Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 18/2/2011: LSE's GNU/Linux Doing Fine; Dell's New Android Tablets Revealed

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Stock Exchange denies Linux system glitch
      The London Stock Exchange has played down reports that its new Linux-based Millennium Exchange is failing to cope since it went live earlier this week.

      According to the Financial Times, a technical glitch disrupted some trading displays and caused confusion over prices.

      DIY-style execution-only brokers, such as Selftrade, warned that their websites were not showing correct prices. It is the latest glitch to affect the system, following problems during a partial roll-out last year.

      However, the LSE told PC Pro that the problems were down to individual trading companies, not the system itself.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Plumbers Conference looking for more track proposals
      We still need several more though to fill out the schedule. So if you have additional ideas for tracks, please don't hesitate to submit them! Likewise if you know someone who ought to run a track this year, badger them and get them to submit a proposal.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland Is Now Playing Well With NVIDIA, ATI Drivers
        For those of you interested in running the Wayland Display Server on your NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards, without running it nestled inside an X Server, it should work if you use the newest Linux kernel code.

        There's reports on the Wayland mailing list that for ATI users you can use the Linux 2.6.38 kernel (for the Radeon DRM page-flipping support) and for NVIDIA users if using the Nouveau kernel (the page-flipping isn't yet merged into the mainline kernel, possibly for Linux 2.6.39) and use one external patch, Wayland should now work directly with both of these DRM drivers. This is coming after it's long been a pleasant Wayland experience when using the Intel DRM.

  • Applications

    • Exaile Released, Install Exaile in Ubuntu Maverick, Lucid via PPA
      Exaile is a very good music player alternative for Linux. Exaile is nimble and can handle large music collections without any problems. Exaile was released a day ago. Exaile is a bugfix release for version 0.3.2.

    • Guayadeque 0.2.9 Supports iPod, USB Mass Storage Devices, Wavpack, Trueaudio, Integrates With The Ubuntu Sound Menu
      Guayadeque is starting to become a mature, reliable music player - the latest version 0.2.9, released today brings some very important features to Guayadeque like Ubuntu sound menu support, iPod support with covers and playlist, usb mass storage devices support, support for trueaudio files and wavpack, option to embed album cover to all album tracks, output audio device configuration option in preferences, Magnature and Jamendo support.

    • Chromify-OSD: NotifyOSD Notifications For Chrome
      Jorge Castro announced the release of a Chrome extension called Chromify-OSD that makes the build-in Chrome notifications use NotifyOSD. I'll make this post short because for some reason the extension doesn't work for me in either Google Chrome or Chromium.

    • Proprietary

      • First Opera 11.10 "Barracuda" Dev Snapshot Available For Download
        Earlier this week, the Opera Desktop Team announced Opera 11 "Barracuda" which they say it will bring "another popular Opera feature will be taken to the next level".

        Well, the first Opera 11.10 "Barracuda" development snapshot was made available for download on the Opera Desktop Team blog today. For now, the mysterious new feature is not available but considering the fast development Opera has been undergoing lately, I'm sure we'll see it soon enough.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • webOS up and running on PC hardware
        PreCentral user cdowers looks to have successfully booted up webOS on a Dell C600 laptop. The trick, apparently, is to take the webOS image from the emulator (which is compatible with x86 processors) and put it on an IDE hard drive (not the more modern SATA standard). Essentially what's happening here is that instead the webOS emulator running in a 'virtual' machine, it's running on the real machine.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Qt at MWC11 - Digia NFC ShopWizer demo

        • Intel says will find new MeeGo partners
          Intel Corp (INTC.O) said its partner Nokia dropped the MeeGo operating system after Microsoft offered "incredible" amounts of money for the phonemaker to switch to Windows but it would find new partners for MeeGo.

          Intel's Chief Executive Paul Otellini said in a meeting with analysts in London, accessed by Reuters via conference call, that Nokia's (NOK1V.HE) choice of Microsoft (MSFT.O) over Google's (GOOG.O) Android platform was a financial decision. [ID:nLDE71A0DG]

        • First MeeGo based netbook coming from Fujitsu
          Bangalore: Japanese computer hardware and IT services company Fujitsu has unveiled world's first MeeGo-based netbook called the LifeBook MH330. The netbook is available in Asian markets for a price of $380.

        • Google CEO feels sorry for Nokia's Microsoft alliance
          Nokia should have chosen the Android operating system for its upcoming handsets instead of going with Microsoft, Google's Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said on Wednesday.

          "We would have loved if they had chosen Android. They chose the other guys, that other competitor, Microsoft. I think we are pretty straightforward," Schmidt said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, adding that Google was open to Nokia switching to Android in the future.

        • Google Sky Map Turns Your Android Phone into a Digital Telescope
          Whether you’re an astronomy buff or just somebody looking for a perfect “look how sweet my smartphone is!’ application, Google’s Sky Map application for Android phones is a must have app.

