01.02.22

Links 2/1/2022: Garuda Linux Release for 2022 and EasyOS 3.1.19

Posted in News Roundup at 12:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • 4 Hot Free and Open Source PHP Application Servers

        An application server is computer software which provides the business logic for an application program. It offers services such as management of large distributed systems, data services, load balancing, transaction support, and network security. The application server is one part of a three-tier application, consisting of a graphical interface server, an application (business logic) server, and a database / transaction server.

        There are good reasons to deploy an application server in a corporate environment. At a high level, an application server enables updates and upgrades to applications to be distributed to all users. System administrators also benefit from the fact that changes to application configuration can take place centrally, which greatly simplifies technical support and ultimately the end user experience. Application servers also simplify user management, avoiding the need to set up and maintain user-management systems for applications. This type of software also enhances scalability and resource usage, and exposes business components via different deployment wrappers.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to resolve “.venv/bin/activate” is not executable by this user

        The actual command to activate virtual environment is “source venv/bin/activate” or ” . venv/bin/activate“, but the user may get confused in the case of a hidden directory.

        I think it would be better if you see some of the examples to clear your concept.

      • How To Install Clonezilla on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Clonezilla on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Clonezilla is a suite of open source drive cloning, drive imaging, and system deployment utilities used to simplify the deployment and maintenance of a group of computers. With Clonezilla, not only you can perform a full backup of a device data blocks directly to another drive but also known disk cloning, but you can also backup entire disks or individual partitions remotely (using SSH, Samba, or NFS shares) or locally to images which can be all encrypted and stored in central backup storage.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Clonezilla OpenSource clone system (OCS) on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to Install MySQL 8.0 on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        MySQL is a relational database management system based on SQL (Structured Query Language). It is one of the most widely used database software for several well-known applications. MySQL is used for data warehousing, e-commerce, and logging applications, but its more commonly used feature is a web database storage and management.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install MySQL 8.0 on Fedora 35 Workstation or Server.

      • How to Install MariaDB 10.7 on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        MariaDB is one of the most popular open-source databases next to its originator MySQL. The original creators of MySQL developed MariaDB in response to fears that MySQL would suddenly become a paid service due to Oracle acquiring it in 2010. With its history of doing similar tactics, the developers behind MariaDB have promised to keep it open source and free from such fears as what has happened to MySQL.

        MariaDB has become just as popular as MySQL with developers, with advanced clustering with Galera Cluster 4, faster cache/indexes, storage engines, and features/extensions that you won’t find in MySQL.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install MariaDB 10.7 on Fedora 35 Workstation or Server.

      • Install Wildfly application server on Ubuntu 20.04 | 22.04 LTS – Linux Shout

        Tutorial to learn the commands to install WildFly (JBoss) latest version on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa or 22.04 Jammy Jelly Fish using its repository and terminal.

        WildFly is a free open-source application server written in Java that runs Java programs. The project emerged from the well-established Java application server but not active any – JBoss, a name used by Red Hat. So, WildFly is a successor of JBoss maintained by RedHat developers and the community.

        Like its predecessor, Wildfly specification and compilation of components, mainly for web services and communication, are not included in the Java SDK.

        The management concept of the application server is based on a generic, untyped management API. Regardless of which management interface is used, all changes are persisted and versioned. All management interfaces of the server are secured by default. These include a CLI, a web-based administration console, a native Java API, an HTTP/JSON-based REST API, and a JMX gateway.

      • How to Install Spotify on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        Spotify is a digital music streaming service with both free and paid features. It is the world’s largest music streaming service provider, with over 381 million monthly active users, including 172 million paying subscribers, as of September 2021. Spotify can give you instant access to a vast online library of music and podcasts, which is very popular as you can listen to the content of your choice whenever you feel like it.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the Spotify application on your Fedora 35 Workstation using three different methods.

      • How to LXDE Desktop Environment on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        LXDE, or better known as Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, is a free desktop environment that is known for being lightweight, fast, and energy-efficient which can replace the standard default GNOME Desktop on your Fedora 35 Workstation, which can be desired for users with low powered computers, laptops, and netbooks.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Unity Desktop Environment on your Fedora 35 Workstation.

    • Distributions

      • The 9 Best Obscure Linux Distros You Probably Didn’t Know About

        The open-source Linux kernel has spawned some excellent distros over time. Unfortunately, not all of these names have managed to turn heads around.

        Despite their limited outreach, each distro mentioned below continues to have its own merits, which makes them special in their own unique way. If you are an unconventional user looking for some not-so-common, obscure Linux distros, then read on for some options.

      • New Releases

        • Garuda Linux Kicks Off 2022 with New Cinnamon Edition, Btrfs Assistant Tool

          Garuda Linux still tries to bring Arch Linux to the masses, and the Garuda Linux 220101 release, dubbed “White-tailed Eagle”, is here to introduce a new community edition featuring the beloved and lightweight Cinnamon desktop environment maintained by the Linux Mint developers.

          Garuda Linux offered a Cinnamon edition some time ago, but it would appear that it was dropped due to the lack of a maintainer. Well, the good news is that the Cinnamon edition is back with a new maintainer, it uses the Cinnamon 5.0 desktop environment and provides users with a slick experience and a bunch of customization options.

        • EasyOS 3.1.19 released

          Another one! A gift for the New Year. The main thing to look for this time, relative to 3.1.17, is improved audio setup.

      • BSD

        • Getting XFCE Global Menu working on OpenBSD

          One thing I miss from Mac OS user interface is the Global Menu that sits on the topbar and changes as you switch applications. It saves a bit of space on the screen. And it’s always on the same place which makes it easy to be reached wherever the app is.

          After quite a lot of trial & errors, I could have the vala-panel-appmenu working on OpenBSD 7.0 using XFCE 4.16.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Pine64 launches PinePhone Keyboard case, back covers with LoRa radio, fingerprint scanner, wireless charging

        Pine64’s PinePhone Linux smartphone and its successor, the upcoming PinePhone Pro, are designed to be modular and extensible with a PinePhone Keyboard case prototype showcased here in April 2021 and aimed to transform the phone into what looks like a PDA.

        The design has now been refined, and Pine64 has just launched the PinePhone (Pro) keyboard case for $49.99, together with three back covers with either a LoRa module, a fingerprint scanner, or Qi wireless charging for $9.99 to $24.99 depending on the model. All are now available on Pine64 store.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • 800MIPS Amiga With Emu68 and PiStorm

          Unfortunately life took over in the last few months and I haven’t been able to keep up with the speed of changes of PiStorm to relay them to you in a weekly format. I have, however, been playing with Emu68 on PiStorm over Christmas. It is a project that has come a long way so I figured I should explain what it is and what is new in it.

          PiStorm is a combination of hardware and software. The stock software is based on the Musashi 68000 emulator with a bunch of enhancements to add RTG graphics, virtual SCSI support, etc… Then one day along came the Emu68 project which could replace Musashi on PiStorm.

        • Reverse-engineering a tiny 1980s chip that plays Christmas tunes

          For the holidays, I decapped a chip that plays three Christmas melodies. The UM66T melody chip from the 1980s was designed for applications such as greeting cards and toys. It looks like a transistor, but when connected to a battery and speaker it plays music. The die photo below shows the tiny silicon chip that I reverse engineer in this blog post.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open Source Security Process Wishlist

        Open Source software (OSS) runs the [Internet] (obligatory xkcd). And it is wonderful. But every now and then, it breaks. And then it may set the [Internet] on fire. OSS is, in this way, both not at all and still really quite different from other software: it ought to be owned, managed, and operated in a responsible manner. And that aspect can often be improved.

        Without suggesting that OSS maintainers owe their users any more of their time and effort than they already provide — this level of support easily warrants a stately support contract — there are a few methods and practices that can help a software project better manage security incidents and vulnerabilities. The following is a short list of such processes.

        Most of this may seem obvious to people in the OSS world, in software engineering, or dealing with software security in more general terms. Some of this is tedious and definitely requires additional cycles, work, and effort. But all of this is, I believe, helpful to your users.

      • Matrix and its bridges

        Instead, the purpose of Matrix is the room-oriented data structure (as opposed to how IRC and XMPP have message-oriented data). You preserve a chat, sort of like on Mattermost or Gitter, as opposed to display a chat temporarily pieced together from messages. (This room structure is a bad fit for video/audio, which is why it shells out to XMPP for that.)

      • My Predictions For 2022

        So last night, while walking the dog, I was listening to the latest episode of Late Night Linux where they were talking about their 2021 predictions and made new predictions for 2022.

        I decided it would be fun to do something similar on this blog. So I’m going to make 3 predictions; they probably won’t come true, but hey, it’s a bit of fun, right?

        Ok, with my usual pre-waffle out of the way, let’s get on with it…

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • HOWTO AoC

          Some tips about participating in Advent of Code.

          AoC is not a competition

          If you were to go with online opinion, AoC is all about getting the solutions as fast as possible. This is actually not true, apart from the top 100 scorers every day[1]. Many people post their full solution online on the AoC subreddit as soon as the top 100 slots have been filled. So if you want to get 50 stars, you pick a popular language (like Python), hang out in the solutions megathread, and run the first posted solution on your input to get the correct results.

          If your organization has a “competition” where the top scorers in their leaderboard get some reward, don’t participate. It’s too easy to suspect someone of “cheating” for it to be fun.

          Instead, focusing on using the event to expand your skills

        • Developer Network Effects

          AWS recently announced Re:Post, a Q&A site focused on AWS technologies. I think this is a great idea, and is doubling down on a key competency of AWS – there’s always someone else who has already done it on AWS. It fills a void left by an aging and stagnant StackOverflow (which was acquired earlier this year by an investment group).

          Q&A sites are one of the most useful developer resources because they aggregate network effects. Copying code from StackOverflow’s Q&A has is such a meme that the company came out with a Copy/Paste keyboard for April Fools with only three keys – Control, C, and V. In every meme, there is truth.

        • strlcat(3) > strncat(3)

          In my Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment class, I frequently observe common anti-patterns that appear all too easy for students to adopt. One of those is the unsafe use of strncat(3), which I’ll demonstrate here together with an explanation of why you should use strlcat(3) instead.

        • Stems as mock data structures in REXX

          An experimental “Tutorial as Code”

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Retrospective: Software Architecture

            The last post in the Winter Blog Backlog series will be about software architecture.

            Why write about this big, fuzzy topic? Because the design of Oil revolves around some controversial architectural decisions, like untyped byte streams as a solid foundation for a modern shell language, and for large distributed systems. A JSON file is a byte stream, and that’s a feature, not a bug!

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Airlines ask FCC to again delay C-band 5G rollout near airports beyond Jan. 5

        Airlines for America, which represents 11 US passenger and cargo airlines including Delta, United, FedEx, UPS, Southwest and American, called on the regulatory agency to delay approval for 5G rollout near dozens of the country’s busiest airports, such as Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas, John F. Kennedy in New York, Chicago O’Hare in Illinois and San Francisco International in California. AT&T and Verizon previously agreed to delay plans to offer the new 5G service, which uses what is known as C-band airwaves, to Jan. 5.

  • Leftovers

    • Letting Go: Wisdom From Our Grief
    • Education

      • Lessons from my PhD

        Most of what I learned during my PhD had nothing to do with my dissertation topic, grad school, or even computer science.

        These lessons are so ingrained into me now that I’m shocked when I find out that not everyone knows them! I think they can be applied to virtually any office job.

        I’ve written down a few of the lessons in hopes that my students find them useful: [...]

      • Losers Exist, Don’t Hire Them

        But then it was time for him to interview with me. I didn’t ask him very many questions about sales, advertising operations, invoicing, collections, or any of the handful of other tactical skills we wanted. I just grilled him on the bottom fourth of his resume — you know, the one about hobbies and college.

    • Hardware

      • NeoPixel Punk Console Drives WS2812s Using 555 Timers | Hackaday

        NeoPixels, a type of LED strip with individually addressable pixels, are a firm favorite among creators of intricate light effects. They are popular for their versatility and the ease with which you can daisy-chain them. Although the protocol to drive these little LEDs can be rather tricky to implement due to tight signal timing constraints.

        However, [Adrian Studer] proved that driving WS2812-based LED strips like the NeoPixel series doesn’t necessarily require hand-optimized assembly code. In fact, it doesn’t require any code at all. He built the NeoPixel Punk Console, a device that creates a light show without even using a microcontroller. Just a handful of 555 timers and some 74HC series logic work together to produce pulses with approximately correct timings.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Doctors Urge Medicare to Deny Coverage for Alzheimer’s Drug With Unproven Efficacy and Safety

        As Medicare officials grapple with whether to cover Aduhelm—an Alzheimer’s medication approved by federal regulators despite a lack of evidence that the exorbitantly priced and potentially dangerous drug helps patients—many doctors are urging them not to.

        “This doesn’t meet Medicare’s ‘reasonable and necessary’ criteria because the FDA themselves says there’s no direct evidence of improved cognition.”

      • Dialysis Patients Have Faced a Deadly Catch-22 During the Pandemic
      • As Ban on Most Surprise Medical Bills Takes Effect, Critics Denounce For-Profit Healthcare

        While welcoming a federal ban on most surprise medical bills that went into effect on Saturday, Medicare for All advocates made clear that the new law, which crucially excludes ground ambulances, is only necessary because the United States lacks the superior alternative taken for granted in every other wealthy nation: a single-payer healthcare system.

        “While this is good news for consumers, this is necessary because of our complex multi-payer for-profit healthcare system.”

      • Michigan’s poorer, minority neighborhoods become ‘sacrifice zones’ for increased pollution

        In Michigan, if a company asks to pollute more, regulators generally say yes. Only 11 permit requests statewide have been rejected by EGLE over the past seven years, according to agency records obtained by the Free Press through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. Over the same time period, more than 1,700 pollution permits were approved that are still active.

      • Big Cars Are Killing Americans

        Americans have traded sedans for crossovers and SUVs for full-size pickups with total abandon over the past decade. To the extent that we think at all critically about the sheer bulk of the vehicles we drive, we’re usually motivated by environmental concerns. One common notion—though auto-safety experts will say it’s not that simple—is that it’s safer to get around in what’s basically a tank. But those benefits, exaggerated as they may be, are only for people inside the vehicle. People outside—pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users—are in more peril.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • SSH Keys are Passwords Too

        Luckily there is one, and it is not only more secure but also improves developer productivity. I’m talking about identity-based, short-lived certificates. In our survey, the innovative companies who had moved to certificates pointed out their enhanced security, great functionality (e.g. ability to easily deliver fine-grained role-based access controls), and how since they automatically expire, they reduce attack surface in time.

      • Proprietary

        • Delhi University uses digilocker to verify more than 1 lakh documents

          DigiLocker is a secure cloud based platform for storage, sharing and verification of documents and certificates. The documents stored in the DigiLocker system are deemed to be equivalent to original physical documents as per law.

          These documents can be validated in real-time using the DigiLocker Scanner, which is included with the DigiLocker Android App, or online using verification Application Programming Interface (API), a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Police Use of Artificial Intelligence: 2021 in Review

              And for many aspects of life, artificial intelligence is delivering on its promise. AI is, as we speak, looking for evidence of life on Mars. Scientists are using AI to try to develop more accurate and faster ways to predict the weather.

              But when it comes to policing, the actuality of the situation is much less optimistic.  Our HAL 9000 does not assert its own decisions on the world—instead, programs which claim to use AI for policing just reaffirm, justify, and legitimize the opinions and actions already being undertaken by police departments.

              AI presents two problems,  tech-washing, and a classic feedback loop. Tech-washing is the process by which proponents of the outcomes can defend those outcomes as unbiased because they were derived from “math.” And the feedback loop is how that math continues to perpetuate historically-rooted harmful outcomes. “The problem of using algorithms based on machine learning is that if these automated systems are fed with examples of biased justice, they will end up perpetuating these same biases,” as one philosopher of science notes.

            • Here’s why you probably don’t need to rely on a VPN anymore

              VPNs, or virtual private networks, continue to be used by millions of people as a way of masking their [Internet] activity by encrypting their location and web traffic.

              But on the modern [Internet], most people can safely ditch them, thanks to the widespread use of encryption that has made public [Internet] connections far less of a security threat, cybersecurity experts say.

            • A tracking device made by Apple is showing up in suspected crimes

              “I don’t think there’s any question that Apple’s AirTags are being used for stalking,” said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy group based in San Francisco. She was among the people predicting just such an outcome months ago.

              Police in Colorado, Georgia, Michigan and Texas have reported the misuse of AirTags, including for domestic stalking and trying to steal cars. The sheriff’s office in Twin Falls, Idaho, warned residents this month that AirTags pose a danger, especially to potential victims of domestic violence. And one reported attempt at unwanted tracking described on TikTok has received more than 27 million views.

            • Capturing Digital Identity

              In 2022, the TSA will start supporting state IDs in your Apple Wallet. With your credit cards in your Apple Wallet as well, why do you need a physical wallet? (Although, surprisingly, only 6% of iPhone users use Apple Pay).

              Tech companies have been trying to take control of digital identity since the internet was invented, but few have succeeded. Google forces (strongly encourages) users to log into their Web browser. Apple IDs are mandatory. Facebook and Google have made login easier with their “Log in with” products.

            • Open Customer Data

              What would you do if you could get a list of every one of your competitor’s customers and their activity? That’s whats happening with cryptocurrency products today.

              Openness can be a customer acquisition strategy. The marginal cost of code is nearly zero, and making your source code available (open source) can sometimes be a good tradeoff. Many MicroSaaS developers have found that “building in public” and posting their analytics can be another source of potential customers. But what about making your actual customer data available to everyone?

            • Millions of Jeeps and Rams are about to get this lifesaving new safety feature

              “She asked why we couldn’t have an alert system that shows the kind of emergency vehicle, and the direction it’s coming from?”

              Stellantis moved fast, using existing connectivity hardware and working with Safety Cloud creator HAAS Alert, which works with more than 1,000 emergency responder fleets in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

              Chamarthi tested EVAS in her plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler last summer.

              “The system knows the location of the first responder, and it knows where our vehicle is,” she said. Alerts are geofenced. It only notifies drivers of nearby emergency vehicles and disregards those on the opposite-direction side of divided highways.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • „Thin blue line“: German police trainer warns against radicalisation

        Police sometimes see themselves as the last „blue line“ against chaos and crime. Various police stations also tweet about this self-image, which is popular among right-wing officers. Websites where police employees  also participate sell patches, mugs and shirts with the problematic symbolism.

      • Pentagon Spending on Military Contractors May Reach $407 Billion in 2022
      • Travel restrictions tighten in Tibet ahead of Beijing Winter Olympics

        Security has already been tightened in many places in Tibet, a resident of Lhasa told RFA this week.

        “In just a few days, greater security and restrictions have been put in place in Tibetan areas of Lhasa and in Shigatse, Chamdo, Draggo, Ngaba, and Rebkong,” RFA’s source said, referring to areas in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in western China’s Sichuan and Qinghai provinces.

      • Paris jihadist attacks trial put on hold after main suspect catches Covid

        The criminal trial will resume as scheduled on Jan. 4 but then be officially suspended until Jan. 13., the source said. French news agency AFP earlier reported on the planned suspension, citing an e-mail sent to the parties by the court’s president.

        Abdeslam, 31, is believed by prosecutors to be the only surviving member of the Islamic State cell that carried out the gun-and-bomb attacks on bars, restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France stadium on Nov. 13, 2015.

      • Social Media Censors Ignore Islamist Hate Speech and Incitement to Murder

        Despite Facebook’s zeal at censoring so-called “hate speech” and “offensive content,” violent, radical, and murderous content from Muslim terror groups is allowed to appear on and make use of the social media giant’s platform. According to a recent report, Facebook has allowed “scores of groups” that were supportive of either Islamic State or the Taliban to operate freely.

        This matter is significantly worse when one looks at Facebook in Arabic and other languages commonly spoken by Muslims. In the last few years, I’ve seen endless Arabic-language content on Facebook and other social media giants that amounts to nothing less than terroristic incitement. Usually, these posts remain on the social media platforms for years—until, of course, I or others draw attention to them in English-language articles, at which point they are conveniently removed.

      • “Racist”, “Islamophobic”, “discriminatory”: the former president of the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) attacks the surveillance of Muslim places of worship

        At the same time, he denounces the government’s use of “state resources for purposes of surveillance, record keeping, intimidation and discriminatory treatment of Muslims”. A thread that did not leave some internet users cold. One of them asked him if he knew any “Christian or Jewish jihadists”. Another replied that there were no ” such bloody crimes in the name of Christianity and Judaism” in France.

      • Liverpool taxi bomber warned brother about doing ‘something bad’

        He entered Britain in May 2014 with a Jordanian passport, falsely claimed to be of Syrian heritage on asylum applications, and was a practicing Muslim despite converting to Christianity. Advertisement

        Taxi driver David Perry escaped from the blast, which was caused by a homemade bomb.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Stockholm University Student Writes Essay On ‘Racism’ Of Milk Against Coffee

        At the end of the course, all the participants were asked to write a paper of 10,000 characters. Haag said, “I took a rather bizarre subject, which is quite fun, and took another turn.” He wrote, “The question one may ask is whether it is really a reconciliation between milk and coffee that has occurred or whether adding milk to the coffee is a way to take away coffee’s unique properties and instead impose white properties on the black drink,” calling it ‘drink-based colonization’, stressing that milk ‘controls and domesticates’ coffee.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | 2021 Was a Year of Failed Political Leadership

        2021 was the year of political leadership, or more importantly, lack of it, and an invitation to reflect on the social consequences of leadership failures. I think for many of us, it was the year that felt like when time slows down while you are witnessing an accident happen—two seconds that feel like two minutes—or in this case, twelve months that feel like a decade of closings, openings, lockdowns, mandates, curfews, hoarding, and devastation.

      • Hogan, administration found using disappearing messaging app to communicate with staff

        Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his administration were found to be using a messaging app that deletes messages after 24 hours, keeping his internal communications with staff members private and out of the state archives.

        Messages from the end-to-end encryption app Wickr obtained by The Washington Post show Hogan talking about a wide range of topics, including the state’s response to the pandemic, coordinating with staffers and complaining about media. Chat rooms used by Hogan were set to a timer called “Burn-on-Read” which deletes the messages after 24 hours, the Post reported, citing records.

      • Parson says he believes prosecutor will bring charges in Post-Dispatch case

        “These documents show there was no network intrusion,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch President and Publisher Ian Caso said this month. “As DESE initially acknowledged, the reporter should have been thanked for the responsible way he handled the matter and not chastised or investigated as a hacker.”

      • Foreign Policy’s Weirdest New Weapon: Memes

        Seeing as more and more people get their news in the form of simplified headlines and snippets of video on their phones while taking dropping a deuce, the meme format is the perfect method to drip feed a particular message. It’s visual and appeals to those who don’t have the time or attention span to read more than ten consecutive sentences without some sensory stimulation to distract them. Which reminds us, we really need to stick some more ads in this sucker before you get bored.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • America ends 2021 with censorship surge. Will 2022′s new year be better?

        As 2021 nears its close, a spasm of book banning has spread surprisingly quickly among state and local officials. Happily, if history is a guide, this accelerating spread of censorship will fail. But in the meantime, conservative elected officials have used this year to charge headlong backward into the 19th century.

      • Russia labels Pussy Riot member, others as ‘foreign agents’

        Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been seen as a popular figure of dissent after she took part in a 2012 protest inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. She spent nearly two years in prison.

        Tolokonnikova is also one of the founders of independent news outlet Mediazona. The organization was labeled a “foreign agent” in late September.

        Tolokonnikova said she would challenge Thursday’s decision in court, adding: “Russia will be free.”

      • Christian YouTuber Faces Continued Harassment As He Fights Against Persecution From Muslims

        Kace’s difficulty did not end in being arrested. He was tortured by local police, particularly an official named Napoleon Bonaparte, during his detention. Bonaparte, a co-prisoner on charges of corruption, forced Kace “to eat the excrement of himself,” claiming that forcing Kace to do such a disgusting and inhumane act was in the service of Allah and of Islam itself since it is allegedly a payback for the latter’s insults on the religion.

        The ICC highlighted that the local police wanted “to be fair” to Kace and arrested Ustad Yahya Waloni who have also delivered insulting lectures on Islam. However, unlike Kace, complaints on Waloni was not given much attention by the police until after Kace was already in prison. Waloni is said to be a Muslim preacher with a Christian background and similarly arrested on blasphemy charges.

        In addition to the difference in the treatment of their arrest, Waloni was also treated differently from Kace during detention. Waloni was immediately given medical treatment when he got sick, but no one paid attention to Kace after he was tortured severely.

      • Delhi HC refuses plea against book allegedly demeaning Islam

        The Delhi High Court has refrained from entertaining a lawsuit filed by a man against an online self-published book titled Muhammad, which allegedly makes derogatory statements against Islam, the Holy Quran and Prophet Mohammed. The court noted that the litigant failed to show an infringement of his personal legal right.

        Justice Sanjeev Narula was of the view that “in the absence of disclosure of infringement of any legal right, the plaintiff’s prayer seeking injunction and damages on account of being offended or aggrieved by the contents of a book – which allegedly is hurtful to his religious sentiments – would not give him any right to approach this court by way of the present suit”.

        Qamar Hasnain, in his plea, had sought to recall all copies of the book purportedly authored by Syed Waseem Rizvi and to destroy all copies sold or unsold. Mr. Hasnain, who claimed to be a religious scholar and a concerned follower of Islam, also sought a direction to remove all objectionable posts and comments related to the book from their respective social media platforms. He contended that the contents of the book were offensive, hateful and distressing to even a casual reader, let alone a follower of Islam or an admirer of Prophet Muhammad.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The governor of Missouri still doesn’t know how websites work

        While a gross misunderstanding of how websites work by both a state agency and the governor of said state might be funny, Governor Parson’s behavior since the paper first published its story is anything but. According to public records obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Vandeven had initially planned to thank the paper for finding the vulnerability. Her tone only became accusatory after meeting with the governor’s office.

      • Vietnam journalist who tried to run for parliament jailed for 5 years

        A Vietnamese journalist arrested after nominating himself as an independent candidate in elections to the country’s National Assembly was sentenced to five years in jail Friday by a court in the capital Hanoi, his lawyer and his wife said.

        Le Trong Hung was arrested March 27 after declaring his candidacy for election in a challenge to political processes tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party and charged with “creating, storing, disseminating information, materials, items and publications against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

      • Calls grow for citizen journalist’s release, one year into her four-year jail term

        Zhang’s family members were last allowed to visit her last month, reporting that she weighed less than 40 kilograms with a height of 1.77 meters, and couldn’t walk or raise her head without assistance.

        “Zhang Zhan courageously risked her life reporting in Wuhan at a time when very little information was available on the mode of transmission and severity of Covid-19, and she should have been celebrated as a hero instead of being detained,” RSF East Asia Bureau chief Cédric Alviani said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Your music library and MusicBrainz Picard

        MusicBrainz Picard and the MusicBrainz database are projects of the MetaBrainz Foundation. MetaBrainz Foundation has a philosophy of free, open access of data. It has been set up to build community maintained databases and make them available in the public domain or under Creative Commons licenses. Most contributions come from volunteers so users are encouraged either to donate or contribute to the data gathering process.

      • Ford Motor Co. beefs up tech strength with director known for global dominance

        “Deere has pioneered some of the first, if not the first, autonomous tractors,” he said. “They’re adept at bringing new technology into agriculture equipment that competes on a global basis. Deere dominates the segment. And companies like to have winners on the board. If you’re a global manufacturer that’s moving into high tech, like Ford, you want a board member who has that experience under their belt.”

      • Deere CEO John May brought onto Ford board of directors

        In announcing the appointment of May, Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford pointed to the Deere chief’s role in implementing major changes in technology. “May’s experience helping to transform Deere as a smart industrial company is relevant to Ford’s own ambitious transformation, and brings additional valuable insight to the Ford board.”

    • Monopolies

      • [Older] Europe’s highest court to revisit the allowability of combination SPCs

        How should Article 3(c) be applied to an SPC for a combo-product where the patent already supports an SPC for a mono-product?
        A Finnish court has referred an important question to the CJEU, the highest court in the EU, asking whether a second SPC for a combination of active ingredients can validly be granted when a first SPC for one of the active ingredients alone has already been granted on the same patent. As combination SPCs are highly valuable additional rights, which may expire many years after the mono SPCs, the answer to the referred question could have a considerable impact on the filing and enforcement strategy of patentees.

      • KOL369 | Soho Forum IP Debate Post-Mortem with Greg Morin

        Whereupon I do the rare original episode. In November I debated Richard Epstein in New York, at the Soho Forum, on intellectual property (patent and copyright).

      • Global Cannabis Applications Corp. Patent Now Worldwide [Ed: EPO monopolies for narcotics, formerly illegal and with jail sentence attached; the EPO has become truly greedy and uncaring about the law]

        TheNewswire – December 10, 2021 – Global Cannabis Applications Corp. (“GCAC” or the “Company”) (CSE:APP), (CNSX:APP.CN), (FSE:2FA), (OTC:FUAPF), a leading medical cannabis chain-of-custody compliance and data platform, obtained official Acknowledgement Receipt from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in filing US Utility Patent Applications.

        GCAC filed the “System of Processing and Tracking Cannabis Products and Associated Method Using Block Chain,” Serial Number 63/126,555, filed the original application on December 17, 2020. Due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Patent was officially published on December 2, 2021. A second application filed November 24, 2021, for “Tracking System for Cultivated Products and Associated Methods,” Serial Number 17/457,385 was acknowledged simultaneously.

        The applications include “World Assignment” applying to the European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and other intellectual property organizations participating with USPTO in bilateral or multilateral agreements.

      • Justices Urged To Undo Fed. Circ.’s Qualcomm Ruling

        A trio of intellectual property lobbying groups, software company Thales and Unified Patents LLC told the U.S. Supreme Court to undo a Federal Circuit ruling saying that Apple doesn’t have standing to appeal Patent Trial and Appeal Board rulings upholding two Qualcomm patents.

        Engine Advocacy, the App Association, and the Public Interest Patent Law Institute filed a joint amicus brief Friday, and Thales DIS AIS Deutschland GmbH and Unified Patents filed separate amicus briefs on Monday, all pushing for the Supreme Court to hear Apple’s appeal of the appellate court ruling. Upholding the Federal Circuit ruling could lead to fewer post-grant…

      • Patents

        • Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Program between Brazil and Portugal is signed [Ed: Who does this help if not the monopolistic litigation puppets and their law firms, at the expense of due process of proper patent examination?]

          The Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BRPTO) informed on December 16, 2021 that a memorandum to institute a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot project between Brazil and Portugal was signed. This partnership in the PPH program is planned for a period of five years. Through this PPH program, Brazilians will be able to use the result of the examination of the patent application at the BRPTO to speed up the analysis in Portugal. In the same way, Portuguese will be able to use the result of the exam from the Portuguese Office to speed up the analysis at the BRPTO.

          Finally, since November 05, 2021 the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program of 2021 is closed for having reached the limit of 600 requests for participation. Currently, the PPH program has signed agreements with the following countries/regions: a) United States; b) European Patent Office, c) Japan, d) China, e) Austria, f) Sweden, g) United Kingdom, h) Denmark, i) South Korea and j) Singapore.

      • Copyrights

        • Winnie-the-Pooh and more works will enter the public domain tomorrow

          ENKINS: So Disney still has copyrights over its newer, for example, Winnie-the-Pooh movies. Now, they also have trademarks for the use, for example, of the words Winnie-the-Pooh as a brand. We’re not talking about sticking Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh on a backpack or pajamas or a lunchbox. We’re talking about that piece of literary work, that gentle book by A. A. Milne from 1926. That’s in the public domain, and we can all revisit, reimagine, write our own version of it.

          MCCAMMON: And for the first time ever, as I understand it, sound recordings are entering the public domain as well. And we’re not just talking about music and lyrics, but specific recordings of songs. What are some of the titles we’ll now have access to?

          JENKINS: We are talking about every single sound recording from before 1923 – everything from the advent of sound recording technology all the way through to early jazz and blues. There are recordings of songs about women’s suffrage – for example, the song “She’s Good Enough To Be Your Baby’s Mother And She’s Good Enough To Vote With You.”

        • Winnie-the-Pooh and around 400,000 early sound recordings enter public domain

          A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and other books, movies, and compositions from 1926 enter into the public domain today in the US. The works are now “free for all to copy, share, and build upon,” according to Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, which tracks which copyrighted materials will become public each year.

          This year, the usual list of books, movies, and compositions comes with a sizable bonus: a trove of around 400,000 early sound recordings. A recent law, the 2018 Music Modernization Act, standardized how early sound recordings are handled under federal copyright law. As part of that, it set today as the date that copyright protections would end for “recordings first published before 1923.”

        • ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’ and 400,000 Sound Recordings Enter the Public Domain

          Additionally, for the first time thanks to the passage of the Music Modernization Act in 2018, over 400,000 sound recordings from the advent of sound recording technology through 1922 will also enter the public domain. This includes works by Mamie Smith, Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, Ethel Waters and hundreds more.

        • DMCA To The Rescue!

          I Confess To Right-Clicker-Mentality discusses another of the problems this indirect connection causes, namely that trying to create “ownership”, artificial scarcity, of an image represented by a Web URL is futile. Anyone can create their own copy from the URL. Miscreants are now exploiting en masse the inverse of this. Because art images on the Web are URLs, and thus easy to copy, anyone can make a copy of one and create an NFT for it. No “ownership” of the image needed. Liam Sharp suffered this way:

          Sadly I’m going to have to completely shut down my entire @DeviantArt gallery as people keep stealing my art and making NFTs. I can’t – and shouldn’t have to – report each one and make a case, which is consistently ignored. Sad and frustrating. […[

        • How Much Do Artists Make Per Stream? Here’s the Latest Breakdown — From Rapper T-Pain

          T-Pain (full name Faheem Rasheed Najm) spurred conversation among artists, music industry professionals, and fans with a recent Instagram post and tweet, which include a chart that purportedly shows the number of streams required to earn $1 on leading platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music.

        • Gaming Like It’s 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam

          Gaming Like It’s 1926: The Public Domain Game Jam

01.01.22

Links 2/1/2022: GNU Alive 2.0.4 and FSF Membership Drive Runs Until January 20th

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Top 5 Best Linux Tablets Recommended For Privacy Lovers (2022) – DekiSoft

        Over time Linux has had a lot of popularity all due to the advantages that different distros bring to the table, the best among all is security and privacy. All thanks to them these OS are able to secure your data from malware and other attacks. We have picked the top 5 Linux tablets for privacy users. This includes choices for different people and has a variety of devices.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Applications

      • Pinta 2.0 Open-Source Paint Program Is Out Now as a Major Update, Ported to GTK 3 [Ed: Mono danger]

        Pinta 2.0 comes a little over a month after the release of the Pinta 1.7.1 update, and it’s here to finally port the paint program to the GTK+ 3 and .NET 6 application frameworks for a more modern look and new functionality.

        The GTK+ 3 and .NET 6 porting means that Pinta not only looks better and more moder, but it also offers improved support for HiDPI displays, support for platform-native file dialogs, as well as support for GTK+ 3 themes.

      • Pinta 2.0 Released, Completes Port to GTK3 & .NET 6

        With a new year starting you might be planning to indulge your creativity side this year — and if so, take a look at the latest stable release of open source image editing app Pinta.

        Pinta 2.0 is major new release that completes the app’s transition to GTK3 and .NET 6. It’s a big foundational uplift that results in some welcome improvements. Pinta 2.0 now looks better on the modern Linux desktop, with GTK dialogs, choosers, pickers, and widgets all looking how they should.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Finding all files with a certain extension in Linux? – Darryl Dias

        The example above is using the find command to search files in the tmp folder for Python files, that have the extension .py.

        To get a list of all the files with the same extension inside the current directory, for this example looking for all the Python extension files.

      • How To Install Vivaldi Browser on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Vivaldi Browser on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Vivaldi is a freeware, cross-platform web browser developed by Vivaldi Technologies. It had grown from the downfall of Opera with many disgruntled when it changed from the Presto layout engine to a Chromium-based browser. Although it, too, is based on Chromium, its minimalistic user interface and features such as tab stacking and tiling, built-in ad blocker and trackers, custom themes, quick commands, etc., give it an edge over the likes of Chrome, Edge, and Brave.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Vivaldi Browser on a Fedora 35.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • MX Linux 21 Is The Best Linux Distribution Of 2021

          So overall, all of these reasons were what motivated us to choose MX Linux 21 as the best desktop Linux distribution of 2021. Combining hardware support, low resources consumption and huge number of utility apps and deep functionality options… It all creates a wonderful Linux distribution for the average user.

          Perhaps the only thing that the developers need to work on is the default UX and UI for their default apps and overall system, as it sounds too traditional and classical from the first while, comparing to distributions like elementaryOS 6 which feature more elegant user interfaces.

          But… That aside, MX Linux 21 is one of the best Linux distributions out there to try, and we recommend any new user thinking of switching to Linux from Windows to test it out.

          Congratulations to MX Linux developers, and everyone who has worked on creating this great distribution! It truly paid off.

        • Neptune 7 “Faye” released

          This version comes with a new Debian base (11 “Bullseye”) that offers newer and better hardware support as well as newer software and apps.
          KDE Plasma 5.20.5 ships with a new Neptune specific theme that embraces the Breeze widget style for maximum compatibility and introduces a new subtle but modern flat look and feel to Neptune. We also updated the Icon theme to our own variation of the Tela Icon theme to fit with the new look of the system. The default panel has been modernized to allow pinning more apps and tasks to it aswell as offering a new bigger easier look to the eyes.
          Besides that Linux Kernel 5.10 offers modern hardware support aswell as bugfixes.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS Linux 8 Reached End of Life, It’s Time to Migrate to an Alternative OS

          The time has come to say goodbye to the CentOS Linux 8 distribution as it reached end of life on the last day of 2021, December 31st. As of today, the distribution is no longer supported, which means that it will no longer receive software and security updates, making your installations vulnerable to attacks, in time.

          CentOS Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution built using and compatible with the sources of the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. CentOS Linux 8 was initially released only two years ago, on September 24th, 20219, and it was supposed to be maintained for 10 years, until the year 2029.

      • Debian Family and Similar

        • LiVES problems and more problems

          Easy 3.1.17 has LiVES 3.0.2, which seems to basically work.

        • rshift internationalized and fr updates

          esmourguit (forum name) is maintaining the French translations for EasyOS.

