of many JCET missions in 2014 that allowed America’s best-equipped, best-trained forces to hone their skills while forging ties with African allies.

    • Mexico Threatens to Cancel Treaty That Ceded Texas and California to U.S. If Trump Gets Elected

      While Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump might have taken a victory lap after his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, those south of the U.S. border are not.

      Finance Minister Luis Videgaray resigned Wednesday, after backlash from the invitation to Trump to meet with Peña Nieto. Now, Mexican Senator Armando Rios Piter is proposing legislation that could put Mexico in conflict with the United States.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Let’s Get Back To The Data’: Relentless Attacks On Assange Distract From Content Of WikiLeaks Releases

      Attacks on WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, including accusations of collusion with foreign governments, are growing more commonplace in the media as Election Day approaches.

      As the political establishment pushes back against WikiLeaks’ revelations of U.S. war crimes and corruption, political pundits have even threatened Assange’s life. Meanwhile, despite a total lack of evidence, the Clinton campaign continues to try to tie Assange to Russia, reviving a Cold War “red scare” narrative that the mainstream media seems all too eager to assist.

      Mickey Huff, media literacy expert and director of Project Censored, told MintPress News that the media’s focus on Assange distracts from more important stories, including the actual content of the leaks released by WikiLeaks. A professor of social sciences at Diablo Valley College near San Francisco, Huff co-authors an annual report on censorship and propaganda in the media.

      “I think we’re losing sight of the information these people are leaking,” he said. “It’s an ultimate distraction, a bait and switch.”

      Criticism of Assange hasn’t been limited to attacks on his character, though. Political pundits, as well as some government officials and political candidates, have made serious threats against him. And treatment of Assange seems unlikely to improve under the next administration.

      “He’s almost like a different version of an Osama bin Laden, a bogeyman du jour,” Huff said. “He’s someone that can be a whipping boy at almost any time if it’s necessary.”

    • Sweden puts pressure on Ecuador over questioning Julian Assange

      Swedish authorities have blamed the Ecuadorian embassy in London over delays in questioning its famous resident, Julian Assange, about sexual assault allegations.
      “So far we heard nothing more from them,” Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny told reporters on Wednesday, after Ecuador said last month it would allow Assange to be interrogated inside the embassy.

      “We are waiting to be told how and when this interview will take place, and if we will be able to be present while it’s been held,” said Ny, who added that Swedish investigators are ready to travel when needed.

    • ‘I saw no reason to give Assange special treatment’

      Few new details emerged at a press conference held by Ny and her colleague Ingrid Isberg in Stockholm on Wednesday to update Swedish and international media on the ongoing investigation.

      Ny said she had been told that the Svea Court of Appeals would announce on Friday whether to uphold or throw out Stockholm District Court’s decision to keep Assange remanded in custody ‘in absentia’ over a 2010 rape allegation, an accusation which the 45-year-old Australian denies.

      A major point of contention is that Assange has yet to be questioned in the case. After exhausting legal options in Britain, he fled to Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012. Ny said she had been trying to interrogate him since 2010 and defended a decision not to seek permission to meet him in London at an earlier stage.

    • DOJ Proudly Trumpets Its Completely BS 91% FOIA Response Rate

      Let’s face it: the DOJ isn’t going to change until forced to — “presumption of disclosure” or not. This administration has done almost nothing to push for greater transparency and neither of the incoming presidential candidates — Hillary “Homebrew” Clinton or Donald “I Can Make My Own Laws, Right?” Trump — are likely to have a positive effect on government accountability going forward.

      Certainly, there are still legislators who are pushing for better transparency, but they’re stymied by powerful agencies like the DOJ — and, often, the administration itself. The DOJ presides over agencies which have done everything but order a hit on prolific FOIA requesters like Jason Leopold. And, while the move towards a “release to one, release to all” policy on FOIA responses is better for the public in general, it’s also likely intended to discourage journalists from chasing down obscure government secrets by removing the possibility of “scooping” competitors.

      The worst part is the DOJ likely doesn’t care whether the general public believes its inflated response numbers. Like far too many federal agencies, it has long since shrugged off any pretense of acting in the public’s interest. Its “91%” whitewash of its FOIA responsiveness covers up a 50-60% response rate — one that’s likely good enough for government work. Especially the sort of work few in the government show any interest in performing.

    • Bob Graham: Release More 9/11 Records

      The government also knows more today about the 16 hijackers who lived outside California than when the 28 pages were classified in 2003. Much of that information remains secret but should be made public. For example, the F.B.I. for a time claimed that it had found no ties between three of the hijackers, including their leader, Mohamed Atta, and a prominent Saudi family that lived in Sarasota, Fla., before Sept. 11. The family returned to the kingdom about two weeks before the attack. But in 2013, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by investigative reporters led to the release of about 30 pages from an F.B.I.-led investigation that included an agent’s report asserting “many connections” between the hijackers and this family. The F.B.I. said the agent’s claim was unfounded, and the family said it had no ties to the hijackers. Still, a federal judge in 2014 ordered the bureau to turn over an additional 80,000 pages from its investigation, and he is reviewing those for possible public release.

    • Libeling Leakers: Julian Assange, Wikileaks and the Russian “Connection” [Ed: says Schindler. This guy.]

      Schindler’s analytical imagination then falters in attempting to link the dots. In releasing material that has a provenance to Russian hackers, “WikiLeaks is doing Moscow’s bidding and has placed itself in bed with Vladimir Putin.”

      The language is a neat libel assuming that an organisation that releases material provided to it by an individual, or entity, is then doing that body’s bidding, all body and consciousness, as a subservient political instrument. WikiLeaks has, in fact, shown itself to be very much independent, much to the irritation of governments and in certain instances its supporters. The devil’s work is often trying.

      At the New York Times, the strategy and outlook adopted by Schindler is replicated. The first is demonising Russia as a disinformation giant, weaponising information to weaken opponents. Neil MacFarquhar is certainly one captivated with the notion that Russia has that “powerful weapon” which he calls “the spread of false stories.” (How frightfully original.)

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Study Finds Greenhouse Gases Doubled the Chances of Louisiana’s Flooding Rains

      Human-caused climate change likely doubled the chances of the torrential rains that caused deadly flooding in Louisiana and damaged 60,000 homes in the state, a new study has found.

      Less than a month after the deluge that killed 13 people, a team of scientists have just published an analysis of rainfall records going back to the 1930s alongside computer model simulations.

      Lead author of the study Dr. Karin van der Wiel, a research associate at both Princeton University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the extra greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had now “changed the odds” for Louisiana being hit by torrential downpours.

      Compared to the year 1900, the model analysis had clearly shown that the extra greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had increased the chances of a torrential downpour in that Gulf Coast region.

      Van der Wiel told DeSmog, “The odds for a comparable event have now changed by at least 40 per cent, and our best estimate is a doubling. That is because of the increases in greenhouse gases.”

    • Fossil Fuel Industry Paid for Meetings with GOP Attorneys General to Plan Attack on Clean Power Plan

      Fossil fuel giants Murray Energy and Southern Company paid for meetings with Republican attorneys general to discuss their opposition to the Clean Power Plan less than two weeks before the same GOP officials petitioned federal courts to block the Obama administration’s signature climate proposal, according to private emails (see below) from state attorneys general obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy. The meetings took place at an August 2015 summit hosted by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in West Virginia, where attendees were offered the opportunity to meet with GOP attorneys general in exchange for financial donations to help reelect the Republican state prosecutors.

      Confidential documents also reveal that some of the GOP attorneys general again discussed “the future of the fight to stop the Clean Power Plan” at a meeting of the Republican Attorneys General Association’s 501(c)(4) organization, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, this past April.

      The previously unknown meetings and financial donations – revealed in copies of conference materials, most stamped “confidential,” that were emailed to state attorneys general who attended the summit and obtained by CMD through public records requests – offer the first look at the behind-the-scenes coordination between GOP attorneys general and the fossil fuel industry to undermine the implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

    • What You Need to Know About the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

      Over the past month, thousands of protesters, including Native Americans from more than 100 tribes across the country, have traveled to North Dakota to help the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe block the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built.

      Last week, the Standing Rock Nation filed an emergency petition to overturn the Army Corps of Engineers’ permit for the pipeline, which will be located a half-mile from the reservation through land taken from the tribe in 1958. The tribe says they were not consulted and a survey of the area found several sites of “significant cultural and historic value” in the pipeline path, including burial grounds.

      But on Saturday, Dakota Access crews began bulldozing anyway, leading to a violent confrontation between protesters and security guards. Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman was at the construction site as security guards attacked protesters with pepper spray and dogs.

    • Amazon burns as Brazil signs Paris pledge

      Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, will next week sign up to the Paris Agreement on climate change by committing Brazil to a reduction of 37% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and of 43% by 2030.

      But critics say that the commitment glosses over the government’s failure to address the legal and illegal forest clearance that is adding to global warming.

      Brazil’s emissions are the seventh highest in the world, and they come mostly from what is called land-use change − in other words, deforestation.

      The government has promised that all illegal deforestation will be ended by 2030 – which, as critics point out, allows for it to continue for another 14 years − and sidesteps the thorny question of legally-permitted deforestation.

    • Obama on Climate Change: The Trends Are ‘Terrifying’

      Seventy-four years ago, a naval battle off this remote spit of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean changed the course of World War II. Last week, President Obama flew here to swim with Hawaiian monk seals and draw attention to a quieter war — one he has waged against rising seas, freakish storms, deadly droughts and other symptoms of a planet choking on its own fumes.

      Bombs may not be falling. The sound of gunfire does not concentrate the mind. What Mr. Obama has seen instead are the charts and graphs of a warming planet. “And they’re terrifying,” he said in a recent interview in Honolulu.

      “What makes climate change difficult is that it is not an instantaneous catastrophic event,” he said. “It’s a slow-moving issue that, on a day-to-day basis, people don’t experience and don’t see.”

    • ‘I Want to Win Someday’: Tribes Make Stand Against Pipeline

      Verna Bailey stared into the silvery ripples of a man-made lake, looking for the spot where she had been born. “Out there,” she said, pointing to the water. “I lived down there with my grandmother and grandfather. We had a community there. Now it’s all gone.”

      Fifty years ago, hers was one of hundreds of Native American families whose homes and land were inundated by rising waters after the Army Corps of Engineers built the Oahe Dam along the Missouri River, part of a huge midcentury public-works project approved by Congress to provide electricity and tame the river’s floods.

      To Ms. Bailey, 76, and thousands of other tribal members who lived along the river’s length, the project was a cultural catastrophe, residents and historians say. It displaced families, uprooted cemeteries and swamped lands where tribes grazed cattle, drove wagons and gathered wild grapes and medicinal tea.

    • North Dakota Tribe’s Request to Stop Work on Pipeline Denied

      The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s attempt to halt construction of the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline near their North Dakota reservation, a cause that has drawn thousands to join a protest, was denied Friday by a federal judge.

      The tribe had challenged the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant permits at more than 200 water crossings for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners’ $3.8 billion pipeline, saying that the project violates several federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act, and will harm water supplies. The tribe also says ancient sacred sites have been disturbed during construction.

      U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington denied the tribe’s request for a temporary injunction in a 58-page opinion. A status conference is scheduled for Sept. 16.

    • Obama administration orders ND pipeline construction to stop

      The Obama administration said it would not authorize construction on a critical stretch of the Dakota Access pipeline, handing a significant victory to the Indian tribe fighting the project the same day the group lost a court battle.

      The administration said construction would halt until it can do more environmental assessments.

    • The Obama administration just made a major announcement on the Dakota Access Pipeline

      The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced it will be temporarily halting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline effective immediately.

      The ruling came down shortly after a federal judge cited with the pipeline companies in denying a motion filed by indigenous tribes to stop pipeline construction. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had granted permits to Energy Transfer Partners’ family of companies to build a $3.8 billion, 1100-mile pipeline crossing four states that would carry as many as 578,000 barrels of oil per day across indigenous land and the Missouri River, which supplies drinking water to approximately 17 million people.

    • Gov. Brown signs sweeping legislation to combat climate change

      California will become a petri dish for international efforts to slow global warming under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday, forcing one of the world’s largest economies to squeeze into a dramatically smaller carbon footprint.

      “What we’re doing here is farsighted, as well as far-reaching,” Brown said at a signing ceremony at Vista Hermosa Natural Park in downtown Los Angeles. “California is doing something that no other state has done.”

      The legislation, SB 32, requires the state to slash greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, a much more ambitious target than the previous goal of hitting 1990 levels by 2020.

      Cutting emissions will affect nearly all aspects of life in the state — where people live, how they get to work, how their food is produced and where their electricity comes from.

    • A Whistle-Blower Accuses the Kochs of “Poisoning” an Arkansas Town

      In June, Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by the billionaires Charles and David Koch, launched a new corporate public-relations campaign called “End the Divide,” to advance the notion that Koch Industries is deeply concerned by growing inequality in America. An ad for the campaign urges viewers to “look around,” as an image of an imposing white mansion is replaced by one of blighted urban streets. “America is divided,” an announcer intones, with “government and corporations picking winners and losers, rigging the system against people, creating a two-tiered society with policies that fail our most vulnerable.”

      The message was surprising, coming from a company owned by two of the richest men in the world, who have spent millions of dollars pushing political candidates and programs that favor unfettered markets and oppose government intervention on behalf of the poor. But no trouble appeared to have been spared in the commercial’s creation. It features a cast of downtrodden Americans of all colors and creeds. To portray corporate greed, it includes a shot of a Wall Street sign, followed by a smug businessman looking down at the camera, dressed in a flashy suit and tie. But, according to Dickie Guice, who worked as a safety coördinator at a large Koch-owned paper plant in Arkansas, the company need not have gone to such lengths. Instead of scouting America for examples of social neglect, the Kochs could have turned the cameras on their own factory.

      This summer, Guice decided to speak out about the paper mill in Crossett, a working-class town of some fifty-two hundred residents ten miles north of the Louisiana border.* The mill is run by the paper giant Georgia-Pacific, which has been owned by Koch Industries since 2005. According to E.P.A. records, it emits more than 1.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals each year, including numerous known carcinogens. Georgia-Pacific says that it has permits to operate the mill as it does, and disputes that it is harming local health and safety. But as far back as the nineteen-nineties, people living near the plant have described noxious odors and corrosive effluents that have forced them to stay indoors, as well as what seems to them unusually high rates of illness and death. Speaking by phone from his home, in Sterlington, Louisiana, Guice pointed the finger directly at the mill’s owners, and described a corporate coverup of air and water pollution that he says is “poisoning” the predominantly African-American community.

    • Volkswagen engineer pleads guilty in emissions scandal

      In a Detroit District Court today, 62-year-old engineer James Robert Liang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government, commit wire fraud, and violate the Clean Air Act. Liang, currently a California resident, worked for Volkswagen’s diesel development department in Wolfsburg, Germany from 1983 to 2008.

      Volkswagen Group has been beset by scandal since last September, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made public that VW had been including illegal software in diesel Volkswagens and Audis. The software detected when the cars were being tested in a lab so that they could pass emissions tests, but once the cars hit real-world conditions, the software circumvented the emissions control system to spew large amounts of nitrogen oxide (NOx) into the atmosphere.

      According to the plea agreement (PDF), in 2006 Liang and others began building the EA 189 diesel engine that has been the center of the controversy. When the engineers realized they couldn’t meet consumer expectations and US air quality standards at the same time, they began looking into using illegal software (often known in the auto industry as a “defeat device”). By 2008, Liang worked to “calibrate and refine the defeat device.” Later that year, he moved to the US to help with “certification, testing, and warranty issues” for the company’s new diesels.

    • Finance

      • Holy Crap: Wells Fargo Has To Fire 5,300 Employees For Scam Billing

        This story is crazy. Late yesterday it was revealed that banking giant Wells Fargo had to fire 5,300 employees over a massive scam in which those employees created over 2 million fake accounts to stuff with fees in order to meet their quarterly numbers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also fined the company $185 million ($100 million to the CFPB, $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and another $50 million to Los Angeles).

      • University of California hires India-based IT outsourcer, lays off tech workers

        The University of California is laying off a group of IT workers at its San Francisco campus as part of a plan to move work offshore.

        The layoffs will happen at the end of February, but before the final day arrives the IT employees expect to train foreign replacements from India-based IT services firm HCL. The firm is working under a university contract valued at $50 million over five years.

        This layoff may have huge implications. That’s because the university’s IT services agreement with HCL can be leveraged by any institution in the 10-campus University of California system, which serves some 240,000 students and employs some 190,000 faculty and staff.

      • University of California’s outsourcing is wrong, says U.S. lawmaker

        A decision by the University of California to lay off IT employees and send their jobs overseas is under fire from U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) and the IEEE-USA.

        The university recently informed about 80 IT workers at its San Francisco campus, including contract employees and vendor contractors, that it hired India-based HCL, under a $50 million contract, to manage infrastructure and networking-related services.

        The university employees will remain on the job until the end of February, but before then they are expecting to train their foreign replacements. The number of affected employees may expand. The university’s IT services agreement with HCL can be leveraged by any institution in the 10-campus system.

        “How are they [the university] going to tell students to go into STEM fields when they are doing as much as they can to do a number on the engineers in their employment?” said Lofgren, in an interview.

        Peter Eckstein, the president of the IEEE-USA, said what the university is doing “is just one more sad example of corporations, a major university system in this case, importing non-Americans to eliminate American IT jobs.” This engineering association has some 235,000 members.

      • Don’t buy the new iPhone until Apple pays its taxes

        Apple is about to launch a new iPhone. I remember when, under Steve Jobs, the arrival of a new iPhone was a breathless and secretive affair, as though Willy Wonka himself was emerging from his factory and making impossible claims of his improbable technology. And if the iPhone didn’t quite live up – if it took years to get copying and pasting, or if Siri was basically a party trick – no one minded so much, because Jobs was the tech universe version of the late Gene Wilder, giving an idiosyncratic performance nobody can explain or match.

        How far we’ve fallen. I’m writing this the night before the iPhone 7 unveiling, and I know nothing will surprise us. You heard it here first: the new iPhone will look and act almost exactly like the current iPhone to any normal person. It will probably be a little faster, come in a new color choice, and be absolutely boring. This time the big killer feature, apparently, is that there’s no headphone port.

        How fantastic – I have been looking for an opportunity to throw away all my headphones and buy new ones directly from Apple. I can’t wait to watch Tim Cook ploddingly explain how much better everything will be in the new version. I love listening to Cook because when you look in his eyes you can tell he knows he’s a second-string community theater actor trying desperately to speak fancy words he learned by rote, following in the footsteps of the man who had the job before he did, Sir Laurence Goddamn Olivier.

      • Why don’t bankers go to jail? You asked Google – here’s the answer

        Ask Kweku Adoboli why bankers do not go to jail, and he would no doubt look surprised. A London-based trader at the Swiss bank UBS, Adoboli was jailed in November 2012 for what police described as the biggest fraud in UK history. He racked up £1.2bn of losses through secretive trades – and at one point those trades could have forced UBS to take a £7bn hit, enough to bring down the Swiss bank.

        He is not the only banker to have been incarcerated. Nick Leeson – jailed in Singapore for bringing down Barings in 1995 – is now on the after-dinner speaking circuit. In August, he announced free trading programmes intended, he said, to “help people not make the same mistakes I did”.

        Tom Hayes is behind bars, serving 11 years after being convicted for rigging Libor interest rates. Four former Barclays bankers have also been jailed for conspiring to fraudulently rig global benchmark interest rates.

        But those who ask why bankers have not gone to jail are probably thinking of the 2008 banking crisis and, with the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers approaching (15 September 2008), the question may once again be at the front of people’s minds. After Lehmans collapsed, more than £65bn of taxpayer funds were pumped in to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds Banking Group and a rescue package put in place for Bradford & Bingley. Northern Rock had been nationalised earlier in 2008.

      • Uber drivers dealt setback in background-check lawsuit

        Uber won a courtroom victory on Wednesday when an appeals court ruled that drivers are subject to individual arbitration in a lawsuit over background checks, a ruling that might help the ride-hailing company fend off another costly class action lawsuit filed by its drivers.

        While the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals found that agreements signed by two former drivers for the service over background checks “clearly and unmistakably” require legal disputes be settled by a private arbiter, the reasoning may be applied to another class action lawsuit filed by drivers over the company’s employment classifications. Uber agreed to settle that lawsuit earlier this year — an agreement that was rejected by a federal judge last month.

        Arbitration is a method frequently used by companies for resolving legal conflicts outside of the court system. However, critics say that binding arbitration clauses give corporations an unfair advantage over employees and consumers who do not have the resources to challenge companies individually.

      • Denmark to pay for Panama Papers data on tax evaders

        “We must use the necessary measures to catch the tax evaders hiding fortunes in for example Panama with the aim to avoid paying tax in Denmark,” Minister for Taxation Karsten Lauritzen said in a statement.

        “We cannot be sure of the end result, but everything suggests that it is useful information that the Danish tax authority will now pursue.”

        The government would pay the source an amount in the “lower millions” of kroner (one million kroner is €134,000, $151,000) for the material, which it estimated could contain information on 320 cases involving between 500 and 600 Danish taxpayers.

        The Danish tax authority had already received a “sample” of the data free of charge, the Ministry of Taxation said.

        “Against this backdrop it is the tax authority’s assessment that the information is sufficiently relevant and valid to initiate tax investigations of a number of the companies and individuals appearing in the material,” it said.

      • When one job won’t pay the bills and several gigs is the new normal

        Tough. Like slavery. Difficult and ineffectual. A few of the sentiments expressed by 83 participants who responded to an Yle straw poll about the rigours of holding down multiple jobs. The views indicate that for the most part, moonlighting can easily become a physical drain and lead to exhaustion. For others, extra work gigs provide a pleasant change of routine and welcome extra income.

      • U.S. Added 177,000 jobs in August, All of Them in the Service Industry

        In portraying herself as a virtual Barack Obama third term, Clinton ties herself not only to a foreign policy that continues to inflame the Middle East, but also to his domestic economic record. A key element is job creation, the cornerstone of any real growth.

        For example, during her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton praised Obama’s efforts to steer the nation’s recovery.

        “Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes,” she told the crowd in Philadelphia. “Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs… And an auto industry that just had its best year ever.”

        Leaving aside some fuzzy math to get to that tally of 15 million new jobs, Clinton purposefully passes off quantity with what we’ll call quality.

        A quality job is one that is sustainable, with full-time status and benefits, the kind of work that both rebuilds America’s soul while at the same time makes work more profitable than unemployment benefits and aid. Most importantly for the greater economy, a quality job is one that allows the worker to put money into society. Rising tide lifting all boats.

      • Greasing the Outstretched Hands

        Donald Trump with his tangled business dealings is a walking conflict of interest, but Hillary Clinton’s connections to the world of high finance and political pull creates its own problems with outstretched palms, writes Michael Winship.

      • Confessions of a Brexist

        Fighting my way through this underground morass I emerged into the pergola-ed light of Victoria station. After getting my ticket—no credit cards accepted at the ticket machines, clearly another bit of Brexit wagon-circling—I stared for a long time up at the big board of departures and arrivals. I simply couldn’t find the name of my destination Pulborough in West Sussex. The announcement soon came: Industrial Action in the South of England. What with pensions halved by the referendum and worker’s rights under assault it’s no wonder that during this hot end of summer one can’t help but think of the Winter of Discontent. A recent study to be read in yesterday’s papers showed that many in Britain will have to postpone retirement till their mid-eighties if they hope to get by.

        Eventually, I devised a way to get to my mother-in-law’s Sussex village. As the train exited the post-industrial, post-Brexit gloom of London and began to make its way through the countryside, the conductor came through the carriage. I asked him about the reasons for the strike. It seems that the station guards in this privatized patch of the former national rail system want to retain their duty of signaling to the driver that the train is safe to leave the station. The company—called Southern—claims that this old-fashioned practice is no longer necessary and its elimination will lead to cost-savings. Naturally, the union sees this “efficiency” as a prelude to laying-off more workers.

        “It’s an odd strike,” I opined. “If there’s one thing the Brits are good at doing on their own these days, it’s shutting the door.”

      • Hawaiian seafood caught by foreign crews confined on boats

        Pier 17 doesn’t even show up on most Honolulu maps. Cars whiz past it on their way to Waikiki’s famous white sand beaches. Yet few locals, let alone passing tourists, are aware that just behind a guarded gate, another world exists: foreign fishermen confined to American boats for years at a time.

        Hundreds of undocumented men are employed in this unique U.S. fishing fleet, due to a federal loophole that allows them to work but exempts them from most basic labor protections. Many come from impoverished Southeast Asian and Pacific nations to take the dangerous jobs, which can pay as little as 70 cents an hour.

        With no legal standing on U.S. soil, the men are at the mercy of their American captains on American-flagged, American-owned vessels, catching prized swordfish and ahi tuna. Since they don’t have visas, they are not allowed to set foot on shore. The entire system, which contradicts other state and federal laws, operates with the blessing of high-ranking U.S. lawmakers and officials, an Associated Press investigation found.

      • And the Ship Goes Down

        The eternal promise of capitalist democracy is a future that somehow breaks from the past. In this alternate universe solutions to global warming, the threat of nuclear weapons, never-ending wars fought to control economic resources and the just distribution of political and economic power are always but one election away. Hillary Clinton is the agent of ‘effective’ change and Donald Trump is the agent of reactionary change. That the political and economic trajectories of the last half century have been uni-directional in favor of concentrated wealth and power are (1) the predicted outcomes of the theories by which they were sold and (2) antithetical to any notion of democratic representation as it is generally understood.

      • Rock Against the TPP: Artists & celebrities fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership
      • Prominent Scholars Decry TPP’s “Frontal Attack” on Law and Democracy

        More than 200 legal and economic scholars—including President Barack Obama’s Harvard Law School mentor Laurence Tribe—have penned a letter to Congress warning that the pro-corporate Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) regime enshrined in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) “threatens the rule of law and undermines our nation’s democratic institutions.”

        As ISDS “threatens to dilute constitutional protections, weaken the judicial branch, and outsource our domestic legal system to a system of private arbitration that is isolated from essential checks and balances,” the academics urge (pdf) lawmakers to reject the TPP, despite the Obama administration’s full-court press to pass the trade agreement during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress.

      • Don’t Buy the Hype — the TPP Won’t Secure the US

        As President Obama prepares to make his big lame-duck push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he’s narrowed his sales pitch for the deal down to two basic arguments, and he made both of them during an interview this weekend with CNN.

        The first argument the president is making in favor of the TPP is, of course, the idea that it’s going to be great for the American economy.

        According to him, the TPP will help us write the rules of the Asia-Pacific marketplace for decades to come.

        This is the standard argument for the TPP, and it’s the most obviously flawed.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Greasing the Outstretched Palms of the Candidates

        The recipe could not be simpler. Mix cynicism with greed, quickly stir and voila! American politics and government served up on a platter to the highest bidder.

        Call it low cuisine. And it doesn’t get any lower than what we’ve seen during this wretched campaign season — a presidential contest that, as one friend in Washington recently said, pits “the unethical versus the unhinged.”

        Psychiatric evaluations notwithstanding, for sure each of the two candidates is the byproduct of crony capitalism run amok. Donald Trump started out boasting that his much-flaunted wealth meant that he could self-fund his campaign and that this made him incorruptible, a feckless notion that went flying out the window as soon as he became the presumptive, official party nominee and went running to fat cat funders with his diminutive hands out.

        As The Washington Post’s Matea Gold reported Sept. 1, “The New York billionaire, who has cast himself as free from the influence of the party’s donor class, has spent this summer forging bonds with wealthy GOP financiers — seeking their input on how to run his campaign and recast his policies for the general election, according to more than a dozen people who have participated in the conversations.”

        And let’s not get started on the wacky world of Trump’s actual finances, his bragging about using cash to buy political favors, his failure to release tax returns, his dodgy connections with overseas banks, Russian plutocrats and organized crime. “… It is safe to say,” The New York Times recently reported, “that no previous major party presidential nominee has had finances nearly as complicated…” Now there’s a classic Times understatement for you.

      • Arrest Warrants Issued for Green Party’s Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka (Multimedia)

        Earlier this week, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, traveled to North Dakota to join the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s protests against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). At one point during the demonstrations, Stein spray-painted a bulldozer with the words “I approve this message.” Baraka spray-painted “decolonization” on other construction equipment. Each has since been charged with vandalism and trespassing.

      • The terror against Ukraine’s journalists is fuelled by political elites

        Watching a video of journalists running for their lives amid choking smoke in a building set ablaze in Kyiv is horrifying. It is even more chilling to realise that some of these people are colleagues and close friends you have known for years.

        We would disagree on many political issues, but it is still shocking to see where the exercise of freedom of speech in post-revolutionary Ukraine can lead you. At the same time, the increasing violence against Ukraine’s journalists brings powerful voices at home and abroad together in the expanding uprising against Soviet mentality, which has plagued the country for the last 25 years.

      • The Trumpillary War Machine Is Bad News

        NBC then showed clips of 9/11 and of Obama announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden, but not a single image of a single body or bombed out house. After 15 years of immoral, illegal, catastrophic murder sprees, Clinton began by taking credit for her “experience” of having been part of making all those wars happen.

        So, Lauer asked her, not about any of those wars, but about her emails. Eventually he turned to Iraq, and she claimed to have learned her lesson. Although she still wanted war in Libya and several other countries and still wants it badly in Syria (though Lauer didn’t get into that), so she’s clearly learned nothing. She did claim accurately that Trump backed war on Iraq and Libya too, while still claiming inaccurately that Gaddafi was planning a massacre. Lauer confirmed and corrected nothing.

      • This Election Is Hillary Clinton’s to Lose, and She’s Screwing It Up

        Clinton’s gender is not her biggest liability. Her refusal to even attempt to embrace bold progressive valued…

      • ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Forum Panned as Colossal Failure of Journalism

        Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, called the forum “an absolute disgrace” and just more proof that the entire presidential debate system needs an overhaul. “Matt Lauer treated this forum less as a chance to educate voters about the real differences in temperament and policy between the candidates and more as a chance to do clickbait trolling,” Green said. “Instead of asking about big ideas, he asked small-bore questions that voters aren’t asking at their dinner tables.”

      • What Workers Aren’t Hearing from Democrats

        If ever there were a sign that the presidential race isn’t over yet, Democrats got one this week at eastern Ohio’s Canfield Fair.

        On Labor Day, an iconic holiday for what used to be a reliable Democratic constituency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump got an enthusiastic welcome from thousands of Youngstown-area fans who waited hours in the blazing heat to see him.

        This scene seemed all the more striking because it took place in a solidly blue-collar county that hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972. And because it was Trump’s second trip to the Democratic stronghold of Mahoning County in the past three weeks.

      • In Omaha, Jill Stein defends spray-painting bulldozer at North Dakota pipeline protest

        The Green Party presidential candidate — who is eagerly courting former Bernie Sanders supporters — told an Omaha crowd on Wednesday that she had no choice but to spray-paint a bulldozer at an anti-pipeline protest in North Dakota after being asked to by Indian leaders.

        Stein said she didn’t feel as if she could say “no” to such a simple request from people leading the fight against a crude-oil pipeline.

        Stein was charged Wednesday with two misdemeanor counts of vandalism and trespassing in North Dakota for her impromptu graffiti.

        “I felt like it was the least I could do in front of these Indian leaders, as they were putting their lives and their bodies on the line,” said Stein, who spoke at the Metropolitan Community College’s Fort Omaha campus.

      • Jill Stein says voters are ‘clamoring’ for other choices. She’s right.

        Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for president, met Thursday with the Tribune Editorial Board and shared a few ideas you might typically associate with a fringe, environment-focused candidate: She spoke of nuclear disarmament, abandoning fossil fuels, etc.

        But darned if Stein, a physician who was raised in Highland Park, didn’t also articulate a frustration expressed this September by the majority of American voters, who seem restless over the country’s direction yet don’t like either major party candidate for president. Voters are “clamoring” for other choices, Stein tells us. They want “something else.”

        Yes, for her it’s a self-serving observation, but it happens to be accurate. Polls show a majority of voters have an unfavorable view of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Americans also say they’d be interested in considering a third-party candidate, even without knowing much about Stein or Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

      • There Is an Arrest Warrant Out for Jill Stein

        Third-party presidential candidates have participated in acts of civil disobedience, risked arrest, been arrested and been jailed with some frequency over the past 150 years. So the fact that Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein faces misdemeanor criminal charges in North Dakota stemming from a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline is hardly unprecedented.

        But it is politically significant.

      • A Debate Disaster Waiting to Happen

        There was not much of a contest in Wednesday night’s forum with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Mrs. Clinton answered the questions of the moderator, Matt Lauer, in coherent sentences, often with specific details. Mr. Trump alternated between rambling statements and grandiose boasts when he wasn’t lying.

        Mr. Lauer largely neglected to ask penetrating questions, call out falsehoods or insist on answers when it was obvious that Mr. Trump’s responses had drifted off.

        If the moderators of the coming debates do not figure out a better way to get the candidates to speak accurately about their records and policies — especially Mr. Trump, who seems to feel he can skate by unchallenged with his own version of reality while Mrs. Clinton is grilled and entangled in the fine points of domestic and foreign policy — then they will have done the country a grave disservice.

        Whether or not one agrees with her positions, Mrs. Clinton, formerly secretary of state and once a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, showed a firm understanding of the complex issues facing the country. Mr. Trump reveled in his ignorance about global affairs and his belief that leading the world’s most powerful nation is no harder than running his business empire, which has included at least four bankruptcies.

      • From Russian TV Network, Not So Much Love for Donald Trump

        Donald Trump’s interview with Larry King on the Russian-government-funded television network RT America is being widely seen in the mainstream U.S. media as evidence of unseemly coziness between Trump and authoritarian Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

        The interview came after months of claims by Democratic Party officials and news media pundits that the Russian government is trying to get Trump elected.

        RT America has a long history of coverage that benefits the Russian government and is critical of the United States, as many former employees have complained.

        But there’s one problem with the theory that RT America and the Russian government are fond of Trump: RT America is sometimes more critical of Trump than U.S. media.

      • Clinton, Trump, Lauer, All Lose Battle of the MSNBC CINC Forum

        In the end, it was actually America who lost last night at the MSNBC Commander-in-Chief forum, because one of these people will be our president in a few months, and the other two will no doubt live forever on our TVs.

      • Donald Trump Lacks Sense or Sensibility

        The most revealing moment in the presidential candidates’ first joint forum Wednesday night came when Donald Trump told the world how much he admires Vladimir Putin.

        Never mind that the Russian strongman invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea. Never mind that he supports the butcher Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Never mind that so many of his political opponents end up murdered or imprisoned. Never mind that U.S. officials suspect his government of trying to disrupt our election with cyberattacks. In Trump’s star-struck eyes, all of this makes him “a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”

      • Donald Trump, a Gold Medalist in Playing America’s ‘Broken System’

        Better than anyone, Donald Trump made the case for why our campaign money system is rotten. Unsurprisingly, the prime example he used was himself.

        “I was a businessman,” Trump explained at a Republican debate in August 2015. “I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.”

        Bravo. Sort of. In retrospect, it’s remarkable that Republican primary voters seemed to reward Trump for saying that he bought off politicians right and left, as if admitting to soft bribery was a sign of what a great reformer he would be.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Mass Aerial Surveillance Is a Growing Orwellian Concern in the United States

        Cameras at intersections and in public parks have become commonplace, but are you aware that a plane flying overhead could be tracking your every move?

        According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report in August, the city of Baltimore has been conducting surveillance over parts of the city with megapixel cameras attached to Cessna airplanes since at least January. This news comes after activists expressed concerns that mysterious Cessnas were seen flying above Black Lives Matter protests in 2015.

        FBI spy planes, equipped not just with cameras but with cellphone surveillance devices as well, have become a new phenomenon in the United States. While the agency says the planes are not designed for mass surveillance, that claim is getting shakier by the day, especially in light of evidence of what’s happening in places like Baltimore.

        The Stingray is a mobile cellphone surveillance device the size of a suitcase. Police departments across the country use the devices to collect cellphone data in specific areas of a town or city. The federal government has manned planes with these devices in the past, but to what extent they are in use federally and locally is unclear.

      • Let NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden return to US, urges Zachary Quinto

        Actor Zachary Quinto has called for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be allowed to return to America without facing espionage charges.

        The Star Trek actor said Mr Snowden had acted with “great courage” and it was “absurd” to brand him a “treasonist” while he remains in exile in Russia.

        Quinto plays journalist Glenn Greenwald in Oliver Stone’s new film Snowden, which tells the story of how the former NSA analyst leaked details of mass government surveillance in 2013.

      • Arrests over hacks of CIA and FBI staff
      • Snowden star Zachary Quinto is so paranoid he covers his laptop camera with tape
      • Zachary turns technophobe
      • Zachary Quinto paranoid about privacy after filming Snowden
      • Zachary Quinto Reveals He Covers His Laptop Cameras with Tape!
      • Top Officials Want to Split Cyber Command From NSA

        The Obama administration’s top defense and intelligence officials are proposing a plan to separate the spying and war fighting arms of America’s vast hacking apparatus, an idea that was recommended but rejected after the Edward Snowden revelations of 2013.

        Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have gotten behind the proposal to separate the National Security Agency, the digital spying arm, from U.S. Cyber Command, which develops and deploys cyber weapons, three national security officials tell NBC News. Representatives for both men declined to comment for the record.

      • This Hilariously Cruel Hoax Tweet Just Put Lots Of People On NSA’s Radar

        WHY WE CARE: Let’s break down what ‘s happening in this tweet. The picture on the left looks to be a screencap of a post about Google’s new initiative to thwart ISIS recruitment. The image on the right is another screencap, this one implying that if Google users look up “How to join ISIS,” the search algorithm will instead lead them to “World’s smallest horse.” (The world’s smallest horse is apparently a 14-inch pinto stallion named Einstein, and he is beyond adorable.) The actual text of the tweet is a deceptively earnest “Amazing. Well done, Google.” My personal reaction to seeing this collection of images and words was slightly skeptical amazement. It seemed like something cool that might exist, and stranger things have indeed happened. (It feels weird to casually use that expression now.) Apple’s iPhone 7 unveiling was going on simultaneously, with news of questionable technology hanging in the air already. I stopped short of actually trying out this preventative measure, though, skepticism winning the day. It turned out to be the right move. A lot of other people did not suspect anything fishy in Heck’s ultra-dry trolling tweet. Enough of the 7000+ retweeters fell for it, in fact, that there was a substantial increase in Google searches for “How to join ISIS.”

      • Police are surveilling the wrong targets due to incorrect IP addresses

        POLICE AND the security services frequently provide incorrect IP addresses in applications to intercept communications data with potentially “serious consequences” for the people targeted and the investigations that supposedly need the data.

        The details were contained in the latest annual report from the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO).

        The report does not provide a figure for the number of times that the security and law enforcement agencies have provided incorrect IP addresses, but the organisation said that it received reports of 1,199 known errors in 2015.

      • FBI arrests hackers who allegedly leaked info on government agents

        U.S. authorities have arrested two suspects allegedly involved in dumping details on 29,000 officials with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

        Andrew Otto Boggs and Justin Gray Liverman have been charged with hacking into the internet accounts of senior U.S. government officials and breaking into government computer systems.

        Both suspects were arrested on Thursday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

        Boggs, age 22, and Liverman, 24, are from North Carolina and are allegedly part of a hacking group called Crackas With Attitude.

        From October 2015 until February, they used hacking techniques, including “victim impersonation” to trick internet service providers and a government help desk into giving up access to the accounts, the DOJ alleged.

      • Senators Burr & Feinstein Look To Bring Back Bill To Outlaw Real Encryption

        Back in May we noted that the ridiculous and terrible anti-encryption bill from Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein was dead in the water. The bill had all sorts of problems with incredibly broad and vague requirements, but the quick summary was that tech companies would have to figure out a way to backdoor all encryption, because if they received a warrant, they’d be required to decrypt any communication.

        Rather than get the message that this was a really, really bad idea, it appears that Burr and Feinstein have just gone back to the drawing board, trying to recraft the bill. Julian Sanchez got his hands on one of a few prospective new drafts that are being floated around and has an analysis of the update. The draft that Sanchez has seen tries to fix some of the problems, but doesn’t really fix the main problems of the bill.

      • Feinstein-Burr 2.0: The Crypto Backdoor Bill Lives On

        When it was first released back in April, a “discussion draft” of the Compliance With Court Orders Act sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) met with near universal derision from privacy advocates and security experts. (Your humble author was among the critics.) In the wake of that chilly reception, press reports were declaring the bill effectively dead just weeks later, even as law enforcement and intelligence officials insisted they would continue pressing for a solution to the putative “going dark” problem that encryption creates for government eavesdroppers. Feinstein and Burr, however, appear not to have given up on their baby: Their offices have been circulating a revised draft, which I’ve recently gotten hold of.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Records Show Obama Hired Behavioral Experts to Expand Use of Govt. Programs

        The Obama administration quietly hired 20 social and behavioral research experts to help expand the use of government programs at dozens of agencies by, among other things, simplifying federal forms, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. The controversial group of experts is collectively known as the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) and it functions under the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

        In 2015 Obama signed an executive order directing federal agencies to use behavioral science to sell their programs to the public, the records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal. By then the government had contracted “20 leading social and behavioral research experts” that at that point had already been involved in “more than 75 agency collaborations,” the records state. A memo sent from SBST chair Maya Shankar, a neuroscientist, to OSTP Director John Holdren offers agencies guidance and information about available government support for using behavioral insights to improve federal forms. Sent electronically, the memo is titled “Behavioral Science Insights and Federal Forms.”