          If all the application did was show you detailed views of the night sky it would be pretty awesome based on that alone. Where Sky Map dazzles, however, is in linking together the GPS and tilt-sensors on your phone to turn your phone into a sky-watching window. Whatever you point the phone at, the screen displays.

      • Android

        • Setting up the standard Andriod marketplace on the Archos 10.1
          I was not a very pleased user of the Archos 10.1 ever since I got it last December. The issue centered on the Archos supplied “AppsLib” which was not all that efficient nor useful. It would startup slowly sometimes, crash at other times, and a lot of apps that I’ve got in my Nexus One was not even available (like ConnectBot for example). Apart from these inconveniences, the tablet is really a nice device, quite responsive and despite it’s plasticky feel, it is robust and quite well built.

        • Secret codes for your Android phone
          Kind of like the hidden menu at In-N-Out (if you don’t know what that is, I’m sorry you’re so deprived), there are some nifty hidden codes that can be used to accomplish certain tasks on your Android phone. Some of them do fairly basic, practical things, while others can be used to perform complete alterations, such as factory resets. You should be careful when using some of these codes, because once you do (again, factory reset), they can not be undone.

        • Official Google Reader app gets updated, now comes with widgets

        • Honeycomb features such as action bar, app switcher and hologram design will come to our phones in Ice Cream
          Like Andrew mentioned in his report about Eric Schmidt’s MWC keynote, Google’s next version of Android will combine Gingerbread and Honeycomb, so there will not be separate versions for phones and tablets. I think that’s good news, and now a few more details have emerged about which Honeycomb features we’re going to see on our phones.

        • Entrance of Android tablet PCs will weaken dominance of iPad, says Acer chairman
          In addition to the four ARM-based tablet PCs that Acer introduced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011, Acer is also set to launch a MeeGo-based tablet PC in 2011.

        • QuickOffice will edit Office docs, sync with Dropbox & more on Honeycomb tablets [video preview]

        • Mobile World Congress 2011 Wrap-Up: Android Takeover
          Today was the last day of Mobile World Congress 2011 and the majority of exhibitors and press folks are on their way home. In fact, organizers are gently nudging us out of the press room right now. I just completed one final sweep of the conference and wanted to do a quick recap of what were my favorite things about Mobile World Congress. Below is my list of the best things that I spotted at MWC 2011.

        • Midmarket: Acer Tablets, Smartphones Run Android, Play HD Video
          Not to be left out of the burgeoning tablet market, computer maker Acer showcased a number of portable computing devices at this year’s Mobile World Congress, including three tablets—two running the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, "Honeycomb," which was designed specifically to run on tablet devices. Debuting under the company’s Iconia nameplate, the A100 and its larger cousin, the A500, boast front- and rear-facing cameras and sport Nvidia’s Tegra 2 dual-core processor.

        • Dell roadmaps show 4 Honeycomb tablets and 2 Ice Cream phones
          A leaked Dell device roadmap is showing that a Honeycomb future isn’t too far off.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Choosing Java sides
      With all the drama going on with Nokia this month, it was easy to miss other goings on. But one thing of note to the open source community was the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM), where FOSS developers from around the planet congregated in Belgium Feb. 5-6 to groove on all things FOSS.

      One of the FOSDEM sessions that caught my eye was "IcedRobot: The GNUlization of Android," which announced a new project that hopes to take Android and change it so it has a clean-room OpenJDK-based Java VM and will be based on what they refer to as a more standard Linux kernel.

      The idea here is to get this Android fork to run on something like a Linux desktop, hence the need to have IcedRobot on a more vanilla Linux kernel. The swapping out of the Dalvik VM for something from OpenJDK is a clear move to get this project out from the litigious crosshairs of Oracle, which is currently suing Google for trademark infringement over Oracle code that's allegedly in Dalvik and shouldn't be.


    • Alfresco 3 Business Solutions: Types of E-mail Integration
      In this article by Martin Bergljung, author of Alfresco 3 Business Solutions, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages between three different e-mail integration solutions and also learn how to use Alfresco's built in IMAP solution to:

      * Enable dragging-and-dropping of e-mails into the Alfresco repository * Enable e-mail attachment extraction * Enable viewing of document metadata from the e-mail client * Set up different folder mount points * Enable e-mail management in an Alfresco Share site

    • What Makes Diaspora Special?[Video]
      You all must be already aware of open source Facebook alternative called Diaspora. I have been using it for a month now and I am really starting to like it. Now a lot of people ask me what's so special about Diaspora, what makes it different. For that, you need to watch this "introduction to Diaspora" video by the inventors of the idea themselves.

    • Open Source Obama
      Every day, tens of thousands of developers from businesses, colleges, and homes contribute patches or new code to open-source programs. It’s not every day though that the White House does it. That’s exactly what happened last week when the White House’s New Media Director Macon Phillips announced the White House’s second code release to the open-source Drupal content management system (CMS).

  • Funding

    • Open business funding: New ideas for a new economy
      Starting a business is always a bit of a gamble. But investing in a start-up is practically a guessing game.