        • Sparky news 2021/12

          The 12th, and the last of 2021 year, monthly Sparky project and donate report:
          – Linux kernel updated up to 5.15.12 & 5.16-rc7
          – Added to repos: FinalCrypt, Firefox & Firefox ESR Mozilla builds
          – Sparky 2021.12 & 2021.12 Special Editions of the rolling line released
          – Lumina Desktop updated up to 1.6.2; debs built for amd64, i386, armhf & arm64

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Small EInk Phone

          Happy new year! Would you be interested in crowdfunding a small E Ink Open Phone? If yes, check out the specs and fill out the form below.

          If I get 1000 interested people, I’ll approach manufacturers. I plan to share the results publicly in either case. I will never share your information with manufacturers but contact you by email if this goes forward.

        • Neat little hobby kit: CircuitMess Ringo

          My son is a tinkerer and creator. He is still somewhat young and has expressed on multiple occasions that he dreams of building his own phones. Enter the CircuitMess Ringo. It is an educational DIY kit to build a mobile phone (that uses actual SIM cards). As soon as I saw this, I knew it was perfect for him and on Christmas morning, he was ecstatic when realizing what this was. Anyway, I will be guiding and assisting him with his project very soon and may share more details as we progress through it.

        • Cool the Shop with a Thermal Battery-Based System

          Having any kind of shop is pretty great, no matter how large it may be or where it’s located. If the shop is in an outbuilding, you get to make more noise. On the other hand, it will probably get pretty darn hot in the summer without some kind of cooling system, especially if you don’t have a window for a breeze (or a window A/C unit).

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Oracle OC4J – LinuxLinks

        Oracle is a computer technology corporation best known for its software products and services like Java.

        In 2020, Oracle was the second-largest software company in the world by revenue and market capitalization. They employ over 130,000 people, and sell cloud-engineering services and systems and database management systems.

        Oracle has a fairly prominent position with open source. They are a supporting member of the Linux Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, and the Java Community Process.

        Through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010, Oracle also became the steward of many other important and long-running open source projects such as the Java programming language and the MySQL relational database, introduced in 1995. The acquisition of Sleepycat Software, brought the open source Berkeley DB key/value store.

        The company co-develops the OpenJDK, an open source implementation of the Java Platform Standard Edition, and Btrfs, a B-tree file system. They also open source the Oracle Coherence Community Edition, NetBeans, and produce Oracle Linux which is a Linux distro compiled from Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code.

        While Oracle develops and distributes open source software, they have many different business models. The majority of their products are published under a proprietary license. This series looks at free and open source alternatives to Oracle’s products.

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Oracle’s Products – LinuxLinks

        Oracle is a computer technology corporation best known for its software products and services like Java.

        In 2020, Oracle was the second-largest software company in the world by revenue and market capitalization. They employ over 130,000 people, and sell cloud-engineering services and systems and database management systems.

        Oracle has a fairly prominent position with open source. They are a supporting member of the Linux Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, and the Java Community Process.

        Through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010, Oracle also became the steward of many other important and long-running open source projects such as the Java programming language and the MySQL relational database, introduced in 1995. The acquisition of Sleepycat Software, brought the open source Berkeley DB key/value store.

        The company co-develops the OpenJDK, an open source implementation of the Java Platform Standard Edition, and Btrfs, a B-tree file system. They also open source the Oracle Coherence Community Edition, NetBeans, and produce Oracle Linux which is a Linux distro compiled from Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code.

        While Oracle develops and distributes open source software, they have many different business models. The majority of their products are published under a proprietary license. This series looks at free and open source alternatives to Oracle’s products.

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Cisco’s Products – LinuxLinks

        Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology corporation that focuses on networking hardware and software. It has over 75,000 employees with its headquarters in San Jose, California.

        Cisco has been participating in open source development for almost 30 years including founding projects like OpenDaylight, FD.io, VPP, PNDA, SNAS, and OpenH264, and contributing to projects like OPNFV, Kubernetes, OpenStack, Ansible, Chef, Puppet, Maven, and many others.

        Cisco has also been a key contributor to the Linux kernel over the years, accounting for about 0.5% of total kernel commits, and is a Platinum Member of the Linux Foundation and Premium Sponsor of the Open Source Initiative.

        From a software perspective, Cisco’s main focus is developing proprietary programs. In this series we look at free and open source alternatives to their products.

      • FSF

        • Help keep the end-of-year momentum going: Membership drive extended to January 20th

          We’ve been inspired by seeing the 262 new associate members who have decided to help us ring in the new year by joining the Free Software Foundation (FSF). We’re sincerely grateful for the way they’ve answered the call by standing up for software freedom. We’re just as grateful for all of the donations and membership renewals we’ve had during our year-end drive. Since we’ve seen a strong show of support in the latter half of our appeal, we’re extending the date to join and still receive one of the special pins we’re offering to January 20th.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Alive 2.0.4 available
            release notes:
            
              Maintenance release.  Happy new year.
            
            README excerpt:
            
              GNU Alive is a keep-alive program for internet connections.
              It repeatedly pings a series of user-specified hosts, thereby
              encouraging (one hopes) the involved networks to not disappear.
            
            NEWS for 2.0.4 (2022-01-01):
            
              - .tar.xz no longer distributed
            
                If you have GNU tar, you can use "tar xf" and it will DTRT.
                If not, you can use "lzip -dc TARBALL | tar xf -" to unpack.
            
              - https in URLs
            
                GNU and GNUVOLA URLs now say ‘https’ instead of ‘http’.  This
                shows up in the docs, and in ‘--help’ / ‘--version’ output.
            
              - bootstrap/maintenance tools
            
                upgraded:
            
                 GNU texinfo 6.8
                 GNU Automake 1.16.5
                 GNU Autoconf 2.71
                 GNU Guile 2.2.7
                 Guile-BAUX 20211208.0839.a5245e7
                 GNU gnulib 2021-12-10 21:54:54
            
                as before:
            
                 (none)
            
            tarball and detached signature:
            
            https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/alive/alive-2.0.4.tar.lz
            
            
            https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/alive/alive-2.0.4.tar.lz.sig
            
            source code:
            
            https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/alive.git?h=p
            
            homepage:
            
            https://www.gnu.org/software/alive/
            
            
  • Leftovers

    • Attack Of The Eighty-Foot String Shooter | Hackaday

      String shooters are exciting because they adhere to the laws of physics in that peculiar way that makes us ask, “How?” and “Why?” After a bit of poking and prodding, maybe some light rope burn, we probably have a few ideas on how we’d make our own. [Nick Belsten] and [Joey Rain] saw some desktop models and thought, “Let’s make that puppy eighty feet long!” Video also embedded after the break.

      Instead of hobby motors, flashlight batteries, and toy car wheels, they choose a washing machine motor and bike tires, then plug into an extension cord. The three-minute video isn’t a how-to build because once you start welding this kind of hardware together, you are already flying by the seat of your pants. You will see a front yard with people delighting in the absurdity of launching rope continuously over the treetops. There’s plenty of room for observing a wave traveling along the cord or polishing your fingernails in a hurry.

    • Hardware

      • Ski Lift Design Does The Impossible | Hackaday

        Tis The Season, for those who are so inclined, to loft themselves to the top of a steep snow-covered hill and then go downhill, really fast. And if something gets in their way, turn. Whether they be on skis, a snowboard, or some other means, getting down usually involves using gravity. Getting up, on the other hand, usually involves a ski lift. And in the video by [kalsan15] after the break, we learn how technology has stepped in to make even the most inaccessible slopes just a lift ride away.

      • Virtual Eurorack Based CPU Computes To The Beat Of A Different Drum Module | Hackaday

        In Arthur C. Clarke’s 1972 story “Dial F for Frankenstein”, the worlds first global network of phone exchanges was created by satellite link, and events happened that caused the characters in the story to wonder if the interconnected mesh of machinery had somehow become sentient. And that’s what we wondered when we saw this latest virtual CPU construction built by GitHub user [katef] and made from a virtual analog synthesizer software called VCV Rack.

        Analogous to a Redstone computer in Minecraft, there’s no physical hardware involved. But instead of making crazy synth sounds for a music project, [katef] has built a functioning CPU complete with an Arithmetic Logic Unit, an adder, and other various things you’ll find in a real CPU such as registers and a clock.

      • Genius or Cursed, This USB-C Connector Is Flexible

        USB connectors have lent themselves to creative interpretations of their mechanical specifications ever since the first experimenter made a PCB fit into a USB-A socket. The USB-C standard with its smaller connector has so far mostly escaped this trend, though this might be about to change thanks to the work of [Sam Ettinger]. His own description of his USB-C connector using a flexible PCB and a BGA-packaged ATTiny84A microcontroller is “cursed”, but we can’t decide whether or not it should also be called “genius”.

        Key to this inspired piece of connector fabrication is the realization that the thickness of BGA and flex PCB together comes to the required 0.7 mm. The BGA provides the necessary stiffness, and though it’s a one-sided connector it fits the space perfectly. There are several demo boards as proofs-of-concept, and the whole lot can be found in a GitHub repository.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Blackberry Will Run Out of Juice on January 4th

          Happy New Year, though it may not be for Blackberry fans. The company that has so often had their products compared to a certain addictive substance recently announced that they are ending support for Blackberry OS and Blackberry 10 devices.

          What does this mean? While they won’t be bricking phones outright, they might as well be. On January 4th, Blackberry will be shutting off all the key services — data, SMS, phone calls, and 911 support. In official terms, they are ending network provisioning for these older devices, meaning that they won’t be able to join any cellular or WiFi networks.

        • Alexa Suggests Dangerous ‘Outlet Challenge’ to 10-Year-Old
        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facial Recognition for Covid-19 Tracking in Seoul

              The city of Bucheon, population 830,000, is a satellite city southwest of Seoul and part of the greater metropolitan area and the site of a pilot program to apply AI facial recognition and tracking technologies to aid Covid-19 epidemiological investigators. South Korea has been generally praised for its rapid response to coronavirus patient tracking since the beginning of the outbreak. People entering public facilities enter their information on a roster or scan a QR code. Epidemiologists tracking outbreaks use a variety of data available to them, including these logs, electronic transaction data, mobile phone location logs, CCTV footage, and interviews. But the workload can be overwhelming, and there are only a fixed number of workers with the required training available, despite efforts to hire more.

              As contract tracing has been done to-date, it takes one investigator up to an hour to trace the movements of one patient. When the system goes online in January, it should be able to trace one patient in less than a minute, handling up to ten traces simultaneously. Project officials say there is no plan for this system to expand to the rest of Seoul, nor nationwide. But with the growing virus caseloads and continued difficulties hiring and training investigators, it’s not unexpected that officials will be turning to these technologies more and more to keep up with the increasing workload.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • FOSS Patents: Alternative app store with improved security filed antitrust lawsuit against Apple in Florida, simultaneously alleging infringement of patent on reverse lookup of phone numbers

          With Ericsson still not having announced (by the time I’m writing this) a renewal of its patent cross-license agreement with Apple, dozens of patent infringement complaints against Apple–in multiple jurisdictions–may be imminent as the license agreement is just about to expire. And other major standard-essential patent holders like Nokia and InterDigital haven’t announced a renewal with Apple in many years, so there may be even more infringement actions to come in 2022.

        • European Union: EPO Board Of Appeal Refuses Applications With Non-Human Inventor [Ed: EPO constantly violates the EPC, which it does not even care about, but this time it decided to pretend otherwise]

          Yesterday, 21 December 2021, the EPO’s Legal Board of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s appeal in respect of the two European patent applications that attempted to name a computer system as the sole inventor. This is the latest decision in the long-running and widespread attempts by Dr Stephen Thaler and his legal team to gain recognition for machines as inventors within the patent system. The full reasons for the Board’s decision will be published later, but a brief Press Communiqué has been issued by the EPO.

          It appears that the Board has substantively agreed with the decisions of the EPO’s Receiving Section (reported here) that, under the EPC, the inventor has to be a person with legal capacity and so the applicant’s main request, naming the computer system DABUS as the sole inventor, was not allowable.

Links 1/1/2022: Slackel 7.5 and Septor 2022

Posted in News Roundup at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Here are 5 Stats About Linux that will make you Proud

      Cat command is used to read and print file content on a terminal screen. While tac command is similar to a cat command, but the difference is data will print in reverse order.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa’s RADV Driver Lands Workaround For Flickering Issue With F1 2021 – Phoronix

          For those wanting to enjoy the F1 2021 racing game on Linux via Valve’s Steam Play, it’s slowly getting into good shape. The latest enhancement is on the Radeon Vulkan driver side with Mesa’s RADV adding a workaround targeting the game.

          Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s Linux graphics driver team has landed a workaround in Mesa 22.0-devel Git (and also marked for back-porting to Mesa 21.3 stable) for fixing severe flickering issues exhibited by F1 2021 within the in-game menus.

    • Benchmarks

      • OpenBenchmarking.org In 2021 By The Numbers – Phoronix

        Since we are all about performance and numbers, here is a look at the 2021 statistics for OpenBenchmarking.org itself as the online complementary component to the Phoronix Test Suite.

        Here are some year-end stats on OpenBenchmarking.org for the health of open-source benchmarking, which in 2021 marked ten years since OpenBenchmarking.org went public alongside Phoronix Test Suite 3.0.

    • Applications

      • Best Free and Open Source Software – December 2021 Updates

        Here are the latest updates to our compilation of recommended software.

      • AviDemux 2.8.0 (64-bit)

        Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities. Avidemux is available for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows under the GNU GPL license.

      • Pinta 2.0 Drawing App Comes Ported to GTK 3 and .NET 6 [Ed: This is helping Microsoft spread Mono. Not a good thing at all.]

        Now seemingly very stable, Pinta 2.0 is well on its way to becoming one of Linux’s favorite painting and editing applications out there.

        Pinta is a free cross-platform graphics editor, that means you can install it on Windows, macOS, or Linux. It is a hassle-free tool for all Linux users who do not want to struggle through documentation to master a more complicated graphics tool.

        The app is a perfect match for Viewers & Editors in the Design & Photo category. It puts all the common graphic editing and design tools at your disposal: paintbrush, paint can, cloning stamp, gradient, different selection types, etc.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install and configure Docker-CE on Ubuntu 20.04 – NextGenTips

        In this tutorial am going to show you how you can install Docker-CE on Ubuntu 20.04.

        Docker is a set of platform as a service product that uses OS-level virtualization to deliver software in packages called containers. Containers are usually isolated from one another and bundled their own software libraries and configuration files, they can communicate with each other through well-defined channels.

        Docker makes it possible to get more apps running on the same old servers and also makes it easy to package and ship programs.

      • PlaySMS Kannel SMS Gateway integration on NGINX+Debian

        PlaySMS is a free and open source SMS management software, a web interface for SMS gateways and bulk SMS services. In this article we will configure PlaySMS on Debian 10 with NGINX web server and MariaDB Database. We will need PHP to run PlaySMS web application and Kannel SMS Gateway. To install Kannel SMS Gateway please check this article.

      • How to install MyBB Forum on Ubuntu/Debian

        MyBB is a open-source forum application which comes with amazing unique features which gives your forum a completely unbelievable look. It comes with many pre-installed features and utilities to keep your forum completely managed and solid. Since, It’s open source, There are many themes developed by the community members for you to use it freely, also there are many plugins which gives you and your forum users more accessibility to the forum. Plugins like Social Login Integration, ShoutBox, Arcade Gamers etc. It’s one of the most reliable free forums software on the market. Many known communities uses MyBB to this day

      • PPLOG personal blog fixed

        PPLOG is a personal blog, a perl script, found in the menu under “Personal” category. I received an email that it doesn’t work.

      • pa-applet menu modified

        The right-click menu lists all possible outputs and allows changing the default; however, that is conflicting with Multiple Sound Card Wizard and upsetting pavucontrol.

      • What Is A Linux Shell?

        What comes to your mind when you hear about Linux? A hacker wearing a black hoodie and a Guy Fawkes mask, typing gibberish in the terminal on one screen, while the other screen flickers with code no one understands. What if we told you that you could do that too and “try” to look cool with your friends?

        All of that is done in a Shell program pre-installed in all Linux distributions. In this article, let’s look at what a Linux Shell is and its use in Linux.

      • How to use cat and tac command in Linux – TREND OCEANS

        Cat command is used to read and print file content on a terminal screen. If you bifurcate concatenation, you will get a cat in between, which means you can combine multiple files at once. The cat command is not limited to reading files, and it can do more, let me show you how to leverage cat.

      • How to Use WhatsApp on a Linux Desktop

        WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging service available for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. The unavailability of an official WhatsApp client for Linux has left users wondering whether or not they can use WhatsApp on a Linux desktop.

        The straightforward answer is yes. Although you have the choice to run WhatsApp on an Android emulator, there must be a better way, one not involving emulation. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how you can use WhatsApp on Linux.

      • How to Install MX Linux 21 Step by Step with Screenshots

        Debian, which is a hugely popular Linux distribution, has given rise to a wide selection of popular Debian flavors. Among the most celebrated and hugely popular Debian flavors is MX Linux, which takes the first position in Distrowatch at the time of penning down this tutorial.

        MX Linux project is made possible by the collaborative efforts of AntiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. It is a desktop-oriented Linux flavor that provides XFCE as the default desktop environment – although you can get it in KDE Plasma and Fluxbox.

        MX Linux is a middleweight Linux distribution that combines a colorful and efficient desktop with rock-solid stability and superb performance. The latest stable version of MX Linux is MX Linux 21, codenamed Wildflower. It is based on Debian 11 Bullseye and ships with all the latest software updates and goodness for an amazing and elegant desktop distribution.

        In this guide, we will show you how to install MX Linux 21 step-by-step.

      • Install LibreOffice 7 on Ubuntu from AppImage, DEB, Flatpak and Snap

        This tutorial explains how you can install LibreOffice version 7.0 and later on an Ubuntu computer with several choices of installation methods namely AppImage, DEB, PPA, Snap and Flatpak sorted by difficulty from beginner to advanced. Thanks to these choices, you who have computer with GNU/Linux distros other than Ubuntu can also practice this. Now let’s install it.

      • How to install OpenBox on minimal Debian 11 Bullseye – Linux Shout

        If you are using a minimal Debian 11 Bullseye server distro and want a lightweight Windows manager along with a low resource consuming display manager and desktop panel; then here is the tutorial to install OpenBox Window manager on minimal Debian 11 Linux distro using the command line.

      • How To Install Apache on CentOS 9 Stream – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Apache on CentOS 9 Stream. For those of you who didn’t know, Apache, also known as Apache HTTP server is a free, open-source, and cross-platform HTTP server, including powerful features, and can be extended by a wide variety of modules. It is part of the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) that powers much of the internet.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Apache webserver on CentOS 9 Stream.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • My progress in porting Wine
      • Astounding Progress Made In Porting Wine To Haiku For Running Windows Software – Phoronix

        Haiku as the open-source operating system in development for two decades as the inspirational successor to BeOS is kicking off 2022 by…. beginning to be able to run Windows applications via Wine. There is great progress being made in porting Wine to running on Haiku.

        Developer “X512″ who has achieved a lot of other great Haiku development milestones from graphics driver porting to other work has been tackling Wine this week. He has been quickly making progress on being able to run Windows programs on the BeOS-inspired open-source operating system.

    • Games

      • 80% of Steam’s top 100 games now work on Linux – OSnews

        I have long stopped even checking ProtonDB to see if the games I’m interested in run well on Linux – I just assume that the games I’m into belong to the 80%, with the remaining 20% being the massive garbage pile that are abandoned indie games, anime nonsense, and porn that have infested Steam over the years.

        Proton, and all the work Wine, Valve, and open source developers have poured into it, is arguably one of the biggest contributions to desktop Linux in a long, long time, and with the Steam Deck on the horizon, it’s only going to get even better from here.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • LABWC 0.4 Stacking Wayland Compositor Brings Fullscreen Mode, Drag & Drop – Phoronix

        Early in 2021 there was the inaugural release of LABWC as a stacking Wayland compositor that promoted itself as an alternative to Openbox. In kicking off the new year, LABWC 0.4 is now available.

        The LABWC Wayland compositor is built off the wlroots library and takes inspiration from Openbox while being focused on simplicity and speed while still having some nice window management features.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Ends 2021 With More Plasma Wayland Fixes, Root File Operations For Dolphin – Phoronix

          KDE developers ended out 2021 with more Wayland session fixes coming for the Plasma 5.24 release. There was also nice user feature work like KIO-using applications such as Dolphin now properly dealing with non-user-owned locations.

          KDE developer Nate Graham this morning published his usual weekly development summary of all the interesting changes going on in the KDE space. Some of the KDE changes for the final week of 2021 included:

          - The Dolphin file manager can now be launched as root or other non-user-owned locations. This is thanks to PolKit support being merged in KIO. KDE applications making use of KIO can now create/move/copy/trash/delete files in non-user-owned locations as of KDE Frameworks 5.90.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Slackel 7.5 “Openbox”

          Slackel 7.5 Openbox has been released. Slackel is based on Slackware and use salixtools from Salix.

          Includes the Linux kernel 5.15.12 and latest updates from Slackware’s ‘Current’ tree.
          Wicd has been removed. NetworkManager is the default app for connecting to networks now.

          The new version is available in 64-bit and 32-bit builds.

          The 64-bit iso image support booting on UEFI systems.
          Iso images are isohybrid.
          Iso images can be used as installation media.

          It is good to read the Slackel Startup Guide before install Slackel.

        • Septor 2022

          Septor Linux is a operating system that provides users with a perfect computing environment for surfing the Internet anonymously. Septor providing users with a stable and reliable distribution that is based on Debian GNU/Linux and works on a wide range of computers. Distribution featuring a customised KDE Plasma desktop.

          Tor Browser, OnionShare (an anonymous file sharing utility) and qTox (an instant messaging client built on a “privacy goes first” agenda). Thunderbird, HexChat and QuiteRSS are all pre-configured to connect to the Internet via the Tor network. The distribution can be used in “live” mode or it can be installed to hard disk via the standard Debian installer.

      • Arch Family

        • 8 Things You Should Know Before Installing Arch Linux

          Arch Linux is no doubt one of the best distros for Linux power users. But there are some things you should know about Arch before installing it.

          When installing most Linux distros, you simply download the ISO, create a bootable media, and begin the installation process—no research required.

          But things are a little different with Arch Linux. If you jump right into the installation part without learning about the distro first, you’ll be dumbfounded by the complexity of the process. And that’s just the installation to speak of.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • A Brief History of Blender: The Invention and Evolution of the 3D Graphics Software

        Blender was originally a product of a Dutch animation studio by the name of NeoGeo. After blazing his way through continental Europe, co-founder Ton Roosendaal felt a need to raise the bar on the software that he and his team used to carry out their work.

        One of the things that helped Roosendaal find so much success at the helm of NeoGeo, even before Blender’s official inception was the proprietary 3D rendering and animation software that came before it, crafted for the company in-house under Roosendaal’s supervision.

        He was the catalyst force driving this new mission to totally revamp the platform that they were already using at the time. They got the ball rolling in 1995, but it took several years to accomplish what they had set out to do.

      • 2022 Outlook – Open source, OpenTelemetry, & emerging tech – JAXenter

        What does 2022 hold for open source and OpenTelemetry? Which cutting-edge technologies should you be paying attention to in 2022? We asked the experts about their predictions for the coming year. Stay ahead of the curve and learn how to plan strategically in the new year.

        [...]

        With a focus on people from the UK Government we will see two things. Firstly, there will be a shift in education to embrace more on open source software, open hardware and open data, particularly around practical training. This will help the next generation of developers and other professionals enter the market with the right skills to participate in how companies today build their software and then manage it over time. This doesn’t just mean code, but all the jobs that exist around software development and that provide value to users.

        Secondly, there will be more focus on supporting home grown businesses in the tech space worldwide, which ultimately means those start-up and scale-up companies working around open technology.

        In the UK, this will manifest itself in increased investment from the Financial Services sector, the likes of Pension Funds which currently lag significantly behind those in the US in terms of investment in tech. There is increased understanding in that market around how to value companies and how they operate, which should support more companies in growing and being successful in the longer term.

      • Trust in HiveOS tarnished as open source miner developers come forward with accusations of skimming developer fee

        Open source developers of various open source cryptocurrency miners show what they say as proof that HiveOS modified code preventing compensation for vital development work. It was described that developers had previously implemented checks into a cryptocurrency miner to signal any modifications to the development address and to raise alarm. A private investigation was then performed which apparently shows proof that HiveOS is behind all of it.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • TikTok’s Live Studio app accused of violating OBS licensing terms

            Last week, TikTok quietly released a game-changing tool for gamers and live streamers in the form of a desktop-based streaming app called TikTok Live Studio. Turns out, TikTok’s app that will allow gamers and TikTokers to stream high-quality content from their PCs to their TikTok accounts appears to be based on OBS’s open-source software. Unfortunately, TikTok has already been accused of breaking OBS’s GPL, or General Public License, by not releasing its open source code for TikTok Live Studio.

            OBS’s business development manager Ben Torell told Protocol that OBS has “clear evidence” that TikTok’s Live Studio allegedly violated licensing terms. OBS has reached out to TikTok and is waiting to hear back.

      • Programming/Development

        • Java

          • [Older] Open source security leader Brian Behlendorf discusses the impact of Log4j

            For the last few weeks, the world of computer security has been turned upside down as teams struggled to understand if they needed to worry about the Log4j vulnerability. The relatively small Java library didn’t do anything flashy, but it was a well-built open source tool for tracking software events, and that made it popular with Java developers. That meant it often found its way into corners that people didn’t expect.

            While the security teams will continue to debate the nature of the flaw itself and search for similar problems, many are wondering how this might change the industry’s reliance on open source practices. Everyone enjoys the free tools until a problem like this appears. Is there a deeper issue with open source development that brought this about? Can society continue to rely upon the bounty of open source without changing its expectations and responsibilities?

            VentureBeat talked to Brian Behlendorf to understand the depth of the problem and also try to make sense of how software developers can prevent another flaw like this from getting such wide distribution. Behlendorf was one of the original developers of the Apache web servers, and he’s long been a leader of open source development. He’s been working with the Linux Foundation and the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) to find better practices and support them throughout the open source ecosystem.

          • 7 Reasons Java is Perfect for Enterprise Software – Business 2 Community

            Java is the fifth most used programming language worldwide in 2021, with a market share of 35.35%. Today, there are thousands of companies that use Java software development services for digital products and solutions. Among these, enterprise software is one of the most in-demand services for companies – and Java has been a primary part of the technology stack for developing these applications.

          • Java News Roundup: More Log4Shell Statements, Spring and Quarkus Updates, New Value Objects JEP

            This week’s Java roundup for December 20th, 2021, features news from OpenJDK with a new draft on value objects, JDK 18, JDK 19, Project Loom, additional statements from vendors on Log4Shell, numerous Spring and Quarkus updates, Hibernate ORM 6.0.0-M3, point releases from Apache Camel and Camel Quarkus, Apache Tika 2.2.1 and GraalVM Native Build Tools 0.9.9.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

    • Hardware

      • Out of the Box 3D Printer Tips for Beginners | Tom’s Hardware

        First, when we talk about “leveling the bed” understand that what we really mean is tramming the print surface. 3D printers have been tacked to the walls or flipped upside down and still work fine. Being level to a table has nothing to do with their ability to print.

        When you level the bed on a 3D printer, you’re making sure that the nozzle is at the same height across the entire print surface. This allows the printer to lay down a perfect first layer and the foundation for a good print.

        If your printer didn’t come with a probe to auto level the bed for you, have no fear. It’s really not that hard.

        First, heat the nozzle and bed as if you’re setting up a print. Metal expands slightly when warm, so never calibrate a cold machine. Allow the printer to warm up for a few minutes.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • How a cancer survivor turned a bad diagnosis into life-changing work

        That dream started with cancer.

        [...]

        Specialists soon provided a name. The then-43-year-old had multiple myeloma, a relatively rare form of blood cancer that typically strikes people in their 70s. Back then, few lived longer than two years.

        She spent the next six months in America undergoing tandem stem cell transplants using her own healthy cells, while family and friends rallied so Paul and the kids could stay in Mexico. He traveled back and forth to be with her when she was sickest. Then she moved back to Mexico and traveled periodically to Houston for treatments. After months of that, they moved back to the United States.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Is LastPass Password Manager Hacked? Users Reveal Possible Compromise, 3 Ways to Protect Your Password

            The free and popular password manager LastPass might be compromised. Its members reported multiple attempted logins by malicious actors who used the correct LastPass master password.

            Members are advised to enable two-factor authentication to secure their accounts.

            LastPass is popularly known as a reliable password manager and web browser extension. Its service also extends to smartphones via an app. Unfortunately, its good reputation is now being tested after members reported concerning issues about its interface.

          • Top 10 Open Source Cybersecurity Projects to Try In 2022

            Cybersecurity is one of the important elements in the existing computer systems of all organizations in Industry 4.0. The rise in innovations of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and machine learning has instigated organizations to adopt digital transformation to boost performance. But, this adoption can welcome a plethora of opportunities for cybercriminals to successfully achieve cyberattacks into the systems. Thus, aspiring techies, who want to join the cybersecurity field, have to try certain cybersecurity projects to gain sufficient knowledge of open source projects. There are innumerable open source projects on cybersecurity to gain confidence in this domain and earn a lucrative salary package per annum. Thus, let’s explore some of the top ten open source cybersecurity projects to try in 2022.

            [...]

            GNU Radio is one of the top ten open source projects on cybersecurity and software development toolkits to provide signal processing blocks for implementing software radios. Organizations can use this with readily-available low-cost external RF hardware for software-defined radio.

            [...]

            Google has launched the open-source cybersecurity project known as OpenTitan to secure chip design efficiently. This project will allow organizations to enhance the initial design and strengthen the security of the implementation of the chip. It can be used in data centres and infrastructures to build upon a trustworthy state.

          • T-Mobile hit with a data breach – NotebookCheck.net News

            T-Mobile has suffered a data breach according to The T-Mo Report. While this breach appears to be on a smaller scale, the mobile company was hit with another, much larger-scale attack in August.

            Documents show that bad actors targeted user accounts and engaged in ‘unauthorized activity’ in the form of SIM swapping or spying of the user’s customer proprietary network information (CPNI).

          • Getting the Most Out of Sandboxing

            Chris Palmer discusses the nature and particulars of the OS limitations we face, what security gap they leave us with, and what we are doing to make Chromium’s large codebase less memory-unsafe.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Iraqi Minister Sacks Babylon Police Chief after Deadly Operation | Asharq AL-awsat

        Iraq’s interior minister dismissed Babylon province’s police chief on Friday and several officers were called for questioning following an operation that reportedly led to the deaths of 20 members of the same family.

        The operation, details of which remain unclear, took place Thursday when rapid intervention units and intelligence forces sought to storm a house in the village of Al-Rashayed in the central Iraqi province.

    • Environment

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Man Killed in Apparent Shark Attack Off California, the Authorities Say

          A man who had been on a boogie board off the coast of central California died after he was apparently attacked by a shark near Morro Bay, the authorities said on Friday.

          The man, who the authorities did not identify, was found floating and unresponsive off Morro Strand State Beach at about 10:40 a.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement from California State Parks.

          [...]

          There were 57 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2020 and 39 provoked attacks, resulting in 13 fatalities, according to the International Shark Attack File, another organization that tracks shark data, which is based at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

    • Finance

      • Messy NFT drop angers infosec pioneers with unauthorized portraits
      • What Military Budget Expansion Says About Our Broken Financial System

        The externalities of unfettered money printing are extremely overweight to the negative side of the spectrum. When the government has the ability to work in conjunction with central banks to print money ex-nihilo to fund an activity, those who are in control of managing that activity are incentivized to be extremely wasteful to justify their budgets funded by the money printer. There is no greater example of this than the US military, which currently boasts an annual budget of $768.2B for 2022.

      • The Richmond Observer – N.C.’s Apple deal named worst of 2021

        The $846 million subsidy deal that North Carolina struck with Apple just topped the “year’s worst” list of a nonpartisan economic think tank. The Center for Economic Accountability selected the 39-year agreement to put Apple’s campus in Research Triangle Park as the “Worst Economic Development Deal of the Year,” saying that its annual $21 million cost to the state led the list of reasons.

        “A billion dollars is a lot of money for North Carolina’s taxpayers and communities, because that’s $1 billion worth of public services not being funded,” said John Mozena, CEA president. “But for a company like Apple, which reported more than $1 billion a day in revenues this past year, it isn’t anywhere near enough money to move the needle on a major site selection decision.”

        CEA opposes economic development subsidies in general, as a nonpartisan watchdog group promoting government transparency and free-market principles. In their report, researchers pointed out that North Carolina’s anticipated $21 million in annual lost tax revenue is more than the state spends on work force building programs like community college distance education.

      • GOVERNMENT-IMPOSED BITCOIN ADOPTION IS CLASHING WITH COMMUNITY EFFORTS ON THE GROUND IN EL SALVADORs

        Embracing Bitcoin is a bold move and a great chance for countries like El Salvador, but the end doesn’t justify the means. Bitcoiners are being played for President Nayib Bukele’s power fantasies of a new Bitcoin City, whose original plans were downloaded from the internet. Bitcoin is non-political, therefore Bitcoiners shouldn’t get too close to politics. Educational communities like Bitcoin Beach and Bitcoin City SV are far more likely to achieve sustainable Bitcoin adoption than airdrops and the coercion to use custodial wallets.

      • Strategic industries need government support [Ed: What they mean to say is that they want grifting at taxpayers' expense (e.g. national debt) for a patent cartel, or monopolies that hurt the public two-fold]

        The United States has lost two industries of critical strategic importance: semiconductors and communications-infrastructure equipment. Only about 9% of the world’s semiconductor devices are currently produced in the US and no significant telecom-equipment manufacturers remain in that country.

        Different reasons are responsible for these losses, but government support will be required in both cases if the United States is to keep its industrial competitiveness.

        Since these industries were largely pioneered in the US, we should examine how this happened, and ask further how valid are concerns about America’s apparent loss of technological leadership.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Big Tech’s Next Monopoly Game: Building the Car of the Future
      • Patents

        • European Union: Will The European Patent System Embrace Grace Periods? [Ed: Convinced corrupt firm Marks & Clerk does not want you to know about EPO corruption, which it is abetting]

          The European Patent Office is conducting a survey of European patent applicants, to assess the impact of the EPO’s strict novelty requirement on applicants’ disclosure and commercialisation strategies. In particular, the EPO wishes to assess what impact different grace period scenarios might have on the commercial behaviour of patent applicants. Other patent systems, notably that in the US, allow for grace periods, which proponents argue allow inventors to test their inventions in the marketplace before committing to the time and cost of filing patent applications. On the other hand, a strict novelty requirement for patentability can provide greater certainty to the patent granting process.

        • EPO consults on patent grace periods (again) [Ed: Instead of tackling its profound corruption, EPO management asks about “grace” periods”]

          The EPO has launched a user consultation on grace periods for patents, the results of which will be published in early 2022 (EPO press release). The EPC as it currently stands does not permit a grace period in which inventors may disclose their invention without prejudicing a future patent filing. Whilst this is not the first time the EPO has considered whether there would be any benefits to introducing a patent grace period, so far widespread support for introducing a grace period in Europe has always been lacking. EPO users are set-up for operating in a file-first, publish-after system, and few would welcome the legal uncertainty that a European grace period would introduce. Nonetheless, the EPO clearly believes that it is time once again time to take the temperature on their no-grace period approach.

          Legal Background: Grace Periods

          According to Article 54 EPC, the state of the art for determining novelty constitutes everything that was made available to the public before the priority date of the patent application, regardless of whether the applicant/inventor was responsible for the publication. By contrast, the US patent system retains a grace period for patent applications. In the US, disclosures made by an inventor (or someone who obtained the subject-matter from the inventor), up to 1 year from the priority date, do not constitute prior art for the patent (AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A)). If the inventor has disclosed their invention during the grace period, then further disclosures by third parties also don’t constitute prior art (AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(B)).

      • Copyrights

Links 1/1/2022: Happy New Year 2022!

Posted in News Roundup at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Happy New Year, Folks — Let’s Fill it with Linux, Yeah?! – OMG! Ubuntu!

      This is a short (and yes, rather predictable) post to wish every single person reading this site a very merry—wait, we’ve already had that one—a happy new year.

      Yes, even those of you still sat in your pants (the British kind).

      It may feel like the world now exists in a dark timeline but there are things to be hopeful about, especially where Linux and open source software is concerned.

      After all, despite the environment, 2021 was a particularly buoyant year for Ubuntu on the desktop

      Ubuntu 21.04 and 21.10 both made their way out with new features, new kernels, and in the latter’s case, even a new desktop. Strong foundations laid ahead of April 2022 release of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

    • Linux Magazine

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Cockpit On Rocky Linux 8 Or Alma Linux 8 | Tips On UNIX

        Cockpit is a web-based server administration tool sponsored by Red Hat and by using this tool you can easily manage the server in a graphical way.

        From Fedora 21 and RHEL 8 onwards Cockpit loaded with default.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install cockpit on Rocky Linux 8 / Alma Linux 8.

      • How to Install and Use FFmpeg on CentOS 8.

        FFmpeg is a free and open-source software project consisting of a suite of libraries and programs for handling video, audio, and other multimedia files and streams. It contains a set of shared audio and video libraries such as libavcodec, libavformat, and libavutil. With FFmpeg, you can convert between various video and audio formats, set sample rates, capture streaming audio/video, and resize videos.

      • Install and Configure Virtualmin on Ubuntu 20.04

        So, Virtualmin is an open-source web hosting and cloud control panel. Virtualmin has the right features and controls over managing all the different domains at the same portal. It allows access to the server via an SSL-encrypted HTTP line. For example,. via a standard browser and provides a clear user interface.

      • Install Miniconda In Linux

        Miniconda is a minimal and stripped-down version of Anaconda distribution. As the name implies, Miniconda contains only Conda package manager, Python and a small number of useful packages such as pip, zlib including their dependencies.

        Miniconda is suitable for those who don’t mind to install each package individually. It saves you not only the disk space but also avoids dumping a lots of unnecessary applications that you don’t use often in your hard drive. For those wondering, Anaconda distribution automatically installs 1,500 packages that consumes around 3 GB disk space. If you use only a handful of applications, miniconda might be a good choice.

      • How to set, change and delete music tags with Mutagen

        Tagging music files is a way of keeping a music library well organized and let us search for songs on the base of Artists, albums, genre and other parameters. Many graphical and command line applications exist on Linux to manage tags for audio files, like Picard or Quodlibet. Most of those applications are written in Python and use the “mutagen” module at their core. In this tutorial we learn how to use it directly.