        The records, obtained from the OSTP under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), also include a delivery by Holdren in which he insists that the social and behavioral sciences “are real science, with immensely valuable practical applications—the views of a few members of Congress to the contrary notwithstanding—and that these sciences abundantly warrant continuing support in the Federal science and technology budget.” Holdren, a Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate is a peculiar character who worked as an environmental professor at Harvard and the University of California Berkeley before becoming Obama’s science advisor. In the late 70s he co-authored a book with doomsayer Paul Ehrlich advocating for mandatory sterilization of the American people and forced abortions in order to depopulate the country. A head of the OSTP Holdren technically oversees the SBST.

      • Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike, Demanding “Dignity and Respect” in Prison

        U.S. Army Whistleblower Chelsea Manning began a hunger strike in military prison Friday, her attorneys confirmed.

        “I need help. I am not getting any,” Manning wrote in a statement. “I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn’t get any. I still haven’t gotten any.”

        Manning announced her identity as a transgender woman on August 22, 2013, a day after she was sentenced to 35 years in military prison.

        After attempting to commit suicide in July, Manning was informed by military officials that she was being investigated for “resisting the force cell move team,” “prohibited property,” and “conduct which threatens.” She is facing indefinite solitary confinement, or a return to maximum-security detention.

      • Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike to Protest Bullying by Prison and US Government

        Today, after years of requesting the care she needs for gender dysphoria, Chelsea Manning has released a statement about the start of her hunger strike.

        Chelsea is demanding written assurances from the Army she will receive all of the medically prescribed recommendations for her gender dysphoria and that the “high tech bullying” will stop. “High tech bullying,” is what Chelsea describes as “the constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”

      • Panamanian Police Assault Indigenous Dam Protesters

        Panama’s national police left approximately 20 indigenous Ngäbe protesters injured last week in what one medic described as an “absurd and irresponsible act.”

        The protesters, all residents of Gualaquita, mobilized against the Barro Blanco hydro dam after the project’s owner and operator, Honduran-based Generadora del Istmo (GENISA) began flooding the Tabasará River basin with blessings from the government.

        It didn’t take long for Ngäbe communities within the basin to suffer the consequences. In the community of Kiad, local road connections were washed away by the flood waters leaving entire families geographically isolated. Houses were also submerged by the rising waters, along with significant archaeological sites in the region.

      • Chelsea Manning on Hunger Strike Citing Lack of Medical Treatment

        Chelsea Manning began a hunger strike today at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is serving a 35-year sentence for the leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

        Manning is seeking written assurances from the Army that she will receive the medical treatments for her gender dysphoria beyond the hormone treatment she began in early 2015. Manning has sued the government to get such treatments and to lift the male grooming standards she is subject to that prevent her from growing her hair out.

      • ‘Marriage is for ADULTS’ Sweden hit by huge number of child brides as young as ELEVEN

        An influx of underage brides who have arrived in the country during the crisis has left it facing fresh problems.

        In Denmark, a city which took a huge chunk of the nation’s 20,000 asylum seekers, is now considering banning child marriages.

        In February the Danes announced plans to separate child brides from their husbands upon arrival in the country.

        Oussama El-Saadi, a high-profile imam from a mosque in Aarhus, urged them to scrap the idea.

        Despite protests, politicians are choosing whether to vote in favour of not recognising it.

      • Indian workers staged one of the largest strikes in human history and no one in the USA noticed

        Tens of millions of unionized public sector workers walked off the job last Friday in a one-day strike against PM Modi’s plan to privatise public industries and increase foreign investment. It was one of the largest strikes in human history, if not the largest, and took place over Labour Day weekend.

        With the exception of a short notice by a guest on a CNN show, not one of the US networks ran a single story on the strike.

      • The Biggest Strike in World History? No Thanks, We’re Focusing on the New iPhone

        When tens of millions of workers go out on strike in the second-largest country in the world—and the third-largest economy in the world—resulting in what may be the biggest labor action in world history (AlterNet, 9/7/16), you’d think that would merit some kind of news coverage, right?

        Not if you’re a decision-maker at a US corporate media outlet, apparently.

        A coalition of trade unions in India representing some 180 million workers staged a one-day general strike on Friday, September 2, in protest of what they called the “anti-worker and anti-people” policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an advocate of neoliberal policies and increased foreign investment (Democracy Now!, 9/2/16). Assocham, India’s chamber of commerce, estimated that the economic impact of the strike was $2.4 billion–$2.7 billion (Hindustan Today, 9/3/16).

      • Teenagers jailed for attacking two families in southern France as ‘women were wearing shorts’

        Two teenagers have been jailed in southern France for their part in a brawl that saw three men violently attacked in front of their children after objecting to sexist comments directed at their wives.

        The two couples, a friend and their children were cycling in the city of Toulon in July when the two women were abused for wearing shorts by around 12 youths.

        Local prosecutor Bernard Machal said the teens hurled insults at the women, shouting “whore” and “go on, get naked”.

      • Inside the fight to reveal the CIA’s torture secrets

        Daniel Jones had always been friendly with the CIA personnel who stood outside his door.

        When he needed to take something out of the secured room where he read mountains of their classified material, they typically obliged. An informal understanding had taken hold after years of working together, usually during off-peak hours, so closely that Jones had parking privileges at an agency satellite office not far from its McLean, Virginia, headquarters. They would ask Jones if anything he wanted to remove contained real names or cover names of any agency officials, assets or partners, or anything that could compromise an operation. He would say no. They would nod, he would wish them a good night, and they would go their separate ways.


        But the CIA has gone beyond successfully suppressing the report. In a grim echo of Jones’s fears, the agency’s inspector general, Langley recently revealed, destroyed its copy – allegedly an accident. Accountability for torture has been the exclusive province of a committee investigation greeted with antipathy by Obama. While Obama prides himself on ending CIA torture, the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has vowed if elected to “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding”. Key CIA leaders defending the agency against the committee, including Brennan and former director Michael Morrell, are reportedly seeking to run Langley under Hillary Clinton.

      • Oliver Stone Interview: Why ‘Snowden’ Is His Answer to American Bullies

        Which is one reason why Stone met with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Moscow, not once, or twice, but nine times. Stone will tell you: You can’t trust the United States government. You can’t trust the NSA, CIA, or FBI. You can’t trust the Hollywood studios, because those are corporations run by lawyers. And you certainly can’t trust the media.

      • Darsean Kelley Knew His Rights. He Got Tased Anyway.

        Police in Aurora, Colorado, got a call about a man pulling a gun on a kid. They had no description of the suspect. On their way to the scene, they stopped two Black men walking down the sidewalk.

        Darsean Kelley, one of the men, followed the officers’ orders to hold his hands above his head and turn around. His repeated requests for an explanation as to why they had been detained went unanswered. Even though it was clear he had no weapons and he was no threat to the officers, Darsean was tased in the back just as he said, “I know my rights.” Darsean fell backwards and hit his head on the pavement.

        The officers had no reason to detain them. They had done nothing wrong. When Darsean asked to talk to the officer’s boss, noting that there were witnesses to the tasing, the officer responded, “Hey, look right here. It’s all on video, sweetheart.”

      • Must Watch: Senator Ron Wyden Heads to the Senate Floor Today to Oppose Mass Hacking

        In a few hours, Senator Wyden will be going on the floor of the Senate to argue against updates to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

        You may have already heard of Rule 41: EFF and allied digital rights groups have been raising the alarm about this extra-legislative rule change. In short, the pending updates would make it easier for the government to get a warrant to hack1 into computers. It would be easy for law enforcement agents to forum shop, finding the most sympathetic judges in the country to approve these vague and dangerous warrants.

        What do we mean by “hack into computers”? In this case, the term refers to a wide range of poorly-defined techniques such as deploying malware to search, copy, and transmit private files from private computers, breaking into secure systems and accounts, exploiting vulnerabilities in widely-used software to turn our devices into surveillance tools, and much more.

      • The San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick Kneeled So That We May All Stand Taller

        It’s hard to speak with your face pressed against concrete. Or when you can’t breathe. Or with a broken neck. And even when you manage to speak, people in power seek to silence you. Just ask the San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick.

        The all-too-familiar voices of the status quo tried to quiet Kaepernick as soon as he began to protest. They want Americans of conscience to just sit down and shut up. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t say anything about kneeling. Kaepernick has been doing just that, and in doing so, has spoken volumes.

      • EFF to Court: Public’s Right to Access the Law Should Not be Blocked by Bogus Copyright Case

        The court in Washington, D.C., is hearing arguments in two cases against EFF client Public.Resource.Org, an open records advocacy website. In these suits, several industry groups claim they own copyrights on written standards for building safety and educational testing they helped develop, and can deny or limit public access to them even after the standards have become part of the law. Standards like these that are legal requirements—such as the National Electrical Code—are available only in paper form in Washington, D.C., in expensive printed books, or through a paywall. By posting these documents online, Public.Resource.Org seeks to make these legal requirements more available to the public that must abide by them. The industry groups allege the postings infringe their copyright, even though the standards have been incorporated into government regulations and, therefore, must be free for anyone to view, share, and discuss.

      • Who’s Left at Guantánamo? Fates of Dozens of Prisoners Are Undecided

        The last Guantánamo detainee to make the case for his release before a panel of senior administration officials is also the youngest man left at the island prison.

        In a hearing Thursday of Guantánamo’s Periodic Review Board, Hassan Ali Bin Attash, a Yemeni who is believed to be about 31 years old, said through representatives that he was working toward a high school GED diploma and hoped to join relatives in Saudi Arabia and find a job as a translator.

        Attash’s exact birthdate is uncertain, but he was certainly a young teen in 1997, when the U.S. military alleges that he pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and began working for senior al Qaeda figures doing everything from bomb-making to logistics. He was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and spent the next two years being moved between CIA black-site prisons and interrogations in Afghanistan and Jordan before landing in Guantánamo in September 2004. While in U.S. custody, according to his own and other prisoners’ accounts, he was subjected to sleep deprivation, hung from a bar by his wrists, and threatened with dogs and electric shocks, among other forms of torture. He was also severely tortured by the Jordanians.

      • Italy’s Mafia finds blood money in unexpected places

        Late last month, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake ripped through central Italy, leaving 292 people dead and many more seriously injured. While it would not have been unheard of for tremors to cause that much destruction in a developing nation, the anti-seismic reinforcement technology available in a wealthy European country like Italy should have prevented many of the buildings that ultimately fell from collapsing.

        The vast majority of those killed in the earthquake lived in the town of Amatrice, in northern Lazio, where the construction firm paid to carry out anti-seismic work had in fact links to organized crime, and utterly failed to conduct any sort of improvements.

        If the work had been completed as directed, far fewer people would have lost their lives. One now-infamous elementary school that crumbled in Amatrice, was renovated to resist earthquakes as recently as 2012 and at a cost of $785,000 USD – money that apparently went into the pockets of local Mafiosi.

      • Hope for the Philippines?

        Asked by reporters last week about the likelihood that Obama would raise criticisms of his human rights record, Duterte declared elliptically, “I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody. You [Obama] must be respectful. Do not just throw questions. ‘Putang ina,’ I will swear at you in that [ASEAN] forum.”

        The mainstream media was shocked at the insulting suggestion that the U.S. president would have to be respectful to the Filipino president or risk provoking some reactive rudeness. Asked in Beijing if he would meet as planned with Duterte, Obama affected mild amusement at the “colorful” Filipino leader, saying his staff was deciding when and if a meeting will happen. Its cancellation was announced son afterwards. Obama would meet with the South Korean leader instead.


        Washington, on the other hand, views the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the New People’s Army, as “terrorists.” Just as the U.S. views all left-wing armed movements as terrorists (unless and until they can be used for common purposes, as in the case of the Iranian MEK in Iraq). In 2002 U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell took the unprecedented step of blacklisting the estimable Sison personally as a “terrorist” and the U.S. (spurred by then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) was surely behind the Dutch authorities’ raid on his house and his brief detention in 2007 on suspicion of ordering two murders in the Philippines the year before. (He was cleared of the charges and released.)


        How would a President Hillary Clinton react, should the CPP acquire an established role in Philippines politics, Manila withdraw from recent military and “security” agreements, and the country draw closer to the PRC? Be assured her crooked cabal is already discussing coup plans. Because that’s what they do, thinking that as the “exceptional” nation they need not (as Hillary confidant Henry Kissinger once said in relation to Chile) “stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.”

        But that was 1970, when the U.S. had twice the share in global GDP than it has today and the world was divided by the Cold War. Ruling classes of nations forced to take sides at that time have seen been obliged by market and geopolitical forces to align, re-align, and hold out options for the future. Obama cannot snap his fingers and demand that Duterte cooperate with an anti-China, pro-U.S. balikitan program. Nor will his successor be able to do so.

        The next U.S. president might face an independent country whose people are attempting to resolve their own contradictions in their own way, rejecting interference from the putang ina in Washington. What could be more hopeful than that?

      • Child Refugees Forced to Sleep in Dirty, Vermin-Infested Cells: Report

        A scathing report from Human Rights Watch reveals the degrading and inhumane conditions under which hundreds of refugee children in Greece are being forced to sleep in dirty, vermin-infested police station cells, detention centers, and coast guard facilities for months at a time—in violation of Greek and international law.

      • ‘A Call to End Slavery’: Nationwide Prison Strike Kicks Off

        Prisoners across the United States are launching a massive strike on Friday, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, to protest what they call modern-day slavery.

        Organizers say the strike will take place in at least 24 states to protest inhumane living and working conditions, forced labor, and the cycle of the criminal justice system itself. In California alone, 800 people are expected to take part in the work stoppage. It is slated to be one of the largest strikes in history.

        In the era of Black Lives Matter, the issues of racist policing, the school-to-prison pipeline, and other factors that contribute to the mass incarceration crisis are coming to the forefront of civil and human rights movements.

        “Slavery is alive and well in the prison system, but by the end of this year, it won’t be anymore,” reads the call to action from groups including Support Prisoner Resistance, the Free Alabama Movement, and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). “This is a call to end slavery in America.”

      • Rendition Victim “Staggered” as MI6 Official Implicated in His Abuse Breaks Silence

        A man who was rendered to Gaddafi’s Libya in a joint MI6-CIA operation has written to Sir Mark Allen, the former MI6 official who was responsible for his ordeal, following a rare public comment by Sir Mark.

        In a recent article for the Catholic Herald, Sir Mark Allen – formerly head of counter-terrorism at MI6 – argued for a faith-based “answer to terrorism.”

      • Standoff at Standing Rock: Even Attack Dogs Can’t Stop the Native American Resistance

        The Missouri River, the longest river in North America, has for thousands of years provided the water necessary for life to the region’s original inhabitants. To this day, millions of people rely on the Missouri for clean drinking water. Now, a petroleum pipeline, called the Dakota Access pipeline, is being built, threatening the river. A movement has grown to block the pipeline, led by Native American tribes that have lived along the banks of the Missouri from time immemorial. Members of the Dakota and Lakota nations from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation established a camp at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers, about 50 miles south of Bismarck, North Dakota. They declare themselves “protectors, not protesters.” Last Saturday, as they attempted to face down massive bulldozers on their ancient burial sites, the pipeline security guards attacked the mostly Native American protectors with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction, fighting for clean water, protection of sacred ground and an end to our fossil-fuel economy.

        Standing Rock Sioux set up the first resistance encampment in April, calling it Sacred Stone. Now there are four camps with more than 1,000 people, mostly from Native American tribes in the U.S. and Canada. “Water is Life” is the mantra of this nonviolent struggle against the pipeline that is being built to carry crude oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois.

      • The Shameful Spectacle of Denying People Their Vote

        Every once in a while, the curtains part and we get a glimpse of the ugliest, most shameful spectacle in American politics: the Republican Party’s systematic attempt to disenfranchise African-Americans and other minorities with voter ID laws and other restrictions at the polls.

        If you thought this kind of discrimination died with Jim Crow, think again. Fortunately, federal courts have blocked implementation of some of the worst new laws, at least for now. But the most effective response would be for black and brown voters to send the GOP a message by turning out in record numbers, no matter what barriers Republicans try to put in our way.

        The ostensible reason for these laws is to solve a problem that doesn’t exist—voter fraud by impersonation. Four years ago, you may recall, a Republican Pennsylvania legislator let slip the real reason for his state’s new voter ID law: to “allow” Mitt Romney to win the state. In the end, he didn’t. But Republicans tried mightily to discourage minorities, most of whom vote Democratic, from going to the polls.

      • Attica: How the Suppression of an Uprising Fed the Prison Industry

        Anyone who wants to understand mass incarceration needs to understand Attica. And anyone who wants to understand Attica must read Heather Thompson’s new book, Blood in the Water, the first scholarly history of the Attica prison uprising. It is a riveting tale, but a difficult one to read. Several reviewers have noted that they had to stop reading at several points, to breathe and to wipe the tears from their eyes. I join that group. As difficult as it is, this is a story that must be told.

        Forty-five years ago today, on September 9, 1971, almost 1,300 prisoners took over an exercise yard at Attica prison. For months, they had filed petitions, written grievances and tried everything they could to ease the horrid conditions at Attica. They often were hungry, as prison officials only budgeted 65 cents a day per prisoner for food. There were few jobs and no opportunities for education. Racial and ethnic discrimination was rampant: Black prisoners were assigned the dirtiest, hardest manual labor jobs. While all mail was censored, any letters in Spanish were simply thrown away, hitting the Puerto Rican prisoners who received mail from their Spanish-speaking parents the hardest. Medical care was grossly inadequate, with one doctor for the entire prison. Guard brutality was unchecked.

      • Kaepernick’s Patriotism
      • The New Ancien Regime Arrives in the White House

        The United States is indeed exceptional. It is the only country that ushers in a new Presidency by displacing thousands of the highest Executive Branch officials. That leaves in place those who are indentured to public service but, with the exception of the uniformed military and Intelligence services, almost never make policy, direct its implementation or review it. ‘Change’ you can believe in because it is dictated by law and rooted tradition.

        It is one of the age’s secular mysteries how institutional integrity and coherent programs survive this upheaval. Foreigners in particular fret over how they are going to handle fresh personalities and new ideas. After all, all this motion could jeopardize their own plans and commitments. Anxiety is abated somewhat when they look back at other transitions to find that continuity eclipses innovation by a wide margin. There is more change of style than of substance. That holds for both persons and policies.

      • Earning the trust of human rights supporters

        Building public support for human rights reform is crucial. Without a broad and deep public constituency, legislators will not pass the necessary laws, supervisors will not enforce new rules, and citizens will not demand real accountability and change.

        For a long time now, we have known that non-governmental rights groups play a key role in these reform efforts. They lobby lawmakers and government, report abuses, and mobilize public attention, and these efforts are sometimes successful. All too often, however, human rights groups do this work without collecting much in the way of systematic evidence. As a result, they do not have an accurate sense of who are their strongest supporters, and which population sub-groups need more attention and persuasion.

      • Über-Globalization or Über-Xenophobia?

        The ground upon which greed rests is hard and fast while the ground upon which our moral discriminations rest is soft and fuzzy, mostly so because moral fronts serve the interests of greed. Greed works both sides of our party duopoly, both Democrat and Republican. They join in ignoring the anxieties and fears of both the working-class and the middle class, thus becoming, either openly or by silent concession, supporters of neoliberalism and über-globalization.

        Nevertheless, the disillusionment of the Many has found its leaders, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who though far different in their diagnosis and treatment equally ride the powerful wave of anger and discontent. That wave is now breaking against not only neoliberalism and über-globalization but against the Third Way/New Democrat collaboration advocated by Bill Clinton and one assumes to be continued by Hillary Clinton.

        A mixture of greed and hypocrisy, of Uriah Heep fronted by Seth Pecksniff, of real intent and alibi cover up surround all matters attending a bedrock force that has had much to do with the U.S.’s transformation from democracy to plutarchy, namely globalization and its many camouflages.

        Revolt against this now remains with Trump and his supporters, its manifesto being what I call über-xenophobia, xenophobia being the mildest preamble to the ugliness of the whole. Sanders’ own manifesto of revolt remained, like moral discriminations, soft and fuzzy, cerebral and un-visceral, while Trump’s continues to drum a message that like all percussion is felt not cogitated. Trump’s own distortions of sentences, of argument and exposition, of language and meaning testify to the fact that his appeal does not lie in conceptual understanding but elsewhere, lower, deeper, darker.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Ted Cruz Still Blatantly Misrepresenting Internet Governance Transition

        Just a few months ago, we wrote up a decently long post explaining why the upcoming “transition” of a piece of internet governance away from the US government was both a good thing and not a big deal. You can read those two posts on it, but the really short version is twofold: (1) the Commerce Department’s “control” over ICANN’s IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) was always pretty much non-existent in the first place; and (2) even having that little connection to the US government, though, only provided tremendous fodder for foreign governments (mainly: Russia & China) to push to take control of the internet themselves. That’s what that whole disastrous UN/ITU/WCIT mess was a few years back. Relinquishing the (non-existent) control, with clear parameters that internet governance wouldn’t then be allowed to jump into the ITU’s lap, helps on basically every point. It takes away a key reason that other countries have used to claim they need more control, and it makes it clear that internet governance needs to remain out of any particular government’s control.


        In other words, as we’ve explained before, Ted Cruz’s concerns over the internet here are completely backwards. Up is down, black is white, night is day kind of stuff. Keeping the IANA connection to the US government is the kind of thing that opens up the possibility for Russia/China to exert more control over internet governance by routing around ICANN and its flawed, but better than the alternative, “multistakeholder” setup. Moving ICANN away from the US government, with strict rules in place that basically keep it operating as is, takes away one of the key arguments that foreign countries have been using to try to seize control over key governance aspects of the internet.

        If Cruz fears foreign governments taking control of internet governance, he should do the exact opposite of what he’s doing now. Let the Commerce Dept. sever the almost entirely imaginary leash it has on ICANN. Otherwise, other countries’ frustration with the US’s roles is a much bigger actual threat to how the internet is managed.

      • 4 reasons broadband data caps must die

        Everybody hates ‘em, but more and more Americans find themselves living under the confines of broadband data caps. Each month, millions of households wrestle with balancing their internet use against staying under their usage limits.

        As the number of users affected by data caps grows, so do the number of complaints. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the agency has been looking at data caps: “It’s not a new topic to us, that’s for damn sure,” he said. But regulators and legislators have yet to do anything about them — and they should. Here’s why.

    • DRM

      • Why the proprietary MQA music encoding system is better than DRM, but still not good

        In June 2016, I wrote about the MQA proprietary closed-source music encoding system and shared my thoughts on why I felt the system is not a good thing. Since then, I’ve been reading more about MQA so this month I’ll share additional thoughts.

      • Analog: The Last Defense Against DRM

        With the recent iPhone 7 announcement, Apple confirmed what had already been widely speculated: that the new smartphone won’t have a traditional, analog headphone jack. Instead, the only ways to connect the phone to an external headset or speaker will be via Bluetooth, through the phone’s AirPlay feature, or through Apple’s proprietary Lightning port.

        Apple’s motivations for abandoning the analog jack are opaque, but likely benign. Apple is obsessed with simple, clean design, and this move lets the company remove one more piece of clutter from the phone’s body. The decision may also have been a part of the move to a water-resistant iPhone. And certainly, many people choose a wireless listening experience.

        But removing the port will change how a substantial portion of iPhone owners listen to audio content—namely, by simply plugging in a set of headphones. By switching from an analog signal to a digital one, Apple has potentially given itself more control than ever over what people can do with music or other audio content on an iPhone. We hope that Apple isn’t unwittingly opening the door to new pressures to take advantage of that power.

        When you plug an audio cable into a smartphone, it just works. It doesn’t matter whether the headphones were made by the same manufacturer as the phone. It doesn’t even matter what you’re trying to do with the audio signal—it works whether the cable is going into a speaker, a mixing board, or a recording device.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Changes to the Cider House Fight Club Patent Rules of Engagement the Game UK IPO

        The UK IPO will now be providing advance notice of grant to applicants. They will be issuing a communication informing an applicant that his/her application meets all requirements and will therefore proceed to grant. This will typically be 1 month’s notice, but 2 months’ if issued as the first examination report (as currently is the case).

        This will bring the UK procedure closer in line with the familiar Rule 71(3) EPC procedure at the EPO. Importantly, the change will give applicants a guaranteed period to decide whether to file a divisional application before the “allowed” application grants, and so stop divisional “foreshadowing” i.e. raising the possibility to the examiner that a divisional application might be of interest in a response to an examination report, and asking for time to decide before they grant the case.

      • General Court upholds Lundbeck pay-for-delay fine

        Fines of nearly €150 million imposed on pharmaceutical company Lundbeck and a number of generic rivals by the European Commission have been upheld by the EU General Court. The Court’s decisions are the first to find that pay-for-delay agreements breach EU antitrust rules

      • Copyrights

        • TorrentFreak Gets Its First YouTube Copyright Claim, And It’s Bull….

          After having covered many YouTube copyright and Content-ID horrors stories, we can now share a personal experience. A few days ago we uploaded the archive of old TorrentFreak TV episodes to YouTube and within hours we received our very first copyright claim. Ironically, it’s from a friend of the site and one of the last people we expected.

        • The Copyright Office Acts As Hollywood’s Lobbying Arm… Because That’s Basically How It’s Been Designed

          Last month, we wrote about a blog post by Public Knowledge questioning why the Copyright Office kept acting like a lobbying firm for Hollywood, often stepping into issues where it has no business and almost always pushing the Hollywood viewpoint. It turns out that was just a sneak peak of a much larger report that PK has now released on The Consequences of Regulatory Capture at the Copyright Office. The full 50-page report is worth a thorough read.

          It details the obvious bits concerning the revolving door between copyright maximalists and the Copyright Office, with much of top management coming from jobs in the entertainment industries, and then many former top Copyright Office folks going right back into that industry upon leaving. But the more interesting part of the report is looking at how frequently the Copyright Office appears to blatantly misinterpret copyright law in an attempt to expand what the law actually covers.

        • The FCC Has a Plan to Free Us From Our Cable Boxes

          If you do cable TV, you’re a renter. You need that set-top-box that connects the cable to your television, and chances are, your cable company won’t let you buy the thing. You’re forced to rent it, paying that monthly fee for years on end, shelling out far more than that box is really worth. But that might change.

          Today, the Federal Communications Commission unveiled a proposal that would force pay-TV providers to offer apps that let you bypass set-top-boxes altogether. Instead of plugging a set-top-box into your TV, you could just use cable through a device of your choice, like a Roku, an Xbox, or a Google Chromecast stick. Plus, you could watch on all sorts of other devices, like phones and tablets. If the new proposal passes, you say goodbye to that monthly fee forever.

          It may seem a little late to do something about this particular problem, given that analysts say more people are now cutting the pay TV cord. But there are still tens of millions of people paying for the tube, and the average subscriber pays $231 a year for the things, according to the Federal Communications Commission, and cost the country about $20 billion annually.

        • FCC Unveils Plan to ‘Unlock’ Set-Top Boxes After Brawl With Big Cable

          The Federal Communications Commission unveiled its long-awaited proposal to increase competition in the video “set-top box” market on Thursday, but the agency’s “compromise” plan faces no guarantee of final approval after months of furious pushback from the cable and entertainment industries.

          FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has made it a priority to break the cable industry’s dominance of the cable set-top box market, which forces most consumers to pay an average of $231 per year to rent these old-school devices, pouring nearly $20 billion annually into the coffers of Comcast, Charter and other industry giants, according to a 2015 Senate report.

        • Comcast Already Whining About New FCC Cable Box Plan, Despite It Being The Cable Industry’s Idea

          We’ve noted how the FCC’s plan to bring competition to the cable box fell apart over the last few months, thanks to a massive disinformation effort by the cable industry involving a flood of hugely misleading editorials and some help from the US Copyright Office. In short the cable industry used a sound wall of hired voices to claim that cable box competition would hurt consumer privacy, violate copyright, result in a huge spike in piracy, and was even racist. Despite these claims being nonsense, the unprecedented PR campaign managed to sway several FCC Commissioners that had originally voted yes on the proposal.

        • MPAA Freaks Out In Response To FCC’s Revised Set Top Box Plan

          Except, of course, there’s nothing in there that’s a copyright issue at all (just as there was nothing in the original proposal). The new proposal doesn’t impact copyright licensing at all. Just read it. It only requires that TV providers offer apps that are fully controlled by the provider, enabling subscribers to then access licensed content. There is no infringement here. There is no compulsory license. The TV providers still have the same license they’ve always had with the content providers. The end users still have the same contract they’ve always had with the TV providers. The only difference is that end users might not have to rent expensive boxes any more, and now the TV providers will make apps available to those subscribers, which can work on various boxes to access the same licensed content.

          The complaint here is really about the loss of control for the cable providers and the ability to shake down the public in renting boxes. The MPAA’s ridiculous complaint seems to be that it doesn’t like the content being made available on new devices without some sort of additional payment. But that’s not the law, and it’s certainly not copyright law. For years, we’ve known that it’s legal to use other devices to access content — the VCR and DVRs have both been declared legal. The MPAA’s complaint here is basically that it doesn’t like the fact that those court cases have gone against it, and it’s trying to pretend they did not.

        • Why the Pirate Party could end up running Iceland

          With the Icelandic Pirates crushing it in the polls and set to form the next government of a sovereign, carbon-neutral, strategically located nation, it’s worth asking how a party whose two issues — internet freedom and copyright reform — are wonky, minority interests rose to prominence.

          The answer is a combination of the contemptuous, naked corruption of the Icelandic establishment — the people who helped destroy the world’s economy — and the Pirates’ flexibility, frankness and basic decency.

        • ISP Deletes IP-address Logs to Fend Off Piracy “Extortion Letters”

          Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof continues to fight against copyright holders that target alleged file-sharers. The company explains that it has setup its logging policies in such as way that it can refuse requests for IP-address information from so-called copyright trolls, suggesting that other ISPs should follow suit.

        • Freedom to link threatened by EU court decision and copyright plans

          Today, the European Court of Justice significantly curtailed the freedom to hyperlink – one of the basic building blocks of the web. Together with the new special copyright protection for news articles the European Commission is planning to propose next week, the ability of Europeans to point to things online without having to fear breaking a law is in peril.

          Could the following message soon be commonplace on the European internet? Read on for details.

        • GS Media decision gives ammunition to copyright owners

          Copyright owners may be emboldened to take action against sites that provide links to infringing content following the CJEU’s ruling in the GS Media case. The dispute involved hyperlinks to sites hosting photos of a Playboy model

        • EU Court: Not-For-Profit Hyperlinking Usually Not Copyright Infringement

          A ruling from the European Court of Justice has clarified when the posting of hyperlinks to infringing works is to be considered a ‘communication to the public’. Those who post links to content they do not know is infringing in a non-commercial environment can relax, but for those doing so during the course of business the rules are much tighter.

        • Status of the hyperlink: (hyper) disappointing decision of the ECJ

          The European Court of Justice published today an important decision on the legal status of hypertext links, a key element of the Web. Sadly, it has chosen to discard the conclusion of the General Attorney, by ruling that posting a link to content illegally published online is a copyright infraction. This jurisprudence has contributed to weaken hyperlinks and how the Web works, at a moment were the European Commission is also questioning the liberty to link.

        • European Copyright Ruling Ushers in New Dark Era for Hyperlinks

          In a case which threatens to cause turmoil for thousands if not millions of websites, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided today that a website that merely links to material that infringes copyright, can itself be found guilty of copyright infringement, provided only that the operator knew or could reasonably have known that the material was infringing. Worse, they will be presumed to know of this if the links are provided for “the pursuit of financial gain”.

          The case, GS Media BV v. Sanoma, concerned a Dutch news website, GeenStijl, that linked to leaked pre-publication photos from Playboy magazine, as well as publishing a thumbnail of one of them. The photos were hosted not by GeenStijl itself but at first by an Australian image hosting website, then later by Imageshack, and subsequently still other web hosts, with GeenStijl updating the links as the copyright owner had the photos taken down from one image host after another.


Links 9/9/2016: IBM’s New Servers, SUSE Eaten by HPE

Posted in News Roundup at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How Google Uses and Contributes to Open Source

    Engineer Marc Merlin has been working at Google since 2001 but has been involved with Linux since 1993, in its very early days. Since then, open source adoption has dramatically increased, but a new challenge is emerging: Not many companies care about the license side of open source, Merlin stated in his talk “How Google Uses and Contributes to Open Source” at LinuxCon and ContainerCon North America.

  • Top 10 Open Source Ecommerce Tools

    According to the U.S. Census, online retailers in the United States sold $97.3 billion worth of goods in the second quarter this year. That represents roughly 8 percent of all retail sales in the country during that time period.

    If you’re a small business owner, getting a piece of that market can seem like a very attractive opportunity. But setting up an online shop may be a daunting prospect if you aren’t very technical.

    In this article, we feature 10 ecommerce software solutions that can make setting up an online store easier. These are all open source solutions, which means that they are completely free if you run the software on your own server. If you don’t want to host your own website, many of them are also available through hosting providers for a small fee.

  • What a Pixar open source project says about your software strategy

    Such open source is a signal to developers that an employer is developer-friendly, and it also allows companies to collaborate on code even as they compete for box office market share, automobile customers, etc. Whatever your organization, in short, you need more developers, which means you also need more open source. A lot more.

  • Open source algorithm helps spot social media shams

    Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University say they have developed an open source algorithm that can help spot social media frauds trying to sway valuable community influence.

    “Given the rise in popularity of social networks and other web services in recent years, fraudsters have strong incentives to manipulate these services. On several shady websites, anyone can buy fake Facebook page-likes or Twitter followers by the thousands. Yelp, Amazon and TripAdvisor fake reviews are also available for sale, misleading consumers about restaurants, hotels, and other services and products. Detecting and neutralizing these actions is important for companies and consumers alike,” the researchers wrote in a paper outlining their algorithm known as FRAUDAR.

    According to Carnegie Mellon researchers the new algorithm makes it possible to see through camouflage fraudsters use to make themselves look legitimate.

    According to Christos Faloutsos, professor of machine learning and computer at Carnegie Mellon the state-of-the-art for detecting fraudsters, with tools such as NetProbe, is to find a pattern known as a “bipartite core.” These are groups of users who have many transactions with members of a second group, but no transactions with each other. This suggests a group of fraudsters, whose only purpose is to inflate the reputations of others by following them, by having fake interactions with them, or by posting flattering or unflattering reviews of products and businesses, he said in a statement.

  • Destroy to create: How one CEO innovates in object storage, open source

    While VMworld 2016 is now in the rearview mirror, some major partnership announcements emerged from within the conference halls. One such announcement partnered cloud and object storage company Scality, Inc. with hosting and Internet infrastructure provider OVH. This new go-to-market team-up will provide enterprises large and small a solution to handle large-scale storage needs.

    This partnership is just latest in a string of pioneering ventures at Scality since it opened its doors in 2008. To explore the company’s impressive growth and market strategies, SiliconANGLE recently spoke to Jérôme Lecat, CEO of Scality.

  • Open Source Software & Security Are Key To 5G

    Open source software and security will be fundamental elements of 5G, according to top executives at the 2016 CTIA Super Mobility conference here.

    During yesterday’s opening keynote session, CTIA chairman and AT&T mobility president and CEO Glenn Lurie highlighted the role of open source software in the 5G roadmap. “We have to embrace open source, software-centric solutions. We know this drives flexibility and scalability with the growth of the network. It makes everything faster, better, and cheaper,” Lurie said.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Italian military move first 8000 PCs to LibreOffice

      The Italian military have switched the first 8000 PC workstations to Libreoffice, an open source office productivity suite, reports Sonia Montegiove, a software analyst working for the Italian province of Perugia who is helping the military with the switch to LibreOffice.

    • Italian Military Gets FLOSS

      Anyway, the Italians have figured out that they don’t have to stick with a single source of supply from USA for all their IT. Good for them. They wouldn’t do that for anything else. Why IT? So, they are gaining freedom from M$, saving money and getting better IT. It’s the right way to do IT. I hope they get around to using a FLOSS OS too someday. That will compound their savings and increase security.

    • LibreOffice Suite Now Competes Directly with Google Docs

      On the heels of announcing new versions 5.2 and 5.1.5 of the free, LibreOffice suite of productivity applications, The Document Foundation has provided statistics indicating that LibreOffice is gaining traction with Linux users, developers, administrators, and enterprises. In fact, the new version 5.1.5 of the suite is specifically tuned for enterprise users.

      The Document Foundation’s Annual Report notes that the LibreOffice project now has more than 1,000 contributors with 300 making commits in 2015. Moreover, new releases of the suite include enhanced focus on compatibility and standards. The suite’s import/export filters have improved exponentially, and — in a move that will appeal to many admins and cloud-minded users — the suite has been steadily adding direct integration with platforms and services including Google Drive, SharePoint, and Alfresco. You can now open files directly from — and save files to — these services via menu choices under the File menu in LibreOffice applications.

      Integration with these platforms and services, of course, means that LibreOffice is now much more competitive with Google Docs. Additionally, as security concerns remain on everyone’s radar, The Document Foundation is working closely with the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP), a public-private partnership formed to secure electronic communication for organizations including defense contractors and government entities. The TSCP has specifications and frameworks that preserve more secure shared documents online. LibreOffice 5.2 complies with these document classification specifications.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Trying Out Eight BSDs On A Modern PC: Some Are Smooth, Others Troublesome

      Following the seven-way Linux distribution benchmark comparison published earlier this week, on the same system I set out to test a variety of BSD distributions on the same system and ultimately benchmark their out-of-the-box performance too. Those performance benchmark results will be published later this week while today were a few remarks I wanted to share when trying out TrueOS, DragonFlyBSD, GhostBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, MidnightBSD, and PacBSD (Arch BSD) on this modern Intel Xeon system.

      All of my testing was done on an Intel Xeon E5-2509 v4 Broadwell-EP system with MSI X99A WORKSTATION motherboard, NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and an OCZ TRION 150 120GB SATA 3.0 SSD. With the seven Linux distributions tested in recent days they all worked fine on the system: Ubuntu, Clear Linux, Scientific Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora, Antergos, and Sabayon Linux.

      Below are my various brief remarks when testing the different BSDs on this Intel Xeon system. These are my thoughts with admittedly being a Linux enthusiast while just touching BSD, Solaris, and others only on a semi-frequent basis. I am by no means a diehard “Linux fan boy” and have no fundamental objections to BSD, I simply prefer the operating system that best fits my needs and for benchmarking where I can get my tests done in a reliable, reproducible, and timely manner. I at least prefer my operating systems have a clean and quick install process with sane defaults; working generally ~100 hour weeks, I don’t have time in 2016 if an OS cannot easily install and boot properly on a modern PC. I enjoy testing out the various BSDs and have no strong bias to any of them. This is the largest BSD testing comparison I’ve done in the past 12 years on Phoronix at the same time and on the same hardware.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open licenses don’t work for uncopyrightable subjects: 3D printing edition

      Michael Weinberg (who has written seminal stories on 3D printing and copyright) writes, “We are seeing widespread adoption of copyright-based open licenses in 3D printing and open source hardware. This is great in that it shows that the culture of openness has really permeated the culture. It is not so great because a significant number of the things nominally licensed in these communities aren’t actually protected by copyright.”

      “This could create problems by 1) undermining long term confidence in open licenses when people find out that they are not enforceable when a copyright isn’t involved and/or 2) creating a constituency of people who want to expand the scope of copyright protection in order to make their open licenses enforceable.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Report: Students Can Save Thousands By Using ‘Digital, Open-source Textbooks’

        A report related to a state pilot program has declared that college and university students from Vernon and across the state can save thousands with the use of “digital, open-source textbooks.”

        The results of the pilot program were published last month.

        See the report here.

        The pilot program was created through Special Act No. 15-18, “An Act Concerning the Use of Digital Open Source Textbooks in Higher Education.”


  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Wait… is that how you are supposed to configure your SSD card?

      I bought a laptop with only SSD drives a while ago and based on a limited amount of reading, added the “discard” option to my /etc/fstab file for all partitions and happily went on my way expecting to avoid the performance degradation problems that happen on SSD cards without this setting).

      Yesterday, after a several month ordeal, I finally installed SSD drives in one of May First/People Link’s servers and started doing more research to find the best way to set things up.

      I was quite surprised to learn that my change in /etc/fstab accomplished nothing. Well, not entirely true, my /boot partition was still getting empty sectors reported to the SSD card.

      Since my filesystem is on top of LVM and LVM is on top of an encrypted disk, those messages from the files system to the disk were not getting through. I learned that when I tried to run the fstrim command on one of the partitions and received the message that the disk didn’t support it. Since my /boot partition is not in LVM or encrypted, it worked on /boot.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Two US Congressional Leaders Criticize WTO For Stance On Trade Remedy, Food Safety Measures

      From a press release issued today: “House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) today sent a letter to World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, criticizing the WTO Secretariat’s stance on measures it views as protectionist, and urging the office to better support the rules-based global trading system.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Misunderstandings of the Anti-Transparency Hillary-Exonerating Left

      Of course the FBI never really addresses how Hillary violated the Federal Records Act. Of course the FBI never really addresses how Hillary tried to avoid FOIA. (Note too that Drum ignores that some of those “personal” emails have been found to be subject to FOIA and FRA and Congressional requests; they weren’t actually personal.)

    • Vox: If The Clinton Email Scandal Has Taught Us Nothing Else, It’s That Email Should Be Exempt From FOIA Requests

      This argument might make some sense if Yglesias had ever advocated for the alteration of federal statutes like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act or the Third Party Doctrine that have been abused for years by government agencies with complete disregard for wholesale changes in personal communication preferences. (Under the Yglesias theory, phone calls = emails, so the government should need a wiretap warrant to access the contents of these communications, rather than just regular search warrants.)

