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Links 1/5/2019: Dell With GNU/Linux, Red Hat's New Logo and Librem One Services

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Dell’s latest Precision mobile workstations weigh as little as 4 pounds
      Both new Precision laptops are available with a choice of Windows, Ubuntu, or Red Hat Linux operating systems.

    • Dell Launches Linux-Loaded Precision 3540 Laptop Starting At ~$700 USD
      While the new Dell XPS 9380 Developer Edition is a beauty and offers very capable performance, if the price is too much, Dell has launched their "budget" Mobile Precision laptops now with Ubuntu Linux options.

      The Dell Precision 3540 is the first of these new developer edition laptops. The Dell Precision 3540 starts at $702 USD for a Core i5-8365U model with UHD Graphics 620, 15-inch 1366x768 display, 4GB RAM, and 500GB HDD. There's a $67 savings in going for Ubuntu Linux over Microsoft Windows 10. Overall it's not too bad for a low-tier laptop though personally would have issues with the 4GB of RAM and 1366x768 display in 2019.

    • Dell Latitude refresh banks on connectivity, battery life
      Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64-bit/Windows 10 Home 64-bit Ubuntu 18.04/NeoKylin 64-bit (May 2019)

  • Server

    • OpenStack’s Ironic Bare Metal Program Gains Momentum
      The OpenStack Foundation’s Ironic software is now managing millions of cores of compute all over the world. Thirty organizations are launch members of the program, including vendors running some of the world’s largest OpenStack clouds.

      Among these are OpenStack environments of all sizes, including large operators such as Verizon Media and CERN, as well as smaller-scale deployments. Together, these operators manage over a million cores with Ironic. The strong commercial ecosystem supporting Ironic-based solutions also includes large users and commercial providers like Red Hat, Mirantis, China Mobile, and SUSE. These organizations are now identifiable with a new Ironic badge, which also appears in the OpenStack Marketplace.

      OpenStack is commonly associated with managing virtual machines, storage and networking. One of the hidden jewels of the open source software, however, is the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal service. With Ironic, users could manage bare metal infrastructure as they would virtual machine.

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform: Bringing open innovation to the edge
      Red Hat has driven open innovation across the IT landscape for both enterprise and telecommunications service providers, from providing an infrastructure foundation with Red Hat Enterprise Linux to the massively scalable framework of Red Hat OpenStack Platform. Today, we’re continuing to extend this open innovation, quite literally, to the edge.

      As the geographic footprints of organizations become more dispersed, CIOs should look for ways to more effectively process data produced at remote sites. At the same time, as our current technology age fills with smart devices, artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet-of-Things (IoT), there is an expectation that data will reach the end user or the decision-maker in close to real time. It’s another example of the consumerization of enterprise IT; autonomous cars and smart homes do this, so why shouldn’t our data centers as well?

      This near-instantaneous handover of information is easier said than done, especially at enterprise scale. IT organizations need to build around bandwidth, resilience, IT security needs, processing and distance challenges as they work to get this data into the right hands at the right time. Processing power can be used at the "edge" of these networks to help alleviate these challenges...which is exactly what edge computing is intended to provide.

    • Docker Enterprise 3.0 Advances Container Development
      Docker CEO Steve Singh kicked off his company's DockerCon 19 event with the assertion that container technology is the engine for innovation in the modern digital economy.

      DockerCon runs from April 29 - May 2 with approximately 5,000 attendees gathered to learn and discuss the container technology that Docker created. DockerCon also served as the venue for the company's new Docker Enterprise 3.0 release announcement, bringing together new desktop, application, Kubernetes and cloud innovation to market, in an effort to help fuel the next stage of the digital economy.

      'In a world of cognitive computing, containers are that basic unit or the standard upon which all transformation will occur," Singh said. "In fact, by next year, more than 50% of global organizations are going to be running containers in production."

    • Here’s Red Hat’s new logo – why change? ‘A much different company’ today
      On May Day known for being a day of “red,” it seems fitting that this is the time for Red Hat to redoing its trademark red-and-black fedora logo. But that doesn’t lessen the impact of the change. This is as big in news value as Linux dropping the penguin – which it is not.

      And here it is with this post, just released from the Hatters.

      And moments ago, an all white against vivid red background was unveiled – a revised addition to the Raleigh skyline.

    • Automated migration from JBoss A-MQ 6 to Red Hat AMQ 7 on Red Hat OpenShift
      Since Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform was first released, Red Hat Middleware products were provided to deploy on it and help developers to build more complex solutions. Messaging Brokers are a very important piece in most new application architectures, such as microservices, event sourcing, and CQRS. Red Hat JBoss A-MQ was provided from the beginning to deploy Messaging Brokers on Red Hat OpenShift easily.

      Red Hat AMQ 7 is the latest version of a high-performance, scalable, and multi-protocol broker based on the Apache ActiveMQ Artemis open source project. It is also available as a containerized image for use with Red Hat OpenShift, so it allows developers to quickly deploy messaging brokers in a cloud environment.

    • A guide to the open source distributed tracing landscape
      Getting started with distributed tracing can be a daunting task. There are many new terms, frameworks, and tools with apparently overlapping capabilities, and it’s easy to get lost or sidetracked. This guide will help you navigate the open source distributed tracing landscape by describing and classifying the most popular tools.

      Although tracing and profiling are closely related disciplines, distributed tracing is typically understood as the technique that is used to tie the information about different units of work together—usually executed in different processes or hosts—in order to understand a whole chain of events. In a modern application, this means that distributed tracing can be used to tell the story of an HTTP request as it traverses across a myriad of microservices.

      Most of the tools listed here can be classified as an instrumentation library, a tracer, an analysis tool (backend + UI), or any combination thereof. The article “The difference between tracing, tracing, and tracing” is a great resource in describing these three faces of distributed tracing.

      For the purposes of this guide, we’ll define instrumentation as the library that is used to tell what to record, tracer as the library that knows how to record and submit this data, and analysis tool as the back end that receives the trace information. In the real world, these categories are fluid, with the distinction between instrumentation and tracer not always being clear. Similarly, the term analysis tool might be too broad, as some tools are focused on exploring traces and others being complete observability platforms.

    • Making Open Source Ceph Easy To Use | Jason Van Der Schyff – SoftIron
      SoftIron offers Ceph powered storage appliance that enables users to use fully optimized Ceph without any complexity. We sat down with Jason Van der Schyff, VP, Operations of SoftIron to understand their custom build Ceph appliance.

  • Magazines/Shows

    • The Kernel Issue
      How much do you know about your kernel? Like really know?

      Considering how critically important the Linux kernel is to the world—and, perhaps just as important, to our own personal computers and gadgets—it's rather amazing how little most people actually know about it.

      There might as well be magical hamsters in there, pushing 1s and 0s around with their enchanted hamster gloves of computing power. How do kernels (in a general sense) actually work, anyway? How does one sit down and debug a specific Linux kernel issue? How does a kernel allocate and work with the memory in your computer? Those are questions most of us never need to ask—because Linux works.

    • Shame as a Service | LINUX Unplugged 299
      Fresh back from LinuxFest Northwest we share a few of our favorite stories and memories.

      Plus our concerns with Pursim's new subscription services, Fedora 30 is released, and we spin up the Distro Hoppers.

    • GeekRant #357 - GeekRant Assemble

  • Kernel Space

    • Blender Developers Find Old Linux Drivers Are Better Maintained Than Windows
      To not a lot of surprise compared to the world of proprietary graphics drivers on Windows where once the support is retired the driver releases stop, old open-source Linux OpenGL drivers are found to be better maintained.

      Blender developers working on shipping Blender 2.80 this July as the big update to this open-source 3D modeling software today rolled out the Linux GPU requirements for this next release.

    • Linux Foundation

      • CloudBees,, FPT Software, and Github join Automotive Grade Linux to Support Shared Technology Development for In-Car Technology [Ed: More Microsoft money (and influence) in the LF]
        Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open source platform for connected car technologies, has announced that CloudBees,, FPT Software, and Github have joined AGL.

        “As we dive into the second quarter of this year, we are thrilled to see our community grow and flourish,” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux at the Linux Foundation. “The traction we are experiencing can be seen through new members as well as the growing number of AGL-based products and services coming to market. We are happy to welcome our new members and look forward to leveraging their expertise as we continue to build out new features and functionalities on the AGL platform.”

      • CloudBees Joins Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux Project to Help Car Manufacturers Drive Shorter Development Cycles, Accelerate Software Quality
        CloudBees, the enterprise DevOps leader powering the continuous economy, today announced it has joined Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative cross-industry effort changing the way automotive manufacturers build software. AGL is an open source project at the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source technology.
      • More Automotive Grade Linux Members
        Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open source platform for connected car technologies, has announced that CloudBees,, FPT Software, and Github have joined AGL.

        “As we dive into the second quarter of this year, we are thrilled to see our community grow and flourish,” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux at the Linux Foundation. “The traction we are experiencing can be seen through new members as well as the growing number of AGL-based products and services coming to market. We are happy to welcome our new members and look forward to leveraging their expertise as we continue to build out new features and functionalities on the AGL platform.”
      • Nvidia, Red Hat Join Hollywood Open Source Group
        Nvidia and Red Hat are the latest high-profile companies to join the Academy Software Foundation, a consortium that aims to help Hollywood with the adoption and development of open source tools. The foundation has also taken two additional open source projects, OpenEXR and OpenCue, under its wings.

        In addition to Nvidia and Red Hat, the Academy Software Foundation also accepted ftrack, a company that has developed software for collaborative media review, as a new member.

        “Open source technologies have been a source of innovation for the motion picture and broader media industry for many years, and Red Hat has been proud to collaborate with many of the leaders in this space to both enable their adoption of open source and to progress technologies in a way that has enabled this innovation,” said Red Hat chief technology officer Chris Wright in a statement. “We’re happy to join the Academy Software Foundation to expand this work and drive open standards that deliver sustainable interoperability.”

      • Academy Software Foundation Announces NVIDIA as Premier Member

    • Graphics Stack

      • Open-Source NVIDIA "Nouveau" Driver Sees Few Changes For Linux 5.2
        Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs at Red Hat has sent in the changes targeting the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel.

        While the Nouveau changes are being sent in rather late with Linux 5.1 already expected this coming weekend, the tardiness of this pull request sadly isn't due to working on some "killer" features. In fact, this round is quite small and mainly just a couple of fixes.