      “A lot of venture capitalists will tell you that for early stage investment they don't have any real way of knowing which businesses will succeed,” said Marc Dangeard, head of Entrepreneur Commons. “They might invest in thirty businesses of the same type for the one that will thrive.”

      Faced with the difficulties of venture capitalism and start-up funding, Dangeard decided it was time to “take the ego out” of venture capital. “With traditional venture capital you have a lot of egos involved: the venture capitalist who decides if a business plan is good or bad, the entrepreneur who thinks his idea is great,” he explained.


    • Interview: Eben Moglen - Freedom vs. The Cloud Log
      Glyn Moody: So what's the threat you are trying to deal with?

      Eben Moglen: We have a kind of social dilemma which comes from architectural creep. We had an Internet that was designed around the notion of peerage - machines with no hierarchical relationship to one another, and no guarantee about their internal architectures or behaviours, communicating through a series of rules which allowed disparate, heterogeneous networks to be networked together around the assumption that everybody's equal.

      In the Web the social harm done by the client-server model arises from the fact that logs of Web servers become the trails left by all of the activities of human beings, and the logs can be centralised in servers under hierarchical control. Web logs become power. With the exception of search, which is a service that nobody knows how to decentralise efficiently, most of these services do not actually rely upon a hierarchical model. They really rely upon the Web - that is, the non-hierarchical peerage model created by Tim Berners-Lee, and which is now the dominant data structure in our world.

      The services are centralised for commercial purposes. The power that the Web log holds is monetisable, because it provides a form of surveillance which is attractive to both commercial and governmental social control. So the Web, with services equipped in a basically client-server architecture, becomes a device for surveillance as well as providing additional services. And surveillance becomes the hidden service wrapped inside everything we get for free.

    • FOSS maven says $29 'Freedom Box' will kill Facebook
      Concerned about Facebook, Google, and other companies that make billions brokering sensitive information, free-software champion Eben Moglen has unveiled a plan to populate the internet with tiny, low-cost boxes that are designed to preserve individuals' personal privacy.

  • Government

    • Open Source at the State Department: Loud, timely, not your parents’ State Department
      Last Friday, I was in Washington, D.C., for Tech@State’s Open Source Conference . Tech@State is an inspiring step by the State Department, connecting technologists to targeted goals of the U.S. diplomacy and development agenda via networking events as part of Secretary Clinton's 21 st Century Statecraft initiative . Tech@State connects leaders, innovators, government personnel, and others to work together on technology solutions to improve the education, health, and welfare of the world's population. To date they have held events on Haiti, Mobile Money, and Civil Society 2.0.

  • Licensing

    • Free Speech Online UnderAttack
      Yesterday, Republicans in Congress introduced a "resolution" in both chambers that would give phone and cable companies absolute, unrestricted power over Internet speech.

      Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and John Ensign (R-Nevada) introduced the “resolution of disapproval” on Wednesday. It already has 39 Republican cosponsors. On the House side, Reps. Fred Upton (R-Michigan) and Greg Walden (R-Oregon) are pushing similar measure.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Court Says Metadata Should Be Released Under Freedom Of Information Act Request
        Copycense points us to the fascinating news that a federal judge has ordered Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reveal the metadata on a document as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. ICE had responded to the FOIA request (apparently "after significant delay,") but provided the content requested in an unsearchable PDF. The original requestor for the content, the National Day Laborer Organization, complained that this was unfair, and the information had to be supplied with metadata -- and the court agreed.

      • National Audit Office: Open data the key to 'big society'
        In a report titled "Information and Communications Technology in Government, Landscape Review", the watchdog says that a duty will be placed on all levels of government to publish data.

        As a result, new demands will be placed on existing ICT systems across government. These systems will be required to provide access to data at low cost using common data standards; a system of identity assurance that can be used by government's partners; information security where necessary; assurance about data quality; and the timely release of data.

    • Open Hardware


  • On rape culture & the importance of staying angry

  • Wisconsin Crowds Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver
    "I have never been prouder of our movement than I am at this moment," shouted Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt, as he surveyed the crowds of union members and their supporters that surged around the state Capitol and into the streets of Madison Wednesday, literally closing the downtown as tens of thousands of Wisconsinites protested their Republican governor’s attempt to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

  • Live Reporting from the Massive Protests in Wisconsin -- Over 30,000 Assemble at the Capitol
    Tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents are flooding the State Capitol in Madison in protest of Governor Walker's proposed budget "repair" bill that would end 50 years of collective bargaining for Wisconsin workers. CMD reporters will be out providing live coverage of these historic events.

  • Long Time Academic, Regular Op-Ed Writer, Claims He Had No Idea He Was Supposed To Attribute Text He Plagiarized
    This one is just bizarre. Romenesko points us to the news that the director of the University of Utah's Middle East Center, Dr. Bahman Baktiari, who regularly writes op-ed pieces for various newspapers, has been accused of plagiarism. His defense? He claims he had no idea he was supposed to attribute the content he copied.

  • U. probes claim of possible plagiarism by scholar
    Several political commentaries published by the director of the University of Utah’s Middle East Center (MEC) appear to borrow heavily from unattributed sources, prompting an inquiry by university officials.