      Furthermore, he’s simply wrong about the FOIA’s treatment of phone calls and emails. If a public record is generated by a phone call, it too can be accessed with a FOIA request. One example would be 911 calls, which are always recorded and are considered public records.

      This was pointed out to Yglesias by USA Today journalist Steve Reilly. Yglesias responded once, indicating he was making a point, rather than aiming for accuracy.

  • Finance

    • Users Continue to Rock Against the TPP With Three New Tour Dates

      The Rock Against the TPP concert tour continues to gather steam as it makes its way around the country, giving voice to users whose concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership are being ignored. This Friday, the event will hit San Francisco, and there’s still time for you to claim your free tickets. Hip hop stars Dead Prez and punk legend Jello Biafra are headlining the event, joined by nine other acts in an event that will rock long into the night. EFF will also be there, as well as at a teach-in on the following day, to explain how the secretive deal will impact your digital rights.

    • Paying Taxes Is a Lot Better Than Phony Corporate Courage, Apple

      Every fall the internet and its resident tech mumblers congregate for The Apple Event, a quasi-pagan streaming-video rite in which Tim Cook boasts of just how much money his company is making (a lot) and just how much good it’s introducing to the world (this typically involves a new iPhone). This is merely annoying most years; but in 2016, when Apple is loudly, publicly denying its tax obligations around the world, it’s just gross.

    • Obama Promises Lame-Duck TPP Push Despite Uproar Over Pro-Corporate Provisions

      A provision that would let foreign corporations challenge new American laws and regulations has become the latest flashpoint in the battle over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, even as President Obama on Tuesday said he will renew his push for its passage in the lame-duck session of Congress.

      “We’re in a political season now and it’s always difficult to get things done,” Obama said at a town hall meeting in Laos. “So after the election, I think people can refocus attention on why this is so important.” He sounded confident: “I believe that we’ll get it done.”

    • Goldman Sachs tells employees they cannot donate to Trump campaign – but no restriction on Clinton’s

      One of America’s largest banks has told its high-ranking employees they cannot donate to Donald Trump – but has left open the way for them to contribute to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

      According to a memo that was circulated to staff at Goldman Sachs, the bank said it had expanded its political restrictions to partners at the firm and listed those persons it now considered “restricted”.

    • Calm Down, People: Data Shows Airbnb Isn’t Really Driving Up Rent

      Last year, we did an episode of the Techdirt podcast discussing whether or not Airbnb was good or bad for cities, and afterwards I heard from a few people insisting that we were too quick to dismiss the concerns of the anti-Airbnb crowd. It seemed to us that the problem, if there was one, was in the overall housing stock of cities, rather than Airbnb having a legitimate impact. Yes, certainly there are some people who just use some homes/apartments/condos for doing short-term rentals, but it was difficult to see how (even at Airbnb’s scale) it was enough to significantly impact housing prices.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party reaffirms support for nominees Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest after charges are filed

      Green Party leaders reaffirmed the party’s support for presidential nominee Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka as they face charges for civil disobedience during the ongoing protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      “The Green Party stands in solidarity with Native Americans and others gathering at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The oil pipeline poses a serious danger to local drinking water — it was moved away from Bismarck for this very reason. It desecrates Lakota burial ground on land seized from the tribe. It shows that the Obama Administration, deferring to Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers, still refuses to take the climate crisis and fossil-fuel consumption seriously,” said Chris Blankenhorn, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

    • Nobody Asked Hillary Last Night About the Messed Up Veterans Hiring Preferences at Her State Department

      Last night’s MSNBC Commander-in-Chief Forum featured two candidates who couldn’t be more in love — with “The Troops.”

      The troops were spoken of as if they were a they, maybe that group huddled outside smoking or something. Both Trump and Clinton made it clear they are ready to do anything to support the troops. Good, we owe the troops a lot for having to take the big hits for some dumb foreign policy decisions.

      But it is only Hillary who cites her “experience,” so let’s take a look at that. Specifically, during the years she was secretary of state, how did her organization implement veterans preferences in hiring new Foreign Service Officers (FSOs; America’s diplomats)?

    • ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Forum Panned as Colossal Failure of Journalism

      Putting aside the shortcomings of both major candidates, for many critical observers the biggest loser during Wednesday night’s presidential “Commander-in-Chief” forum on NBC News was the platform itself.

      Moderated by NBC’s host of The Today Show Matt Lauer, the town hall-style event was staged inside the belly of the U.S.S. Intrepid, a retired World War II aircraft carrier that now serves as a military museum in New York City, and was promoted by the news outlet as a chance to extract specific positions from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on veterans affairs and foreign policy.

      But instead of informing viewers on these key subject matters or holding the candidates to account for past actions or statements, a widespread reaction among progressive viewers and critical journalists from across the political spectrum was that Lauer failed to ask the necessary tough questions or followups, with many suggesting the forum was a lesson in how not to inform voters or put a check on those seeking high office.

    • Trump, Clinton stumble in debate dry run

      Clinton wobbled on style. Trump stumbled on substance.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ACLU Seeks To Unseal Docket In FBI’s Tor-Exploiting Takedown Of Freedom Hosting

      The ACLU would like to take a closer look at the government’s activities regarding its seizure of Freedom Hosting back in 2013. To date, the docket remains sealed — as is the case in far too many DOJ prosecutions. In this case, the FBI basically took over Freedom Hosting to serve up its Network Investigative Tool to unmask anonymous Tor users.

      The difference between this and its more recent NIT deployment in the Playpen child porn case is that many of those exposed by the malware weren’t suspected of any wrongdoing. While letting the exploit run its course, the FBI also helped itself to TorMail’s email database, later acquiring a warrant to access the contents of the seized communications.

    • The FBI’s latest mission: Be cool enough to recruit hackers
    • The FBI Wants To Hire Young Tech Savants, Has No Idea How To Attract Them

      The FBI is suffering from an image problem. Its boss has spent a great deal of time arguing against protecting phone owners from thieves and malicious hackers. Its anti-terrorism program seems to be focused on pushing vulnerable people into doing things they’d never do on their own. And it has, along with the NSA, seen whatever street cred it might have had stripped away by leaked documents, litigation, and the realization that all Americans and their rights are subject to the agency’s chants of “national security.”

      In order for an agency to keep up with the hacking Joneses, it needs periodic injections of new blood. The problem is, the only decently-skilled hackers the FBI can apparently press into service are those it’s arrested. It’s having a difficult time attracting new hires that honestly want to use their skills in the ways the FBI would like to deploy them.

      So, the FBI is trying to alter its stance on hiring, as well as the public’s perception of the agency. And, of course, it’s failing to do so because it’s allowing Jim “Nerd Harder” Comey to act as spokesperson for the FBI’s youth movement. After being informed by his daughter that the FBI = “The Man,” Comey is using this dad anecdote to lead into a series of dad jokes that seem better suited for attracting people like him, rather than the people his agency actually needs.

    • EU General Data Protection Regulation – Part II

      Moreover, since such consent must be freely given by the data subject, special attention must be paid to those situations in which the data subject is in effect left with no choice but to give consent. Consent will be deemed not to have been properly given where, for example, there is a clear imbalance of power between the data subject and the controller seeking consent, or where the processing of personal data is not necessary for the performance of the contract, even if it is included in the contract.

    • Teamed with Box, Google Dumps Docs Storage Lock-in Scheme

      For a long time now, Google has been gaining traction with Google Docs, which remains one of the key ways that many people work in the cloud. However, Google–a company known for its dedication to open standards–has dragged its feet on preventing various kinds of lock-in for Docs users. In particular, to use Google Docs and keep documents stored in the cloud, you’ve traditionally been required to keep them under Google’s umbrella, storing documents on Google’s platform.

    • U.S. congressman: Americans ‘will be shocked’ by government use of phone-spying tech

      The Stingray, a controversial cellphone tracking device used by the U.S. government and law enforcement, will be the subject of a forthcoming investigation from the House Oversight Committee, according to Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

      “You will be shocked at what the federal government is doing to collect your personal information,” Chaffetz said on Wednesday morning. “And they can’t keep it secure, that’s the point.”

    • National Privacy Commission to issue findings on Comelec breach

      Last March 2016, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) fell victim to what is now known as one of the biggest government-related breaches in history. This hack on the COMELEC database leaked the personal information of approximately 55 million registered Filipino voters. The incident soon caused widespread concern and public outrage, prompting FMA to call the attention of the then-newly established National Privacy Commission (NPC). Shortly after FMA’s call, the NPC started an independent investigation on the breach, which is now the subject of the young Commission’s first case. Over the past few months, the NPC conducted several investigatory hearings on the case, at least two of which were attended by FMA.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Real News
    • The Significance of Theresa May’s Disgraceful Quote

      Firstly, if either Nicola Sturgeon or Jeremy Corbyn had done this they would be under simply colossal pressure from the mainstream media. Tarring by association has been the backbone of the mainstream media campaigns against both Corbyn and the SNP, and pages after page and headline after headline have been concocted around the slightest association of Corbyn, Sturgeon or Salmond with people a great deal less vile than Collins, over just single intemperate social media entries.

      Will anybody attempt to deny it is true that if Corbyn or Sturgeon quoted a twitter account as offensive as this one it would be massive front page headlines?

      Secondly, it is important because May’s tactic at Prime Minister’s Questions is to ignore the question asked, but reply with a pre-arranged jibe about Jeremy Corbyn. That is precisely what happened here. The “joke” quoting Lewis Collins by name was written by one of May’s political advisers – paid by the taxpayer – and then read out by her. May claimed that “Lewis’s” comment had been selected from replies to a Corbyn social media tweet canvassing public opinion. It seems to me massively improbable that this is true. Tory advisers are not sifting through tens of thousands of public social media replies to Jeremy Corbyn, and then happening to hit on this Tory commenter.

      The truth is rather that Collins’ gross Tory laddism appeals to Tory professionals, and that May’s adviser who wrote the question is almost certainly a follower or fan of Lewis Collins’ output. And that seems to me to tell us something very significant indeed about this Tory government.

    • Washington Escalates Punishent Of Truth-Tellers

      Former British Ambassador Craig Murray, a truth-teller, has been banned from entering the United States of America.

      Washington is so afraid of truth that the most honorable man in Great Britain cannot be allowed into the USA.

    • Anti-Racist Dutch MP Refuses to Shake Netanyahu’s Hand

      A Dutch politician from an anti-racist party declined to shake hands with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, before a meeting at the Dutch parliament in The Hague on Wednesday.

      Tunahan Kuzu, a member of Parliament who was born in Turkey and co-founded the new multi-ethnic party, Denk, or Think, in 2014 to represent immigrants to the Netherlands, explained later that he intended the gesture as a sign that many in the Netherlands object to the abuse of Palestinian civilians living under Israeli military rule in the occupied territories.

    • Monitoring the Vote With Electionland

      There is no more essential act in a democracy than voting. But making sure that the balloting is open to all and efficiently administered has been, at best, a low priority for many state legislatures, a victim of misplaced priorities and, at times, political gamesmanship.

      Historically, newsrooms have focused on covering the outcome of Election Day, relegating voting snafus to be followed up later, if at all. Today we’re announcing Electionland, a project to cover voting access and other problems in real time. The issue is particularly urgent this election year, as states have passed laws that could affect citizens’ access to the ballot box.

    • Lauri Love extradition ruling: Friday 16 September

      Lauri is the subject of extradition requests from three separate US court districts for his alleged participation in #OpLastResort, the series of online protests that followed the death of Aaron Swartz. Swartz tragically took his own life in January 2013 while facing prosecution under America’s draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and extraordinary pressure to agree to a plea deal.

      Over the course of a three-day hearing earlier this summer, Judge Tempia heard evidence on the inadequacy of US prison conditions, coercive plea bargaining, disproportionate sentencing and the discriminatory treatment meted out to hackers in the US justice system.

      Changes in the law were made in 2013, in the wake of the Gary McKinnon case to address public concerns about extradition and the severity of conditions for vulnerable British citizens in the United States penal system. It is now up to Judge Tempia to decide whether Lauri should benefit from those protections.

    • Dungavel immigration detention centre to close

      The centre, near Strathaven, is set to close towards the end of 2017.

      The Home Office said it would look to build a new short-term holding facility near Glasgow Airport.

      Dungavel opened in 2001 and can hold up to 249 detainees. It is the only such centre in Scotland and has been the subject of numerous protests, which branded the site “racist and inhumane”.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T’s Already Happily Tap Dancing Around Its DirecTV Merger Obligations

      If you’ve followed the telecom sector for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that the merger conditions affixed to its rotating crop of mega-mergers are usually hot garbage. Frequently the ankle-height goals are proposed by the companies themselves, and are usually something the companies planned on doing anyway. Telecom companies also know full well that regulators historically can’t be bothered to check their math on such promises, letting them essentially trot out a rotating crop of feel good, but totally hollow “obligations” before they get to work laying off redundant employees and raising rates.

      It’s a win-win relationship of dysfunction, where giant companies get to grow ever larger, and regulators score cheap political points for “toughness” thanks to a media that can’t be bothered to actually read the fine print of such deals, lest readership get bored.

      When Comcast was pushing for its 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal it crafted a new wrinkle in this old story. It proposed offering $10, 5 Mbps broadband to low-income homes if regulators signed off on the deal. And while regulators were happy to promote this as yeoman’s work in bridging the digital divide, it didn’t take long before low-income families began protesting in the streets, pointing out the plan was hard to find, hard to qualify for, and difficult to sign up for. Still, Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” plan has been a PR bonanza, with the cable giant holding an endless barrage of PR junkets advertising its selfless altruism.

    • After Massive Cable Industry Lobbying And Disinformation Effort, The FCC Is Forced To Weaken Its Cable Box Reform Plan

      Back in February, the FCC approved a new plan to bring some much-needed competition to the old cable box, resulting in better, cheaper, and more open hardware. But fearing a loss of control (and $21 billion in annual cable box rental fees) the cable industry launched an unprecedented lobbying campaign featuring an endless barrage of editorials attacking the plan for encouraging piracy and even being racist. The cable industry even managed to get the Copyright Office to fight on its behalf, spreading false claims that the plan would “harm copyright” despite having really nothing to do with the subject.


      But like so much said about the FCC’s plan over the last seven months, that’s simply not true. The FCC would primarily act to ensure the cable industry didn’t just supplement one bad idea (the locked down cable box) with another (apps saddled with onerous restrictions and fees), which is a pretty far cry from an entirely new copyright apparatus being forged in the belly of the FCC. And again, contrary to the Copyright Office’s claim, this debate has absolutely nothing to do with copyright, and everything to do with control.

    • Cruz slams internet transition plan on Senate floor
    • Video: Ted Cruz spreads internet FUD all over the Senate floor

      Senator Ted Cruz just gave a speech in the Senate proposing adding an appropriations rider to the upcoming continuing resolution in an effort to halt the IANA transition.

      He repeated many of the same false claims he has already made regarding the transition.

      Cruz claims ICANN is an international body akin to the United Nations. He claims that the transition empowers China, Russia and Iran to censor the internet.

      “Imagine searching the internet…and seeing a disclaimer that the information you’re looking for is censored,” he said. “It [the content] is not consistent with the standards of this new international body. It does not meet their approval.”

      Um, ICANN isn’t a new international body. And it doesn’t control content.

      Amusingly, he later points out that some internet giants have agreed to censorship requests by certain countries. Cruz suggests that the powers that be are determined to censor the internet. Yet this also shows what we already know: governments and other entities can already apply censorship to some degree inside their own borders. But no one country controls the internet.

    • GOP Lawmakers Launch Effort to Block Internet Handoff
    • Obama’s Radical Proposal Could Result in Censorship Online [Ed: nope.]
    • Can the GOP stop Obama’s internet giveaway? [Ed: Anti-Obama sites bash Obama even when he does the right thing regarding the Internet]
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Fujifilm’s second Arrow declaration survives AbbVie’s strike out application as Humira biosimilar battle rages on

      AbbVie also argued that in this event, the Arrow declaration against AbbVie UK should be struck out as the Bermuda entity was the applicant for European Patent Application No 1 737 491 and, thus only it had committed the acts in the EPO that Fujifilm (and now the judge) relied upon as evidencing a “real prospect” in relation to the Arrow declaration. AbbVie UK had no interest in the subject matter of the application. Fujifilm also argued that it was probable that the Bermuda entity would grant an exclusive licence to the UK entity at some point in the future in order to later seek lost profits. Further, the UK entity, even if it is not granted an exclusive licensee, would have a significant financial interest in the inventions in the patent family because it will be the one who exploits the inventions in the UK. An Arrow declaration binding on the UK entity thus served a purpose so as to “forestall the possibility of AbbVie making threats to its customers or making statements that its product infringed”.

    • WIPO Enforcement Committee To Discuss National Experiences In 2017 [Ed: WIPO will discuss anything other than its truly serious violations of human rights]

      The enforcement of intellectual property rights – how they are enforced and by whom – is left to countries’ discretion. Members of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on enforcement shared experiences this week on how they raise awareness about IP, their IP enforcement policies and regimes, and capacity-building in relation to WIPO training activities. And at the end of the session, delegates decided to pursue those topics of discussion again in 2017.

    • Nintendo DMCAs Fan-Game ‘No Mario’s Sky’, Devs Rename It ‘DMCA Sky’

      In the world of video games, it’s always useful to remember one thing: Nintendo hates you. More specifically, Nintendo hates its fans that go about expressing their fandom in ways that Nintendo does not specifically approve of. And Nintendo doesn’t approve of much it seems, whether its fan-remakes of games made 25 years previously, fan videos of fan-created Mario Bros. levels, or fan-made movies featuring Nintendo game characters. Nintendo is not on board when it comes to its customers’ desire to be creative and express their love for the games the company makes or the characters within them.

      That stance continues to present, with Nintendo shutting down all kinds of fan-made creations. Those creators typically walk away from their projects in defeat. But when Nintendo decided to send a DMCA complaint to the creators of No Mario’s Sky, those creators didn’t just walk away. The game itself came out of a coding competition.

    • Copyrights

      • US Copyright Office Charged With Industry Bias [Ed: In an Empire of Corporations, where Corporations fund politicians to do their bidding, almost every Federal office is a pawn of Corporations]

        “The Copyright Office is one of the starkest examples of a captured agency operating within the government today,” Meredith Rose, policy advocate at Public Knowledge said in the announcement of the report release. “With limited accountability a pattern of favoritism toward industry and rightsholder groups, it is unsurprising that they have staked out tenuous positions and advocate for expansive copyright monopolies. It is clear from its positions–both implicit and stated–that the Copyright Office often acts more as an advocate for profit-maximizing entertainment industries, rather than as an impartial organ of government.”

        The 50-page report from Public Knowledge is here.

      • Hyperlinks Can Infringe Copyright If Commercial, European High Court Says

        The CJEU press release on the decision is available here [pdf]. The decision itself is available here.

        “The posting of a hyperlink on a website to works protected by copyright and published without the author’s consent on another website does not constitute a ‘communication to the public’ when the person who posts that link does not seek financial gain and acts without knowledge that those works have been published illegally,” the CJEU release summarises. “In contrast, if those hyperlinks are provided for profit, knowledge of the illegality of the publication on the other website must be presumed.”

        The case involved a company called GS Media in 2011 linking to copyrighted Playboy photographs of a woman named Britt Dekker that had been posted to an Australian website without permission. After the Australian site took the photos down, GS Media linked to another site that posted them until that one also took them down. Then visitors to the GS Media site posted links to other sites where the photos could be found. GS Media was sued for copyright infringement by the editor of Playboy.

      • Terrible Ruling: EU Decides That Mere Links Can Be Direct Infringement [Ed: So merely throwing a link – maybe in error – in one’s Twitter or other social [control] media account can give you massive fine or even jail]

        Last year, we talked about an important copyright case in the EU regarding whether or not linking to infringing material was, in itself, infringing. The case involved a blogger in the Netherlands, Geen Stijl News (“GS Media”) linking to some pre-publication Playboy photos. There had been an earlier case, the Svensson case where the European Court of Justice got things right with regards to whether or not hyperlinks could be infringing, but there were some questions left open in that ruling. The court in the Svensson case found that linking to authorized content wasn’t infringing. But what about unauthorized content?

        And now we have the ruling and it’s not very good. Some are trying to spin it as a good ruling, because it basically says that if the link is not for profit, then it’s not infringing, but the worrisome part is that if the link is considered “for profit” then it can be direct infringement. Basically, the court tries to split the baby here. It notes concerns that many people had about how posting a mere link to content could be infringement, in that many times those posting the link will have no idea if the original content is authorized. But rather than actually deal with that specific issue, it just basically said “well, if it’s a for profit effort, then they can afford to figure out if the content is authorized.”

      • Hyperlinks and communication to the public: early thoughts on the GS Media decision

        As reported in this morning’s (super-)breaking news post, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has finally issued its decision in GS Media, C-160/15.

        The Court held that Article 3(1) of the InfoSoc Directive “must be interpreted as meaning that, in order to establish whether the fact of posting, on a website, hyperlinks to protected works, which are freely available on another website without the consent of the copyright holder, constitutes a ‘communication to the public’ within the meaning of that provision, it is to be determined whether those links are provided without the pursuit of financial gain by a person who did not know or could not reasonably have known the illegal nature of the publication of those works on that other website or whether, on the contrary, those links are provided for such a purpose, a situation in which that knowledge must be presumed.”


Links 8/9/2016: Samba 4.5, Wireshark 2.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • LinuxCon + ContainerCon North America Videos

      Thank you for your interest in the recorded sessions from LinuxCon + ContainerCon North America 2016! View more than 40+ sessions from the event below.

    • Linux Security Summit Videos

      Thank you for your interest in the recorded sessions from Linux Security Summit 2016! View all 19 sessions from the event below.

    • Linux scholarship winner aims to preserve ancient languages

      One of the winners of a scholarship from the Linux Foundation is involved in a project to preserve endangered South American languages, according to the Foundation.

      Luis Camacho Caballero is aiming to port these languages to computer systems using automatic speech recognition. He will use Linux-based systems for the project.

      Caballero, a Peruvian, was one of 14 It professionals to receive one of the 2016 scholarships.

      He hopes to complete work on the first language, Quechua, which his grandparents spoke, by the end of 2017 and then begin work on other languages.

    • Linux Kernel 4.7.3 Released with Btrfs and AMDGPU Improvements, Bugfixes

      Today, September 7, 2016, renowned Linux kernel developer and maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the release of three new kernel versions, namely Linux kernel 4.7.3, Linux kernel 4.4.20 LTS, and Linux kernel 3.14.78 LTS.

      In this article, we will tell you about the third maintenance update to the Linux 4.7 kernel series, which is the latest stable and most advanced kernel version that you can put in a GNU/Linux operating system, and, according to the appended shortlog and the diff from the previous build, Linux kernel 4.7.2, the Linux 4.7.3 kernel is a beefy one bringing changes to a total of 141 files, with 1101 insertions and 539 deletions.

    • ext4 encryption incompatible with grub
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • I can’t stop thinking big. In a world where I feel so small.

        Returned from GUADEC and again it was a wonderful time. Big kudos to the organizing team putting together a great conference! For me to meet everyone is such a adrenaline rush, and I always feel so pumped when I come back.

        Speaking of conferences, I spent a lot of time volunteering to understand the mechanics of running a local conference since you know, I have one of my own that is coming up in a few short weeks. Libre Application Summit presented by GNOME or LAS GNOME conference.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Linux Users Get Firefox 48.0.2, Thunderbird 45.3 & GCC 6.2.1

        Today, September 7, 2016, Douglas DeMaio published yet another informative bulletin to keep users of the openSUSE Tumbleweed Linux operating system up to date with the latest changes and software versions that landed lately.

        openSUSE Tumbleweed is a rolling release GNU/Linux distribution, so it’s always getting new components via so-called snapshots. Just last week we told you the Tumbleweed is based on Linux kernel 4.7.2, and now one more snapshot arrive in the repositories this week, and it’s the first for the month of September, bringing updates for some of the most important applications.

      • Highlights of YaST development sprint 24
      • HP Enterprise Names SUSE (Not Red Hat) Preferred Linux Partner

        Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is playing favorites in the Linux market, selecting SUSE rather than Red Hat and Canonical Ubuntu as the company’s preferred Linux distribution partner. The move, in theory, could potentially trigger a ripple effect across corporate data centers worldwide — especially for customers that are deploying OpenStack private clouds.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian CI updates for September 2016

        That is it for now. If you want to contribute to the Debian CI project and want to get in touch, you can pop up on the #debci channel on the OFTC IRC network, or mail the autopkgtest-devel mailing list.

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.7.6 Beta Linux OS Lands with Amazing Speedup Improvements for Some Apps

          Today, September 7, 2016, the Elive development team announced the release and immediate availability of yet another Beta milestone of the Elive Linux operating system.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Phone Now Has a Nifty, Native Photo Editing App

            Ubuntu Phone finally has a photo editing app. Although early alpha quality, Instant FX for Ubuntu is already looking like an impressive app. And with so few native Ubuntu apps around, each one is truly appreciated. Now, obvious things first: InstantFX is very obviously styled around the Instagram Android & iOS app’s editing interface.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • You Can Now Download a Single ISO Image with All the Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Flavors – Exclusive

              Softpedia was informed today, September 8, 2016, by Željko Popivoda from the Linux AIO team about the availability of an updated Linux AIO Ubuntu Live ISO image, based on Canonical’s recently released Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Xenial Xerus) OS.

              Yes, you’re reading it right, Linux AIO Ubuntu 16.04.1 Live ISO images are now available for download in 64-bit and 32-bit variants, based on the Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Live ISO images, which were officially released on July 21, 2016, and they include all the essential Ubuntu Linux flavors.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Camera/sensor kit adds obstacle avoidance to drones

      Parrot’s Ubuntu- and ROS-driven, Tegra K1 based “S.L.A.M.dunk” development kit has a stereo camera and sensors that adds obstacle avoidance to drones.

      Parrot’s S.L.A.M.dunk, which is named for its integrated Simultaneous Localization and Mapping algorithm, can be added to any Linux-driven drone to help it navigate indoors or in other barrier-rich outdoor environments where GPS signals are not available. Assuming obstacle avoidance technology can be sufficiently refined, indoor package delivery may be the next big application for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). There are also many outdoor environments such as wooded and urban areas where drones struggle to navigate by GPS and standard imaging alone.

    • This drone development kit can also be an Ubuntu PC
    • Parrot announces a dev kit that helps drones see and avoid obstacles
    • MinnowBoard Turbot jumps to quad-core Atom E3845

      ADI has opened pre-orders on a $190, open-spec “MinnowBoard Turbo Quad” SBC that advances to a 1.91GHz, 10W TDP quad-core Atom E3845.

      In late June, ADI Engineering, which built the latest MinnowBoard Turbot version of the MinnowBoard single-board computer for the MinnowBoard.org community, announced an unpriced MinnowBoard Turbot Dual-E SBC. The Dual-E, which was scheduled to ship later this month, offers a quad-core Atom E3845 option in addition to the standard dual-core E3826.

      Now, ADI has now opened $190 pre-orders on a simpler, quad-core E3845 only board called the MinnowBoard Turbot Quad, with shipments due in December.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Google given more time to reply to EU antitrust charge on Android [Ed: Microsoft started this attack. This is well documented.]

          Alphabet’s Google has been given two more weeks to counter EU antitrust charges that it uses its dominant Android mobile operating system to block competitors, the European Commission said on Thursday.

          The EU competition enforcer in April accused the U.S. technology giant of harming consumers because of its demand that mobile phone makers pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser on their smartphones to access other Google apps.

          Google was initially given until July 27 to respond to the charges but asked for an extension to Sept. 7.

        • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Gets Android Marshmallow
        • Google squashes another Mediaserver bug in Android
        • Android Pay is coming to the mobile web ‘soon,’ available first on Chrome
        • New YouTube UI with navigation bar on bottom rolling out server-side on Android
        • Don’t worry, ‘Super Mario Run’ is coming to Android too
        • Google Patches 55 Android Vulnerabilities in September Update
        • Google’s 3-level Android patch could cause confusion
        • Google’s Russian Android Appeal Falls Flat

          A Russian appeals court recently rejected Google’s appeal of a $6.75 million fine regulators imposed on it for anticompetitive behavior — that is, for forcing mobile device vendors to put Google Play apps on the main screens of devices using the Android operating system. The Ninth Arbitration Appeal Court’s ruling, handed down last month, means that the court considered the decision of Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service to be reasonable and legitimate. Google therefore would have to pay the fine and take steps to remedy the situation.

        • The Android Runtime On Chrome OS Makes Use Of Wayland

          With Google’s Android Runtime for Chrome (ARC) it turns out that this technology for letting Android apps run on Chrome OS is making use of the Wayland protocol and could open up other Wayland clients to running on Chrome OS.

          Readers in the Phoronix Forums pointed out that the ARC++ runtime makes use of Wayland, per a session description for this month’s XDC2016 conference in Helsinki.

        • How the new iPhone 7 compares to the best Android phones

          Apple announced the latest iterations of the iPhone today, with what the company claims are its best iPhones yet. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus bring faster processors, new cameras, and some minor visual updates to antenna placement and color choices from last year’s iPhone 6S — but these improvements come at the cost of the 3.5mm headphone jack.

          And while Apple has always been coy about the actual specifications of their devices, hard numbers for processor speed, RAM, and battery life are less important than ever nowadays. With phones like the Galaxy Note 7 leading the pack despite claims of “underpowered” hardware, it’s clear that a good experience in using a smartphone is far more crucial than necessarily having the fastest processor, most megapixels, or highest screen resolution. Which, to be fair, is more or less the strategy Apple’s been betting on for the last few years with its previous iPhones, and there’s no reason to suspect why the new models won’t continue to live up to that.

        • LG launches V20 smartphone with Android 7.0 Nougat

          LG took the wraps off the V20, its latest Android flagship, at an event in San Francisco this evening. The phone, a successor to last year’s V10, is the first to ship with Google’s latest Android 7.0 Nougat. Like it’s predecessor. the V20 contains a dual-camera system and a second display located at the top of the phone. Both have been upgraded in this year’s model; the cameras are more capable and the second display is now brighter with bigger font. More importantly, the V20 not only retains the headphone jack some phone makers are trying to phase out, but it also packs in some audiophile-grade features for music lovers who like lossless file formats and expensive headphones.

        • Seven features the iPhone 7 ‘borrows’ from Android

          If you were watching the Apple live stream and shouting at your computer, “hey, Android already has that!” over and over, you weren’t alone.

          Apple certainly took some “inspiration” from many of the hardware innovations brought about by Android phone makers. Here’s a recap of the features that Apple ballyhooed on stage, but aren’t exactly news to those of us who have been using Android phones for the past few years.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Christine Hall: FOSS Force’s Grandmama Frump

    Yes, that Christine Hall. The one whose byline you often see on this very site. Recorded under lousy lighting with a 10-year-old (or older) webcam that was probably lousy new, this video is about information, not cinematography. So meet Christine Hall. Listen to what she says about looking for contributing writers. Does she mean you? It’s possible. If you have a story idea, please send it to her. We could see [YOUR NAME] in lights right here on FOSS Force!

    Meanwhile, sit back, relax, and listen as Christine tells you how FOSS Force got started, what the site is up to, and what she hopes to see in its future. And please feel free to razz her (or the interviewer) in the comments section below this paragraph. We promise not to jump through the Internet, out of your screen, and bite your head off. Well… we probably won’t, anyway.

  • GNU Libreboot Adds Support For Another (Outdated) Intel Motherboard

    A mini-ITX board running the GNU Libreboot downstream of Coreboot sounds interesting for a fully free software HTPC/media center PC, right? Too bad this new motherboard port is for an i945 board released back in 2008 and has integrated a painfully slow original, single-core Atom chip.

    If you happen to have the Intel D945GCLF2 motherboard, it’s now supported by GNU Libreboot eight years after the product was launched with the i945GC Express chipset. The port landed with this commit.

  • How to Eliminate Foundation Fatigue in Open Source Networking

    Dave Ward, CTO of engineering and chief architect at Cisco, says the OpenDaylight Project really propelled the Linux Foundation as the go-to host for open source projects related to network virtualization. But, he adds, people working in open source networking are now experiencing “foundation fatigue.”

  • Keeping DOS alive and kicking with open source

    No, I don’t run FreeDOS as my primary system. That would really be impressive!

    I run Linux at home. My laptop is a Lenovo X1 Carbon (first gen) running Fedora 24 with GNOME 3.

    The tools I use every day include: Google Chrome, Firefox, and GNOMEWeb to browse the web; Gedit to edit text or simple code (such as Bash); GNU Emacs to edit program code (I prefer C); GNOME Terminal to SSH to my personal server and to the FreeDOS website; RhythmBox to listen to music.

    I run FreeDOS in a virtual machine. I use DOSEmu if I’m writingFreeDOS code, so I can use GNU Emacs on Linux to write code and immediately compile it in FreeDOS via DOSEmu. That’s really convenient because DOSEmu maps a folder in your home directory as the C: drive.

    If I need to run FreeDOS as though it’s running on hardware, such as testing the upcoming FreeDOS 1.2 release, I use qemu.

  • Has open source gone mainstream?

    Open source has officially made it. While open source advocates may have faced an uphill battle to convince their colleagues in the past, the technology has now become a legitimate component of the mainstream technological scene.

    That’s according to GitHub’s senior director of infrastructure engineering Sam Lambert, who told IT Pro that open source software is no longer the niche field it once was.

    “I feel like we’re not selling open source any more,” he said. He pointed out that not only are major companies in multiple sectors using open source technologies, they’re even starting and contributing to open source projects themselves.

    “A lot of large enterprises [view] being open source as an essential way of propagating the use of their technologies,” he said, “and they’re open sourcing stuff quickly.”

  • Yahoo open-sources Pulsar, a low-latency alternative to Apache Kafka

    Yahoo! Inc. has open-sourced a new distributed “publish and subscribe” messaging system called Pulsar that’s capable of scaling out while maintaining low latencies. Yahoo has long used Pulsar to back some of its own critical applications, and now wants the open-source community to help further its development.

  • The CORD Project: Unforeseen Efficiencies – A Truly Unified Access Architecture

    The CORD Project, according to ON.Lab, is a vision, an architecture and a reference implementation. It’s also “a concept car” according to Tom Anschutz, distinguished member of tech staff at AT&T. What you see today is only the beginning of a fundamental evolution of the legacy telecommunication central office (CO).

  • Synacor Launches New Support Program for 400+ Million Zimbra Open Source Users
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibOCon 2016 Kicks off with LibreOffice 5.2.1

      The Document Foundation today announced the release of LibreOffice 5.2.1, the first update to the 5.2 branch, to kick off LibOCon in Brno, Czech Republic. LibOCon will run from today, September 7, to September 9, 2016. The conference “is a showcase of the project activity, and will feature over 60 talks in three days, covering development, QA, localization, ODF, marketing, community and documentation.”

    • LibreOffice 5.2.1 Office Suite Released with Over 100 Improvements, Download Now

      Today, September 7, 2016, Italo Vignoli from The Document Foundation was happy to inform Softpedia via an email announcement about the general availability of the first point release of the LibreOffice 5.2 open-source and cross-platform office suite.

      LibreOffice 5.2.1 is here one month after the launch of the most advanced LibreOffice release ever, version 5.2, which brought countless improvements to all of the office suite’s components, including Writer, Draw, Math, Calc, etc., along with a bunch of user interface refinements that users will love, especially on GNU/Linux platforms.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Porn Sites Feel Exposed by Flash, Get It on With HTML5

      Soon, Google Chrome will phase out full support for Flash, meaning that, on most sites, users will have to manually activate the aging software if necessary. The move is largely for security reasons: Researchers regularly find dangerous vulnerabilities in Flash.

      On Tuesday, porn site Pornhub said it would be ditching all Flash content from its site, opting instead for HTML5, the most recent version of the web language that offers more support for multimedia content. Since hackers have had a number of successes at compromising porn sites, it’s notable that one of the largest is taking this step, albeit when Flash is already on its last legs.

      “It was just a matter of time until we switched, as HTML5 is becoming the standard across platforms. Now makes the most sense as Google and Firefox are slowly pushing Flash support out of their browsers. Plus HTML5 has improved security, better power consumption and it’s faster to load,” Corey Price, vice president of Pornhub, told Motherboard in an email.


  • What the 21st Century Has Done to Our News
  • Free Isn’t Freedom: How Silicon Valley Tricks Us

    Small business owners have long complained of the Google’s frequent and mysterious adjustments to its search algorithm, which effectively punishes them for violating one of the search engine’s mostly obscure criteria.

    Even some of the world’s largest companies live in constant “fear of Google”; sudden banishment from search results, YouTube, AdWords, Adsense, or a dozen other Alphabet-owned platforms can be devastating.

  • Science

    • How to Raise a Genius: Lessons from a 45-Year Study of Supersmart Children

      On a summer day in 1968, professor Julian Stanley met a brilliant but bored 12-year-old named Joseph Bates. The Baltimore student was so far ahead of his classmates in mathematics that his parents had arranged for him to take a computer-science course at Johns Hopkins University, where Stanley taught. Even that wasn’t enough. Having leapfrogged ahead of the adults in the class, the child kept himself busy by teaching the FORTRAN programming language to graduate students.

      Unsure of what to do with Bates, his computer instructor introduced him to Stanley, a researcher well known for his work in psychometrics—the study of cognitive performance. To discover more about the young prodigy’s talent, Stanley gave Bates a battery of tests that included the SAT college-admissions exam, normally taken by university-bound 16- to 18-year-olds in the United States.

      Bates’s score was well above the threshold for admission to Johns Hopkins, and prompted Stanley to search for a local high school that would let the child take advanced mathematics and science classes. When that plan failed, Stanley convinced a dean at Johns Hopkins to let Bates, then 13, enrol as an undergraduate.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Legal Levels of Roundup Pose Risks for Stream Algae

      Even though glyphosate is used to control weeds in agricultural fields, the world’s most commonly used weedkiller has also been detected in streams, rivers and other aquatic systems worldwide due to runoff.

      As we learn more and more about the potential environmental risks of glyphosate runoff, in Brazil—where almost 188,000 tons of glyphosate was sold in 2013 alone—new research published in the peer-reviewed journal Phycologia found that all-important macroalgae is sensitive to glyphosate exposure, even at legal levels. According to the study, the herbicide can alter the photosynthesis, chlorophyll levels and respiration of these key freshwater organisms.

    • Education Minister: Three hours a day exercise for kids under 8

      Finnish officials have upgraded their recommendations for the amounts of physical activity that kids should be getting. Children under the age of eight should be physically active for at least three hours per day, according to Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Hard Message from Brazil’s ‘Soft Coup’

      With little protest from Washington, Brazil’s elected President Dilma Rousseff was ousted in a politically motivated impeachment, a “soft coup” undermining South American democracy, write Hector Perla Jr., Laura Sholtz and Liliana Muscarella.

    • The ebbing Latin American tide

      The differences between the richest 10% and the poorest 10%, which was 100, 150, 200 times in the 90s, had been reduced at the end of the first decade of the century to 80, 60, 40, in a way that broadened the contribution – and equality – of the different social sectors.

    • Neocon Dilemma: Israeli-Russian Detente

      As Official Washington’s neocons lead the charge into a New Cold War – deeming Russia an implacable enemy – an inconvenient truth is that the neocons’ beloved Israel is warming its relationship with Moscow, writes Stephen J. Sniegoski.

    • Old Cold Warriors Cool to New Cold War

      It seems that some who have the ears of U.S. elite decision-makers are at least shifting away from wishing to provoke wars with Russia and China.

      In recent articles, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Thomas Graham, two architects of the U.S. Cold War with Russia, have acknowledged that the era of uncontested U.S. global imperialism is coming to an end. Both analysts urge more cooperation with Russia and China to achieve traditional, still imperial, U.S. aims.

    • New York Times and the New McCarthyism

      Traditional U.S. journalism and the American people are facing a crisis as the preeminent American newspaper, The New York Times, has fully lost its professional bearings, transforming itself into a neoconservative propaganda sheet eager for a New Cold War with Russia and imposing a New McCarthyism on public debate.

      The crisis is particularly acute because another top national newspaper, The Washington Post, is also deeply inside the neocon camp.

    • Trump’s ‘Cyber’ Policy Against ISIS Is… ‘Hey Look At This New Poll!’

      So, uh, wait. What? Apparently Donald Trump’s “cybersecurity” policy is “Hey, look at this poll that says I’m winning!” And also “How did ISIS get cell phones?” Meanwhile, the brave Philip Bump over at the Washington Post tried to fact check the only clear factual statement in that rambling mess: that the word “cyber” was just created a few years ago. Of course, that’s not true (though I guess that depends on what you consider to be a “short number of years ago”), but I’d argue that the fact that “cyber” predates the birth of one Donald Trump, that the statement isn’t all that accurate.

      But, really, who gives a fuck concerning when Donald Trump thinks the word “cyber” was first coined? The real question should be on what’s the actual policy here, because in those three paragraphs above there’s nothing even remotely resembling a policy, or a coherent idea. Clinton’s tech policy is a hot mess of emptiness, but at least there’s a policy that people can look at and talk about. Trump, on the other hand doesn’t even seem to recognize what cybersecurity means and what a policy would entail.

      Oh, and as for the claims about how ISIS is “recruiting people through the internet” multiple studies on that have suggested that ISIS’s internet recruitment strategy isn’t all that effective — that most recruiting is done through real world networks, rather than virtual ones. But you know which groups really are having success growing their online presence? White nationalists and neo Nazis, with many of them strongly supporting… Donald Trump.