        The open-source NVIDIA Linux driver for Linux 5.2 is seeing a spelling mistake fix in the code, ensuring the BAR is properly mapped for NV50/GF100 code paths, properly disabling the i2c bus, and an error forwarding fix.

      • Softpipe Improvements Land In Mesa 19.1 Allowing For More OpenGL 4.x Bits
        Softpipe, the Gallium-based software rasterizer fallback for Mesa (not to be confused with the faster LLVMpipe), has seen some OpenGL 4.x support additions land for the upcoming Mesa 19.1.

        Softpipe now exposes more capabilities of ARB_gpu_shader5, now handles ARB_ES3_1_compatibility, OES_geometry_shader, OES_primitive_bounding_box, OES_texture_cube_map_array, and OES_viewport_array.

      • LG's 4K FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync Display For Just $219 USD
        Now that the Radeon FreeSync support is in good standing with Linux 5.0+ and Mesa 19.0+ (or Mesa 19.1+ for RADV Vulkan support) as well as NVIDIA offering G-SYNC Compatible Linux support, if you have been desiring a FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync display but are on a limited budget, LG has an interesting 24-inch contender... A 4K FreeSync-supported display for just $219 USD?!?

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 19.04 from Snap Store for Kubuntu Users
        Great news announced on 18 April 2019 by KDE neon developers that KDE Applications 19.04 has been released for all GNU/Linux distros through Snap Store. This means KDE Project released their latest bundle of awesome, unique applications we know like Gwenview, Okular, Kig, KolourPaint, and so on in one time. And we in every GNU/Linux distro, as long as we have Snap installed, can install those applications without waiting our respective distro to provide them to us. Finally, happy installing!

  • Distributions

    • Sparky news 2019/04
      The 4th monthly report of 2019 of the Sparky project:

      ● added to repos: alacritty, qt-fsarchiver, strawberry ● Sparky group has been activated at MeWe by lami07, so welcome everybody if you’d like to join us ● Linux kernel updated up to version 5.0.10 & 5.1-rc7 ● Sparky 4.10 is on the way, stay tuned ● new Lumina Desktop 1.5.0 popped up so should be build soon on Buster

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE CLM Admin Console is a powerful tool for OpenStack management
        When SUSE introduced the Cloud Lifecycle Manager for deploying SUSE OpenStack Cloud, we offered a flexible declarative model to define your OpenStack implementation and deploy it from the command line. But that was only half the story. With SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9, SUSE introduces the Cloud Lifecycle Manager Admin Console, which enables users to manage Day 2 operations of a deployed OpenStack cluster from an intuitive, browser-based GUI. The CLM Admin Console is an extension of the graphical installation tool delivered in Cloud 8. Based on the upstream Ardana project, the SUSE CLM Admin Console provides real-time information about your OpenStack services, packages, configuration, model and roles, and at-a-glance views of your entire topology. Instead of manually editing YaML files or relying on command-line tools, the CLM Admin Console captures everything in one place.

      • Stress-free open infrastructure the SUSE way
        This week, the SUSE Spa is visiting Denver, helping attendees of the Open Infrastructure Summit to reduce their stresses around open infrastructure. Whether you’re looking to implement a software-defined storage solution to give you easily scalable, cost-effective storage that can grow with you and utilise commodity hardware, or if you’re looking for a container management system as you’re moving towards containerising your applications, SUSE can help.

      • Do you really need to scale to zero?
        In the FaaS space, there has been a big push to allow the ability to scale down to no workload running. I want to ask: Is this something you actually want or need?

        Scaling to zero allows containers to be run only when there is demand. For certain workloads, this gives a lot lower baseline resource usage and lets you scale down instances when in the public cloud to cost less.

      • openSUSE.Asia Summit 2019 Bali: Call for proposals is Open
        openSUSE.Asia Summit is one of the great events for openSUSE community (i.e., both contributors and users) in Asia. Those who usually communicate online can get together from all over the world, talk face to face, and have fun. Members of the community will share their most recent knowledge, experiences, and learn FLOSS technologies surrounding openSUSE.

        Following the Asia Summit in Taipei last year, the sixth openSUSE.Asia Summit year 2019 will be at Udayana University, Bali Indonesia on October 5th and 6th, 2019. The past Asia Summits have had participants from Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, India, Nepal, and etc.

    • Slackware Family

      • Ryzen Soft Lockup Issues
        When i bought my first AMD Ryzen 5 1600X last year, i was hoping for a great performance after looking at some reviews and it did give me a good impressions on the first few days both in Windows and Linux. Unfortunately few days later, i had some issues after upgrading to latest Windows 10 update and i decided to remove Windows 10 completely from my desktop at home. It turns out an issue on the BIOS, so an update was performed and suddenly the problem goes away (Thanks to idlemoor for the suggestion).

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 30 released

      • What’s new in Fedora 30 Workstation
        Fedora 30 Workstation is the latest groundbreaking release of our free, leading-edge operating system. You can download it from the official website here right now. There are several new and noteworthy changes in Fedora Workstation.

      • Fedora 30 Performance Is Moving In The Right Direction But A Lot Of Untapped Potential
        Yesterday we began with our preliminary performance benchmarks of Fedora 30. From those results Intel Core i9 and AMD Threadripper systems and what we're seeing on other systems in the labs, Fedora 30 indeed is coming out generally slightly faster than Fedora 29 when looking at the performance overall. In some cases the performance is much better thanks to GCC 9 and other upgrades, but overall it's a small, modest performance improvement. While that's better than seeing Fedora 30 running slower than its predecessor, there still is more potential to squeeze out of the system.

        With the Intel Core i9 7980XE system as a high-performance reference system, here are some additional data points comparing those Fedora 29 and Fedora 30 results to Ubuntu 19.04, openSUSE Tumbleweed (with its GNOME desktop option, to match the other operating systems tested), and Clear Linux for seeing how those distributions compete with the new Fedora Linux.

      • Fedora 30 Linux rolls out
        Many desktop users love Red Hat's community Linux Fedora 30. They have good reason. Fedora is a great Linux desktop. But Fedora's far more than just a desktop. It comes in three major versions: One for the workstation, another for containers, and still another that works as a server both on your server hardware and on the cloud.

      • Fedora 30 Linux Distro Is Here

      • Upgrading Fedora 29 to Fedora 30
        Fedora 30 is available now. You’ll likely want to upgrade your system to the latest version of Fedora. Fedora Workstation has a graphical upgrade method. Alternatively, Fedora offers a command-line method for upgrading Fedora 29 to Fedora 30.

      • How to upgrade Fedora 29 to Fedora 30
        How do I upgrade to Fedora 30 from Fedora 29 Using the dnf command? How can I update F29 to F30? Can you tell me the procedure to upgrade Fedora 29 to Fedora 30?

        Fedora Linux 30 released. This page shows how to use dnf system upgrade to upgrade your system to a newer release of Fedora 30. The updated packages downloaded from the Internet. Once installation of the updated packages is complete, the system reboots again to the latest Fedora release version 30.

      • Fedora Project Announces Fedora 30
        The Fedora project has announced the release of Fedora Linux 30. Fedora is a free, Red-Hat-sponsored community Linux that serves as a test bed for technologies that will eventually appear in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

        The latest release arrives with a realignment of some of the various Fedora versions. The former Cloud and Server editions are combined into the new Fedora Server. Fedora’s Atomic Host container-focused variant is replaced by Fedora CoreOS. (Red Hat acquired CoreOS back in 2018.)

        Fedora 30 comes with Gnome 3.32, GCC 9, Bash 5.0, and PHP 7.3. The server edition adds a new feature called Linux System Roles, which the project describes as “… a collection of roles and modules executed by Ansible to assist Linux admins in the configuration of common GNU/Linux subsystems.”

      • 3 apps to manage personal finances in Fedora
        There are numerous services available on the web for managing your personal finances. Although they may be convenient, they also often mean leaving your most valuable personal data with a company you can’t monitor. Some people are comfortable with this level of trust.

        Whether you are or not, you might be interested in an app you can maintain on your own system. This means your data never has to leave your own computer if you don’t want. One of these three apps might be what you’re looking for.

      • Fedora 30 released with flicker-free boot, better high-res display support, and more
        The team behind the popular GNU/Linux distribution Fedora have released a major update that brings a bunch of software updates, some new options, and optimizations.

        Fedora 30 is now available for download from the Fedora website, or if you’re already using an earlier version, you should be prompted to download and install the update.

      • Fedora 30 Run Through

    • Debian Family

      • Debian's New Project Leader Hits The Ground Running With Ideas
        Sam Hartman, Debian's new Project Leader, has issued his first (partial) monthly report with his initial activities serving in the "DPL" role.

        Sam Hartman won this year's Debian Project Leader elections by campaigning on keeping Debian fun and is now working to implement some of the ideas he proposed but also other proposals voiced by those that were running against him in the elections.

      • Debian 9.9 GNU/Linux Released along with Live Editions and Download Links
        Debian GNU/Linux 9.9 "Stretch" released on Saturday, 27 April 2019. It is the ninth major update of the ninth major release of Debian operating system. It brings the installation ISO, along with six Live Desktop Editions (equal to Ubuntu's Flavors), each supports both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. I listed here both direct and torrent links of them. Happy downloading!

      • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in April 2019
        Whilst anyone can inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws almost all software is distributed pre-compiled to end users.

        The motivation behind the Reproducible Builds effort is to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

      • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities (2019-04)
        April is over and winter is here and things are getting gloomy, but that doesn’t stop surfers from heading out into the ocean (photo taken at Muizenberg surfer’s corner, Cape Town).

      • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, April 2019
        I uploaded firmware-nonfree with Emilio Pozuelo Monfort's changes, and issued DLA-1747-1.

        I made a stable update to Linux 3.16 (3.16.65) and rebased the Debian package on top of this. I built and uploaded packages for testing, to reduce the risk of an uncaught regression in the next update to jessie. I prepared the next stable update (3.16.66), which is currently out for review.

      • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities April 2019

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Combines its Services in a Single Package
            Under a new offering called Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure, Canonical is “aggregating Linux, Kubernetes, Docker, OpenStack, KVM, Ceph, and SWIFT security update and support offerings into a single package which enables businesses to evolve from traditional infrastructure to private cloud and container operations without introducing any new cost,” said Stephan Fabel, Director of Product at Canonical.