      • Top Five Chat Apps For Ubuntu Users

        Here are the top five chat apps for Ubuntu users. Having a decent chat application could help team members to collaborate in an effective way. Team members can collaborate effectively with a decent chat app. Although there are many applications available in the market, we will discuss only five of them which are Ubuntu compatible. Click here to refer to more similar topics.

        As a result of the pandemic, collaboration tools have become more important. Which utility to choose? So, It varies from user to user because sometimes the criteria are sharing data and other times secure and encrypted communication. A decent GUI, quick installation, and easy-to-use features are important. Here, after going through multiple utilities, we tried to opt top 05 tools. Hope they will be as per your need. Let’s start.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Finally root file operations in Dolphin – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          This week the last piece of a major project almost five years in the making was merged: PolKit support in KIO! This allows Dolphin and other KDE apps that use the KIO library to to create, move, copy, trash, and delete files in non-user-owned locations! It took a long time but we finally got it. Thanks very much to Jan Blackquill for pushing this over the finish line and Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan for starting it and getting it very far those years ago. Support will arrive in Frameworks 5.90 in a few weeks. Please test it out and file bugs on frameworks-kio if things don’t work right!

        • Highlights from 2021 – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          The coronavirus pandemic frustratingly continued to spread misery this year, but one silver lining to this cloud was that keeping people at home meant lots of contributions to KDE! As a result this was an enormous year for KDE and all who use its software. Like I did last year, I’d like to mention some of my favorite big features and improvements from the past 12 months. Also like last year, what’s written here is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg, probably not even a tenth of a percent, and also a very selective look at just some of the software I use and follow on a regular basis. There’s a whole lot more at https://planet.kde.org!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Best Ubuntu Themes In 2022

          Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux operating systems right now on the internet. It is often considered as the first choice for people using Linux for the first time.

          In this post, we will be discussing the best Ubuntu themes available on the internet. You can install various Ubuntu themes to make your distro more beautiful.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • New year, new Opensource.com community manager | Opensource.com

          I am privileged to be here at Opensource.com as the new community manager. I’m looking forward to working with existing correspondents and contributors, and also bringing in new contributors and increasing the diversity of thoughts and ideas shared here on Opensource.com.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • A Tidy Cyberdeck That You Could Take Anywhere. | Hackaday

          The cyberdeck trend has evolved to a relatively straightforward formula: take a desktop computer and strip it to its barest essentials of screen , PCB, and input device, before clothing it in a suitably post-apocalyptic or industrial exterior. Sometimes these can result in a stylish prop straight from a movie set, and happily for [Patrick De Angelis] his Raspberry Pi based cyberdeck (Italian, Google Translate link) fits this description, taking the well-worn path of putting a Raspberry Pi and screen into a ruggedised flight case. Its very unremarkability is the key to its success, using a carefully-selected wired keyboard and trackpad combo neatly dodges the usual slightly messy arrangements of microcontroller boards.

        • The No-MCU Fan Controller | Hackaday

          The default for any control project here in 2019 was to reach for a microcontroller. Such are their low cost and ubiquity that they can be used to replicate what might once have needed some extra circuitry, with the minimum of parts. But here we are at the end of 2021, and of course microcontrollers are hard to come by in a semiconductor shortage. [Hesam Moshiri] has a project that takes us back to a simpler time, a temperature controlled fan the way they used to be made, without a microcontroller in sight.

        • Customisable Micro-Coded Controller Helps With In-Circuit Debugging | Hackaday

          Over on Hackaday.io, [Zoltan Pekic] has been busy building a stack of tools for assisting with verifying and debugging retro computing applications. He presents his take on using Intel hex files for customised in-circuit testing, which is based upon simple microcoded sequencers, which are generated automatically from a high level description.

          The idea is that it is very useful to be able to use an FPGA development board to emulate the memory bus component of the CPU, allowing direct memory access for design validation purposes. This approach will also allow the production of a test rig to perform board level verification. The microcode compiler (MCC) generates all the VHDL, and support files needed to target a Xilinx FPGA based dev board, but is generic enough to enable targeting other platforms with a little adaptation.

        • 3D Printering: Adding A Web Interface Where There Was None Before | Hackaday

          [Renzo Mischianti] got himself a Chinese 3D printer, specifically a FlyingBear Ghost 5. (Cracking name, huh?) He was more than a little irritated with the fact that whilst the controller, an MKS Robin Nano, did have a integrated Wi-FI module, it provided no web-based interface for monitoring and control purposes. This seemed a bit short-sighted in this day and age, to say the least. Not being at all happy with that situation, [Renzo] proceeded to write dedicated Wi-Fi firmware using websockets, but not without fully documenting his journey in a detailed series of the blog posts.

          [...]

          We’ve been covering 3D printer hacking since the dinosaurs were roaming. This is the oldest, and still one of the strangest, posts that we could find in a quick search. Anyone care to find something older?

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 metrics to measure sustainable open source investments. – Justin W. Flory’s blog

        How do we understand value when we talk about sustainability? What does investing in open source mean? The meaning is different for many people because of an implicit understanding of what open source means.

        This post is a reflection on the past year in my work with the UNICEF Venture Fund. We integrated new open source tools to capture metrics and data about open source repositories connected to UNICEF portfolio companies and created a shortlist of key metrics that map to business sustainability metrics. Now, we are better positioned to look back on past, current, and upcoming portfolio companies and mentor support programs.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Use basegfx to convert angle unit – EasyHack

          First, what is basegfx, how it is used for converting angle units, and why we should care?

          If you look at the list of LibreOffice modules in docs.libreoffice.org, you will see that basegfx is one of the LibreOffice modules. It contains the “algorithms and data types for graphics“, and it provides useful functions for LibreOffice graphics code. We care because using these functions helps us write cleaner code using well tested methods.

        • Happy New Year 2022!
      • Programming/Development

        • Header Guards C++

          A header guard in C++ is a component that proves to be your savior whenever you attempt and make a mistake while writing your code by defining a function more than once with the same name. Every programmer needs to know that it is never considered good practice to include the function definitions in the header files. However, at times, you need to do so. In that case, you must know how to properly use the header guards in C++. Therefore, this article discusses the need to use the header guards in C++, followed by some examples to teach you their usage on the Ubuntu 20.04 system.

          Why Do We Need to Use the Header Guards in C++?

          While writing your code, you define certain header files on your own, depending upon the functionality you require. After creating these header files, you can include them all in your .cpp file that contains your actual code. However, sometimes these header files depend upon each other. So, you have to include one header file into another. In that case, when you include both these header files into your .cpp file, the same functions of one header file might be defined twice. This leads to the generation of a compile-time error since C++ strictly prohibits the definition of the same function twice within the same code. Therefore, we use the header guards to protect your header files from malfunctioning to resolve this dependency issue.

          These header guards can be implemented using the four pre-processor directives: #ifndef, #define, #ifdef, and #endif. For example, whenever you enclose a piece of code within the “#ifndef” directive, the compiler always checks whether the following code has been previously defined or not. If not, then the statements following the “#define” directive are executed. Otherwise, these statements are simply ignored. This, in turn, ensures that your program always compiles successfully and the same functions are not defined more than once within the same code. The “#ifdef” directive works vice-versa. You will be able to understand all this in a better way after going through the following two examples.

  • Leftovers

    • Movement Music After the Movement Fades: Reflections on Phil Ochs

      Throughout Phil’s twenties — that is, throughout the 1960’s — social movement activity in the US (and much of the rest of the world, for lots of different reasons) grew.  It was a period of constant tumult and change of all sorts, and Phil’s style of music was probably more popular in the early Sixties than in the later part of the decade, with louder, more electric instruments being more dominant in the scene, and on the FM airwaves.  But regardless of various career ups and downs — and despite what was later demonstrated to be an organized campaign conducted by the FBI against a variety of musicians, including Phil — he continued to write, record, tour and perform throughout the United States and occasionally elsewhere, throughout the period.

      In the early 1970’s a lot of things were happening that were supposedly affecting the antiwar movement’s size and scope, such as the massacres of protesters at Kent and Jackson state universities, as well as the scaling back of the presence of ground troops in Vietnam, since so many of them were refusing to fight anyway, and fragging their officers instead.  (If you don’t happen to know what “fragging” means, please look it up, you’ll be glad you did.)

    • NYC Officials Denounced for Holding New Year’s Celebration Amid Omicron Surge

      Public health experts expressed shock Friday as New York City went ahead with its plans to hold a scaled-back—but still large—New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, with 15,000 people expected to pack the landmark to ring in 2022 as the city sets new records for Covid-19 cases.

      Outgoing Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the traditional New Year’s ball drop will go on, prompting epidemiologists to warn that the event will carry risks for attendees and the city’s already-strained healthcare facilities—as well as communities across the country, since many of the attendees are likely to be visiting from elsewhere.

    • Intrepid Trips, Indeed

      The next few years, as I dove deeper into the world of the counterculture I learned that that book’s author Tom Wolfe was a damn good observer, a pretty decent journalist if you liked this stuff they called the New Journalism, and anything but a hippie freak. I read that book every summer in high school, the style and the story imprinted in my brain. As the 1970s wore on, I watched as the world of the grey flannel suits fought against the world of blue jeans, long hair and marijuana. I knew which side I was on. It wasn’t the ones wearing suits (figuratively speaking). Unlike the political world of the time—which ultimately put “if there’s going to be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with” Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980—there were no clear cut victors in the cultural struggle. Capitalists in both realms figured out ways to sell the pieces of the counterculture that were salable. And the people bought it.

      As for me, I moved to the Bay Area, where the counterculture was still hanging on. I began meeting some of the people I had only read about. I played it cool, listening to their stories while hanging out drinking beer in People’s Park, crashing at the Hog Farm house, at concerts big and small, the White Panther squats and the parties I ended up at. The storytellers included acid manufacturers recently out of prison, Black Panthers tending bar, hippie women turned Christian, street hustlers who fought the cops in the Haight uprisings and then People’s Park, college professors, working musicians and burnt out rock musicians whose bands had left them behind. Every collection of freaks had their memories and every freak had their own version of what went down. Still, certain stories and storytellers were paramount. Like the book of Genesis or the creation stories of the Tlingit, those stories were origin stories. Those were the ones I wanted to hear, to collect and remember. This interest remained even as those who knew them left their earthly existence, taking their tales with.

    • A Prescription for Resistance to the Bully of Christmas: Make Art

      Given such evidence of where our public education has gone, before alluding to a story from the Christian bible which – for various reasons – may not be in every reader’s wheelhouse, I’ll briefly fill in the details, trusting I insult no one! Here goes:

      In Matthew’s version of the Christmas story, Herod the king feared the birth of a rival and so sent out his soldiers to murder all the male babies in Bethlehem. An angel warns Mary and Joseph, the new parents of baby Jesus, to flee in order to save the child. Importantly, the parents heeded the advice and got the hell out of town (the flight into Egypt). They did not, that is, declare the warning preposterous, did not protest but people don’t do that kind of thing to little children! At great personal expense, they exiled themselves, becoming refugees.

    • Macedonian Ramble: Hell’s Foundations at Galliopoli

      By my standards I splurged on my accommodation, the Hotel des Etrangers in Çanakkale, wanting to have a room that overlooked the Dardanelles so that from my window I could watch the passage of ocean-going ships on their stately procession to and from the Bosphorus and the Aegean.

      At Çanakkale the strait (which separates Europe from Asia) is only several kilometers wide, and in the course of a few hours by the seafront everything from container ships to destroyers passes before your eyes. Many ships are headed to Istanbul; the rest ply the Black Sea.

    • 2021 Latin America and the Caribbean in Review: The Pink Tide Rises Again

      Central has been the struggle of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) countries – particularly Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua – against the asphyxiating US blockade and other regime-change measures. Presidential candidate Biden pledged to review Trump’s policy of US sanctions against a third of humanity. The presumptive intention of the review was to ameliorate the human suffering caused by these unilateral coercive measures, considered illegal under international law. Following the review, Biden has instead tightened the screws, more effectively weaponizing the COVID crisis.

      Andean Nations

    • Opinion | Top 3 Pieces of Good News in 2021—Because Optimists Are the Problem Solvers

      News corporations think good news does not sell, which is why you see so little of it on television or on the front page of news websites. Executives at for-profit news believe their corporations benefit, just as do social media platforms, from provoking your fight or flight reflexes — making you angry or afraid — since the adrenaline rush keeps you reading and keeps you coming back for more. They think bad news is addictive. It is to the point that the editors and journalists seem to feel they have to cast President Biden in a bad light unfairly to keep their viewers.

    • Yes, There Were 10 Good Things About 2021

      It was, indeed, a disastrous year, but we do have some reasons to cheer:

      1. The U.S. survived its first major coup plot on January 6 and key right-wing groups are on the wane. With participants in the insurrection being charged and some facing significant jail time, new efforts to mobilize–including September’s “Justice for J6” rally–fizzled. As for Trump, let’s remember that in early 2021, he was impeached again, he lost his main mouthpiece, Twitter, and his attempt to build a rival social media service seems to have stalled. QAnon is in decline—its major hashtags have evaporated and Twitter shut down some 70,000 Q accounts. We may still see a resurgence (including another Trump attempt to take the White House), but so far the insurrection seems to have peaked and is being rolled back.

    • 2021 Year in Review: EFF Graphics

      All the graphics we create are original, and free to the public to use on a Creative Commons Attribution license. That means that if you are fighting to stop police misuse of surveillance technology in your community, promoting free expression online, or simply looking for a way to share your love for EFF and digital rights with the world, you are free to download our graphics and use them for your own purposes without permission. It’s our way of seeding the Commons!

      Below is a selection of graphics we produced this year. We hope you enjoy perusing them! To learn more about each project, go ahead and click the image. It will link you to a page where you can learn more.

    • Bright Green Lies Torpedoes Greens

      According to Bright Green Lies authors Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Max Wilbert: “We are writing this book because we want our environmental movement back.” As such, they charge ahead with daggers drawn, similar to Planet of the Humans (2019-20), nobody spared.

      As explained therein, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) brought on the environmental movement as well as establishment of the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. She did not call for “saving civilization,” which is the common rallying cry today (“Civilizations Last Chance” by Bill McKibben or Lester Brown, “The Race to Save Civilization”). Rachel Carson called for “saving nature.”

    • Looking Up From Don’t Look Up: Adam McKay and End Times
    • Who Will Guard the Guardians?

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Juvenalis, Satires) — who will guard over the guardians ? — when the mainstream media no longer performs the function of the watchdog, no longer alerts us to endemic — and punctual — governmental abuses but act more like echo-chambers of the interests of certain “elites” and transnational corporations…  who will blow the whistle on governmental and private-sector scams?  How can we defend our rights when our elected officials, those who have the obligation to uphold the law, are actually in the service of other, more powerful and lucrative interests?  What can we do when the executive, legislative and judiciary are progressively corrupted, when institutions like the ICC discontinue investigations into gross criminality by powerful states while prosecuting the little fish, when the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons tampers with the evidence of inspectors and suppresses crucial facts (Douma “report” on Syria), when the OAS is complicit in a coup d’état against an OAS member state (Bolivia), when other supposedly objective organizations systematically dis-inform the public, disseminate evidence-free news, suppress dissent?

      Only we can be the guardians — by reclaiming democracy and our right to effective participation in public affairs, as stipulated in article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We must condemn the politicization and “weaponization” of human rights, especially when human entitlements are instrumentalized to obliterate others.

    • Bells Tolling for Russian Memory

      Similar is the story of former prisoner Susanna Pechuro, who as a teenager with her boyfriend tried to safeguard revolutionary values from what they both considered the ideological deviation of Stalin’s government. After their arrest, the boyfriend was shot while Susanna was sentenced to decades in the gulag. When, after Stalin’s death, Khrushchev declared amnesty, Susanna became a history teacher and later one of the founders of the Memorial, institution fostered by Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika. Her dress with the white schoolgirl’s collar in which she was arrested and which she wore in prison was deposited at the Memorial.

      In the Memorial I also found books, which in the gulag represented the most treasured possession, although generally forbidden and therefore scarce. Books were the salvation because reading made one forget the wretchedness of the camp and provided the prisoners with thoughts to occupy their minds while they worked up to fourteen hours a day, not counting the long marches to the place of work. In the reading, the prisoners found surprising insights and unusual beauty, which helped them to retain their dignity as human beings. Many people who spent years or decades in the gulag deposited in the Memorial those objects that had helped them most to develop resilience.

    • Who Owns the Clouds? The Adventures of the Chinese and Me in Changing the Weather

      An article in the Guardian on December 3 was about climate change and it described the ways China is now trying to increase rainfall to cope with present and future water shortages. What really caught my eye was the scope of China’s undertaking, which is immense. It also caught my attention for personal reasons. The main method the Chinese are using is of course cloud seeding and that is something I have been involved in.

      The article featured a photo of Chinese soldiers firing a cannon aimed at the sky—which is certainly in keeping with numerous articles about what is now described as China’s aggressive behavior. If you only looked at the headline and the photo you might think that now the Chinese are attacking even the clouds. The Chinese were firing rockets filled with either silver iodide or liquid nitrogen into clouds. Either substance will cause the cloud’s moisture to form water droplets. As it happens I was involved in this same activity years ago, although I did not use a cannon.

    • Happy New Year, It’s Sure Been Weird

      Whether the pandemic that’s swept the world started from a bat or not, as 2021 ends, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all far battier than we were when it began.

    • Harry Reid Understood Power

      Former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid died Tuesday at 82. Effective, ruthless, and understated, Reid used his position as head of the Senate’s Democratic caucus from the end of the Bush years through the Obama presidency to advance Democratic legislation and protect programs like Social Security.

    • Brazil, Amazon, World: Sociopathy vs Democracy

      Although it’s a monstrous form of conscious social engineering aimed at concentrating wealth and power, neoliberalism tends to be presented as a kind of evenly spread biological law governed by a “market” that panders to individuals turned into consumers whose democratic choices are mainly limited to competitive buying and selling. Those who can’t enter the competition drop or are dropped by the wayside. When this sociopathic system appears, full-blown, in a person who commits or encourages these crimes, its malignity for all living things is unmasked.

      Take one of Bolsonaro’s more recent demonstrations of this. After weeks of heavy rain in Brazil’s north-eastern state of Bahia, the Igua dam on the Verruga River near the city of Vitoria da Conquista collapsed on 25 December, and a second dam, the main source of potable water in Jussiape, 100 kilometres to the north, burst on 26th. Twenty people have died as a result of the heavy rains and flooding, more than 430,000 people have been affected, 36,000 are homeless and thousands have been evacuated from at least 72 towns facing emergency situations, many of them without electricity. In the state capital, Salvador, the December rainfall has been six times higher than the average.

    • New Year’s Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path

      As long term readers of Techdirt know, each year since 2008 my final post of the year has been a kind of reflection on optimism. This tradition started after I had a few people ask how come it seemed that I was so optimistic when I seemed to spend all my time writing about scary threats to innovation, the internet, and civil liberties. And there is an odd contradiction in there, but it’s one that shows up among many innovation optimists. I’m reminded of Cory Doctorow’s eloquent response to those who called internet dreamers like John Perry Barlow “techno utopians.”

    • Science

      • Biden administration will continue ISS cooperation through 2030

        The ISS’s future was called into question in 2018, when a draft budget proposal from President Donald Trump’s administration had scheduled ending support for the space station in 2025. More recently, escalating tensions between the US and Russia have threatened the cooperation required to work together on the ISS. In November, Russia blew up a satellite, creating a dangerous debris cloud in Earth’s orbit.

    • Education

      • The Tutor

        For Josephus, Pilate was an unreasonable tyrant.

        During my thirty-five years at Cal., ninety-five percent of my students were suburban whites. Long before Andrew Hacker* and Charles Murray,** I learned that “a tangle of pathologies” was occurring in the suburbs, while Hollywood, Television, and Think Tank intellectuals and columnists were profiting by blaming social problems on Black personal behavior. I’m not surprised that life expectancy among whites is diminishing because of Opioid addiction. Heroin epidemics were occurring in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the late nineties; the epidemics were hidden in the back pages. They didn’t want to embarrass those who supported their advertisers. While the press divided races between powder cocaine and crack cocaine users, the typical crack addict was white. Jonathan Capehart says he just found that out. I wrote about white crack addiction ten years ago.* Even as the drug crisis among white Americans is spreading, the media represents the distribution of drugs and their consumption as Black.

      • Teacher faces probe for organizing mixed-gender forest walk for students

        The administration of a prestigious high school in İstanbul has launched an investigation into a teacher for organizing a walk in the woods with the participation of both male and female students, the Gerçek Gündem news website reported.

        Gülay Hacısalihoğlu, the principal of the Beyoğlu Anatolian High School, initiated the investigation into teacher Engin Ulus for organizing a mixed-gender walk in the Bentler Nature Park in İstanbul on Oct. 23, Gerçek Gündem said.

      • Conservative Muslims pressure liberals in Berlin schools: study

        Berlin schools in the multicultural Neukölln district face growing religious intolerance. Conservative Muslims pressure liberal students and teachers to adapt their behavior to stricter interpretations of Islam, according to a survey conducted by the Association for Democracy and Diversity in Schools established by the federal government.

        The research, supported by the Ministry for Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth at the request of the Neukölln district office, focused mainly on confrontational manifestations of religion and lasted three months.

    • Hardware

      • Threaded Wires Save Phone Numbers | Hackaday

        If you thought programming your 1990s VCR was rough, wait until you see this Russian telephone autodialer that [Mike] took apart over on the mikeselectricalstuff YouTube channel (video below the break). [Mike] got this 1980s Soviet-era machine a few years ago, and finally got around to breaking into it to learning what makes it tick. The autodialer plugs into the phone line, much like an old-school answering machine. It provides the user with 40 pre-set telephone numbers, arranged in two banks of 20, and a speaker to monitor the connection process. It uses pulse dialing — no touch tones. What’s surprising is how you program the numbers. Given that this was build in the 1980s Soviet Union, he wasn’t expecting a microcontroller. But he wasn’t expecting transformer core “rope” memory, either.

        [...]

        Mike tries to decipher the schematics and pokes around enough to get the gist of how it works. This design is an interesting solution to the problem of building an autodialer in that era. If you want to learn more about core memory, here’s an article we wrote about deciphering an Apollo rope memory module, perhaps one of the most well-known examples of this technology. We also covered a couple of projects using rope memory techniques but on a small scale, here and here.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Ending a Global Pandemic Should Not Rely on “Individual Responsibility”
      • Why Leftists are Joining Hands With the Right in Opposing Vaccine Mandates

        Most telling, archconservatives hated the mandates. That’s always a good sign that you are on the side of the angels.

        But while many on the far right oppose the mandates for idiotic reasons (whacky conspiracy theories, quack science) and a few have gone so far as to plot the assassination of a German governor, more and more people on the far left are objecting to vaccine mandates out of ideological concerns, i.e., how far government power can be exercised.

      • On Manhood and Vaccines

        Beyond misinformation, the real reason for opposing the vaccinations is simple defiance to the wishes of people and institutions that anti-vaxxers don’t like.  It is intransigence based on an intuitive version of Napoleon’s Maxim XVI: “never do what the enemy wishes you to do for this reason alone, that he desires it.”2  In this petty, internalized form, it is also related to the resentful slave morality outlined by Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morals and the idea of not giving others the satisfaction of complying with their desires, even when they are right.  In psychology, the doubling-down on being wrong in this way is known as cognitive dissonance.3  Those who still do not realize that they are wrong are the victims of a mass propaganda-driven cult-like phenomenon. The fact that so many people would accept Internet rumors over medical science is shocking but not surprising.

        But the implied justification for resisting vaccination is moral staunchness and physical toughness, and when manifested in a man, it harkens back to older notions of manhood and manliness.  To those of us who accept vaccines as safe and effective products of modern science, the anti-vaccine mindset appears to be a widespread instance of noisy and occasionally violent yahooism, and a kind of physical and moral cowardice—the opposite of manliness.  It is the virtues of honorable manhood honored in the breach.  It is dumb braggadocio. Courage must have a higher purpose than just courting personal risk and the anti-vaxxers mistake recklessness for valor. And their external bluster appears to mask squeamishness about needles and well-tested medicine.

      • Ideological Struggle: Language in the Era of COVID-19

        The abundant use of military metaphors is clearly demonstrated by phrases such as “increasing our armamentarium of weapons to combat COVID-19,” or such as when Vice President Harris announced that “the virus hit our shores” and when President Biden announced plans to deploy 1,000 military medical professionals to “support overburdened hospitals” in US cities. A particularly vile instance was a recent NY Daily News headline which announced that “kids enter COVID-19 crosshairs”. These announcements, and the words chosen to make them, should prompt, among other things, increased recognition of the adverse impact the use of military metaphors, related terms and the frames they evoke, and of the strategic value of their avoidance or minimization. Both with respect to COVID-19 and more generally, the strategic value of utilizing metaphors and frames that better reflect progressive goals of equitable public health, community, solidarity and peace cannot be understated.

        Progressive struggle requires action through a range of domains, including the ideological. A key component of ideological struggle is the choice of words used to promote and support important positions–a strategy regressive extremist forces have recognized and effectively exploit. For example, Republican strategist Frank Luntz emphasized that Republicans should never speak of a “public health care option”, “oil drilling” or an “estate tax”, but should instead only refer to a “government mandate”, to “energy exploration” or to a “death tax”; while promoting reactionary, neoliberal positions, he has nonetheless correctly stressed the strategic importance of using word choices that make use of the conscious or subconscious emotional content of words.

      • Campaign Urges Biden Admin to Mail ‘Continuous’ Supply of Masks, Tests to All US Households

        A new campaign led by public health experts and grassroots activists—including the daughter of a Covid-19 victim—is calling on the Biden administration to deliver rapid tests and high-quality masks to every household in the United States as the nation faces a tsunami of new infections.

        “We are asking you to mail an ample and continuous supply of free rapid at-home tests and N95-quality masks to every household in America twice a month through May 2022, with additional supplies sent to first responders, healthcare workers, and public centers in our most impacted communities,” reads campaigners’ open letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator.

      • My APA Resignation

        I’ve been a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) for years, and a fellow for the past six or seven years. I sat on their Council of Representatives, which theoretically sets policy for the APA, for three years. I am just ending my term as president of the APA’s Society for Media and Technology, where I have met many wonderful colleagues. Yet, at the end of 2021, I decided to resign my membership in the APA. My concern is that the APA no longer functions as an organization dedicated to science and good clinical practice. As a professional guild, perhaps it never did, but I believe it is now advancing causes that are actively harmful and I can no longer be a part of it.

      • Inside psychogenic death, the phenomenon of “thinking” yourself to death

        Yet until recently the idea that our beliefs, or our fears, could kill us was not taken seriously in Western medicinal circles, due to the lack of a mechanical explanation for how something as ephemeral as the mind could extinguish something as tangible as the body. Now, thanks to the work of a British psychologist and researcher named John Leach, that may change, as he has mapped out at least one road to this unfortunate end.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • 2021 in review: ‘Right to Repair’ campaigners claim iPhone victory

          Manufacturers, including Apple, are still introducing new features that appear intended only to make repairs more difficult, says Kevin Purdy at iFixit, a company that sells spare parts and offers free how-to guides. Components that are glued together or require proprietary tools to remove are common and can often be overcome using third-party kits from such services, but a growing trend is for companies to add software-coded serial numbers to components, which alert the device to any unauthorised repairs.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • O Lenderking, the Lies You Bring: a Look at Biden’s Special Envoy for Yemen

        In the same speech, Biden announced, not without fanfare, the appointment of “career foreign policy officer” Tim Lenderking as special envoy to Yemen.  Lenderking is attempting to forge peace between Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition which is at war with the Houthis.

        On December 16, Lenderking appeared on public radio’s The World.  Lenderking told World host Carol Hills, presumably with a straight face, that one of the Biden Administration’s “first principles” for ending the war “is to get outside actors out of the conflict.”

      • British Colonialism and How India and Pakistan Lost Freedom

        Do nations and civilizations grow out of the moral mire of military conquests, killings of innocent people, political cruelty and subjugation by imperialism? For more than 800 years, India as a Moghul Empire was an economically well integrated and politically viable entity and west European had strong trade and political relationships. After intrigued conspiracies and planned division, British invaded India in 1857, committing cold blooded massacres of two millions people mostly Muslims opposing the military invasion described just as a “Mutiny” in the British chronicle. Bahadur Shah Zafar – the last Moghul emperor was deposed over night in Delhi, his youngest son head was chopped-off and put on a breakfast plate to strangle the Shah and make him surrender unconditionally. Shah was hurriedly taken to Rangoon (Burma) and imprisoned in a garage and later on died and buried only to write poems in loss of his freedom and beloved country. Did the British overtake India to be a free country for democracy or to support the Hindu domination of futuristic India? British robbed Moghul India and became it became Great Britain and imagined India as an absolute entity of the British Empire.

        Leaders like Gandhi and Nehru, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Khan though educated in British intellectual traditions but articulated new mission and visions for national freedom as a revulsion against the British colonial political traditions and continuity of British Raj in India. Was this violent and ruthless indoctrination part of the British heritage or history-making efforts to besiege India forever? Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy made sure that Indians will remain loyal and committed subservient to the futuristic blending of so called celebrated national freedom after the 1947 partition into India and Pakistan. British failed to deliver the truth of national freedom to both nations in a universal spirit of political responsibility. Both nations continued to engage in military warfare, ethnic conflicts and hegemonic control to dominate each other by undermining their own future.

      • Opinion | The Real Lesson of Jan. 6 Is That Trump-World’s Coup Effort Is Far From Over

        January 6 will be remembered as one of the most shameful days in American history. On that date in 2021, the United States Capitol was attacked by thousands of armed loyalists to Donald Trump, some intent on killing members of Congress. Roughly 140 officers were injured in the attack. Five people died that day.

      • Pentagon Projected to Hand $407 Billion to Private Military Contractors This Fiscal Year

        President Joe Biden signed a record-shattering military budget earlier this week, and a new analysis published Thursday predicted that if recent contracting trends continue, the Pentagon will funnel $407 billion worth of public funds to private weapons makers this fiscal year—more than the federal government spent when sending $1,400 relief checks to most Americans in 2021.

        Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, found that “from fiscal year (FY) 2002 to FY2021, 55% of all Pentagon spending went to private sector military contractors.”

      • Pentagon Fails Audit (Again!)

        Instead, the story, which broke on November 17, was largely ignored or buried. The nation’s two main newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, have simply ignored it. Other news organizations stenographically quoted Pentagon officials as admitting that they “failed again” but saw “progress,” and as promising that they would achieve a “clean” audit by… get this … 2027.

        The Pentagon, with some $3 trillion (give or take a trillion but who’s counting?) in assets and a record current 2021 budget of $738 billion, has for the third year in a row failed its audit. An army of 1400 auditors hired by us taxpayers for $230 million and borrowed from some of the biggest auditing firms in the country, spent the past year poring through the books and visiting hundreds of operations of the government’s largest and geographically vastest single agency, and came back with word that they couldn’t give it a pass.

      • Even as Crime Declines, Gun Violence Is Rising
      • JFK Revisited: Oliver Stone and the New JFK Fact Pattern

        Stone is the dogged veteran of a culture war that has been going on for thirty years since the release of his 1991 Oscar-winning feature film, JFK, a struggle to define American history that ripples through the culture with every new development in the ever-evolving JFK story. He is also a Vietnam veteran who did a dangerous tour of combat duty, as depicted his 1987 film Platoon. The man risked his life for his country, I thought, a sacrifice that few of his harshest critics have ever made.

        When I shared that thought with Stone in a telephone interview, he demurred. “Serving as a soldier doesn’t give me any better political insights than someone who did not,” he insisted, with the modesty that has recurred in our occasional conversations over the years. As film critic Ann Hornaday observed in a recent Washington Post piece that was actually fair to the Oscar-winning director. “To spend time with Oliver Stone is to enter a different kind of looking glass,” Hornaday wrote, “A man often caricatured as wild-eyed provocateur is thoughtful, easygoing and generous even at his most contrarian.”

      • One Year in, Biden’s Nuclear Policies Look a Lot Like Trump’s
      • UN Demands ‘Urgent Protection’ of Children in Conflict Zones in 2022

        As a year in which millions of youth were caught up in armed conflicts around the world came to a close Friday, the United Nations Children’s Fund warned that “grave violations against children” are on the rise and called on all offending parties to work for a more peaceful 2022.

        “Year after year, parties to conflict continue to demonstrate a dreadful disregard for the rights and wellbeing of children.”

      • How CIA Plots Undermined African De-Colonization

        The latest and most noxious of these colonial iterations is the U.S. military’s AFRICOM, although a French oligarch “controls 16 West African ports through bribery and influence peddling,” as Margaret Kimberley recounted in Black Agenda Report, December 1. “Canadian companies control gold mining in Burkina Faso, Mali and D.R.C.…British soldiers are still stationed in Kenya.” So the west never stopped strangling African nations. In this effort, the vile 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba was key. Needless to say, the CIA was involved up to its eyeballs.

        As Congo’s first freely elected leader after the Belgian rout, Lumumba made the honest mistake of trusting western democratic ideals.  Then, when he discovered they were phony, he tilted – very slightly – toward the Soviets. That sealed his fate. “President Eisenhower authorized the assassination of Lumumba,” writes Susan Williams in her newly published book, White Malice: the CIA and the Covert Recolonization of Africa. The consequences were ghastly. After Lumumba’s murder and dismemberment, for well over three decades, “the Congo was ruled with an iron fist by Mobutu – a dictator chosen by the U.S. government and installed by the CIA.”

      • Using and abusing Djibouti: How the US transformed a tiny African state into a hub of imperial aggression
      • Beijing’s Movie War Propaganda—and Washington’s

        To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party, the powerful Chinese Central Propaganda Department commissioned a blockbuster film that depicts a US defeat in the Korean War.

      • Daniel Pipes: The Challenge to Islam It Has Never Faced

        You may have noticed much less news about violent jihad in the United States. Two reasons explain this. First, counterterrorism has become far more effective, rendering a 9/11-style attack almost out of the question. Second, what I call the 6Ps – police, politicians, press, priests, professors and prosecutors – have made it harder to find out about jihad. When Islamist attacks take place, they tend to be portrayed as mere violent episodes without motive. Exceptions exist, such as Boston Marathon and Fort Hood attacks, but most of what appear to be jihadi attacks that are simply not reported, although these seem to take place every few months.

      • Sweden, Gang Violence and a New Prime Minister

        Sweden has the highest number of fatal shootings per million inhabitants in Europe according to the latest report by Brå on shooting, released in May. Sweden, furthermore, is the only country in Europe in which fatal shootings have increased since the year 2005.

        “The main underlying reason for the development with shootings and explosions is the situation that prevails in vulnerable [sic] areas, where residents feel threatened by criminals, where there is open drug trafficking and where criminals in some places have created parallel social structures”, Swedish police wrote in a recent press release.

      • French-Syrian man arrested in France over chemical weapons parts in Syria

        A French-Syrian man has been detained by French police on suspicion of supplying components for the manufacture of chemical weapons in Syria through his shipping company, sources briefed on the case told AFP Sunday.

      • 70,000 New Arabic Teachers Hired To Teach Quran In Punjab Schools

        Earlier this year, the SED issued official guidance requiring district education authorities to visit all schools in their respective areas, including public and private schools, as well as madrassahs, to ensure that the Holy Quran was being taught as its own subject. Following this directive, three school principals in Nankana Sahib were recommended for disciplinary action for improperly teaching the Holy Quran.

    • Environment

      • Roaming Charges: When the Old Anomaly Became the New Normal–2021, the Year in Climate

        + Through the first 10 months of 2020 there were no regions on the planet which experienced near record cold. When it came to heat, however…

        + This satellite image, taken back on 9 September 2020, shows some of the wildfires over Oregon, including the fire that drove us from our house. The view on the right utilizes SWIR bands to penetrate the smoke.

      • Seasonal insomniacs in Times of Climate Chaos

        Because of the human-wrought climate crisis, it rained on Christmas Eve.

        This is a fierce and fragile region, rugged and imperiled all at once. Deserts endure an existence one step closer to death’s scythe than other regions. Their inhabitants are wily survivors. The toads wear dragon’s spines. The cacti guard their precious water with miniature swords. The junipers twist upon themselves, the size of small children despite being centuries old.

      • Opinion | Seasonal Insomniacs in Times of Climate Chaos

        It snowed, finally. We’ve been waiting for months, restless and agitated. Have you ever seen your child settle more deeply into slumber after you tuck them under the blanket? That’s how it feels here. I live in the high-altitude desert of Northern New Mexico. Deserts often invoke images of Saharan sands, but this desert sprawls atop black, volcanic basalt. Perched at 7,000 feet, it snows here in the winter. Or, it used to.

      • ‘We Are in a Climate Emergency’: Late-December Wildfires Ravage Colorado

        Tens of thousands of Coloradans were forced to flee their homes Thursday as two fast-moving wildfires—whipped up by wind gusts reaching 110 mph—tore through communities just outside of Denver, engulfing entire neighborhoods in flames and destroying hundreds of buildings.

        Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has declared a state of emergency to help aid the disaster response as officials characterized the late-December fire event as among the worst in the state’s history.

      • Energy

        • Trump-Appointed Judge Sides With Cops Who Brutalized DAPL Protesters

          Five years after police brutalized activists opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has dismissed a lawsuit accusing North Dakota law enforcement officers of excessive use of force—a decision that critics have characterized as a tacit endorsement of the violent repression of climate justice advocates.

          Several peaceful protesters who gathered at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to struggle against the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure were assaulted by law enforcement officers on November 20, 2016. Police sprayed demonstrators with water cannons amid sub-freezing temperatures that night, and according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, they also used tear gas and fired rubber bullets and exploding munitions “indiscriminately into the crowd.”

        • Germany One Step Closer to Nuclear-Free Future as Three of Six Power Plants Go Offline

          Green groups on Friday celebrated as Germany prepared to shut down three of its six remaining nuclear power plants, part of that country’s ambitious goal of transitioning to mostly renewable energy by the end of the decade.

          “Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower are forms of energy that protect the environment and climate, are safe, and affordable. The future lies in their use.”

        • The US Still Doesn’t Know How and Where It Will Store Its Growing Nuclear Waste
        • Plans to capture CO2 from coal plants wasted federal dollars, watchdog says

          About $1.1 billion has flowed from the Department of Energy to carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects since 2009. Had they panned out, nine coal plants and industrial facilities would have been outfitted with devices that scrub most of the CO2 out of their emissions. Once captured, the CO2 can be sent via pipelines to underground storage in geologic formations.