    • Britain’s ‘most hated man,’ Anjem Choudary, jailed for ISIS support

      Notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who led a flag-burning demonstration outside the US embassy on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and voiced support for jihad, has been jailed for inviting support for ISIS.
      The former lawyer was sentenced to five years and six months in prison. His supporters shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as he was led away from the dock in London’s Old Bailey court.
      Choudary’s co-defendant Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, 33, was also handed a sentence of five years and six months.

      Choudary has courted controversy over two decades, skirting the edges of the law, backing extremism but with no proof of actually inciting violence. He earned the wrath of Britain’s tabloid newspapers, making him – by his own admission — the country’s “most hated man.”
      In 2014, he pledged allegiance to ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, bringing him under scrutiny and leading to his arrest.

    • Automated systems fight ISIS propaganda, but at what cost?

      The spread of ISIS propaganda online has put social media companies in a tough position. Governments are urging Facebook, Twitter, and Google to more aggressively remove extremist content, in the hopes of reducing the terrorist group’s influence. But the companies’ self-moderation systems have struggled to keep pace, and terrorist material continues to spread online.

      Now, a nonprofit organization has developed an algorithm that it says can automate the removal of terrorist-related content. But there are concerns that it could infringe on freedom of speech, and some question whether automated content removal would mitigate radicalization.

      The algorithm, called eGLYPH, was announced in June by the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a New York-based nonprofit organization that tracks extremist groups. eGLYPH uses so-called “hashing” technology to assign a unique fingerprint to images, videos, and audio that have already been flagged as extremist, and automatically removes any versions that have been uploaded to a social network. It will also automatically delete other versions as soon as users attempt to upload them.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • New Assange case details expected from Sweden

      New information on the Jullian Assange case could be released today when the Swedish prosecutor holds a media conference before the broadcast of a new documentary on the WikiLeaks founder.

    • Showdown in the Assange case?

      The normally so media shy Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny today held a press conference about the Assange case. Nothing new was presented, the prosecutor’s office repeated its talking points and there was mention of yet another half-hearted attempt to interview Mr. Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. (Something Ms. Ny have avoided to do for years, thereby keeping the investigation open and Mr. Assange at bay.)

      It might have been her last chance to play the media by her rules. On prime time Swedish national television tonight, the investigative team at SVT Uppdrag Granskning had an hour-long special about the Assange case. (The program in Swedish » | A summary of some of the findings in English ») It is pretty obvious that Swedish authorities are very interested in getting Mr. Assange to Sweden – even though it has been and still is possible to interview him in London in person, online or over the phone.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Who’s Banking on the Dakota Access Pipeline?

      When the Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit for the 1,100-mile Dakota Access Pipeline in July, executives at the corporations behind the plan probably thought their path forward was clear. They’d moved easily through the permit process, seemingly dodging the concerns of people affected by the pipeline, and were ready to go ahead with construction.

      But the communities in the pipeline’s path, especially local tribes, had other ideas. Thousands of people, mostly Native Americans, have converged at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota in an effort to stop the pipeline from being built. The Standing Rock Sioux call the pipeline a black snake, and they know that if it were to rupture and spill — a serious risk, given the well-documented history of pipeline leaks in the U.S. — it could poison their drinking water and pollute their sacred land.

  • Finance

    • The Surreal Politics of a Billionaire’s Tax Loophole

      For years, Democratic elected officials in Washington have been wary of going after Wall Street excesses too hard, lest the deep-pocketed financial industry throw all its resources to Republicans.

      This has been especially true of one of the most notorious targets for financial reform: the favorable tax treatment of the outsized compensation earned by partners in private equity firms. Democrats have long spoken out against this so-called “carried-interest loophole,” yet have often not pushed as hard as they could to change the law, which saves some of the very wealthiest people in finance billions of dollars in taxes each year.

      All of this explains why the scenario presented by the 2016 election is so surreal. The Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, has vowed to close the loophole, saying it’s unfair that the highly compensated money managers who benefit from it “pay lower tax rates than nurses or … truckers.” Clinton recently went even further than President Obama on the issue, saying she would close the loophole through executive action if Congress continued to resist a legislative fix, a step that Obama has shied away from taking.

      One might reasonably expect Clinton’s campaign contributions from private equity to suffer as a result of this stance, and for the money to flow overwhelmingly to the Republicans, as it did in the last presidential election.

      That hasn’t happened. In fact, Clinton is receiving all of the industry’s support.

      As of the end of July, the executives and employees of the four biggest private equity firms (the Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, KKR and Apollo Global Management) had given her campaign a combined $182,295 in direct contributions, according to the database compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

    • Silent Tax Foreclosure Auction Is Detroit’s Largest Missed Opportunity

      Back in July, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree for foreclosing on owner-occupied homes in the area around Detroit. The lawsuit, which was anticipated for years, could dramatically affect the fate of thousands of families if it is successful. But even so, it will only impact about one-tenth of the properties headed for auction starting this Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 9 a.m. EST.

      The Wayne County Tax Foreclosure auction is seen nationwide as an opportunity to buy Detroit homes on the cheap. But the people who have the most to gain and the most to lose in the auction – the homes’ current residents – in many cases have little access to information in order to take advantage of it.

      In some ways, the greater tragedy of this area’s foreclosure crisis lies in the foreclosures that go unchallenged because certain infractions aren’t deemed technically illegal. There are protections for owners, for example, that simply don’t exist for renters. In last year’s auction, a full 5,000 properties went unsold, even though they could have been bought for the minimum bid of $500. Again, it was not lack of money, but lack of information, that allowed these properties to be swept aside.

    • The transatlantic trade deal TTIP may be dead, but something even worse is coming

      Is it over? Can it be true? If so, it’s a victory for a campaign that once looked hopeless, pitched against a fortress of political, corporate and bureaucratic power.

      TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – appears to be dead. The German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, says that “the talks with the United States have de facto failed”. The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has announced “a clear halt”. Belgian and Austrian ministers have said the same thing. People power wins. For now.


      When you are told that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, this is what it means. This struggle will continue throughout your life. We have to succeed every time; they have to succeed only once. Never drop your guard. Never let them win.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Hold Dueling Rallies – But Trump Gets Most of the TV Coverage

      Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton held rallies at nearly the same time on Tuesday, with Trump doing an event in Virginia and Clinton holding one in Florida.

      Trump, in a national-security focused Q-and-A with former Defense Intelligence Agency chief Michael Flynn, described the Iran-Iraq war in flippant terms, saying that the two countries would “fight fight fight. And then Saddam Hussein would do the gas. And somebody else would do something else. And they’d rest.”

      Clinton, on the other hand, focused her remarks on issues like college affordability and small businesses.

      Fox, CNN, and MSNBC responded by giving almost all of their attention to Trump.

    • Guccifer 1’s Potentially Russian IP Address

      The passage is appropriately ambiguous. Guccifer (Lazar) successfully hacked Blumenthal on March 14, 2013. The next day — and again on March 19 and 21 — there were unsuccessful probes on Hillary’s server. The FBI suggests those may have been Guccifer, though states it doesn’t know whether it is or not (which is weird, because Guccifer has been in US custody for some time, though I suppose his lawyer advised him against admitting he tried to hack Hillary).

      I find all this interesting because those probes were made from Russian and Ukrainian IPs. That’s not surprising. Lots of hackers use Russian and Ukrainian IPs. What’s surprising is there has been no peep about this from the Russian fear industry.

      That may be because the FBI isn’t leaking wildly about this. Or maybe FBI has less interest to pretend that all IPs in Russia are used exclusively by state agents of Vlad Putin (not least because then they should have been looking for Russians hacking the DNC?).

      It’s just an example of what an attempted hack might look like without that Russian fear industry.

    • Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to Talk Policy, Act Presidential in Commander-in-Chief Forum

      On Wednesday at 5 p.m. PDT, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will face off against her Republican counterpart in New York City for NBC News’ live broadcast of what the network is calling its “Commander-in-Chief Forum.”

      The GOP contender had a much-ballyhooed dress rehearsal as the would-be national security envoy of the United States during his recent visit to Mexico. No doubt the former secretary of state will have something to say about that at their first televised encounter in what has seemed like the longest presidential election cycle in recorded history.

      Another surefire keyword: Benghazi.

    • Internet Disinformation Service for Hire
    • This Leaked Catalog Offers ‘Weaponized Information’ That Can Flood the Web

      In the summer of 2014, a little known boutique contractor from New Delhi, India, was trying to crack into the lucrative $5 billion a year market of outsourced government surveillance and hacking services.

      To impress potential customers, the company, called Aglaya, outlined an impressive—and shady—series of offerings in a detailed 20-page brochure. The brochure, obtained by Motherboard, offers detailed insight into purveyors of surveillance and hacking tools who advertise their wares at industry and government-only conferences across the world.

      The leaked brochure, which had never been published before, not only exposes Aglaya’s questionable services, but offers a unique glimpse into the shadowy backroom dealings between hacking contractors, infosecurity middlemen, and governments around the world which are rushing to boost their surveillance and hacking capabilities as their targets go online.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Arrest warrant issued for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein

      Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein is facing criminal charges in connection with vandalism at the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site near Cannon Ball, ND.

      Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, have each been charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

    • Arrest warrant issued for Jill Stein in vandalism investigation

      North Dakota police have reportedly issued a warrant for the arrest of Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

      Stein was spotted in the wrong place at the wrong time. And this time, it wasn’t because she flew to the wrong city for a campaign event, as she did last week when traveling to Cincinnati instead of Columbus, Ohio.

    • Green Party Candidates Charged for Activism at Dakota Pipeline

      The arrest warrants issued are for criminal trespass and criminal mischief for spray painting construction equipment.

      North Dakota pressed charges Wednesday against presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running partner Ajamu Baraka for spray painting Dakota pipeline equipment, issuing warrants for their arrests.

    • Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate, Is Charged Over Role in Pipeline Protest

      Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, is facing misdemeanor criminal charges in North Dakota after she spray-painted a bulldozer at a rally protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

      Warrants charging Ms. Stein, 66, and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, with criminal trespass and criminal mischief were issued after several Caterpillar bulldozers were found to have been defaced at the protest, which was held on Tuesday, according to an affidavit prepared by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.

      “Officers were alerted to video that displayed presidential candidate Jill Stein painting the front of one of the Caterpillars with the message ‘I approve this message,’ ” the affidavit said.

      The warrants are valid only in North Dakota, said Rob Keller, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, adding that Ms. Stein and Mr. Baraka would be arrested only if they returned to the state.

    • Sheriff issues arrest warrant for Green Party’s Jill Stein after North Dakota oil pipeline protest

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has faced obstacle after obstacle. First the Commission on Presidential Debates refused to let her participate in the presidential debates; now a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

      The sheriff’s department in Morton County, North Dakota announced on Wednesday that it had issued arrest warrants for Stein and her vice presidential candidate, Ajamu Baraka.

      Both have been charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief, class-B misdemeanors, after participating in protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    • ICE Denies FOIA Request From Lawyer Because It Might Help Her Better Defend Her Client

      The government doesn’t care much for a level judicial playing field. That whole checks and balances thing? It’s just getting in the way of speedy prosecutions. Federal and state prosecutors have engaged in routine Brady violations — the withholding of exculpatory evidence from defendants.

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is taking this to a whole new level. It’s refusing to turn over FOIAed records to a defendant’s lawyer expressly because they could be used to mount a defense against the government’s charges. Of course, ICE doesn’t say so in those exact words, but the words it does use leave that distinct impression.

    • Police Union’s Proposed Contract Looks To Whitewash Officers’ Disciplinary Records

      Touched on briefly during our rundown of police unions demanding better pay for better behavior and accountability was the San Antonio Police Officers Association’s (SAPOA) demand that the city should be willing to raise wages if it really expected its officers to perform their duties without veering into abuse or misconduct.

      Part of what’s keeping a deal from being struck between the city and the union is the amount of money on the table. This gives the union the appearance of holding the city’s safety hostage until its demands are met. That may not be an entirely fair characterization (there’s some “hostage-taking” on the other side as well), but there’s something far more worrying in the proposed contract that’s keeping this from being resolved.

      The San Antonio police union wants changes to disciplinary procedures that would effectively whitewash past misconduct by officers. Michael Barajas, writing for the San Antonio Current, takes a close look at the controversial clause, and how it’s likely to allow bad officers to not only stay employed longer, but possibly rise through the ranks as well.

    • Police Union President Says He Couldn’t Change Contract Even if He Wanted To (Also: He Doesn’t Want To)

      Neal received a 14 month state jail sentence and had to surrender his peace officer certification, so it’s hard to know exactly what his case says about the department’s disciplinary procedures—due to the criminal charges, he never made it to a disciplinary hearing or arbitration. But Neal’s case does beg the question: if, for whatever reason, prosecutors couldn’t have charged him with rape, what would have happened to him? Would officials taking any disciplinary action against him have been required to ignore the fact that he’d previously been reprimanded for having sex with a high school student he was supposed to be supervising?

    • Ferguson activist Darren Seals dies at 29

      A locally known Ferguson activist who protested in the streets seeking justice for Michael Brown Jr.’s death was killed early Tuesday, September 6 in North St. Louis County.

      Darren Seals, 29, was a factory line worker and hip-hop musician. Following the death of Mike Brown – an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a white Ferguson police officer – Seals protested in the streets of Ferguson.

      Seals was extremely vocal about issues surrounding Brown’s death and the St. Louis region. He was featured in national news outlets such as The Washington Post and Al Jazeera.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Thanks, Google, For Fucking Over A Bunch Of Media Websites

      So… yeah. For what it’s worth, we received absolutely no notifications from Google about this. No explanation of how we had “violated” their policy. And it was doubly nice of them to do this over a long weekend when we were all off and away, so that nothing worked for multiple days before we had a chance to dump their RSS feed system completely.

      And… apparently we were not alone. A bunch of other sites had the exact same experience and there are a bunch of people asking what the hell happened. With no explanation, no notification, Google just made a lot of websites’ RSS and Twitter feeds break completely. And this includes some other high-profile bloggers as well, like Violet Blue.

      The leading theory that I’ve seen going around is that Google is actually blocking all links in any FeedBurner feed, because it’s a violation of its own terms of service. Seriously.

    • What Net Neutrality? While The FCC Naps, AT&T Now Exempting DirecTV Content From Wireless Usage Caps

      When the FCC crafted its new net neutrality rules, we noted that the agency’s failure to ban “zero rating” (exempting your own company’s content from usage caps) was going to be a problem. And lo and behold, with the FCC AWOL on the subject, companies are starting to take full advantage. Verizon and Comcast now exempt their own streaming video services from usage caps without penalty, while companies like T-Mobile and Sprint have launched new confusing and punitive data plans that throttle games, music and video content — unless users pay a premium.


      Much like T-Mobile’s Binge On efforts (which zero rate only the biggest video services) the idea of getting something for “free” sounds wonderful upon superficial inspection. At least until you realize that AT&T’s decision to give its own content an unfair leg up in this fashion puts its competitors, like Netflix and Amazon, at a distinct disadvantage. That’s why so many people had urged the FCC to follow India, Japan, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, The Netherlands, and Chile’s approach to net neutrality rules and ban zero rating entirely.

      The FCC didn’t, and thanks to its failure, we now face a scenario where net neutrality can be trampled without repercussion — and may even be celebrated by the press and public — provided you just use the right shade of public relations paint.

      And there’s every indication AT&T’s just getting started. This particular announcement (made on Apple product announcement day to capitalize on the tech media’s distraction) was just AT&T dipping its toe into the zero rating water. The company plans to launch three different streaming services under the DirecTV brand later this year, and you can be fairly sure that AT&T intends to use zero rating to give all of them a distinct, and notably unfair, market advantage.

    • EU free roaming to be restricted by ‘fair use’ clause

      THE EU’S PLANS to impose Europe-wide free roaming on mobile operators contain a number of restrictions intended to prevent mobile phone users shopping around for the best deal.

      The draft law released this week shows that the European Commission plans to include a ‘fair use’ clause that would limit the amount of free roaming to 90 days a year and a maximum 30 consecutive days before regulated roaming charges apply.

      However, anyone commuting from London to Paris via the Channel Tunnel, for example, won’t be subject to the new limits if they return to their home network every day.

      Moreover, anyone busting their limits will have their roaming surcharges capped at 4c per minute for calls, 1c for every text message and just 0.85c per megabyte of data.

      Operators will also be able to impose restrictions on call and data volumes, and will be allowed to require subscribers to pay for a certain volume of services on their home network before the contract can be used for roaming.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Human Resources Report A “Whitewash” [Ed: officials there are thugs and crooks]

      The HRMD report from which this article is lifted presents a whitewashed and totally unrealistic picture of the current situation at WIPO.

      The International Federation of Civil Servants (FICSA) recently stated that « staff-management relations have deteriorated further as the WIPO Director General continues to push forward with his intended elections of a ‘new Staff Council’ even though members of the WIPO Staff Association recently (re)elected their representatives to serve on the Staff Council ». FICSA also went on to say that the Director General’s « new interpretation» of the relevant WIPO Staff Regulation allowing non-members to vote is « in total contradiction with the Organization’s interpretation and practice which has been in place since the conception of the Staff Association ».

      Convinced that this intervention by the executive head of the Organization is a violation of freedom of assembly and free speech, the WIPO Staff Council has filed an internal appeal and intends to take the matter to the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization if necessary. The WIPO Staff Association has the support of staff associations from all over the UN system. A recently issued Labourstart petition entitled « Stop union-busting and stop retaliation against whistleblowers at WIPO », has already obtained more than 5,400 signatures in support.

    • Copyrights

      • Scary Torrent Site Blocking Message Has to Change, Judge Rules

        The High Court of Bombay has clarified that simply viewing a pirated file won’t land people in jail. This question was raised after a blocking message shown by many Indian ISPs made this claim. The court ordered ISPs to show an updated message. In addition, providers should consider an ombudsman to prevent overblocking and other problems that may arise.

      • Anti-Piracy Groups Petition Clinton & Trump for Tough Copyright Laws

        Two leading anti-piracy groups have penned an open letter and Change.org petition calling on Clinton and Trump to adopt a tough approach to copyright law. Copyright Alliance and CreativeFuture, which count dozens of major studios and record labels among their members, say that protecting content is vital, no matter which party is in power.

      • Megaupload: Court Copy-Pasted U.S. Lawyers, Made Glaring Errors

        A New Zealand District Court made several major errors when it decided to grant the extradition of Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload colleagues, Dotcom’s lawyer said today. Noting that the judge copy-pasted extensively from lawyers working for the U.S. Government, he argues that there is absolutely no legal ground to extradite Megaupload’s founder.

      • SUPER-BREAKING: (Liberal) CJEU says that linking to unauthorised content is NOT a communication to the public unless one seeks financial gain and has knowledge of illegality

        This was a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Dutch Supreme Court. It had been made in the context of proceedings between Sanoma (the publisher of Playboy magazine) and GS Media, concerning the publication by the latter on a website that it operates (GeenStijl.nl) of hyperlinks to other websites hosting unpublished photographs of Dutch starlet Britt Dekker. These photographs were due for publication in a forthcoming issue of Playboy.

      • When ISPs Become Anti-Troll Advocates: Bahnhof Turns The IP Tables On A Copyright Troll

        Copyright trolls still plague the world, unfortunately. While many are the group and individuals that advocate against this form of legal extortion, nearly always built upon shaky evidence at best, too silent have been the ISPs that copyright trolls utilize to send out their settlement letters. For whatever reason, ISPs en masse have decided that it isn’t prudent to advocate for their clients. But not all ISPs behave this way. In Sweden, ISP Bahnhof, which we have written about previously for its client-friendly practices, is fighting back against one copyright troll on behalf of its customers in the best way possible: by turning the intellectual property tables back upon them.

        Sweden has recently become something of a target for copyright trolls, with Spridningskollen leading the charge. This group, the name of which translates into English as “Distribution Check,” uses data gathered by anti-piracy groups to send out the typical threat letters and settlement requests to people who have IP addresses accused of infringing on copyrighted material. A spokesman for Spridningskollen, Gordon Odenbark, insisted that his group’s work was necessary for both providing revenue to rights holders and, more importantly, to deter the general public from violating the intellectual property rights of others.

      • Austrian Courts Uphold Creative Commons License Terms — For Now

        Last week, Mike wrote about an important case involving one of the Creative Commons licenses. The fact that some 15 years after the CC movement started and the courts are still trying to bring legal clarity to the use of CC licenses is further proof that the law tends to lag far behind technology. Given their rarity, it’s interesting to see another recent case involving a CC license, this time in Austria, pointed out by Alan Toner on his blog.

        As the timeline (in German) of the events indicates, the story began in January 2014, when thousands of left-wing protesters demonstrated against a ball organized by the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), held annually in Vienna. Following attacks on property and the police during the protest, one person was arrested, and in June 2014 his trial began.

        The left-wing film collective Filmpiraten published a couple of short videos relating to the person involved. Shortly afterwards, the FPÖ used excerpts from the two Filmpiraten videos as part of a report published on its YouTube channel. The FPÖ video was released under the standard YouTube license, which claims full copyright in the material. However, both the Filmpiraten videos used a Creative Commons license — specifically, the BY-NC-SA license. Under its terms, others may use the material free of charge, but are required to release the resulting work under the same CC license.


Links 7/9/2016: Sony Microsoft Bundling Case, Torvalds’ ‘sh*t-for-brains stupid patch’

Posted in News Roundup at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Sony wins battle over preinstalled Windows in Europe’s top court [more comments]

      The sale of a computer equipped with pre-installed software isn’t an unfair commercial practice because most customers prefer to buy a laptop they can use straight away, Europe’s top court has ruled in a victory for Sony.

      “Failure to indicate the price of each item of pre-installed software” isn’t misleading, the Court of Justice of the European Union added in its ruling (PDF) on Wednesday.

  • Server

    • Spark Comparison: AWS vs. GCP [Ed: False dichotomy, as if giving all your processing, bandwidth data etc. to the US government is inevitable]

      There’s little doubt that cloud computing will play an important role in data science for the foreseeable future. The flexible, scalable, on-demand computing power available is an important resource, and as a result, there’s a lot of competition between the providers of this service. Two of the biggest players in the space are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.9 To Begin Landing Nouveau “Boost” Support For Faster Performance

      Great news for users of the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” graphics driver: the long-awaited boost patches are now queued up to land with Linux 4.9.

      The boost patches are about allowing the Kepler and newer graphics cards to achieve their “boost” frequencies, rather than their highest standard clock frequencies. With being able to hit these upper frequency thresholds, the performance should be more competitive with the proprietary driver. I tested the earlier version of these patches months ago and found great improvements: Nouveau “Boost” Patches Show Much Performance Potential.

      Ben Skeggs finally began pulling the work and is now in the Nouveau repository for then being sent into Linux 4.9 via DRM-Next.

    • Linux 4.9 Planned As The Next LTS Kernel

      Greg Kroah-Hartman announced he’s planning on Linux 4.9 to be the next long-term supported kernel that he will maintain for a period two years.

    • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Luis Camacho Caballero: Preserving Amazon Languages with Linux

      Luis Camacho Caballero is working on a project to preserve endangered South American languages by porting them to computational systems through automatic speech recognition using Linux-based systems. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced last month.

      Luis, who is from Peru, has been using Linux since 1998, and appreciates that it is built and maintained by a large number of individuals working together to increase knowledge. Through his language preservation project, he hopes to have the first language, Quechua, the language of his grandparents, completed by the end of 2017, and then plans to expand to other Amazonian languages.

    • Next steps for Gmane

      We’ve rebuilt the storage system using ElasticSearch as the document store. We have used it for many projects and have nothing but a good. The site is currently a mixture of Python and PHP, the priority has been given to get the original functionality back in place; then work with the community to decide which of the Gmane interfaces are relevant and what we need to change to bring it up-to-date.

      We’ll do our utmost to continue in Lars’ footsteps, his hardwork and dedication to maintain this valuable Internet resource.

      Thank you Lars for the hardwork that you’ve put into Gmane over the past nearly two decades, all of the Gmane users are greatful to you!

    • Audio workshop accepted for Linux Plumbers Conference and Kernel Summit

      Audio is an increasingly important component of the Linux plumbing, given increased use of Linux for media workloads and of the Linux kernel for smartphones. Topics include low-latency audio, use of the clock API, propagating digital configuration through dynamic audio power management (DAPM), integration of HDA and ASoC, SoundWire ALSA use-case managemer (UCM) scalability, standardizing HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces, Media Controller API integration, and a number of topics relating to the multiple userspace users of Linux-kernel audio, including Android and ChromeOS as well as the various desktop-oriented Linux distributions.

    • Mainline Explicit Fencing – part 1
    • Linux Kernel 3.12.63 LTS Has MIPS and Radeon Improvements, EXT4 and CIFS Fixes

      Today, September 6, 2015, Linux kernel developer Jiri Slaby announced the release and immediate availability of the sixty-third maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series.

    • Linux 4.7.3

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.7.3 kernel.

      All users of the 4.7 kernel series must upgrade.

    • Linux 4.4.20
    • Linux 3.14.78
    • Linus Torvalds won’t apply ‘sh*t-for-brains stupid patch’

      Add another Linus Torvalds swearing incident to his long list of linguistic indiscretions. The Linux lord has unloaded on proposed new code in typically robust language.

      “I call BS”, Torvalds’ post opens. “Let me be very clear. I’m not applying that shit-for-brains stupid patch, and will not be pulling it unless somebody tricks me into it.”

      He’s got a point: his post goes on to ask why Andersson is asking him to approve code when it would mean “… a distribution is distributing the driver without the firmware”.

      Torvalds asks “what the hell is the point of such a thing” and concludes the post by saying “Stop pushing this shit.”

    • Linux creator Torvalds has another expletive-filled rant at the community

      LINUX FOUNDER Linus Torvalds has unleashed a foul-mouthed rant at a contributor over a piece of code with which he fundamentally disagrees.

      Torvalds, usually a complete wallflower who never uses colourful language or sarcasm in any way shape or form, has repeatedly told the community that he is not willing to consider tying firmware and driver modules together in a single unit.

      He was pushed on the issue yesterday with this comment: “Nobody has actually answered the ‘why don’t we just tie the firmware and module together?’ question.

    • Limited number of LPC registrations available starting September 8
    • New Members Strengthen Automotive Grade Linux Security and Software Capabilities

      Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project developing a Linux-based, open platform for the connected car, today announced that AutoIO Technology, Irdeto, Link Motion, Pocket Soft, sdtech and Synopsys have joined The Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux.

    • How blockchain will disrupt your business

      Like mobile and cloud, blockchain — first implemented in the original source code of bitcoin in 2009 — stands poised to profoundly disrupt business. If it lives up to its promise, it won’t just be financial institutions that are disrupted.

      “If you can transfer money or something of value through the internet just like another form of data, what else can you do with it? It provides a way to establish trust in the digital world,” says Angus Champion de Crespigny, Financial Services Blockchain and Distributed Infrastructure Strategy Leader, Ernst & Young. “How do you ensure something is the original copy of something on the internet? Prior to blockchain technology, you couldn’t.”

      “If you want to prove something happened in the digital world, there is no more secure place to do that,” he adds. “Once information is recorded on there, it is, for all intents and purposes, impossible to go back and retroactively change that. When there are such drastic new technologies that emerge, it isn’t just a matter of looking at your business and thinking how this technology is going to make your business more effective. What you should be doing is considering that maybe your business isn’t structured correctly for this new world.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Improved Tear-Free Rendering For Radeon DDX With PRIME

        For those making use of the xf86-video-ati DDX driver in a PRIME-capable system with Radeon GPU, there’s more effective tear-free rendering support with the latest development code.

      • A Mesa Fix Lands To Take Care Of The R9 290 Issue, Intel/Radeon Performance Problems

        A fix landed in Mesa Git today that should address various performance issues people have been seeing in different rare setups. The fix mostly seems to be for Radeon/Intel users seeing low performance recently with glxgears but also appears to help those affected by the much talked about R9 290 regression.

        The fix by Michel Dänzer is loader/dri3: Always use at least two back buffers. Michel commented on the simple change, “This can make a significant difference for performance with some extreme test cases such as vblank_mode=0 glxgears.”

      • Arcan Open-Source Display Server Continues Progressing As Alternative To Wayland, Mir

        A few months back I wrote about Arcan: A New Open-Source Display Server Built Atop A Game Engine.

      • Wayland/Weston 1.12 Release Candidate Arrives

        Bryce Harrington announced the release candidates on Tuesday for the upcoming Wayland 1.12 and Weston 1.12 compositor releases.

        Over the earlier development builds, Wayland 1.11.93 simply has a documentation fix and a test case fix. Weston 1.11.93 meanwhile has just a handful of fixes to different parts of that compositor playground.

      • Vulkan 1.0.26 Released
    • Benchmarks

      • 7-Way Linux Distribution Benchmarks To Kick Off September

        In testing out a new Broadwell-EP system as well as for final validation of the new Phoronix Test Suite 6.6, I carried out a fresh Linux OS distribution comparison last week. Here are those results from Ubuntu, Clear Linux, Scientific Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora, Antergos, and Sabayon Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE is 20, Flash Lives, Deep Web Distros

        It was twenty years ago in 1996 that KDE was first announced. The project is celebrating with a new book. Elsewhere, Abode announced they’ve updated the old Netscape Flash plugin and said that development would continue. JP Buntinx recommended some distributions for the “darknet” and a new Linux usermode rootkit was described by anti-virus company Trend Micro.

      • Advanced Search and Replace with the Kate Text Editor

        The powerhouse Kate text editor has advanced search-and-replace, including support for escape sequences and regular expressions, so you can make complex corrections without leaving your document.

        The Kate text editor is my favorite and has been my main workhorse for years. Kate has a lot of great features and is friendly to both touch-typing and pointy-clicky. It doesn’t quite have the eleventy-million features of Vim or Emacs, but then you don’t need the dexterity of a concert pianist to use it, either. I think it is the most user-friendly of the powerhouse text editors.

      • KDE Neon dev/unstable switching to Wayland by default

        During this year’s Akademy we had a few discussions about Wayland, and the Plasma and Neon team decided to switch Neon developer unstable edition to Wayland by default soonish.

        There are still a few things in the stack which need to be shaken out – we need a newer Xwayland in Neon, we want to wait for Plasma 5.8 to be released, we need to get the latest QtWayland 5.7 build, etc. etc.

      • KDE Neon Developer OS Switches To Plasma Wayland By Default

        KDE developers have decided to switch to Wayland by default for KDE Neon’s unstable/developer OS.

        KDE Neon, of course, is the project providing daily spins of the bleeding-edge Ubuntu packages atop Ubuntu. Now moving forward with the new developer/unstable packages is the usage of KDE Plasma on Wayland by default.

      • Plasma 5.8: More efficient Pager and Activity Pager widgets

        On the heels of the Plasma 5.7′s new Task Manager backend, the upcoming Plasma 5.8 LTS release will sport substantially rewritten Pager and Activity Pager widgets, aimed at improving efficiency and conserving resources in a typical Plasma Desktop setup.

      • The Past and the Immediate of the Future, For Your Perusal

        Finally, things were moving again, and store.kde.org was born!

      • From Br-Print3D to Atelier

        Soon, it will be set up the KDE repositories for this project and more news is coming.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 12-Akademy Day1)
      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 13-Akademy Day2)
      • Gsoc 2016 Final
      • Day 4 at Akademy / QtCon 2016
      • Day 5 at Akademy 2016
      • KDE Neon Linux Developer Edition to Use Wayland by Default for KDE Plasma 5.8

        The revolution has started, and it looks like the next-generation display server, Wayland, is here to stay, being adopted by more and more GNU/Linux distributions every month.

      • Krita 3.0.1: new features and bug fixes

        Krita 3.0.1 is the first release after Krita 3.0. With the new release schedule we’re trying to release every six weeks, with a combination of new features and bug fixes. This release already contains the first results of the 2016 Google Summer of Code projects, as well as kickstarter-funded features, the work of new contributors Eugene Ingerman, Nishant Rodrigues, Miroslav Talasek and Laurent Jospin and the work from students mentored by Dmitry: Grigory Tantsev and Alexey Kapustin.

      • Krita 3.0.1 Digital Painting App Arrives with New Threshold Filter, Many Changes

        Today, September 6, 2016, a new version of the Krita open-source digital painting software has been released, build 3.0.1, and it’s the first bugfix and feature release for the major Krita 3.0 series.

        Release highlights of Krita 3.0.1 include the ability to tweak the Brush settings in the pop-up palette, soft proofing support, which lets you see how your artwork will look like when its converted to CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black), as well as various improvements to the mirror tools by adding extra options.

      • Trying Out The FreeBSD-Powered TrueOS With Its Custom Qt Desktop

        While I’ve been running PC-BSD on some systems for years I hadn’t tried out any of its rolling-release FreeBSD 11.0-based spins under the new TrueOS brand nor had I tried out the project’s Qt-based Lumina Desktop Environment since it reached 1.0.

      • KDE neon Goes Wayland, Kubuntu Still Alive, Dev Distros

        Martin Gräßlin, KDE’s KWin expert, today blogged that KDE Plasma show-horse neon would soon be defaulting to Wayland in the unstable branch. Folks using the unstable will probably need to be aware of the change. What’s unstable today will be stable tomorrow, so some folks wondered how this decision might affect NVIDIA users. Gräßlin said in the comments that NVIDIA hardware will still default to X. He added in another comment that Wayland will be the default, but not exclusive, graphic server. Another asked if NVIDIA is planning on supporting Wayland and a discussion at Phoronix several weeks ago indicated that NVIDIA has been mum on the subject for quite a while. The general consensus was NVIDIA has lost interest in supporting Wayland.

      • Kubuntu Alive and Thriving at KDE Akademy

        Having come a quarter away around the world in part to meet up with my Kubuntu colleagues, it was surprising to hear that some people thought (at a KDE meeting?) that Kubuntu is dead.

        Not a chance. We’re having elections right now for some Kubuntu Council positions that end this year. We have four candidates for three positions, which seems very healthy to me. By the way, if you are a Kubuntu Member and have not gotten your ballot, please contact Aaron Honeycutt, since the vote closes on the 12th of September.

        We ended up meeting for more than 4 hours plus lunch yesterday, the first day of BoF meetings. Then Phil had to leave, which still seems sad, as we all miss his gentle, kind wisdom and humor.

        During the meeting, we accomplished a great deal, mostly cleaning out the Trello. We now have one and only one board, which has been mostly evaluated card by card, commented, and tagged. We hope that this will make it much easier to find a task to work on when you have a bit of spare time. If you have a login to Trello, but need inviting to the board, please check with someone in #kubuntu-devel Freenode IRC. Feel free to create cards when needed, and assign yourself and someone else to it. Many of the items on our Wishlist contain things we really do want, but do not have the time or skills to do. So pitch in as you can.

      • KDE Store presentation video online

        The QtCon / Akademy organizers have published the videos of last weekend’s conference presentations.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Orca Screen Reader App Updated for GNOME 3.22 with More LibreOffice Improvements

        The Orca open-source screen reader and magnifier utility used by default in many GNU/Linux distributions, especially those running the GNOME desktop environment, has received a major update recently.

        The fact of the matter is that we’re talking about Orca 3.22, which is currently under massive development as part of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, due for release on September 21, 2016, and it a Beta 2 milestone had been pushed to public testers a few days ago.

      • Wrapping up user experience testing

        This is a follow-up to my other item about wrapping up Outreachy. Diana posted part two of her analysis from first-time GNOME user experience testing.

        In this test, Diana asked testers to simulate an “unboxing” of a new system. The tester logged in to GNOME using a fresh “test” account so they get the first-time user experience. After allowing each tester to explore GNOME via three broad scenario tasks, Diana asked them to rate their reaction to GNOME using emoji, and followed up with several interview questions.

      • Writing GStreamer Elements in Rust (Part 2): Don’t panic, we have better assertions now – and other updates
  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny $7 IoT module packs WiFi, BLE, and sensors, runs FreeRTOS

      SeeedStudio’s “ESP3212” COM taps Espressif’s IoT-focused ESP32 follow-on to the ESP8266 SoC, which uses a faster Tensilica LX6 MCU and adds BLE and sensors.

      Espressif’s highly integrated and highly anticipated ESP32 follow-on to its popular ESP8266 wireless system-on-chip is now shipping. It’s available as part of a tiny SeedStudio ESP3212 computer-on-module, as well on Espressif’s own, slightly larger ESP-WROOM-32 reference design board and more expansive ESP32 Development Board.

    • Arduino Open Source Platform Fuels IoT and Farming’s Future

      Arduino, the world’s leading open-source software and hardware ecosystem, is being used to power Farmbot, the revolutionary farming robot that is built fully on open source. Farmbot is a computer numerical control (CNC) farming machine and software package for small scale, hyper local, DIY food production. It is controlled by and Arduino RAMPS stack and connected to the Internet using Raspberry Pi 2. The platform is designed to be simple, scalable, hackable, and easily made.

      “The applications that are fueling the IoT market are astonishing, and open source technology is playing a big role in it,” said Federico Musto, CEO of Arduino S.r.L. “Predicted to become a $6 trillion market by 2021, the IoT market is starting to take shape with advancements in wearables, healthcare, smart homes and cities, law enforcement, automotive, and, of course agriculture. We are proud to be a part of Farmbot, and look forward to continuing to fuel IoT deployments.”

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Open Source Tools for DevOps

    To be sure, the list of open source tools for DevOps is growing. Why? Because DevOps itself is growing, and open source is a natural choice for this development methodology.

    First coined around 2009, the term DevOps refers to an approach to IT that emphasizes collaboration between the development and operations groups. It arose out of the agile software development movement and applies some of the same principles to the application lifecycle management (ALM) process. DevOps is difficult to define because it’s more of a movement or a philosophy than a rigid set of rules or practices. Organizations that employ DevOps are characterized by a high degree of cooperation, few internal “siloes,” heavy use of automation, continuous testing and integration, and faster development and deployment of applications.

    In the time since DevOps was first imagined, its popularity has increased tremendously. In fact, a RightScale survey found that 74 percent of organizations and 81 percent of enterprises say they are using DevOps.

  • Why Pixar open sourced its 3D graphics technology

    Pixar Animation Studios has open sourced its Universal Scene Description (USD) technology. USD is an extremely powerful toolset that helps filmmakers in reading, writing, editing, and rapidly previewing 3D scene data.

    “USD is the core of Pixar’s 3D graphics pipeline, used in every 3D authoring and rendering application, including Pixar’s proprietary Presto animation system,” according to Pixar.

    USD is aimed at performance and large-scale collaboration among many artists that makes it ideal for the complex modern pipeline, allowing dozens of creative people working on the same project.

    One of the most notable features of USD is Hydra, a high-performance preview renderer capable of interactively displaying large data sets.

    Pixar engineers gave a live demo of USD at SIGGRAPH 2016, International Conference and exhibition on Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques. The demo shows real time rendering capabilities of USD technologies.

  • Why open source matters to the IoT market

    By using open source IoT app standards, Indian entrepreneurs will be able to sell their IoT apps globally. App store customers can run these apps on any type of enterprise or industrial hardware. India’s software industry is uniquely positioned to benefit from IoT. India can combine low-cost, innovation and revenue generation in any future IoT solution. IoT is the next big thing, and India should do everything possible to drive it.

  • Google’s Fuchsia OS is out in the open and shrouded in mystery

    Google is developing a new operating system named Fuchsia, and the early source code is already public. Google itself and Fuchsia’s developers haven’t explained what the OS is for—but we can dig into the source code to learn more.

  • Student’s open source project takes him around the world

    I discovered open source software while I was a student at the University of Lomé in Togo in 2004. From that very first day, I was in love with the philosophy and knew this would be a big part of my life.

    I joined the National Open Source Users Association (ATULL) and became an active member. Then, as a student, I created an open source web application for the managing of college activities, and it won 3rd place at the African Conference on Open Source Software in Morocco in 2007. Thanks to the award, I got a first class ticket from the Francophonie International Organization to attend the Open Source Software World Meeting in 2008.

  • Events

    • MEDIA ADVISORY: Open Source NFV Project to Host 2017 Summit in Beijing

      The OPNFV Project, a carrier-grade, integrated, open source platform intended to accelerate the introduction of new products and services using Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), today announced the 2017 OPNFV Summit will be held in Beijing, China, June 12-15, 2017 at the JW Marriott Beijing. The Summit provides an opportunity to reach the innovative communities, developers and companies transforming the networking industry through open source NFV.

      Registration for the 2017 OPNFV Summit is available here. Those interested in sponsoring the event can find more details here. Additional information, including the Call for Proposals, agendas and co-located events will be available in the coming months, so check the OPNFV Summit website for updates.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Testing the Right Things with Docker

      Fast and efficient software testing is easy with Docker, says Laura Frank of Codeship, who will be presenting a talk called “Building Efficient Parallel Testing Platforms with Docker” at LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe next month.

    • OpenStack Summit in Barcelona will be Last Design Summit

      Since my first OpenStack Summit back in San Diego in 2012, there has been one unique defining characteristic that made the event different than any other in the technology world – the event was where developers and users all gathered in the same place.