    One of the pieces is an op-ed about the Egypt turmoil by Bahman Baktiari that was published in The Salt Lake Tribune on Feb. 5. According to an analysis by MEC faculty and students, given to top U. administrators and The Tribune on Tuesday, the piece replicates material from at least four sources, including The New York Times and The Economist.

    In an interview Thursday, Baktiari said he was unaware that he needed to attribute material written by others in opinion pieces he wrote for newspapers.

  • Influence vs Obeisance at the Independent
    There was an educational article in the Undiependent yersterday, in a sort of "OmiGod" way. It was about the UK "Top 100 Twitterers", and was ostensibly based on the PeerIndex algorithm. Now those of you who know about measuring influence on Twitter will know we are in Iteration 4 of Influence Monitoring.

  • As U.S. Agencies Put More Value on a Life, Businesses Fret
    As the players here remake the nation’s vast regulatory system, they have been grappling with a subject that is more the province of poets and philosophers than bureaucrats: what is the value of a human life?

    The answer determines how much spending the government should require to prevent a single death.

  • The trick to defeating tamper-indicating seals

  • Full apology and fluffed Labour response saves Caroline Spelman
    Caroline Spelman walked into the Commons chamber at lunchtime today with a shaky grip on her cabinet post. The environment secretary left the chamber an hour later with far greater prospects for the future.

    How did the mild-mannered Spelman, who had been the butt of jokes among senior members of the cabinet over her forest sell off plan, change her fortunes? Here are three reasons.

  • Science

    • Radio jammed by massive solar flare
      The cloud of supercharged particles emitted by a series of three solar flares is, as feared, disturbing radio communications.

      The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) reports that shortwave communications have been disrupted by the flares, of which the third, on Tuesday, was the biggest in over four years. With flares categorised as C Class, M Class and X Class, it's well into the X Class range.

      And while there's some debate about how much disruption the flare will cause, a similar coronal mass ejection (CME) cut the power to millions of people in Canada in 1973.

    • Print the Impossible
      This is an awesome print of an awesome object that does the very awesome trick of looking like it can’t possibly be real, even though it totally is. I think in person you might have to close one eye or be far away for it to work.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Firefighter refused call to Tucson shooting spree scene
      A veteran city firefighter's refusal to respond to the Jan. 8 shooting spree, citing "political bantering," may have slowed his Tucson Fire Department unit's response to the incident that left six dead and 13 wounded, city memos show.

    • Judge Throws Out Ex-Detainee's Suit Alleging Torture
      A federal judge tossed out a lawsuit by Jose Padilla, who alleged that he was tortured at a Navy brig while being held on terrorism charges.

      U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Thursday that Padilla has no right to sue for constitutional violations and that the defendants, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, enjoy qualified immunity.

    • Bahrain joins the freedom campaign
      Now the former rulers of Bahrain are experiencing what can happen when ordinary people decide they’re in charge of their own destinies.

    • Midwestern Tahrir: Workers refuse to leave Wisconsin capital over Tea Party labor law
      This week has seen massive, broad based protests in Wisconsin over Tea Party governor Scott Walker's new labor bill, which outlaws collective bargaining, slashes real wages in the public sector (by increasing workers' share of pension contributions and other payments), and allows the executive to fire state employees without substantial due process. Walker brought down his bill with enormous bluster, promising to mobilize the national guard against the state's workers if they had the temerity to demonstrate against this gutting of their hard-fought rights. Thousands and thousands of protestors have surrounded the state capital, and Walker has had to retreat to a nearby corporate boardroom in order to give his budget address. Protestors are camping out around the clock, braving the Wisconsin February to stand up for their rights -- a little bit of Midwestern Tahrir Square right there in America.

    • Overview of Middle East crackdowns and the (varying) U.S. responses
      As protests -- and crackdowns -- have been rippling through the Middle East, the U.S. response has varied by country.

      For instance, while the Obama administration has been vocal about events in Iran, it has been relatively quiet about violence by pro-government forces in Yemen. Here's a brief look at what's happening in some key countries -- and the U.S.'s response in each.

    • Bahrain protests: live
      Troops and tanks lock down the capital of Manama after uprooting a protest camp in a central square, beating demonstrators and blasting them with sprays of birdshot and tear gas. Medical officials say four people are killed. The military bans all gatherings.

      The protesters want the ruling Sunni Muslim monarchy, a key U.S. ally in the Gulf, to give up its control over top government posts and all critical decisions. Shiite Muslims make up 70 percent of Bahrain's 500,000 citizens but say they face systematic discrimination and poverty and are effectively blocked from key roles in public service and the military.

  • Cablegate

    • Secretary Clinton Unveils New Funding for Activism Technology, Rhetorical Refresh in Internet Freedom Speech
      Earlier today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a speech about Internet freedom titled, "Internet Rights and Wrongs: Choices and Challenges In A Networked World." In her remarks, Clinton built on prior statements about the U.S. Government's commitment to a free and open Internet, responding in part to the uprisings in the Middle East and Cablegate — major, ongoing international developments adding to the swell of debate about the parameters of Internet freedom.