            For those users who do not need technical support, the Essential level of UA for Infrastructure provides a stream of kernel live patches and security fixes for system services and libraries, including OpenStack and Kubernetes, Ceph and SWIFT, together with FIPS and a range of infrastructure management and operations capabilities such as Prometheus, Grafana, Telegraf, Graylog, Filebeat, Elastic Search, MAAS and Canonical’s Landscape systems management offering.

          • Shuttleworth Tells OpenStack to Keep Its Focus on the Cloud
            Few if any figures in the OpenStack community are as well-known, or as outspoken, as Canonical CEO and Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth.

            At the Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver on April 29, Shuttleworth delivered a keynote where he took issue with the direction the OpenStack Foundation is headed, by extending its focus beyond the core OpenStack cloud platform. Shuttleworth also said that for his part he was "doubling-down" on OpenStack as a cloud platform, on which his company is seeing solid success. That said, Shuttleworth is also a realist and he sees organizations using all manner of infrastructure technologies, which is why he announced the new Ubuntu Advantage program for Infrastructure, providing a supported service to help organizations with open infrastructure.

            "We're no longer the rebel outsiders; we are in a sense becoming the Empire, and it's really important for us to think about how we want to lead," Shuttleworth said. "I know for a fact that nobody asked to replace dueling vendors with dueling foundations."

          • Red Hat Virtualization 4.3 is at the starting gate
            At Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver, Red Hat announced that its latest virtualization platform, Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) 4.3, will be out in May.

            RHV is the latest version of Red Hat's Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)-powered virtualization platform. KVM s a built-in Linux virtualization program for x86 with virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). Red Hat's take also supports IBM's POWER 9 hardware.

            What's that? Do you still need virtualization, when containers and Kubernetes are all the rage? Yes. Yes, you do. As Joe Fernandes, Red Hat's VP of cloud platforms products, said in a statement, "Virtualization provides a foundation for modern computing and entry point for hybrid cloud deployments, making a flexible, stable and open virtualization platform a key piece of an enterprise technology."

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 30 April 2019
            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list or visit the Ubuntu Server discourse hub for more discussion.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Download Links of Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" All Editions and Checksums
              The latest Linux Mint release 19.1 codenamed "Tessa" was released on Wednesday, 19 December 2018. It's based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and supported until 2023. For you wanting to download it now, here's list of all editions' download links along with the checksums. Happy downloading!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • NS1 Flamethrower: Lightweight, open source DNS performance testing tool
    As the first stop for all application traffic, DNS performance and resiliency are critical to modern application delivery. The need for monitoring and testing DNS capabilities has grown in importance, but while building its new DNS servers, NS1 found existing tools didn?t allow for realistic traffic patterns and real-world testing environments.

  • dav1d 0.3.0 Sailfish: ARMed to the teeth
    The open-source AV1 decoder dav1d was updated yesterday to version 0.3.0. With the third release, new assembly code provides some serious performance gains on both the PC and mobile platforms.

  • DAV1D 0.3 AV1 Decoder Released With Many Performance Improvements
    Version 0.3 of the "dav1d" AV1 video decoder was released on Tuesday and it delivers faster performance.

    Dav1d 0.3.0 is delivering around 26% faster performance in the x86_64 space when making use of SSE4.1 and similarly large gains with SSSE3. However, for the newer AVX2 code-path this release is just around 4% faster but still significant considering their earlier Advanced Vector Extensions work.

  • Keeping libre software accessible to all

    There are many reasons that libre software should not rely on proprietary communication tools. Of course, there are ideological reasons – we should not, as libre software maintainers, force our users or contributors to use a proprietary system. However, that may not be convincing enough for some projects, especially those that focus more on being “open source” than standing for the rights of their users. Some of the non-ideological reasons include: [...]

  • Benjamin Mako Hill: New Research on How Anonymity is Perceived in Open Collaboration
    Online anonymity often gets a bad rap and complaints about antisocial behavior from anonymous Internet users are as old as the Internet itself. On the other hand, research has shown that many Internet users seek out anonymity to protect their privacy while contributing things of value. Should people seeking to contribute to open collaboration projects like open source software and citizen science projects be required to give up identifying information in order to participate?

  • Events

    • Dynatrace at Red Hat Summit: What to expect
      Red Hat Summit 2019 is just around the corner, and we’ll be there once again to showcase our product and partnership with Red Hat. What’s key to know about this event, whether you’re attending or not, is the importance it holds to Dynatrace and Red Hat and how we plan to continue to move forward together to provide the open source technology enterprises need to compete effectively.

      The event is a collaborative forum for partners and delegates to attend, a place to learn, expand your capabilities and enrich one another with new insights. But most importantly, a place to collaborate, grow and innovate together.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla VR Blog: Firefox Reality coming to SteamVR
        We are excited to announce that we’re working with Valve to bring the immersive web to SteamVR!

        This January, we announced that we were bringing the Firefox Reality experience to desktop devices and the Vive stores. Since then, collaborating closely with Valve, we have been working to also bring Firefox Reality to the SteamVR immersive experience. In the coming months, users will be offered a way to install Firefox Reality via a new web dashboard button, and then launch a browser window over any OpenVR experience.

        With a few simple clicks, users will be able to access web content such as tips or guides or stream a Twitch comment channel without having to exit their immersive experiences. In addition, users will be able to log into their Firefox account once, and access synced bookmarks and cookies across both Firefox and Firefox Reality — no need to log in twice!

      • Firefox 67 Beta 16 Testday, May 3rd
        We are happy to let you know that Friday, May 3rd, we are organizing Firefox 67 Beta 16 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Track Changes M2 and WebExtensions compatibility & support.

        Check out the detailed instructions via this etherpad.

        No previous testing experience is required, so feel free to join us on #qa IRC channel where our moderators will offer you guidance and answer your questions.

      • Mozilla GFX: WebRender newsletter #44
        WebRender is a GPU based 2D rendering engine for web written in Rust, currently powering Mozilla’s research web browser servo and on its way to becoming Firefox‘s rendering engine.

      • Python 3 at Mozilla
        Mozilla uses a lot of Python. Most of our build system, CI configuration, test harnesses, command line tooling and countless other scripts, tools or Github projects are all handled by Python. In mozilla-central there are over 3500 Python files (excluding third party files), comprising roughly 230k lines of code. Additionally there are 462 repositories labelled with Python in the Mozilla org on Github (though many of these are not active). That’s a lot of Python, and most of it is Python 2.

        With Python 2’s exaugural year well underway, it is a good time to take stock of the situation and ask some questions. How far along has Mozilla come in the Python 3 migration? Which large work items lie on the critical path? And do we have a plan to get to a good state in time for Python 2’s EOL on January 1st, 2020?

      • This Week In Servo 129
        Our roadmap is available online, including the team’s plans for 2019.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • For Open Source, It's All About GitHub Now

      Stein says ASF will keep copies of all the code hosted on GitHub on its own servers, and contributors who don't agree to GitHub's terms of service will be able to submit code changes through ASF's own Git server, which Stein says isn't going anywhere. But the bulk of the organization's projects will now be developed on GitHub.

    • The Apache Software Foundation Completes Migration To GitHub [Ed: Swapnil Bhartiya on Microsoft controlling Apache code]
      According to the foundation, Apache projects initially had two version control services available via ASF Infrastructure: Apache Subversion and Git. Through the years, an increasing number of projects and their communities wanted to see their source code available on GitHub. As these were read-only mirrors, the ability to use GitHub’s tools around those repositories was limited.

      ASF has over 200M+ lines of code which are managed by a large community comprising 730 individual ASF Members and 7,000 Apache code committers. Over its 20 year history, 1,058,321,099 lines of code have been committed across 3,022,836 code commits.

    • Open Source Flaw Management Shows Signs of Improvement: Report [Ed: Jack M. Germain gives a platform to a Microsoft parasite that badmouths FOSS as a business model]

  • Programming/Development

    • GCC 9.1 RC2 Released Ahead Of Friday's Compiler Debut With Zen 2, Cascadelake Support
      Barring any glaring bugs being discovered in the next few days, GCC 9.1 will be released on Friday as the first stable release of the GCC 9 compiler.

      The first GCC 9.1 release candidate came last week after the GNU Compiler Collection reached no "P1" regressions that are of the highest priority and must be cleared out before the annual compiler release.

      GCC 9.1-RC1 has been doing well and now today release manager Jakub Jelinek of Red Hat released GCC 9.1 RC2. Jakub says the official GCC 9.1.0 release is still on track for likely releasing on Friday, 3 May.

    • Second GCC 9.1 Release Candidate available from

    • OpenCV Launching Kickstarter Campaign for New AI Courses

    • Make a Location-Based Web App With Django and GeoDjango

    • Reflections on AnacondaCON 2019 with NVIDIA’s Josh Patterson

    • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #366 (April 30, 2019)

    • Write faster C extensions for Python with Cython

      Python is one of the most popular programming languages in use today—and for good reasons: it's open source, it has a wide range of uses (such as web programming, business applications, games, scientific programming, and much more), and it has a vibrant and dedicated community supporting it. This community is the reason we have such a large, diverse range of software packages available in the Python Package Index (PyPI) to extend and improve Python and solve the inevitable glitches that crop up.

    • The right and wrong way to set Python 3 as default on MacOS

      I've been dipping my toe back into Python development as I get ready to head to PyCon US. (If you're headed there as well and want to share your Python story, let me know!) When I installed a module to tinker around with, I got a reminder that I needed to install Python 3 soon.

    • Wrangling enthusiastic hordes at developer sprints

      Are you familiar with development sprints, coding events held immediately after Python and Django conferences? They encourage attendees at the annual PyCon (or DjangoCon) or one of the many regional PyCons to stay and use the venue space, decked out with power and network, to work on open source projects with other Python developers and practitioners. Since everyone is flying in for the conference anyway, this unstructured time is a remarkable way to forge ahead on projects in person.

    • Haul post
      I've not been posting much lately (or writing many book reviews) for a rather good reason: I got sucked into a bunch of open source programming work, including learning Selenium, a little bit of JavaScript, and a lot about web application internals. The project in question (currently called Merou, probably will be renamed) isn't that useful for anyone else quite yet, and is still kind of a mess, but we're slowly cleaning it up. It's nice to be working on open source for work again.