  • Databases

    • Tesora Teams with Red Hat on OpenStack-based Database as a Service

      As the OpenStack cloud computing arena has spread out, a whole ecosystem of tools has been growing along with it. Tesora, familiar to many as the leading contributor to the OpenStack Trove open source project, has focused very heavily on Database-as-a-Service tools for OpenStack deployments. It has also pursued partnerships. For example, Tesora has a partnership with OpenStack heavy-hitter Mirantis. The company has made available the first ever plug-in to automate configuration and deployment of its database as a service (DBaaS) platform with Mirantis OpenStack.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • ​OpenOffice is dead. Long live LibreOffice

      If you read some stories about how OpenOffice is reaching the end of the road, you might think OpenOffice was becoming insecure. That’s half true. OpenOffice doesn’t have the programmers it needs to be safe. That’s because all its good developers moved to its fork, LibreOffice, years ago. LibreOffice is as safe as any program can be.

    • OpenOffice: Retirement Talk is Underway Online

      In case it isn’t clear, the situation looks dire for OpenOffice. Meanwhile, The Document Foundation recently announced the releases of LibreOffice 5.2 and 5.1.5. LibreOffice 5.2, and LibreOffice is gaining much traction with new levels of compatibility with mainstream office applications. We will follow up on the OpenOffice debate shortly.

    • Community conference starts with 10th release of LibreOffice in 2016

      The Document Foundation (TDF) has celebrated the opening session of LibOCon with the announcement of LibreOffice 5.2.1, the first minor release of the LibreOffice 5.2 family.

      LibOCon is a showcase of the project activity, and will feature over 60 talks in three days, covering development, QA, localization, ODF, marketing, community and documentation, a business session in Czech focused on large deployments of LibreOffice, and a meeting of the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA).

      Details of the conference, including the program and collateral activities such as the traditional “hacknight” – a hands-on session where developers hack over food and drinks – are available on the event website: http://conference.libreoffice.org.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Now Has A Port For CentOS 7 Binary Support

      We’ve known for a while that FreeBSD has been working on a CentOS 7 compatibility layer while now that work has finally landed in FreeBSD ports.

      As of yesterday, linux_base-c7 landed in ports for installing the CentOS 7 base packages. This will allow running newer Linux binaries built for modern CentOS/RHEL 7 era systems on FreeBSD, assuming the source isn’t available or isn’t compatible natively with FreeBSD. Previously CentOS 6 was the default port used for this Linux binary compatibility with FreeBSD.

  • Public Services/Government

    • The Sun slams Corbyn for advocating ‘open source’ software, but uses it for its own website

      Its true that hackers in other countries can identify vunerabilities in open source software.

      But they can also hack proprietary software like Microsoft Windows.

      But with open source software – where all the underlying code is open so people can look at it, suggest changes and improve on it – at least problems can be quickly patched up.

      Moreover open source software can be more powerful, cheaper (good news for taxpayers!) and reliable!

      After all, the Sun uses it too. They run their website on WordPress – the open source blog software.

      Did they think we wouldn’t notice?

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • A Git Workflow for Humans

      The following paragraphs will define the most simple and minimal approach which is a base case of how this workflow works, the extensions paragraph defines some extensions which help you dealing with several common usecases. You will likely end up using the base workflow with one or two extensions.

    • Stepsize brings AI to DevOps: contextualised code is smarter

      Stepsize is a UK startup focused on developer tools. The firm is aiming to put a degree of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into DevOps. Stepsize Layer is a desktop application for developers that automatically adds context to code bases. It does this by hooking up tools used to develop software, structuring historical data and attaching this to the piece of code.

    • Why I love these markup languages

      Around this time last year, I wrote a brief introduction to various markup languages for this column. The topic of language selection has come up several times recently, so I thought it might be time to revisit the subject with my biases more overt. I’m here to explain why I prefer the languages I do, not to prescribe anything for you. After all, I’m no doc-tor.

    • LEGO Mindstorms programming with ev3dev

      I was introduced to LEGO Mindstorms eighteen months ago while applying for a STEM grant at a local library. LEGO Mindstorms are kits to create customizable, programmable robots

    • Confronting Jargon

      Throughout my software engineering career, I’ve struggled with and against jargon. Intellectually, I understand jargon as a set of specialized terms meant to facilitate smooth and precise communication, particularly in a professional context. It binds groups together: it’s the secret handshake, the side-long wink, the showing that yes, you’re in the club too, you belong. Experientially? I know the ways jargon can keep you out as you feel along, grasping for knowledge in the dark.

    • LLV8 Is An Experimental LLVM Compiler For V8 JavaScript
    • Open-Source OCaml to JavaScript Compiler BuckleScript Hits 1.0

      BuckleScript 1.0 brings almost full compatibility with OCaml features and an improved FFI with the aim of avoiding writing unsafe JavaScript stubs. InfoQ has spoken with Bloomberg’s Hongbo Zhang, BuckleScript creator at Bloomberg.

    • Runtime CSS styling for SWT
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Z-Wave Specifications Go Open-Source

      The company responsible for drafting the Z-Wave home networking standard has made certain parts of the technology publicly available.

      In an attempt to lure hardware and software developers to the standard, Sigma Designs last week released a public version of Z-Wave’s interoperability layer, which ensures that devices ranging from door locks to security cameras can share information.

      The company has added the software to Z-Wave’s open-source library. The code represents the “language” that defines how devices from different manufacturers talk to each other, said Raoul Wijgergangs, vice president of Sigma Design’s Z-Wave business. That makes it easier for home owners to connect devices with an internet gateway and control them remotely using a phone, computer, or tablet.


  • Typo made Air Asia X flight land at Melbourne instead of Malaysia

    Finger trouble with onboard navigation systems led to an Air Asia flight making a two-hour internal hop in Australia before its scheduled journey to Malaysia.

    An investigation report by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) into the March flight disclosed the cockup, which it said was down to the A330′s captain “inadvertently enter[ing] the wrong longitudinal position of the aircraft.”

    He had copied down the aircraft’s position co-ordinates from a sign displayed at the airport terminal gate while initialising the Airbus’ systems. Instead of entering 15109.8 east (i.e. 15˚ 19.8′ east), the captain entered 01519.8, resulting in “a positional error in excess of 11,000 km.”

  • British Airways apologises to delayed passengers

    British Airways has apologised to passengers facing delays after an IT glitch affected check-in desks.

    Passengers complained of delays at check-in and at the baggage drop, and on the tarmac waiting for take-off.

    The airline said passengers were able to check in at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports “although it is taking longer than usual”. It advised passengers to check in online.

    “We are sorry for the delay to their journeys,” BA added.

    There was further disruption for passengers at London City Airport on Tuesday after, police said, protesters “locked themselves together” on the runway.

    BA encouraged customers affected by the IT problems to check in online before they reached the airport. It told customers that some flights had been cancelled on Monday “due to operational reasons” but that specialists were “working to resolve this issue”.

  • Science

    • The critical role of systems thinking in software development

      Software applications exist to serve practical human needs, but they inevitably accumulate undefined and defective behaviors as well.

      Because software flaws are often left undiscovered until some specific failure forces them to the surface, every software project ships with some degree of unquantified risk. This is true even when software is built by highly skilled developers, and is an essential characteristic of any complex system.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UNITAID Issues Call For Solutions To Overcome IP Barriers

      UNITAID, the drug financing mechanism, has put out an appeal calling for ideas on solutions to overcome intellectual property barriers that may be preventing progress in public health. The deadline for submissions is coming near.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Wednesday’s security advisories
    • Stealthy, tricky to remove rootkit targets Linux systems on ARM and x86 [Ed: IDG covers this nonsense from Trend Micro (not a real risk, just the name Pokémon for better headlines])
    • You can’t weigh risk if you don’t know what you don’t know

      If any of us have ever been in a planning meeting, a variant of this has no doubt come up at some point. It came up for me last week, and every time I hear it I think about all things we don’t know we don’t know. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it works a bit like this. I know I don’t know to drive a boat. But because I know I don’t know this, I could learn. If you know you lack certain knowledge, you could find a way to learn it. If you don’t know what you don’t know, there is nothing you can do about it. The future is often an unknown unknown. There is nothing we can do about the future in many instances, you just have to wait until it becomes a known, and hope it won’t be anything too horrible. There can also be blindness when you think you know something, but you really don’t. This is when people tend to stop listening to the actual experts because they think they are an expert.

    • New release: usbguard-0.6.0

      Another milestone behind us. The 0.6.0 release brings the promissed CentOS/RHEL 7 compatibility. This means that our Copr EPEL-7 repository as well as Fedora’s EPEL-7 repository will now provide the latest versions of USBGuard. Check it out!

      One more very good piece of news is that USBGuard was accepted in Debian and is available in Sid (unstable). A big thanks goes to Muri Nicanor and others involved in this packaging effort!

    • StartSSL customers, it is time to leave. Now!

      While listening to the Security Now podcast, I have listened first with amusement then with horror to Steve reading email from Mozilla about the security problems with WoSign CA.

      Their list of woes is long, read the linked email for details, but one thing turned up during the email which I was not aware of: StartCom (owner of the StartSSL certificate authority) was apparently recently bought by WoSign CA! Apparently one of the security bugs StartSSL has (had?) was that with properly modified POST request (yes, I guess you can do it in the Developer Tools of your Firefox) you can get certificate linked to the root ceritificate “CA 沃通根证书” (or “WoSign CA Free SSL Certificate G2” with another value of the parameter). Awesome!

      What’s even more interesting is that I am a paying customer of StartSSL CA and I have never been made aware of the change of ownership. The only other mention of the possible change of ownership I found was on the Wikipedia page, which linked to the blogpost, which is now unavailable due to “legal review of the site” […]. Even better!

    • Debian GNU/Linux Fixes Dangerous TCP Flaw In New Update
    • Why Security Performance Will be Key in NFV

      There is growing evidence that the data center is driving toward a more software-centric security model that will be core to network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) technology. This new model means that security performance in NFV will be key.

    • How to enable server-side encryption in Nextcloud

      Out of the box, Nextcloud servers do not run with server-side encryption. Follow these steps to enable an extra layer of security for Nextcloud.

    • Umbreon rootkit targets Linux on x86, ARM [Ed: nonsensical marketing hype from Trend Micro]
    • Pokemon Themed ‘Umbreon’ Rootkit Hides In Linux Systems
    • Taking umbrage at Umbreon, the Linux rootkit that likes to hide
    • Linux rootkit, named for Pokémon’s Umbreon, targets Linux
  • Defence/Aggression

    • New leaked files reveal more about NSA satellite eavesdropping

      Newly published documents from Edward Snowden have shed more light on American surveillance operations in the UK.

    • Video: Inside Menwith Hill – NSA spy base in UK used for ‘kill or capture’ missions

      Leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed how his former employer used the US spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire to conduct ‘kill or capture’ missions in its global shadow war.

    • The NSA Abroad: The UK Base That Makes US Targeted Killing Possible

      In a damning exposé published Monday, The Intercept reporter Ryan Gallagher dives into the inner workings of National Security Agency’s (NSA) largest overseas spying base, the U.K.’s Menwith Hill Station, and reveals concrete evidence that the British government is complicit in the United States’ targeted killing program.

      Citing top-secret documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Gallagher reports, “The files reveal for the first time how the NSA has used the British base to aid ‘a significant number of capture-kill operations’ across the Middle East and North Africa, fueled by powerful eavesdropping technology.”

      And given the British government’s repeated assertion that activities at Menwith Hill “have always been, and continue to be” carried out with its “knowledge and consent,” the findings are all the more damning.

      “For years, Reprieve and others have sought clarification from the British government about the role of U.K. bases in the U.S. covert drone program, which has killed large numbers of civilians in countries where we are not at war,” Kat Craig, legal director of London-based human rights group Reprieve, told The Intercept. “We were palmed off with platitudes and reassured that any U.S. activities on or involving British bases were fully compliant with domestic and international legal provisions. It now appears that this was far from the truth.”

    • NSA leaks show US spooks use UK base to launch ‘kill-capture’ missions

      Leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed how his former employer used the US spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire to conduct ‘kill or capture’ missions in its global shadow war.

      The new files published by the Intercept partly lay to rest speculation by journalists and campaigners over what really goes on at the US base.

      They show that secretive NSA kill-capture operations in the Middle East have been developed and initiated from inside the base’s heavily guarded perimeter wire.

    • New Snowden leaks unravel mystery behind NSA’s UK base

      Just when you thought you couldn’t be shocked by the NSA’s snooping anymore, new leaked documents show the agency’s reach extends far beyond American borders.

    • Philippine President Sorry, Not Sorry He Cursed Obama for Criticism of His Killing Spree

      In a statement released on Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he was sorry — not for calling President Barack Obama a “son of a whore,” but that “it came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president.”

      The contorted apology, read to reporters at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Laos by Duterte’s spokesperson, Ernie Abella, came after Obama responded to the slur by canceling a meeting with the new leader that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

      Duterte, whose first months in office have been marked by nearly 3,000 killings in a campaign of extrajudicial assassinations of suspected drug dealers and addicts carried out by the police and death squads, launched into a profanity-laced tirade against Obama on Monday when asked by reporters how he would respond to criticism of the killing spree from the American president.

    • Karimov Family Values

      Twelve years ago President Karimov jailed his own nephew, Jamshid Karimov, for the “crime” of writing an article in a state publication which suggested modest improvements to his uncle’s economic policies. Like other prominent dissidents, young Karimov ended up chained to a bed in a psychiatric ward being pumped mind altering drugs to re-educate him.

    • Dissecting the Propaganda on Syria

      The American public is so inundated with propaganda on the Syrian conflict that a rational policy that could minimize the death toll is almost impossible to formulate, a problem addressed by Rick Sterling.

    • 5-key insights on the Syrian conflict via Hillary’s email and the Stratfor Wikileaks
    • Hillary Clinton Thinks Real-World Military Responses To Hacking Attacks Are A Nifty Idea

      Again, you’ll note that the United States is portrayed as an innocent and noble defender of cybersecurity freedom, when it’s the one often engaging in frequently-unprovoked attacks the world over. Of course, Clinton and friends are well aware that the vast majority of the time it’s impossible to know where an attack came from, and any hacker worth his or her salt simply doesn’t leave footprints. That makes a real-world military or economic response to a nebulous, usually-unprovable threat simply idiotic. You’d assume Clinton knows this and was just doing some light pandering to the audience.

      But this rhetoric alone is still dangerous in that it opens the door wide to using hacking — much like communism and Islamic extremism and numerous “isms” before them — as a nebulous, endlessly mutable justification for a litany of bad US behavior. You could, for example, covertly hack a government, publicize its hacking response to your hack, using the press to help you justify military action. Given the US and global media’s historical complicity in helping governments begin wars with jack shit for evidence, it shouldn’t be hard to see how hacking is going to be a useful bad policy bogeyman du jour for decades to come.

      Despite some repeated, painful lessons on this front stretching back generations, forcing the government to show its math before it resorts to violence is simply not the US media’s strong suit. And with hacking and cybersecurity being subjects the press and public are extra-violently ignorant about, we’ve created the opportunity for some incredible new sleight of hand when it comes to framing and justifying US domestic and international policy. If history is any indication, by next time this year we’ll be blaming everything under the sun on Russian hackers because after all, two anonymous senior government officials said so.

      Healthy skepticism will be our ally as we stumble down the rabbit hole. While it’s no surprise that Russia, like the United States is deeply-involved in nation state hacking, you’ll note that actual evidence linking the Putin Administration to the recent rise in US hacking attacks remains fleeting. Most reports simply cite a single anonymous US government source, or security firms with a vested interest in selling services and products. That’s not to say Putin and friends aren’t busy hacking the US, but whether a country is responding to similar attacks by the United States (pdf) — or is actually involved at all — is rather important to transparently document before you begin trotting out awful new policies or worse, real world bombs.

    • Trump Renews Focus on Military Spending as Race Tightens

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump detailed his proposals for an expansion of U.S. military power as his race with Democrat Hillary Clinton tightens, in an appeal to service members and veterans who could give him a critical boost in November.

      If elected, Trump would ask Congress to lift military spending caps, increase defense spending, and seek a plan from generals to counter Islamic State in his first 30 days in office, he said in a speech Wednesday in Philadelphia.

      Trump also said he would increase the size of the army to about 540,000, the Marine Corps to 36 battalions, the navy to a number of surface ships and submarines “approaching” 350, and the Air Force to at least 1,200 fighter aircraft.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • FBI Publishes Clinton Email Investigation Documents; More Bad News On Documents Mishandling, FOIA Compliance

      The FBI generally likes to keep as much information as possible out of the public’s hands, so its decision to release its files on the Hillary Clinton email investigation are probably best viewed as a one-off, rather than the leading edge of a new era of transparency.

      The agency certainly couldn’t pretend there isn’t significant public interest in the content of the investigative files. The outcome of a presidential election could very well hinge on the voting public’s interpretation of the documents’ content.

      And the FBI certainly has an interest in clearing the air of any hints of politically-motivated favoritism. That the investigation occurred at all does some damage to Clinton’s credibility, while the decision not to pursue prosecution doesn’t do much for the FBI’s.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Oklahoma earthquake and oil drilling: What we know

      When an earthquake struck Oklahoma on Saturday, one of the first steps state officials took was to shut down 37 of the state’s 3,200 active disposal wells — a move that drew national attention to the link between oil and gas drilling and earthquakes.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Protests In North Dakota Turn Violent

      Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota turned violent on Saturday.

      Demonstrators supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe faced off with private security officers from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

      Video from the scene showed security officers threatening protesters with dogs.

      As All Things Considered reported, hundreds of Native Americans from tribes across the country have set up a camp near the construction site in North Dakota. The Army Corps of Engineer approved the oil pipeline in July allowing it to run under the Missouri river close to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

    • A Native American fight to stop an oil pipeline is a “morally embarrassing reminder” of America’s founding

      For months, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has been protesting the construction of a $3.8 billion (paywall) oil pipeline that would cut through four US states. Last week, the protests reached unprecedented size. Hundreds of environmental activists joined the local community of about 8,000. The BBC reports that the largest gathering of Native Americans in over a century, with over 90 tribes represented, is currently underway in Cannonball, North Dakota.

      The Native tribes and environmentalists say the pipeline would disrupt a sacred burial ground, as well as threaten water quality in the area. They say that the Army Corps of Engineers should never have granted permits for its construction.

    • Hillary Clinton Raises More Than Donald Trump From Oil Industry

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has raised significantly more money than Donald Trump in the heart of the Republican fundraising territory—the oil and gas industry.

    • The oceans are heating up. That’s a big problem on a blue planet

      So, just as a refresher, it’s always good to remember that we live on an ocean planet. Most of the Earth’s surface is salt water, studded with the large islands we call continents.

      It’s worth recalling this small fact – which can slip our minds, since we humans congregate on the patches of dry ground – because new data shows just how profoundly we’re messing with those seven seas. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has published an extensive study concluding that the runaway heating of the oceans is “the greatest hidden challenge of our generation”.

      When we think about global warming, we usually fixate on the air temperature. Which is spiking sharply – July was the hottest month ever measured on our planet. But as the new study points out, 90% of the extra heat that our greenhouse gases trap is actually absorbed by the oceans. That means that the upper few meters of the sea have been steadily warming more than a tenth of a degree celsius per decade, a figure that’s accelerating. When you think of the volume of water that represents, and then try to imagine the energy necessary to raise its temperature, you get an idea of the blowtorch that our civilization has become.

    • Judge halts North Dakota pipeline contruction temporarily after protests

      An American Indian tribe succeeded on Tuesday in getting a federal judge to temporarily stop construction on some, but not all, of a $3.8bn four-state oil pipeline, but its broader request still hangs in the balance.

      James Boasberg, a US district court judge, said on Tuesday that work will temporarily stop between North Dakota’s state highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, but will continue west of the highway because he believes the US army corps of engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land.

    • Judge grants partial stop on North Dakota pipeline work

      An American Indian tribe succeeded Tuesday in getting a federal judge to temporarily stop construction on some, but not all, of a $3.8 billion four-state oil pipeline, but its broader request still hangs in the balance.

      U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said Tuesday that work will temporarily stop between North Dakota’s State Highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, but will continue west of the highway because he believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land.

      He also said he will rule by the end of Friday on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s challenge of federal regulators’ decision to grant permits to the Dallas, Texas-based operators of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will cross North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

    • Finnish nuclear company fired whistleblower over safety concerns

      The Fennovoima nuclear firm’s parent company, Voimaosakeyhtiö SF (VSF), fired one of its executives because he expressed safety concerns to the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). VSF admitted this to Yle after initially denying it.

  • Finance

    • Inside an International Court of Money and Mystery

      A Dubai real estate mogul had a prison sentence disappear. Manufacturing executives in El Salvador dodged having to clean up a case of dangerous lead contamination. Two global financiers embezzled $300 million from an Indonesian bank but got off light.

      Welcome to the world of international arbitration court. BuzzFeed reporter Chris Hamby spent 18 months penetrating the court and tracing its influence.

    • NYT: Corbyn Has Marginalized Labour With His Popular Positions

      The story focused on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn—or “its left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn,” in the Times‘ formulation. The point of the piece is to blame Corbyn for the fact that “the Labour Party is in shambles: Its leader and its members of Parliament are in a virtual civil war, and it is deeply unpopular with the broader electorate.”

      Labour’s unpopularity is easy to exaggerate; its projected national share of the vote in the last local elections, held in May 2016, was 31 percent, a percentage point ahead of the Conservatives; this is considered unpromising, as opposition parties that are soon to become governing parties generally do better than that, but it’s an improvement over May 2015 (four months before Corbyn assumed leadership), when Labour trailed by 6 percentage points.

    • At WaPo, You Can Say Anything to Support TPP–or to Smear Sanders

      In pushing trade agreements, it is fair to say anything, even if it has no relationship to the truth. Therefore it is not surprising to see Fareed Zakaria (Washington Post, 9/1/16) pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by claiming that it will boost growth, and attacking Bernie Sanders for opposing “trade policies that have lifted hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people out of poverty.”

      First, the impact on growth will be trivial. According to the International Trade Commission’s assessment, the TPP will boost the annual growth rate over the next 15 years by less than 0.02 percentage points. And this projection does not take account of the negative impact of the protectionist measures in the TPP, such as stronger and longer copyright and patent protection. These measures have the same impact on the protected items as tariffs of several thousand percent.


      Actually, in standard trade theory, most of the benefits from lowering tariffs accrue to the countries that lower them. In trade theory, it benefits their consumers. Overall, trade balances are not affected. This is why the very pro-TPP Peterson Institute shows that by far the largest gains to TPP accrue to Vietnam: It lowers its tariffs the most under the terms of the deal.

      In terms of the attack on Bernie Sanders for opposing the world’s poor, Zakaria is again confused. In the standard trade story, capital is supposed to flow from rich countries like the United States to poor countries in the developing world. That would mean rich countries run trade surpluses, and poor countries run trade deficits. This allows poor countries to sustain consumption levels even as they build up their capital stock.

    • Made in China G20 and its Geoeconomic Significance

      Yet now geoeconomics has reached an extremely worrying zone of turbulence. Since the end of the Cold War in 1989 – and of “history” itself, according to academic simpletons – it’s never bee so dire. Greed led globalization to be “defeated”by inequality. In a nutshell, low inflation – due to global competition – led to the proverbial “expansionary” monetary policies, which inflated housing, education and health care, squeezing the middle class and allowing unlimited wealth flowing to a 1 percent minority of asset owners.

      Yet even in de-acceleration, China was responsible for more than 25 percent of global economic growth in 2015. It remains the key global turbine – while at the same time carrying the self-attributed burden of being the representative of the Global South in global economic governance.

    • America and the Plague of ‘Moral Idiocy’

      When it comes to applying rules of international law and ethics, the U.S. government and its mainstream media operate with stunning hypocrisy, what might be called “moral idiocy,” says Lawrence Davidson.

    • Tencent Is Now the Most Valuable Company in Asia

      The web firm Tencent tcehy has become the most valuable company in Asia, and one of the top 10 in the world by market capitalization.

      It wasn’t so long ago that Tencent was racing neck-and-neck with Samsung — their share prices were both up by a third on the year — to overtake state-owned China Mobile and steal the title of the most valuable company in Asia.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Clinton Foundation plans to close overseas fundraising arms

      The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation will shut down its fundraising affiliates in Sweden and the United Kingdom if Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidency in November, a spokesman for the global charity said this week.

      The foundation has in recent weeks begun announcing planned new donor restrictions to allay criticism that wealthy supporters might be expecting special treatment from the U.S. government in return.

      Both the William J. Clinton Foundation UK in London and the Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse in Stockholm will close if Clinton becomes president because of their acceptance of foreign funding, Brian Cookstra, a spokesman for the Clinton Foundation in New York, said in one of a series of emails responding to questions from Reuters.

    • The Unrelenting Pundit-Led Effort to Delegitimize All Negative Reporting About Hillary Clinton

      In his New York Times column yesterday, Paul Krugman did something that he made clear he regarded as quite brave: He defended the Democratic Party presidential nominee and likely next U.S. president from journalistic investigations. Complaining about media bias, Krugman claimed that journalists are driven by “the presumption that anything Hillary Clinton does must be corrupt, most spectacularly illustrated by the increasingly bizarre coverage of the Clinton Foundation.” While generously acknowledging that it was legitimate to take a look at the billions of dollars raised by the Clintons as Hillary pursued increasing levels of political power — vast sums often received from the very parties most vested in her decisions as a public official — it is now “very clear,” he proclaimed, that there was absolutely nothing improper about any of what she or her husband did.

      Krugman’s column, chiding the media for its unfairly negative coverage of his beloved candidate, was, predictably, a big hit among Democrats — not just because of their agreement with its content but because of what they regarded as the remarkable courage required to publicly defend someone as marginalized and besieged as the former first lady, two-term New York senator, secretary of state, and current establishment-backed multimillionaire presidential front-runner. Krugman — in a tweet proclamation that has now been re-tweeted more than 10,000 times — heralded himself this way: “I was reluctant to write today’s column because I knew journos would hate it. But it felt like a moral duty.”


      That American journalists have dispensed with muted tones and fake neutrality when reporting on Trump is a positive development. He and his rhetoric pose genuine threats, and the U.S. media would be irresponsible if it failed to make that clear. But aggressive investigative journalism against Trump is not enough for Democratic partisans whose voice is dominant in U.S. media discourse. They also want a cessation of any news coverage that reflects negatively on Hillary Clinton. Most, of course, won’t say this explicitly (though some do), but — as the wildly adored Krugman column from yesterday reflects — they will just reflexively dismiss any such coverage as illegitimate and invalid.

      It should be the opposite of surprising, or revealing, that pundits loyally devoted to a particular candidate dislike all reporting that reflects negatively on that candidate. There is probably no more die-hard Clinton loyalist in the U.S. media than Paul Krugman. He has used his column for years to defend her and attack any of her critics. Indeed, in 2008, he was the first to observe that — in his words — “the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality,” comparing the adulation Clinton’s 2008 primary opponent was receiving to the swooning over George W. Bush’s flight suit. He spent the 2016 primary maligning Sanders supporters as unstable, unserious losers (the straight, white, male columnist also regularly referred to them — including female and LGBT Sanders supporters — as “bros”). And now he’s assigned himself the role as Arbiter of Proper Journalism, and — along with virtually all other Clinton-supporting pundits and journalists — has oh-so-surprisingly ruled that all journalism that reflects poorly on Hillary Clinton is unsubstantiated, biased, and deceitful.

    • Despite Bernie Sanders’s Urging, Die-Hards Still Resist Hillary Clinton

      Outside Senator Bernie Sanders’s first general-election rally for Hillary Clinton on Monday, a small group of Clinton supporters and former Sanders backers glared at one another.


      “Never Hillary!” the former Sanders supporters yelled back, as some declared they would vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee.

    • Voters Want Third Party Candidates On Debate Stage

      Kent Redfield, a UIS Professor Emeritus of Political Science, said, “Most people really don’t know who they are or what they stand for. But again, we’ve never had an election where you’ve had the two main party candidates with such high unfavorables. It could be that [the third party] will retain strength and then, if they’re getting combined 15% of the vote, then that could tip the balance in a very close state.”

      So far, neither Johnson nor Stein have reached the necessary 15% across the five national polls to be invited to the debate stage, but it’s clear that many Americans would like to see any serious third-party candidates on that stage with Clinton and Trump this fall.

    • Poll: Nine weeks out, a near even race

      Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start the race to November 8 on essentially even ground, with Trump edging Clinton by a scant two points among likely voters, and the contest sparking sharp divisions along demographic lines in a new CNN/ORC Poll.
      Trump tops Clinton 45% to 43% in the new survey, with Libertarian Gary Johnson standing at 7% among likely voters in this poll and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at just 2%.

    • It is undemocratic to exclude me and Gary Johnson from presidential debates

      Presidential debates should be an opportunity for the American people to decide the direction of our nation. But since 1987, everything about the debates has been predetermined by the party bosses who run Washington.

      Consider that 76% of Americans want the presidential debates to include Gary Johnson and me. Yet the phony Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is trying to rob voters of the open debates they want.

      The CPD is actually a private corporation that refuses to disclose its current funders or sponsors. The Democratic and Republican National Committees both select its leaders. The CPD literally excludes the 50% of voters who reject their parties.

      This two-party cartel posing as a public service “commission” admitted in a 1987 press conference that independent candidates and alternative political parties should be excluded from the debates, and they create artificial barriers to exclude them.

    • Why Aren’t Third Parties Allowed to Debate?

      Would you eat at a restaurant that only offered two unpalatable menu options —especially when more tasty choices were available? Watching a presidential debate with only Clinton and Trump is like having to choose between liver and tripe. And why is this, especially when there are at least two other, more appealing, candidates to choose from?

      Because the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a private corporation run by establishment Democrats and Republicans, doesn’t want you to know you might have better choices. It’s incredibly ironic that their website states they want to “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.” That could not be further from the truth.

      The CPD is like one of those exclusive clubs where you have to know somebody influential to get in. But this is America — the land where we were raised to believe anyone could become president. Unfortunately, this is no longer true. Because campaigns are not publicly financed, a candidate needs millions of dollars to buy advertising to build familiarity — or the media needs to be unbiased enough to give equal coverage to all the candidates, which it doesn’t.

      Only 50% of Americans identify as being either Democrat or Republican, and only 9% of these voted in the primaries. A huge segment of the population does not identify with either party, so why can’t we hear about what third parties have to offer? Because the CPD wants you to vote for one of their pre-chosen candidates.

    • Diddy: Black voters ‘shortchanged’ by Obama presidency

      Rapper-turned-mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs said he thinks that black voters “got a little bit shortchanged” by Barack Obama’s presidency, and urged the black community to “hold our vote” as a way to spur meaningful action by political leaders.
      “The heat has to be turned up so much that as a community, we’ve got to hold our vote,” Diddy told the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC Sunday. “Don’t pacify yourself; really revolutionize the game. Make them come for our vote. It’s a whole different strategy, but I think we need to hold our vote because I don’t believe any of them.”

      The entertainment icon explained that while he thinks that Obama has done “an excellent job” as president, he also feels that the first black presidency didn’t fully deliver on its promise.

    • Young Blacks Voice Skepticism on Hillary Clinton, Worrying Democrats

      When a handful of liberal advocacy organizations convened a series of focus groups with young black voters last month, the assessments of Donald J. Trump were predictably unsparing.

      But when the participants were asked about Hillary Clinton, their appraisals were just as blunt and nearly as biting.

      “What am I supposed to do if I don’t like him and I don’t trust her?” a millennial black woman in Ohio asked. “Choose between being stabbed and being shot? No way!”

      “She was part of the whole problem that started sending blacks to jail,” a young black man, also from Ohio, observed about Mrs. Clinton.

    • EmailGate and the Mystery of the Missing GAMMA

      Last week’s Federal Bureau of Investigation release of materials relating to their investigation of Hillary Clinton has reignited the political firestorm surrounding EmailGate. How the Democratic nominee mishandled her emails while she was secretary of state is again front-page news, which is bad news for Hillary. Particularly because the FBI’s data dump demonstrates clearly that Clinton is either dumb or dishonest—and perhaps both.

    • Observer: Sidney Blumenthal ‘Was Reading Above-Top-Secret NSA Reports Hours After They Appeared’

      [Sidney] Blumenthal’s email read exactly like classified NSA reporting, as anybody acquainted with our SIGINT would immediately recognize. As one veteran agency official told me back in January, Blumenthal’s email was NSA information with “at least 90 percent confidence.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Location Privacy: The Purview of the Rich and Indigent

      I’d just finished parking my car in the covered garage at Reagan National Airport just across the river from Washington, D.C. when I noticed a dark green minivan slowly creeping through the row behind me. The vehicle caught my attention because its driver didn’t appear to be looking for an open spot. What’s more, the van had what looked like two cameras perched atop its roof — one of each side, both pointed down and slightly off to the side.

      I had a few hours before my flight boarded, so I delayed my walk to the terminal and cut through several rows of cars to snag a video of the guy moving haltingly through another line of cars. I approached the driver and asked what he was doing. He smiled and tilted the lid on his bolted-down laptop so that I could see the pictures he was taking with the mounted cameras: He was photographing every license plate in the garage (for the record, his plate was a Virginia tag number 36-646L).

    • Edward Snowden’s Guardian Angels

      From a hotel in Hong Kong, Edward Snowden shocked the world in 2013 by disclosing the extent of U.S. intelligence spying. Then he vanished before fleeing to Moscow. Handelsblatt found the people who hid Snowden — refugees with nothing, and everything to lose.

    • Activists to FBI: Show Us Your Warrant for Mass Hack of TorMail Users

      Mass hacking is now one of the FBI’s established tactics for fighting crime on the dark web. In February 2015, the agency hit at least 4,000 computers all over the world in an attempt to identify visitors of a child pornography site.

      But questions remain about another FBI operation from 2013, in which the agency may have hacked users of a dark web email service called TorMail even if they weren’t suspects of a crime. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is trying to unseal the court docket sheet containing the search warrant used to deploy malware against users of the service. If the ACLU were then to get access to the warrant itself, it may reveal the true scale of the FBI’s controversial hacking campaign.

    • FBI’s Fancy Bear Cyber Structure

      So we already know that the FBI’s legally mandated reports to Congress on NSL numbers are bogus. Now we learn that FBI has devolved its 702 work to field offices which has led to the discontinuation of one of the key oversight mechanisms on their counting process: an outside check.

    • New NSA documents detail how the spy agency used the Iraq war to build its global surveillance system

      Newly released internal NSA documents reveal how the US spy agency used the Iraq war to develop its global surveillance infrastructure, which was later brought to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents, called WARgrams, also contain messages sent to a vast body of NSA employees between 2003 and 2004 by the then NSA director Michael Hayden.

      According to a report by Motherboard, the documents bring to light for the first time how the NSA asked its staff for “unprecedented degrees of cooperation”, in efforts to develop and establish its global surveillance system. The documents also reveal the agency’s rapid shift in priorities, detailing its move from providing intelligence support to wartime coalition forces to assuming the role of a “pervasive” and “intelligent-driven” leading component in the global war on terrorism.

      Around 70 WARgrams were sent out, the first of which, sent out in the days or weeks leading up to the start of the war in March 2003, characterised Operation Iraqi Freedom as “an intense attack of relatively short duration intended to overwhelm the Iraqi ability to respond.” In Hayden’s own words, the WARgrams were “designed to keep us all ‘in the loop’ with the latest developments during the campaign.”

    • Every Move You Make

      The Delta IV Heavy, introduced in 2004, is the most powerful rocket in American history, and this was only the ninth time it had launched. Even more exclusive, however, was its top-secret cargo: Inside its nearly seven-story-high nose cone was an Advanced Orion, the world’s largest satellite. About eight hours after launch, when the most advanced spy craft ever built went into geosynchronous orbit, it unfurled its gigantic mesh antenna, larger than a football field, and began eavesdropping on the Earth below.

    • WARgrams released: How NSA used Iraq War as springboard for global intel gathering

      Newly published documents from the beginning of the Iraq invasion reveal how the NSA used the “war on terror” to develop its global intelligence capabilities and strengthen the surveillance network exposed by Edward Snowden.

      The information was revealed in a series of documents dating back to 2003-2004, referred to as WARgrams. This was essentially a series of newsletter-style communiqués distributed to a vast number of NSA employees by the agency’s former director, Michael Hayden. These short messages, which number close to 70, contain colorful (when not redacted) descriptions of the NSA’s plans to insert itself into the Iraq war effort. The revelation was made by VICE’s Motherboard, which obtained the documents through an FOI request from back in 2008.

    • NSA used Iraq war to develop surveillance capability, documents show

      As the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill inches closer to becoming law, NSA documents reveal that the agency used the Iraq war to develop and expand its surveillance infrastructure

    • New Docs Show How the NSA Used the Iraq War to Build its Surveillance Apparatus

      Newly released internal NSA missives from the early days of the Iraq war show how quickly the agency’s priorities shifted from providing wartime intelligence to coalition troops to being a “pervasive” part of the “intelligence-driven” global war on terror.

      The documents, which have surfaced for the first time, outline how the NSA asked its employees for “unprecedented degrees of cooperation” to set up the global surveillance infrastructure revealed by Edward Snowden with the stated aim of combating terrorism worldwide.

      The documents, called WARgrams, were newsletter-style messages sent in 2003 and 2004 by then-NSA Director Michael Hayden to what seems to be a large contingent of NSA employees. (Motherboard has reached out to the NSA to learn more about who, exactly, received the WARgrams.)

      The first WARgram pitched Operation Iraqi Freedom as “an intense attack of relatively short duration intended to overwhelm the Iraqi ability to respond.” It was sent sometime in the days or weeks leading up to the March 20, 2003 start of the war. Hayden wrote WARgrams were “designed to keep us all ‘in the loop’ with the latest developments during the campaign.”

    • Former Intelligence Official Leaks Details Of NSA’s Hack Of French Presidential Network

      The latest leak about the NSA’s overseas spying transgressions took the unlikely form of a little-noticed YouTube video — one that covered mostly-wonkish subject matter. The details of the NSA’s malware attack on the French “White House” were revealed during an interview with Bernard Barbier, the former head of the French Intelligence Service, by a local engineering school. The video, of course, has since been removed, but not before French paper Le Monde picked up on the content of the interview.

      Matt Suiche parses it all out — an inadvertent confirmation of a Snowden document leaked in 2013 that contained an itinerary item about a discussion between French and US intelligence officials concerning a (at that time “alleged”) “May 2012 cyber attack on the French Presidential network.”

    • German intelligence accused of ‘serious legal violations’ over surveillance

      The surveillance apparatus used by German intelligence to collect and store masses of communications and internet data may have taken a hit after a classified document that accused the spies of “serious legal violations” leaked online.

      The 60-page analysis, conducted by Andrea Voßhoff, the German federal data protection commissioner, slammed how the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) stores data on citizens and demanded for key databases to be deleted with immediate effect.

      The report was made in July 2015 after a visit to Bad Aibling in southern Germany, which is jointly managed by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The audit was conducted in light of the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013 that exposed how major agencies such as the FBI, NSA and UK’s GCHQ use sophisticated tools to collect data in bulk.

    • Universal credit poses a major security risk, spies tell No 10 [Ed: GCHQ grossly intervening in politics as well]

      The universal credit welfare programme was sent back to the drawing board because spies warned that it was insecure and could lead to millions of people being hacked, a report reveals.

      Experts working for GCHQ, the government’s listening agency, contacted Downing Street in alarm after being “fobbed off” by the Department for Work and Pensions over security flaws in the benefits programme.

      As a result plans to launch the service next year were abandoned. Today only about 300,000 people are receiving benefit payments through universal credit and the system will not be fully operational until 2022 at the earliest.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Court To Cops: Residing In A State Where Marijuana Is Legal Does Not Automatically Make A Motorist ‘Suspicious’

      Colorado legislators legalized recreational marijuana use and now law enforcement agencies in bordering states are camping out on highways hoping for easy busts. All roads in and out of the state are now “drug corridors.” This has led to suspicionless stops and seizures by police officers — predicated on nothing more than a vehicle being on a strip of highway leading to or from a supposed “source” state.

      Not every bust goes as easily as officers might have hoped. Nebraska deputies tried to make drug conspiracy charges stick to a pair of Minnesotans arrested while on their way to Colorado with more than $60,000 in cash. The conviction didn’t stick because it isn’t against the law to conspire to perform an act that is legal in another state. It’s illegal to buy or sell marijuana in both Minnesota and Nebraska, but not in Colorado, where the two were headed. The charges went away but the $60,000 in cash is likely going to remain in Nebraska law enforcement’s possession.

      Another traffic stop in another Midwestern state has been ruled unconstitutional, partially because Kansas law enforcement officers believed the driver being a resident of marijuana-friendly Colorado was pretty much all the reasonable suspicion they’d need to perform a search.

      The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals — in stripping away the immunity granted to two Kansas Highway Patrol officers by the lower court — points out the many flaws in the officers’ reasoning. [PDF link]

      Peter Vasquez was pulled over because his temporary tag was unreadable. Once the temporary tag had been verified as legitimate, he should have been free to go. Instead, it was merely the start of a fishing expedition by the officers, who hoped to find the Colorado resident in possession of an illegal substance.

    • Indians Staged One of the Largest Strikes in History, But No One on U.S. Cable News Covered It

      Ten Indian trade unions staged one of the largest strikes in human history on Friday, with tens of millions of public sector workers participating in a shutdown of parts of the Indian economy to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic plans.

      But if you’re an American relying on cable news, it would be hard to know it ever happened.

      Not a single American cable news network ran a segment focused on India’s massive strike, even on Labor Day, the U.S.’s annual holiday dedicated to workers.

      The strike came after Modi began a push for increased foreign investment and privatization of some state-run industries. Unions fear these policies will undermine both wages and employment.