          That’s not what happened. The DOE doled out $684 million to coal six coal plants, but only one of them actually got built and started operating before shuttering in 2020. Of the three separate industrial facilities that received $438 million, just two got off the ground. Without more accountability, “DOE may risk expending significant taxpayer funds on CCS demonstrations that have little likelihood of success,” the GAO says.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • 15 Things Biodiversity Protectors Are Watching Out for in 2022
        • Climate Crisis Fuels Late-December Wildfires Ravaging Colorado
        • Behold, the Deepest-Dwelling Squid Known to Science | Hakai Magazine

          When a team of subsea explorers completed the deepest ever dive to a shipwreck earlier this year, the news was broadcast around the world. A team from Caladan Oceanic found the USS Johnston, which sank during an intense naval battle in 1944, to be astoundingly well-preserved, its guns still pointing in the direction of the enemy. A few days before making their record-setting trip, however, the explorers had carried out another descent to the seafloor, a dive that ended up being a few kilometers off the mark.

          Though they failed to find the wreck that day, they did find something else.

          Once footage from the excursion came in, Alan Jamieson, a deep-sea researcher from the University of Western Australia, sat in his office aboard the expedition ship scrolling through frame after uneventful frame, searching for anything that might be of interest.

    • Finance

      • Opinion | ‘Historic Victory’: Garment Workers Organize to End Wage Theft

        Daisy Gonzalez’s mother emigrated to California from Guatemala in the ’80s and landed a job as a garment worker. “My mother was a trimmer and an ironer. I learned how difficult this work was for her body from her experience,” Gonzalez says. Beyond the difficult conditions, the pay was equally abysmal. She recounts her mother once working for a week, and the employer paying her just $30. Her mother’s struggles opened Gonzalez’s eyes to the trenchant problem of “wage theft,” a phenomenon she says is built into the very fabric of the garment industry and its global supply chain. 

      • How A Boy Called Christmas Converted Me to the Politics of Greed

        Worse, as my daughter had grown older, the content of the lie had become more obviously poisonous – and not only because a childhood spent venerating Father Christmas likely serves as one of the pillars of the continuing patriarchy.

        The degree to which to the Christmas story reinforces our understanding of how society should be organised – and at a time before we can think critically – was driven home to me by a new Netflix and Sky joint film production I watched with my family on Christmas Day.

      • Starbucks Workers in Chicago and Colorado File Union Petitions With NLRB

        Capping off what organizers and other labor rights advocates have dubbed “the year of the worker,” employees at two more Starbucks stores are seeking to unionize.

        Workers at a pair of Starbucks locations in Broomfield, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois filed union petitions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a Twitter account associated with organizing efforts at the coffee giant announced Thursday.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • A Shuffling of the Cards in Germany

        Pious or not, they were faced by the old truism, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd!” The SPD still calls itself “left” and tries somehow to appeal to workers, or at least union leaders. The Greens, once the party of rebelliousness, still stand for women`s rights, gay rights in all variations, opposing neo-Nazis and far-right xenophobia. But they have grown tamer and tamer. While still playing their basic environment-ecology card they often cozy up to monopolies who like to talk green but always think first of their bank accounts.  In southern Baden-Württemberg, the Greens’ one and only state governor gets along fine with Daimler-Benz, the giant which is centered there. In Hesse, as junior coalition partners of the Christian Democrats (CDU),  they have had no known run-ins with the bank interests centered there in Frankfurt/Main. All the same, the media still classifies those two as “left” – or at least “center-left”.

        But that third Free Democratic Party (FDP) is unabashedly right-wing pro-capitalist, at least in all economic matters. Despite the  fewest popular votes of the three its good-looking, well-spoken one-man boss, Christian Lindner, has a loud voice, and it is he who grabbed the powerful job of Finance Minister and has taken a no-compromise stand against raising taxes on the super-rich (using the same leak-down arguments as in the USA since Reagan). While SPD and Greens have ties with the monopolies, they occasionally move them to limited concessions, like raising minimum wages, some aid to children and a few more euros to the jobless. But Lindner and his FDP belong  outright to the biggies. Whether the pandemic wanes or worsens, working people, the jobless, the elderly, and several millions with precarious, temp, gig, part-time and unprotected jobs will have to exert strong pressure “from below”  to hinder further stagnation or worse.

      • Biden Congratulates Leftist Chilean President-Elect Gabriel Boric

        In a departure from previous administrations’ responses to left-wing victories in Latin America, President Joe Biden on Thursday congratulated Chilean President-elect Gabriel Boric, who beat his right-wing opponent earlier this week after running on a social-democratic platform.

        Biden called the 35-year-old president-elect, who will be sworn in as the country’s youngest leader in March, to say his victory has set a “powerful example to the region and the world,” according to a White House statement.

      • Democracy with United States Characteristics

        The USA should be described as a democracy with United States characteristics.

        The U.S. government often expresses the idea that its system is so desirable that leaders of other countries should model their country after it.

      • The True Problem With the GOP’s Patricia Morgan

        Some very good Black writers at websites like The Root and The Grio have already dissected the racism of this strange missive and I cannot commend those readings enough.

        Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there are two issues that are important to put emphasis upon as we move into the midterm elections, particularly because of the manifest ineptitude and flaccidity of the Democratic electoral strategy.

      • J. Edgar Hoover’s Legacy: Spying On Democracy

        The FBI has been conducting domestic surveillance operations since its inception in the 1920s, marking nearly a hundred years of violating the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Very few of these operations involved the investigation and gathering of evidence of a serious crime, the only justification for FBI surveillance.  J. Edgar Hoover, appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation in1924, amassed illegal powers of surveillance that enabled him to conduct extra-legal tracking of activists, collect compromising information, and even to threaten and intimidate sitting presidents.

        Hoover created the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) in the 1950s to counter the activities of the Communist Party in the United States, but it morphed into a program of covert and illegal activities to disrupt numerous political organizations, particularly the anti-Vietnam war and civil rights organizations of the 1960s and 1970s.  He exaggerated the threat of communism to ensure financial and public support for the FBI.  (The Pentagon similarly exaggerates the Russian and Chinese threats to elicit greater defense spending, such as the record-setting budget that President Biden signed on Monday.)  When Supreme Court decisions made it more difficult to prosecute individuals for their political opinions, Hoover formalized a covert “dirty tricks” program that included illegal wiretaps, forged documents, and burglaries.

      • Want an answer to Trumpism? Rewatch “It’s a Wonderful Life”

        When I first saw the movie in the late 1960s, I thought it pure hokum. America was coming apart over Vietnam and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and I remember thinking the movie could have been produced by some propaganda bureau of the government that had been told to create a white-washed (and white) version of the United States.

      • In ‘Victory for Democracy’ and ‘Blow to Trumpism,’ FDIC Chair Resigns

        What has been described as both “open lawlessness” and a “partisan brawl” came to an end Friday when Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Jelena McWilliams—an appointee of former President Donald Trump—revealed she is resigning, which will give Democrats control of the agency.

        In a letter to President Joe Biden published on the FDIC’s website, McWilliams said she intends to step down effective February 4, 2022. Politico pointed out that her resignation “means that FDIC board member Martin Gruenberg will become acting chair, his third stint atop at the 88-year-old agency, which insures trillions of dollars in deposits at the nation’s banks.”

      • Best of CounterSpin 2021
    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Palestinian COVID conspiracy theories do matter

        If one isolated lunatic wrote those words, there would be no reason to take him seriously. But the publication of that conspiracy theory in the official P.A. newspaper means that it reflects the views of the P.A. leadership. And it means that this is what the P.A. wants the Palestinian Arab public to believe.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Belgium refuses extradition of fugitive Spanish rapper

        Beltran was sentenced for lyrics in songs published online in 2012 and 2013 at a time when he was a little-known rapper in the Balearic Islands.

        These included: “Let them be as frightened as a police officer in the Basque Country” and “the king has a rendezvous at the village square, with a noose around his neck.”

      • Afghanistan: Taliban ‘sentences TV To Death,’ Destroys Scores Of Musical Instruments

        In the chilling video, the Taliban that has enforced strict sharia law for governance after the political takeover is seen forcing a man to take an oath that he would never watch TV again. This is purportedly due to the belief among the Islamist extremists that it is not permissible in sharia (Islamic law) to watch TV. The Taliban men are seen smashing a television set and destroying scores of musical instruments including harmonium as it is “haram” [forbidden] in Islam. Pakistani journalist Hamza Azhar Salam who first shared the footage appeared to normalise the behaviour as he stressed that “things can change in future.”

      • Prominent vaccine scientist banned from Twitter for spreading anti-vaxx content

        Dr Robert Malone has amassed over 500,000 followers but the scientist was removed from the platform after sharing a video about supposed harmful effects of the Pfizer vaccine.

        Twitter has not commented on the decison and it’s unclear whether the banning was automated or actioned by a human.

      • Who is Robert Malone? Twitter Suspends Account of Virologist Who Warns Covid-19 Vaccine is ‘NOT SAFE’ for Children

        However, it is unclear if the suspension was automatic or Twitter deliberately suspended his account due to violation as the platform did not make any comment regarding the same.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Democracy Now! at 25: Celebrating a Quarter-Century of Independent News on the Frontlines

        Democracy Now! first aired on nine community radio stations on February 19, 1996, on the eve of the New Hampshire presidential primary. In the 25 years since that initial broadcast, the program has greatly expanded, airing today on more than 1,500 television and radio stations around the globe and reaching millions of people online. We celebrate 25 years of The War and Peace Report with an hour-long retrospective, including highlights from the show’s early years, some of the most controversial interviews, and groundbreaking reports from East Timor, Standing Rock, Western Sahara and more.

      • Dr. Oz and wife thought they’d hung up — got caught raging against “f**king girl reporter”

        Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa were overheard by a journalist describing her as a “fucking girl reporter” after they failed to hang up successfully while trying to duck her phone calls.

        New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi traveled to Pennsylvania to profile Oz’s Republican Senate campaign but had difficulty tracking down the celebrity doctor or any signs of an actual campaign. After contact with the campaign “proved elusive,” she wrote, she showed up at Oz’s empty campaign office and asked a nearby business owner to connect her with Oz’s family. She was ultimately able to reach Lisa Oz, who hung up on her. When Nuzzi tried again, Lisa Oz presumably intended to hang up again, but connected her phone to her car’s sound system instead, allowing Nuzzi to hear her conversation with her husband.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Creativity in Nonviolent Resistance

        We humans have studied war for perhaps 11,000 years or more. We have colleges and massive industries devoted to that destructive ability of our species.

        What about the opposite, the creative ability, the constructive conflict?

      • In 2021, the Police Took a Page Out of the NSA’s Playbook: 2021 in Review

        While dragnet searches were once thought to be just the province of the NSA, they are now easier than ever for domestic law enforcement to conduct as well. This is because of the massive amounts of digital information we share—knowingly or not—with companies and third parties. This data, including information on where we’ve been, what we’ve searched for, and even our genetic makeup, is stored in vast databases of consumer-generated information, and law enforcement has ready access to it—frequently without any legal process. All of this consumer data allows police to, essentially, pluck a suspect out of thin air.

        EFF has been challenging unconstitutional dragnet searches for years, and we’re now seeing greater awareness and pushback from other organizations, judges, legislators, and even some companies. This post will summarize developments in 2021 on one type of dragnet suspicionless search—reverse location data searches. 

        Reverse location searches allow the police to identify every device in a given geographic area during a specific period of time in the past as well as to track people’s paths of travel. Geographic areas can include city blocks full of people unconnected to the crime, including those living in private residences and driving on busy streets. 

      • Opinion | Tutu’s Courage on Israeli Apartheid Is Played Down in American Media

        The Guardian has published an important eulogy to the late Desmond Tutu by Chris McGreal, saying what so many in the Palestinian solidarity community are saying: After fighting apartheid in South Africa, Tutu used his stature to call out apartheid in Israel and Palestine, and he paid a large price for doing so.

      • Remembering My Time With Bishop Tutu

        The following took place more than a quarter of a century ago before the widespread use of the Internet, and my memory may be a bit faulty regarding some details. Be that as it may, to the best of my recollection, after the worst excesses of apartheid had been defeated and Nelson Mandela had been elected South Africa’s President, Tutu flew to Hawaii circa 1995. In Downtown, Honolulu the Anglican Bishop made a speech at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, which was commissioned in the 19th century by a Hawaiian monarch before a white settler- and U.S.-backed coup overthrew the independent Polynesian kingdom.

        Prior to his talk, the anti-apartheid leader agreed to do an interview with me, I believe for the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and/or its overseas service, Radio Australia. The RA is the main source of news for and about the Pacific Islands, and I had been reporting as a stringer for this broadcast outlet since the assassination of the President of the Republic of Palau in 1985, where I’d lived at the time. My interview with the much-in-demand, extremely busy Bishop took place in a room that was part of the rather large cathedral complex, where there were a number of aides sitting with him (none interfered with the Q&A, although it’s possible one staffer may have informed us my allotted time was up).

      • Remembering the Real Desmond Tutu, 1931–2021

        “It’s realpolitik, this forgiveness thing,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu to me in 1996 with characteristically blunt eloquence, about the job he had to do as chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). “It’s not just something in the realm of religion or the spiritual. If justice is your last word, you’ve had it. You’ve got to go beyond it.”

      • The Russian Supreme Court Moves to Shut Down a Prominent Human Rights Group

        On December 10, my father Dmitry Muratov, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate, proclaimed when he received his award: “Memorial is not ‘an enemy of the people,’ Memorial is a friend of the people.” Russian-based human rights groups Memorial Human Rights Center and Memorial International have worked for decades to rehabilitate over a million victims of Stalinist repression. On December 28, 18 days after Muratov’s speech, the Russian Supreme Court ruled to shut down the organization.

      • As Many as 1 in 3 Afghan Refugee Women at U.S. Bases are Pregnant

        When thousands of Afghans first arrived at the military base in rural Wisconsin, local residents in Sparta, the “Bicycling Capital of America”, a small city of less than 10,000, began warning that the Afghans being housed at Fort McCoy were putting a significant strain on their infrastructure and their medical services. I was told that there were as many as 800 pregnant refugees at the base. The number seemed wildly implausible, but now the official number is out.

        According to military officials, there have been 500 pregnant Afghans at Fort McCoy and, according to a local news report, “the numbers keep growing”.

      • No Trips For Afghan Women Unless Escorted By Male Relative: Taliban

        Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities said Sunday that women seeking to travel anything other than short distances should not be offered transport unless they are accompanied by a close male relative.

        The guidance, issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, also called on all vehicle owners to offer rides only to those women wearing Islamic hijabs.

      • Sexual crimes against children rampant in Turkey – reports

        “This is the tip of the iceberg,” Aksay told BirGün. “These numbers are from one hospital, and cases that made it to the criminal unit.”

      • Wiesenthal Center puts BBC 3rd – after only Iran, Hamas – on antisemitism list

        “People might assume we would put neo-Nazi groups on our list,” Hier told the paper, “but the BBC is there because when a globally recognized organization allows antisemitism to creep into its reporting, it makes it all the more insidious and dangerous.”

        The full list is to be released on Tuesday.

      • Women Protesters Injured In Stampede After Taliban Militants Fire In The Air

        Participants told RFE/RL that up to 130 women attended the protest in Kabul, and shots fired in the air by Taliban militants trying to disperse the demonstration prompted fleeing protesters to fall and trample one another. Several women sustained injuries in the stampede, witnesses said.

        It was not immediately clear how many women were injured in the incident.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • A new coronavirus vaccine heading to India was developed by a small team in Texas. It expects nothing in return.

          Unlike the vaccines of big-name manufacturers such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the Texas Children’s Hospital vaccine, which is called Corbevax, is being shared patent-free. The Texas Children’s Hospital team is also working with manufacturers like Biological E. to ensure they have the know-how to make doses.

          The ambition is to create a low-cost, open-source alternative to expensive and limited-supply mRNA vaccines for developing and under-vaccinated countries. And it won’t stop at India: Hotez and Bottazzi are talking to other manufacturers around the world and have consulted with the World Health Organization to see how they can share the vaccine globally.

      • Copyrights

12.31.21

Links 31/12/2021: Libadwaita 1.0 and Hugin 2021 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Tired of Windows? It’s time to give Linux a try. | Windows Central

        I’m a fan of what Microsoft finally brought to the desktop with Windows 11. Our resident Windows expert Zac Bowden gave the OS a positive score in his incredible in-depth review and I agree with the majority of what was written. Where Windows 11 falls flat for me, however, is with the installation process. It’s an absolute mess.

        I have a few test rigs configured for various PC components we review here at Windows Central and installing fresh copies of Windows for Intel’s 12th Gen launch was riddled with issues from the get-go. The installer would either refuse to load or fail to see drives. In fact, one install required a 2.5-inch SATA SSD to be connected to the board in order for Windows 11 to successfully boot from the M.2 NVMe drive.

        Interestingly, I never had an issue with the latest security measures that require trusted platform modules (or TPM) since most motherboards and processors released in the past few years support it out of the box. It was more Windows having trouble with SSDs, sometimes even outright refusing to install Windows on specific drives.

        For a laugh, I installed Linux Mint on all the machines and didn’t see a single problem. Not one. This is a billion-dollar company going up against average Joe and losing in my anecdotal experiences.

        But Windows isn’t completely out of my life. I still use it regularly to remain in the loop with all the latest news and because we continue to benchmark products using the OS. For my main PC, Windows isn’t even installed on a secondary drive anymore.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Alder Lake’s Thread Director Support Coming to Linux | Tom’s Hardware

        Intel has published a new patch series for its Linux drivers that promise to improve the performance of its hybrid Alder Lake processors by optimizing usage of (P)erformance and (E)fficiency cores.

        When Intel released its 12th Generation Core ‘Alder Lake’ processors earlier this year, it quickly turned out that the new CPUs perform better under Windows rather than under Linux. Unlike Windows 11, Linux does not have proper support for Intel’s Thread Director technology based on the Enhanced Hardware Feedback Interface (HFI), which enables the OS to utilize high-performance Golden Cove and energy-efficient Gracemont cores properly.

        At present, the Linux kernel decides when to use P or E cores using the ITMT/Turbo Boost Max 3.0 driver that relies on the information exposed by the firmware, reports Phoronix. Essentially, this means that under Linux, the OS in many cases prefers the fastest cores (i.e., Golden Coves at high clocks) and underutilizes energy-efficient cores.

      • ThinkPad ACPI Driver Picking Up New Features With Linux 5.17 – Phoronix

        For those running Linux on Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, the upcoming Linux 5.17 cycle is set to bring a few improvements to the “thinkpad_acpi” driver.

        Thanks to developers Ognjen Galic and Thomas Weißschuh, the ThinkPad ACPI driver is adding support for inhibit charge behavior if wanting to temporarily disable charging support for ThinkPads allowing this behavior through the system’s embedded controller (EC).

        Similarly, there is also now force discharge support if wanting to force the battery to change and again contingent upon EC support from the ThinkPad.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa’s Radeon Vulkan Driver Lands Experimental Mesh Shaders – Phoronix

          Thanks to Valve engineer Timur Kristóf and other open-source developers involved, Mesa’s Radeon Vulkan driver “RADV” is ending 2021 on a high note: mesh shaders was just merged!

          As noted back in October, RADV has been working on mesh shaders at least in experimental form and making use of NVIDIA’s NV_mesh_shader extension.

          Mesh shaders provide a compute-like shader stage to replace the conventional vertex/geometry pipeline. This work though is expected to remain “experimental” until there is a proper Vulkan cross-vendor extension around mesh shaders as NV_mesh_shader is known to perform poorly on AMD hardware for which the extension was not designed.

          Mesh shaders support requires Radeon RX 6000 “RDNA2″ GPUs and newer for support. This experimental mesh shaders support will be part of Mesa 22.0 that will debut as stable by March. This may prove beneficial for VKD3D-Proton in mapping Direct3D 12 mesh shaders atop Vulkan but, again, the performance isn’t expected to be optimal.

    • Applications

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Intuit Mint

        Intuit Inc. is an American corporation that specializes in financial software. Specfically, the company develops personal finance, accounting, and tax return software.

        The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. It has more than 10,000 employees.

        While Intuit has a GitHub presence with over 100 repositories for numerous open source projects, none of these repositories offer any substantial desktop software. Instead, the repositories focus on tools and libraries for developers. None of these projects appear to have attracted significant interest from the open source community.

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Intuit’s Products

        Intuit Inc. is an American corporation that specializes in financial software. Specifically, the company develops personal finance, accounting, and tax return software.

        The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. It has more than 10,000 employees.

        While Intuit has a GitHub presence with over 100 repositories for numerous open source projects, none of these repositories offer any substantial desktop software. Instead, the repositories focus on tools and libraries for developers. None of these projects appear to have attracted significant interest from the open source community.

      • Hugin 2021 Released! How to Install via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04, 21.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        Hugin panorama stitcher finally released version 2021. Here’s how to install it via PPA in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.04, Ubuntu 21.10, and Linux Mint 20.

      • Hugin-2021.0.0 Release Notes
      • 10 Selfhosting Ideas You Can Build with Yunohost Server

        This article is a collection of ideas to practice selfhosting with Yunohost for beginners who are learning system administration. Yunohost is like magic, this server OS allows us to deploy a full, working email server in one click and that works for other kinds of server too. Now, let’s see the ideas!

      • Anklang takes over | Timj’s bits and tests

        The Anklang project is a digital audio synthesis application for live creation and composition of music or other audio material. It merges several new developments and (Beast) rewriting efforts by Stefan Westerfeld and me.

        Starting a new project from scratch was the easier and quicker approach, with all the changes involved in moving to a modern file format, recreating the UI in a new language plus new technologies, using a new IPC layer and reinventing the synthesis engine in modern C++.

        This brought much quicker results, compared to continued work on the aging Beast code base and a conversion tool is being worked on to carry over what is possible from old files. The tool is set to be integrated when the Anklang features set is ripe.

        This pre-release show cases some of the new technologies, although the code still has alpha quality, others are still in the queue to be integrated soon and unpolished areas are also to be addressed. Currently, it may be an interesting piece for the adventurous to play around with, so feedback or contributions will be very welcome.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to convert (and flatten) PDF documents to images

        Say you have a PDF document in your hands. Say this documents needs editing and redacting. You may want to add some bits of information and obscure some other bits of information. Various PDF programs can do this job for you. However, quite often, the new changes are added as layers on top of the original, so people with the right kind of expertise can glean the data from under the redaction markers.

        Some time ago, I published a tutorial showing how to flatten PDF files, which basically means putting all of the changes into a single layer. Now, I want to show you another trick, and this is how to convert PDF files into images. This will create a similar effect – flattening, plus the ability to use (only) parts of information contained in the PDF documents. Our tool of the trade will be pdftocairo. In Linux. Let’s commence.

      • How to install the latest version of Blender on a Chromebook

        Linux is a buffet for different tools and utilities, some last longer, and others are deprecated with better alternatives.

      • How to install the latest version of Blender on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install the latest version of Blender on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to spin up virtual machines fast on Ubuntu with Quickemu

        Virtualization on Ubuntu is one of its strengths. However, setting up a VM as a new user can be tedious and confusing. That’s where Quickemu comes in. It harnesses the power of QEMU in the Linux kernel and automatically spins up virtual machines fast. Here’s how to use it on your Ubuntu system.

      • How To Install Nginx on CentOS 9 Stream – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Nginx on CentOS 9 Stream. For those of you who didn’t know, Nginx (Engine X) is the most popular, powerful web server software that can be used on your server. It is also known for its high performance and low memory usage. In addition to its HTTP server capabilities, NGINX can also function as a proxy server for e-mail (IMAP, POP3, and SMTP) and a reverse proxy and load balancer for HTTP, TCP, and UDP servers.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Nginx web server on CentOS 9 Stream.

      • How to install and uninstall Discord on Linux | FOSS Linux

        We have come to a point in history where at-a-distance communication has become an essential part of our daily lives. This applies to jobs and all kinds of areas of day-to-day activities. We require a communication program that works smoothly and has impressive features to go well. Enter, Discord.

        Discord has made quite a name for itself even among the vast competition in the category that it belongs to. It has excellent features, works without a hassle, is available on various platforms, and gives the users a great experience. Today, we will check how to install and use Discord on Linux.

      • Full Circle Magazine #176
      • How To Install PyCharm on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PyCharm on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, PyCharm is a cross-platform editor developed by JetBrains. Pycharm provides all the tools you need for productive Python development. Many Python programmers enjoy using PyCharm because it can be used to analyze code, debug programs, and is integrated with Git and other version control systems. Pycharm comes with two variants, Professional (Paid) and Community (Free). The professional edition comes with additional web development support.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the PyCharm IDE on a Fedora 35.

      • Install Plex Media Server on Debian 11 Bullseye with Nginx Reverse Proxy

        Learn the simple commands to install Plex Media Server on Debian 11 Bullseye Linux for creating your streaming server.

        Plex was started as a hobby project but with time, it developed into a professional streaming server software to manage various types of media files. Users can install and use it to access their videos, music, and images remotely using the internet or locally over a local network; even you can share them with friends while on the move.

        You will have the same feel as Netflix, as Plex creates matching thumbnails and loads information from film databases. However, Plex can’t keep up with major streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV +, and Disney +. Nevertheless, it has not been developed to compete with them. The main goal of its developers is to provide an easy-to-use piece of software to general users or businesses who want to manage their database of films, photos, and songs either on NAS, Cloud, or any PC.

    • Games

      • AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) should be a huge deal for Steam Deck based on its Linux performance | Windows Central

        When they were first announced, I, like many others, had hoped to be holding a Steam Deck this Christmas. But it’s a hard time to manufacture tech right now, and so we’re going to have to wait a little longer.

        But in that time I’ve been spending more energy experiencing PC gaming on Linux, the base for the Steam Deck. Much has been said already about Proton and much more will be said in the months to come, but there’s one bit of ‘special sauce’ that deserves more attention because it should be a huge deal on Valve’s portable gaming PC.

        AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is, in simple terms, like NVIDIA’s DLSS. It uses witchcraft to intelligently upscale games while preserving as much detail as possible so as to enable higher frame rates thanks to having been rendered initially at a lower resolution. One big difference is that FSR works on both AMD and NVIDIA hardware, and the other is that it’s open-source. This means the Linux gang has been all over it.

      • 2021 Brought A Convenient Installer For Arch Linux, Powering The Steam Deck – Phoronix

        Arch Linux had a pretty great year with introducing “Archinstall” as part of the official install media as a new, optional installer for conveniently installing the distribution to Valve choosing Arch Linux as their new SteamOS 3.0 base that will power their forthcoming Steam Deck handheld game console.

        By nearly any indicator, Arch Linux had a pretty great 2021. Arguably most exciting is the Steam Deck / SteamOS switching to Arch Linux where as previously Valve relied upon Debian that fell stale too quickly. Using Arch Linux will allow for more fast-paced updates and ensuring the newest, most optimal experience for their Linux-based handheld slated to start shipping next quarter. Until getting out new SteamOS images, Valve has been encouraging developers to test on the Arch-based Manjaro Linux distribution that is desktop-oriented and easy to use.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce’s Apps Update for December 2021: New Releases of Xfce Terminal, Whisker Menu, and More

        December has been a slow month for Xfce apps development, but we got a new update of the Xfce Terminal modern terminal emulator app to version 0.9.1, which adds an overlay-scrolling preference, support for the new Shortcuts editor widget, and a new preference to select the right-click action.

        In addition, the Xfce Terminal 0.9.1 release improved the scrolling-on-output behavior and the Paste dialog, and addressed several regressions and updated multiple language translations.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Using GNOME Screenshot Tool in Linux Like a Pro

          There are several screenshot tools available for Linux. I prefer using Flameshot for screenshots and Shutter for editing the existing screenshots.

          But Flameshot doesn’t work with 4K screens, unfortunately. And hence I had to resort back to the default GNOME screenshot tool which works perfectly on my Dell XPS with Ultra HD screen.

        • Libadwaita 1.0 Arrives to Kickstart a New Era of GTK App Development – OMG! Ubuntu!

          Libadwaita 1.0 has been released, kickstarting a new era in GTK app development.

          Now, there’s been a fair bit of controversy and misunderstanding over what libadwaita is and isn’t. It’s pitched as a library that implements the (new) GNOME HIG, and is a GTK4-based successor to the GTK3-based libhandy library that has, over the past few years, given GTK apps lots of cool adaptive capabilities.

          Libadwaita is set to become tightly intwined with GNOME as, in a break with the past, this library comes with a stylesheet —what we think of as GTK themes are actually just stylesheets— baked in. This means anything built using libadwaita (i.e., like a lot of GNOME 42) should look virtually the same wherever it runs regardless of what GTK theme is set.

        • Alexander Mikhaylenko: Libadwaita 1.0

          Libadwaita 1.0 has been released, just at the end of the year.

          Libadwaita is a library implementing the GNOME HIG, complementing GTK. For GTK 3 this role has increasingly been played by Libhandy, and so Libadwaita is a direct Libhandy successor.

          You can read more in Adrien’s announcement.

          [...]

          Ever since Adwaita started using SCSS, it couldn’t really be recolored at all without recompiling it. This created big problems for applications that wanted to do that.

          For example, GNOME Web makes its header bar blue in incognito mode. This may sound simple, but involves copy-pasting large chunks of Adwaita into the app itself and making many small changes everywhere to adjust it, as well as using SCSS for it because the original style is SCSS. More recently, GNOME Console and Apostrophe started doing the same thing – copy-pasted from Web, as a matter of fact. This approach means the style is messy and extremely hard to keep up to date with Adwaita changes – I have updated this style for the 3.32 style refresh and never want to do this again.

          Another approach applications like Contrast are using (were using with GTK 3, anyway), is copying the whole stylesheet from GTK, and using libsass to recompile it in runtime. This worked – it’s much more maintainable than the first approach, but fell apart when libsass got deprecated.

          Meanwhile, the elementary OS stylesheet has been doing recoloring just fine with nothing but @define-color – and so Libadwaita does exactly that, it exposes all of the colors it uses (31 as of the moment of writing) as named colors. The new colors are also documented and will be treated as a proper API.

          It also drops all of the formerly used PNG assets, so the colors can affect the elements that used them.

          It also reworks the high contrast variant to use the same colors when possible to make sure that changing color for the regular style also works with high contrast.

        • Libadwaita 1.0 Released For Kicking Off A New Year Of GNOME App Development

          GNOME’s libadwaita 1.0 has been released for this library implementing the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) and complementary to the GTK toolkit.

          Libadwaita 1.0 is the successor to libhandy that complemented GTK3. Libadwaita 1.0 offers a reworked stylesheet now that the Adwaita style has become part of the library rather than within GTK. This new libadwaita style is designed to be more modern, supports runtime recoloring, a more proper dark variant contrast, style classes updates, API to support the new cross-desktop dark style preference, improved notifications, and much more.

        • GNOME libadwaita 1.0 released

          Version 1.0 of the GNOME libadwaita library is out; this will be of interest to GNOME application developers. “Libadwaita is a library implementing the GNOME HIG, complementing GTK. For GTK 3 this role has increasingly been played by Libhandy, and so Libadwaita is a direct Libhandy successor.”

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Linux Lite 5.8 Is Slated for Release on February 1st, 2022, Now Available for Testing

          Still based on the Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS release of the long-term supported Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system series from Canonical, the Linux Lite 5.8 distribution release promises updated components, bug fixes, and many other tweaks and changes.

          Don’t get too excited because Linux Lite 5.8 is an incremental update to the previous releases in the Linux Lite 5 series. As such, it would appear that the major changes of this upcoming update are an updated Papirus icon theme and nine new wallpapers to make your Linux Lite desktop experience more enjoyable.

        • Celebrate New Year 2022 by switching from Windows 11 to Linux Lite 5.8 RC1

          Windows 11 is a great operating system. In fact, I can confidently say it is the best desktop operating system Microsoft has ever created. Seriously, folks, it is wonderful. If your computer is compatible with it, and you like Windows 10, you should enjoy Windows 11 even more.

          With all of that said, Windows 11 can be a bit polarizing. It features radical changes to the user interface (such as a centered task bar) which I adore, but some users may dislike. Not to mention, the system requirements will leave many still-capable computers unable to upgrade without using unofficial hacks. Even worse, computers deemed incompatible could eventually stop getting updates! These unfortunate computer owners will have to decide whether to continue using Windows 10 or buy a new Windows 11-compatible PC.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/52 – Dominique a.k.a. DimStar (Dim*)

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          The last week of the year, and the last day of the year, are coming to an end. Tumbleweed had a small dip, as the last two snapshots that moved to openQA had to be stopped from being published. Nevertheless, we still managed to publish 6 snapshots before heading out to the new-year celebrations (1223…1228).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Looking back on 2021 and ahead to an amazing new year

          We’ve made it to the end of 2021, and I’m filled with so many emotions. On the one hand, I’m extremely proud of the work we have done this year. But on the other hand… when I wrote last year’s love letter, I thought we’d surely be able to celebrate our successes in person this year. Unfortunately, the global situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Our usual European winter events — DevConf.CZ and FOSDEM — are both virtual again. While I continue to hold out hope that we’ll be able to share a meal together soon, there are no clear dates in sight.

          So, as we close out 2021 and approach the two-year mark of the pandemic, I’d like us all to take a moment to reflect on how we’ve continued to be a thriving community this year. Nest With Fedora brought together over 700 Fedorans—nearly twice the size of Nest 2020. We expanded our annual Fedora Women’s Day to Fedora Week of Diversity, celebrating the rich diversity that makes Fedora a great community. And we upgraded the way we communicate, bringing more conversation to Discussion and adding a new chat server using the open Matrix protocol. And all of that featured our new logo, introduced this spring.

          Of course, as much as we love the Friends foundation, this community is about more than just having fun together. We also produce an excellent operating system. Fedora Workstation 34 led the way among major desktop distributions by featuring GNOME 40—a significant improvement to the widely-used desktop environment. We also changed the default audio system to PipeWire. And even though we broke our on-time streak with Fedora Linux 35, that just shows how seriously we take quality — we want to be leading edge, not “bleeding edge”, and we continue to demonstrate that in what we deliver to users.

        • 15 ways to advance your Kubernetes journey in 2022

          2021 has been an exciting year for Kubernetes, and these articles prove it. From fun interfaces to homelabs to development environments, check out my favorite articles from 2021, K8s style.

          If you are interested in the fundamentals, this article about containers on Linux clarifies how Linux containers work from the inside out. Are you more interested in having some fun? Install minikube and start managing it using the DOOM video game as an interface. An alternative to DOOM is kubectl, a more traditional Kubernetes control CLI.
          Even if you only run Kubernetes on your Linux homelab, you can use tools like Terraform and Helm to automate day-to-day operations. This creates an opportunity to get better at Terraform.

          One of the few things that are certain in life is that computers will fail in weird and interesting ways. Monitor your Kubernetes cluster with Prometheus and Grafana to see how it fails. Monitor the applications running inside it with distributed tracing using Grafana Tempo. Monitor how strong your monitoring is by introducing Chaos Mesh to cause intentional chaos in Kubernetes.

        • Top 21 sysadmin guides and tutorials of 2021 | Enable Sysadmin

          This was an amazing year for the Enable Sysadmin community. In 2021, our site traffic grew to more than 600,000 page views per month, 100,000 per month over 2020. We generated more than 7.2 million page views and 4.2 million unique visitors in 2021.

        • IT leadership: 3 ways to show gratitude to teams

          When I discussed these challenges with the instructors on our platform, one solution kept coming up again and again: Gratitude.

          Showing gratitude doesn’t just mean being nice for the sake of being nice. Gratitude has real business value. A ten-year, 200,000-person study by O.C. Tanner found that 79 percent of respondents who’d quit their jobs cited lack of appreciation as a key factor in their departure. In addition, 65 percent of North Americans surveyed felt that they had not been recognized even once in the prior year. That’s a dangerous position for any company to be in.

          This is why CIOs and IT leaders, in particular, must be cognizant of team morale and keep the gratitude flowing. It’s not always easy under pressure, but here are three elements to keep in mind.

        • Irving Wladawsky-Berger: The World Ahead 2022: Adjusting to New Realities

          A few weeks ago The Economist published The World Ahead 2022, its 36th annual look at the economic, political, social and cultural trends that will likely shape the coming year. “If 2021 was the year the world turned the tide against the pandemic, 2022 will be dominated by the need to adjust to new realities, both in areas reshaped by the crisis (the new world of work, the future of travel) and as deeper trends reassert themselves (the rise of China, accelerating climate change),” wrote the issue’s editor Tom Sandage.

        • CentOS Linux 8 Reaches End-Of-Life

          Today is the unfortunate day marking CentOS Linux 8 reaching end-of-life status as a free alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

          It was a year ago CentOS / Red Hat announced their shift in focus on CentOS Stream as being the new upstream of Red Hat Enterprise Linux moving forward. CentOS Stream has been taking shape this year while unfortunately it means the EOL’ing of CentOS Linux 8.

        • CentOS Linux 8 EOL

          In December 2020, the CentOS Project announced a series of changes. The three most important are: the creation of CentOS Stream and the consequent rename of CentOS (the classic Linux distribution the project is known for) in CentOS Linux the anticipation to today (31/12/2021) of the End Of Life for CentOS Linux 8 the fact that CentOS Linux 8 is going to be the last and that from now on, only CentOS Stream will have new releases That announcement created a lot of different sentiments in the community and even more among the CentOS Linux users.

        • An Official Way To Migrate To AlmaLinux 8 From CentOS 8 – OSTechNix

          This step by step tutorial explains how to migrate to AlmaLinux 8 from CentOS 8 using Almalinux-deploy script. Using Almalinux-deploy script, we can easily convert CentOS machines (hopefully other Enterprise Linux systems) to AlmaLinux.

          It is written in Bash and the source code is available in GitHub. Now let us go ahead and migrate from CentOS to AlmaLinux with almalinux-deploy script.

        • Install NVIDIA Drivers [495.46 / 470.94 / 390.147 / 340.108] on CentOS Stream, RHEL, Rocky Linux – If Not True Then False

          This is guide, howto install NVIDIA proprietary drivers (manually using .run files) on CentOS Stream 9/8, Red Hat (RHEL) 9.0/8.5, Rocky Linux 8.5 and disable Nouveau driver. This guide works with GeForce 8/9/200/300/400/500/600/700/800/900/10/20/30 series cards.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Intel To Ring In 2022 With New, Faster AV1 Encoder Release – Phoronix

        Intel in cooperation with the Alliance for Open Media continues developing SVT-AV1 as the flagship CPU-based AV1 video encoder. With the next SVT-AV1 update there are performance optimizations as well as several new preset levels allowing for even greater performance. Here are some early benchmarks of that updated SVT-AV1.