      At some point I need to apply what I've learned to getting remctl's Python bindings off of Python 2 and make my web site not look like I haven't touched it since the early 2000s. It would be nice to have an extra 24 hours in each day.

    • Django bugfix release: 2.2.1
      Today we've issued the 2.2.1 bugfix release.

      The release package and checksums are available from our downloads page, as well as from the Python Package Index. The PGP key ID used for this release is Mariusz Felisiak: 2EF56372BA48CD1B.

    • uarray: A Generic Override Framework for Methods
      When SciPy was created, and Numeric and Numarray unified into NumPy, it jump-started Python's data science community. The ecosystem grew quickly: Academics started moving to SciPy, and the Scikits that popped up made the transition all the more smooth.

    • Beautiful Machine Learning Pipeline with Scikit-Learn

    • The Meson manual crowdfunding campaign
      A crowdfunding campaign to finance the manual has just been launched on Indiegogo. The basic deal is simple, for 30€ you get the final book as a PDF. To minimize work and save trees, there is no physical version. There are also no stickers, beer mats or any other tchotchkies. There are a few purchase options as well as opportunities for corporate sponsorships. Please see the Indiegogo project page for further details. If there are any questions about this campaign feel free to contact me. The easiest way is via email.

      Overall I'm quite excited about this campaign. One reason is obviously personal, but the other has to do with sustainability of FOSS projects in general. There has been a lot of talk about how maintainers of open source projects can get compensated for their work. This campaign can be seen as an experiment to see if the crowdfunding model could work in practice.

    • This Week in Rust 284

    • Why You Should Learn R Programming Language
      R is one of the most commonly used programming languages. It is an open-source programming language. Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman are the two names that are credited with the development of this programming language in 1993.

      R has a vast catalog of statistical as well as the graphical methods.

      Some of the more important aspects of this programming language include machine learning algorithms, time series, linear regression, and statistical inference.

      Mostly the R libraries are composed in R, however, in case of the onerous computational task, usage of C, C++, as well as Fortran codes, is made preferably though not necessarily.

    • The LLVM Fortran Performance Is Beating Out GCC But Losing To PGI
      At last month's EuroLLVM conference, NVIDIA provided an update on the "Flang" project for offering first-rate Fortran support within LLVM, including some initial benchmark figures.

      LLVM has accepted the "f18" project to become an official LLVM sub-project albeit much code work is ahead before it's expected to appear in an LLVM release. The actual name is still to be decided of the sub-project as well. But whatever it ends up being called, the performance is looking quite good for the code in its initial state.

      This code, which started off from the PGI Fortran front-end and then adapted to LLVM, is performing quite well and continuing to support new Fortran language features. With NVIDIA doing a lot of the work on this Fortran compiler support, GPU/OpenMP offloading support is also a big goal in mind for eventually being able to punt the work off to their GPUs with this Fortran LLVM compiler.

    • 15 Recommended Free Books to Learn about Ruby
      Ruby is a general purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. Ruby is a very conservative language. It’s equipped with very carefully chosen features that have been fully tested.

      Ruby possesses a high portability running a large number of platforms including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Cygwin, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, BSD/OS, Solaris, Tru64 UNIX, and HP-UX. The TIOBE Programming Community index currently ranks Ruby in 13th place.

      Ruby’s popularity was enhanced by the Ruby on Rails framework, a full-stack web framework which has been used to create many popular applications including Basecamp, GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, Zendesk, Square, and Highrise.

      I recommend 15 free books which will teach you the basics of Ruby. Many of the books are open source. All of them can be read without requiring payment although some of them are available to purchase in paperback or electronic versions. Never underestimate the benefits of buying a printed copy of a programming book, as well as compensating the author for his work.
    • A 20-year old cryptographic puzzle has finally been deciphered

    • MIT Cryptographers Are No Match For A Determined Belgian
      Twenty years ago, a cryptographic puzzle was included in the construction of a building on the MIT campus. The structure that houses what is now MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) includes a time capsule designed by the building’s architect, [Frank Gehry]. It contains artifacts related to the history of computing, and was meant to be opened whenever someone solved a cryptographic puzzle, or after 35 years had elapsed.


      The famous cryptographer, [Ronald Rivest], put together what we now know is a deceptively simple challenge. It involves a successive squaring operation, and since it is inherently sequential there is no possibility of using parallel computing techniques to take any shortcuts. [Fabrot] used the GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library in his code, and took over 3 years of computing time to solve it. Meanwhile another team is using an FPGA and are expecting a solution in months, though have been pipped to the post by the Belgian.

    • Self-taught Belgian bloke cracks crypto conundrum that was supposed to be uncrackable until 2034
      A cryptographic puzzle proposed two decades ago that involves roughly 80 trillion squarings has been cracked much earlier than expected ? in just three and a half years.

      We say cryptographic because it involves a verifiable delay function [PDF], a moderately hard cryptographic function.

      The conundrum was set by Ronald Rivest in 1999, the R in RSA and a computer science professor at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL).

    • Top 20 Best Machine Learning Software and Tools To Learn in 2019
      We all know from our childhood the soldiers need proper training with the latest weapons. Then, they can win a war over their opposition party. As the same way, data scientists need an efficient and effective machine learning software, tools or framework whatever we say as a weapon. For developing the system with the required training data to erase the drawbacks and make the machine or device intelligent. Only, a well-defined software can build up a fruitful machine. However, nowadays we develop our machine such a way that we no need to give any instruction about the surroundings. The machine can act by itself, and also it can understand the environment. Therefore, we no need to guide him. As an instance, a self-driving car. Why is a machine so dynamic at present? It’s only for developing the system by utilizing machine learning tools.


  • Science

    • The Biggest Problem With Google Search
      If you are aware of the history of email and controversy regarding its original founder, these two names might sound familiar to you. If that’s not the case, you can read this article to understand the topic in detail.

      Now, moving on to the matter of different results just by changing my location. I understand that Google takes into account lots of factors and personalizes the results as per the searcher — that’s why I even opened the Incognito Mode and used a VPN to get these results. However, even if I didn’t take those measures, how could Google show two answers to a fact-based question? It’s similar to getting two different answers for a question like who is the Prime Minister of India — imagine Google showing Narendra Modi’s name in India and Donald Trump’s name in the US.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Paterson students turn school water problems into a winning project

      City education officials said some drinking fountains at Kennedy remain shut down for repairs, but they said tests have shown that the amount of lead in the water at the working fountains were below problem levels.

    • The Ebola outbreak in Congo is getting worse

      Locals, whose basic needs have long been neglected, resent the massive deployment of resources just to fight the virus. Earlier efforts by the police and armed forces to compel people to take preventative measures alienated the local population. Some even imagine that the government is using Ebola to exterminate the Nandes, the biggest ethnic group in the region, or that the emergency was manufactured to keep people from voting in elections last year. The idea that Ebola does not actually exist has been spread by some groups for political advantage, says Dr Tedros, who described it as “playing with fire”. Though he says local leaders have agreed to deliver the same message about the dangers of Ebola.

    • The Ebola outbreak in Congo is getting worse

      Locals, whose basic needs have long been neglected, resent the massive deployment of resources just to fight the virus. Earlier efforts by the police and armed forces to compel people to take preventative measures alienated the local population. Some even imagine that the government is using Ebola to exterminate the Nandes, the biggest ethnic group in the region, or that the emergency was manufactured to keep people from voting in elections last year. The idea that Ebola does not actually exist has been spread by some groups for political advantage, says Dr Tedros, who described it as “playing with fire”. Though he says local leaders have agreed to deliver the same message about the dangers of Ebola.

    • Demanding Medicare for All, Nurses Use Band-Aids to Plaster GoFundMe Pages to Big Pharma Headquarters
      The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, spends tens of millions of dollars a year lobbying on a variety of healthcare issues, and it is currently bankrolling efforts to crush Medicare for All.

      "We are here today—at the headquarters of PhRMA—because this is the scene of a crime," said Zenei Cortez, president of National Nurses United (NNU), which organized the demonstration in Washington, D.C.

      "The people inside this building spent $28 million on lobbying last year to keep prescription drug prices so unaffordable that some of our patients needlessly die," said Cortez.

      Following their rally, nurses used Band-Aids to cover the walls of PhRMA's headquarters with the GoFundMe pages of Americans who have been forced to crowdsource their medical expenses under the for-profit healthcare system.

    • EPA Says Glyphosate Does Not Cause Cancer. Other Public Health Groups Disagree
      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, does not cause cancer, reaffirming its 2017 finding and contradicting juries who ruled the opposite in two high profile trials, Reuters reported.

      In August 2018, a California jury awarded $289 million to a Bay Area groundskeeper who said that repeated Roundup use caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma, though that amount was later reduced to $78 million. A U.S. jury awarded a second California man more than $80 million in March over a similar claim. But the EPA has not changed its position.

    • Deputies Destroy House, Lives To Recover $50 Of Marijuana And A Single, Unbottled Pill
      Using that one pill, the department charged the couple with felony drug possession, on top of the misdemeanor marijuana charge. These charges were taken to a grand jury which proceeded to do what grand juries do best: return indictments.

      These drug charges -- for one pill outside of a bottle and $50 of marijuana apparently actually possessed by their adult son -- were the first criminal charges Greg or Theresa had ever faced, coming 30 years of marriage and a few grandchildren after anyone would have expected. The charges have been reduced to misdemeanors but this raid and arrest isn't the end of the story.

      Everything that was in the safes disappeared into the Department's hands. So did a bunch of other stuff around the house, along with the cash Greg Almond had in his wallet. The warrant inventory contains far less then the Almonds claim the deputies took. The full list includes the firearms from the safes, $8,000 in cash, wedding rings, medications, antique guitars, a coin collection… pretty much anything the officers felt might have resale value.