    • Jim Comey Impugns Pot Smokers Again

      I get that this cute labeling of pot smokers as lacking integrity is part of his script (he used almost the same lines in both speeches), perhaps to avoid thinking about what it means that our nation can’t best fight the alleged biggest threat to it because of outdated laws. But either he has given no thought about the words that are falling out of his mouth (indeed, he also seems to have no understanding of the the words “adult” and “mature” mean, which are other words he tends to wield in profoundly troublesome fashion), or the nation’s top cop really can’t distinguish between law — and that, not even in all states anymore — and ethics.

    • How Snowden escaped

      Earlier that day, that “famous” 29-year-old walked out of the five-star luxury Hotel Mira in Kowloon and sparked an intensive global manhunt not seen since the search for al-Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, bombings.

      Edward Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence contractor, became the most wanted fugitive in the world after leaking a cache of classified documents to the media detailing extensive cyber spying networks by the U.S. government on its own citizens and governments around the world.

      To escape the long arm of American justice, the man responsible for the largest national security breach in U.S. history retained a Canadian lawyer in Hong Kong who hatched a plan that included a visit to the UN sub-office where the North Carolina native applied for refugee status to avoid extradition to the U.S.

    • White House Report Concludes That Bite-Mark Analysis Is Junk Science

      The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has concluded that forensic bite-mark evidence is not scientifically valid and is unlikely ever to be validated, according to a draft report obtained by The Intercept. The report, titled “Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods,” is marked as a “predecisional” draft created August 26 that is not to be quoted or distributed, though the title page suggests the report will be made public sometime this month.

      The report reviews a handful of common forensic practices, so called feature-comparison disciplines, or pattern-matching practices — bite-mark analysis, fingerprint and firearm analysis, shoe tread analysis, and DNA mixture analysis — each of which involves an “expert” looking at a piece of evidence and eyeballing whether it matches a particular image, person, or object. The report discusses whether each practice has been scientifically validated, what it would take to do so, and how each practice should be used in the courtroom — if at all.

    • Air China magazine warns London visitors to avoid ethnic minority areas

      Even for China, where companies have struggled with race issues in their marketing previously, the latest inflight magazine from the country’s flagship airline will likely come as a shocker.

      Air China’s Wings of China carries a long feature on visiting London, with almost a third of the magazine dedicated to tourist attractions in Britain’s capital and other famous towns such as Oxford. The main article, titled “London the city of ‘hat tricks’,” covers Brits’ apparent fondness for all kinds of hats.

      Then, after a section on transport options and lifestyle and cultural activities in London, Wings of China offers some “Tips from Air China.”

    • Albuquerque Police Seize Vehicle From Owner Whose Son Drove It While Drunk; Want $4,000 To Give It Back

      Last spring, New Mexico’s governor signed a bill into law that would prevent law enforcement from seizing people’s assets without securing a criminal conviction. This was likely prompted by the New York Times’ publication of footage from Las Cruces asset forfeiture seminar in which the speaker basically said asset forfeiture is used by law enforcement to “shop” for things they want.

      Several months later, the city of Albuquerque was sued by state legislators because its police refused to stop seizing assets — mainly vehicles — without obtaining convictions. The city claimed the new law only applied to state police, and anyway, it was only performing a valuable community service by taking cars away from members of the community.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • [Older] EU’s net neutrality guidelines get published

      The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec) – which represents all the EU’s communications regulators – has finally published guidelines clarifying how telecom companies should treat the data they handle, months after a law concerning the matter was published.

      In the past, apps and other online services could, in theory, pay more to ensure their products ran smoothly. That appealed to network providers, who saw it as a way to boost profits.

      But Berec says only a limited number of services will be able to ask for special treatment, and then only so long as it is not to the detriment of others.

      The new rules also set out consumers’ right to be free to access and distribute information and content, run applications and use services of their choice, so long as they are not illegal.

      The publication has been welcomed by digital rights experts.

    • Users Say Comcast Broadband Usage Meters Don’t Work, May Result in Hundreds Of Dollars Of Errant Charges

      We’ve noted for years that usage caps on fixed line broadband connections are little more than a major, unnecessary price hike on uncompetitive markets. But while caps certainly are little more than a cash grab, there’s another less talked about problem at play: nobody is making sure ISP usage meters are accurate. That has resulted in a number of instances where an ISP will bill users for consumption when the power is off, and even some instances where ISPs confused MAC addresses and billed the wrong customer for additional monthly consumption.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • IP Offices Focus On Educating Younger Population About IP Protection [Ed: Serial abuser of human rights "WIPO is also developing an Education Took Kit for teachers of children aged 5 to 18." Indoctrination of younger populations for IP protectionism and for large corporations.]

      Intellectual property rights awareness campaigns are increasingly targeting the younger population, as early as primary school, according to several country presentations at the World Intellectual Property Organization enforcement committee this week. WIPO is also developing an Education Took Kit for teachers of children aged 5 to 18. However for some countries, this education should encompass a broader view on IP than only enforcing rights.

    • Take Two Interactive Wins Two Publicity Rights Lawsuits Against Lindsay Lohan And Karen Gravano

      Hopefully you will recall that Take Two Interactive had been facing down two lawsuits brought by Lindsay Lohan and Karen Gravano over character depictions in the company’s opus, Grand Theft Auto V. Both filed suit over publicity rights and likeness concerns in New York. Lohan claimed that a character in the game that evaded paparazzi after having sex in public and made some oblique references to similar-sounding movies that Lohan had acted in, along with a female character on the game’s cover art, were both ripping off her personage. Gravano, meanwhile, claimed that a different character, one which made references to starring in a reality show about mobster wives and evading mob retribution, was ripping off her personage. While both suits failed to address the fictional differences in the characters, which were both composite characters parodying their celebrity archetypes, Take Two attempted to defend itself with those facts and tried to get the case dismissed. Strangely, the court at the time allowed the case to move forward…

    • A Principle Of Balance: Top Official Explains India’s IP Policy

      Adopted in May, the first Indian intellectual property policy brought some concerns that the focus on IP rights might dampen India’s willingness to use the IP flexibilities to safeguard national policy space. It was also perceived by some as giving in to pressure from the foreign pharmaceutical industry for India to strengthen patent protection. However, a high level Indian official in an interview this week said the policy caters to Indian development needs and India is aware of its pioneering role in certain sectors like access to medicines.Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary at the Indian Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion Ministry of Commerce & Industry sat down with Intellectual Property Watch’s Catherine Saez to describe how India’s IP policy came into being, to what aim, what it is expected to change in the Indian IP landscape, and how Indian is standing fast to its principle of balance.

    • Trademarks

      • Donut maker gored by University of Texas over a fan favourite pastry

        Donut Taco Palace in Austin, Texas, is famous for their ‘Longhorns donuts’. These donuts are modelled after the Hook ‘em Horns hand gesture which is made in support of the University of Texas’ Longhorns American football team. These donuts of allegiance satisfied the sweet tooth of many Longhorns fans until last month, when the University of Texas became aware of the situation. They sent a cease and desist letter to the owner of the shop, Angel Feng, citing trademark infringement.

      • Do Apple Trademarks Reveal What It’s About To Launch?

        If you’re a gadget watcher or an Apple fanatic, then you already know that tomorrow is Apple’s big fall event when it announces new hardware products. Unlike basically every other tech blog in the world, we tend not to cover the announcements (or all of the rumors leading up to those announcements). Every so often something interesting will come out of them and we’ll write up that, but for the most part, we recognize that other sites are going to cover the basic beats and we’re not the kind of publication that wants to spend our time writing up promotional copy for tech companies. But, sometimes there’s some overlap in our usual coverage and these kinds of events. Brian Conroy, a trademark lawyer in Ireland who has a fun blog of trademark-related issues realized that Apple may have leaked some details via its trademark applications.

    • Copyrights

      • Bethesda Does Connecting With Fans Right

        We’ve spent some time and energy in these pages poking at Bethesda and its parent company, Zenimax, over each’s overtly ridiculous stances on protecting what it views as its intellectual property in the past. But even a bad actor in the IP arena can get things right in other ways and Bethesda has shown itself to be fairly good in the past in the area of connecting with its fans. This is one of the more underappreciated aspects involved in digital business models, in which the digital realms where we operate open up content producers to direct interaction with their customers. Done right, this will ingratiate a business with its community, fostering a loyalty it might otherwise not have. Done really right, it gets a company all of that plus a PR bonus that can only come from these organic interactions.

      • Warner Bros. Issuing Takedowns For Its Own Site Is No Laughing Matter

        But here’s why this isn’t really a laughing matter: many of the legacy industry players, including Warner Bros. and the MPAA who represent WB, have been pushing very heavily for a revamp of the DMCA that would include a “notice and staydown” provision — such that once a copyright holder representative sent a notice claiming a work was infringing, platforms would basically be required to block that content from ever appearing again. In response, many of us have pointed out just how bad companies like Warner Bros. are at issuing takedowns, and we’re told that such mistakes are rare. But they’re not rare. We see them all the time. And if notice and staydown were in place, it could create all sorts of problems.

        Notice, too, that it wasn’t just WB’s own site that was the target of this bogus takedown. Just two slots above it are the official Amazon sales link for the movie. Elsewhere in the list were official IMDB pages as well. Yes, Google is actually better than most at going through these notices and rejecting ridiculous requests like this, but most other companies are not. If you send a notice, it’s treated as accurate, and down go those sites. Some may consider that fair game when it’s something as ridiculous as WB taking down its own sites, but it’s not so funny when it’s someone else’s work — like the time Fox sent DMCA notices taking down Cory Doctorow’s book, Homeland, just because it had the same title as a TV show.

        Meanwhile, we keep hearing from companies like Warner Bros. about how Google is really to blame, and that it’s “obvious” when there’s infringing content that should be taken down. If it’s so “obvious” why can’t WB gets its act together and not take down its own sites? Perhaps it isn’t so obvious after all and perhaps we shouldn’t make copyright policy based on the bogus claims of companies so clueless that they’re issuing DMCA takedowns on their own websites or other official channels?


Links 6/9/2016: QEMU 2.7.0, GNU Nano 2.7.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • VintOS Promises to Be the Chromium OS Fork You’ve Always Wanted and Needed

      Dylan Callahan from the Chromium OS for SBCs (Single-Board Computers) project, which unfortunately was discontinued due to lack of interest from users, informed Softpedia today, September 5, 2016, that he’s working on a new Linux-based OS.

      We have to admit that we’re quite surprised to see that developers aren’t giving up on their ambitions of creating the best fork of a well-known Linux kernel-based operating system, in this case Chromium OS. While Chromium OS for SBCs was aimed at embedded and IoT devices, the new one is targeted at all PCs.

      World, meet VintOS! What’s VintOS? Well, it’s upcoming open-source fork of Chromium OS, the operating system on which the famous Google Chrome OS is based. To make a name for itself from the get go, VintOS is named after one of the founding fathers of the Internet, Vinton Cerf, and it’s explicitly designed with educational purposes in mind.

  • Server

    • IBM to set up new Linux cloud for Africa

      IBM has announced a new LinuxONE community cloud for Africa, to be hosted at its client centre in Johannesburg.

      This follows a forecast by Frost & Sullivan that sub-Saharan Africa will be the second-largest mobile market by 2020, surpassing Europe and just behind Asia-Pacific.

      Developers will be able to use the newly set up cloud free for 120 days.

      IBM is also expanding its sales and support network of LinuxONE systems, its most powerful, in Africa.

      Dr Salihu Dasuki, assistant professor of computing and applied sciences at the American University of Nigeria, said the new could would help to boost the open-source movement in Africa.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 3.18.41 LTS Has ARC and Networking Changes, Updated Drivers

      Today, September 5, 2016, a new version of the long-term supported Linux 3.18 kernel series arrived, build 3.18.41, bringing various updated drivers and other small improvements.

      No official announcement was made at the moment of writing this article, but we managed to get our hands on the Git changelog to tell you a little bit about the changes implemented in the Linux 3.18.41 LTS release, which updates a total of 47 files, with 254 insertions and 91 deletions.

      Judging by the statistics mentioned above, Linux kernel 3.18.41 LTS is a relatively small maintenance update that multiple improvements to the ARC hardware architectures, as well as a few minor fixes to the PA-RISC and PowerPC (PPC) ones, a bugfix for the UBIFS file system, and an updated networking stack with IPv4 and mac80211 changes.

    • Greg Kroah-Hartman: Greg Kroah-Hartman: 4.9 == next LTS kernel

      As I briefly mentioned a few weeks ago on my G+ page, the plan is for the 4.9 Linux kernel release to be the next “Long Term Supported” (LTS) kernel.

      Last year, at the Linux Kernel Summit, we discussed just how to pick the LTS kernel. Many years ago, we tried to let everyone know ahead of time what the kernel version would be, but that caused a lot of problems as people threw crud in there that really wasn’t ready to be merged, just to make it easier for their “day job”. That was many years ago, and people insist they aren’t going to do this again, so let’s see what happens.

    • Torvalds at LinuxCon Part III: Permissive Licenses and Org Charts

      In the last of our three part series that began last week on Linus Torvalds’ keynote interview at this year’s LinuxCon, Linux’s lead developer talks about everything from up and coming operating systems in IoT to the development process.

      “You mentioned the strength of the GPL,” Dirk Hohndel said, by now about twenty minutes into his interview of Linus Torvalds at LinuxCon 2016. “Many new kernels have shown up in the last couple of years, mostly geared towards really small devices, the IoT space: Zephyr by Intel, Fuchsia by Google and a bunch more.”

      If you are who you work for now, Dirk Hohndel is VMware’s boy. But at the time of the interview, only a few weeks back, he’d been working as VMware’s chief open source officer for less than a month. For almost fifteen years before that — fourteen years nine months he’s careful to point-out on LinkedIn — he belonged to Intel, where he served as chief Linux and open source technologist. Before that he spent six years at SUSE, where he was CTO when he left in 2001, two years ahead of the Novell brouhaha.

      “One of the interesting commonalities is they’re all under BSD or MIT,” he continued. “Do you think they’re interesting and do you think that one of them could grow up and become a competitor for Linux or replace Linux?”

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver One Step Closer To Being Merged In Mesa

        While the ultimate vision of the open-source Radeon Vulkan driver isn’t yet clear with RADV being the front-runner so far as the community-based driver while AMD has yet to open up their official Vulkan driver and there’s been few remarks about RADV from AMD employees (aside from John Bridgman in our forums), RADV inched forward today in moving closer to being merged in mainline Mesa.

      • libinput and the Lenovo T450 and T460 series touchpads

        I’m using T450 and T460 as reference but this affects all laptops from the Lenovo *50 and *60 series. The Lenovo T450 and T460 have the same touchpad hardware, but unfortunately it suffers from what is probably a firmware issue. On really slow movements, the pointer has a halting motion. That effect disappears when the finger moves faster.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 20 Years of KDE Timeline

        KDE is celebrating 20 years as the original and best free software end-user creating community. The milestones of our project are marked on our 20 Years of KDE timeline. Find out the meetings and releases which defined KDE. Learn about the early and recent KDE gatherings around the world and how we have evolved over the years. What was your first KDE release?

      • Akademy 2016 BoF Wrapup Video

        The first BoF day of Akademy is over with several teams meeting to discuss their progress and plans for the next year. At the end of the day we had a group session to summarise what went on in each of the rooms. Watch the video of the wrapup to discover the plans for the next year.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Restricted Funds in Non-Profit Accounting

        I’ve served as treasurer for three separate organizations over the last six years. Two of them are US 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. The other is a consumer-owned cooperative. I’m not an accountant, but I’ve learned a lot about accounting, and each organization has forced me to learn something new.

        Today’s adventure is learning how to deal with restricted funds, or funds that have to be used for a particular purpose. I’m going to show four different techniques for dealing with restricted funds, along with some pros and cons.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian plugs Linux ‘TCP snoop’ bug

        Debian’s maintainers have moved to plug the TCP snooping flaw that emerged in August 2016.

        The bug, CVE-2016-5696, was spotted by University of California Riverside’s Zhiyun Qian and his collaborators and published in August.

        It enabled an attack against Linux (and Android) implementations of RFC 5961, which used challenge ACK packets to try and harden Linux. The implementation bug, present in the kernel since 2012, meant targets could be fooled into rate-limiting their challenge ACKs, letting an attacker work out sequence numbering when it resumed.

      • Derivatives

        • Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 Officially Released Based on Debian GNU/Linux 8.5

          Softpedia was informed today, September 5, 2016, by Patrick Emmabuntüs about the release and immediate availability for download of the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 GNU/Linux operating system.

          Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 is the first point release of the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.0 distribution announced for the first time right here on Softpedia Linux, exclusively, back in June 2016. Since then, Patrick Emmabuntüs and his team of skilled GNU/Linux developers updated the OS with many new improvements and features.

          First of all, Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 remains based on the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” operating system, which means that it includes all the security updates released upstream in the Debian Stable repositories. Second of all, there’s now a 64-bit edition available for download and suitable for modern computers.

          “This edition of EmmaDE includes new versions of our set of tutorials on installation, presentation and free culture data. For the time being they are available in French only, and will be published later on the Developpez.com site. The English versions will be then translated by our friend Yves, and included in the release of version 1.02,” says Patrick Emmabuntüs in today’s announcement.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OTON X claims to be the first artificial intelligent games console, it’s powered by Linux

      OTON X sounds like a rather interesting Linux-powered games console. It is aimed at people who want to create as well as play games.

      Claiming it as “first artificial intelligent games console” is a pretty big thing. It seems it will come with tools to help people with AI in games. It’s still cool either way and will be fun to follow the progress of it.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Gear S3 support coming soon to iPhone says Samsung

          Samsung has now launched the Gear S3 smartwatch and I have to say it looks quite impressive. The Gear S2 has had some excellent reviews by the tech media and so far the S3 looks well received.

        • Game: Table Tennis 3D for Samsung Z1 and Z3 is available

          Table Tennis 3D is a highly addictive game with good graphics, effects and good sound FX. You can play with friends or against the computer. You can do various moves like smash or swing the ball to become higher in rankings whilst in career mode, if you take the table tennis challenge. The computer competitor is based on human behaviour by reflexes, strength and speed. Play different moves: sidespin, corkspin etc. These are similar to normal table tennis moves. There are also 3 types of bat/paddle configuration for speed, spin and control. to personalize your gameplay, you select a bat that you are most comfortable with. You can also zoom in/out to change your view.

      • Android

        • Bad Time for Bad Batteries – Galaxy Recall by Samsung after exploding batteries
        • Samsung tells Australians to turn off Galaxy Note7 smartphones, investigates fire reports
        • Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 recall has a 22-year-old precedent
        • 7 ways Apple’s iPhone 7 needs to play catchup to Android

          All eyes will be on Apple Wednesday, and on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that everyone expects the company to announce. Now more than ever, Apple has the advantage to win back on-the-fencers who are as open to an iPhone as they are to a whole chorus of Android phones.

          Why? Because Samsung just recalled its latest iPhone opponent, the Galaxy Note 7, over a battery flaw, and because Google hasn’t announced its latest Nexus successors (the rumored “Pixel” phones are said to be coming in October). That puts the iPhone in a position of strength and opportunity — if they can meet some of the top features found in Android rivals.

        • Apple hopes new iPhone 7 release will regain ground from growing Android
        • Fancy using Android on your computer? Android-86 released first build of Nougat for the PC

          It’s safe to say that Android and Intel don’t play that well together these days, and neither Google nor Intel are doing much to change that. Despite that, however, the Android-86 project, which is aimed at bringing Android to computers, is alive and well.

          In fact, the Android 7.0 build for developers has just been released through the project. What does that mean? You can now run Android 7.0 Nougat on your computer.

        • Has Huawei built a tablet for Google to be released in 2016?

          Right now, fans of the Nexus line have their eyes on the next pair of smartphones expected to be released in the coming weeks, but nobody has really been paying much attention to what Google has planned in the tablet department. Some have even speculated that Chromebooks are rapidly overtaking the niche that Android tablets once occupied, but now it seems like Google might have another tablet card up their sleeve in conjunction with Huawei.

          It doesn’t have a name yet, and with the Nexus line allegedly rebranding to Pixel, there’s no way to really even speculate. All we know is that prolific leaker and Android community staple Evan Blass has tweeted that Google will be releasing a “Huawei-built 7-inch tablet, with 4GB RAM” before the end of the year.

        • Leak “confirms” Google Pixel, Pixel XL comes with Android 7.1

          In case there were any doubt that Google’s upcoming Android smartphones due next month would be coming with Android 7.1 out of the box, this should lay those to rest. Actually, it still might not, considering it’s technically still an unverified leak. For leakster LlabTooFeR, however, it’s pretty much a done deal. And considering how the initial Android 7.0 release missed a couple of things, that’s almost a given. Now all we have to do is wait for about a month to see if Marlin and Sailfish, both from HTC, will indeed be the first of Google’s new line of Pixel smartphones.

        • GStreamer on Android and universal builds

          There are some things that I’d like for us to be able to do better. The first is that Android Studio doesn’t pick up native code with our current build approach. This is a limitation of the Android Gradle NDK plugin, which doesn’t support a custom build. This should change with Android Studio 2.2.

        • Do not deal with Android Enjoyed, Camera Sky and Klukkur, Fair Trading warns
        • Apple Music for Android Surpasses 10 Million Downloads
        • Android vs iPhone | Android vs iOS: which is best?

          So you want a new phone, but you’re considering jumping ship from Android or iOS. But is the grass really greener on the other side, or should you stick with what you know? Here we outline the pros and cons of Android phones and iPhones. It’s Android vs iPhone: iOS vs Android. See also: Best new phones

          Before we get started, we must point out that this guide is intended as a brief overview to help you decide whether to choose an Android phone or an iPhone. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive comparison of every last feature, both in hardware and software, of each type of phone. And we also know that die-hard fans won’t be persuaded to switch – that’s not the aim of this article at all.

        • Michael Kors Dylan Access review: Android Wear for everyone

          The Michael Kors Access line is available September 6 starting at $350 for the model above (metal/silicone), going up to $395 for the more exclusive gold-tone Bradshaw varieties. Bands begin at $40, rising to $50 for the embossed versions). (In Canada, watch prices begin at $420, rising to $475, with bands running $50 to $60.)

          Despite the issues with the charger, and the imperfect display characteristics, I grew to enjoy the Access, and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to engage with the more fashion-forward varieties of Android Wear. Like the Fossil Q Founder, this smartwatch is more about the brand than the product, and it’s clear that certain decisions were made to reinforce its place alongside similarly-designed analog watches in endless glass displays.

          But somehow it works: it is both fashionable and functional, the comfortable enough (with a sizeable battery) to wear all day.

Free Software/Open Source


  • El Salvador footballers claim they were offered bribes for World Cup qualifier against Canada

    Players from El Salvador’s national football team claim they were offered bribes for a World Cup qualifier, playing audio of the alleged interaction at a press conference.

    The players claimed they were offered financial inducements to win, draw or avoid a heavy defeat in the match against Canada, scheduled for Wednesday (AEST).

    El Salvador captain Nelson Bonilla told reporters in a pre-match news conference in Vancouver on Monday that a Salvadoran businessman had approached the players with the offer last weekend.

  • Screens In Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax

    As the dog days of summer wane, most parents are preparing to send their kids back to school. In years past, this has meant buying notebooks and pencils, perhaps even a new backpack. But over the past decade or so, the back-to-school checklist has for many also included an array of screen devices that many parents dutifully stuff into their children’s bag.

    The screen revolution has seen pedagogy undergo a seismic shift as technology now dominates the educational landscape. In almost every classroom in America today, you will find some type of screen—smartboards, Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones. From inner-city schools to those in rural and remote towns, we have accepted tech in the classroom as a necessary and beneficial evolution in education.

    This is a lie.

    Tech in the classroom not only leads to worse educational outcomes for kids, which I will explain shortly, it can also clinically hurt them. I’ve worked with over a thousand teens in the past 15 years and have observed that students who have been raised on a high-tech diet not only appear to struggle more with attention and focus, but also seem to suffer from an adolescent malaise that appears to be a direct byproduct of their digital immersion. Indeed, over two hundred peer-reviewed studies point to screen time correlating to increased ADHD, screen addiction, increased aggression, depression, anxiety and even psychosis.

  • Science

    • Billionaires’ Spectacular Stumbles

      This past week, a Falcon 9 rocket built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company exploded on the launch pad during preparations for a static test prior to the scheduled launch of a communications satellite. The explosion and fire were quite spectacular, although in an unwanted sense, of course.

      This was SpaceX’s second catastrophic failure in little more than a year. Last year another Falcon 9 disintegrated two minutes after launch, with the loss of a cargo capsule bringing 4,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the international space station. Such failures have raised, at least for the moment, the question of whether Musk is unwisely trying in his ventures to push the envelope too far and too fast.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Toxic air pollution particles found in human brains

      Toxic nanoparticles from air pollution have been discovered in human brains in “abundant” quantities, a newly published study reveals.

      The detection of the particles, in brain tissue from 37 people, raises concerns because recent research has suggested links between these magnetite particles and Alzheimer’s disease, while air pollution has been shown to significantly increase the risk of the disease. However, the new work is still a long way from proving that the air pollution particles cause or exacerbate Alzheimer’s.

      “This is a discovery finding, and now what should start is a whole new examination of this as a potentially very important environmental risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Prof Barbara Maher, at Lancaster University, who led the new research. “Now there is a reason to go on and do the epidemiology and the toxicity testing, because these particles are so prolific and people are exposed to them.”

      Air pollution is a global health crisis that kills more people than malaria and HIV/Aids combined and it has long been linked to lung and heart disease and strokes. But research is uncovering new impacts on health, including degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, mental illness and reduced intelligence.

      The new work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined brain tissue from 37 people in Manchester, in the UK, and Mexico, aged between three and 92.

  • Security

    • LuaBot Is the First Botnet Malware Coded in Lua Targeting Linux Platforms [Ed: so don’t install malware]

      Unlike Mirai, which is the fruit of a two-year-long coding frenzy, LuaBot is in its early stages of development, with the first detection being reported only a week ago and a zero detection rate on VirusTotal for current samples.

    • Nearly 800,000 Brazzers Porn Site Accounts Exposed in Forum Hack [Ed: Remember Canonical having Ubuntu Forums cracked, twice, due to proprietary vBulletin? Well, vBulletin — again.]

      Nearly 800,000 accounts for popular porn site Brazzers have been exposed in a data breach. Although the data originated from the company’s separate forum, Brazzers users who never signed up to the forum may also find their details included in the dump.

      Motherboard was provided the dataset by breach monitoring site Vigilante.pw for verification purposes. The data contains 790,724 unique email addresses, and also includes usernames and plaintext passwords. (The set has 928,072 entries in all, but many are duplicates.)

      Troy Hunt, a security researcher and creator of the website Have I Been Pwned? helped verify the dataset by contacting subscribers to his site, who confirmed a number of their details from the data.

    • Pokémon-inspired rootkit attacks Linux systems [Ed: Media hyping up "Linux" threat which requires 1) the cracker has access to the device. 2) cracker installs malware.]

      Provides backdoor and traffic-hiding capabilities.

      A new persistent stealthy malware that can give attackers full control over Linux servers has been discovered by researchers.

      Researcher Fernando Mercês with security vendor Trend Micro said the malware – a rootkit family – is named after a character in the Pokémon fantasy game called Umbreon.

      Umbreon is a dark Pokémon that hides in the night, an “appropriate characteristic for a rootkit,” Mercês wrote.

    • Pokémon-loving VXer targets Linux with ‘Umbreon’ rootkit [Ed: More hysteria, now in British media, over something that’s not a real risk, thanks to self promotion]
    • Pokemon Rootkit Targets Linux Systems
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Syria: Can Russia & US Broker a new Cease-Fire?

      Stars and Stripes reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may be very near a new US-Russian deal on Syria.

    • In Turkey, a Chechen Commander Makes Plans for War in Syria

      Rustam Azhiyev, better known as Abdul Hakim, rarely left his apartment building in the Basaksehir district of Istanbul. Originally from Chechnya, Hakim has spent almost his entire life at war, and he is now the head of Ajnad al Kavkaz, or Soldiers of the Caucasus, the largest of the Muslim factions from the former Soviet Union fighting in Syria.

      It was the fall of 2015, and I wasn’t given our meeting location until I got in the taxi in Istanbul. “Basaksehir, where the big bazaar is located,” my contact told me in Russian over the phone. “You will find it for sure.”

      I was supposed to call again when I got there and then wait, apparently long enough to make sure that I wasn’t being watched.

      Istanbul is like a giant waiting hall in a train station. It’s easy to remain anonymous in that constant churn of people entering and exiting the city, and that’s what jihadis intent on going to Syria have done here. Though the exact number is hard to know, there are believed to be thousands of Chechens living in Istanbul, and even more Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and Tajiks. And some of them are on their way to Syria, where they take up arms with factions fighting the Assad regime.

    • Erdogan’s unexpected ally

      There was exhaustive coverage by international media of the post-coup meeting between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St. Petersburg. Now the Kremlin host may pay a return visit. The media spotlight however did not fall on one other – perhaps, quite unexpected – Erdogan ally: Thorbjorn Jagland, the Council of Europe’s Secretary General.

    • How Obama’s Asia Pivot Nudged China Toward Pakistan but Helped Aggravate India

      After many disastrous years spent trying to shape the Middle East, the Obama administration has refocused its foreign policy toward defending U.S. interests in economically wealthy East Asia. President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” is widely perceived as an attempt by the United States to contain China’s growing economic and political clout in that region. But the resulting increase in U.S. pressure on China’s eastern periphery has had an interesting side-effect — it has led China to look elsewhere on the continent for opportunities to trade, invest, and build diplomatic influence.

      A major target of this redirected effort has been China’s neighbor to its west, Pakistan. A series of joint Chinese-Pakistani infrastructure projects are now underway, branded collectively as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These investments are intended to build Pakistan’s economic capacity and increase its links to western China, while giving China access to port facilities on the Indian Ocean.

      Although the project could have significant long-term economic benefits to the region, it has engendered tensions with India, which has had contentious relations with both China and Pakistan in the past. How China navigates this effort to expand its influence with Pakistan, and how other powerful countries respond, could determine whether South and Central Asia embark on a new era of shared prosperity or remain trapped in a cycle of conflict.

    • Hillary Clinton Courts Henry Kissinger’s Endorsement Even After Meeting His Victims

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been seeking the endorsement of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and their efforts may pay off, as there are reports that he is expected soon, alongside former Secretary of State George Schultz, to issue a joint endorsement of Clinton.

      While those inside the national security community in Washington, D.C., may applaud the endorsement, Kissinger’s legacy of war crimes — from complicity in the 1973 coup in Chile to spearheading the saturation bombing of Indochina — has made him far less popular among human rights observers.

      Clinton is well aware of that legacy. As secretary of state, she traveled to areas of the world that were devastated by policies Kissinger crafted and implemented.

      The most relevant example is in 2012, when she visited Laos’s Cooperative Orthotic & Prosthetic Enterprise, a joint project between NGOs and the government of Laos dedicated to helping people with physical disabilities get prosthetic limbs and be rehabilitated. The project’s creation was prompted by the millions of submunitions littered across Laos, left over from the U.S. air war on the country during the conflict in Indochina.

    • The link between uranium from the Congo and Hiroshima: a story of twin tragedies

      On August 6 – Hiroshima Day – I participated in a groundbreaking event at the South African Museum in Cape Town entitled The Missing Link: Peace and Security Surrounding Uranium.

      The event had been organised by the Congolese Civil Society of South Africa to put a spotlight on the link between Japan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): that the uranium used to build the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima came from the Shinkolobwe mine in the province of Katanga.

      This was the richest uranium in the world. Its ore had an average of 65% uranium oxide compared with American or Canadian ore, which contained less than 1%.

      The mine is now closed, but its existence put it at the centre of the Manhattan Project in the second world war. The Congo was a Belgian colony at the time and the Congolese suffered from the harsh colonial reality of racism, segregation and extreme inequities.

      Following the war, the mine became a focus for the Cold War conflict between the superpowers. Today, freelance miners, desperate to earn a living and at severe risk to their health, still go to the site to dig out uranium and cobalt.

    • Defending Arms Sales, Boris Johnson Says Yemen Carnage Is No ‘Serious Breach’

      The Saudi-led military campaign that has indiscriminately killed nearly 4,000 Yemeni civilians, is the driving force behind massive humanitarian and refugee crises, and has been accused of war crimes, has not breached international law sufficiently for the United Kingdom to cease selling munitions to the Gulf nation—at least according to British foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

      As members of Parliament prepare this week to debate whether to impose an arms ban on Saudi Arabia in light of the aforementioned allegations, the newly-appointed Johnson submitted a letter Monday arguing that there has been no “serious breach” of law.

      “The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to international humanitarian law is whether those weapons might be used in a commission of a serious breach of international humanitarian law,” he wrote. “Having regard to all the information available to us, we assess this test has not been met.”

    • Boris Johnson defends UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia
    • Repression Rains Down on Pro-Democracy Demonstrators in Brazil

      Protests took place in multiple Brazilian cities on Sunday, in support of ousted president Dilma Rousseff and against the now-officially installed government of her successor, Michel Temer.

    • How Many Guns Did the U.S. Lose Track of in Iraq and Afghanistan? Hundreds of Thousands.

      Early this year, a Facebook user in Baghdad using the name Hussein Mahyawi posted a photograph of a slightly worn M4 assault rifle he was offering for sale. Veterans of the latest war in Iraq immediately recognized it. It was a standard American carbine equipped with a holographic sight, a foregrip that was military-issue during the occupation and a sticker bearing a digital QR code used by American forces for inventory control. Except for one detail — an aftermarket pistol grip, the sort of accessory with which combatants of the current generation often pimp their guns — it was a dead ringer for any of the tens of thousands of M4s the Pentagon handed out to Iraqi security forces and various armed militias after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003. And here it was on the open market, ready for bids.

      Was this a surprise? No. A little more than four years after the United States withdrew all its military forces from Iraq, and not quite two years after a smaller number of American troops began returning to the country to help fight the Islamic State, the open sale of such an M4 was part of Iraq’s day-to-day arms-trafficking routine. Mahyawi’s carbine was another data point attesting to an extraordinary and dangerous failure of American arms-trafficking and public accountability and to a departure from a modern military’s most basic practice: keeping track of the guns.

    • Obama cancels meeting with leader who called him ‘son of a b—-’

      President Obama cancelled a meeting with new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, after being called a “son of a bitch” by the leader while he spoke to reporters.

      In language highly unusual for any world leader — let alone from a close ally like the Philippines — Duterte told reporters in Manila that Obama should not use their planned meeting to critique the Philippine’s war on drugs.

      “You must be respectful,” Duterte said of Obama, according to the AP. “Do not just throw questions.” Using the Tagalog phrase for “son of a bitch,” he said, “Putang ina, I will swear at you in that forum.”

      The comment came after a reporter asked him how he’ll explain the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, where more than 2,000 suspected drug sellers and users have been killed since the end of June.


      “Clearly, he’s a colorful guy,” Obama said.

      “And what I’ve instructed my team to do is to talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this, in fact, a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations.”

      Obama stressed that the Filipino people were “some of our closest friends and allies, and the Philippines is a treaty ally of ours.”

      But he said he wanted to make sure “that if I’m having a meeting that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done.”

    • Michael Levitan, Brian Wilson, and Bo Boudart

      Wilson recounts his transformation from Vietnam-War hawk to veteran to antiwar organizer…

    • The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing

      Over the past decade, the documents show, the NSA has pioneered groundbreaking new spying programs at Menwith Hill to pinpoint the locations of suspected terrorists accessing the internet in remote parts of the world. The programs — with names such as GHOSTHUNTER and GHOSTWOLF — have provided support for conventional British and American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But they have also aided covert missions in countries where the U.S. has not declared war. NSA employees at Menwith Hill have collaborated on a project to help “eliminate” terrorism targets in Yemen, for example, where the U.S. has waged a controversial drone bombing campaign that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths.

      The disclosures about Menwith Hill raise new questions about the extent of British complicity in U.S. drone strikes and other so-called targeted killing missions, which may in some cases have violated international laws or constituted war crimes. Successive U.K. governments have publicly stated that all activities at the base are carried out with the “full knowledge and consent” of British officials.

      The revelations are “yet another example of the unacceptable level of secrecy that surrounds U.K. involvement in the U.S. ‘targeted killing’ program,” Kat Craig, legal director of London-based human rights group Reprieve, told The Intercept.

      “It is now imperative that the prime minister comes clean about U.K. involvement in targeted killing,” Craig said, “to ensure that British personnel and resources are not implicated in illegal and immoral activities.”

      The British government’s Ministry of Defence, which handles media inquires related to Menwith Hill, declined to comment for this story.

    • Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East

      British soldiers on guard at Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, 1920. Matson Collection. Public Domain.Many people, understandably, are perplexed by the violence and disorder of the Middle East. They look at, say, the conflict in Syria and ask: how did it come to this?

      Part of the problem is that the media focus on the crowded foreground and neglect the all-important historical background – in particular, the formative period in the emergence of the modern Middle East, in the age of empire.

      To understand the conflicts and crises of today’s Middle East, we need to understand how it emerged in essentially its present form, in the half-century between 1917 and 1967. When the British left Egypt, 77 per cent of the population was illiterate, per capita income stood at £42 a year, and the life expectancy of an Egyptian male was 36.

      The region was shaped in important, and fateful, ways by the First World War and its aftermath. The Ottoman Empire, which had governed the Middle East for four hundred years, had taken the side of Germany. After its defeat, Britain and France divided the Arab portions of the empire between them. The post-war settlement left a legacy of deep mistrust – and unwittingly sowed the seeds of many of the conflicts of today, including the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the Lebanon problem and the statelessness of the Kurds.

      Arabs who dreamt of independence felt betrayed when they found they had exchanged Turkish for European rule. ‘The ghost of the Peace Settlement,’ wrote the historian Albert Hourani, ‘has haunted Arab politics ever since.’

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • With ‘Time Running Out,’ G20 Fails on Fossil Fuel Subsidies

      ‘Handing out money to the fossil fuel industry is simply not compatible with the Paris agreement’

    • Indonesia team threatened with death for looking into fires, haze

      Dozens of Indonesian men, suspected of being hired by an oil palm plantation company, threatened to kill environmental investigators checking on fires on Sumatra island, the environment ministry said.

      The incident illustrates the difficulties Indonesia faces tackling the illegal burning of vegetation to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations that causes clouds of smoke every dry season, which at times blanket the region, raising fears for public health and air travel.

      The ministry said a group of up to 100 men detained seven investigators for about 12 hours on the weekend and threatened to burn them alive and dump their bodies in a river at an oil palm plantation in Rokan Hulu, Riau province.

      The team was following up on satellite images showing “hot spots,” or suspected fires, in a concession of PT Andika Permata Sawit Lestari (APSL) oil palm plantation company.

      There were “strong indications” the mob was deployed by the company, the ministry said in a statement.

      “With this incident, the investigation of PT APSL will become our top priority,” Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya said in the statement, referring to both suspected forest encroachment by the company and the detention of the team.

      “The environment ministry will investigate this and take strict action in accordance with the law,” she said.

    • Indonesia Condemns Palm Oil Firm’s Hostage-Taking Over Fires

      Indonesia’s minister of environment and forestry has condemned attempts by a palm oil company to stop an investigation into forest fires by taking ministry investigators hostage.

      A team of seven officials investigating wildfires was intercepted Friday and held by a group of captors believed to be mobilized by Andika Permata Sawit Lestari Ltd., a palm oil company operating in Riau province.

      Novrizal Tahar, a ministry spokesman, said Monday that the hostages were released early Saturday following negotiations involving police and local officials.

      The team initially found that more than 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of forest had been burned by workers of the company, according to a ministry statement Sunday.

      Following the negotiations, the team agreed to erase the files from their digital camera, except for pictures taken by a drone, the statement said.

      Siti Nurbaya, the minister of environment and forestry, said in the statement that the incident has encouraged her ministry to take stern actions against perpetrators of illegal forest burning and rogue corporations in accordance with the law.

    • Saudi Arabia’s oil industry has an overlooked risk
    • Russia, Saudi Arabia plan oil output task force

      Oil prices rose Monday after Russia and Saudi Arabia announced they would cooperate on stabilizing oil output.

      The two top oil-producing countries plan to hold a Russia-Saudi Arabia task force on oil and gas next month, the Russian and Saudi energy ministers Alexander Novak and Minister Khalid al-Falih announced Monday in a joint statement at the G-20 summit in China.

      Their countries “recognized the need to restrain an excessive volatility of the oil market” and agreed to act together “in order to stabilize the oil market,” they said in the statement.

  • Finance

    • Burning Man’s loving engine powered by wealth, privilege

      As I fumbled for a $20 bill to buy ice, my wallet felt unexpectedly foreign.

      I’d been in Burning Man’s temporary city for nearly a week and it was the first time I’d had to pay for anything.

      That’s a big part of this whole experience: Decommodification.

      In other words, you basically can’t buy anything here. This isn’t a barter economy, either.

      Instead, the 70,000 folks here just give you things. Sweaty naked hugs? Yes (but no thanks). French toast made with challah bread flown in fresh from Berkeley? Absolutely. The best Moscow mule you’ve ever had? Definitely. Free airplane rides? No problem.

    • Obama Needs to Take TPP Off the Table
    • The ITT Fraud: For-Profit Education and the Crisis of the Commons

      The rapid decline of the ITT for profit-college may represent a pivotal moment in modern history, as seen in rising challenges to predatory capitalism. ITT is in deep trouble, subject to numerous lawsuits, from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Consumer Finance and Protection Bureau (CFPB) for defrauding students. The con that is for-profit education is finally being exposed, and these “higher learning” institutions are increasingly recognized for their rapacious treatment of students. Within this context, the Wall Street Journal seeks to reframe the attack on ITT as the work of the big, bad government, which is committed to stifling the liberties inherent in private enterprise. Contrary to the paper’s propaganda, however, the narrative of for-profit colleges as a beleaguered David facing the onslaught of a brutal government Goliath bears little resemblance to reality.