      • Open Source Trends for 2022 and Beyond

        “There’s nothing magical about open-source methodology and security,” Vaughan-Nichols notes. “Linus’s law is that given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. But, if not enough developers are looking, security vulnerabilities will still go unnoticed.” And, according to what he is calling Schneier’s law, “Security is a process, not a product,” and “constant vigilance is needed to secure all software.”

      • Events

        • Will Anyone Actually Show Up at CES on Wednesday?

          A given at the first of each year is CES. Formally called the Consumer Electronic Show, the event practically takes over Las Vegas for a few days every January, and every company that even dabbles in electronics is on hand to show off their latest offerings.

          How big is it? In 2019, more than 182,000 people attended and more than 4,400 vendors exhibited their wares. How important is being there to vendors? In 2020, Apple made its first appearance at the event in 27 years, if that tells you anything.

          In 2021, when there was no in-person event due to COVID, organizers pulled out all the stops to create an engaging virtual event, featuring a live digital performance by Billie Eilish as a lead-in to a discussion session on digital performances in whic Ryan Seacrest spoke with Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa.

        • CES Rolls the Dice and Gambles on Becoming a Superspreader Event
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Working On A New Cairo Graphics Back-End – Phoronix

          Merged yesterday into the LibreOffice code-base was introducing yet another graphics drawing back-end for this open-source office suite.

          SvpGraphicsBackend is this new VCL (Visual Class Library) back-end for LibreOffice. SvpGraphicsBackend is being used as a new back-end around Cairo. There is already SvpSalGraphics for LibreOffice that uses Cairo for drawing while SvpGraphicsBackend is being worked into the new implementation alongside the various other VCL graphics/drawing back-ends for the cross-platform office suite.

          Tomaž Vajngerl of Collabora has been working on this new Cairo back-end that was merged on Thursday. So far there have been a few more follow-up commits beginning to move more functionality into SvpGraphicsBackend.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • 2021 annual report – GIMP

            With 4 development versions released already, you know that we are working very hard on the future: GIMP 3.0.

            Some features took a lot of time, mostly when we changed core logics. I am thinking in particular about the code for multi-selection of layers. It’s not that selecting multiple items in a list is hard to implement, it’s that any feature in the whole application has been forever expecting just one layer or one channel selected. So what happens when there are 2, 3 or any number of items selected? Every feature, every tool, every plug-in and filter has to be rethought for this new use case. This is a huge work and it has been 2 years I have been on and off on this one in between porting or developing other code and reviewing contributors’ code. Fortunately this change is nearing the end lately (not completely finished though). So that’s a great progress.

            By the way, a part of this work has been to get rid of the “link” (chain ⛓ icon in the Layers dockable) concept in favor of multi-selection (and layer search and storage as a replacement concept for the ability to save layer links). This part is also done now. I’ll talk more about this in the GIMP 2.99.10 release news.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Kate Text Editor in 2021 – Kate

          From Kate’s development perspective this year looks fantastic. If you track a bit the development via our merge requests overview page or even better participate yourself in our projects, you might have already noticed it ;=)

        • Simple test if audio muted

          I am working out how to do things in /usr/sbin/mscw (Multiple Sound Card Wizard). A huge issue for me has been moving from alsa to pulseaudio. Here is a link to earlier work:

          https://bkhome.org/news/202111/how-pulseaudio-is-implemented-in-easyos.html

          I am still very uncertain about aspects of the interaction between alsa and pa. The single most important feature is /etc/alsa/conf.d/99-pulseaudio-default.conf, that essentially directs alsa output to the pa server.

          In mscw, I want a quick check of output volume and muted/unmuted status for a particular card. It can be done using ‘pactl’ or ‘pacmd’, pa utilities, however, I wanted to do it at the “alsa level”, with an alsa utility…

        • New front-page on cross-compiling

          I am gradually working toward putting information from blog posts onto the easyos.org front page.

        • Mold 1.0.1 Released As Newest Version Of This High-Speed Linker – Phoronix

          It was just this month that Mold 1.0 premiered as a very promising, high performance linker alternative to GNU’s Gold and LLVM’s LLD linkers. GCC 12 added support for Mold this week and now for ending out the year Mold 1.0.1 has been released.

          Mold 1.0.1 is just a maintenance release but given the young age of the project there are a number of fixes as well as new features squeezed in. Mold 1.0.1 now optionally includes its own xxHash library for building but can still use a system-wide xxHash library if desired, support for the “–color-diagnostics” option, the “–threads=” option is now supported as an alias of its existing “–thread-count=” option, and support for a number of other options.

  • Leftovers

    • Strategies To Make 2022 Better: Embrace the Folks Around Us

      So, 2021 was no 2020, even if it borrowed many of the same contours of that wretched year. But it was still the calendar equivalent of me walking down the street after I rolled my ankle, pretending that everything is OK, even though my ankle was telling me otherwise. (I often wince when reading descriptions of people rolling their ankles, so if that describes you, I apologize in advance.) Many folks got vaccinated this year. Some even got boosters. But COVID-19 remains an extremely dynamic part of the way that we live and experience the world. But even if optimism was in short supply (and less so after learning that as I was posting this, Betty White died just three weeks before her 100th birthday), tedium was in ample supply. And with that, let’s do another one of these year-end issues (the eighth one!) where we try to look forward and back all at once.

    • Hardware

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (agg, aria2, fort-validator, and lxml), Fedora (libgda, pgbouncer, and xorg-x11-server-Xwayland), Mageia (calibre, e2guardian, eclipse, libtpms/swtpm, nodejs, python-lxml, and toxcore), openSUSE (c-toxcore, gegl, getdata, kernel-firmware, log4j, postrsd, and privoxy), and SUSE (gegl).

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 198 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 198. This version includes the following changes:

            [ Chris Lamb ]
            * Support showing "Ordering differences only" within .dsc field values.
              (Closes: #1002002, reproducible-builds/diffoscope#297)
            * Support OCaml versions 4.11, 4.12 and 4.13. (Closes: #1002678)
            * Add support for XMLb files. (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#295)
            * Also add, for example, /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu to our internal PATH.
            
            [ Mattia Rizzolo ]
            * Also recognize "GnuCash file" files as XML.
            

          • This Week In Security: The Log4j That Won’t Go Away, WebOS, And More | Hackaday

            In the past two weeks, Log4j has continued to drive security news, with more vulnerable platforms being found, and additional CVEs coming out. First up is work done by TrendMicro, looking at electric vehicles and chargers. They found a log4j attack in one of the published charger frameworks, and also managed to observe evidence of vulnerability in the Tesla In-Vehicle Infotainment system. It isn’t a stretch to imagine a piece of malware that could run on both a charger, and an EV. And since those systems talk to each other, they could spread the virus through cars moving from charger to charger.

            Log4j is now up to 2.17.1, as there is yet another RCE to fix, CVE-2021-44832. This one is only scored a 6.6 on the CVSS scale, as opposed to the original, which weighed in at a 10. 44832 requires the attacker to first exert control over the Log4j configuration, making exploitation much more difficult. This string of follow-on vulnerabilities demonstrates a well-known pattern, where a high profile vulnerability attracts the attention of researchers, who find other problems in the same code.

            There are now reports of Log4j being used in Conti ransomware campaigns. Additionally, a Marai-based worm has been observed. This self-propagating attack seems to be targeting Tomcat servers, among others.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Apple AirTags Are Being Used to Track People and Cars
            • Are Apple AirTags Being Used to Track People and Steal Cars?

              On a Sunday night in September, Ashley Estrada was at a friend’s home in Los Angeles when she received a strange notification on her iPhone: “AirTag Detected Near You.”

              An AirTag is a 1.26-inch disc with location-tracking capabilities that Apple started selling earlier this year as a way “to keep track of your stuff.” Ms. Estrada, 24, didn’t own one, nor did the friends she was with. The notification on her phone said the AirTag had first been spotted with her four hours earlier. A map of the AirTag’s history showed the zigzag path Ms. Estrada had driven across the city while running errands.

              [...]

              The New York Times spoke with seven women who believe they were tracked with AirTags, including a 17-year-old whose mother surreptitiously placed one on her car to stay apprised of her whereabouts.

              Some authorities have begun to take a closer look at the threat posed by AirTags. The West Seneca Police Department in New York recently warned its community of the tracking potential of the devices after an AirTag was found on a car bumper. Apple complied with a subpoena for information about the AirTag in the case, which may lead to charges, West Seneca police said.

              And in Canada, a local police department said that it had investigated five incidents of thieves placing AirTags on “high-end vehicles so they can later locate and steal them.”

              Researchers now believe AirTags, which are equipped with Bluetooth technology, could be revealing a more widespread problem of tech-enabled tracking. They emit a digital signal that can be detected by devices running Apple’s mobile operating system. Those devices then report where an AirTag has last been seen. Unlike similar tracking products from competitors such as Tile, Apple added features to prevent abuse, including notifications like the one Ms. Estrada received and automatic beeping. (Tile plans to release a feature to prevent the tracking of people next year, a spokeswoman for that company said.)

Links 31/12/2021: 7-Zip 21.07 and Goodbye to CentOS 8

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel HFI Code Revised For Improving Alder Lake’s Hybrid Support On Linux – Phoronix

        Back in late 2020 Intel’s programming manuals detailed the Enhanced Hardware Feedback Interface for the CPU to provide guidance to the kernel’s scheduler on optimal task placement of workloads. While marketed as Thread Director with the new 12th Gen Alder Lake processors, that hardware feedback interface support is getting squared away for the Linux kernel to improve the support for these newest processors.

        Microsoft Windows 11 already supports the Intel Hardware Feedback Interface as part of its Alder Lake / Thread Director optimizations while only recently has the Linux kernel support been in the works. In November there were some early “intel_hfi” patches published while right before Christmas Intel dropped a second version of the patches with many changes and improvements stemming from the early code review.

      • Linux 5.17 To Replace SHA1 With BLAKE2s For Faster & More Secure “Random” – Phoronix

        Queued today within the Linux’s random.git repository for the /dev/random and /dev/urandom code is support for using BLAKE2s rather than SHA1 when hashing the entropy pool. This in turn is a big performance speed-up in addition to being more secure.

        For Linux 5.17 there are some nice “random” improvements. Jason Donenfeld who is best known for his work on creating WireGuard is also the Linux kernel’s random maintainer. Queued today was the change to remove SHA1 usage from the random.c code and to instead use BLAKE2s.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install Guilded on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Guilded on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How To Install WildFly on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install WildFly on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, WildFly formerly known as JBoss is an application server written in Java and developed by Red Hat. WildFly is a flexible, lightweight, managed application runtime that helps you build amazing applications.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the WildFly (JBoss) on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • Update on Linux hibernation support when lockdown is enabled
      • How to listen to YouTube Music on Linux with Ytmdesktop

        We’ve covered how to listen to YouTube Music on the Linux desktop before using the unofficial YouTube Music app developed by Th-Ch. However, this program isn’t the only way to listen to the service on the Linux platform.

        If you’ve tried out Th-Ch’s unofficial YouTube Music app and found that it didn’t do what you wanted, a great alternative is Ytmdesktop. It has a very similar UI. However, Ytmdesktop integrates with Discord, Last.fm, and more. Here’s how to use it on your system.

      • How to Use Ubuntu Disk Utility for Better HDD/SSD Management

        When using Linux, there are times when you may need to manage hard drives, removable media such as USB drives and SD cards, and more. This is especially true if you plan on dual-booting Ubuntu with Windows or a second Linux installation.

        Therefore, it’s important to know how you can manage your drives and the partitions that are on them. Resizing a partition, reformatting your hard drive, or checking its health are some of the things that you can do with Ubuntu’s built-in disk management tool known as “Disks.”

      • How to Install Tripwire IDS on Debian 11 Bullseye – LinuxCapable

        Tripwire IDS is a reliable intrusion detection system that identifies changes made to specified files and directories. Tripwire IDS Detects intrusions by analyzing operating systems and applications, resource utilization, and other system activity.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Tripwire IDS on your Debian 11 Bullseye operating system.

      • How to Install PHP 8.1 on CentOS 9 Stream – LinuxCapable

        PHP 8.1 is a significant update of the PHP language that was “officially” released on November 25, 2021. As we advance from the existing PHP 8.0 release, this is a standard upgrade. The new PHP 8.1 brings enums, fibers, never return type, final class constants, intersection types, read-only properties, and a long list of new features and changes.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to import the REMI Module and install PHP 8.1 on CentOS 9 Stream.

      • How to Install Side-Scroller SuperTux 0.6.3 via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04/18.04/21.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        Many free open-source apps got new releases before new year 2022. The side-scrolling game SuperTux 0.6.3 is one of them!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Arc Menu Extension Adds a New Layout & Standalone Runner Mode – OMG! Ubuntu!

          I already think Arc Menu is one of the best GNOME extensions out there, and seeing the change-log for its latest release I’m reminded why.

          Arc Menu v20 is chock-full of enhancements that span the full gamut of development, from bug fixes and code refactoring through to brand menu layouts and even more customisation options.

          The star attraction in the latest release is the the new “A.Z.” menu layout.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Goodbye CentOS 8 and Thanks for Everything!

          The day has finally arrived! Today, December 31, 2021 CentOS Linux 8 reaches End-of-Life (EOL).

          For years, a lot of Linux system administrators have been using CentOS for their Linux servers. The majority of web and server hosting companies also offered CentOS as their default operating system. In other words, CentOS has been dominant on the Linux server field in recent years.

          Back in December 2020, Red Hat announced that it will be discontinuing CentOS based on RedHat releases. This was come as quite a shock for the CentOS community. And this is where history repeats itself. Let me remind you. Back in 2004, Red Hat did the same thing by EOL’ing all versions of Red Hat Linux and forced users to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

          Although the news was announced as early as December last year, many Linux system administrators and developers still feel at a loss. Of course, the system running CentOS 8 will not crash overnight, but security and other updates will no longer continue from the beginning of next year.

        • Red Hat donates $10,000 and the Flatpak package will be official [Ed: IBM uses deep pockets to push itself as the 'standard']

          OBS Studio is one of the most successful projects of the free software However, it carries an important but, and that is that for many years it has not offered symmetric support between the platforms it supports, so the version for Linux has fewer features than the Windows version. Added to that is the fact that Ubuntu and Linux Mint are the only officially supported distributions, which will thankfully change shortly thanks to Flatpak.

          There seems to be interest in improving OBS Studio support for Linux, especially when it comes to covering the spectrum that goes beyond Ubuntu, since Red hat has donated $10,000 to the project in charge of the development and maintenance of the popular video recording and streaming software, which is used not only by free software enthusiasts, but also by professionals who publish on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.

          In parallel with the Red Hat donation, the ground is being prepared for the Flatpak build of OBS Studio is official, something that should finish materializing with the release of version 27.2 of the application. What’s more, the beta version of OBS Studio 27.2 already ships the Flatpak version as an official build.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Mico – A USB microphone based on Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU – CNX Software

        Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller has found its way into Mico, a compact USB microphone with a PDM microphone providing better quality than cheap USB microphones going for one or two dollars or even 5 cents shipped for new Aliexpress users.

        The project started when Mahesh Venkitachalam (Elecronut Labs) was doing audio experiments with Machine Learning on the Raspberry Pi, and found out USB microphone dongles were extremely noisy with poor (distance) sensitivity, so he completed the project with a high-quality I2S microphone instead. He then had the idea of making his own USB microphone and found out Sandeep Mistry had already developed a Microphone Library for Pico, so he mostly had to work on the hardware that’s how Mico Raspberry Pi RP2040 USB microphone came to be.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • CD Player Powered 555 Piano Goes Accordion To Plan | Hackaday

          Acordeonador, an 555 accordion powered by a CD player based genrator
          Ah yes, the 555 piano project. Be it the Atari Punk Console, or some other 555 based synthesizer, Hackers just love to hear what the 555 can do when attached to a few passives and a speaker. It’s a sound to behold. But for [Berna], that wasn’t quite enough! Below the break, you can see his creation, called the Acordeonador.

          A portmanteau of the Spanish words for “Accordion” and Generator”, the Acordeonador does what no project we’ve seen so far can do: It turns a CD drive into a generator for a 555 based synthesizer.

        • This gear turns only once every 346 quintillion years

          Mechanical advantage is the single most important principle in mechanical engineering. Archimedes is quoted as saying “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” We could say the same of gear reductions, but they have the added advantage of fitting into a very compact space. To prove that point, Sunday Robotics’ INFINITY GEARS has a final gear that will only make a single revolution once every 346 quintillion years.

          To put that time frame into perspective, consider that our universe is roughly 13.8 billion years old. You would have to exceed 25 billion similar spans of time before the final gear in this device made a full revolution. Thanks to the power of gear ratios, this device achieves that using only 41 individual spur gears (plus the motor’s input gear). The input motor spins at 250RPM and each stage has a gear ratio of 1:5. The final gear ratio, from input to output, is 1:5^41. Not only does that mean the output is spinning extremely slow, it also means that it has an incredible amount of torque — though friction losses keep it from reaching insane levels.

        • OpenBikeSensor: Build your own distance meter for cyclists – Market Research Telecast

          The road traffic regulations stipulate a minimum distance of 1.5 meters for drivers when overtaking cyclists, and out of town it is even 2 meters. With the OpenBikeSensor, every overtaking maneuver including the distance can be logged at specific GPS coordinates. With enough data, traffic planners have a concrete basis to identify potential accident black spots and perhaps even to eliminate them.

          The principle in short: If you are overtaken by a car, the handlebar display shows the distance to the left or right of overtaking vehicles. In addition, the sensor saves distances and associated GPS data permanently on the SD card. If you press the record button within five seconds, the sensor saves the information that this button was pressed for the data record; only such data sets are then currently used for the subsequent evaluation.

        • Remoticon 2021: Uri Shaked Reverses The ESP32 WiFi | Hackaday

          You know how when you’re working on a project, other side quests pop up left and right? You can choose to handle them briefly and summarily, or you can dive into them as projects in their own right. Well, Uri Shaked is the author of Wokwi, an online Arduino simulator that allows you to test our your code on emulated hardware. (It’s very, very cool.) Back in the day, Arduino meant AVR, and he put in some awesome effort on reverse engineering that chip in order to emulate it successfully. But then “Arduino” means so much more than just AVR these days, so Uri had to tackle the STM32 ARM chips and even the recent RP2040.

          Arduino runs on the ESP32, too, so Uri put on his reverse engineering hat (literally) and took aim at that chip as well. But the ESP32 is a ton more complicated than any of these other microcontrollers, being based not only on the slightly niche Xtensa chip, but also having onboard WiFi and its associated binary firmware. Reverse engineering the ESP32’s WiFi is the side-quest that Uri embarks on, totally crushes, and documents for us in this standout Remoticon 2021 talk.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • postmarketOS 21.12 improves Firefox UI and support – itsfoss.net

          Has recently appeared postmarketOS 21.12, which is based on Alpine Linux 3.15 and comes to expand the number of supported devices and with improvements to the user interface, the support of virtual consoles and the adaptation of Firefox.

          We have not dedicated an entry to postmarketOS for a long time, that Linux operating system that aims to greatly extend the useful life of smarpthones, a type of device that has ended up in a high percentage crushed by the aggressive policies of programmed obsolescence of the corporations .

          The first thing that stands out from postmarketOS 21.12 is the addition of support for new devices, among which are the PineBook Pro by PINE64, the tablets Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 and Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7, in addition to the smarpthone Xiaomi Pocophone F1. However, there is also one loss to be regretted, that of the Nokia N900, which has been dropped from the list of officially supported devices because most of the people who contribute to postmarketOS are focused on other newer devices.

          Regarding user interfaces, first of all we find Sxmo 1.6, the latest version of a simple graphical environment that works on mobiles with Linux. It offers sessions on Xorg and Wayland and it seems that since the last version was released it has received major improvements.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 7-Zip 21.07

        You can use 7-Zip on any computer, including a computer in a commercial organization. You don’t need to register or pay for 7-Zip.

      • 2021: A year in open source [Ed: Very corporate-leaning slant, full of junk, FUD, and deliberate revisionism]
      • Web Browsers

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • People of WordPress: Collins Agbonghama

          In this series, we share some of the inspiring stories of how WordPress and its global network of contributors can change people’s lives for the better. This month we feature a website builder from Nigeria, who uses the open source WordPress platform to support his family and to share learning with others in his home country and beyond.

          [...]

          A friend at the school had a simple mobile phone which could browse the internet. Collins had his first introduction to the World Wide Web through access to this device. He became hooked by reading headlines on a sports site about a famous English Premier League Football Club, Chelsea, a soccer team which he has long supported.

          “Being a very inquisitive person, I wanted to learn how the web works as well as have my own website. I was able to buy a classic mobile phone through the menial jobs I did after school,” he said.

          His first website was a wapsite or Wireless Application Protocol site optimized for mobile devices.

      • FSF

        • A message from FSF president Geoff Knauth: Will you support user freedom by helping to reach our membership goal before December 31? — Free Software Foundation — Working together for free software

          Since its founding, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and thousands of volunteers have worked hard to make computing safe for users, liberating them to learn the best of the arts of computer science from each other and to share freely their creations, while protecting users from exploitative licenses and intrusions of governments and corporations that put their interests ahead of your computing freedom.

          In 2021, it became very clear that people in the free software community care deeply about the values enshrined in the FSF mission and the four freedoms. And this level of engagement requires improved governance from the Board of Directors in the form of visibility in our decision-making, and mechanisms that encourage members to discuss and advance candidates for selection to the board. The structure up to now has been too opaque. Consequently, the board has worked very hard this year with outside experts to bring FSF associate members more transparency and give them a voice in governance going forward. Besides what we’ve already announced, more details will be coming soon.

          [...]

          As 2021 comes to a close, please also consider supporting the FSF, so that our hard-working and dedicated staff may continue the work they do behind the scenes to secure freedom-preserving infrastructure, develop and promote advocacy, and deliver services to you. Along with the developers of free software, our staff are often the unsung heroes. They are dedicated, smart, wise and considerate. I wish them a free and Happy New Year just as much as I do you.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • Do-It-Yourself Lexical Pragmas | Tom Wyant [blogs.perl.org]

            The phrase “Lexical Pragmas” is probably both redundant and ungrammatical (the correct plural of “pragma” being “pragmata”, I believe). But the use of “pragma” to mean “Perl module with an all-lower-case name” is fairly common, and I wanted to make clear that this was not what I was talking about. This blog entry is about writing Perl code whose configuration changes are limited to a lexical scope, just like built-in pragmata such as strict or warnings.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Literate Korn Shell

            This is the first draft of Literate Korn Shell, the unix shell ‘ksh’ written with all of its innards exposed and explained.

            The goal of Literate Programming is to compile source code into two objects—the executable program with which we are familiar and in additional a document presenting the source code in a format suitable for reading in order to, hopefully, understand it.

            One advantage in particular offered by literate programming is to break up and re-order the code so that its parts can be introduced to the reader in an order and manner which is focussed on the needs of a human reader who may be unfamiliar with the code without the need to bow to the esoteric demands of a compiler.

            This draft of literate ksh has concentrated mostly on this feature, to order the code so that a narrative can be threaded from start to finish which, piece by piece, introduces all of the components which go towards making ksh work.

        • Java

  • Leftovers

    • Crimes Against Culture

      “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community.” Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Crimes against culture include the suppression of language, literature, humor, songs, cuisine, clothing styles, and social traditions. Colonialism, occupation, and alien domination suppress native cultures, denigrating local languages, arts, and habits. Proselytization disparages native creeds. The French steal the Wedding Feast at Cana, and the English take away the Rosetta Stone from Egypt and Kohi-Noor from the Mughals. After decades of delay, Yale University finally agrees to return the artifacts it has misappropriated from Machu Picchu. The Taliban destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Wars, decay, and poverty damage the monuments and structures that constitute world heritage. Minority cultures face suppression in majoritarian regimes. Even democracies apply legal pressure on minorities to speak the language of the majority and adopt the culture of the dominant population. English-only laws perpetuate cultural suppression requiring millions of Spanish-speaking citizens to favor English over their mother tongue in their ancestral lands taken through wars. Cultures are more durable than nationalities.

    • Remembering Harry Reid, 1939–2021

      The most awkward job interview I ever had was with Harry Reid.

    • Revenge of the Nerds

      Zafo Ypi was having the hardest day of his life, but the 30 laid-off Romani workers camped out on his lawn were having an even rougher one. They begged their boss to save their jobs, appealing to his conscience and his politics: “I told them you’re a man of the people.…  You won’t let these children go hungry,” one man pleaded with him. But they were barking up the wrong tree. There were new rules, and Mr. Ypi didn’t make them.

    • Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot

      It’s been a rough year for our community of tech policy advocates, with us losing two of our own, Sherwin Siy in July and then Elliot Harmon in October. We remembered Sherwin here, and the EFF wrote about Elliott over there.

    • In Botswana, heavy metal bands’ fame and fortune grow online in pandemic

      Mosaka and his band have helped organise an annual heavy metal concert in Ghanzi, a town in the west of Botswana, called the Overthrust Winter Metal Mania Charity Fest since 2010, with 40% of profits donated to local charities.

    • Science

      • Combination of tucatinib and neural stem cells secreting anti-HER2 antibody prolongs survival of mice with metastatic brain cancer

        Brain metastases are among the most severe complications of systemic breast cancer, and overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) in breast cancer cells increases the incidence of brain metastases in patients. In this study, we engineered the human-derived, tumor cell tropic neural stem cells LM-NSC008 (LM008) to continuously secrete antibodies against HER2. These anti-HER2 antibodies impaired tumor cell proliferation by inhibiting the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway in HER2+ breast cancer cells in vitro. Importantly, our results demonstrate that the therapeutic combinatorial regimen consisting of LM-NSC008 anti-HER2 antibody-secreting cells and the HER2 kinase inhibitor tucatinib provide therapeutic benefit and prolong survival in preclinical models of HER2+ breast cancer brain metastases.

    • Hardware

      • Taking A Close Look At Hawkeye’s Workbench | Hackaday

        We don’t have to tell you that the representation hackers and makers get in popular media is usually pretty poor. At this point, we’ve all come to accept that Hollywood is only interested in perpetuating negative stereotypes about hackers. But in scenes were there plot calls for a character to be working on an electronic device, it often seems like the prop department just sticks a soldering iron in the actor’s hand and calls it a day.

      • Electric Wheelchair Dump Truck Hack Really Hauls | Hackaday

        Have you ever looked at a derelict electric wheelchair and thought “I bet I could make something great with that!” Of course you have- this is Hackaday, after all! And so did [Made in Poland], who managed to get a hold of a broken down electric wheelchair and put the full utility of his well equipped metalworking shop to work. The results? Lets just say it hauls.

        What we really enjoyed about the build was that there wasn’t much that couldn’t be done by an average garage hacker with a drill press, angle grinder, and a stick welder. While it’s definitely nicer to have a lathe and a high quality welding table, plasma cutter, and everything in between, nothing that [Made in Poland] did in the video is such high precision that it would require those extensive tools. There may be some parts that would be a lot more difficult, or lower precision, but still functional.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Union Head Rejects CDC Covid Guidelines That Put ‘Corporate Interests’ Over Pilot Safety

        The head of North America’s largest pilots union said Thursday that its members would “follow the science” regarding Covid-19 safety precautions as opposed to new guidance released by the CDC earlier this week which critics say put the needs of corporate profits over worker safety.

        “We’ve followed the science throughout the pandemic and will not allow corporate interests to replace the good judgment pilots show daily in making decisions about whether they are healthy to fly,” said Capt. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents pilots at 38 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

      • A (very) close-knit circle Russia’s Circle of Kindness Foundation helps critically ill children by purchasing expensive drugs from providers with personal connections to top officials (including Putin himself)

        The Circle of Kindness Foundation, which helps children with rare illnesses, was created in early 2021 at Vladimir Putin’s own initiative. It’s funded by a two percent tax on the income of Russia’s wealthiest citizens. The organization pays for expensive medications — but competition is rare at the auctions where these drugs are procured. One of the foundation’s main suppliers is a company called Irvin — and it’s connected to both the foundation’s head and to the family of Alexey Dyumin, Putin’s former bodyguard. In addition, the husband of the woman responsible for purchasing medications on behalf of the Circle of Kindness works for the owner of the company that supplies the foundation with Zolgensma — the most expensive drug in the world. Meduza correspondents Svetlana Reiter and Maria Zholobova break down how the Circle of Kindness Foundation’s procurement system works and why its board of trustees (which includes well-known actors and philanthropists) believes it lacks transparency.

      • Pressure Grows on Biden to Shut Down Trump-Era Medicare Privatization Scheme

        Calls are mounting for President Joe Biden to terminate an under-the-radar Trump-era pilot program that—if allowed to run its course—could result in the complete privatization of traditional Medicare by the end of the decade.

        “The Biden administration is moving the DCE program forward, threatening the future of Medicare as we know it.”

      • Unwelcome changes Russia’s Health Ministry plans to overhaul its cancer care system. Despite criticism, the new regulations take effect in January.

        On December 20, 2021, Russia’s Health Ministry proposed a series of changes to adult cancer care practices. These new procedures will take effect in the new year. The previous plan to overhaul cancer treatment was received poorly by the medical community, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to order revisions. However, experts say that none of the Health Ministry’s proposed changes address physician’s most substantive criticisms.

      • FDA Expected to Authorize COVID Booster Shots for 12- to 15-Year-Olds
      • Opinion | Vaccine Apartheid Shows Global Injustice Is Very Bad for Public Health

        The reaction by governments in the Global North to the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in South Africa has provided further proof—as if any more were needed—of the deeply inequitable response to the coronavirus pandemic. The backlash against African countries was swift and severe, as if barring travelers from the region could somehow keep the rest of the world safe.

      • DeSantis Accused of Going ‘Missing in Action’ as Florida Faces Omicron Explosion

        Local officials and public health experts are accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of abdicating his leadership responsibilities as the state faces a record-shattering spike in coronavirus cases, an increase believed to be fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

        “As Covid surges in Florida again, our governor is absent.”

      • After Years of Complaints, Florida Improves Pollution Monitoring Near Burning Sugar Cane Fields

        For the first time in nearly a decade, Florida regulators have upgraded their air-monitoring system in the state’s sugar-growing region, where farmers burn crops to harvest more than half the nation’s cane sugar.

        The move follows an investigation by The Palm Beach Post and ProPublica that found shortcomings in the way authorities police air pollution in Florida’s heartland, including their use of an air monitor that was unfit to enforce the Clean Air Act, the landmark law aimed at protecting the public from harmful pollutants.

      • Delta Cuts Paid Sick Leave for Workers With COVID After Lobbying for CDC Change
      • After CDC Change It Lobbied For, Delta Slashes Paid Sick Leave for Workers With Covid

        Just a day after the CDC delivered updated Covid-19 isolation guidelines that the company’s CEO lobbied for, Delta Air Lines moved to take advantage of the new recommendations by slashing paid sick leave for infected workers, prompting immediate backlash from union leaders and public health experts who warned of such an outcome.

        “Dear CEOs—your ‘business needs’ are not worth the life of a single worker.”

      • TikTok moderator sues over ‘psychological trauma’

        A former TikTok moderator is suing the company, claiming it failed to protect her mental health after “constant” exposure to traumatic video content.

        Candie Frazier says she reviewed videos that featured “extreme and graphic violence” for up to 12 hours a day.

      • More than a million Americans have died from overdoses during the opioid epidemic

        Deaths due to drug overdose have topped a million for the first time since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began collecting data on the problem more than two decades ago.

        A study released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the CDC, found that 932,364 people died in the U.S. from fatal overdoses from 1999 through 2020.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Shining a Light on Black Box Technology Used to Send People to Jail: 2021 Year in Review

          One of the most common forms of forensic programs is probabilistic genotyping software. It is used by the prosecution to examine DNA mixtures, where an analyst doesn’t know how many people contributed to the sample (such as a swab taken from a weapon). These programs are designed to make choices about how to interpret the data, what information to disregard as likely irrelevant, and compute statistics based on how often the different genes appear in different populations—and all of the different programs do it differently. These assumptions and processes are subject to challenge by the person accused of a crime. For that challenge to be meaningful, the defense team must have access to source code and other materials used in developing the software.

          The software vendors claim both that the software contains valuable secrets that must not be disclosed and that their methods are so well-vetted that there’s no point letting a defendant question them. Obviously, both can’t be true, and in fact it’s likely that neither is true.

          When a was finally able to access one of these programs, the Forensic Statistical Tool (FST), they discovered an undisclosed function and shoddy programming practices that could lead the software to implicate an innocent person. The makers of FST submitted sworn declarations about how they thought it worked, it had been subject to ‘validation’ studies where labs test some set of inputs to see if the results seem right, and so on. But any programmer knows that programs don’t always do what you think you programmed them to do, and so it was with FST: in trying to fix one bug, they unwittingly introduced another serious error.

        • Fortnite servers were down for five hours, but now the game is back online

          A follow-up tweet at 3:10PM ET from the team said they were “continuing to work on a fix that will bring Fortnite back online and appreciate everyone’s patience.” As of 6PM ET, we hadn’t heard anything since, but at around 6:30PM ET players reported the game was working again, which we have been able to confirm.

          The Fortnite Status Twitter eventually tweeted to confirm the game is back up, promising that next week (or, next year) there will be details on “what we’re doing to help you make up for lost time.” It also noted some people might see an extra in-game present to open, but said the team is working on that.

        • Security

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Recovering Conscience: A Conversation with Carole Sargent

        The following edited Zoom conversation took place on December 27, 2021.

        John Hawkins: I read your article recently, “Nuns Against Nuclear Weapons: Plowshares Protesters have Fought for Disarmament for Over 40 Years, Going to Prison for Peace.” It brought back memories of my Catholic youth in and around Boston in the ‘60s when Jesuits were turning activist and priests were getting excommunicated for leading public protests of outrageous government policies of day, especially against the Vietnam War, as well as opening up concept halfway houses and drop-in centers for drug addicts.

      • Why Trump May Face Criminal Charges

        Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., an avowed Never Trumper who is vice chair of the House committee investigating the siege of the icon of American freedom, first broached such a possibility publicly. The panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., confirmed it to The Washington Post.

        The committee, which The Guardian reported has evidence gathered from more than 30,000 records and interviews from more than 300 people, has homed in on how Trump spent his time on Jan. 6. It wants to know why it took three hours and seven minutes before he called off his mob charging the Capitol to halt the certification of Joe Biden as president-elect, as if Biden were the enemy.

      • Trump Sues January 6 House Committee Because It Might Find Trump Wrongdoing
      • Opinion | Humanity’s Final Arms Race: UN Fails to Agree on ‘Killer Robot’ Ban

        Autonomous weapon systems—commonly known as killer robots—may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

      • ‘Anti-Democratic and Cowardly’: US Building New Secret Courtroom at Guantánamo

        Human rights advocates and attorneys representing Guantánamo Bay detainees on Thursday decried a secret new courtroom reportedly being built by the Pentagon at the notorious offshore U.S. prison.

        “I’ve observed trials in Mongolia that were more transparent than this.”

      • Biden’s “Diplomacy Is Back” Falls Flat as 2021 Middle East Policy a Miserable Flop

        Despite President Joe Biden having claimed earlier this year that “diplomacy is back” and that he would end the war in Yemen, revive the Iran Nuclear Deal and settle several other issues, in reality his Middle East foreign policy has been just as detrimental to the region as was that of his predecessor.

      • The Real Meaning of January 6

        But even now, almost a year later, Americans remain confused and divided about the significance of what occurred. 

      • With fascism coming, America responds: LOL who cares? Let’s Netflix and chill

        In other ways, the Trump regime’s coup attempt was not so unusual. As in other places and times in history, Trump’s loyalists are continuing with their efforts, both through more or less legal means and otherwise. When a coup fails the first time, the second attempt is usually successful. All of this is happening in real time and in plain sight, with minimal attempt at deception. For the American people and their responsible leaders to ignore such threats is a willful choice.

        What warnings should we be heeding now? In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, retired U.S. Army generals Paul D. Eaton, Antonio M. Taguba and Steven M. Anderson are sounding the alarm about the possibility of a second civil war in the aftermath of a future presidential election, if Donald Trump or another Republican refuses to accept the results: [...]

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Encampment Near Biden’s Delaware Home Calls for Declaration of Climate Emergency
      • Chomsky: Rising Anti-Science Rhetoric Feeds the Pandemic and Climate Crisis
      • They Don’t Want Us Looking Up…

        It’s being lauded as a metaphor for how we’re dealing with climate change in the face of petrobillionaire- and corporate-funded disinformation campaigns, but it’s so much more than that:

        “Conservatives” on the Supreme Court don’t want Americans to look up at how they legalized political bribery with their 1970s Buckley and Bellotti and 2010 Citizens United decisions that have turned politicians into shills for the same billionaires and giant industries that spent millions putting them on the Court.

      • Look Up, Down and Everywhere

        The many de rigueur comparisons to Kubrick’s masterpiece Dr. Strangelove are just criminal! Not even close. The Ron Perlman character is a pathetic attempt at mimicking a composite Gen. Buck Turgidson, Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper and Maj. T.J. “King” Kong!

        My main takeaway – now we need something similar with a clearly Democratic President and a Democratic Party pimping endless growth with all the same lies, etc. I think making Meryl Streep’s president an obvious Trumpist narcissist (with Jackson’s and Nixon’s Portraits on the Oval Office wall and her own Donald “Uday” Trump, Jr., son, as Chief of Staff, no less) gives smug Pius-driving liberals the chance to, well, be smug and ignore the message just as much as the 90% stupid people the film seems to think is the ignore ratio. I guarantee there will be little in the way of the film instigating lifestyle corrections from the film’s loudest liberal supporters. They’ll be (and are) jetting around the planet spewing carbon, as usual. (Uday, however, does utter some of the film’s best lines.)

      • “Don’t Look Up” at that Movie;  At Least Not to Fight Climate Change!

        As an angry, anti-war, combat veteran of Vietnam, I quit teaching at MIT’s business school in 1982 to work full-time in the movement for peace and social justice. Over the last 40 years, I have helped found, fund ($30 million worth) and lead local, state and national organizations, mostly pretty radical. We have had some successes, among them, helpng 13,000 people get arrested to stop US nuclear weapons testing, making all state elections in AZ publicly funded and getting my new home County outside DC to declare the first climate emergency in the world.

        Over those years, like many others, I have come to believe that reversing the already awful climate catastrophe—or making any other significant social change–will require at least four things:

      • Near President’s Delaware Home, Encampment Calls on Biden to ‘Declare a Climate Emergency’

        A small group of climate activists has established an encampment near President Joe Biden’s private home in Delaware where they are demanding he declare a national climate emergency and immediately order the end to fossil fuel development in the United States.