      As a result of this unexpected loss and the public accusations of drug dealing, the Almonds lost their business, their house, and any hope of earning a living going forward. All that's left is the lawsuit. It's loaded with Constitutional violations and other harms inflicted on the innocent couple by the Sheriff's Department, but it's a long shot considering the wealth of defenses available to government employees. As for the property taken, that's an even longer shot, considering how quickly agencies liquidate property and how low the burden of proof needed to keep this property is in forfeiture cases.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday

    • Bloomberg Appears To Flub Another China Story, Insists Telnet Is A Nefarious Huawei Backdoor
      So we've noted for a while now how the Trump administration's protectionist bid to ban Huawei from US networks is a bit light on, you know, public evidence. While Huawei is now routinely lambasted for helping the Chinese government directly spy on American consumers, there's still no public evidence that supports that claim. That hasn't stopped the administration from waging an all out war on the company, ranging from pressuring the FCC to pressure carriers to avoid Huawei phones, to banning ISPs from getting public subsidies if they use Chinese equipment.

      The problem, again, is that despite an 18 month investigation the last time these concerns flared up, there's been absolutely no public evidence Huawei spies on US consumers. The other problem: numerous US hardware vendors have a bit of a history of drumming up lawmaker hysteria on this front to their own benefit.

      The Trump administration's protectionist gambit has had a lot of help from a US media that isn't particularly keyed into this added context, or how patriotism may color their coverage of the issue. The latest case in point: Bloomberg this week issued what seemed like a bombshell report claiming they'd finally found evidence of Huawei installing seemingly nefarious backdoors in their gear...

    • Vodafone slams Bloomberg over Huawei 'backdoor' claims
      The American news agency Bloomberg has been caught on the hop again with a technically inaccurate report, this time claiming that Vodafone had found what it called "hidden backdoors" in software that "could have given Huawei unauthorised access to the carrier’s (Vodafone's) fixed-line network in Italy".

      But Vodafone denied it had made any such claim. A company spokesperson told iTWire that the so-called backdoor that Bloomberg referred to was telnet, a protocol used for communication using a virtual terminal connection, adding that it was not exposed to the Internet.
    • No info-sharing if you use Huawei, US tells UK

      The United States says it sees no distinction between the core of a 5G network and its radio access network, and will reconsider sharing information with any ally that uses equipment made by Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies in its next-generation telecommunications network.

    • Chinese Programmer Jailed For ‘Accidentally Leaking’ DJI’s Source Code On GitHub
      A Chinese software engineer has been jailed for sharing the private keys of repositories, belonging to the drone-maker company DJI, on GitHub.

      The keys in question were exposed publicly in January 2018. Anyone possessing the key along with the right skills and knowledge can decrypt DJI’s encrypted flight control firmware and bypass geofencing and restrictions on DJI drones.

    • In first, Japan to develop computer virus to defend against cyberattacks

      Japan will develop its first-ever computer virus by next March as a defense measure against cyberattacks, sources have said. The Defense Ministry is consid

    • Japan Is Developing First Computer Virus To Prevent Cyber Crimes
      Japan is a fascinating country with automated hotels where robots serve guests. There are many technological feats that the country has achieved but still lags behind other countries when it comes to cybersecurity. Last year, many people were shocked when a Japanese minister who heads the cybersecurity department said that he hasn’t used a computer in his life.

      Now, it seems that Japan is taking strict measures to improve the state of cybersecurity in the country. As reported by The Japan Times, Japan is developing its first computer virus to defend against hackers. Sources have revealed that the computer virus will act as a defense measure in case a cyber attack happens.
    • Zero-day attackers deliver a double dose of ransomware—no clicking required

      On Tuesday, researchers with Cisco Talos said CVE-2019-2725, as the vulnerability has been indexed, has been under active exploit since at least April 21. Starting last Thursday—a day before Oracle patched the zero-day vulnerability, attackers started using the exploits in a campaign to install “Sodinokibi,” a new piece of ransomware. In addition to encrypting valuable data on infected computers, the malicious program attempts to destroy shadow copy backups to prevent targets from simply restoring the lost data. Oddly enough, about eight hours after infection, the attackers exploited the same vulnerability to install a different piece of ransomware known as GandCrab.

    • Update about Weblogic CVE-2019-2725 (Exploits Used in the Wild, Patch Status)

      CVE-2019-2725 is yet another deserializing vulnerability affecting WebLogic. WebLogic's design makes it particularly prone to these types of vulnerabilities. Do not expose WebLogic to the Internet if you can help it. I doubt that this was the last such vulnerability.

    • New ‘Sodinokibi’ Ransomware Exploits Critical Oracle WebLogic Flaw

      Researchers also noted that, once downloaded, the malicious file executed vssadmin.exe, a legitimate utility bundled with Windows that enables allows administrators to manage the shadow copies that are on the computer. Shadow copies are a technology that enables systems to take automatic backup copies of computer files.

    • Microsoft's bork-prone Windows 10 October Update is still struggling for an audience

      The Windows 10 Fall 2018 Update (aka Build 1809) was first released last October before being abruptly halted owing to a range of issues including disappearing data and compatibility calamities.

    • Cyber funding will not help protect govt or business: claim

      "There was no announcement of a fund or incentive for important government agencies, industries or small business to draw down to improve their current cyber security posture to defend against attacks," Lai added.

    • A ‘Cyber Event’ Disrupted the Power Grid in California and Wyoming, But Don’t Panic Just Yet

      Patrick Miller, a critical infrastructure security expert, explained to Motherboard that utility companies have to report cyberattacks in an OE-417 Electric Emergency and Disturbance Report, a document put together by the Department of Energy to track energy incidents and emergencies. Miller said that the fact that the company reported the incident in an OE-417 means “it had to actually disrupt operations.”

    • 'Cyber event' disrupted U.S. grid networks — DOE

      DOE uses a broad definition of "cyber event," describing it as any disruption to an electrical system or grid communication network "caused by unauthorized access" to hardware, software or data. That leaves open the possibility that a utility employee or trespasser, rather than a remote [attacker], triggered the March 5 event.

    • Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak
    • Huawei Australia gets new CEO as 2018 results show record revenue [Ed: This is why Five Eyes panic over Huawei. Industrial leadership in telecom is being entirely lost to China and it threatens domination over wiretaps, back doors etc. Digital imperialism.]

    • GPS Service Vulnerability Opened Door To Remote Vehicle Shutdown
      We've highlighted for years how flimsy (read: often nonexistent) privacy and security standards in the internet of things space is opening the door to all kinds of problems, from historically-massive DDOS attacks to your refrigerator leaking your Gmail login data. And while your your not-so-smart kettle exposing your network credentials is intimidating enough, the problem is far more worrisome in the "smart" automobile space, where a compromised system could prove decidedly more, oh, fatal.

      Most modern car infotainment GUIs hint at the sloppiness lingering just beneath. Security researchers have routinely highlighted how many cars are absurdly vulnerable to not just hacking but a near-total takeover of in-car systems. They've similarly noted how historically, automaker efforts to patch these vulnerabilities are slow to arrive--if they arrive at all.

    • Sodinokibi ransomware exploits WebLogic Server vulnerability

    • ‘Sodinokibi’ Is A New Ransomware That Exploits Oracle Zero Day Flaw
      A couple of weeks back, a zero-day vulnerability was discovered in Oracle WebLogic Servers that can trigger the deserialization of malicious code and allow hackers to take over the targeted system.

      Now, a recent report suggests that this zero-day vulnerability has been abused for over a week to infect Oracle WebLogic servers through ransomware. So far, two strands of ransomware have been identified by security researchers from Cisco Talos.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Jeff Bezos reportedly had bulletproof panels installed in his office as part of his $1.6 million Amazon security operation

      Citing local planning permits, The Daily Beast said the fiberglass paneling was strong enough to withstand repeated shots from a military assault rifle and cost $180,000 to install. The application for the permit was filed in November and was granted in January.


      De Becker wrote in The Daily Beast that his investigation had concluded "with high confidence" that Saudi Arabia was behind the leaking of Bezos' private correspondence because Bezos owned The Washington Post. The paper had critically covered the Saudi killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi residing in Virginia who wrote opinion columns for The Post.

      "The Saudi government has been intent on harming Jeff Bezos since last October, when the Post began its relentless coverage of Khashoggi's murder," de Becker wrote.

    • Trump on the Border: More of the Same
      Trump’s critics call him a liar, immoral, authoritarian, someone who rejects American traditions. And he is all of these but the last, his border policy makes clear. His proposed measures are not innovative in their cruelty. They both echo established practice in the border zone, and reinforce trends ingrained in U.S. history.

      This border policy, as spelled out this month, includes three features. The first is militarization. Trump has ordered “thousands of additional American troops to the southwest border over the next two months.” The second is indefinite detention. Trump wants to “keep thousands of [asylum seekers] in jail indefinitely while they wait for a resolution of their asylum requests.” The last prohibits refugees from setting foot in this country. Trump resumed“Remain in Mexico,” which “forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases make their way through U.S. courts.” Throwing weapons at social problems, jailing innocents, shunning dark-skinned exiles. Nothing original here.

      Consider just the border first. Militarization in that zone is longstanding. Presidents from Reagan to Obama backed Border Patrol staff surges, equipped agents with the sophisticated arms and technology one would expect a modern paramilitary force to exploit, and, beginning with Carter, supported wall-building along the Mexican boundary. Indefinite detention is also a border-area custom. The UN Committee Against Torture, in 2014, decried Washington’s use of a “system of mandatory detention to automatically hold asylum seekers and other immigrants on arrival in prison-like detention facilities, county jails and private prisons.” A decade earlier, the number of detained immigrants on any given day was 23,000, over four times the 1994 figure of 5,532. Trump extends these legacies.
    • Sri Lanka suicide bombers ‘blew their wives and children up’ during raid

      The battle started on Friday night after police tipped off soldiers to a suspected safe house near the town of Sammanthurai, where authorities said the militants detonated three explosions and opened fire.

    • Finnish MP under fire for comparing Israel to ISIS

      Yasa, who also runs the association for secular immigrants of Finland, said al-Taee’s writings are “Iranian propaganda.” Yasa said al-Taee presents himself as a “feminist, liberal guy that is a completely different person according to his screenshot posts.”


      “Part of the problem seems to lie with Finnish politicians who truly believe that having a dialogue – any dialogue, regardless of who is on the opposite side of the table – is better than having no dialogue at all,” he wrote. “So you can easily end up with the equivalent of a businessman trying to reach an agreement with Al Capone.”

    • The hierarchy of victimhood

      In disturbing contrast to the aftermath of the mosque massacres in Christchurch last month, the response to the horrors in Sri Lanka has been muted, cagey, sheepish even.