      Notably, Secretary Clinton announced that the State Department plans to award $25 million in grants to technology, tools, and training projects that support Internet freedom. Moreover, the State Department appears to be committed to diversity in the projects it awards, with Secretary Clinton stating, "We support multiple tools, so if repressive governments figure out how to target one, others are at the ready." We hope to see that commitment to diversity translate into real improvement for the best tools for online anonymity, circumvention of censorship, and the technologies that help protect lives and move ideas throughout the world.

    • Why Our Government Would Fear Wikiarguments More than WikiLeaks
      Wikiarguments is an Internet-based (wiki) system that would force congressional accountability and make government deception much more difficult.

    • Will the Rise of Wikileaks Competitors Make Whistleblowing Resistant to Censorship?
      As these sites multiply, they will still need to deal with the challenges that Wikileaks and Cryptome have faced. They will need to find ways to effectively protect the identities of their sources, provide an adequate media platform, earn the trust of whistleblowers, weed out fabricated leaks, and avoid the wrath of corporations and governments. However, one thing is clear: the strong demand by readers and the media will make anonymous whistleblowing websites a permanent fixture in the future of investigative journalism. Cutting off services to one popular whistleblowing website will never be enough to keep truthful political information off the Internet.

    • Arabs believe world is better off, thanks to Wikileaks
      Most Arabs support Wikileaks, the whistle-blowing website, and demand greater transparency, a survey conducted in 17 Arab countries indicates.

      According to the Doha Debate poll that surveyed the views of more than 1,000 Arabs in the first week of February, six out of ten Arabs believe that the world has become a better place with Wikileaks.

    • Jemima Khan on Wikileaks
      Jemima Goldsmith explains why she is supporting Wikileaks & Julian Assange's fight against extradition to Sweden.

    • Jemima Khan - Defending Wikileaks Stop The War Coalition 7.02.11

    • Anonymous Surpasses Wikileaks
      The exploits of Anonymous to hack the systems of firms providing spying services to governments and corporations suggest that the WikiLeaks mini-era has been surpassed.

      Much of WikiLeaks promise to protect sources is useless if the sources are not whistleblowers needing a forum for publication. Instead publishers of secret information grab it directly for posting to Torrent for anybody to access without mediation and mark-up by self-esteemed peddlers of protection, interpretation and authentication, including media cum scholars.

      The wit and brevity of Anonymous taunts are exemplary -- min-talk max-action -- compared to the overblown gravitas of WL aping MSM in valuing its mission over short-shrifted "sources."

    • Special report: China flexed its muscles using U.S. Treasuries
      Confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. embassies in Beijing and Hong Kong lay bare China's growing influence as America's largest creditor.

      As the U.S. Federal Reserve grappled with the aftershocks of financial crisis, the Chinese, like many others, suffered huge losses from their investments in American financial firms -- from Lehman Brothers to the Primary Reserve Fund, the money market fund that broke the buck.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • State: Reality TV miners didn't have to shoot bear to protect themselves
      In one of the first episodes of “Gold Rush: Alaska,” the new Discovery Channel series about six men transplanted from Oregon to Southeast Alaska in hopes of striking gold, a brown bear wanders into camp.

    • Tell Chevron's CEO: Clean Up Ecuador Now!

    • Japan suspends whale hunt after chase by protesters
      Japan has suspended its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic for now after a hardline anti-whaling group gave chase to its mother ship and it may call the fleet back home, a government official said.

      Regular attempts by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to interrupt hunts have caused irritation in Japan, one of only three countries that now hunt whales and where the government says it is an important cultural tradition.

    • Forests sell-off abandoned as Cameron orders U-turn
      David Cameron has ordered ministers to carry out the government's biggest U-turn since the general election by abandoning plans to change the ownership of 258,000 hectares of state-owned woodland.

      Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, will announce on Friday that a consultation on the sale of forests will be ended after a furious backlash that united Tory supporters with environmentalists and the Socialist Workers party.

    • Armenia: Animal Rights Activists Plan Suit Againist New Yerevan Dolphinarium
      A group of Armenian non-governmental organizations is planning to file a lawsuit against a recently opened Yerevan dolphinarium, asserting that the center’s seven marine mammals are subject to abuse. The dolphinarium’s management, which promotes the facility as a “world of water miracles,” denies abuse accusations.

      “This is a prison for animals, an exploitative circus, and we will not give up our fight,” asserted Silva Adamian, the chairperson of the Ecological Alliance, a group comprising 50 environmental, human rights non-governmental organizations, and the opposition Heritage Party. The alliance opposes the Nemo dolphinarium’s operations. Efforts to review the Ukrainian-built center’s license to import dolphins into Armenia, or the license to construct the building, have so far been unsuccessful, she said. “We are going to bring a lawsuit soon and we will go to international courts,” she said.