        Establishing the camp on Christmas Day and sleeping overnight in tents or cars on a roadside area not far from the family’s Wilmington residence, the campaigners operating under the “Occupy Biden” banner say if the president truly recognizes that the world is in a “code red” situation when it comes to soaring global temperatures then he must act accordingly.

      • Within Decade, Planet’s Natural World Facing Largest Mass Extinction Event Since Dinosaurs

        Increasingly dire ecological damage and severe impacts of the climate crisis are pushing the natural world towards a mass extinction event unparalleled since the age of the dinosaurs, conservationists in Germany warned this week, with humanity possibly facing self-annihilation if behaviors do not change.

        Releasing its annual “Winners and Losers” list on Wednesday, the World Wildlife Fund’s German branch said 40,000 of the 142,500 species listed on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are “threatened with extinction.”

      • Energy

        • ‘A mix of schadenfreude and fear’ The arrest of one of Russia’s richest men following a deadly mine explosion has pleased locals but raised worries about regional stability

          In mid-December, Siberian Business Union (SDS) head Mikhail Fedyayev, one of the richest people in Russia, was arrested. After the Listvyazhnaya mine disaster in November resulted in 51 deaths, Fedyaev was charged with abusing his authority and violating safety standards. Before his arrest, however, Fedyaev enjoyed near-limitless power in the Kemerovo region: the government is full of his former employees, his holding company received state contracts worth millions of dollars, and presidents and federal ministers routinely paid visits to the SDS headquarters. Now, the prospect of Fedyayev’s property going to a new owner has Kemerovo residents worried, although many are pleased that the region’s “shadow governor” has finally been arrested. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev tells the story of one of Russia’s last regional businessmen whose influence went all the way to the top.

        • Optimising public transport: A data-driven bike-sharing study in Marburg

          Imagine you are running late for your bus and decide to grab a bike-sharing bike to get there in time. More often than not I found myself standing at an empty station only to miss my bus. Here, I present you my data-driven approach to avoid walking to empty bike-sharing stations.

          I started collecting Nextbike data in Marburg many months back in order to solve my personal issue of facing empty Nextbike stations in Marburg. After collecting more than 1,000,000 data points, I turned towards the analysis to figure out which stations in Marburg to avoid when desperately needing a bike.

          After finding the data-driven solution to that question, I expanded my study to not only answer questions for Nextbike users but also from the perspective of the city council to make the lives of all of us easier, healthier and eco-friendlier. After those statistical statements, I conclude my study with a more precise machine-learning based prediction of parked bikes to motivate data-driven optimisations in public transport.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Crocodiles turn on humans amid Iran water crisis

          The attacks have come at a time when Iran has been suffering acute water shortages and, consequentially, fast-shrinking natural habitats have seen the gandos’ food supplies dry up. The starving animals treat humans approaching their territory either as prey or a menace to their evaporating resources.

    • Finance

      • The Cruel Failure of Welfare Reform in the Southwest

        As the 1960s came to their tumultuous end, California Gov. Ronald Reagan convened a summit on the topic of welfare. He was hoping to try out one of his new ideas: that poor single mothers were, in the wake of the civil rights movement, increasingly living idly and defrauding government assistance programs.

        George Miller, then the welfare director in neighboring Nevada, volunteered to do a dry run for Reagan, proposing to purge his smaller state’s welfare rolls of alleged welfare cheats. It would be the first effort of its kind in the nation, he said.

      • ‘That’s Just Wrong’: Sanders Slams Buffett for Refusing to Side With Striking Steelworkers

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday slammed billionaire Warren Buffett for refusing to intervene on the side of West Virginia steelworkers who are striking to demand better pay and benefits from Precision Castparts, a company owned by Buffett’s multinational holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.

        “When you have an extremely profitable, well-financed corporation owned by one of the wealthiest guys in the world, you know what? You should not be demanding wage cuts from your workers and cuts in their healthcare benefits,” Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter. “That’s just wrong.”

      • A Perfect Storm Has Elon Musk Paying $11 Billion in Tax
      • Opinion | Elon Musk Only Paid $11 Billion in Taxes Because He Had No Other Rational Choice

        Elon Musk has had a field day trolling advocates for a fairer tax system on Twitter. They’ve been attacking him for not paying much at all in taxes over recent years. But Musk knew what they didn’t: that in 2021 he was going to be paying plenty in taxes.

      • Join a Union—but Also Join a DAO

        In late November 2021, the writer and venture capital investor Li Jin tweeted, “DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) represent the next step forward in the labor movement.” In her 20-tweet thread, Jin gave a brief history of the American labor movement, including issues with declining membership, bureaucracy, and bloat, before pivoting to DAOs as a new paradigm for worker ownership: “Versus unions, transparency of DAOs’ governance and on-chain flows of capital lessens risk of embezzlement and corruption, since there is visibility into how funds are flowing into & out of the treasury. And open rules for member admission mitigate institutional discrimination.” The response from many leftists on Twitter was swift and negative, reacting to the perceived implication that technology—cryptocurrency especially—could be a substitute for political and social change.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Bette Midler’s Contempt Fuels Right-Wing Populism

        Last week, Bette Midler tweeted that the people of West Virginia are “poor, illiterate and strung out.” Donald Trump should send her a thank-you note.

      • Michigan’s Nonpartisan-Drawn Maps Give Dems Chance to Win State Legislature
      • Greene Suggests Blue State Residents Moving to Red Ones Shouldn’t Get to Vote
      • On Foreign Policy, Biden Should Have Taken Golf Lessons

        The  biggest issue for both was the 20-year US war in Afghanistan, for which Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had negotiated a long-overdue US surrender.

        Would Biden fulfill the US end of the Afghanistan peace agreement by completing the withdrawal of US troops? We hoped, but doubted, as he hemmed, hawed, and violated the agreed deadline despite ample time to meet it.

      • A Thorn in Biden’s Side: the Revolving Door Project

        The revolving door may not have been closed over the last year, but it’s spinning much less quickly than it was. Roles that once would have gone almost exclusively to Wall Street bankers and corporate defense attorneys are now in the hands of committed public servants. Those revolvers who have secured roles must now contend with a previously unimaginable level of scrutiny. Figures from White House coronavirus response coordinator, Jeffrey Zients, to Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner, Willie Phillips, can expect to have their every move that benefits corporate America at the expense of the public interest pilloried. Perversely, this certain backlash has led some within the Biden administration to try to hide their revolving door hires. RDP, however, has consistently foiled these efforts, making not only the appointees but also the astounding lack of transparency the subject of significant public anger.

        RDP has also been unyielding in its efforts to push this administration to contend with Trump’s enduring influence throughout the executive branch. Almost as soon as Biden was elected, RDP called on his administration to commit to removing all Trump holdovers whom it was legally empowered to fire. Over a year later, only a small handful remain and critical roles like the Director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Commissioner for the Social Security Administration, and the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board are in the hands of officials committed to advancing this administration’s priorities. But RDP is not letting up anytime soon; it continues to push for the remaining political holdovers to be fired and to uncover additional evidence of Trump’s lasting influence over executive branch personnel. It is also calling out those Biden administration officials, most notably within the Department of Justice, who are keeping Trump’s horrifying legacy alive by defending the previous administration’s policies in court.

      • Cop Out
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Booked Up: Ban These Books, Please (the Writers Need the Money)

        Flummoxed, I stammered, “Uh. Uh.”

        “Out with it, Jeffrey. Choose somebody, at least.”

      • Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation

        Congress has been holding lots of “but think of the children online!” hearings over the past couple of months, and one prominent topic that comes up over and over again is the fact that people can find “drug” information online. Fears about kids and drugs goes back decades, but politicians love it, because it always works. And, of course, the media loves to run these overhyped stories. A quick search finds dozens of stories like the following in just the last month or so: Teens have easier access to drugs as illegal trade booms on social mediaInstagram pushes drug content to teensSocial media platforms becoming sites of illegal fentanyl drug sales targeting teens, L.A. officials warnWARNING: Dealers tempt kids with edible drugs via social mediaRecord number of drug overdose deaths brings new scrutiny to social media appsInstagram offers ‘drug pipeline’ to kids, tech advocacy group claims There are many more such stories, but you get the idea. The Instagram stories, in particular, were targeted by the recent Senate hearing which was focused on allowing Senators to grandstand on how bad Instagram supposedly is for kids. Instagram responded to the report by pointing out that it’s doing a ton of stuff to try to block such content:

      • Palestinians raise alarm over Facebook content ‘suppression’

        Allegations of pro-Israeli bias at Facebook have simmered for years and were renewed in October when Human Rights Watch, a vocal Israel critic, said the platform had “suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine”.

        Palestinian reporters have cited multiple incidents they describe as censorship.

        One popular online news outlet, Maydan Quds News, may even have to fire reporters after its main Facebook page with 1.2 million followers was deleted, a source who requested anonymity told AFP.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Politics of Syntax and Poetry Beyond the Border

        “Some men are women too / the way a mountain is land and a harbor is land and a parking lot,”Ari Banias writes in “Oracle,” the opening poem in his new collection, A Symmetry. In Banias’s poems, binary oppositions—of men and women, land and sea, us and them—buckle, as the very idea of borders is made porous. Attending to the entanglements between the material and the metaphorical, Banias interrogates the terms of relation mapped by dominant systems and structures that underpin global capitalist orders. “What is the ‘we’ whiteness requires?” Banias’s poems encourage us to ask. What does “elsewhere” mean when immigration severs the material “here” of daily life from the imaginative “here” of home? How might transness point us toward other ways of being?1

      • Biden Administration Seeks to Overturn Trump-Era “Remain in Mexico” Policy
      • Sanders Pushes Workers to Organize as Advocates Celebrate “Year of the Worker”
      • DC Metro PD’s Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back

        After bad cops do bad things, other cops will rush to the defense of the agency employing them, claiming most cops are good and these officers are outliers. These assertions might be more believable if law enforcement agencies (and their unions) didn’t regularly cover for bad officers or, in the case of police unions, work tirelessly to ensure bad cops get their jobs back.

      • Noam Chomsky on Rising Fascism in U.S., Class Warfare & the Climate Emergency

        Noam Chomsky warns the Republican Party is “marching” the world to destruction by ignoring the climate emergency while embracing proto-fascism at home. Chomsky talks about the January 6 insurrection, how neoliberalism is a form of class warfare and how President Biden’s climate plans fall short of what is needed.

      • Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers

        Missouri Governor Mike Parson is nothing if not consistent in his desire to stifle free speech. As you’ll recall, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discovered that the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website was programming in such an incompetent fashion that it would reveal, to anyone who knew where to look, the social security numbers of every teacher and administrator in the system (including those no longer employed there). The reporting on the vulnerability was done exactly following ethical disclosure best practices — getting just enough evidence of the vulnerability, alerting the state to the problem and not publishing anything until the vulnerability was fixed. The FBI told Missouri officials early on “that this incident is not an actual network intrusion” and DESE initially wrote up a press release thanking the journalists for alerting them to this.

      • Opinion | Desmond Tutu, Rest in Power

        Archbishop Desmond Tutu died the day after Christmas at the age of 90. The Nobel Peace laureate was a leader in the movement to overthrow apartheid, South Africa’s brutal system of racial segregation. After that historic victory and the election of Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s first Black president in 1994, Tutu led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, pursuing restorative justice rather than retribution. After that, Tutu continued demonstrating and speaking out around the world for justice, peace, women’s equality, gay rights, in solidarity with Palestinians, and more.

      • Desmond Tutu Spoke Truth in the Face of Oppression

        I first met Archbishop Desmond Tutu when I was a seminarian at Duke University in the 1980s, and I will never forget the question he asked us when he preached in the chapel that day: “Will you join God?” Bishop Tutu knew the power of God to bring justice in this world, but he also knew that we must choose to join God in that work. Neutrality in the face of evil, he always insisted, is a choice to stand against God’s love and justice.

      • New Documents Prove Tennessee County Disproportionately Jails Black Children, and It’s Getting Worse

        Tennessee’s Rutherford County, which has been widely criticized for its juvenile justice system, has been jailing Black children at a disproportionately high rate, according to newly obtained data. And, in a departure from national trends, the county’s racial disparity is getting worse, not better.

        In an earlier story, ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio chronicled a case in Rutherford County in which 11 Black children were arrested for a crime that does not exist. Four of the children were booked into the county’s juvenile jail.

      • Russia designates Pussy Riot activists, Holod Media chief editor, and others as ‘foreign agents’

        The Russian Justice Ministry made yet another round of additions to its “foreign-agent media” registry on Thursday, December 30, blacklisting a number of cultural figures, including two Pussy Riot activists and three journalists.

      • ACLU Files Suit to Block ‘Brazen’ Effort in Georgia to Thwart Black Voters

        Alleging that Georgia’s new GOP-drawn General Assembly district maps violate the Voting Rights Act and attempt to disenfranchise Black voters, civil rights groups on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the Republican secretary of state in a bid to block the maps. 

        “Politicians don’t get to choose their voters—voters get to choose their politicians.”

      • Metaverse is unsafe for women already! Reports of groping, harassment rising in VR games

        The world’s largest tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Apple and others — are hurtling headlong into creating the metaverse, a virtual reality world where people can have their avatars do everything from play video games and attend gym classes to participate in meetings. In October, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, said he believed so much in the metaverse that he would invest billions in the effort. He also renamed his company Meta.

        Yet even as tech giants bet big on the concept, questions about the metaverse’s safety have surfaced. Harassment, assaults, bullying and hate speech already run rampant in virtual reality games, which are part of the metaverse, and there are few mechanisms to easily report the misbehavior, researchers said. In one popular virtual reality game, VRChat, a violating incident occurs about once every seven minutes, according to the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate.

      • Iran secretly executing dozens of children: Rights group | Arab News

        The Iranian regime is secretly executing dozens of children every year in violation of international law, according to a rights group.

        More than 85 people are currently on death row for crimes they are accused of having committed as children, according to Human Rights Activists of Iran.

        In its annual report, it found that 299 citizens were known to have been executed in the year to Oct. 9.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Dish’s Hyped 5G Network (And ‘Fix’ For T-Mobile/Sprint Merger) Is Looking Rather Skimpy

        Two years ago the Trump DOJ and FCC rubber stamped the Sprint T-Mobile merger without heeding experts warnings that the merger would likely erode competition, raise rates, and kill jobs. Then, working closely with T-Mobile and Dish, the FCC and DOJ unveiled what they claimed was a “fix” for the problematic nature of the deal: they’d try to cobble together a fourth major replacement wireless carrier in Dish Network.

      • Every State Has a Chance to Deliver a “Fiber for All” Broadband Future: 2021 in Review

        Now it’s up to elected officials in states, from governors to state legislators, to work to ensure the federal infrastructure program delivers 21st-century ready infrastructure to all people. Some states are ahead of the curve. In 2021, California embraced a fiber infrastructure for all effort with the legislature unanimously passing a historic investment in public fiber. State Senator Lena Gonzalez led this effort by introducing the first fiber broadband-for-all bill; EFF was a proud sponsor of this bill in Sacramento.

        Other states are behind the curve by overly restricting the ability for local governments and utilities to plug the gaps that private internet service providers (ISPs) have left for sixteen years and counting. (2005 was when private fiber-to-the home deployment really kicked off.) Maintaining those barriers, even as federal dollars are finally released, guarantees those states’ failures to deliver universal fiber; the federal law, while important, isn’t sufficient on its own.  Success requires maximum input from local efforts to make the most of this funding.

        Understanding what progress we’ve made this year—and what still needs to be done—requires understanding the IIJA itself. The basic structure of the law is a collaboration between the federal government’s National Telecommunication Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the states and territories. Congress appropriated $65 billion in total. That includes $45 billion for construction funds and $20 billion for efforts promoting affordability and digital inclusion. This money can be paired with state money, which will be essential in many states facing significant broadband gaps.

    • Monopolies

      • AT&T Gets “Favorable” IRS Ruling on Discovery-WarnerMedia Merger

        AT&T has received a “favorable” IRS ruling on the planned tax-free mega-merger of its entertainment unit WarnerMedia with Discovery Inc., the telecom giant disclosed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

        The companies unveiled the big combination in May, saying it would use a rare multi-step structure known as a Reverse Morris Trust, which is designed to ensure deals are tax-free. In the transaction, AT&T will separate WarnerMedia, via one of two ways (a decision on which will be reached at a later stage), into the so-called “SpinCo,” followed by the merger with Discovery.

      • Patents

        • Yle News’ 15 most-read stories of 2021

          3. Yle News’ third-most viewed story was about a Turku firm that patented a [COVID] drug, in the form of a nasal spray, that delivers low, safe doses of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and aprotinin.

        • Germany sees significant rise in patent applications for air taxis [Ed: Patents for killing this planet, the only planet we have, a lot faster than otherwise, by burning up orders of magnitude more fuel for the same travel]

          The number of patents granted in Germany for inventions related to urban air mobility increased significantly in 2020, the country’s Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) said.

          Including filings with the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), 583 patents were published for air taxis in Germany, 29 per cent more than in 2019, Xinhua news agency quoted the DPMA as saying.

          “A few years ago, air taxis were not taken very seriously by many,” DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schaeffer said, adding that the considerable amount of venture capital pumped into this segment and the rapid pace of innovation showed that this was an “important future market”.

          In the past five years, more than 40 per cent of urban air mobility patents registered in Germany came from US companies.

        • Turkey: COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Discussions [Ed: No, Özge Özdemir. COVID-19 vaccines do not have "intellectual property rights", they have patents, and those need to be abolished. They're not property and not rights; it's the plunder from researchers funded by taxpayers, to rob the taxpayers two-fold]

          Discussions of world leaders about the abolishing of intellectual property rights of covid-19 vaccines have brought along differences of opinion on this issue. The world is currently debating whether removing vaccine patent rights will actually work in the fight against the corona pandemic or hinder the development and production of vaccines that are vital to humanity.

          While America and Russia are in favor of abolishing these rights, Europe argues that the problem of the unequal distribution of vaccines all over the world cannot be solved by abolishing the patent right of vaccines.

        • Noam Chomsky: Corporate Patents & Rising Anti-Science Rhetoric Will Prolong Pandemic

          Today, a special broadcast: an hour with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, who just turned 93 years old. Chomsky spoke to Democracy Now! prior to the discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variant, but he predicted new variants would emerge. “If you let the virus run rampant in poor countries, everyone understands that mutation is likely, the kind of mutation that led to the Delta variant, now the Delta Plus variant in India, and who knows what will develop,” Chomsky said.

        • Texas Team Applauded for Giving What Big Pharma Refuses: A Patent-Free Vaccine to the World

          A small team of Texas researchers is being hailed for developing an unpatented Covid-19 vaccine to share with the world without personal profit, with some advocates asking, if they can do it, why can’t Big Pharma?

          “If we had even a fraction of the support that Moderna had, who knows, maybe the world would be vaccinated by now.”

      • Copyrights

        • India Expands Piracy Blocklist to Tackle ‘Hydra Headed Rogue Websites’

          Pirate site blocking is a common practice in many countries and India is no exception. The language used in Indian courts tends to be more colorful though. This is exemplified by a blocking extension several major Hollywood studios requested recently. According to the High Court in Delhi, it targets an alphanumeric variation of a hydra-headed rogue website.

        • LaLiga Wins Dynamic Court Injunction to Block 40 Pirate IPTV Platforms

          Spanish football league LaLiga and telecoms company Telefónica have obtained a court judgment allowing them to block more than 40 pirate IPTV and card sharing platforms. The country’s leading ISPs are required to implement the blocks while accepting weekly updates designed to frustrate services that attempt to circumvent the measures.

12.30.21

Links 30/12/2021: Raspberry Digital Signage 17.0 and OpenRGB 0.7

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Cheap or free ways to make your old PC faster | PCWorld

        Sometimes it’s just not worth putting new hardware into an old PC. But that doesn’t make it useless! If you still need to use your aging laptop or desktop as an day-to-day actual computer, installing an operating system with a lighter footprint than Windows can help you eke more life out of an aging PC.

        Linux tends to run better than Windows on less potent hardware. In fact, several Linux variants are specifically designed with ultra-minimalist requirements so they’re able to run on old PCs—Puppy Linux, LXLE, and Lubuntu come to mind immediately. The transition from Windows to Linux isn’t as rough as it used to be, but you’ll still want to check out our beginner’s guide to Linux, including the software recommendations on the last page.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa’s RADV Vulkan Driver Holds A Narrowing Lead Over AMDVLK With Ubuntu 21.10 On Wayland

          AMD this week released AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 as their last open-source Vulkan driver version of the year and with it came finally fixing the poor performance seen by that driver when running under Wayland such as with Ubuntu 21.04 and newer. Indeed, my tests have confirmed the AMDVLK performance now being in far better shape under Wayland, but is it enough to better compete now with Mesa’s RADV alternative Vulkan driver? Here are fresh benchmarks.

          This week’s AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 release does work much better now such as with Ubuntu 21.10 where GNOME on Wayland is used by default. It’s a huge improvement for running AMDVLK on Wayland compositors and good news ahead of the all-important Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

        • Collabora exposes the status of Wayland’s support for Wine

          Collaborate has been working for months on the development of a driver that allows Wine work natively in Wayland, a goal that is unlikely to be achieved by seeing Alexandre Julliard’s skepticism.

          Wayland is a graphical protocol that promises to root out Xorg’s unsolvable problems like security and tearing, in addition to providing a simplification of the graphic stack that is already leading to lower energy consumption. However, it has the disadvantage of being difficult to implement, an obstacle that is the second time that Wine has tried to overcome.

          Yes, you read correctly. The Collabora initiative is the second attempt to provide Wine with native Wayland support. Alexandre Julliard, Head of Wine and a senior person at CodeWeavers, said he started writing a driver years ago, but its development stalled when it happened. “Realized that there was essentially no way to do decent window management, and that the best we could do would be the equivalent of X11 desktop mode, where we manage the windows ourselves. I do not have the impression that the situation has improved in all that time, nor that there is interest in improving it “.

        • Better AMD Radeon VCE Video Encode Performance Coming To Linux – Phoronix

          With a few lines of changed code updating some parameters, AMD Radeon graphics processors having the VCE video encoder block will be able to enjoy better performance.

          With a pending merge request to Mesa, AMD is updating the default motion estimation parameters to the Gallium3D video acceleration encode front-end. These updated values in turn should improve video encoding performance of H.264 with AMD Radeon GPUs having the VCE block.

          The MR is under review but presumably will be merged still in time for Mesa 22.0. AMD’s VCE 1.0 block premiered with Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs as well as Trinity/Richland APUs back in the day. VCE continued to be improved upon and the latest iteration was worked into Vega-based GPUs. But since Navi or Raven/Picasso on the APU front is now Video Core Next (VCN) as the successor to VCE.

        • RadeonSI Gallium3D Driver Adds Sparse Texture Support For GFX9/Vega & Newer – Phoronix

          As one of the last major feature changes heading into Mesa Git this calendar year, RadeonSI Gallium3D as the open-source OpenGL driver for modern AMD Radeon GPUs there is now sparse texture support.

          ARB_sparse_texture is now implemented in Mesa 22.0-devel for RadeonSI with GFX9/Vega and newer graphics processors. Sparse textures frees up the mandate that all textures are physically-backed in vRAM and allows for texture paging / on-demand loading of texture assets and other flexibility not otherwise permitted with OpenGL.

    • Benchmarks

      • Laptops have more autonomy with Wayland than with Xorg – itsfoss.net

        Despite the great legion of detractors it has Wayland, versus Xorg brings things like greater fluidity with graphics, puts an end to the tearing by design and is capable of extend the autonomy of notebooks. The latter has recently been demonstrated by Michael Larabel, Phoronix boss and lead developer of the benchmarking test suite of the same name, who has compared the performance and power consumption of Xorg and Wayland on both GNOME What KDE Plasma.

        Regarding the performance, we are not going to delve into it because it is not the main topic of this entry, although to summarize, we can say that the trend continues when it comes to having a similar performance with Wayland and Xorg. However, in KDE Plasma it is detected that the Wayland session gets lost by an appreciable difference in some cases, while in GNOME the results are more consistent between the two graphical “servers” and Wayland is better off (GNOME has been in the two comparisons, while KDE only in one).

        To make what we’re saying more clearly, let’s take the two most obvious examples, spanning the performance tests that Unvanquished and Warsaw have run on.

    • Applications

      • OpenRGB 0.7 Released With Many More Devices Supported, Improved Settings – Phoronix

        OpenRGB 0.7 is out as the newest feature release for this vendor-independent software that provides for RGB lighting controls for many different devices/brands and works across Linux / macOS / Windows.

        OpenRGB 0.7 improves the RGB lighting ecosystem by supporting devices cross-vendor and also enabling RGB controls for Linux where many vendors provide no official support. OpenRGB supports a growing number of devices from many different vendors to vastly improve the RGB lighting ecosystem with “one app to rule them all” when it comes to lighting.

      • release_0.7 · Adam Honse / OpenRGB · GitLab
      • OpenRGB 0.7 Released with Improved Plugin Architecture

        The OpenRGB project announced today the release of OpenRGB 0.7 which improve the user experience, as well as the addition of support for more devices.

        For those who are unfamiliar with OpenRGB, it’s a cross-platform open-source app designed to auto-detect and display supported RGB-enabled devices, allowing you to control them from a centralized interface.

        Many gaming machines are equipped with RGB lighting with numerous options. OpenRGB is designed to help users make the most out of their RGB-enabled devices such as motherboards, RAM modules, graphics cards, LED strips and fan controllers, as well as coolers, keyboards, and mice.

      • darktable 3.8 brings new keyboard shortcuts and improved blurs

        The developers of darktable They have decided to take advantage of Christmas to publish version 3.8 of this popular RAW image editor. As is usual with each new launch of this application, we find a large number of news that we will try to summarize in this post.

        The first thing that has been highlighted from darktable 3.8 is that “the keyboard shortcut system has been redesigned and expanded completely to allow darktable to be controlled with other devices, such as MIDI devices and video game controllers. Standard keyboard or mouse shortcuts can now make use of mouse movements (horizontal, vertical, diagonal), as well as multiple button or key presses and short or long presses or clicks ”.

        The new diffusion or sharpened module simulates or reverses the diffusion process to reconstruct images from a blurry lens or noise, among other things. This can also be used to simulate watercolor stains, increase local contrast, or apply a surface blur.

        The new module for blurring related to the scene opens the door to synthesizing movements and blurring of the lens in a parametric and physically precise way, allowing to define the trajectory of the movement or the diaphragm of the lens and then generate the corresponding blur.

      • GNU direven 5.3

        Version 5.3 of direvent is available for download.
        New in this version:
        New event: “change”

        The change event is implemented on GNU/Linux and FreeBSD. This event is delivered when a file was modified and closed.
        New configuration statement for manipulating the environment

        The environ statement is now a compound statement. It can contain five kinds of substatements: clear to clear the environment, keep to retain certain variables while clearing the environment, set to set a variable, unset to unset a variable or variables, and eval to evaluate a variable reference for side effects.
        Both keep and unset can take globbing pattern as their argument, in which case they affect all variables matching that pattern.
        Arguments to all these statements are subject to variable expansion.
        The environ block can appear in global context as well. In this case it applies to all watchers.
        The support for the old one-line environ syntax is retained for backward compatibility.

      • PGPainless 1.0.0 Released! – vanitasvitae’s blog

        Close to the end of 2021 I’m excited to announce the release of PGPainless version 1.0.0! After a series of release candidates, it is finally time to party! The OpenPGP library successfully underwent a security audit in late November and I feel like it finally reached a state of sufficient maturity to be worthy of a major release with a “1” at the front.

      • Johnnycanencrypt 0.6.0 released

        A few days ago I released 0.6.0 of Johnnycanencrypt. It is a Python module written in Rust for OpenPGP using the amazing sequoia-pgp library. It allows you to access/use Yubikeys (without gpg-agent) directly from your code.

        This release took almost an year. Though most of the work was done before, but I was not in a state to do a release.

      • Delve into electronic design automation with KiCad – itsfoss.net

        Today we are going to enter a field that is not usually the protagonist in itsfoss.net, that of the electronic design automation, and we are going to do it, of course, presenting the news of the latest version of a free software suite (GPLv3 and MIT licenses) aimed at this need: KiCad 6.

        Basically, Electronic Design Automation (EDA) refers to software tools geared towards creating projects for the conception and production of electronic systems. To give a specific example, KiCad is one of the toolkits with which the System76 Launch Configurable Keyboard PCB can be opened.

        Going into details about KiCad 6, it is the first major version to be released since July 2018, when version 5.0 appeared. With such a large amount of time, the developers have been able, in their own words, to add “Hundreds of new features and enhancements” and correct “Hundreds of errors”. We imagine that they speak in cumulative terms.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install pgAdmin 4 on Fedora 35 – idroot

        know, pgAdmin is an open-source, powerful, and feature-rich graphical user interface (GUI) administration and management tool for the PostgreSQL database. pgAdmin 4 supports PostgreSQL 9.2 or later, and runs on Unix and its variants such as Linux, Mac OS X as well as Windows operating systems.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of Discord on a Fedora 35.

      • How to install the Pritunl VPN server on AlmaLinux – TechRepublic

        Pritunl is an open source VPN server you can easily install on your Linux servers to virtualize your private networks. This particular VPN solution offers a well-designed web UI for easy administration and management. All traffic between clients and server is encrypted and the service uses MongoDB, which means it includes support for replication.

      • How To Install RStudio on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install RStudio on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, RStudio is a development environment platform created for developers who are interested in the statistical programming language R. Its mission is to provide a statistical computing environment for R allowing analysis and development for anyone to analyze data with the language.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of RStudio on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How To Install Discourse on Debian 11 Bullseye server – Linux Shout

        Discourse is an open-source platform for creating an online forum, comment, chat rooms, or mailing list system. In this tutorial, we see the steps to install Discourse on Debian 11 Bullseye using the command terminal.

        With time, the internet forums have been changed now. They are not anymore with old, monotonous designs. Anyone who has ever used or been a member of phpBB or vBulletin, already understands how forums work and their importance in the internet world. But in the last few years, website operators seem to be far less interested in their forum. However, Discourse finds its way and even gets popular among the community because of the modernization of the forum they are offering with their software.

      • From start to finish: What can you do with a Linux server? – TechRepublic

        Linux is one of the most popular (and powerful) operating systems that exist today. Why the Linux loyalty? There are many reasons. For starters, it’s free and open source software that’s stable, secure and flexible.

        According to the most recent data, 90% of all public clouds run on Linux. And if you’re here, you’ve chosen to take advantage of the operating system too.

      • How to Install Avidemux 2.8.0 via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04 & 21.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        The Avidemux video editor released version 2.8.0 few days ago. Here’s what’s new and how to install in Ubuntu via PPA.

        Avidemux 2.8.0 was released on Tuesday with some new features, including ability to convert HDR video to SDR with tone mapping, FFV1 encoder, decoding support for TrueHD audio tracks and WMA9 lossless codec.

        There are other features, such as temporarily disable active filters in Video Filter Manager and reverse video by exporting selection as JPEG images and loading in reverse order.

      • How To Setup Lazarus/Free Pascal Programming Environment (Delphi Alternative) on Ubuntu

        This tutorial will explain how you can install a full Lazarus/Free Pascal software development kit of on Ubuntu Desktop. Lazarus is a visual programming tool to make graphical user interface applications in drag-and-drop ways and with Free Pascal it is often viewed as a complete Free Software alternative or replacement to Delphi. Now let’s set it up!

      • How to back up and restore a website on Linux – TechRepublic

        Disaster happens. Or, if disaster has yet to strike, you might find yourself in a situation wherein you need to migrate a website from one server or host to another. When either thing happens, what do you do? Panic? No. You follow through with your backup and restore plan. You have one, right? No? Okay, let’s fix that.

      • How to Lock Keyboard on Linux & Windows – TREND OCEANS

        Have a pet who loves to mess with a keyboard like a playground? Actually, they love to write their love story! Aha, by bad.

        To be honest, we all are in the same circumstances, or some ignorant who do not belong to computer line, especially kids, love to finger in keyboard button. That’s how I found a tool that can disable/lock the keyboard’s working whenever pressing the shortcut key in series.

        Today, you will learn to disable/lock the keyboard for a temporary on both Linux and Windows systems.

      • How To Secure FTP Server With SSL/TLS In Rocky Linux | LinuxTeck

        In this article, we will demonstrate how to configure a Secure FTP server (vsftpd) using SSL/TLS encryption. Traditional FTP services are not very secure and vulnerable because the credentials are transmitted in clear text, which is prone to crackdowns and many types of attacks like brute force. The majority of applications these days come with a security feature that can be used to set up a secure FTP server. Consider encrypting data between the Server and Client with FTPS (FTP Secure) in conjunction with SSL/TLS. SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) is another way of securing data transmission. SFTP was developed as an extension of SSH, and it can also be used with other security protocols.

    • Games

      • Reviewing The Top 7 Linux Gaming Predictions for 2021 – Boiling Steam

        We had compiled the following top 7 Linux Gaming predictions for 2021 back in February. It’s now the very end of 2021 so let’s see how the predictions did!

        [...]

        While the market share gains (on Steam) where modest, they seem to be real as the share has crossed the bar of 1% for several months now – and is at 1.16% in November. We typically claim that watching the little ups and down on a single month is kind of meaningless, but a persistent trend over 5, 6 months, certainly means something. We can also assume that the gains will be more consistent as the Steam Deck releases in 2022.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Maui Shell is a convergent shell for Linux on desktops, phones, and tablets – OSnews

          I’ve been keeping an eye on MauiKit for a while now, and over Christmas, they surprised us with their brand new convergent desktop environment – Maui Shell – targeted at both desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. After developing a whole set of applications, as well as a Linux distribution to use them, their next step is now a complete desktop environment.

        • Maui Shell is a converged desktop debuting in Nitrux 1.8

          One of the most interesting things about Nitrux as a project is Maui, a framework built with the technology of KDE and Kirigami that lays the foundations to facilitate the creation of converged applications for Linux, Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. More recently, Nitrux managers have wanted to go one step further with Maui Shell, a converged desktop shell capable of adapting to mobiles and desktops.

          Those responsible have explained that “the objective of Maui Shell is to implement a converged desktop shell with different form factors, from mobile phones and tablets to desktop computers. Maui Shell will accommodate multiple form factors and there is no need for multiple versions to target different form factors.“.

        • Maui Shell is Here, Ushering in a New Era of Desktop Linux – It’s FOSS News

          Over the past few years, it has been extremely exciting to see the team behind Nitrux Linux expand their influence on the Linux community. Now, this influence is set to expand even further with their brand-new Maui Shell.

          Let’s take a look at it!

        • PDF Quirk Version Update | Dragotin’s Blog

          PDF Quirk is a little desktop utility to create PDF files from images, targeted to non nerdy desktop users.

          Sending PDFs is (still) often a requirement in offices where people are asked to transfer PDF files via email, or better by pushing them through their private ownCloud.

          The source images can either be loaded from file, or directly scanned with an hardware scanner. For that, PDF Quirk utilizes the tool scanimage from the SANE Projekt, to avoid reinventing the wheel. Configured once, that works like a charm.

          Having scanned or picked the source images, they can be deskewed, turned and rearranged, and finally converted to a good quality PDF file with reasonable file size.

        • kjournald v0.0.3

          Since the weather was not very inviting for much activities during the x-mas to new-year’s vacation, I used the time to tie together a new tech preview update of kjournald. Apart from a very few changes in the library part of kjournald, i.e. the model/view filter logic that provides simplified access to journald databases, the main focus was on providing a better user experience for the kjournald-browser application.

          kjournald-browser is a reference implementation of the library API and is supposed to show what is possible with the library and also to help in iron-out problems in the API itself. The most visual new changes are…

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Raspberry Digital Signage 17.0 released – Binary Emotions

          Raspberry Digital Signage is an operating system designed for digital signage installations on the Raspberry Pi: it displays a full-screen browser view restricted to a specified resource. It shows web resources from Internet, local network or local folders (so you can use the Pi itself as the source webserver).

          Raspberry Digital Signage comes with the latest Chromium builds (featuring HTML5 capabilities), so you can display more attractive resources, more easily.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • 12 inspiring examples of open source in education this year | Opensource.com

          Open source has a learning solution for you no matter where you are on the education continuum. This year our writers provided readers with a wide variety of articles that spanned that spectrum from PreK-12 to higher education. Here are 12 you won’t want to miss:

        • 10 storage guides for sysadmins heading into 2022 | Enable Sysadmin

          As a sysadmin, nothing is more nerve-wracking than a big data migration, and today’s storage technologies have come so far that the process can be complicated. I can certainly remember long nights of storage appliance migrations—or even worse, data recoveries—during my days as a sysadmin.

          Enable Sysadmin’s top storage articles of 2021 are packed with advice. If you’re looking for information about resizing logical volumes, Shehu Awwal has a great article, “How to resize a logical volume with 5 simple LVM commands.” What’s the difference between NVMe and M.2? Take a look at Tyler Carrigan’s article. Are you moving data around with rsync or FTP? Check out articles from Steve Newsted, Glen Newell, Anthony Critelli, and Tyler. Or maybe backups, encryption, or compression are what you’re looking for. Saksham Lamba and Ken Hess have that space covered. You can find links to all of these articles (and more) below.

        • Our top 10 articles of 2021 for IT leaders | The Enterprisers Project

          IT leaders learn new tech terms every year, but in 2021, they learned a new management term: Hybrid work. This way of working combines office and remote work.

          As Jordan Peace wrote in one of our top 10 articles of 2021, “Hybrid work presents some unique challenges for employers: How do you run a meeting when half the team is clustered in a conference room while the others are on Zoom? How do you foster collaboration when some employees may never see each other in person and others are together multiple times per week? And how do you extend the less-obvious benefits of an in-person office — social connection, a shared context with coworkers, and office perks — to those who choose to work from home?”

        • IT careers: 3 misconceptions that hold people back | The Enterprisers Project

          Today’s talent market is experiencing some significant growing pains. We’re witnessing a structural realignment of what it means to work and what careers can look like, with employers and candidates each offering their own unique take on the subject.

          While the specifics vary across industry, experience, and education level, the greatest opportunity for talent re-examination exists within fields that have suffered from longstanding mistaken beliefs.

          IT is a prime example. Reinforced by decades of standard operating procedure and rigid widespread processes, building an IT career has often seemed to mean resigning oneself to one of several predetermined paths. However, today’s unique market conditions are upending traditional workplace assumptions, and now is the time for IT professionals to shed their hindering beliefs and embrace new possibilities.