      In a recent piece in their “Review and Outlook” section titled “Obama’s For-Profit Execution,” the Journal attacks the Obama administration for trying to “kill a company without proving a single allegation” in court. The paper laments the Department of Education for requiring ITT to increase its letter of credit from 10 percent to 20 percent, in light of the possibility that the corporation will lose its accreditation in the near future. A letter of credit refers to the collateral a for-profit institution must maintain to assure that it can pay back money owed to the federal government in the case of bankruptcy, which may be right around the corner for the ailing college

    • Reagan Sold Your Future, Trump Will Too

      Two generations ago, many white working-class Democrats bought into Ronald Reagan’s promise of a better nation. Eager for “morning in America” — and swayed by fear that advances for black people would come at their expense — they didn’t see that the shadow of a long sunset was creeping over their lives.

      Because the GOP had another, darker agenda. One that didn’t include them.

      Reagan Democrats were left with a president who blamed and criticized people of color, while billionaires got to enjoy a president who helped them grab the lion’s share of America’s wealth.

      Today, Donald Trump is singing the same song, promising salvation and blaming immigrants, blacks, and Muslims for America’s woes. And if enough white men join the chorus, they may doom themselves to another decade of declining economic opportunity.

    • Waiting for Brexit – a note on contentions and biases

      By way of background: until the referendum vote a couple or so months ago, I never expected or wanted to write much about European Union issues.

      I had done a couple of posts at the FT about the referendum before the vote: here I explained why the referendum was not legally binding and here I contended that the referendum was unnecessary.

      But I did not expect ever to write any more than this on the topic: I assumed, like many people, that Remain would win and Cameron would get away with his political folly.

      Then Remain lost and Leave won, and a spectacular political-legal-policy mess was created.

      And, I am afraid, I found this mess fascinating.

      I still do.

    • The Problem With Tax and Spend Politicians

      If we want more war, more unemployment, a new recession, and bursting bubbles that drive financial instability, vote for those Republican incumbents, many of whom gave us the radically wrong invasion of Iraq and the daily hemorrhage of Pentagon contracts that produce record deficits and starve domestic budgets.

    • Apple and Ireland: Partners in Crime

      Underneath the sleek design there’s nothing but sleaze. And behind the blarney there’s sinister bullshit. No wonder they understand each other and have been working harmoniously together since 1991. Despite the ultramodern technology and the trendy little economy – Apple and Ireland are nothing but pirates attempting to pillage as much as they can from the global community.

      All was revealed in Brussels on Tuesday when the EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, nailed the corporation and the country to the wall of shame. After investigating Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland Vestager concluded that Dublin is breaking EU rules by giving state aid to Apple – one of the richest corporations in the world (it’s value is not far off a trillion dollars).

      The state aid in question is a tax arrangement that allows Apple to avoid paying international tax. The trick is the use of a shell company that is based in Ireland but which is officially “stateless”. By directing all the money it makes outside the US into it’s “Irish” shell company Apple – thanks to the Irish government – walks away with a tax rate of “0.005%”. That is: apart from the token amount it pays to the Irish government at the usual 12.5% rate – Apple walks away with everything it can get it’s hands on. But since this special tax package is offered “only” to Apple the EU judged it to be a breach of it’s competition rules.

    • TTIP Is on the Floor, the Referee Is Counting Down…

      We’ve had an incredible victory this week. Some of the leading proponents of the EU-US corporate trade deal, known as TTIP, have said that the deal is dead.

      We would never have got to this position without the tremendous mobilisation across Europe over the last 3 years. This has been one of the most significant movements in recent European history.

    • Obama still thinks Pacific trade deal can pass Congress

      President Barack Obama expressed renewed optimism that his trade pact with Pacific Rim nations would still be approved by Congress, despite widespread political opposition that has left the 12-nation deal all but dead.

      Both Democrats and Republicans have soured on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as overseas trade has emerged as a campaign scapegoat for all that remains wrong in the shifting U.S. economy. Hopes for passage by the end of Obama’s term have largely faded.

    • Paul Ryan Says the Catholic Charity Model Is the Solution to Poverty. Catholics Disagree.

      Earlier this week, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Johnson, both of Wisconsin, penned an op-ed stating—once again—their belief that charity and individual responsibility are the key to fighting poverty.

      “This is how you fight poverty: person to person,” they write.

      To illustrate their point, they tell the story of The Joseph Project, a job assistance program run by the Greater Praise Church of God in Christ in Milwaukee. Ryan and Johnson praise The Joseph Project for providing vans that drive Milwaukeeans to Sheboygan County, where they can earn $15 an hour working a factory job. In Milwaukee, by contrast, these workers would likely earn just $8 or $9 an hour. The drive is an hour commute each way, but Ryan and Johnson assert: “That van represents the difference between poverty and opportunity.”

      While it’s important that The Joseph Project is assisting these folks, it’s disingenuous for the Speaker and the Senator to lift up this kind of program as the key to fighting poverty—and even a justification for overhauling our safety net.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trudeau’s fading relationship with Canadian labour

      Justin Trudeau’s government started well, moving swiftly to repeal anti-union legislation in bills C-377 and C-525. Ushered in during the Harper years, the bills implemented legislation that made it harder for workers to unionize, and forced unions to disclose detailed financial information about activities like political lobbying and donations.

      Public sector unions also applauded the decision to repeal Bill C-59, which enabled the government to bypass the collective bargaining process and impose new sick leave rules on the public service.

      Unfortunately, the strong start from the Liberals failed to carry through into the rest of the year, with little movement seen at the public sector union bargaining tables, and the repeal of Bill C-4 yet to tabled formally in Parliament. Trudeau said last month at the Unifor national convention the government planned to introduce repeal legislation for the bill this fall.

      Under Bill C-4 rules, bargaining is heavily skewed in favour of the government. The legislation introduced a raft of anti-union measures impacting contract negotiations that include enabling the government to decide which unions can go to arbitration and which ones are allowed to strike, and skewing the arbitration route in favour of pro-government settlement offers.

    • Hillary Clinton, Servergate, and the Steve Martin Defense

      One possibility is that Clinton is a lying felon who, either intentionally or with reckless negligence, compromised classified information which was entrusted to her care, and who knew she could successfully play the “I forgot card” to forestall prosecution because she is Hillary Clinton.

      The other possibility is that Clinton suffers from a traumatic brain injury which negatively affects her ability to remember important things. Things like, say, “when meeting with the Russian ambassador, don’t let him play with the briefcase that contains the nuclear strike codes.”

    • The United States: Proud Sponsor of Democracy Propaganda

      Consumers are familiar with the term, sponsored by. Someone put up some scratch and in turn gets the right to sell their wares. It’s a business deal. We’ve seen the word “sponsor”, in this sense, prefaced by another word, like “official”, or “proud”. Official sponsor means something like…actually it doesn’t mean anything beyond what sponsor means. It’s merely trying to sound important. Now proud sponsor means something like…no, actually there’s no content to it either but it seems to be trying to puff up the sponsor. What do we really care about how proud they are of, what, to sell us something?

      Words can sometimes mean nothing. How about these? Do you think your choice of candidate is “honest and trustworthy”? This is a popular subject in the upcoming presidential election. A Google search yields about 350,000 results from the four words, Trump, Clinton, honest, trustworthy. It should be more though.

      A Google search for the three words — advertising, honest, trustworthy — yields over four million results. But we still fall hook, line, and sinker for advertising’s inaccuracy, exaggeration, misdirection, manipulation, exploitation, lies of omission and outright lies. It works, and works so wonderfully that it is the engine for consumer mass commercialization. We’re a great country as long as we keep shopping, this taking a little liberty with a line from one G.W. Bush.

      Politicians no more have to tell the truth than advertisers do. That’s not their job. They’re in sales and, as such, occupy the lowest rung in Washington. Marlon Brando once said that actors are the lowest rung in Hollywood. Same thing. Both get pushed out front where they act as instruments of those with permanence in the establishment structure. At best, they become part of the structure.

    • The US Election: an Exercise in Mendacity

      Big Daddy might have been talking about the current U.S. presidential election, which currently wraps the nation in a putrid bubble that can be smelled around the planet. To call it a democratic process would surely be mendacious.

      Leave aside the fact that bourgeois elections are generally structured in such a way as to screw over the 99%. Polls during the primaries consistently indicated that Bernie Sanders led either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in voter support. But devious rules and manipulations, and the now-revealed skewing of the primary process by the DNC, and the solid backing of the news networks deliberately downplaying Clinton’s negatives while belittling Sanders, delivered the convention vote to the former secretary of state.

      Meanwhile Trump became Republican nominee because the mainstream media for months followed a strategy of simultaneously treating his candidacy as a joke but then cutting to coverage of his every utterance (as “breaking news”) even though he just repeated his same old tired, vapid, solipsistic rant that was anything but news. At the same time, they ignored Sanders’ speeches, or at least failed to convey their content, as reporters merely covered Sanders events as curious gatherings of enthusiastic youth. In that way Trump was able to reach his base; pick off, one by one, his GOP rivals; and gradually win polite treatment as a respectable candidate.

      This was not a case of Wall Street pouring money into the candidate’s coffers thus determining the outcome. (Look how little good Jeb Bush’s war chest did him!) It was a case of the bourgeois media determining that the broadcast of Trump’s flow-of-conscious narcissistic diatribes drew in viewers and of course sold the products advertised one out of every four minutes you watch TV. (Ultimately in this system the advertisers decide what constitutes “truth” on TV.)

      We know that Hillary Clinton lied. She obviously did when she told Congress she had never forwarded emails marked classified from her personal email through her personal, unauthorized server. The FBI has made this very clear. While this particular sin is not a concern for me (I am perfectly happy when officials of mendacious governments reveal their dishonesty through lack of caution) it’s a clear that the candidate is (as her rival charges) “crooked.” And she didn’t, as she told Congress, just have one cell phone; she had 13 while secretary of state and had her minions smash at least two with hammers for some reason. And she did email her daughter Chelsea the very day of the Benghazi attack in 2012 that the attackers were “an Al Queda-like group” (notice the misspelling) while the State Department was instructed to blame the attack on a mob enraged over a dumb Islamophobic Youtube video.

    • Jill Stein Doesn’t Want to ‘Whitewash Our Dialogue’ When It Comes to Race (Video)

      This week, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein sat down with Truthdig for a live conversation streamed to our Facebook page. Stein and the Truthdig staff discussed mainstream-media bias, Stein’s political qualifications and the future of the Supreme Court.

      A critical moment in the conversation occurred when Stein addressed comments made by her running mate, Ajamu Baraka. Earlier this month, Baraka incited controversy when he labeled President Obama an “Uncle Tom” president—racially charged language Baraka continues to support.

      Stein has been forced to address Baraka’s comment and the ensuing conflict. In a CNN town hall earlier this month, she refused to condemn his remarks. “I understand Ajamu’s passion, his frustration and his struggle,” she said. “I think we have all been guilty of using some language that doesn’t play well as a sound bite.”

    • Green party’s Jill Stein argues right to appear at presidential debates

      Stein appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, who quizzed her about how realistic her proposals and support was, apropos a recent Washington Post editorial. After a meeting with Stein, the newspaper’s editorial board criticized her declared she was “spinning up a fairy tale – an appealing fairy tale to some, but still a fairy tale”.

      The board criticized the feasibility of her plans to end all coal, oil, gasoline and nuclear energy by 2030, her call to reconsider alliances with Nato members and a guaranteed federal job for all Americans, saying her “ideas are poorly formed and wildly impractical”.

      “I think they called me actually a fairy tale campaign, to which I would answer, in fact, we are living with a couple of nightmare campaigns right now that the American people object to at absolutely unprecedented levels,” Stein told Fox on Sunday.

    • Campaign 2016: Populism vs. Establishment

      Establishment as a concept has gotten a lot of use and abuse in the 2016 presidential election campaign. From the start of his race in the Republican primaries, Donald Trump denounced the political Establishment as a bunch of stuffed shirts, elitists who are out of touch with the voting public. They are looking after their own interests at home and abroad, let the public be damned, he said.

      The line-up of mealy-mouthed opponents whom Trump faced in debates, starting with Jeb Bush, served as exemplary targets of the longstanding indignation against the powers-that-be, an animosity felt by not only Tea Party adherents but by the majority of rank-and-file party members, which is why Trump did so well.

    • Hillary Threatens Russia With War – Neocon Media Doesn’t Even Notice (Video)

      Paul Joseph Watson is on a roll lately.

      His commentary is spot-on regarding the media giving Hillary a free pass for out-of-control Russia-bating, Russia bashing, and basically, irresponsible war-mongering.

      It is going to backfire badly on her.

    • This Guardian Piece Touting Bill Gates’ Education Investment Brought to You by Bill Gates

      What the piece failed to note—other than the fact that Rhee’s tenure left DC’s schools “worse by almost every conceivable measure” (Truthout, 10/23/13)—is that multi-billionaire Bill Gates is both the major investor of the company administering the Liberian education overhaul and the principal of the Gates Foundation, sponsor of the Guardian’s Global Development vertical, where the story appeared.

      The story clearly labels the Gates Foundation as its sponsor. What it never mentioned is that Bill Gates is a major investor of the firm at the heart of the story, Bridge Academies International, having pitched in, along with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, $100 million for the “education startup.”


      The Guardian claims its Global Development vertical, launched in 2011, is “editorially independent of any sponsorship.” According to its most recent tax filings in 2014, the Gates Foundation has an on-going $5.69 million grant to Guardian News Media Limited.

      The Guardian has run other puff pieces on the Gates Foundation in this vertical, such as “Gates Foundation Annual Letter: What Do You Think of Their Vision?” (1/22/15), which is basically an investment letter, along with “Melinda Gates Hits Out at ‘War on Women’ on Eve of Summit” (7/7/12) and “Bill Gates: Digital Learning Will Revolutionize Education in Global South” (1/22/15).

      FAIR has written for years about how Gates’ investment tentacles influence the media. He’s done softball interviews pushing common core with ABC (3/18/14), helped bankroll charter school reporting at the LA Times (8/24/15), funded the talking heads behind Race to the Top (9/1/10).

      The Gates Foundation gives grants in the hundreds of thousands and often millions to such media organizations as NBCUniversal, Al Jazeera, BBC, Viacom (CBS) and Participant Media (the producer of pro-charter school documentary Waiting for Superman). Both Gates and the Gates Foundation are sizable shareholders in Comcast, which is the primary investor in Buzzfeed and Vox, as well the parent corporation of MSNBC and NBC News–the latter of which teamed up with Gates and other noted education experts like Exxon and University of Phoenix Online for the week-long charter school commercial “Education Week”.


      His enormous wealth and the reach of media parent corporations seem to exempt Gates from routine disclosure requirements. He was offered up as an education expert in the pro-charter Waiting for Superman, without any mention of the fact that he donated at least $2 million to the film and had a media partnership with its distributor, Viacom. He is given softball interviews in Comcast-backed Vox without disclosure that he’s a major Comcast investor. Because his stake in media companies is laundered enough times, it’s assumed not to merit mention.

      In the case of the Guardian, Gates effectively owns an entire vertical, so when one of his investments is written up, one doesn’t notice the conflict of interest—like a fish doesn’t notice water. Because his influence is everywhere, it appears to be nowhere.

    • Donald Trump Once Wanted Third Parties in Presidential Debates, But Not Now

      The three presidential debates and sole vice presidential debate will likely exclude third parties, and GOP nominee Donald Trump is just fine with that.

      “I’d rather have head to head and right now they’re not getting any numbers,” Trump told The Washington Post in August, saying he wanted to debate Democrat Hillary Clinton and exclude the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

      But when Trump himself was slated to be excluded from the debate stage, he had a different opinion.

      In January of 2000, the Reform Party held a press conference that, among other things, discussed the exclusion of third-party candidates from the presidential debates. Then-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, one of the party’s few endorsed candidates to hold a major office, denounced the exclusion as “despicable.”

      Ventura was joined by Trump, who was at the time was considering running for president on the Reform Party ticket.

    • Jill Stein Has a New Political Rap Anthem Called ‘Power to the People’

      The Jill Stein campaign has a new anthem. The political rap song by Kor Element is called “Power to the People,” or “Fall in Line.”

      Kor is a self-described “world poet” and “hip-hop healer,” and he unveiled the song at a Stein rally Wednesday at Bernie’s Coffee Shop, at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. The L.A. landmark, formerly Johnnie’s Coffee Shop, took on a new role as Bernie Sanders headquarters during the presidential primary season.

    • Wingnut Week In Review: Hispanic Advisers To Trump, “We Quit!”

      Donald Trump reverted to type with his immigration speech, delivered shortly after his visit to Mexico. After flirting with “softening” his position, the old Trump-style xenophobia was a hit with some, not with others.

      Hispanic Advisors to Trump, We Quit!

      It may have come as a surprise to Trump, a guy who loves to fire people, when half of his Hispanic Advisory Board quit after his immigration speech. It came as an even bigger surprise to the rest of us that Trump even had any Latino supporters at this point. “We decided to make a big U-turn to see if we could make him change. We thought we were moving in the right direction,” said Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, “we’re disappointed. We feel misled.”

    • Donald Trump doubles down on deportation plan

      Anticipation that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump might moderate his position on immigration in a long-awaited “pivot” to the general election was extinguished on August 31 when he laid out his 10-point immigration plan in a fiery speech in Arizona.

      Instead of a more compassionate and humane platform, he reverted to his fulminating and nativist rhetoric, vowing to deport two million “criminal aliens” immediately and rejecting any path towards legalisation for the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, who would have to return to their home country and wait their turn in the long immigration queue.

      It was unclear how aggressively Trump would pursue law-abiding immigrants, though they would be pushed further into the shadows, including those brought to the country as children who have never known another home.

    • Trump vs. Clinton: 2016’s Race to the Bottom

      She’s an ethically challenged career politician whose key to survival is secrecy and lies. An ever-calculating, power-hungry favor-trader who lacks integrity and dodges the press. And you definitely can’t trust her.

      He’s a boorish bigot who has the temperament of a “drunk uncle.” An egomaniacal brute who favors insults and shuns intellectual rigor. A rudderless risk that’s too unnerving to take.

      These are the dark but widely held perceptions of the two major party candidates for president as the campaign for the White House turns into the fall homestretch heading out of this Labor Day weekend.

      For many exasperated Americans, the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton comes down to weighing “crazy” against “crooked.”

      And it’s that type of low-brow, gutterball oratory that’s anticipated to continue dominating the final 60-day sprint to Nov. 8.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Ailes Hires Lawyer for Possible NY Mag Lawsuit [Ed: original behind paywall]

      Former Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes has hired Charles Harder, a libel lawyer who recently represented Hulk Hogan in his case against Gawker and is now representing Melania Trump in her suit against the Daily Mail, for a possible lawsuit against New York Magazine and one of its reporters, Gabriel Sherman. According to the Financial Times, Harder already contacted the magazine about Sherman, who has been a thorn in Ailes’ side for years and has recently revealed embarrassing items surrounding sexual harassment allegations against the ousted Fox News chief. It is not yet known whether Ailes will sue NY Mag or Sherman. The news outlet defended Sherman’s “very carefully reported” stories.

    • Facebook Is Censoring Science and Journalism

      One might have thought that the recent allegations by former employees that Facebook was manipulating its trending-topics feed to suppress news stories that appeal to conservatives would make the social-media behemoth tread more carefully. Apparently, though, it did not learn a lesson from the ensuing fallout. Facebook is now censoring science pages, journalists, and groups seeking social support.

      Stephan Neidenbach, founder of the page “We Love GMOs and Vaccines” (WLGV) and one of the authors of this article, was surprised to find that his page had been removed by Facebook censors. His page is dedicated to “promoting biotechnology and exposing those who wish to demonize it.” Such scientific chest-thumping offended a cadre of anti-GMO and anti-vaccine activists who complained to Facebook. Despite the fact that no policies were violated, the company acquiesced to their demands and deactivated the page. To add insult to injury, Neidenbach was subsequently banned from the platform for 30 days.

      His story is not unique. Many other groups, including journalists, have found themselves targeted for arbitrary and bureaucratically inflexible reasons. Facebook banned journalist Laurie Penny for violating its “real name” policy — she had used a pseudonym to avoid cyberbullying and other threats. The author of The Economist blog Democracy in America reported that he was banned for posting a photo that contained nudity in the distant background but that Facebook did not ban the genocidal page Death to Israel. On the other hand, FB removed a post by Jerry Coyne that was critical of Islam.

    • Parody and free use in Germany: Federal Court of Justice decides first parody case after Deckmyn

      But let’s back up and start with a quick look at what exactly the CJEU decided in Deckmyn. Most importantly, the Court declared that a parody under Art. 5(3)(k) InfoSoc directive only has to meet two conditions: “first, to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it, and, secondly, to constitute an expression of humour or mockery.”

      The Court then went on to explain that it is necessary to strike a fair balance between “the interests and rights” of the rights holders on the one hand, and “the freedom of expression of the user of a protected work” on the other hand. This, according to the CJEU, requires national courts to take “all the circumstances of the case” into account and decide whether a fair balance is struck or whether the rights holder has a legitimate interest to prohibit the use of his work for the parody. Because the case at hand in Deckmyn concerned a potentially racist message, the CJEU referred to the principle of non-discrimination based on race, colour and ethnic origin (which was defined in another European directive that is not related to copyright) and hinted that this may be a case where the rights holder has a legitimate interest to forbid the parodist’s use of his work.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Clinical trial data, motivated intruders and freedom of information

      Is anonymised clinical trial data exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act? This was the question facing the UK Information Tribunal recently in Queen Mary University of London v (1) The Information Commissioner and (2) Alem Matthees, EA/2015/0269.

    • Secret Report: German Federal Intelligence Service BND Violates Laws And Constitution By The Dozen

      When Edward Snowden exposed the global system of mass surveillance by secret services three years ago, including the German foreign intelligence agency BND, the German government tried to shelf it off and declare the case closed. Only one small authority held out: Then-Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar sent his staff on an inspection visit to the joint BND/NSA-station Bad Aibling in southern Germany, of which the BND feared a „very critical public“. The visit resulted in an elaborate „situation report“, but it’s classified „top secret“ and only accessible for few people.

      Additionally, the new Data Protection Commissioner Andrea Voßhoff produced a legal analysis of the findings and sent it to the Federal Intelligence Service coordinator in the German Chancellery and former BND president Gerhard Schindler. But this analysis is still classified „secret“ and our Freedom of Information-request has been denied. Media have raised the question „Secret, because embarrassing?“. We have now received this legal analysis and have published the full text of the document (in German).

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Once Again, America Seeks the Answer to The Labor Question

      The labor question is back. After World War II, it seemed to many that widespread unionization and collective bargaining had made sure that the people who did the work in this country were getting a fair share of the wealth they created, and that through their unions working people had a substantial voice in the way our country was governed.

      But we live in a different world today. Only 11 percent of all American workers belong to a union, and less than 7 percent of private-sector workers are organized. Workers’ incomes have been stagnant for decades, and whatever gains have occurred in family income have gone entirely to the top of the wage structure, driving runaway inequality. At the same time, working people feel increasingly alienated from and betrayed by our political system.

      It wasn’t so long ago that very serious people denied that the economy was failing working people in America. But overwhelming data on inequality and wage stagnation marshalled by such economists as Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Piketty and the team at the Economic Policy Institute have changed the narrative. Now defenders of the status quo of runaway inequality have shifted from saying there isn’t a problem to saying that, while there is a problem, NOTHING CAN BE DONE. The new line from the very serious people is that runaway inequality and stagnant wages are somehow the result of the unstoppable natural forces of technological change and globalization.

    • A Labor Day Parade for Hillary Clinton and the 0.1 Percent in the Hamptons

      And for the low, low price of just $2,700, the junior set (under 16) among Clinton’s elite supporters at an August event were permitted to ask the candidate a very expensive question. For $10,000, they could join other family members to pose for a snapshot with the Democratic presidential contender.

    • Happy Labor Day! There Has Never Been a Middle Class Without Strong Unions

      The entire Republican Party and the ruling heights of the Democratic Party loathe unions. Yet they also claim they want to build a strong U.S. middle class.

      This makes no sense. Wanting to build a middle class while hating unions is like wanting to build a house while hating hammers.

      Sure, maybe hammers — like every tool humans have ever invented — aren’t 100 percent perfect. Maybe when you use a hammer you sometimes hit your thumb. But if you hate hammers and spend most of your time trying to destroy them, you’re never, ever going to build a house.

      Likewise, no country on earth has ever created a strong middle class without strong unions. If you genuinely want the U.S. to have a strong middle class again, that means you want lots of people in lots of unions.

    • Labor Day

      Labor Day—what is it? Perhaps not many Americans any longer know, so here is my explanation.


      As a consequence of jobs offshoring, industrial and manufacturing cities became semi-ghost towns with declining populations. Municipal and state governments, deprived of tax base, found themselves under duress to make pension payments. To avoid immediate bankruptcy, cities such as Chicago sold off public assets such as 75 years of parking meter revenues for a one time payment.

      The Democratic Party, which had been the countervailing power against the Republican business party, was deprived of union funding as the jobs that paid union dues were no longer in America. By moving production offshore, capitalists turned the Democrats into a second capitalist political party dependent on funding from the business sector.

      Today we have one party with two heads. The competition between the parties is about which party gets to be the whore for the capitalists for the next political term. As Democrats and Republicans swap the whore function back and forth, neither party has an incentive to do anything different.

    • ‘Invisibilizing the Workers Who Actually Do the Work’

      It’s presented by corporate media as, most importantly, a long weekend with a parade—or, more seriously, as a holiday fought for by US trade unions to honor American workers. But the day has more complex origins. A national holiday had been a goal of US labor—several states already celebrated—but Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day in the midst of an attack by federal troops on striking Pullman railway workers, leading many to see it as an attempt to appease workers more than honor them.

      It’s fitting that the holiday remind us of the struggles as well as the advances of US workers, who face today some of the same problems as in 1894, including distant and disconnected owners, whose self-enriching, anti-worker policies are enabled and, if need be, enforced by government. We’ll be revisiting a few, we think, illuminating conversations about work and labor, and media coverage, this week on CounterSpin.

    • Thought is Dangerous to the USA

      I have been refused entry clearance to the USA to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and to speak at the World Beyond War conference in Washington DC. Like millions of British passport holders I have frequently visited the USA before and never been refused entry clearance under the visa waiver programme.

    • Can We Please Get Rid of the Pledge?

      The Pledge of Allegiance is not an expression of patriotism. It is a loyalty oath that one normally associates with totalitarian regimes. People who love freedom, should be appalled by the idea our children are being coerced to stand and declare their support for the state. This is the worst form of indoctrination and it is completely anathema to the principals articulated in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I cannot imagine outspoken libertarians like Thomas Jefferson or Tom Paine ever proclaiming their loyalty to the state when they correctly saw the state as the greatest threat to individual freedom. Which it is.

    • Taking a Knee for Peace: Recalling the Veterans Who Sat

      It was my own moment of reckoning—stand and salute for the Star Spangled Banner or sit? The moment returns in memory, brought back by the current flap involving Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem. Kaepernick is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers football team who did not stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before the start of the 49ers August 26 game against the Green Bay Packers. The next week vs. the San Diego Chargers, he sat again.

      My own first protest sit-down made was indelibly set—Fort Lewis Army Base in February, 1970—and the stakes—retention in the Army as a draftee, if not reassignment to Vietnam etched it in memory. But back to the Kaepernick story.

      Kaepernick says he is “not going to stand up and show support for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The reaction to his protest has been mixed with most, and the loudest, voices expressing opposition. Kaepernick’s supporters are fewer in number but count among themselves some fellow athletes.

    • Colin Kaepernick and American Freedom: The Quarterback’s Protest Exemplifies What Our Nation Stands For

      “We wonder why our country is in the toilet?!” Thus tweeted former pro baseball player Aubrey Huff, condemning Colin Kaepernick after the San Francisco 49ers quarterback refused to stand during the national anthem at a preseason game last week.

      But Huff has it exactly backward. The Kaepernick controversy shows what is truly great about America: our shared commitment to free expression.

      Yes, critics across the blogosphere have denounced Kaepernick’s conduct as an insult to the nation and its armed forces. They also slammed subsequent comments by Kaepernick, who is biracial, about the experiences of people of color, whom he said are denied “freedom and justice” in the United States.

    • Troubling Origins of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’

      San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem in protest against U.S. oppression of “black people and people of color,” a concern underscored by the origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” writes Sam Husseini.


      I actually first learned of the racism underlying the national anthem from Alex Cockburn’s 1987 book Corruptions of Empire, which features a splendid cover.

      Note to illustration on the front of jacket: In August 1814, a British raiding party led by Admiral Sir George Cockburn launched an attack on Washington. They set fire to the Capitol, then proceeded to the White House and, before setting fire to it, consumed a meal set out by Dolly Madison which had been abandoned by the fugitive President and his family. Cockburn next proceeded to the offices of The National Intelligence to avenge himself on the press which had abused him. He ordered his men to destroy the paper’s printing types, saying ‘Be sure that all the Cs are destroyed so that the rascals cannot any longer abuse my name’.

      Cockburn then laid siege to Baltimore, the unsuccessful fusillades prompting the composition of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, whose reference to ‘the hireling and slave’ in the British force alludes, as Robin Blackburn points out in The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, to the fact that Cockburn had offered freedom to all slaves who would join him in his attacks of 1813 and 1814. According to a British report these slaves conducted themselves very well and ‘were uniformly volunteers for the Station where they might expect to meet their former masters.’ Some of these black recruits were in the party that burned the White House.

    • The Trump Supporter Running Hungary Is Building a Wall to Keep Muslims Out

      Having successfully hogged the media spotlight for a day with his surprise trip to Mexico City this week, Donald Trump might now be scanning the globe for another foreign capital to visit. If so, don’t be surprised to see Trump Force One landing soon in Budapest, and being greeted warmly by Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.

      Twice in recent weeks, Orban has effectively endorsed Trump, praising the American’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, aimed particularly at Muslims, as in keeping with the Hungarian leader’s own efforts to seal his country’s southern border with a wall and to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in order “to keep Europe Christian.”

      Hungary is even holding a Brexit-inspired referendum on immigration policy next month, which will most likely give Orban’s government a mandate to reject the European Union’s plan to compel the country to accept about 1,200 refugees. And last week, as the Hungarian journalist Szabolcs Panyi noted, the prime minister announced plans to build “a more massive defense system” on Hungary’s border with Serbia to reinforce the tall fence erected last year to block migrants seeking refuge from war and poverty.

    • Behind the Russian-Israeli Detente

      Even as Official Washington gears up for a lucrative New Cold War with Russia, America’s close “ally” Israel is finding common ground with Moscow that complicates U.S. hostility, as Zach Battat explains.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Protesters With Dogs and Mace

      The ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests were hit with violence on Saturday, as private security forces reportedly hired by the pipeline builders descended on the Native American activists with pepper spray and dogs that bit and threatened the protesters.

    • ‘Is That Not Genocide?’ Pipeline Co. Bulldozing Burial Sites Prompts Emergency Motion

      In a last ditch attempt to protect burial and prayer sites, North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux late Sunday filed for a temporary restraining order to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they say has already caused “irreparable harm” to the sacred plots.

      “On Saturday, Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts,” said tribal chairman David Archambault II in a press statement.

      “They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites,” Archambault added. “The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We’re asking the court to halt this path of destruction.”

      The emergency motion came after security forces hired by the pipeline company attacked Indigenous demonstrators with dogs and pepper spray on Saturday.

      In a Facebook post on Sunday, tribal member and activist Linda Black Elk said that it’s clear that the pipeline company is trying to “provoke” the peaceful resisters “to violence.”

    • Is Zionist a rude word?

      Words trail meanings beyond their formal definitions. Raymond Williams in his Key Words leads us through the dizzying journeys that words we thought we knew well have taken over their history. For example, who nowadays brings to mind what ‘Protestants’ were protesting about? Or take ‘fascism’. This theory and practice of authoritarian politics is now so entangled with its delivery of the holocaust that outside academia it is used as a swear word plain and simple.

      Words are deployed as moves in a strategic battle. This comes out in the titanic struggle between Alice and Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty says “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean”, but is challenged on this by Alice. ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

      To Mary Davis (“Contestation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism”, openDemocracy, 27 July 2016) words are quite straight forward, Humpty-Dumpty-style. Contested words are deployed in unitary meanings of her choice. The result is of course a coherent story – of Zionism, the stages of development of Jewish settlement, the possible ways forward from the current impasse. However by failing to engage with the other competing versions of this story we get an account remarkable in its lack of nuance. News flash: Mary Davis wrestles with a straw person, and wins!

      Antisemitism has in recent months become an active concept in British politics for the first time in most living memories. Many, indeed most, of the allegations of antisemitism that have been made are about statements (not actions), and they are statements about Israel and about Zionism. I will turn to those allegations later, but first need to do some house cleaning around the subject of Zionism.

    • A (partial) defence of democracy

      The UK’s recent referendum on membership of the European Union has brought out an anti-democracy sentiment amongst many people. The People were asked a direct question, and they  —  we  —  gave the ‘wrong’ answer. So much for democracy, eh?

    • London City Airport flights disrupted after ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters occupy runway

      Flights at London City Airport were disrupted this morning after a group of protesters occupied the runway.

      Nine demonstrators got onto the runway and chained themselves to a tripod at about 5.40am, police said.

      The protesters, who claim to be acting in support of Black Lives Matter UK, are said to have got onto the tarmac at the airport after using a boat to sail across the Royal Docks.

    • Hong Kongers ‘thumb their noses at Beijing’ with pro-independence votes

      In a gesture of defiance to Beijing, Hong Kongers have elected a raft of young former pro-democracy protesters, including several who advocate for independence for the city from China.
      Voters flew in from around the world, lined up until the early hours and turned out in record numbers to elect the city’s parliament Sunday.

      The poll for the Legislative Council is the first major election since hundreds of thousands took to the streets for the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement that shut down parts of the city — a special administrative region of China.

    • Hong Kong elections: anti-Beijing activists gain foothold in power

      Two years after tens of thousands of young people poured on to the streets of Hong Kong to issue an unprecedented call for political change, a new generation of pro-democracy activists has gained a foothold in power in the former British colony.

      At least four radical young activists who support greater political autonomy or outright independence from China claimed seats in Hong Kong’s 70-member legislative council, or Legco, after a record 2.2 million people went to the polls on Sunday.

      Those elected include Nathan Law, a 23-year-old from the recently founded Demosisto party who was one of the leaders of the 2014 “umbrella movement” protests.

      “I think it is a miracle,” the former student leader, whose party has called for a referendum on independence, told reporters after his victory.

      “This is absolutely unexpected – nobody imagined this would happen. Every day and night, our team used hard work and sweat to turn defeat into victory,” added Law, who received more than 50,000 votes.

    • ‘I’ve Become a Racist’: Migrant Wave Unleashes Danish Tensions Over Identity

      Johnny Christensen, a stout and silver-whiskered retired bank employee, always thought of himself as sympathetic to people fleeing war and welcoming to immigrants. But after more than 36,000 mostly Muslim asylum seekers poured into Denmark over the past two years, Mr. Christensen, 65, said, “I’ve become a racist.”

      He believes these new migrants are draining Denmark’s cherished social-welfare system but failing to adapt to its customs. “Just kick them out,” he said, unleashing a mighty kick at an imaginary target on a suburban sidewalk. “These Muslims want to keep their own culture, but we have our own rules here and everyone must follow them.”

      Denmark, a small and orderly nation with a progressive self-image, is built on a social covenant: In return for some of the world’s highest wages and benefits, people are expected to work hard and pay into the system. Newcomers must quickly learn Danish — and adapt to norms like keeping tidy gardens and riding bicycles.

    • Police unions are a public enemy

      Thanks the the contracts police unions get from local governments, it’s not only hard to get rid of violent, corrupt cops, but investigating them in the first place is made nigh-impossible. They beat, steal and grift with impunity. The New York Times’ editorial board says it’s time for legislators to rip up these agreements and force the rule of law on those who represent it.

    • When Police Unions Impede Justice

      Across the country, municipal governments have signed contracts with police unions including provisions that shield officers from punishment for brutal behavior as well as from legitimate complaints by the citizens they are supposed to serve.

      That may soon change, as public outrage over police killings of civilians is ratcheting up pressure on elected officials to radically revise police contracts that make it almost impossible to bring officers to justice.

      The most striking case in point is Chicago, which has been roiled by a police scandal stemming from a cover-up in the case of a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald, who was executed by a police officer nearly two years ago.

      The Police Department first claimed that Mr. McDonald was brandishing a knife and moving toward officers when he was killed. A video — probably available to the city within hours of the shooting but not made public until last November, more than a year later — showed that Mr. McDonald was moving away from the cops when they shot him 16 times, and that the police were obviously lying.

    • U.S. Blocks Former British Ambassador From Entering America to Honor CIA Whistleblower

      craig murray

      The United States over the weekend denied travel to a former British ambassador, Craig Murray, who was also a British diplomat for some 30 years, and is the author of several books.

      Murray has stood twice for election to the House of Commons. He was “honored” by being thrown out of Uzbekistan by its repressive government after risking his life to expose appalling human rights abuses there. He is not a terrorist and is not a social media jihadi. He has no criminal record, no connection to drug smuggling, and does have a return ticket, a hotel reservation and ample funds to cover his expenses.

      He is however seen as a threat to the United States.

      Ambassador Murray was headed to the U.S. this week to be Master of Ceremonies at an award ceremony honoring John Kiriakou, the CIA torture whistleblower. Kiriakou was the only U.S. government official to go to jail in connection with the torture program, and all he did was help expose it to the media. The event is sponsored by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (of which I am a member.)

    • ‘Angry, Snarling, Terrifying’: Trump Confirms Nightmarish Immigration Vision

      In a chilling speech on Wednesday night, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump doubled down on his anti-immigrant rhetoric, adopting a cutthroat tone as he reiterated his vow to deport millions of undocumented people and build a wall on the border with Mexico—which that country would pay for, of course.

      The vague, misleading, and divisive speech, lauded by the likes of right-wing pundit Ann Coulter and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, “was long on inflammatory rhetoric, and short on viable policy solutions,” Raul A. Reyes wrote in his analysis for NBC News.

    • Opinion: Trump’s Immigration Plan? Demonize Immigrants, Latinos — Again

      So much for that pivot. Despite speculation over a so-called “softening” on immigration policy, Donald Trump returned to true nativist form on Wednesday night with a speech laying out his ten-point plan for reforming our immigration system. Among his proposals were building a border wall, a new deportation task force, and a requirement that undocumented immigrants leave the country to apply for legal status. There will be no path to citizenship for the undocumented.

      Trump’s speech was long on inflammatory rhetoric, and short on viable policy solutions. He missed no opportunity to demonize immigrants, yet failed to address the issue at the heart of the immigration debate – what to do with the estimated 11 million undocumented people who are already here. Trump also revealed his ignorance about how our immigration system works.

    • Fear of a black and brown America

      Make America Great Again spells fear of a black and brown US, where racist rhetoric will graduate into racist policy.

    • In Post-Olympics Brazil, a Political Coup Is No Game

      The Olympic torch in Rio de Janeiro has been extinguished, and the global spotlight has left Brazil. In the shadow of the Games, an extraordinary event has taken place, largely ignored in the U.S. media: a coup d’etat against Brazil’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazil is the fifth-most populous country in the world, with one of its largest economies. Like many Latin American nations, it suffered under a military dictatorship for decades, emerging as a young democracy only 30 years ago. This week’s coup was not carried out by the military, but by the Brazilian Senate. The effect is essentially the same: the president has been impeached, and an unpopular political opponent, Michel Temer, who represents that country’s wealthy elites, has assumed the presidency.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook’s satellite went up in smoke, but its developing world land grab goes on

      A rocket crashing into a satellite and cutting off the internet may sound somewhat like the start of an end-of-the-world blockbuster; surely such destruction, and lack of Wi-Fi, could only be a harbinger of doom?

      Fortunately, the scenario that played out last week was slightly less portentous. A SpaceX rocket, part of Elon Musk’s fevered attempts to eventually colonise Mars, exploded on Thursday as part of a failed pre-launch test fire, destroying a Facebook-owned satellite in the process.

      The satellite, which cost the company around £150m, was due to be used as part of Internet.org, a project designed to bring web connectivity to areas of the world with limited internet access. Free Basics, a program developed by Facebook with six internet service providers, is an “onramp to the internet”, designed to help those without the internet get online. Its latest iteration, in Nigeria, saw the launch of 85 free online services including healthcare offerings, job listings, education portals and, of course, Facebook itself.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Devs Rename Game to ‘DMCA’s Sky’ Following Nintendo Legal Threats

        As Nintendo continues to rid the world of fan-made games which dare to mention the company’s characters, one dev team has bitten back. Rather than completely back down, the people behind No Mario’s Sky have rebranded their platformer as DMCA’s Sky. Sadly, that couldn’t stop it being withdrawn from triannual game coding competition, Ludum Dare.

      • Swedish ISP Attacks Copyright Trolls, Over Trademark Infringement

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is launching a direct attack against Spridningskollen, the group that’s spearheading the copyright trolling efforts in Sweden. Bahnhof accuses the anti-piracy outfit of trademark infringement and demands the shutdown of its website.