    • Ebay Classifieds: Stop Selling Live Animals
      EBay claims that they have safeguards in place to protect the animals. But unless eBay is inspecting all of the operations listing pets for sale (because the USDA is not), and unless they're doing home visits on all of the people buying, how could they possibly protect the animals?

      The answer: They can't. Because of a loophole in the laws, as long as animals are being sold online, the breeders don't even fall under USDA regulation. Ebay has given puppy mills a huge, unregulated platform to peddle cruelty. And it seems that they're hoping animal advocates won't notice.

    • Interview with legislator who introduced bill to declare global warming “natural” and “beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana”
      Climate policy, he believes, is essentially an attempt to steer money and control into the federal government, which has been dictating the direction of climate science research for decades. He rejects the counsel of scientists like the University of Montana’s Dr. Steve Running, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists whose research on global warming finds that the “only solution that adds up on a global scale is reduced emissions.”

      “The purpose of this whole issue of carbon credits and pushing the agenda of global warming,” Read told the Wonk Room, “is about directing levies and fees for carbon credits so the federal government gets an income source.”

      Faced with the prospect of regulation, the fossil fuel industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last thirty years to cast doubt on long-established scientific conclusions.

  • Finance

    • Obama, GOP freshmen win in jet engine budget fight
      Determined to reduce deficits, impatient House Republican freshmen made common cause with President Barack Obama on Wednesday, scoring their biggest victory to date in a vote to cancel $450 million for an alternative engine for the Pentagon's next-generation warplane.

    • Trust Over Pension Pots Prompts Hungarians to Send Money Abroad
      Hungary’s fiscal policies are encouraging Peter Barta to hoard his money abroad.

      The 35-year-old businessman started sending cash out of the country after Premier Viktor Orban diverted 3 trillion forint ($15 billion) of private pension assets to plug the budget.

    • Borders Is Bankrupt. Use Your Gift Cards Now!
      As expected, second-tier book chain Borders filed for bankruptcy today, after a last-ditch effort at a lifesaving loan failed. The company now says it will be closing 30% of its stores—nearly 200 locations—over the next several weeks. But...but what about my gift card?

    • Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?
      "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that."

    • In an Amish village, the SEC alleges a Madoff-like fraud
      The personal assets of Monroe L. Beachy, a 77-year-old Amish man, included a horse, buggy and harness. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, his skills included financial fraud.

      Beachy spent a quarter-century raising $33 million from more than 2,600 investors, the overwhelming majority of them fellow members of the Amish community, which often shuns modern conveniences such as automobiles.

      But Beachy's investment approach allegedly had more in common with the timeless methods of Charles Ponzi and Bernard Madoff than with the sheltered village of Sugarcreek, Ohio, where he lived. When the SEC charged him with fraud on Tuesday, it said he had lost nearly half of his investors' money.

    • Comparing the GDP of China's Provinces to Countries

      I happened to come across a Chinese report that compiled 2010 growth rates and GDP figures for individual Chinese provinces. (This exercise may also be a partial and limited answer to my fellow guest blogger Edward Goldstick's dispatch on China's 12th five-year plan, a topic on which I've written extensively in my day job.) So using World Bank GDP numbers for various countries, which were only up to 2009 unfortunately, I did a quick comparison (confession: I did not tally up the GDPs to see if they totaled $5.8 trillion).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Week 81 – No freedom of speech for Cardiff University
      Several weeks ago, I was emailed an invitation to speak alongside Noam Chomsky in Cardiff, in March. The organisers also asked if I would give a talk at Cardiff University the following day; I happily agreed to both proposals.

      Yesterday, I got call from Ghaith Jayousi, who had invited me to Cardiff, to inform me that his University had refused to host the event, due to “security concerns coming from higher channels”.

  • Civil Rights

    • About That Constitution
      The GOP shows that for all their recent rhetoric about the sacredness of the Constitution, the document is really little more than a political prop.

    • Ron Wyden Speaks Out Against COICA: We Shouldn't Toss Out The First Amendment Just To Go After A Few Bad Actors
      Senator Ron Wyden (who just joined Twitter) was kind enough to send over the remarks he made to the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning COICA. It's an excellent read that highlights many of the points we've been making.

    • The COICA Internet Censorship and Copyright Bill

    • ICE Seizures Raising New Speech Concerns
      We're still getting a handle on the details, but it appears that the government took down all sites associated with a dynamic DNS service called, in particular subdomains beneath One or more of the subdomains may have been hosting child porn, but instead of seizing that subdomain alone, the takedown targeted What is worse, it also appears that the perfectly legal sites were temporarily plastered with a notice suggesting they trafficked in child porn.

    • US Senate votes to extend Patriot Act measures
      The US Senate has voted to extend controversial surveillance powers granted by the Patriot Act law, put in place after the 9/11 attacks.

      By a vote of 86-12, the Senate approved a 90-day extension of wiretaps, access to business records and surveillance of terror suspects.

      The move came one day after the House of Representatives voted to extend the provisions until 8 December.