        • systemd 250 improves credential support and makes it easier to migrate home – itsfoss.net

          systemd 250 it is already among us as the new version of init, framework system or system manager that has established itself as one of the most essential components of the Linux ecosystem, starting with most of the most popular distributions. Once again, we find a very large number of changes and news, which, apart from being complex, cover many areas.

          systemd 250 added support for encrypted and authenticated credentials. This can be a key stored in ‘/ var’ or a TPM2 chip in the system whereby the credentials will be decrypted automatically when the corresponding service starts. On the other hand, a tool called ‘systemd-creds’ has been incorporated to manage credentials and that can be used for SSL certificates, passwords and similar data.

          Specification of GPT partition detection has been extended with support for root (/) and ‘/ usr’ partitions on most systemd supported architectures, while ‘systemd-logind’ has a new setting for long press of the system start, restart and sleep buttons. From now on, if the user wishes, long presses of more than 5 seconds can be configured to logind.

        • Why AlmaLinux Is a Good Choice As a Web Server OS

          In this tutorial, we are going to explain what are the benefits of using AlmaLinux and why it is a good choice as a new web server operating system.

          AlmaLinux is a free open-source Linux distribution created by CloudLinux to provide community support successor for CentOS Linux. The first stable version of AlmaLinux was released on March 30, 2021. According to the official announcement from CloudLinux, AlmaLinux will be supported until 2029.

          In the next paragraphs, we are going to explain more about the meaning of AlmaLinux, the beginnings, the supported migrations to AlmaLinux, its pros against the other OS such as CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, etc. Let’s get started!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • OBS Studio 27.2 Beta Brings SVT-AV1 Support, Official Flatpak Support – Phoronix

        In preparing for an exciting 2022, the OBS Studio open-source software that is popular with game streamers and for other screencasting purposes, is out with its first beta of OBS Studio 27.2. This next update to OBS Studio is bringing some exciting improvements for this leading cross-platform streaming solution.

        First up, today’s OBS Studio 27.2 Beta 1 release delivers on official Flatpak support for Linux! OBS Studio can now be properly Flatpak’ed for app sandboxing and distribution thanks to the work of well known GNOME developer Georges Stavracas.

      • Devices

        • Sipeed Lichee RV RISC-V module gets $5+ carrier board with HDMI and USB ports, optional WiFi – CNX Software

          Sipeed introduced the Lichee RV Allwinner D1 Linux RISC-V board going for just $17 with 512MB RAM last month. While with a USB-C port it could be used as a standalone part, its dual M.2 connector makes it more like a module and we noted a tiny carrier board was in the works at the time.

          The baseboard is now available and known as the Lichee RV Dock adding HDMI and USB ports, as well as a 40-pin GPIO header for just $5, or $8 if you’d like to get Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity through a Realtek RTL8723DS module.

        • CH583 RISC-V microcontroller supports Bluetooth 5.3 LE – CNX Software

          Following up on the CH572 RISC-V BLE microcontroller with 10KB SRAM, WCH has now introduced the CH583 RISC-V microcontroller with 32KB SRAM, 1 MB flash, and support for the latest Bluetooth 5.3 LE standard.

          The new microcontroller also offers a wide range of peripherals with two USB host/device interfaces, up to 40 GPIOs, four UART, two SPI, one I2C, up to 14 ADC interfaces, and more. WCH also offers CH581 and CH582 microcontrollers with a different minimum input voltage, less storage (256KB for CH581) and/or peripherals.

        • Indoor positioning BU01 development board can detect tiny body movements – CNX Software

          GPS is available for outdoor positioning, what about indoors? There is a positioning technology that is more accurate than GPS: UWB. The technology offers positioning accuracy within 10cm which greatly compensates for the shortcomings of the indoor RSSI positioning of past IoT products.

        • ESP32 Pretends To Be GPU; Gives You A Ransomware Scare | Hackaday

          Sometimes a piece of hardware meets a prank idea, and that’s how the fun Hackaday articles are born. [AnotherMaker] shows us some harmless entertainment at the expense of an IT enthusiast in your life – programming an ESP32-powered devboard with a VGA output to show an ever-feared “all your files are encrypted” screen on a monitor connected to it. The ASCII text in its 8-bit glory helps sell this prank, making it look exactly like a BIOS-hijacking piece of malware it claims to be; akin to UIs of the past that skilled hackers would whip up in x86 assembly. The devboard’s integration into a PCI card backplate is a cherry on top, a way to seamlessly integrate this into a PC case, making it look not particularly different from an old graphics card. In such a configuration, we don’t doubt that this would be a head-scratcher to a certain kind of an IT department worker.

        • Some predictions for the year ahead [Ed: Takes note of the role of GNU/Linux in robotics]

          Robotics processor vendors will increasingly offer Robot Operating System (ROS)-based solutions for hardware acceleration across the entirety of robotics offerings.

          This should help tackle the problem of system integration and entice developers to adopt more off-the-shelf processors and hardware.

          Furthermore, the hardware-software optimization will provide a set of benchmarks and standards for the field, which is fairly fragmented at the moment, accelerating the time-to-market.

          As a total of 45,000 cobots and 452,000 mobile robots are expected to be shipped in 2022, a 65 percent and 51 percent Y-o-Y growth, end users are expected to benefit from the tighter integration.

          What will not happen in 2022 includes:

          The democratization of robotics expertise

          While the emergence of ROS and various robotics startups will offer real advances in the short term, robotics as a whole suffers from a significant shortage in expertise.

          In the long run, this will have an adverse effect on development and commercialization. Considerable investment in resource- and time-intensive areas requiring experts from different fields is badly needed, but this will not happen anytime soon.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Hacks Decoded: Sara Soueidan, Award-Winning UI Design Engineer and Author

            Sara Soueidan is an independent Web UI and design engineer, author, speaker, and trainer from Lebanon.

            Sara has worked with companies around the world, building web user interfaces, designing systems, and creating digital products that focus on responsive design and accessibility. She’s worked with companies like SuperFriendly, Herman Miller, Khan Academy, and has given workshops within companies like Netflix and Telus that focus on building scalable, resilient design.

            When Sara isn’t offering keynote speeches at conferences (she’s done so a dozen times) she’s writing books like “Codrops CSS Reference” and “Smashing Book 5.” Currently, she’s working on a new course, “Practical Accessibility,” meant to teach devs and designers ways to make their products accessible.

            In 2015, Sara was voted Developer of the Year in the net awards, and shortlisted for the Outstanding Contribution of the Year award. She also won an O’Reilly Web Platform Award for “exceptional leadership, creativity, and collaboration in the development of JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and the supporting Web ecosystem.”

            We chatted with Sara about front-end web development, the importance of design and her appreciation of birds.

      • Programming/Development

        • Introduction to MySQL storage engines

          MySQL is probably the most famous Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). Developed as a free and open source software, it was originally backed by the MYSQL AB company, but is now owned by Oracle. In MySQL the “storage engine” used for a table determines how data is handled. There are several storage engines available, but the most used are InnoDB and MyISAM. In this article we see what are their distinctive features and the main differences between them.

        • Breaking down a small language design proposal

          We are developing a new systems programming language. The name is a secret, so we’ll call it xxxx instead. In xxxx, we have a general requirement that all variables must be initialized. This is fine for the simple case, such as “let x: int = 10”.

        • Python

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

  • Leftovers

    • New Cars Will Nickel-and-Dime You – It’s Automotive As A Service | Hackaday [Ed: Techrights covered this recently]

      Every few years, someone pushing a startup to investors comes up with an acronym or buzzword which rapidly becomes the new hotness in those circles. One of the most pernicious is “as a Service,” which takes regular things and finds a way to charge you a regular fee to use them.

      Automotive companies just absolutely loved the sound of this, and the industry is rapidly moving to implement subscription services across the board. Even if there’s hardware in your car for a given feature, you might find you now need to pay a monthly fee to use it. Let’s explore how this came about, and talk about which cars are affected. You might be surprised to find yours already on the list.

    • Hardware

      • Robot Delivery to your Door

        While online shopping was already very popular in South Korea, it has become even more so as people stay home more during the pandemic. Several robotic delivery services have launched around the city, such as 7-Eleven using the Neubie robot by Neubility, the GS25 convenience store using LG’s CLOi ServeBot, and the Baemin food delivery service using the Delidrive robot.

      • 3D Printed Model Roller Coaster Accurately Simulates The Real Thing | Hackaday

        While they don’t give the physical thrill of a real one, model roller coasters are always fun to watch. However, they actually make a poor analog of a full-sized ride, as gravitational force and aerodynamic drag don’t scale down in the same way, model roller coasters usually move way faster than the same design would in the real world. [Jon Mendenhall] fixed this deficiency by designing a model roller coaster that accurately simulates a full-sized ride.

        The track and cart are all made of 3D printed pieces, which altogether took about 400 hours to print. The main trick to the system’s unique motion is that the cart is motorized: a brushless DC motor moves it along the track using a rack-and-pinion system. This means that technically this model isn’t a roller coaster, since the cart never makes a gravity-powered drop; it’s actually a small rack railway, powered by a lithium-ion battery carried on board the cart. An ESP32 drives the motor, receiving its commands through WiFi, while the complete setup is controlled by a Raspberry Pi that runs the cart through a predetermined sequence.

      • When A Ball Robot Becomes Two Wheels | Hackaday

        It’s now about six years since Star Wars: The Force Awakens first showed us the little spherical robot BB-8, but it’s fair to say that along the way we’ve not lost our collective fascination for rolling-ball robots. There have been plenty of attempts to make a fully-rolling device, but perhaps [Derek Lieber] has a better take on it by turning a spherical robot into a two-wheeled roller by the addition of a pair of tyres. Inspired by a Samsung prototype that never made it to market, it works by the wheels working against the machine’s low centre of gravity, and using a tilt sensor to control speed.

      • Peering Into The Murky Depths Of Alder Lake | Hackaday

        The winds of change are in the air for CPUs. Intel has long lorded over the computing world, and they remain a force to contend with, but many challengers gather at their gates. AMD, ARM, IBM, and other X86 designs sense a moment of weakness. In response, Intel released their Alder Lake platform with high-performance and high-efficiency cores, known as Golden Cove and Gracemont, respectively. [Clamchowder] and [cheese] have written up as many details as they were able to suss out about Gracemont.

        ARM has done a multi-multi core design (big.LITTLE) for several years where they have a mix of high-power, high-performance cores and smaller, low-power cores. This allows the scheduler to make tradeoffs between power and performance. Typically the smaller cores in an ARM design are simpler in-order processors, having more in common with a microcontroller than with a full-scale desktop core. Many people have made an obvious comparison with the apparent similarities between ARM’s approach and Intel’s new offerings as Gracemont is based on Intel’s old Atom core, a low-power single issue, in-order processor.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (advancecomp, apache-log4j2, postgis, spip, uw-imap, and xorg-server), Mageia (kernel and kernel-linus), Scientific Linux (log4j), and SUSE (kernel-firmware and mariadb).

          • 2021: New beginnings in digital security

            With our continuing reliance on digital technologies, any rights based work today requires increased focus on cyber security. We are surrounded by threats, bad security practices and vulnerabilities.

            Here, IFF made a new beginning last year. We conducted our first in-person digital security (digisec) workshop with Anoop Bidikar, concluded our pilot year-long digisec training with Saptak Sengupta, launched Cybersec Charcha, and even made videos in Hindi. We have learned a lot from our successes and failures over 2021. Over this short year-end catch up, we’ll walk you through what we did, our achievements and disappointments, and more importantly what we learned and our path ahead in 2022.

            Basic digital security workshops

            Oftentimes, organisations approach us looking for an introduction to digital security and a primer on basic hygiene practices they must follow in their everyday lives. This year we started conducting workshops spanning 1-2 days based on an organisation’s needs. These are basic 2-3 day workshops that give participants an introduction to digital security, seek advice on how they can frame their organisational digital security policies depending on their needs and what they can do in their lives to amp up their personal security. We conducted a total of 8 such workshops in 2021. Our trainers for these workshops this year were Saptak Sengupta, Anoop Bidikar and Shivani Singh.

          • Kubernetes security will have a breakout year in 2022

            While it’s come a long way over the past year, Kubernetes security has not yet reached maturity. But judging from the level of investment in 2021 into technologies for securing Kubernetes — the now-dominant container orchestration platform — enterprises can expect major advancements in the area during the coming year.

            Originally launched as an open source project by Google in 2014 and now under the domain of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Kubernetes automates numerous processes involved in the management and deployment of containerized applications. Developers have increasingly gravitated to the platform, which helps to support a modern approach to application development using a microservices architecture.

Links 30/12/2021: GNOME ‘Quick Settings’ and Linux BIOS Updates Without Reboot

Posted in News Roundup at 8:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Lead or follow? this decade’s dilemma for GNU/Linux based ICT industry

      This event shall not go unobserved when debating about the future of GNU/Linux. It is plausible to think that the enterprise strategy of companies dealing with GNU/Linux technologies will evolve well beyond the business on certifications, and make bold steps into more aggressive exploitation of their huge “market”, something once was a community and has lost that status.

      Even the temporal context has a major role in this equation as this is all happening during the troubled beginning of a decade marked by pandemic: we are witnessing a boost in usage of ICT infrastructure due to COVID with growing investments from both public and private sectors into this market.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • New Linux Update to Allow BIOS Updates Without a Reboot | Tom’s Hardware

        PFRUT should work very similarly to how you’d normally update a BIOS through Windows or Linux, where the updating process is done through the operating system instead of doing it through the system BIOS directly. But with PFRUT, the operating system will be responsible for executing the entire update process. Whereas, with normal BIOS updates, Windows or Linux will only be responsible for uploading the BIOS and preparing it before restarting and handing off the new BIOS to the motherboard for updating.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 21.3.3 Released With Fixes For Old ATI R300~R500 GPUs, RADV Fixes Too – Phoronix

          For those sticking to stable Mesa point releases, Mesa 21.3.3 is out today to close out the year. Notable with Mesa 21.3.3 is the large number of fixes for older ATI Radeon R300 through R500 (X1000 series) GPU fixes with the R300 Gallium3D driver.

          Exciting vintage GPU enthusiasts earlier this month was word of a big performance optimization for R300 Gallium3D with that old open-source OpenGL driver for Radeon 9500 through X1000 series graphics cards. That work revolved around NIR-to-TGSI path for making use of the intermediate representation preferred by newer Mesa drivers. Those changes are in Mesa 22.0 for next quarter’s stable release and not the current 21.3 stable series.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Google Chrome on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Google Chrome on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Google Chrome is the most popular open-source web browser developed by Google. It runs on Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. It is a fast and solid browser with a good security record. It has some unique features and is generally pretty light on system resources.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Google Chrome web browser on a Fedora 35.

      • How To Disable HTTP Methods in Apache – TecAdmin

        The HTTP methods are used to perform create, read, update, and delete (or CRUD) operations. The most common methods are POST, GET, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE. Its good practice to disable methods, which are unused and insecure like PUT, PATCH, and DELETE.

        This tutorial explains, how to disable HTTP methods for an apache web server.

      • How to enable the REMI repository on Rocky Linux 8

        Hello, friends. With the death of CentOS, many people feel they have to start over. So today, in this short and brief post, you will learn how to enable the REMI repository on Rocky Linux 8.

      • How to Install or Upgrade PHP 8.1 on Debian – Cloudbooklet

        PHP 8.1 is the latest PHP version released on 2021. In this guide you are going to learn how to install the latest PHP version which is currently 8.1 on your Debian system or server and configure it with Apache and Nginx. You will also learn how to upgrade your PHP version to latest.

        This tutorial guides you to configure PHP INI settings, FPM settings, Pools, etc which is more useful for your application to run smooth.

      • How to Create Sudo User in RHEL, CentOS, Rocky & AlmaLinux

        The Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) ecosystem hosts several interesting Linux-based OS distributions. The OS pair AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux are exciting replacements for the discontinued CentOS distribution.

        RHEL 8, AlmaLinux, and Rocky Linux systems are increasingly being sorted after by many Linux users due to the performance footprints they offer.

      • How to Disable or Enable SSH Root Login and Limit SSH Access

        Everyone knows that Linux systems come with root user access and by default, root access is enabled for the outside world.

        For security reasons, it’s not a good idea to have ssh root access enabled for unauthorized users. Because any hacker can try to brute force your password and gain access to your system.

      • What are Set UID, Get UID, and Sticky Bits in Linux File Permissions?

        As a Linux novice user, you learn about the permissions and ownership associated with the file and directories. Linux/Unix-like operating systems allow you to set a combination of nine bits permissions to prevent other users from unnecessary files/directory access. Similar to these are special permissions for executable files known as set UID, set GID, and sticky bits.

        Understanding special permissions can be a bit overwhelming for aspiring Linux administrators. Here you’ll learn a little background on the regular file permissions and explains how they differ from special permissions. We also demonstrate SetID, GetID, and sticky bits functionality with examples for a comprehensive understanding.

      • What Is Linux?

        If you’re a netizen who likes to explore the depths of everything tech and non-tech, you may have heard about Linux. We saw a lot of tech trends in the year 2021, but Linux was the one topping the charts throughout the year. So, what exactly is Linux? Who uses it and why? Read ahead to clear out all the confusion.

        Most people think Linux is an operating system, but no, it’s not. It’s a kernel, and it’s used in more than 80% of smart devices today. You’re probably reading this on a device that the Linux Kernel powers. It also fuels servers and every supercomputer in the world today.

      • How to run Unetbootin on Debian 11 Bullseye – Linux Shout

        UNetbootin is an open-source program to install on Windows, Linux, and macOS. It is meant to create bootable USB drives using ISO images. Here we learn the commands to run UNetbootin on Debian 11 Bullseye.

        The “Universal Netboot Installer” – Unetbootin for short – extracts ISO files and changes some of OS installation packages and saves them directly on a USB stick. For example, if you want to run Ubuntu in the Live environment from the USB stick or want to install the OS from the USB stick on the hard drive. Especially for users of laptops or netbooks without an optical drive, UNetbootin offers the option of installing ISO images. In the drop-down menu of this software, under “Distribution”, you will find a whole list of tools and distributions available. In addition to Ubuntu, it supports a large number of distributions, e.g. Fedora, Gentoo, Damn Small Linux, etc.

      • How to install Krita on Elementary OS 6.0 – Invidious

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Krita on Elementary OS 6.0.

      • How to install Wine 6.0.2 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Wine 6.0.2 or newer on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to run Windows software on Linux easier with Bottles

        Running Windows programs on Linux can be confusing and complicated. That’s where Bottles comes in. This program can make running Windows programs much more straightforward. Here’s how to use Bottles on your Linux PC.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Makulu Now Supports GTK4.0 – MakuluLinux

          Shift Debian users may have noticed in Today’s patch that was sent out earlier there was a Big Themes Patch on your System, This Patch made quite a few changes to Themes on the Debian Shift Build. Shift Debian runs on Gnome 41.5 Framework which is slowly moving bit by bit over to GTK4. Users may have noticed a select few Windows that they open did not have the system Theming but instead looked like the default Adwaita theme, this was because until now Makulu lacked GTK4 theme support. Don’t worry, most of the world is still missing GTK4 support, we aren’t alone. Many developers are rushing to add GTK4 support and Today we Delivered on that front.

        • GNOME is Exploring a New ‘Quick Settings’ Feature – OMG! Ubuntu!

          I’d wager that most people find GNOME Shell easy to use out-of-the-box — after all, simplicity its part of GNOME’s calling card.

          But is there room for improvement?

          Always, and GNOME’s design team think so too. They’re exploring how to make accessing commonly used settings (like screen brightness, wireless network, and dark mode) in GNOME Shell even easier than it is now. They’ve produced a bunch of mockups and even an animation for the feature they call “quick settings”.

        • 10 Perfect Apps to Improve Your GNOME Experience [Part 2]

          Here are the next set of GNOME Apps that is perfect for your GNOME Desktop. It ranges from games, utilities and productivity.

    • Distributions

      • GoboLinux Is a Linux Distro Unlike Any Other

        There are many Linux distros out there, but GoboLinux is a different kind of beast. It is an alternative Linux distribution that redefines the entire filesystem hierarchy.

        GoboLinux is a Linux distribution which is built from scratch. It was created back in 2002 out of a desire to try new approaches in the Linux distribution design space. Unfortunately, nearly 20 years later, judging by the popularity of the distribution, we can conclude that the experiment was not successful.

        Let’s start with the installation process. When you boot up the downloaded ISO file, you will see CLI interface. Then you need to write the startx command and the graphical user interface with the Awesome WM (it’s a tiling window manager) will appear.

      • Slackware Family

        • I finally updated my avidemux package

          I have an avidemux package in my (restricted) repository.
          But… it had not been refreshed since Slackware 14.0 (8 years old now) and its binaries stopped working on Slackware long ago. Looking back at the packaging work I did today, I guess the thing that kept me from updating that Avidemux package was the numerous dependencies that also needed an update (they all were stuck at an old Slackware 14.0 release).

          In the midst of a full week of holidays and waiting for my rye/honey sourdough bread dough to ferment, I had plenty time to devote to the creation of a fresh package for Avidemux 2.8.0. This was recently released; yesterday actually!
          And not just avidemux needed some work on its SlackBuild script; I needed to update ageing scripts for aften, faac, faad2, libdca, libfdk-aac, opencore-amr, x264 and xvidcore, and added a x265 package before I could compile avidemux with full support for codecs and plugins.

          Based on the imminent (fingers crossed) release of Slackware 15.0 according to Patrick himself, I decided to create these packages only for Slackware-current (soon to become 15.0). I also cleaned out ancient versions of all these packages. They are now removed for Slackware 14.1 and older.
          Note that faac and libfdk-aac just like avidemux contain patent-encumbered software (the AAC encoder) and due to that circumstance the three packages are banished to my ‘restricted repository‘ which is hosted outside the US of A so that the patent trolls won’t bother Pat.

        • Repository purge coming up soon-ish

          After I built a fresh Avidemux (see previous post) I realized how many old packages I still have in my repositories. They are taking up space on many server mirrors.

          I have decided that I will start a cleansing process, a purge if you want, of all the older stuff. The reason is not just disk space of course. It’s my realization that there may be vulnerabilities in these old packages that I never addressed; and I really hope that people have migrated their machines to Slackware 14.2 (servers or conservative desktop users) or went with -current (modern desktop users, let’s call those).

          From time to time, you need to clean house. I myself am infamous for not throwing away anything… just take a look at my attic. So these packages will be gone from online servers, but live on in my own local package archive.

      • Devuan Family

        • Lead or follow? this decade’s dilemma for GNU/Linux based ICT industry

          What do we in common is that we are seizing the opportunity to develop an alternative or, even better, we are sharing an opportunity with everyone out there who dares to differ. The investments are coming and the market is growing: the space is there for those who dare to take it and the risks aren’t so high all things considered.

        • [Old] Algorithmic Sovereignty

          5 Devuan: the anatomy of a fork

          [...]

          This project is to further evolve my research question on the assumptions laid down so far. Let us ask now: what are the traits for a (huge conglomerate) of algorithms to acquire the dimension of a sovereignty controlled by its participants? How does a socialised truth looks like, beyond the impossible assumption of universal neutrality? Beyond its mere execution, what in the design of an operating system generates or erodes the trust people put into it?

          In this chapter I will describe at length the technical and socio-political conditions for the birth of a new GNU/Linux operating system. The widespread resistance to the introduction inside Debian of a new central framework for system management, called “systemd”, is an extremely interesting opportunity to explore such dynamics in details. I’ve engaged this project in first person and this chapter is mostly written in the form of participatory research, reporting various accounts contributed by people who involved themselves into the creation of a new system, a sort of independent exodus for half of the active Debian user population.

          The analysis of this episode is important to provide an advanced answer to my research question. As demonstrated, the design and adoption of software algorithms has a close relation to the design and adoption of systems of governance. In the experience of Bitcoin, it is evident how the fundamental trait of such a governance is the concept of neutrality, which has much to share with the definition of truth.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • 3 Best Free and Open Source Bash Static Site Generators

          LinuxLinks, like most modern websites, is dynamic in that content is stored in a database and converted into presentation-ready HTML when readers access the site.

          While we employ built-in server caching which creates static versions of the site, we don’t generate a full, static HTML website based on raw data and a set of templates. However, sometimes a full, static HTML website is desirable. Because HTML pages are all prebuilt, they load extremely quickly in web browsers.

          There are lots of other advantages of running a full, static HTML website.

      • Education

        • Three of the best: Security

          Network security is still a significant challenge facing APNIC Members, but tastes changed markedly in what they read on the blog between 2020 and 2021. Below are the top three posts related to security for 2021: [...]

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GCC 12 Adds Support For Using The Mold Linker

            A small but noteworthy change that landed today for the GCC 12 compiler itself is support for using the Mold linker.

            Released last week was Mold 1.0 as a high-speed linker that can deliver better performance than GNU’s old Gold linker and even LLVM’s LLD. Mold was designed by Rui Ueyama who originally working on LLVM’s linker.

          • December GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: Thirteen new releases

            13 new GNU releases in the last month (as of December 27, 2021):

            artanis-0.5.1
            global-6.6.8
            gnun-1.2
            gnupg-2.3.4
            gsl-2.7.1
            guile-sdl-0.5.3
            jami-20211223
            libmicrohttpd-0.9.75
            librejs-7.20.3
            nano-6.0
            parallel-20211222
            poke-1.4
            serveez-0.3.0

      • Programming/Development

        • Software Development in 2021: Top 10 Stories of the Year
        • Fortran-lang: 2021 in review

          With another year behind us, let’s review the progress that the Fortran-lang community has made. If you’re new to Fortran-lang, here’s a quick intro: We’re an open source community that aims to develop modern Fortran tooling and nurture a rich ecosystem of libraries, as well as to provide a friendly, helpful, and inclusive space for newcomers and experienced Fortran programmers to work together. We started in late 2019 and have been going ever since. If you’re first discovering (or re-discovering) Fortran through this article, welcome, and we hope it inspires you to try Fortran for one of your projects. In this article we summarize new developments from 2021, from flagship and new projects to community development and outreach.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Joan Didion’s California

      The night of the day Joan Didion died, I went scrounging around my bookshelves for a copy of Where I Was From. I’ve lived in California all my life, underneath the weight of its political contradictions and atop its ecological dramas, and of all Didion’s works, this one, which sets out to interrogate the foundational mythologies of California, her generational ties to the state, and what she views as its unfortunate decline, seemed most appropriate to put the author’s death and this place into perspective. Scanning my shelves, I saw only the spines of Slouching and The White Album, After Henry and Play It , Run River and Miami, so I panic-texted a friend, a fellow California girl, who lives nearby. “EMERGENCY REQUEST,” I wrote her, “do you have a copy of Where I Was From that I could borrow TONIGHT?” She replied within minutes. “Found it,” my friend wrote, “and do you want South and West also?”

    • Showbiz!

      In December 1999, the Los Angeles Times profiled director Paul Thomas Anderson ahead of his third feature, Magnolia, under the headline “The New New Wave.” The article placed Anderson among an ascendant peer group of youngish white male directors like David O. Russell, Spike Jonze, and Darren Aronofsky, most of whom had recently released films. Crucially, however, it also positioned Anderson as the leader of this pack, someone whose talent was so widely recognized that he had the ear of Francis Ford Coppola and dined with Warren Beatty. The profile characterized him as a classic ’70s New Hollywood auteur, à la Robert Altman or Martin Scorsese, someone with complete creative freedom and an exacting level of control over every aspect of the production and release of his films, down to editing the trailer himself.

    • Kick Back Until 2022

      But for normal people living normal lives, it’s a time to reflect not so much on what we lack or who to hate or blame for real or imagined transgressions, but to appreciate what we’ve had and have — our families and friends, having love in our lives, and the incredible beauty of Montana that greets us every day.

      While that might sound corny to those caught in the churning maelstrom of the 24-7 news cycle, the fact is you’d probably be a lot happier if you turned it off for a few days. In reality, Congress is out, the White House is in “holiday” mode, Montana’s governor remains primarily invisible and, who knows, maybe even our attorney general has decided to go back up to his hometown of Culbertson to take a break from worrying about the Texas border for awhile.

    • Science

      • James Webb Space Telescope: an Astronomer on the Team Explains How to Send a Giant Telescope to Space and Why

        I am an astronomer and the principal investigator for the Near Infrared Camera – or NIRCam for short – aboard the Webb telescope. I have participated in the development and testing for both my camera and the telescope as a whole.

        To see deep into the universe, the telescope has a very large mirror and must be kept extremely cold. But getting a fragile piece of equipment like this to space is no simple task. There have been many challenges my colleagues and I have had to overcome to design, test and soon launch and align the most powerful space telescope ever built.

      • A Conversation with E.O. Wilson (1929–2021)

        Edward O. Wilson: I think I may have been the only scientist in modern times to be physically attacked for an idea. The idea of a biological human nature was abhorrent to the demonstrators and was, in fact, too radical at the time for a lot of people—probably most social scientists and certainly many on the far-Left. They just accepted as dogma the blank-slate view of the human mind—that everything we do and think is due to contingency, rather than based upon instinct like bodily functions and the urge to keep reproducing. These people believe that everything we do is the result of historical accidents, the events of history, the development of personality through experience.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Lawsuit Aims to Halt Trump-Approved GMO Labels Critics Denounce as Nothing But a ‘Scam’

        Amid an ongoing lawsuit challenging what critics call deceptive Trump-era U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations for labeling genetically engineered foods, a leading advocacy group on Wednesday announced the launch of a consumer action campaign ahead of the new rules taking effect on January 1.

        “These regulations are not about informing the public but rather designed to allow corporations to hide their use of genetically engineered ingredients from their customers.”

      • Opinion | Why We Must Vaccinate the World

        Never in the history of humankind has the blindingly obvious been ignored with such obviously high risk. Never have the cautious and persistent warnings of medical and biological scientists been so spectacularly and swiftly vindicated.

      • The Origins of Germany’s Anti-Vaxxers

        It was a rumination of cynical Nazi slogan Arbeit Macht Frei (work makes you free) placed on German concentration camps; in December 2021, anti-vaxxers held a Nazi-style torch rally at the house of a heath minister. Yet, German anti-vaxxers go back a long time.

        In many German-speaking countries of course, Germany but also Austria, most of Switzerland, and some areas of northern Italy, there has been a long established distrust in vaccinations. Partly, this is because of 19th century German romanticism. But it is also because political failures and right-wing ideologies mixed with reactionary back-to-nature esoteric belief systems.

      • When Dangerous Strains of Salmonella Hit, the Turkey Industry Responded Forcefully. The Chicken Industry? Not So Much.

        It wasn’t the hog nuts that made people sick. Nor was it the deer heart and noodles, elk meatloaf, turtle stew or any of the other fare served at the Swisher Men’s Club wild game feast in eastern Iowa in February 2019.

        Matthew Arjes, an avid hunter, had gone to the event with some friends. It was for a good cause — the group raffled off rifles and fishing coolers to raise money for the local fire department.

      • As Covid Deaths Hit 800K, Sanders Says Medicare for All Needed to End ‘Vulgarity’ of US Health System

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday said that nearly two years after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the public health crisis that shows no sign of coming to a swift end has brought into stark relief “the vulgarity” of the U.S.  healthcare system, suggesting the political establishment must end its defense of the for-profit healthcare industry as he re-upped his call for Medicare for All.

        The Vermont independent senator, whose decades-long push for single-payer healthcare was dismissed by President Joe Biden as not “realistic” weeks before Covid-19 was first detected in the U.S. in January 2020, wrote about the issue on social media shortly after the country recorded 800,000 known deaths from the disease.

      • Experts Warn Merck’s FDA-Authorized Covid Pill Could ‘Create Breeding Ground for Mutant Viruses’

        Merck’s anti-viral coronavirus pill has been heralded as a “gamechanger” in the fight against the deadly global pandemic, and the Food and Drug Administration decided last week to authorize the treatment on an emergency-use basis for certain segments of the U.S. population.

        “We are potentially headed towards a world-class disaster.”

      • BoJo’s Tories Toy With Omicron

        As for the ventriloquizing of the teaching of Jesus on loving thy neighbour— this, by numerous accounts (including his own family), is perhaps a bit rich coming from someone who has only loved himself.

        Coronavirus infections are surging in Britain as Omicron replaced Delta as the dominant variant.

      • Trump’s UK Golf Resorts Claimed Millions in COVID Aid While He Was President
      • Flight Attendant Union Criticizes CDC for Decision “Pushed by Corporate America”
      • Burning Sugar Cane Pollutes Communities of Color in Florida. Brazil Shows There’s Another Way.

        This year, reporters at The Palm Beach Post and ProPublica investigated the impact of sugar cane burning in Florida. The harvesting practice helps produce more than half of America’s cane sugar, but it sends smoke and ash into largely low-income communities of color in the state’s heartland.

      • He died after waiting 15 days for a hospital bed. His family blames unvaccinated covid-19 patients.

        Anthony Weeks, his son, said that the family believes their vaccinated and boosted father was the latest indirect victim of the pandemic — and that he would have survived his sepsis diagnosis if he was immediately admitted to a larger medical center that had an open bed.

        “The frustrating thing was not that we wanted him to get care that others weren’t getting, but that he didn’t get care when he needed it. And when he did get it, it was too late,” he said. “The question comes up of: ‘Who was in those beds?’ If it’s people who are unvaccinated with covid, then that’s the part where it really hurts.”

        Owenson added: “The thing that bothers me the most is people’s selfish decision not to get vaccinated and the failure to see how this affects a greater group of people. That’s the part that’s really difficult to swallow.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple aims to prevent defections to Meta with rare $180,000 bonuses for top talent

          Last week, the company informed some engineers in silicon design, hardware, and select software and operations groups of the out-of-cycle bonuses, which are being issued as restricted stock units, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The shares vest over four years, providing an incentive to stay at the iPhone maker.

          The bonuses, which came as a surprise to those who received them, have ranged from about $50,000 to as much as $180,000 in some cases. Many of the engineers received amounts of roughly $80,000, $100,000 or $120,000 in shares, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the program isn’t public. The perk was presented by managers as a reward for high performers.

        • Security

          • Noah Meyerhans | When You Could Hear Security Scans

            Have you ever wondered what a security probe of a computer sounded like? I’d guess probably not, because on the fact of it that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But there was a time when I could very clearly discern the sound of a computer being scanned. It sounded like a small mechanical heart beat: Click-click… click-click… click-click…

            Prior to 2010, I had a computer under my desk with what at the time were not unheard-of properties: Its storage was based on a stack of spinning metal platters (a now-antiquated device known as a “hard drive”), and it had a publicly routable IPv4 address with an unfiltered connection to the Internet. Naturally it ran Linux and an ssh server. As was common in those days, service logging was handled by a syslog daemon. The syslog daemon would sort log messages based on various criteria and record them somewhere. In most simple environments, “somewhere” was simply a file on local storage. When writing to a local file, syslog daemons can be optionally configured to use the fsync() system call to ensure that writes are flushed to disk. Practically speaking, what this meant is that a page of disk-backed memory would be written to the disk as soon as an event occurred that triggered a log message. Because of potential performance implications, fsync() was not typically enabled for most log files. However, due to the more sensitive nature of authentication logs, it was often enabled for /var/log/auth.log.

          • Wladimir Palant: How did LastPass master passwords get compromised? [Ed: LastPass (clown computing/outsourcing) is for fools and willfully negligent hipsters; this is an epic disaster waiting to happen. The media is mostly relaying what the company says about its own systems without bothering to investigate the actual facts]]

            The mail is legitimate and has been sent out by the LastPass service. The location however was typically very far away from the user’s actual location, e.g. in a country like Brazil or India. Yet this isn’t merely an attempt to guess the password, as LastPass will only send a mail like this one if the correct master password is provided in the login attempt.

            One affected user created a thread on Hacker News and at least a dozen others chimed in with similar experiences. This indicates that a large-scale attack is underway, with the total number of affected users being quite significant.

            As online password managers go, a user’s master password is the most critical piece of information. So the important question is: how do the attackers know the master passwords? There are some explanation being discussed: credential stuffing, phishing, malware, LastPass compromise. As I know a thing or two about LastPass, I’ll write down how likely these are and why.

            TL;DR: It appears that LastPass infrastructure has been compromised, all other explanations being rather unlikely. And, surprisingly, it isn’t given that the attackers actually know these master passwords.

          • LastPass admits attack but assures master passwords are safe – Macworld
          • LastPass Claims Your Passwords Are Safe Despite Those Security Warnings It Sent | HotHardware

            LastPass is telling its users that there is no evidence to suggest their passwords have been compromised, after previously sending out emails to some users stating their master passwords have been compromised. So what exactly is going on? According to LastPass, the email warnings were “likely triggered in error.”

          • LastPass Users’ Master Passwords May Have Been Leaked | Beebom

            LastPass is arguably one of the popular password managers, coming with various security features for users to protect their online credentials. However, it could have been exposed to a new security breach as many users have recently reported that their master passwords might have been compromised. Here are the details.

          • LastPass users warned their master passwords are compromised

            Many LastPass users report that their master passwords have been compromised after receiving email warnings that someone tried to use them to log into their accounts from unknown locations.

            The email notifications also mention that the login attempts have been blocked because they were made from unfamiliar locations worldwide.

            “Someone just used your master password to try to log in to your account from a device or location we didn’t recognize,” the login alerts warn.

          • LastPass: some users report compromised accounts – gHacks Tech News

            Some users of the LastPass password manager revealed this week that they have received emails from LastPass stating that logins to their accounts using the account’s master password were blocked. The first of these reports was published on Hacker News.

          • LastPass users are seeing compromised Master Passwords – 9to5Google

            Password managers are a great way to improve your online security, but it would be a nightmare scenario if your password manager’s account were hacked. This week, some LastPass users report that their Master Passwords appear to have been compromised, but LastPass says things are technically working as they’re supposed to.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Massachusetts Supreme Court Tackles Law Enforcement Use Of Cell Tower Dumps

              Years after they’ve become a go-to tool for law enforcement to work their way backwards to suspects, the Massachusetts Supreme Court is wrestling with the issue of cell tower dumps.

            • Interview With Adrian Furtuna – Pentest-Tools.com

              Adrian Furtuna: About seven years ago, I was working as a full-time penetration tester for one of the big four companies. Since I was doing a lot of manual work, I thought that much of this could be automated, so, as a pen tester, I could focus on more interesting work. In penetration testing, some parts of the work can be automated, but others can’t. I thought that I could have a much better use of my time focusing on the parts of the engagement that cannot be automated and leave the other parts to some tools to do the work for me. So this was the main reason why I started the Pentest-Tools, which right now has the main objective to make the life of a penetration tester much more simple and more effective.