      The Christchurch atrocity provoked an angry and distinctly political response. We must stand as a human family against this vile Islamophobia, world leaders and commentators insisted.

      The Sri Lanka atrocity has generated no such sense of global resolve. And this shocking disparity needs to be explained.

    • German woman, parents-in-law indicted for aiding ISIS

      Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that the German-Algerian woman, identified as Sarah O. for privacy reasons, traveled to Syria as a teenager in 2013, joined ISIS, and married a fellow German ISIS recruit.

    • After Notre Dame, France Breaks Its Silence on Radical Islam

      In 2018, France recorded 1,063 anti-Christian attacks compared to 1,038 the previous year. This is 1,000 attacks per year, Le Monde emphasized in its report, meaning an average of three per day. This is in contrast to the reported 541 antisemitic and 100 anti-Muslim incidents reported in the same time period. The report notes that in a majority of these incidents it was Christian structures and statues that were desecrated, though there were also a few dozen break-ins and incidents of property theft at churches across the country.

    • 86 percent of the people living in Ukraine's separatist-controlled region reportedly want Russian citizenship
      Eighty-six percent of the people living in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled Donbas region want Russian citizenship, according to Kirill Alizinov, the spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry’s Central Office for Migration, citing a new sociological survey.

    • Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 Poem “America”: a Lost Ending
      The most famous line in all of twentieth-century American poetry can be found in Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem, “America,” which was published in the Pocket Poets series by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights in the volume titled Howl and Other Poems. That famous line reads, “Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.” It’s addressed to America itself, and it has been quoted and popularized by anarchists, communists, beatniks and hipsters over the past 36 years.

    • Ahead of Defense Department Reporting Deadline, Amnesty USA Calls for Accountability for Global Civilian Deaths
      Amnesty International USA is calling on the U.S. military to thoroughly investigate all credible claims of civilian killings and injuries, as well as whether the U.S. made sufficient efforts to prevent them, as required under international humanitarian law, and to provide compensation where appropriate.

    • Boeing Mismanagers Forfeit Your Pay and Resign: An Open Letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg
      On April 4, 2019 you somewhat belatedly released a statement that “We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents.” You added that a preliminary investigation made it “apparent that in both flights” the MCAS “activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information.”

      Your acknowledgement of the problems with the 737 MAX somehow escaped inclusion in your messages to shareholders, the capital markets, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is now stunningly clear that your overly optimistic outlook on January 20, 2019 – after the Indonesian Lion Air crash – was misleading. Whatever the public learns, day after day about the troubles of your company, it is still far less than what Boeing knows will come out day by day, and not just about the deadly design of the 737 MAX.

      Your narrow-body passenger aircraft – namely, the long series of 737’s that began in the nineteen sixties was past its prime. How long could Boeing avoid making the investment needed to produce a “clean-sheet” aircraft and, instead, in the words of Bloomberg Businessweek “push an aging design beyond its limits?” Answer: As long as Boeing could get away with it and keep necessary pilot training and other costs low for the airlines as a sales incentive.

      To compete with the Airbus A320neo, Boeing equipped the 737 MAX with larger engines tilted more forward and upward on the wings than prior 737’s. Thus began the trail of criminal negligence that will implicate the company and its executives. The larger engines changed the center of gravity and the plane’s aerodynamics. Boeing management was on a fast track and ignored warnings by its own engineers, not to mention scores of other technical aerospace people outside the company.

    • At Least 2 Dead, 4 Hurt in N.C. Campus Shooting
      Two people were killed and four injured Tuesday in a shooting Tuesday on a North Carolina university campus, prompting a lockdown and chaotic scene in North Carolina’s largest city.

      UNC Charlotte issued a campus lockdown late Tuesday afternoon, saying shots had been fired.

      “Shots reported near kennedy. Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately,” the university said in an alert, referring to the school’s Kennedy building on campus.

      Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency said on Twitter that two people were found dead at the scene, two others have life-threatening injuries and two others have injuries that are not life-threatening. They said the numbers could change.

      Aerial shots from local television news outlets showed police officers running toward a building, while another view showed students running on a campus sidewalk.

    • How the Pentagon Took Ownership of Donald Trump
      Donald Trump is a con man. Think of Trump University or a juicy Trump steak or can’t-lose casinos (that never won). But as president, one crew he hasn't conned is the Pentagon. Quite the opposite, they've conned him because they've been at the game a lot longer and lie (in Trump-speak) in far biglier ways.

      People condemn President Trump for his incessant lying and his con games -- and rightly so. But few Americans condemn the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state, even though we’ve been the victims of their long con for decades now. As it happens, from the beginning of the Cold War to late last night, they’ve remained remarkably skilled at exaggerating the threats the U.S. faces and, believe me, that represents the longest con of all. It’s kept the military-industrial complex humming along, thanks to countless trillions of taxpayer dollars, while attempts to focus a spotlight on that scam have been largely discredited or ignored.

      One thing should have, but hasn’t, cut through all the lies: the grimly downbeat results of America’s actual wars. War by its nature tells harsh truths -- in this case, that the U.S. military is anything but “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known.” Why? Because of its almost unblemished record of losing, or at least never winning, the wars it engages in. Consider the disasters that make up its record from Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s to, in the twenty-first century, the Iraq War that began with the invasion of 2003 and the nearly 18-year debacle in Afghanistan -- and that’s just to start down a list. You could easily add Korea (a 70-year stalemate/truce that remains troublesome to this day), a disastrous eight-year-old intervention in Libya, a quarter century in (and out and in) Somalia, and the devastating U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen, among so many other failed interventions.

      In short, the U.S. spends staggering sums annually, essentially stolen from a domestic economy and infrastructure that’s fraying at the seams, on what still passes for “defense.” The result: botched wars in distant lands that have little, if anything, to do with true defense, but which the Pentagon uses to justify yet more funding, often in the name of “rebuilding” a “depleted” military. Instead of a three-pointed pyramid scheme, you might think of this as a five-pointed Pentagon scheme, where losing only wins you ever more, abetted by lies that just grow and grow. When it comes to raising money based on false claims, this president has nothing on the Pentagon. And worse yet, like America’s wars, the Pentagon’s long con shows no sign of ending. Eat your heart out, Donald Trump!

    • Scrutiny into Biden’s Record Should Include Obama Era Foreign Policies
      Since Joe Biden has entered the race for the presidency, some media outlets have been pointing to his atrocious legislative record as a Senator, including his support for tough-on-crime bills, loose gun control measures, opposition to school desegregation, and his vote in favor of the Iraq War, among other things.

      Greater scrutiny, however, should be placed on Biden’s role in supporting dubious foreign policies during his tenure as Vice-President under Barack Obama.

      In Iraq, for example, where he took the lead on foreign policy initiatives, Biden curried favor with the corrupt Nouri al-Maliki whom locals considered to be a “Shia Saddam.” After Arab-Spring style protests erupted, Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry quietly worked to help install Haidar al-Abadi who was committed to privatizing Iraq’s economy in line with the original goals of the 2003 U.S. military invasion.

      On Afghanistan, Biden was the supposed dove of the administration; however, his blueprint called for heavier reliance on Special Forces, air power and drone strikes. He ultimately sided with military commanders in authorizing a broader mission that came to assume many parallels to the Vietnam War.

      As one who came of age in the 1960s and opposed the Vietnam War during his first run for Congress, Biden should have known better.

      However, as the ultimate Washington insider, Biden long ago had learned to make friends with the military and to master the rhetoric of framing overseas military interventions in a liberal humanitarian rhetoric.

    • Social Movements Under Intense Attack Despite Colombia 'Peace Plan'
      With Venezuela occupying the small bandwidth our media has for news about Latin America, there is virtually no information about Colombia, where a horrible wave of violence in the past two years has taken the lives of hundreds of social movement leaders and activists around the country, especially in places such as Cauca, Antioquia, Santander and Arauca. That’s why Colombia’s social movements organized the Humanitarian Refugee Convergence, taking place April 28-May 2 in Bogota, Colombia. It brings together over 1,000 activists from indigenous, black, women and campesino (farmer) organizations, as well as groups representing victims of Colombia’s long armed conflict, to speak out against the violence and call on the government to protect their lives.

      During the Convergence, we had a chance to talk to Wilmer Castillo, a spokesperson for the National Agrarian Coordination, a group that brought campesinos from around the country to Bogota.

      For people in the United States, they only issue we hear about regarding Latin America is the conflict in Venezuela. Americans, if they know anything about Colombia, might know that a peace agreement was signed with the armed groups in 2016 and they probably think that the situation in Colombia is now calm. Can you tell us what is actually happening here?

      It has been falsely reported in the international press that the armed conflict in Colombia has ended. The armed conflict ended with only one guerrilla organization, the FARC. There are still two others, the EPL, the Popular Liberation Army, and the ELN, the National Liberation Army. The present right-wing government of Ivan Duque has canceled the negotiations that were going on with the ELN, which has worsened the armed conflict. Even though the FARC was demobilized and has moved into the arena of nonviolent, political struggle, creating a political party, the armed struggle continues in the places where these two other groups remain active.

      Another reason to tell the world that there is no peace in Colombia is because the causes that led to the armed rebellions have not been addressed. On the contrary. There are still multinational companies that invade our lands and displace our rural communities. There are still paramilitary groups that terrorize our organizations. There is still a military strategy to consolidate the land and hand it over to the multinationals. So one of the primary reasons that the armed conflict still exists is because of the economic model that is so destructive.

    • Sailors Report Enduring Concerns About Navy Readiness and Leadership
      The responses by the sailors — consistent, repeated — can be jarring to read:

      Are you getting enough sleep? “No.”

      Do you feel well-trained to do your job? “No.”

      Have there been scenarios in which you or your bosses had concerns about the safety of the ship and crew but felt they could not say no to new tasking? “Yes.”

      Please rate your confidence in Navy leadership in the Pentagon. “I am not confident.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A total of 11 people backed Energizer's 18,000mAh phone on Indigogo

      We're still not convinced it was anything more than a PR stunt, albeit one that massively backfired.

    • After Approving Enbridge Permit, Massachusetts’ Environment Secretary Lands Job with Project’s Contractor
      Massachusetts’ Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs, Matthew Beaton, has accepted a position at a consulting firm working for oil and gas pipeline builder Enbridge on a controversial project for which Beaton’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently approved a crucial permit.