    • MPs call for EVERYONE to be added to the national DNA database
      Erm, perhaps Mr Horwood would like to explain how the creation of a vast, central database of the intricate biological data of every British citizen can be squared with any conception of civil liberties?

    • 'Internet Freedom' in the Age of Assange
      Describing the Internet as the "public space of the 21st century," she called the debate about whether the Internet is a force for liberation or oppression "beside the point." Whether this digital public space is used well or used badly, she noted, is the responsibility of each and every one of the world's 2 billion-plus Internet users -- alongside all governments who seek to regulate it and companies that build Internet technologies and platforms.

    • China warns US over Clinton's web freedom call
      China has warned the US not to use calls for internet freedom as an excuse to meddle in other countries' affairs.

      The foreign ministry comments came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced an initiative to help dissidents around the world get past government internet controls.

      Since Mrs Clinton's speech, comments about it have been removed from China's popular Twitter-like microblog sites.

    • European Commission and Europol refuse to supply data on the implementation of the EU-US TFPT (SWIFT) agreement as it is "Top Secret"
      The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, and member of the Joint Supervisory Body of Europol, asked the German Interior Ministry numerous questions about the EU-US TFTP Agreement as they are empowered to do. The TFTP ("SWIFT") Agreement covers the transfer of personal records on financial transactions in the EU concerning terrorism and terrorist financing.

      The questions could only be answered by the European Commission or by Europol. The Europol Management Board decided that questions regarding the implementation of the Agreement should be answered by the Commission (13-14 October 2010). Under Article 4 of the Agreement Europol has to clear all US requests for detailed personal financial data.

    • FBI To Announce Significant New Wiretap Push Backdoors Galore In Everything From Skype To BitTorrent
      Despite the fact the phone companies now act as part time FBI surveillance analysts with a fleeting regard to law, and dump U.S. citizen data and voice traffic wholesale through NSA listening posts, Uncle Sam still apparently isn't happy with its wiretap authority. The FBI has been making their intentions clear in recent months that they not only want to start pushing hard again for ISP retention data, but the DOJ and FBI are also launching a new push for laws that would allow the easier access to a wider variety of information transmitted via new Internet communications platforms.

    • Newly Released Documents Detail FBI’s Plan to Expand Federal Surveillance Laws
      EFF just received documents in response to a 2-year old FOIA request for information on the FBI’s "Going Dark" program, an initiative to increase the FBI's authority in response to problems the FBI says it's having implementing wiretap and pen register/trap and trace orders on new communications technologies. The documents detail a fully-formed and well-coordinated plan to expand existing surveillance laws and develop new ones. And although they represent only a small fraction of the documents we expect to receive in response to this and a more recent FOIA request, they were released just in time to provide important background information for the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing tomorrow on the Going Dark program.

    • Debate Over Internet Backdoors Heats Up in Congress and in Court
      Two hearings tomorrow—one in court and one in Congress—will highlight the brewing debate over whether Congress should expand federal surveillance laws to force Internet communications service providers like Facebook, Google and Skype to build technical backdoors into their systems to enable government wiretapping.

    • FBI: We're not demanding encryption back doors
      The FBI said today that it's not calling for restrictions on encryption without back doors for law enforcement.

      FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni told a congressional committee that the bureau's push for expanded Internet wiretapping authority doesn't mean giving law enforcement a master key to encrypted communications, an apparent retreat from her position last fall.

    • Hillary Clinton Talks Freedom as Protester Ray McGovern Is Bloodied
      But that’s what our current Secretary of State did when peace activist, veteran Army officer and onetime C.I.A. analyst Ray McGovern protested silently while she lectured the rest of the world about freedom this week at George Washington University.


      McGovern had been standing silently facing the back of the auditorium where all the news cameras were. His supposed crime? “Disorderly conduct” – i.e. wearing a shirt that blocked the view of guests and the media, and therefore “disrupted” the speech by the Secretary of State.

      McGovern discussed his protest and subsequent arrest at Secretary Clinton’s “Freedom Speech” in an interview with blogger Rob Kall.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Students: Show Your Support for Net Neutrality!
      Thank you for participating in the Internet Strikes Back! Please read the letter below and fill out the fields at the bottom of the page in order to add your signature. We'll deliver this letter to Congress with all of the student signatures attached at the end of February. Want to do more to show your support for net neutrality? Click here to visit the Internet Strikes Back homepage. Want to learn more about net neutrality? Click here for more information.

    • The Internet Is Mine
      The Internet does belong to *me* — and all the other self styled Citizens of the Net.

      Corporations may own bits of wire and pieces of equipment, but that isn’t The Internet. Any more than a handful of soil scooped up from the nearest garden is your country.

      That pile of dirt may be a fractional portion of your country, and those bits of technology may be segments of Internet infrastructure, but they are neither the sum of your country nor the entity we call The Internet.

      Please note: there is but one Internet, which is the sum of a whole mess of interconnection. Networks. Computers. Cell phones.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New leaks of TPPA text show U.S. is playing hardball
      The text confirms that the Americans are taking an extremely aggressive position on intellectual property that contrasts starkly with the New Zealand proposal, said Professor Jane Kelsey, who is in Santiago as a registered “stakeholder” at the negotiations.