            • Students Are Learning To Resist Surveillance: Year in Review 2021

              As schools have shuffled students from in-person education to at-home learning and testing, then back again, the lines between “school” and “home” have been blurred. This has made it increasingly difficult for students to protect their privacy and to freely express themselves, as online proctoring and other sinister forms of surveillance and disciplinary technology have spread. But students have fought back, and often won, and we’re glad to have been on their side. 

              Early in the year, medical students at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine were blindsided by an unfounded dragnet cheating investigation conducted by the administration. The allegations were based on a flawed review of an entire year’s worth of student log data from Canvas, the online learning platform that contains class lectures and other substantive information. After a technical examination, EFF determined that the logs easily could have been generated by the automated syncing of course material to devices logged into Canvas. 

              When EFF and FIRE reached out to Dartmouth and asked them to more carefully review the logs—which Canvas’ own documentation explicitly states should not be used for high-stakes analysis—we were rebuffed. With the medical careers of seventeen students hanging in the balance, the students began organizing. At first, the on-campus protest, the letter to school administrators, and the complaints of unfair treatment from the student government didn’t make much of an impact. In fact, the university administration dug in, instituting a new social media policy that seemed aimed at chilling anonymous speech that had appeared on Instagram, detailing concerns students had with how these cheating allegations were being handled. 

            • How we fought an anti encryption law in Belgium – and won!
            • Your DNA Test Could Send a Relative to Jail

              Investigative genetic genealogy moves backward before it moves forward. That is, starting with the target’s genetic matches, you trace the matches’ ancestors and then those ancestors’ descendants, finding any points where the matches’ lines intersect with one another, closing in, ultimately, on possible candidates.

            • Listen to Your Heart: Security and Privacy of Implantable Cardio Foo

              Additionally, we sent several General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, ger: DSGVO) inquiries to manufacturers of implantable cardiologic devices and hospitals, revealing non-conforming processes and a lack of awareness about patients’ rights and companies’ obligations. This, and the fact that many vulnerabilities are still to be found after many vulnerability disclosures in recent years, present a worrying security state of the whole ecosystem.

            • Palantir Secures Additional $43 Million Contract from Space Systems Command

              Palantir Technologies Inc. (NYSE:PLTR) announced today the Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise (ECX) awarded it a $43 million contract to continue its delivery of a data and decision platform to support national security objectives. This $43 million contract is an additional extension, expanding upon previous awards from April and August this year. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $91.5 million.

            • US data giant Palantir is on a mission to seduce France’s start-ups

              The US company Palantir, which specialises in data analytics and is known as one of the most secretive and controversial companies in the world, is on a mission to seduce French start-ups.

              On Thursday, the company announced a partnership with Station F, the world’s biggest start-up incubator based in Paris.

            • China outlines vision for four mega data center clusters

              China has approved plans to build four mega clusters of data centres in the country’s north and west with the aim of supporting the data needs of Beijing and major coastal centres, according to the country’s top state planner on Wednesday.

              The clusters will be built in the northern Inner Mongolia region, northwestern Ningxia region, Gansu province and southwestern Guizhou province, the National Development and Reform Commission said in four separate statements.

              The four locations can use their energy and environmental advantages to set up green and low-carbon mega data centres, the state planner said.

            • Towards a more Trustworthy Tor Network

              In this talk we will describe why some level of trust in the Tor network is needed to achieve its privacy properties. After going through some examples of large scale malicious Tor relay groups, and current issues with tackling them, we describe a new additional approach to reduce the risks of malicious Tor relays on Tor users. We aim to empower Tor users for self-defense without completely depending on the detection and removal of malicious Tor relays from the network.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Nobody canceled blood feuds’ The relatives of Chechen dissidents are being kidnapped — both in Chechnya and in other parts of Russia

        In the final weeks of 2021, at least six Chechen oppositionists reported that their relatives had gone missing. All of these opposition figures live outside of Chechnya and have condemned regional head Ramzan Kadyrov and his cronies for human rights abuses. Several of them have faced threats in the past or even survived assassination attempts. Though their family members living in Chechnya have come under pressure before, they are now being abducted en masse — and not only in Chechnya, but also in other parts of Russia. Though some have been released, many remain missing at the time of this writing. For Meduza, journalist Vladimir Sevrinovsky spoke with three Chechen dissidents whose relatives were targeted in the latest wave of repression.

      • Roaming Charges: Police Crime Blotter, 2021

        + 981: the number of people in the US shot and killed by police in 2020.

        + A Boston police cop sexually assaulted an intoxicated woman after she passed out. He was suspended without pay for a year, but when he returned, he was promoted. This year, he bragged about hitting BLM protesters with his patrol car.

      • Opinion | Killing Nature Must Be Treated as a Crime on a Par with Genocide and War Crimes

        The first United Nations Scientific Conference on the Environment, also known as the First Earth Summit, was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from June 6-15, 1972. Ιt established a Declaration of Principles and adopted an action plan with recommendations for the preservation and enhancement of the environment. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, it led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

      • Words Matter: The Bucharest NATO Summit and Its Contentious Promise

        Following Presidents Biden and Putin talks this December, the Moscow Times reported that the Russian foreign ministry insisted that the United States should formally close the door to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. “In the fundamental interests of European security, it is necessary to officially disavow the decision of the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit that ‘Ukraine and Georgia will become NATO members,’” the Russian foreign ministry was quoted.

        The Russian Ministry had already argued in 2018 that the “verbal promise to Soviet President Gorbachev not to expand NATO to the East, in exchange for the Soviet leader’s consent to the annexation of East Germany (GDR) by Western Germany, was fragrantly violated and is the source of much of the present conflict between Russia and the West.”

      • For Afghanistan, 2021 Brought an End to One Horror—and the Beginning of Another

        August 15, 2021, is a day Afghanistan will never forget.

      • Opinion | As Afghan Humanitarian Crisis Spikes, US News Coverage Plummets
      • Stopping the War Machine for One Day

        On a sunny late summer day in 2013, I ambled to downtown Washington to hike with a bunch of friendly folks in a jaunt starting on the National Mall and heading towards the World War Two Monument and points beyond. But the hike was vexed from the start because someone invited along a “licensed tourist guide.” That short, pudgy fellow proceeded to bludgeon us with every known detail about the history, architecture, and rest room renovations of the Smithsonian Castle. He followed that up with a “Wikipedia on Amphetamines” rendition on the National Museum of Natural History and then commenced rattling at high speed about the National Museum of American History.

        And that was when I was summoned by a cheap cigar. That dude’s twaddle was another reminder of the peril of any government licensing program and gave me more sympathy than ever before for Washington tourists.

      • Arundhati Roy on the Media, Vaccine Inequity, Authoritarianism in India
      • Arundhati Roy Talks Media, Authoritarianism in India and Challenging US Wars
      • Arundhati Roy on the Media, Vaccine Inequity, Authoritarianism in India & Challenging U.S. Wars

        We go to New Delhi, India, to speak with acclaimed Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy about the pandemic, U.S. militarism and the state of journalism. Roy first appeared on Democracy Now! after receiving widespread backlash for speaking out against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. At the time, her emphatic antiwar stance clashed with the rising tides of patriotism and calls for war after 9/11. “Now the same media is saying what we were saying 20 years ago,” says Roy. “But the trouble is, it’s too late.”

      • At Least 13 Republicans Who Participated in Jan. 6 Attack Are Running for Office
      • Federal Judge Rejects Proud Boys’ “Free Speech” Defense in January 6 Court Case
      • Beijing Move Seen as Bringing China Into Macao Security Affairs

        China’s recently announced decision to appoint an adviser for Macao’s national security matters is an act of China’s “publicized participation into the city’s national security affairs,” according to an expert.

        A Dec. 3 report published by the official Xinhua news service said the director of the liaison office in the city, a mainland official appointed by Beijing, would also become the adviser to the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Macao Special Administrative Region.

        Fu Ziying, the current liaison office director, will be “in charge of supervising, guiding, coordinating, and supporting the Macao SAR in safeguarding national security,” the notice said using the abbreviation for “special administrative region.”

        The committee will also have three new national security technical advisers, the report said.

    • Environment

      • Warmer in Alaska Than San Diego This Week as Temperature Record ‘Pulverized’

        As parts of Alaska obliterated high-temperature records earlier this week, meteorologists and climate scientists warned that extreme heat and rainfall are the new normal in the nation’s largest state and other Arctic and subarctic zones.

        “In and around the Arctic… temperatures have been rising around twice as fast as the rest of the planet.”

      • Ocean Heating This Century Could Create Hurricane Conditions Unseen in 3 Million Years: Study

        Global heating caused by human activity could warm oceans enough to fuel hurricanes and tropical storms that strike cities as far north as Boston, a new study published Wednesday projects.

        “This represents an important, under-estimated risk of climate change,” Joshua Studholme of Yale University, the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “This research predicts that the 21st century’s tropical cyclones will likely occur over a wider range of latitudes than has been the case on Earth for the last 3 million years.”

      • Opinion | Climate Chaos: What to Learn From 2021

        This year we saw some of the consequences of the climate crisis devastating rich countries in the Northern Hemisphere. This didn’t lead to any political changes, though. Institutions remain the grease for the engines of capitalism. The COP26 in Glasgow became the primary space to project the new forms of capital accumulation, using the climate crisis as an excuse for new land grabs. This was also the year of space penises, inaugurating the space race of idiots while a new global bubble of speculation grows in the form of cryptocurrency. Climate degradation will always be accompanied by growing alienation, as the Capitalocene moves into full throttle.

      • The Selling of Degrowth

        Despite these efforts, economic growth remains at the heart of virtually every government’s national policy. Even the various Green New Deals that have been put forward around the world are wedded to notions of economic expansion. At the heart of these more recent attempts to bring carbon emissions under control is the concept of “green growth,” which has become the current mantra. So, inevitably, advocates of degrowth have addressed this new version of “sustainable” economic expansion.

        “We have to continue to pound away with articles and social media to dispel that fuzzy and oxymoronic notion of ‘green growth,’ that there is no conflict between growing the economy and protecting the environment,” observes Brian Czech, the founder of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) in Washington, DC.

      • Opinion | Finding Porpoise in Ocean Protection Is No Joke

        Our oceans are in trouble and this holiday sea/sun is not a time to be shellfish about how we respond. Abalone you might say but I still believe giving beach receiving. It’s time to give back to the ocean. Too often when I talk to marine scientists and look into their faces I sea otter despair. But surrender is not an option we can float. Better we tuna into the problems we face and wrasse the alarm. I’d argue, herring no objections, that we find a new porpoise for the coming New Year, to protect and restore the blue in our red white and blue.

      • Opinion | New Documentary Explains Extreme Weather Emergency

        Emmy-nominated director Susan Gray’s timely documentary, Earth Emergency, is not only a wake-up call to policymakers and the public, but a sort of “Extreme Weather for Dummies” that explains the fatal factors wreaking havoc on our environment.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The Species That Defined Our Year
        • Ode to the Wolf

          Wolf killers and torturers Oh to be manly Brash loud proud Ignorant of their vacuity and shallow depths

          Terrify Inflict pain on Annihilate Those who are better than they Put their fear into the noble and majestic Never knowing their own cowardice, their pretending to be men Never knowing how pitiable they are

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Chinese Govt. Arrests More Pro-Democracy Icons In Hong Kong, Including Music Stars

        While we have been discussing the way mainland China’s plan to slow-creep the end of democracy in Hong Kong has turned into more of a sprint, it’s also quite true that what is occurring there hasn’t gotten nearly enough media burn as it should. Plenty of folks have chalked up China’s aggressive attitudes towards Hong Kong to the 2019 pro-democracy protests, but the real sprint began once it became clear that Donald Trump stood a good chance of losing the White House to Joe Biden. Trump showed little willingness to push back on China when it came to its treatment of Hong Kong and the theory was that Biden would reverse course and show some backbone. That he generally hasn’t is one of geopolitics great ironies. Beijing has taken such steps as to try to erase the CCP’s own bloody history, to censor all kinds of Hong Kong pro-democracy culture, and to arrest of all kinds of pro-democracy lawmakers and media.

      • To 2035 and beyond Belarus unveils draft constitutional amendments, plans referendum for February 2022

        On Monday, December 27, the Belarusian authorities unveiled a new draft of the country’s constitution. According to head of state Alexander Lukashenko, the document may see changes following public debate and will be put to a referendum by late February 2022. This will mark the third referendum on amending Belarus’s constitution since Lukashenko came to power in 1994. Changes made to the constitution in 1996 and 2004 broadened the powers of the president — and the draft amendments have the potential to not only keep Lukashenko in power, but also permanently shield him from prosecution. Here’s what you need to know. 

      • Pending trial, St. Petersburg court releases video blogger charged with felony offense for performing song

        Yuri Khovansky, the video blogger charged with the felony offense of “justifying terrorism” because of a song he performed years ago, has been released from pretrial detention after roughly six months behind bars. State investigators in St. Petersburg made the request without any explanation, initially asking the court to wait until January 8 to free him. They later endorsed his immediate release.

      • As Harry Reid Dies at 82, Democrats Urged to Take His Advice and Abolish the Filibuster

        As condolences for the loved ones of Harry Reid poured in following his death Tuesday at the age of 82, progressives recalled the former Senate majority leader’s vocal condemnations of the upper chamber’s filibuster rule and urged Democrats to honor the late Nevada lawmaker by eliminating it for good.

        “In a chamber where too many Democrats can be afraid of their own shadow, Harry Reid was willing to deliver for the American people and didn’t care what it took,” tweeted Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) following news of Reid’s passing. “They should learn from his example and abolish the filibuster.”

      • Moscow City Court dissolves Memorial Human Rights Center

        A day after Russia’s Supreme Court dissolved the Memorial International Historical Educational Charitable and Human Rights Society, the Moscow City Court similarly ordered the closure of the Memorial’s Human Rights Center, granting a petition by city prosecutors who argued that the organization’s financial activities are “non-transparent.” The authorities also accused Memorial of demonstrating a “steady disregard of Russia’s Constitution and laws.”

      • Fools have no future in Russia Meduza’s: response to the dissolution of Memorial

        Even when judged against the other miseries of 2021, the dissolution of Memorial’s historical research society and human rights center is an extraordinary, monstrous event.

      • ECHR tells Russian to suspend dissolution of Memorial pending review of claim over ‘foreign agent’ laws

        The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has issued an interim measure telling Russia to suspend the dissolution of the International Memorial Society and the Memorial Human Rights Center, Interfax reported on Wednesday, December 29.

      • One of Harry Reid’s Last Wishes Was to End the Filibuster
      • Klobuchar’s Silly Letter To Facebook Raises 1st Amendment Issues And Only Gives Ammo To Misinfo Peddlers That Facebook Is A State Actor

        Senator Amy Klobuchar really is taking to her role as the Senator most eager to set up a Ministry of Truth in the government. Klobuchar has always been terrible on tech/internet issues, but she’s really taken it to a new level in the past year or so. Over the summer, she released a blatantly unconstitutional bill that literally would empower the Director of Health & Human Services to declare what counts as health misinformation and make social media websites liable for it (imagine how that would have played out under a Trump administration — because Klobuchar apparently can’t remember that far back).

      • D.C. Circuit Upholds Freed Up 6 GHz, Wireless Players Celebrate

        The D.C. Circuit Appeals Court decided Tuesday in a unanimous ruling to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to free up the 6 GHz band for next-generation Wi-Fi, the U.S.’s first gigabit Wi-Fi.

        In its opinion Tuesday, the court stated that petitioners had not provided a basis for questioning the commission’s conclusion that such actions will sufficiently protect against risk of harmful interference with presently unlicensed devices. The commission ruled on the matter in April 2020.

        The court accepted only one petition for review from licensed radio and television broadcasters using the 6 GHz band.

      • Political Vigilante: Talking Maxwell Verdict
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Those Who Don’t Understand Section 230 Are Doomed To Repeal It

        It remains somewhat surprising to me how many people who have ideas for Section 230 reforms clearly do not understand the law and how it works. Perhaps much more surprising is that, when experts try to highlight where their analysis has gone wrong, these “reformers” double down rather than correct their previous faulty assumptions. Dean Baker is a fairly well-known economist whose views on copyright we’ve highlighted in the past for being quite insightful. Unfortunately, Baker seems to feel that his insight in these other areas allows him to skip the basics on Section 230, defamation law, internet business models and the like. A year ago he wrote two separate very wrong and very confused blog posts advocating for the full repeal of Section 230. Both of them misunderstand how 230 works, its interplay with the 1st Amendment, and how defamation law works.

      • Indian Gov’t Orders YouTube To Block 20 Channels For ‘Blasphemy’ And ‘Impinging On National Security’

        India’s Information Technology Act has been problematic since its inception. Almost a decade ago, it was deployed to justify the arrest of an Indian citizen who’d done nothing more than criticize a politician, insinuating the politician had used his position to amass personal wealth.

      • 2021 Year In Review: Sex Online

        The ability to express oneself fully—including the expression of one’s sexuality—is a vital part of freedom of expression, and without that ability, free speech is an incomplete and impotent concept.

        To be clear, we are talking here about legal sexual expression, fully protected in the US by the First Amendment, and not the limited category of sexual expression, called “obscenity” in US law, the distribution of which may be criminalized.

        Here is a tiring and non-exhaustive list of the ways Internet platforms have taken it upon themselves to undermine free expression in this way in 2021.

      • Russian Court Orders 2nd Ban of a Major Human Rights Group in 2 Days

        The ruling by Moscow’s City Court will close the Memorial Human Rights Center, which keeps a tally of political prisoners. On Tuesday the country’s Supreme Court ordered the shuttering of Memorial International, which was founded in 1989 by Soviet dissidents to preserve memories of Soviet repression.

        Together, the shutdowns reflected President Vladimir V. Putin’s determination to control the narrative of some of the most painful and repressive chapters in Russian history and keep dissidents at bay. Since January, the Kremlin has accelerated a campaign to stifle dissent, clamping down on independent media, religious groups and political opponents.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • On ‘Primary Sources,’ Kevin Gosztola Discusses The War On WikiLeaks
      • PEN America and the Betrayal of Julian Assange

        Those in power, as Noam Chomsky points out, divide the world into “worthy” and “unworthy” victims. They weep crocodile tears over the plight of Uyghur Muslims persecuted in China while demonizing and slaughtering Muslims in the Middle East. They decry press censorship in hostile states and collude with the press censorship and algorithms emanating from Silicon Valley in the United States. It is an old and insidious game, one practiced not to promote human rights or press freedom but to envelop these courtiers to power in a sanctimonious and cloying self-righteousness. PEN America can’t say the words “Belarus,” “Myanmar” or the Chinese tennis star “Peng Shuai” fast enough, while all but ignoring the most egregious assault on press freedom in our lifetime. PEN America only stopped accepting funding from the Israeli government, which routinely censors and jails Palestinian journalists and writers in Israel and the occupied West Bank, for the literary group’s annual World Voices festival in New York in 2017 when more than 250 writers, poets and publishers, many members of PEN, signed an appeal calling on the CEO of PEN America, Suzanne Nossel, to end PEN America’s partnership with the Israeli government. The signatories included Wallace Shawn, Alice Walker, Eileen Myles, Louis Erdrich, Russel Banks, Cornel West, Junot Díaz and Viet Thanh Nguyen. To stand up for Assange comes with a cost, as all moral imperatives do. And this is a cost the careerists and Democratic Party apparatchiks, who leverage corporate money and corporate backing to seize and deform these organizations into appendages of the ruling class, do not intend to pay.

        PEN America is typical of the establishment hijacking of an organization that was founded and once run by writers, some of whom, including Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer, I knew. Nossel is a former corporate lawyer, listed as a “contributor” to The Federalist Society, who worked for McKinsey & Company and as Vice President of US Business Development for Bertelsmann.  Nossel, who has had herself elevated to the position of the CEO of PEN America, also worked under Hillary Clinton in the State Department, including on the task force assigned to respond to the WikiLeaks revelations. I withdrew from a scheduled speaking event at the 2013 World Voices Festival in New York City and resigned from the organization, which that same year had given me its First Amendment Award, to protest Nossel’s appointment. PEN Canada offered me membership which I accepted.

      • In Russia, State Is Waging Hybrid War Against Media, Nobel Laureate Says

        In an exclusive interview with VOA’s Russian Service, Muratov spoke about the struggle to defend and uphold media freedom in Russia and how the threat of violence and legal action affects reporting.

        This interview has been translated from Russian and edited for length and clarity.

        Question: In your Nobel speech, you called journalism an antidote to tyranny. But in Russia, 15 years of freedom after the end of the Soviet Union have given way to censorship, persecution and killings, and a rollback of civil liberties and democracy. Why is this antidote not working in Russia?

      • Hong Kong pro-democracy news site closes after raid, arrests

        A vocal pro-democracy website in Hong Kong shut down Wednesday after police raided its office and arrested six current and former editors and board members in a continuing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

        Stand News said in a statement that its website and social media are no longer being updated and will be taken down. It said all employees have been dismissed.

        The outlet was one of the last remaining openly critical voices in Hong Kong following the shuttering of the Apple Daily newspaper, which closed after its publisher, Jimmy Lai, and top editors were arrested and its assets frozen.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | We’re Talking About Power—Who Has It and Who Gets Kicked in the Face by It

        In 1971, Susan DeMarco, Susan Sechler and I teamed up in a Washington-based public interest group (rather wonkily named Agribusiness Accountability Project) to launch a muckraking foray into the little-examined, multibillion-dollar labyrinth of America’s farm and food policies. But other progressive activists back then were bewildered by us. They were all working on big, high-profile issues like ending the Vietnam War and urban poverty. So, they asked, why were we talking about tomatoes, land-grant colleges, Earl Butz and such arcane concepts as oligopolies?

      • Say Their Names
      • How Worried Do We Need to Be?

        In “America is now in fascism’s legal phase,” Guardian, December 22, 2021, Jason Stanley delineates the march toward fascism in the US that is apparent today. The militarism of the police, the mobilization against the Black community, the attacks against women, the far-right move of all three branches of the federal government, with Trump and other fascists in its midst, and the attacks against those who speak out and protest against all the deadly mayhem of the right and mayhem of this government are targets. The January 6, 2021 insurrection in Washington, D.C., was anything but a dress rehearsal of the worst element of fascist aggression. It is foolish to keep one’s head in the sand while this system of government tumbles. To trust the three branches of the federal government, and some state and local governments to protect our rights and dignity, is a chimera. It can happen here, as it did in Germany and Italy prior to World War II.

        Sinclair Lewis got it right many decades ago in It Can’t Happen Here (1935)! The attacks against the right to vote and the attacks and minimizing of those on the left are of special importance. White supremacy is clearly on the rise and their targets are people of color and those who make credible indictments of these systems of government. The attacks on teaching of Black history and the right of people of color to vote in many states is more of the dress rehearsal of fascism. Indeed, the stage is being set for fewer people to vote in both 2022 and 2024 to usher in fascists at the local, state, and national levels of government. Besides voting, the right is turning the gerrymander into a national cause célèbre where it can get away with it, it being stealing elections and allowing for the rise of the far right both in the offices of government and on the streets. The right, and especially right-wing media, already demonized leftists on the streets, screaming that the anti-fascists are to blame for insurrectionist violence. Look to the attacks against the Black Lives Matter movement and the blocks to access of left writing on the Internet. Books are banned in schools. The right attacks teaching about the history of racism in the US.

      • Historians Warn the GOP Is Pushing Nation Toward Trump-Based Authoritarianism
      • Oklahoma Republican Wants to Deputize Private Citizens to Sue School Districts
      • ‘Madness’: Oklahoma Bill Would Empower Parents to Remove Books From School Libraries

        A bill proposed by a Republican state senator in Oklahoma would empower parents to have books that discuss gender identity removed from public school libraries—a measure that rights advocates warned could have life-threatening consequences for LGBTQ+ children across the state.

        Under Senate Bill 1142, introduced earlier this month by state Sen. Rob Standridge, just one parent would have to object to a book that includes discussion of “sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity, or gender identity” and other related themes in order to begin the process of removal.

      • The Fierce Love of the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis

        It’s that time of year when we all need a little strength. Elections, holidays, the change of the season, we need fortitude to get through it. The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis would say that we need fierce love too, and she knows about resilience. A year ago, her church burned down, a church that had already been through its own history of near-death experiences. Lewis is senior minister of Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan’s East Village. In her latest book, Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule-Breaking Kindness That Can Heal the World, she weaves together autobiographical anecdotes with theological reflections and practical tools to show what underlies and inspires change.

      • Where Are Black Parents’ Voices on Critical Race Theory?

        According to a poll published in September, a staggering 83 percent of parents support the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools. Or to be more specific—because they are never granted modifier-free descriptors, as their white peers are—83 percent of Black parents are in favor of CRT in their children’s schools. In a USA Today/Ipsos poll, 71 percent of Asian parents and roughly 60 percent of Hispanic parents said CRT should be part of the curriculum in their children’s schools. A Fox News survey conducted in Virginia—the state that is home to the Loudoun County School District, where some of the most visible battles over CRT have taken place—revealed that among Black parents with more than a passing familiarity with CRT, more than twice as many approved of it as opposed it. These polls didn’t specify to parents that critical race theory is a 40-year-old legal framework for analyzing the ways racism is embedded in American institutions, not a lesson plan that’s actually used in K-12 classrooms today. But we can assume that those parents regard CRT as a concept that includes the study of slavery and anti-Black racism and support teaching those topics in our schools. In a small poll of parents of New York City schoolchildren, a group that is more than 80 percent people of color, over three-quarters of respondents supported the idea that students should learn about the “damages of white supremacy,” while 79 percent supported teaching about the Black Lives Matter movement.

      • Accused of Refusing Aid to Disabled Kids, a State Agency Responded — by Hiring a PR Firm

        Dan Bookhout was accustomed to fighting over almost everything in his dealings with Florida’s Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, the program underwriting care for his severely disabled daughter, Arwen. The program’s “no, no, no culture,” he said, was “exhausting.”

        So Bookhout thought it seemed “fishy” when administrators offered, without a fight, to buy or lease a nearly $30,000 robotic device to help his then-5-year-old walk. And when administrators asked for his help to promote the device to other parents.

      • Let’s Talk About How the Media Covers Gaza

        This has been quite a year for Palestine. What started as one neighborhood’s rallying cry against dispossession translated into a unity uprising that situated the Palestinian cause at the center of the international news cycle. For a brief yet unprecedented moment, decades-old Palestinian analysis about Israeli settler-colonialism triggered worldwide epiphanies and gave language to the usual out-of-context photographs of weeping Palestinian mothers and razed buildings. Journalists challenged sanitized state language and called ethnic cleansing by its name. Newspapers ran articles about Israeli war crimes inside the besieged Gaza Strip and plastered photos of murdered Palestinian children on their front pages. TV channels showed the Israeli military dropping bombs that reduced residential and media towers to rubble. Social media networks exploded with images of Palestinians—dead and alive—pulled from under the wreck. And, to a certain degree, Palestinian voices steered the global conversation.

      • Poet Martín Espada on “Floaters,” the Dehumanization of Refugees, Puerto Rico & His Father

        Acclaimed poet Martín Espada recently won the National Book Award for Poetry for his anthology “Floaters.” He became just the third Latinx poet to win the award. “Floaters” is titled after the photo of the Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande in June 2019 trying to cross into the United States, one that sparked outrage at the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border. Espada discusses U.S. immigration policy and reads the poem “Letter to My Father: October 2017,” which looks back at his father’s native Puerto Rico.

      • Guilty: Epstein Recruiter Ghislaine Maxwell Convicted of Child Sex Trafficking, Conspiracy

        A New York jury on Wednesday found British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of child sex trafficking and four other counts in connection with her procurement and grooming of minors to be abused by her close friend, the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

        “The verdict screams loud and clear—if you make it easier for another to sexually abuse children, you, too, will be held accountable for your role in that abuse.”

      • Remembering Desmond Tutu’s Gospel of Peace

        Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who died on Sunday at age 90, had a genius for speaking truths that the powerful tried to avoid hearing. When he delivered his 1984 Nobel Lecture, for instance, it was understood that the Anglican priest would condemn the apartheid system that codified racial hatred and violence in his homeland of South Africa—and similar systems of racial, social, and economic injustice globally. But Tutu didn’t stop there. He seized the platform to decry the international military-industrial complex that extended from, underpinned, and maintained that injustice.

      • Billionaires Should Not Exist — Here’s Why

        In a fair society, there would be no billionaires. Bernie Sanders says they shouldn’t exist and Elizabeth Warren sells mugs of their tears. I’m talking about billionaires and making the case that an economic system that allows them is immoral.

        We have arrived at an obscene inequality crisis, in which wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few, at the cost of crippling hardship, precarity, and compromised well-being for the many. When a single billionaire can accumulate more money in 10 seconds than their employees make in one year, while workers struggle to meet the basic cost of rent and medicine, then yes, every billionaire really is a policy failure. Here’s why.

      • Father of teen shot by US police demands jail terms

        The father of teenager accidentally shot dead by US police in a department store, demanded jail time Tuesday for the officers involved in her killing.

        The death of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta is the latest at the hands of law enforcement in a country where guns abound and police readily resort to deadly force.

        [...]

        There is no official national record of fatal shootings by US police officers, and reporting of incidents by police departments is voluntary.

      • Union Busting -What is it and why you should care

        The last two years where pretty darn terrible, but one of the things that provided hope was a growing solidarity between workers. Sadly this was also met with enormous repression. In this talk I want to show why we need unions and how we’re prevented from getting them.

      • The Bill for My Homelessness Was $54,000

        Which brings me back to my point: How are we as a society going to make it right going forward for those who have been homeless if we do not recognize the harm inflicted on them in the past?

      • A young Afghan woman on breaking free of the burqa

        As a new veil descends over Afghan women’s rights, and women in all parts of the country are forced to stay behind closed doors, I feel the same suffocation I did as a teenager beneath the thick, scratchy fabric of the dark burqa. It feels as if the whole of Afghanistan wears that heavy burqa which I hated so much, and that, underneath it, all Afghan women are choking.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • House Republicans Don’t Want Infrastructure Money Going Toward Broadband Competition

        For years the broadband industry has successfully convinced the U.S. government to remain fixated exclusively on broadband coverage gaps, not the overall lack of broadband competition. That’s in part because they’ve known for decades that substandard maps mean policymakers have never really known which areas lack or need access. That’s helped create an ecosystem where we throw billions upon billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies at regional monopolies every year, in exchange for broadband networks that are routinely half-completed.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • China to tighten copyright protection in livestreaming, ecommerce platforms by 2025

        China will improve copyright protection livestreaming, ecommerce and sports events by 2025, the country’s copyright regulator said on Wednesday.

        Copyright protection will be strengthened and improved in new industries and new areas, according to the 14th Five-Year Plan for Copyright Work issued by the National Copyright Administration.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Artificial Intelligence as an Inventor on Patents – The Global Divide and the Path Forward [Ed: Gross mis-framing of the issue at hand using buzzwords like "Hey Hi"; what's at stake here is some provocateur trying to claim that any junk produced by some computer program can be monopolised, as it that will "reward" the program]

          DABUS (Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience) is an artificial intelligence (AI) system created by Dr. Stephen Thaler. It reportedly conceived two separate inventions without any human intervention and therefore, was designated as an inventor on patent applications related to those inventions. The idea of assigning inventorship to an AI-machine not only brought new legal challenges but also left the global intellectual property (IP) community divided regarding whether an AI-machine can/should be allowed to be named as an inventor on patents related to AI-created inventions.

        • Leahy Tells Justices Apple-Qualcomm Ruling Threatens AIA

          The Federal Circuit’s refusal to let Apple appeal its Patent Trial and Appeal Board loss against Qualcomm because it had a temporary license to the challenged patents is a “red flag” that the U.S. Supreme Court must address, according to Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Darrell Issa.

          The Democratic senator from Vermont and Republican representative from California on Monday said in an amicus brief Monday the Federal Circuit is undermining the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act — which they both sponsored — by taking away Apple’s ability to appeal inter partes review decisions upholding Qualcomm’s patents, especially as Apple has been accused…

        • Will the New Year bring the rule of law to the EPO? [Ed: Miquel Montañá (Clifford Chance) hopes for too much in one year? The EPO devolved into what one can only conclude is “organised crime” disguised as legitimate activity for money extraction. Miquel Montañá then goes on to stating lies and spouting out loaded statements about the UPC as if it will exist. This is an old tactic of Team UPC.]

          According to article 1 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), “a system of law, common to Contracting States for the grant of patents for inventions is established by this Convention.”

          So, at first glance, it would appear that the European Patent Organisation was meant to be an International Institution governed by the rule of law. In particular, by the text of the EPC and by the provisions of the Implementing Regulations which, according to article 164, form part of the EPC.

          However, as is well known, over the years, the need to address practical matters has led the organs of the European Patent Organisation to use some instruments that have placed it at some distance from the rule of law.

          One such instrument is the “Communications from the President of the European Patent Office (EPO). For example, on 13 May 1992, the President of the EPO, for the purpose of reducing the workload of the Spanish Patent Office, published a “Communication” “strongly encouraging” applicants, in the case of patents affected by Spain’s Reservation excluding the patentability of pharmaceutical products until 7 October 1992, to file a separate set of claims for Spain. Here we have an organ of the European Patent Organisation (the president of the EPO) prompting a result explicitly prohibited by article 118 of the EPC: the grant of a European patent with a text not identical for all Contracting States. Article 167 (Reservations) did not allow the EPC to deviate from that principle. What article 167 stated was that, if a European patent whose text had to be identical in all Contracting States (article 118) protected the chemical or pharmaceutical product as such, then that patent could be revoked or would have no effect in Spain. Readers will not find any article of the EPC stating that a European patent may have a non-identical text in the Contracting States that made a Reservation under article 167.

        • KOL369 | Soho Forum IP Debate Post-Mortem with Greg Morin

          Whereupon I do the rare original episode. In November I debated Richard Epstein in New York, at the Soho Forum, on intellectual property (patent and copyright).

          [...]

          Patent and Copyright Law Should Be Abolished

        • The DABUS saga continued… [Ed: Patent fanatics and profiteers still unable to see that patent offices are provoked, courts trolled, and the system as a whole infiltrated by people who actively work to undermine innovation, equipped with buzzwords like "Hey Hi"]

          Just a few days before Holidays season, the Legal Board of Appeal announced its ruling in the cases J 8/20 and J 9/20, thus confirming the decisions of the Receiving Section of the European Patent Office, both of which has refused the DABUS applications EP 18 275 163 and EP 18 275 174. These well-known applications designated an artificial intelligence system as the inventor. The applicant argued in the application that inventions had been autonomously created by DABUS.

          In order to provide for all alternative scenarios in respect of AI innovation, the applicant submitted an auxiliary request according to which a natural person was indicated to have “the right to the European Patent by virtue of being the owner and creator of” the artificial intelligence system DABUS. The Board of Appeal also rejected this request.

          [...]

          The DABUS patent applications have been submitted in several jurisdictions, contextualizing the debate on the patentability of AI-originating inventions within the patent registration process in various jurisdictions. To read more on previous stages of this saga, see the IPKat posts here, hereand here.. With the exception of South Africa, which granted the DABUS application, and Australia, which provided that the rights to the DABUS patent could be assigned to Dr Thaler, UK, US and EPO have all refused the patent applications.

          As AI-originating innovations are sure to stay, the question remains: Will the patent system ultimately have to adjust?

          We look forward to reading the ruling of the Board of Appeal in its entirity.

        • WHO Chief Decries ‘Moral Shame’ of Vaccine Apartheid Amid Omicron ‘Tsunami’

          With the new year approaching, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Wednesday that the end of the coronavirus pandemic will remain out of reach as long as low-income countries are denied the ability to widely vaccinate their populations.

          Tedros lamented during his weekly press conference that 92 out of 194 WHO member nations are set to miss the 40% end-of-year vaccination target established by the international agency due to “a combination of limited supply going to low-income countries” and donated vaccine doses arriving “close to expiry and without key parts—like the syringes!”

      • Copyrights

        • [Guest post] Universal Copyright Convention – RIP [Ed: WIPO continues to blackmail the whole world into succumbing to the will of Western oligarchs by rewriting laws and accepting “legalised” colonialism]

          December 9, 2021, WIPO announced that the Kingdom of Cambodia has joined the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, with effect from March 9, 2022. This is, of course, very important for the creative communities of Cambodia. Internationally, it may not be a major event, since a very high number of countries have already ratified or adhered to the Convention. With the joining of Cambodia, the number of Member States of the Berne Union has reached 180. There is, however, a broader significance of that adherence, namely the final obsolescence of the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC).

          The UCC was originally adopted in Geneva in 1951 and later revised in Paris in 1971. It was originally adopted in response to the problem that a significant number of countries, not least in the Americas, considered the demands for protection under the Berne Convention too strict. For the USA, for example, the prohibition against formalities as precondition for protection were not compatible with the system that applied under her national law. It foresaw both registration of the work at the Copyright Office, deposit of copies, attachment of a copyright claim (© [year of first publication] by [name of owner of rights]), and, in certain cases, manufacture of the copies within the country. Instead, international protection of works originating in the USA was obtained in various ways: through bilateral agreements; by means of “backdoor protection” where works were first or simultaneously published in Berne Union countries; and through multilateral conventions. In particular, a string of regional copyright conventions were adopted and revised along the way in the Americas, including in particular the 1910 Buenos Aires Convention (the Panamerican Copyright Conventions).

        • U.S. Court Denies Access to Defendant’s Hard Drive in Online Piracy Case

          Adult content producer Strike 3 Holdings wants an alleged movie pirate to share a copy of his hard drive and cloud hosting accounts. This evidence is crucial to proving the copyright infringements, the company argued. The court agreed that the data is important but put the privacy rights of the defendant first.

        • MPA/ACE: Dozens More Pirate IPTV & Streaming Domains In The Crosshairs

          Two new DMCA subpoena applications filed by the Motion Picture Association and anti-piracy partner ACE reveal that as 2021 comes to a close, dozens more domains connected to illegal streaming sites and pirate IPTV providers may soon experience legal troubles.

        • The Copyright Industry Wants Everything Filtered As It Is Uploaded; Here’s Why That Will Be A Disaster

          The history of copyright can be seen as one of increasing control by companies over what ordinary people can do with material created by others. For the online world, the endgame is where copyright holders get to check and approve every single file that is uploaded, with the power to block anything they regard as infringing. That digital dystopia moved much closer two years ago, with the passage of the EU Copyright Directive. At the heart of the Directive lies precisely these kind of upload filters – even though the legislation’s supporters insisted that they would not be needed. When the law was safely passed – despite voting issues – only then did they admit that upload filters would indeed be required.

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