      Governor Charlie Baker’s administration announced on Monday that Beaton has been hired as vice president for renewable energy and emerging technology at TRC Companies, a large environmental and engineering firm working mainly for the oil and gas industry.

    • Biodegradable Bags Buried for 3 Years Still Work
      The advantage of biodegradable shopping bags is supposed to be that they will not linger as long in the natural environment as conventional plastic bags. However, a new study from the University of Plymouth suggests that might not be the case.

      The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology Sunday, found that bags billed as biodegradable could still carry around five pounds of groceries after being buried in soil or submerged in sea water for three years, The Weather Channel reported.

    • 'Call It a Crisis': New Report Details Failure of Cable and Network Outlets to Accurately Describe Climate Emergency
      That's the dual directive from a new report that calls on news organizations to use appropriate language when discussing the climate crisis—even as the report calls them out for inaction.

      The report—titled "'Call It a Crisis': The Role of U.S. Network News in Communicating the Urency of Climate Change" (pdf)—analyzed the coverage of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News to determine just how much urgency the influential outlets bring to their reporting.

      According to David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen's Climate Program, the specific words that journalists and news anchors use—or choose not to use—matters.

      "The words we use to characterize an issue make a difference in how it is perceived and prioritized politically," said Arkush.

    • 5 Responses to Climate Change Deniers
      1) The science is undeniable. Scientists have concluded that the Earth’s temperature has been steadily climbing since the late 19th century, just when humans started emitting large amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. And it’s intensifying. 18 of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.

      And, no. Just because it snows doesn’t mean climate change isn’t occurring.

      You can see the consequences of extreme weather all around us. Wildfires. hurricanes. droughts.

    • Will Our Domination be Our Downfall?
      For those of us who’ve been paying attention to the general state of the world and human society, it’s readily apparent that we as a species have sent ourselves hurtling into the depths of a global crisis that has the potential to wipe ourselves out along with many of our fellow Earthlings. So how exactly how has this happened?

      It’s easy and certainly well justified to point our finger at the many harmful industries that have emerged from our society—fossil fuels, unsustainable agriculture, overfishing, mining, the military complex, etc. (have a look at this list of Harmful Practices Critiqued for a more extensive list). And yet what if there is a deeper cause that we can point to—a common “seed” that underlies all of these harmful industries and practices?

      I believe that there is such a seed, one that is surprisingly simple to name and yet highly elusive, difficult for many of us to grasp. In a nutshell, I would say that this seed is a domineering attitude that appears to have increased in magnitude over the past 10,000 years or so of our evolution. In recent years, our collective eyes have begun to open to the great harm and even horror wrought by our ongoing efforts to dominate each other. But as the even larger horror of the accelerating global ecological collapse has become increasingly apparent, many of us have come to recognize that our domineering attitude is also probably the leading culprit.

      I suggest that we drop down even one more level on this causal ladder and ask oursevelves, what is it that feeds humankind’s urge and sense of entitlement to dominate each other, our fellow Earthlings and the Earth? And I would say that just as the justification of one human group to dominate another is typically fueled by that particular group’s belief in their own superiority, so it is that humankind’s general belief in our superiority over other living beings fuels our ongoing desire and entitlement to dominate the Earth and our fellow species.
    • Scottish Gov’t Announces ‘Climate Emergency’ in response to Extinction Rebellion Call
      Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon of the social-democratic Scottish National Party has called a “climate emergency,” doing so in response to a call from “Extinction Rebellion Scotland.” The latter is a youth protest group that has staged walk-outs from high schools and engaged in civil disobedience in numerous cities around the world.

      The call represents an abrupt about-face, since the SNP along with other parties rejected a Green Party call for the declaration of a “Climate Crisis” just this spring.

      The step scoops the British Labour Party, whose leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has suggested that he will call a climate emergency this week.

    • The Declare a 'Climate Emergency' Movement Grows as Scotland Joins
      Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon became the first world leader to declare a "climate emergency" on Sunday.

      The Scottish leader told delegates to a party conference in Edinburgh she was inspired after meeting young climate activists.

      Ms. Sturgeon said: "A few weeks ago, I met some of the young climate change campaigners who've gone on strike from school to raise awareness of their cause. They want governments around the world to declare a climate emergency. They say that's what the science tells us. And they are right."

      "So today, as first minister of Scotland, I am declaring that there is a climate emergency. And Scotland will live up to our responsibility to tackle it."

      The Scottish first minister said she was declaring the emergency because the science showed global warming was worsening. Scotland’s Green Party has recently criticized Sturgeon’s government for moving too slowly on climate change.

      Also, this weekend, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launched a bid to declare a climate emergency in the United Kingdom. Members of Parliament will vote this Wednesday on whether to declare an environmental and climate emergency following mass protests over political inaction in addressing the crisis. Labour will force a Commons vote on the issue, one of the key demands of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement, whose activists took over London in recent weeks. Corbyn said he hoped other countries would follow if the UK Parliament became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency.

    • Sunrise Movement Says Beto's Climate Plan Is Out of Line With Science and Green New Deal
      Beto’s plan sets a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Leading scientists at Oxfam and other international organizations have said that to meet the goals outlined by the UN, the US should achieve net-zero emissions by around 2030 to meet this global goal, which is reflected in the Green New Deal’s call for a 10-year mobilization. Sunrise Movement is calling on all candidates to back this timeline.

    • Climate Groups Applaud Beto for New Proposal, But Warn Action Plan Would Be 'Too Little, Too Late'
      Climate action groups on Monday applauded as Democratic presidential contender Beto O'Rourke released his plan for tackling the climate crisis—while acknowledging that his proposal would not go far enough to keep catastrophic climate change at bay and represented a rollback of his earlier statements about halting the warming of the planet.

      O'Rourke traveled to Yosemite National Park to unveil his climate action plan, part of which he explained in a brief video posted to social media.

      "We will ensure that we are at net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 and that we are halfway there by 2030, a little more than 10 years from now," O'Rourke said.

    • Citing Recent Protests, Wales Declares Climate Emergency
      "No nation in the world has yet fully grasped this challenge but just as Wales played a leading role in the first industrial revolution," said Griffiths, "I believe Wales can provide an example to others of what it means to achieve environmental growth."

      "Our sustainable development and environmental legislation is already recognized as world-leading ," she added, "and now we must use that legislation to set a new pace of change."

      The statement also "highlights the recent climate protests across the U.K."

      The Welsh declaration drew the attention of Swedish climate protester Greta Thunberg, who catalyzed the school climate strikes. "Activism works. So act," she tweeted.

      Others, like Shadow Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew R.T. Davies, expressed skepticism.

      "Only recently Labour's environment minister set emissions targets that actually fell short of those demanded by the Paris Agreement," said Davies, "so we await to see what action will be taken to ensure this isn't just another empty pledge from a Welsh Labour government that has consistently failed to deliver on its promises during its twenty years in government."

    • The Left and Population
      For years now I have made it clear that I consider the environmental outlook for this planet very, very bleak.

      I have written repeatedly that I believe only a massive, rapid, internationally-coordinated and mandatory program to transform the world economy – involving a fast phase-out of fossil fuels, a ban on the manufacture of most plastics, radical restrictions on industrial agriculture and meat production/consumption, a stop to world deforestation, a shift to regional economies not dependent on worldwide shipping, and much more – that only such a fundamental restructuring of the world’s economic systems might have a chance of preventing probable near-term human extinction and very possibly the end of much other life on Earth as well, which ever more scientific projections envision as increasingly likely by the end of this century.

      For a long time, I heard very little opposition to these positions from among my large group of political soul mates and fellow writers in social media and alternative publications.

      That changed recently in a big way. The turning point was the publication last year of my article “What Future Awaits the Babies of 2018? The Blissful Oblivion of Today’s Young Parents”, which was greeted in the usual circles of my readers with a resounding silence on the whole, and with outright hostility by at least one former comrade who called it “wrong-headed”, the first big conflict between us after several years of mutual admiration. Another writer I admire has had great difficulty with my questions as well. Both of these writers have elected to have children quite recently, and I expected some tension from those quarters.

    • The Last Time There Was This Much CO2, Trees Grew at the South Pole
      It is palpable now. Even the most ardent deniers of human-caused climate disruption can feel the convulsions wracking the planet.

      I truly believe this, given that, essentially, we are all of and from the Earth. Deep down inside all of us is the “fight or flight” instinct. Like any other animal, our very core knows when we are in danger, as the converging crises descend ever closer to home, wherever we may find ourselves on the globe.

      This anxiety that increases by the day, this curious dread of what our climate-disrupted future will bring, is difficult to bear. Even those who have not already lost homes or loved ones to climate disruption-fueled extreme weather events have to live with the burden of this daily tension.

    • Running on Green New Deal and Economic Justice, Socialists Prevail in Spain's Snap Election
      With more than 99 percent of the votes counted, the Socialist Party, or PSOE, won 123 of the 350 seats in Parliament. While not enough for an outright majority, the PSOE is now in a position to form a broad left-leaning coalition that would include the anti-austerity Podemos Party.

      Speaking to supporters in Madrid following Sunday's election—which also saw the far-right Vox Party enter Parliament—Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the PSOE's win sends "a message to the world that it's possible to win against regression and authoritarianism."

      "With that the future has won and the past has lost," said Sánchez at a victory rally.

    • Ahead of Key Parliament Vote, Poll Shows Two-Thirds of UK Voters Agree With Extinction Rebellion on Climate Emergency
      A day before British Parliament is set to vote on whether to join a growing number of governments that have declared climate emergencies, a new poll showed unprecedented demand from the U.K. public to treat the crisis as a top legislative priority.

      Greenpeace released a survey Tuesday showing that two-thirds of the British public believe the planet is facing a climate emergency. Under pressure from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Parliament is expected to vote on the issue Wednesday.

      An official declaration would send a "clear signal that we are in a crisis" and force lawmakers to treat the climate with urgency, 16-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg said after Corbyn announced he would seek the vote last week.

      The Greenpeace poll was released two weeks after mass demonstrations throughout London began, with the global grassroots movement Extinction Rebellion leading the occupation of several major landmarks as it called on policymakers to stem the climate crisis by ending fossil fuel projects.

      Extinction Rebellion is calling on the government to "tell the truth" about the climate crisis by declaring a climate and ecological emergency.