Links 5/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC5, Mageia Picks DNF

Posted in News Roundup at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • How to install Linux on a Chromebook

      Chromebooks have a lot going for them – they’re cheap, they’re lightweight, and they don’t slow down over time. They’re also based on a stripped-down version of Linux, and upgrading your laptop to a fully fledged desktop operating system isn’t all that difficult.

    • Is Linux a Threat to Windows? Not According to These Stats [Ed: A longtime Microsoft booster, Bogdan Popa, uses Microsoft-connected firm to make case against GNU/Linux]

      [Microsoft-connected] Net Applications claims Windows is currently at 90.52 percent, up from 89.79 percent the month before. Windows’ worst month was April this year, when it dropped to 88.77 percent, but the OS has been recovering ever since.

    • ‘I’m sorry, your lift has had a problem and had to shut down’

      “Eight years ago I was visiting a friend in hospital when I was confronted with a disturbing image upon entering one of the elevators (yeah, OK, one of the lifts).”

      Phil arguably beats Charles, though, because this Sydney lift wanted a login and was running Windows98 well after it was deprecated:

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.8-rc5
    • Linux 4.8-rc5

      So rc5 is noticeably bigger than rc4 was, and my hope last week that we were starting to calm down and shrink the releases seems to have been premature.

      That said, most of the diffstat looks fairly flat (which tends to imply lots of small trivial changes rather than big invasive ones). There’s some stuff going on in the mellanox mlx5 network driver, and there is some nfs and overlayfs noise, but on the whole it just looks like a lot of small fixes. It may be _more_ of those small fixes than I’d prefer at this stage, but I suspect what happened was that rc4 looked so nice and small simply because some of the fixes ended up being delayed until rc5.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces a Noticeably Bigger Linux 4.8 RC5 Kernel Release

      Today, September 4, 2016, Linus Torvalds announced the immediate availability of the fifth RC (Release Candidate) development milestone of the forthcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch.

      Yes, that’s right, it’s Sunday and tomorrow is Labor Day in the U.S., so it’s time to get your computer ready for some long testing sessions of the next major Linux kernel release, namely Linux 4.8, which just received a new Release Candidate version that looks quite big compared with the previous RC.

      According to Linus Torvalds, who has hoped to see thing starting calming down in the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.8, the fifth RC introduces some improvements to the Mellanox MLX5 network driver, various changes to the OverlayFS and NFS filesystems, and some other minor improvements here and there.

    • Linux 4.8-rc5 Kernel Brings A Fair Number Of Changes
    • Torvalds at LinuxCon Part II: Fragmentation and the GPL

      This is the second of a three part series that began last Tuesday on Linux Torvalds’ keynote interview at this year’s LinuxCon. In today’s segment, Torvalds talks about how the GPL has helped prevent fragmentation.

      “Don’t get me wrong,” Linus Torvalds said, “we still argue. We’re not all happy people, we don’t love each other.”

    • Linus Torvalds credits GPL with preventing Linux fragmentation

      Linus Torvalds has never been one to mince words when it comes to Linux, or anything else for that matter. At a keynote conversation at LinuxCon he expressed his appreciation for the GPL and how it helped Linux avoid fragmentation.

    • Graphics Stack

      • SMAF Still Hasn’t Landed In Linux Kernel, Would Allow Better Protecting Video Playback [Ed: Using euphemisms like EME, secure etc. we’re now having another DRM (not Direct Rendering) entered into Linux]

        Last year we covered SMAF as the project aiming to allow for secure DMA-BUF usage. While that was written about nearly a year ago and had already gone through multiple patch revisions, unfortunately that code has yet to be mainlined.

        A Phoronix reader wrote in this weekend to explain how he wish it would land and that it would help address an important use-case: better handling of protected video content.

      • SMOL-V Is A Compression Effort On Vulkan’s SPIR-V
      • X.Org Server 1.19 Proposed For Release Next Month

        It’s been since last November that X.Org Server 1.18 was released and while the project previously stuck to a six month release cadence, that didn’t happen for xorg-server 1.19. Now, however, out of the blue Keith Packard has put together a proposal for quickly shipping it next month.

        Adam Jackson of Red Hat had been managing X.Org Server releases while this weekend Keith Packard seems to have stepped back into that position and is looking to quickly get X.Org Server 1.19 released.

      • [ANNOUNCE] mesa 12.0.2

        The current release fixes crashes in GLX, EGL and Wayland-EGL, resolves a number of memory leaks in the video decoding drivers, makes the Intel Vulkan driver more robust by exporting only the required symbols (previously we would get symbol collisions leading to strange behaviour or even crashes).

      • Mesa 12.0.2 Released, Fixes For Intel Vulkan Driver, Wayland-EGL Crashes

        The long-awaited Mesa point release update to Mesa 12 is now available with a variety of fixes for these open-source graphics drivers.

      • AMDGPU Southern Islands Support Added To Mesa’s DRM Library
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt Still Working Towards Its Next Release, Not Yet Ready For Release Schedule

      XQt 0.10 was released last November and is currently the desktop environment’s current latest release of this Qt-written desktop forked from LXDE. There’s talk though of a new release possibly coming soon, but the project doesn’t appear ready yet to commit to any release schedule or routine cadence for new versions.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy Awards 2016

        QtCon talks closed with our annual awards ceremony, the Akademy Awards. Given each year to the most valued and hardest working KDE contributors, they are awarded by the jury from the previous year. This year’s winners are:

      • KDE neon Talk at QtCon Akademy 2016

        Me and Harald gave a talk at QtCon Akademy about KDE neon and how it is modernising and smoothing the KDE development process.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 11-QtCon Day3)
      • QtCon Closing Keynote with Julia Reda MEP

        The talks are over after the three days of QtCon Akademy 2016 which means the BoF sessions and hacking days are about to begin. To close the talks at the conference we had a finishing keynote by Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Pirate Party.

        She began by saying that on a fundamental level government is all of us, and it provides the infrastructure for our culture. Software used by the government is also a public service and the only philosophy that takes responsibility for that is free and open source software. Getting governments to use free and open source software is more important then ever because of the importance of technology in society. Computers are no longer limited to some parts of our lives, they are integral to everything we do. She gave the example of the VW Dieselgate scandal which is linked to cars being computers on wheels. There are no check that the software that is tested by regulators is the same that is run by the car hardware. Another interesting aspect is limitations on diesel control can be turned off to save the engine which means in practice they do this a lot and don’t even need to tell the regulators. VW had a function programmed into the car which turned off the fuel saving if it deviated from the testing procedures.

      • KDE Software Store to Soon Offer Downloads in Snap, Flatpak and AppImage Formats

        Ex-Kubuntu maintainer Jonathan Riddell is proud to report on the public availability of a new online service designed as a replacement for the services provided by openDesktop.org.

        Dubbed The KDE Store, the new software store is exactly that, a store where application developers can publish their open-source projects and share them with the world. Also known as KDE Software Store, the app sharing platform contains many of the code from the openDesktop.org website, which appears to no longer be functional.

      • Interviews with QtCon Stall Holders

        KDE Dot News sent its roving reporter Devaja round the stalls at QtCon to ask them what they were promoting and of their experience of the conference.

      • Qt 5.8 Alpha released

        I’m happy to let you know that we have now reached our first milestone towards the release of Qt 5.8. The Alpha version of Qt 5.8 is now ready, and can be downloaded from download.qt.io or your Qt Account. As a new minor release, Qt 5.8 comes with a lot of new features as well as many bug fixes and improvements. We’ll go through all the new features in more detail as we get closer to the release. For now, let me just mention some of the biggest changes.

      • Qt 5.8 Alpha Released With New Graphics Architecture, Qt Lite

        Last week’s Qt 5.8 Alpha preliminary packages have now been promoted to being the official alpha packages for this next major version of the Qt5 tool-kit.

      • Akademy: the social bits

        So far at Akademy and QtCon, I’ve been quiet on the blogging front. That’s mostly because it’s been really really busy from morning to night with technical and social things.

      • QtCon: Plasma 5 running smooth on ARMv7!

        Today at QtCon, I was introduced to a Plasma 5 session running on a Odroid-C1+ (using ARMv7, running Debian).

        I was very amazed to see that it runs very smooth, and is very responsive. Moving windows, placing plasmoids on the desktop works with almost no glitch. As email management and file indexing is not really needed in this context, Akonadi and Baloo were disabled. Of course, it’s not very usable for intensive graphic use (watching videos, image editing, etc), but it’s alright for other use-cases.

      • KDE Talk Videos from QtCon
      • QtCon Akademy 2016
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • What’s coming in Tracker 1.10

        Tracker 1.9.1 was released last month, and it comes with some work we did to improve the various extract modules (the code which looks at files on disk and extracts what we think is useful information). The extract modules are no longer hardcoded to generate SPARQL commands, instead they now use the new TrackerResource API which is a simple way of describing resources programmatically.

      • 2016 GNOME Summit @ Montréal

        Hi everyone, we’re planning to host the GNOME Summit in Montréal this year, on October 8-9-10 (US Colombus Day week-end, Canadian Thanksgiving). It is an unconference-style event aimed for those who want to get involved at the deeply technical level of GNOME, but everyone is welcome and we’re hoping to have a newcomers-oriented session as well as the “deep end of the pool”. Please pre-register here by Friday, indicate any topics of interest you would like to propose for collective tackling during the summit, and indicate your travel and accommodation needs. I will try to secure the venue and figure out all the details surrounding the event soon. Oh, and if you’re in any position to ask one of the GNOME-friendly companies for sponsorship, please do so and drop me an email at nekohayo at gmail. Thanks!

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Gets Closer, Second Beta Out Now

        GNOME developer Matthias Clasen was happy to inform us via an email announcement about the availability of the second and last Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” desktop environment.

      • Experience at GUADEC 2016

        This has been my first GUADEC. It was held in Karlsruhe, Germany (Indeed a very beautiful and peaceful city). The week was truly amazing , got to meet the fellow GNOMies in person. As I did Outreachy internship with GNOME-Maps, I was so happy to meet the team-maps in person. Though my mentor could not come to GUADEC. I met many people there and it was an awesome experience having talks with them.

      • Rewriting code review documentation, on paper.

        I’m not a person carrying around a laptop and don’t use mobile phones much. The more text/comments to tackle (or seperate pages covering related topics), the more I prefer working on paper. (That’s also how I started high-level planning the GNOME Evolution user docs rewrite.)

  • Distributions

    • Several Linux Distros Cater To Deep Web Users

      For those people who have ever considered exploring the deep web, there are specific Linux distributions at your disposal. Using Tor itself is far from sufficient to provide optimal privacy these days. VPN usage is an alternative option, but one never knows if the provider logs traffic. So several Linux developers created custom distributions for all one’s deep web needs.

    • Reviews

      • Peppermint OS 7

        The latest release of Peppermint OS was launched back in June and I meant to take it for a test drive then. However, one exciting release after another distracted me until now. Peppermint is a project I pay attention to because it is one of the distributions I have had the most success with when it comes to transitioning people from Windows to Linux. Peppermint’s lightweight nature, speed, relatively uncluttered interface and solid hardware support (thanks to its underlying Ubuntu base) have made it an attractive option. Peppermint OS 7 is based on packages available through the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS repositories with a few Linux Mint utilities added for flavour. Peppermint runs the LXDE desktop by default and version 7 offers users GPT, UEFI and Secure Boot support. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture.

        The ISO for the 64-bit build of Peppermint is approximately 1GB in size. Booting from this media displays a menu where we can choose to try the live desktop environment, launch the system installer or check the disc for defects. I took the live desktop option which loads LXDE. The desktop environment is presented with a panel along the bottom of the display. This panel contains our application menu, task switcher and the system tray. The application menu uses unusually large and bold fonts, making the text easy to read. On the desktop we find a single icon we can use to launch the distribution’s system installer. The desktop uses a dark theme with brightly coloured icons. Personally, I like the bright icons on a dark background coupled with the large font. I found the combination made it easy to browse the application menu and find launchers I wanted to use.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The September 2016 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the September 2016 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006.

      • Dandifying Mageia – Adding the DNF stack to Mageia

        There’s a lot of good things coming to Mageia 6: KDE Plasma 5 desktop, updates to other desktop environments, many new games, and a fresh coat of paint with a new visual style. However, there’s quite a lot of under-the-hood improvements in Mageia, too!

        Among the many less-than-visible improvements across the board is a brand new dependency resolver: DNF. DNF (Dandified Yum) is a next generation dependency resolver and high-level package management tool with an interesting history. DNF traces its ancestry to two projects: Fedora’s Yum (Yellowdog Updater, Modified) and openSUSE’s SAT Solver (libsolv). DNF was forked from Yum several years ago in order to rewrite it to use the SAT Solver library from openSUSE (which is used in their own tool, Zypper). Another goal of the fork was to massively restructure the codebase so that a sane API would be available for both extending DNF (via plugins and hooks) and building applications on top of it (such as graphical frontends and system lifecycle automation frameworks).

      • Mageia To Offer DNF, But Will Keep Using URPMI By Default

        The RPM-based Mageia Linux distribution has decided to offer Fedora’s DNF forked version of Yum in their next major release.

        While Mageia 6 will be offering dnf, it’s not going to be the default but will just be present on the system for those wanting to use it. The urpmi command and Mageia’s existing software management tools will remain the defaults for the “foreseeable future.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE : Distro Review Of The Week

        openSUSE is one of the best Linux distributions in the world. Apart from Ubuntu, openSUSE is probably one of the best multi-purpose distribution around.The distro is geared towards desktop users and developers working on desktop or server. openSUSE is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Now Based on Linux Kernel 4.7.2, VirtualBox 5.1.4 Lands Too

        The openSUSE Project, through Douglas DeMaio, is glad to inform the openSUSE Tumbleweed community about the new package updates and improvements incorporated in the snapshots released during the week that passed.

        Now that some of you are probably attempting to install the first Beta ISOs of the upcoming openSUSE Leap 42.2 operating system, which promises to offer a strong, secure, and very stable GNU/Linux distributions to pragmatic and conservative users, those who use the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release are enjoying the latest software releases and technologies.

      • Akonadi/KMail issues on Tumbleweed?
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • DebConf17 organization started

        DebConf17 will take place in Montreal, Canada from August 6 to August 12, 2017. It will be preceded by DebCamp, July 31 to August 4, and Debian Day, August 5.

        We invite everyone to join us in organizing DebConf17. There are different areas where your help could be very valuable, and we are always looking forward to your ideas.

      • My Free Software Activities in August 2016
      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Look Ma, no hardware! Coding the Raspberry Pi in a web emulator

      You may be familiar with the Sense HAT, an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi which was made especially for a space mission with British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake for Astro Pi. It’s a great piece of hardware, very handy for data logging, science experiments, environmental analysis, games and more. It comes with a Python library making it work out-of-the-box. (See Exploring the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT and Experimenting with the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT).

    • Skylake-H Mini-ITX SBC has 4 GbE, 4 USB 3.0, and 3 HD video ports

      Kontron’s Linux-friendly “mITX-SKL-H” is based on Intel Skylake-H processors, and offers generous helpings of GbE, HD graphics, SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, and PCIe.

    • Phones

      • Mobile apps are now bigger than the web — a trend that threatens to eat Google’s core business

        It’s a stat that will be discomfiting to advocates of the open web, as well as companies whose core business is built around it — notably Google.

      • Tizen

        • Game: Sniper Ops for Samsung Z1 and Z3 now available in Tizen Store

          If your a gaming fan that loves a good shoot ’em up then possibly Snipe Ops 3D might ‘hit the spot’. The game is developed by Modern Alchemists and is possibly one of the best examples of a 3D shooting game that I’ve seen on the Z3.

        • Samsung Gear S3 is the latest Tizen Smartwatch

          It seems forever since we have been waiting for the next Samsung Tizen based smartwatch to be released, and the good news is that it was launched at a special event that was held last week at the Tempodrom arena in Germany. As expected the Gear S3 retains many of the same characteristics of its predecessor, the Gear S2, as we have the same round face and rotating bezel which seems a winning combination for Samsung.

      • Android

        • BlackBerry’s 2016 Android Phone Lineup REVEALED: The BlackBerry DTEK50 Is Just The Beginning

          The BlackBerry PRIV was just the beginning. BlackBerry is working on two Android handsets for 2016

          The first BlackBerry Android phone is out of the blocks for 2016 and, once again, BlackBerry has kind of made a dog’s dinner of the handset’s name. It’s called the BlackBerry DTEK50. I know, I know — it sounds like something you’d grill a steak on and not at all like a handset you’d lust after in a phone shop. I don’t get why they don’t just stick with the codenames? They’re always good — Rome, Milan, etc,…

        • OnePlus merging Oxygen OS and Hydrogen OS to improve updates

          OnePlus has been shaking the industry from the very start. They offer great hardware at unbelievable prices, but they have been divided in the software department. Literally; they created Oxygen OS for the general market, while their Chinese customers get to use Hydrogen OS. The former offers a much more clean interface that looks very much like vanilla Android, while Hydrogen OS is a tweaked in a heavier manner.

        • 6-Inch Meizu M3 Max Is Now Official With A 4,100mAh Battery

          The Meizu PRO 5 was the last phablet this China-based company had released. This device was introduced back in September last year, and was actually Meizu’s flagship at the time. Well, the Meizu PRO 5 might still be the flagship phablet of this company, though the Meizu PRO 6 is now considered to be the company’s most powerful smartphone. In any case, the company has been teasing the arrival of a new phablet, the Meizu M3 Max, for quite some time now. We knew that the M3 Max will sport mid-range specifications, and that it will be announced today, and that’s exactly what just happened, read on.

        • Galaxy Note 7 recall could cost Samsung $1 billion

          It’s inevitable that Samsung’s mass Galaxy Note 7 recall is going to cost the company a notable sum, but industry analysts are now expecting that the total bill could reach around $1 billion in order to fix the mess.

          Despite the relatively low number of affected devices, Samsung has issued a total recall on the estimated 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 handset that has shipped out to consumers in the last two weeks. Estimates from Credit Suisse Group AG, Daishin Securities Co. and Pelham Smithers Associates, all suggests that such a mass recall could cost the company up to $1 billion. The estimated cost to return each handset has been calculated at around $900 plus the profit that Samsung would have made. Koh Dong Jin, the head of Samsung’s smartphone business, said at a press conference in Seoul on Friday that this was a “heartbreaking amount.’’

        • Android lockscreen bypass: Google patches flaw on Nexus 5X phones [Ed: article says “allowed an attacker to obtain a full memory dump via Android Debug Bridge (ADB),” but it's not an attacker but a thief with physical access]
        • What is Android fragmentation, and can Google fix it? [Ed: no different than Windows versions]
        • How to use multitasking in Android Nougat
        • What the iPhone 7 needs to stay ahead of Android
        • EA quietly launches FIFA 17 official mobile game on Android, iOS version coming soon
        • Sony shows Android-based, touch-enabled projector concept at IFA 2016, and we got to try it

          There’s this thing about the future – it is uncertain. 50 years ago, people envisioned us having robot butlers, flying cars, and colonies on other planets by the turn of the 21st century. Instead, we got automated vacuum cleaners that can’t tell when there’s kitty poop in their way. Following that trail of thoughts, we can’t be sure whether Sony’s touch-enabled projector would ever see the light of day, but the concept we saw at IFA 2016 was surely drawing attention.

        • Android Central’s Top Picks from IFA 2016!

          There’s a lot of tech here at IFA in Berlin, as is often the case. OK, that’s one hell of an understatement. There’s a LOT of tech here at IFA. Some from the usual players. A whole lot from folks we’ve, frankly, never heard of.

          And that’s maybe the hardest part of these jaunts. Not the jet lag. Not the time away from home. No, it’s sorting through all the awesomeness that gets crammed into the Messe Berlin and put on display for the world to see.

          But we’ve managed to narrow it down a bit. Here, now, are Android Central’s Top Picks from IFA 2016.

        • AndEX Project Brings Android 7.0 Nougat with GAPPS & Linux Kernel 4.4 to Your PC

          Today, September 4, 2016, Arne Exton is happy to inform us about the release of the first build of his AndEX project based on Google’s recently released Android 7.0 Nougat mobile operating system.

          For those of you who never heard of AndEX, it is an Android-x86 operating system for personal computers, and until today it was based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. We have to admit that we were wondering when Arne Exton will start rebasing AndEX on Android 7.0 Nougat, and it looks like that just happened.

        • Android-x86 releases early build of Nougat for desktop PCs

          Google and Intel may not be doing much work to make sure that Android can run on devices with Intel processors anymore… but the Android-x86 project continues to release new builds of Android for computers with Intel and AMD chips.

        • How to…back up your photos on your Android phone

Free Software/Open Source

  • [Older] Meet Ali Abdulghani, a Blind Programmer Working in the field of Open Source

    It’s rare actually to hear about people with such well and desire to continue their lives even though they suffer such tragic disabilities, for this, meet “Ali Abdulghani”, an Iraqi young man working in the field of free and open-source software although he is completely blind! Who said that you should be useless when you can’t see things?

  • Do Crypto-Token Sales Make Sense for Open-Source Projects?

    Spurred by Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger’s recent blog post, there’s been lots of discussion about crypto-tokens in recent week.

    This has led to excitement and skepticism about their ability to incentivize open-source developers to create and maintain protocols.

    However, as Runa Capital has funded a number of developers who have created and maintained thriving open-source protocols, I wanted to shine some light on this approach in the context of how open-source developers have been incentivized historically.

    This article focuses on both why a crypto-token issuance may make sense for some, and why it might not make sense for others who are served well by existing business models.

  • Three Open Source Business Models

    Any developer considering releasing open source software needs to have a plan to monetize it. Likewise, any organization thinking about deploying open source software needs to know how the vendor is monetizing it. The reason for the first is obvious, bills and expenses being what they are. As for the later, knowing exactly how developers of code you’re thinking of using are funding their efforts will not only help you determine whether the project will remain supported for years to come, but will help keep you from walking into traps such as vendor lock-in.

    There are three primary business models being used by open source vendors. However, before making a decision on what model is right for you, seek legal counsel. Not only is the law complex, IT easily crosses jurisdictions that the law does not.

  • Students take part in MIT workshop on open source software

    MIT Group of Academic and Research Institutes celebrated their 25th global Linux day and conducted various exciting programmes.

    One day hands-on workshop on Linux was organized under the guidance of Professor Suresh Bhawar.

    Vatsal Thakur, an IT expert from Mumbai conducted a seminar on career opportunities in open source software. He said, “Linux is used by big corporate houses as it drives fastest supercomputers and android mobiles. Hence, market requirement for skilled Linux people is huge.”

    Third year students Sanket Kolnurkar, Nihal Renu, Manpreet Singh, Gauri Bhalerao, Prathamesh Videkar assisted the workshop participants. Santosh Bhosle, Ex principal at MIT briefed students about the evolution of open source software. The members of teaching staff including Nilesh Patil, Hanumant Dharmadhikari Deepak Nehte, Kavita Bhosle and Bhakti Ahirwadkar were also present.

  • AquaCrop-OS Provides Open-Source Tool for Ag Water Management

    “We created AquaCrop-OS to provide a free, open-source software tool that makes it easier for scientists and policymakers to devise creative solutions to real-world water and food security challenges,” said Foster.

  • Events

    • Kids on Computers and Unleash Kids at LinuxCon North America!

      Kids on Computers is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers — adults and kids. Founded in 2009, KOC sets up computer labs in locations worldwide, providing access to educational content which they otherwise would not be able to access. The computers have FOSS installed on them. Unleash Kids helps volunteer groups who work with kids by providing Internet in a Box (IIAB) community kits. This brings much of the online-educational content (such as offline Wikipedia, Khan academy, e-books and world-wide maps) to children in areas where there is no access to the internet.

    • 7 tips for learning how to give a technical talk

      Hack-A-Week is an event my team at Red Hat runs every year to encourage innovation. During that week engineers can work on any project they choose. After the week is over, each engineer gives a short presentation on what they worked on.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • Richard Stallman: Publishers should let readers buy articles anonymously

      Richard Stallman, known for creating the GNU Project and initiating work on the popular Emacs text editor, has proposed that online publishers should allow users to buy individual stories, anonymously. Stallman took the opportunity to mention that the GNU Project is working on a new piece of software that will allow his suggested anonymous payments.

    • Publishers must let online readers pay for news anonymously

      Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust.

      Readers are rebelling by installing ad blockers, which cut into the publisher’s surveillance-based income. And in response, some sites are cutting off access to readers unless they accept being surveilled. What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay.
      Some people use ad blockers because they find the sight of an advertisement offensive. That’s purely subjective, and publishers could argue that readers are overreacting. Yet ads on the internet do inconvenience readers too. Adverts increase the amount of data needed to view a page, making it slow to load and expensive on a mobile connection.

      At a deeper level, tailored ads also imply snooping, because the most lucrative, targeted advertising on the internet nowadays is based on tracking people’s interests and behaviour.

    • GCC Might Finally Drop The GNU Compiler For Java (GCJ)

      The GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ) while made a lot of progress in its early years as a free software Java compiler, in recent years it’s basically been in maintenance mode and might now be removed entirely from GCC.

      GCC developers have been talking about the pity state of GCJ Java support for some time while now action might finally be taken to strip it from the GNU Compiler Collection codebase.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • California Makes GovOps Portal Open Source

        California’s Government Operations Agency has moved its open data portal to an open source platform.

        California piloted the first statewide open data portal, GreenGov.data.ca.gov, with data sets and results from the GreenGov Challenge, a code-a-thon built around sustainability data sets hosted on the pilot site. GovOps is now moving the open data portal to an open source platform (DKAN) to ensure the longevity of continuous efforts to make government

        To effectively manage the improved statewide portal it will be moved to the Department of Technology’s (CDT’s) Office of Digital Innovation, alongside the state’s Innovation Lab. The new location within the CDT will allow customers, civil coders and government entities to create innovative solutions to their government business challenges

        In the coming months, GovOps and the CDT will work with departments and agencies across the executive branch to continuously add more data sets to the portal.

      • This Week in Civic Tech: California Launches First True Open Data Portal, KC Takes Another Step Toward Innovation

        The Golden State’s first agencywide open data portal is now live. Officials from the California Government Operations Agency (CalGovOps) announced the launch after a successful pilot that began earlier this summer. The intent, technology leaders say, is to make the state’s vast collection of data easier to access and more intuitive to use.

      • How to Uncover Corruption Using Open Source Research

        When most people think about open source research, they think about uncovering social media materials of soldiers on the front-lines of the wars in Ukraine and Syria, or geolocating video footage of significant events with Google Earth. While open source materials have led a mini-revolution in how conflicts are reported online, there is another area where there has been just as much impact: corruption investigations. This guide will provide instructions on how to start doing your own research into corruption using open source materials, and also include advice from experts who have uncovered corruption in eastern Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus, and elsewhere.

  • Programming/Development

    • The new CIS-194

      The Haskell minicourse at the University of Pennsylvania, also known as CIS-194, has always had a reach beyond the students of Penn. At least since Brent Yorgey gave the course in 2013, who wrote extensive lecture notes and eventually put the material on Github.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • EPA: Flint’s new water will need 3 months or more of testing

      Federal officials say it will take at least three months of testing before Flint can distribute water from a new pipeline in the in the wake of its crisis with lead-tainted water.

      The Flint Journal reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told city and state officials that Flint must demonstrate its ability to treat water from the Karegnondi Water Authority.

      Flint switched from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money, but the corrosive river water caused lead to leach from aging pipes into homes. Flint has switched back to Detroit water.

    • Modern life is killing our children: Cancer rate in young people up 40 per cent in 16 years

      Modern life is killing children with the number of youngsters diagnosed with cancer rising 40 per cent in the past 16 years because of air pollution, pesticides, poor diets and radiation, scientists have warned.

      New analysis of government statistics by researchers at the charity Children with Cancer UK found that there are now 1,300 more cancer cases a year compared with 1998, the first time all data sets were published.

      The rise is most apparent in teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 24, where the incident rate has risen from around 10 cases in 100,000 to nearly 16.

      Researchers say that although some of the rise can be explained by improvements in cancer diagnoses and more screening, the majority is probably caused by environmental factors.

      Dr Denis Henshaw, Professor of Human Radiation Effects at Bristol University, the scientific adviser for Children with Cancer UK, said air pollution was by far the biggest culprit, accounting for around 40 per cent of the rise, but other elements of modern lifestyles are also to blame.

  • Security

    • Linux project mum after man indicted for 2011 breach

      The Linux Kernel Organisation, the non-profit that manages development of the kernel, is still reluctant to make any statement about a breach of its servers that took place more than five years ago, despite the fact that a man from South Florida has been charged with being responsible for the intrusion.

      The same man, named as Donald Ryan Austin by the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, was also charged with gaining unauthorised access to the servers of the Linux Foundation, an organisation that employs Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

      Asked for a response to the development, senior kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman told iTWire: “The process is not complete yet, so sorry, I do not have any comment at this point in time.”

    • Hacker behind Linux Kernel’s Mass Trojan Infection Arrested in Florida

      Cert-Bund, a German cyber security group estimated that a third of Linux computers in the U.S., and a tenth of those in the world that were checked, were in fact infected with the Trojan Austin had uploaded into the servers.

      After obtaining the credentials, he used them to make unauthorized changes to those servers by adding messages that automatically appeared when the servers rebooted. He also broke into a private email server of Linux Kernel Founder Peter Anvin, along with the Odin1, Zues1, and Pub3 servers.

    • Suspect arrested in 5-year-old kernel.org breach
    • Florida IT Guy Arrested for 2011 Linux Hack
    • Mirai DDoS Trojan Is the Next Big Threat to IoT Devices and Linux Servers

      A new trojan named Mirai has surfaced, and it’s targeting Linux servers and IoT devices, mainly DVRs, running Linux-based firmware, for the purpose of enslaving these systems as part of a large botnet used to launch DDoS attacks.

    • Pokemon-Themed Umbreon Rootkit Targets Linux x86 and ARM Platforms [Ed: Hyping up a Linux 'threat' which requires cracker has physical access to the device and INSTALLS crap on it]

      Security researchers at Trend Micro have discovered a new rootkit trojan that targets only Linux-based systems running on x86 and ARM (Raspberry Pi) platforms.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma Amid Warnings of ‘Inherent’ Fracking Risks

      Oklahoma was hit with a 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, with reports of tremors felt in six neighboring states—making it one of the strongest quakes in Oklahoma’s history and fueling a growing consensus that the cause lies with wastewater disposal from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

      CNN reported that the event also rattled Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa, citing geophysicists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who said it “occurred as the result of shallow strike-slip faulting.”

      The quake struck just after 7:00am local time near Pawnee, followed by four separate incidents of aftershock. No major injuries were reported.

      The USGS continued: “Scientific studies have linked the majority of this increased activity to wastewater injection in deep disposal wells in several locations. However, other mechanisms such as fluid withdrawal, enhanced oil recovery, or hydraulic fracturing processes can also result in induced earthquakes.”

      In Oklahoma, where earthquakes increased by 50 percent last year as about 1.5 billion barrels of wastewater from oil and gas sites were disposed of underground, the link between fracking and seismic events is well-established.

    • Giant pandas rebound off endangered list

      The giant panda is no longer an endangered species, following decades of work by conservationists to save it.

      The official status of the much-loved animal has been changed from “endangered” to “vulnerable” because of a population rebound in China.

      The change was announced as part of an update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

      But the update also brought bad news. The eastern gorilla, the world’s largest primate, is now endangered.

      Efforts by China, which claims the giant panda as its national animal, have brought its numbers back from the brink. The latest estimates show a population of 1,864 adults.

    • Giant pandas no longer endangered species, experts say

      The giant panda is no longer endangered, according to experts, thanks to aggressive conservation efforts.

      The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said the panda should no longer be classified as “endangered”, but “vulnerable” instead.

      In a report published on Monday, they cited the growing number of pandas in the wild in southern China – which jumped from 1,596 in 2004 to 1,864 in 2014.

      The IUCN hailed the work of Chinese agencies who helped wild panda populations grow by enforcing poaching bans and expanding forest reserves.

    • Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker

      For the past several years, a group of researchers has been observing a seemingly impossible wood ant colony living in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Templewo, Poland, near the German border. Completely isolated from the outside world, these members of the species Formica polyctena have created an ant society unlike anything we’ve seen before.

      The Soviets built the bunker during the Cold War to store nuclear weapons, sinking it below ground and planting trees on top as camouflage. Eventually a massive colony of wood ants took up residence in the soil over the bunker. There was just one problem: the ants built their nest directly over a vertical ventilation pipe. When the metal covering on the pipe finally rusted away, it left a dangerous, open hole. Every year when the nest expands, thousands of worker ants fall down the pipe and cannot climb back out. The survivors have nevertheless carried on for years underground, building a nest from soil and maintaining it in typical wood ant fashion. Except, of course, that this situation is far from normal.

    • Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

      Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

      Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

      And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

      For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

      Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

  • Finance

    • Apple mired in a mess entirely of its own making

      It is said that there are two things that are certain in this world: death and taxes. One has to rethink that line now, in view of the EU-Apple news this week; only death seems to be a certainty.

      After the EU ordered Apple to pay billions in back taxes to Ireland this week Apple chief executive Tim Cook chose to indulge in populist rhetoric — “it’s political crap” — and did not try to refute the detailed allegations levelled against the company by the European Commission.

      Doubtless, Cook did what he thought was right; the media, at large, is on Apple’s side and is not particularly inclined to meticulously examine things. More so in the US, where the American government is painting this as some kind of victimisation of US companies.

      But Apple’s corporate structure does merit some attention.

      The late Steve Jobs was the one who set up Apple’s operations in Cork, Ireland, back in 1980. Apple has provided employment to thousands and the attractive corporate tax rate that Ireland offers — 12.5% — has resulted in a host of international companies setting up office there.

    • Why Apple’s low-tax deal is no blueprint for Brexit Britain

      One of the islands that makes up Papua New Guinea is called New Ireland. But it seems that a much colder island far to the north might also wish to be called New Ireland – the island formerly known as Great Britain.

      In the wake of the European commission’s ruling that Ireland must reclaim €13bn plus interest in taxes from Apple, there is a good deal of excitement at the prospect of a post-Brexit Britain replacing its smaller neighbour in the affections of tax-shy global corporations. As the Daily Telegraph put it in an editorial: “If Ireland and the EU do not want a huge, wealth-creating firm doing business in their territory, Apple will be very welcome in the UK.” Welcome, that is, to use the UK as it has previously used Ireland – as a compliant state that will look the other way while vast profits pass through, untaxed.

    • Brexit is truly daunting: this is the biggest crisis I have known

      The leader of the Lib Dems, Tim Farron, struck a chord last week when he said that as a result of the Brexit vote, Britain had become a laughing stock abroad.

      He is quite right. I myself have been receiving baffled inquiries from friends overseas. And on two recent trips to get away from it all – to Crete and Provence, since you ask – we could not escape. Everyone we encountered – yes, everyone – asked why this country had taken leave of its senses.

      It is no good people saying we Remainers, or “Brits-in” as an acquaintance terms us, should shut up, accept that “the people have spoken” and get on with it. This is the biggest crisis to erupt in my working life, and the implications are far too daunting to be taken lying down.

      Meanwhile, it is evident from its behaviour so far that the government is all over the place. But one thing is crystal clear: by making immigration the priority over membership of the single market, Theresa May is almost guaranteeing that, in order to offer sops to the Cerberus of burgeoning racism in this country, the economy will suffer.

    • Iran signs off on a radical investment treaty: barring arbitrators from wearing two hats, narrowing protections, and limiting damages awards

      Iran signs off on a radical investment treaty: barring arbitrators from wearing two hats, narrowing protections, and limiting damages awards

      The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Slovak Republic have signed off on a deeply iconoclastic investment treaty – one that bars arbitrators from moonlighting as counsel, protects as “investments” the activities of non-profit development and research organizations, and modifies in myriad ways the boilerplate protections seen in prior treaties.

      The two countries signed the BIT on January 19th of this year [click to view]. Given that Iran has contemporaneously concluded far more conventional BITs, such as the recent Japan-Iran BIT, we suspect that the reform ambitions of the Iran-Slovakia BIT may stem more from the Slovak side of the negotiating table.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Angela Merkel’s CDU ‘suffers Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania poll blow’

      Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU party has been beaten into third place by an anti-immigrant and anti-Islam party in elections in a north-eastern German state, partial results have shown.

      The Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party took about 21% of the vote behind the centre-left SPD’s 30%.

    • Sanders: Debate threshold ‘probably too high’

      The requirement that presidential candidates average at least 15 percent support in national polls in order to earn a spot on the general election debate stage is “probably too high,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday morning.

      The Commission on Presidential Debates announced its 15 percent threshold last year, and last month it announced the set of five national polls it would use to measure each candidate’s support. The barrier is no problem for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, but it presents a potentially insurmountable hurdle for alternative candidates like Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

    • Stein: ‘We are living with a couple of nightmare campaigns’
    • Jill Stein: The Only Candidate Serious On Climate Change

      Inspired by a recent article in Time magazine about global warming, I had written a Ted Kaczynski-esque withering assault on modern civilization and advocated a reversal (yes, LOL indeed) of industrialization. It was a thoroughly godawful paper and I have little doubt that George Stewart was the only thing that got me a passing grade on it.

      It was straight from the heart though, and not since then has my interest and passion in what we have done to this planet waned. As someone who tries to keep track of the impact of human-induced climate change, I have always found baffling the lack of importance the issue has received as an electoral issue. There is no greater threat to our safety and well being-no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We are a species that like any other, requires a habitat that can sustain our biological functions and allow the vegetation and animal life necessary to sustain our food supply. The manifest reality of today is that our habitat is under attack from our own creations. We have polluted our air and our oceans. We have doomed to extinction countless species of plants and animals many of whom we may have annihilated before they could be discovered. The earth is warming quicker and sea levels are rising faster than any prediction model foresaw. Literally hundreds of small island communities ― as well as major nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia ― are already losing shorelines and even arable land. In America, with our over 10,000 miles of shoreline, climate scientists predict a rise in sea levels and markedly increased flooding in coastal cities like New York within the next five decades.

      This is not a problem of the future, it is a problem of the here and now and a catastrophe beyond biblical proportions in the making.

    • Ralph Nader: I was not a ‘spoiler’ in 2000. Jill Stein doesn’t deserve that insulting label, either.

      In his Aug. 24 op-ed, “2016’s Ralph Nader?,” Dana Milbank accused Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein of making “more likely the singular threat of a President Trump.” He echoed legions of Democratic Party partisans who never think it is time for a progressive third-party presidential candidate to run because the Republican candidates are always worse. They use politically bigoted words such as “spoiler,” reserved for treating third-party candidates like second-class citizens. Many otherwise-tolerant reporters, columnists and editorial writers are quite okay with smaller candidates being obstructed in many ways, from ballot access to the debates.

      Such discrimination counters a candidate’s civil liberties. Everyone has an equal right to run for public office. What kind of twisted logic insists that smaller-party competitors should forfeit their First Amendment rights to speak, petition and assemble freely? Dissent and resistance that attract voters historically have improved politics and achieved justice in our country.

      Aren’t liberals pleased that earlier third parties — ballot access was easier in the past — and their voters rejected Mr. Milbank’s kind of advice? In 1840, the Liberty Party first opposed slavery. Later, new parties fought the exclusion of women from voting, asserted the rights of farmers and industrial labor and initiated calls for Social Security, unemployment compensation, minimum wages, health care for all and electoral reforms. They first put on the table most of the positive improvements from government.

      Shamefully, the decaying Democratic Party works to block millions of voters from having a choice of progressive third-party candidates. No country in the Western world places more obstacles to third-party and independent candidates getting on the ballot than the United States. Democrats and Republicans built this exclusionary duopoly. As a result, major redirections and reforms, often supported by a popular majority, are excluded from electoral arenas. Without a competitive democracy, our political system cannot attract better candidates. A political monoculture with safe, gerrymandered incumbents serving myopic commercial interests is systematically undemocratic. It helps explain why the Democratic Party has been unable to defend this country from the worst Republican Party in history at the congressional and state levels.

    • FBI Says a Laptop That Held Clinton’s E-Mails Has Gone Missing

      A personal laptop computer used to archive Hillary Clinton’s e-mails when she was secretary of state went missing after being put in the mail, according to the FBI’s report on its investigation into her use of a private e-mail system.

      E-mails that Clinton sent and received through her private server during her tenure were archived on the laptop in 2013 by a person who was an assistant to former President Bill Clinton, the FBI said in its heavily redacted investigative report released Friday.

      Someone whose name was redacted in the FBI report told the agency that he later deleted the e-mails from the laptop but didn’t wipe its hard drive. A computer technician can often recover such e-mails that have been deleted but not permanently erased from a laptop’s memory.

    • Paleologos on the poll: Voters want third-party candidates on debate stage

      Libertarian Gary Johnson did not reach the 15% threshold for inclusion in presidential debates in the latest Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll. This is a disappointment to voters, 76% of whom believe that third-party candidates like Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein should be able to share the stage with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump this fall.

    • The Green Party Aligns Itself With the African-American Community

      Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. last Tuesday, Aug. 23, to address her recent visit to Louisiana, racism in America and her New Green Deal to tackle climate control.

      “We had the honor of being escorted through some of the most — most tragically struck areas of Baton Rouge, where essentially there has been no recovery and almost nothing in the way of services,” Stein said.

    • Democrats used a cheat sheet to deal with Black Lives Matter, leak reveals

      Democrat lawmakers were given their very own “do’s and don’ts” cheat sheet on what to do when approached by a Black Lives Matter activists, according to an internal memo that was leaked from Minority House leader Nancy Pelosi’