    • Copyrights

      • Gaiman on Copyright Piracy and the Web

      • History of Copyright, part 6: Hijacked By Record Industry
        Copyright in the 20th century was not characterized by books, but by music. The 1930s saw two major developments that affected musicians: the Great Depression, which caused many musicians to lose their jobs, and movies with sound, which caused most of the rest of musicians to lose their jobs.

        In this environment, two initatives were taken in parallel. Musician’s unions tried to guarantee income and sustenance to the people who were now jobless, made redundant as we say today in executivespeak. Unions all over the West were concerned about the spread of “mechanized music”: any music that isn’t performed live and therefore didn’t need performing musicians. They wanted some power over the speaker technology, and the question was raised through the International Labour Organization (a predecessor to the UN agency with the same name).

      • History of Copyright, part 7: Hijacked by Pfizer
        The president of Pfizer, Edmund Pratt, had a furious op-ed piece in a New York Times on July 9, 1982 titled “Stealing from the Mind”. It fumed about how third world countries were stealing from them. (By this, he referred to making medicine from their own raw materials with their own factories using their own knowledge in their own time for their own people, who were frequently dying from horrible but curable third-world conditions.) Major policymakers saw a glimpse of an answer in Pfizer’s and Pratt’s thinking, and turned to Pratt’s involvement in another committee directly under the President. This committee was the magic ACTN: Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations.

        What the ACTN recommended, following Pfizer’s lead, was so daring and provocative that nobody was really sure whether to try it out: the US would try linking its trade negotiations and foreign policy. Any country who didn’t sign lopsided “free trade” deals that heavily redefined value would be branded in a myriad of bad ways, the most notable being the “Special 301 watchlist”. This list is supposed to be a list of nations not respecting copyright enough. A majority of the world’s population is on it, among them Canada.

        So the solution to not producing anything of value in international trade was to redefine “producing”, “anything”, and “value” in an international political context, and to do so by bullying. It worked. The ACTN blueprints were set in motion by US Trade Representatives, using unilateral bullying to push foreign governments into enacting legislation that favored American industry interestes, bilateral “free trade” agreements that did the same, and multilateral agreements that raised the bar worldwide in protection of American interests.

      • BitTorrent is to stealing movies what "bolt-cutters are to stealing bicycles"
        Today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was all about COICA, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The bill would give the government legal tools to blacklist a "rogue" website from the Internet's Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid US-based online ad networks from working with the site. It even directs the government to keep a list of suspect sites, even though no evidence has been presented against them in court.

        Everyone loves the idea. Democrats love the idea (well, except for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who said it was "like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile"). Republicans love the idea. And rightsholders really love the idea.

      • The Economic Consequences of Piracy
        But this laudable attempt at rigour is completely undermined by the fact that nowhere in the report is there any recognition that all this "lost" money does *not* disappear, but is simply channelled elsewhere in the Australian economy, where it might actually create more jobs than it would if spent on films (because of revenue outflows to the US, and the fact that local money would be spent on more labour-intensive industries like retailing or catering.) Similarly, it *does* produce tax revenue for the Australian government, just from different sources.

        It would be far more conducive to producing an honest debate about the *real* effects of unauthorised copies on national economies if these key facts were included for a change; by continuing to ignore them, these misleading and one-sided reports amount to little more than industry propaganda.

      • File-Sharers Start Handing Over $1,000 Each in Bizarre Amnesty Program
        Ten individuals have freely and bizarrely handed over $1,000 each to movie studio Liberty Media in piracy settlements, despite the company having absolutely no idea who they are or if they did anything wrong. Now Liberty have a new amnesty and are offering BitTorrent users the chance to hand themselves in or risk being involved in 36,000 upcoming lawsuits.

        After running rampant in Germany and the UK, the United States is now suffering under an onslaught of Speculative Invoicing – mass file-sharing lawsuits designed to scare people into paying cash settlements on the basis that by doing so they avoid a much more costly trial later.

      • CHART OF THE DAY: The Death Of The Music Industry [Ed: just recording industry, not music]

      • Can Senator Patrick Leahy Actually Provide The Proof That The COICA Censorship Law Is Needed?
        "Are reported?" By whom? Not the US government, who a year ago noted that all of the studies making those sorts of claims were bogus, and the various studies discussing these claims of "losses" to both jobs and the American economy have been thoroughly debunked. The only people still claiming that such things are factual are lobbyists and legacy industry insiders, who clearly stand to benefit from such laws that can be used to stifle innovation.

        If Leahy is going to insist that these numbers are factual, shouldn't he at least have to say where he got those numbers from -- and also avoid relying on numbers from the very industries this law is designed to help?

      • Digital Economy (UK)/HADOPI

Clip of the Day

WikiRebels: The Documentary on Wikileaks (Part 2 of 6) HD

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Credit: TinyOgg


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