      "Tell the truth, that's our first demand," a demonstrator said at a protest in Parliament Square last week. "We are here to demand that the government takes immediate action on these problems."

    • Can We All Keep Ourselves From Being Crazy?
      So–to use a millennial beginning–capitalism enslaved minds before Trump arrived, and by that time, there was not enough of the American mind left to recognize that Trump, in the words of Rex Tillerson, was “a fucking moron.”

      That American mind could have been educated to deny Trump the presidency and not deny us a chance of surviving on our warming planet but capitalism put us to dedicate our whole life to winning (“My whole life is about winning.” Trump) and be brutal along the way (“Be brutal, be tough.” Trump). What is surprising is that a Trump did not come along a lot sooner.

      Now we are engaged in a great struggle against a deformity of mind and heart we ourselves have created and as did Lincoln in 1863 we hope “for a victory in which this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

      Unfortunately, we are more part of what John Locke called the twisted tree of our humanity than sane, rational, noble liberators of ourselves and the muck we have made of things. The unreliability of the public mind pursued in polls of public opinion is not something we are prone to see given our 24/7 personal immersion in what is touted as a “virus of freedom, for which there is no antidote . . . spread by electronic networks to the four corners of the earth.” (Walter Wriston, former CEO of Citigroup, 1997).

    • More Than 90% of Democratic Voters Want 2020 Candidate to Make Climate Action and Medicare for All Top Priorities: Poll
      The survey (pdf), conducted last week, asked Democrats and left-leaning Independents how important they considered certain policy items.

      Most people polled said it is somewhat or very important that the Democratic candidate for president in 2020 support party priorities like stricter gun laws, tuition-free public college, impeaching President Donald Trump, paying reparations to slaves' descendants, and restoring voting rights for all convicted felons.

      But two issues stood out at the top.

      Ninety-six percent of respondents want whichever Democrat runs for the White House to support "taking aggressive action to slow the effects of climate change."

      In the second spot, 91 percent want the candidate to back "providing health insurance for all Americans through the government, a plan sometimes called 'Medicare for All.'"

    • Houston suffers a petrochemical disaster every 6 weeks
      In the past month, Houston area-residents faced three major disasters related to oil and gas infrastructure. As a Houston resident, I was alarmed to see weekly news reports presenting the unknown dangers each fire posed to the community members living next door, and to those of us living just a few miles away. These facilities store and process various types of petrochemical products including feedstocks for plastics. Ethane, a fracked natural gas liquid, is one of the primary building blocks for plastics. In places like Houston, petrochemical facilities first crack (process) the ethane molecule into ethylene, using it to create polyethylene, today’s most commonly used plastic.

      Above is a map of the three locations where fires associated with oil and gas infrastructure were located. Below is a timeline and description of each event.

      Fire #1: On March 16th, Exxonmobil’s Baytown refinery caught fire for over four hours. A plume was visible over the skyline Saturday afternoon. Although dark smoke came from the facility, no shelter-in-place was issued for surrounding residents. According to statements from Exxon, the fire did not cause elevated levels of chemical pollution in the air. An ongoing investigation has not resulted in a known cause of the fire.

    • Heat makes ocean winds and waves fiercer
      The great swells of the Pacific are beginning to swell even more as fiercer ocean winds and waves leave their mark. The breakers that crash on the storm beaches now do so with greater force. The white horses are gathering pace.

      A 33-year-study of data from 31 satellites and 80 ocean buoys has confirmed suspicions. The extreme ocean winds are now fiercer, and the waves are getting measurably higher.

      It is a given of global warming that as average planetary temperatures rise, then more energy is available for storm, rainfall and drought.

      In the past century, because of ever-increasing combustion of fossil fuels that release growing quantities of greenhouse gases, average global temperatures have crept higher by 1€°C and in three decades the speed of extreme winds in the Southern Ocean has increased by 8%, or 1.5 metres per second. Extreme waves have increased by 30cms, or 5%, over the same period.

    • 33-year study shows increasing ocean winds and wave heights
      Extreme ocean winds and wave heights are increasing around the globe, with the largest rise occurring in the Southern Ocean, University of Melbourne research shows.

      Researchers Ian Young and Agustinus Ribal, from the University's Department of Infrastructure Engineering, analysed wind speed and wave height measurements taken from 31 different satellites between 1985-2018, consisting of approximately 4 billion observations.

      The measurements were compared with more than 80 ocean buoys deployed worldwide, making it the largest and most detailed dataset of its type ever compiled.

    • Baby orangutans rescued from pet trade
      As Indonesian orangutans come into closer contact with humans, they are at increasing risk of capture.

  • Finance

    • Bring Back May Day!
      Most of the world recognizes May 1 — May Day — as International Workers’ Day. Here in one of the few countries that doesn’t, it’s worth pausing to ask how U.S. workers are doing.

      At an event marking the launch the Poor People’s Campaign, Fight for $15 organizer Terrence Wise recalled “going to bed at night, ignoring my own stomach’s rumbling, but having to hear my three little girls’ stomachs rumble. That’s something no parent should have to endure.”

      Last year, the Institute for Policy Studies and the Poor People’s Campaign released The Souls of Poor Folk, a report on 50 years of change in the issues that affect working people, and particularly those at the bottom. We looked at systemic racism, poverty, militarism, and ecological devastation.
    • The Number of Giant Companies Paying $0 in Corporate Taxes Doubled In 2018
      What may have seemed like a lighthearted (and since-deleted) joke about its followers’ excessive spending habits was met with a stream of replies pointing out that perhaps a bank that received $12 billion in bailout money after the financial crisis, whose CEO’s salary is $31 million, and that has a history of mortgage fraud, should refrain from publicly lecturing its customers on their spending habits for coffee and lunch.
    • 5 Reasons to Reject Any Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment
      Members of Congress have proposed almost a dozen constitutional amendments this year requiring a balanced budget, all of which share serious drawbacks. Rep. Ben McAdams introduced the latest balanced budget amendment (BBA), H.J. Res. 55, and it shows both that BBAs are fundamentally flawed and that attempts to fix them invariably don’t succeed at doing that.

    • Another Bad Idea Brought to You by the Koch Brothers
      Some ideas are so mind-numbingly bad that they do not deserve a serious response. Moon advertising comes to mind. (That’s right. Advertisements projected across the moon. An idea so universally hated that Congress threatened to intervene in the early 90s despite the utter infeasibility of it.) Stopping hurricanes with hydrogen bombs. (No joke: an actual real life meteorologist championed this idea.) Rebooting Casablanca as a live TV musical event starring a cast of unruly kindergarten-aged children who missed naptime and who are all very upset about it. (As far as I know, nobody is pushing this one. Let’s hope it stays that way.)

      Here’s one more for you: paying for America’s desperately underfunded highway infrastructure needs by eliminating all federal funding for public transportation. From Winnemucca, Nevada to New York City, simply dump the 7 million commuters who count on buses, rail, and subways every single day to get to and from work. That will somehow fix our problems, the American workforce be damned.

      Never mind the myriad benefits transit provides to the American economy. Yes, every dollar invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns. Yes, every $10 million made in capital investments generates $30 million in increased sales for American businesses. Yes, home values perform better when they are located near good public transportation. Yes, it saves American families thousands of dollars every year. Yes, that is 11 billion trips annually that would otherwise contribute even more traffic to already soul crushingly congested highways around the country.
    • Sanders Calls on 2020 Candidates to Pledge Opposition to 'Unfair' Trade Deals That Put Corporate Interests Ahead of US Workers
      Sen. Bernie Sanders is challenging all of his competitors in the 2020 presidential race—especially Donald Trump—to scrap "unfair trade deals" and pursue policies designed to protect U.S. jobs and ensure living wages for American workers.

      "We need a president who will actually fight for American workers and stand up to corporations who outsource jobs," Sanders tweeted Monday.

      In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday night, Sanders outlined his views of current conditions for workers and various trade deals. He also expanded on his vision for future U.S. trade policy.

      Asked by Cooper whether he thinks Democratic contenders such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) or former Vice President Joe Biden would actually sign on to his trade pledge or put out their own plans, Sanders focused on the president.

    • CETA ISDS Upheld by CJEU
      It's hard to know what to make of the Court's statement that "the Parties have taken care to ensure that those tribunals have no jurisdiction to call into question the choices democratically made within a Party relating to, inter alia, the level of protection of public order or public safety, the protection of public morals, the protection of health and life of humans and animals, the preservation of food safety, protection of plants and the environment, welfare at work, product safety, consumer protection or, equally, fundamental rights." I think it's pretty clear that tribunals can call into question democratically made choices. I'm not sure ISDS supporters would even disagree with that. There is, of course, a real question about the extent to which tribunals can call these choices into question. If the EU and Canada had taken out the FET and indirect expropriation provisions, there would be less scope to do so. And if there were full exception provisions (i.e., not just from the non-discrimination provisions), there would be less scope to do so. As CETA is drafted (e.g., with the vague and mostly useless Article 8.9.1, and the still very broad FET standard), however, there is a lot of scope for tribunals to do so. The Court may or may not have understood this, but everyone else does, and it will become clear if CETA goes into effect. Whether you think it's a good idea for ISDS tribunals to have this power is a separate matter. But they do have the power.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Post-Trump Sex Disorder(s)
      It’s just one of multiple kinds of PTSD suffered by many in the Trumpocalypse. But no, “Post-Trump Sex Disorder” is not (necessarily) Trump Derangement Syndrome. In fact, not feeling it at all (ever!) might be a sign of derangement, denial or a Herculean ability to compartmentalize. And you know what happened to Hercules; the world’s strongest man was so painfully poisoned by his wife’s gift of a robe she thought would be an aphrodisiac, he killed himself to escape the agony.

      I first heard the term “Post-Trump Sex Disorder” from journalist Julie Vadnal, who interviewed me on the subject in the venerable pages of Cosmo—still a great sexy mag. Sure, it’s a little “looksist,” but a lot more Leftist than the war-cheering CNN, the Bezos Post or MSDNC.

      Though generally not as serious as those other forms of PTSD, Post-Trump Sex Disorder sure can ruin a romantic evening when one of you wants sex or even just a hug, and the other NEEDS to watch the Trumpus belch forth his latest offensive absurdities, or whatever breaking news is erupting from the Trump Crime Family. It’s even a point of contention in some divorces.

      How about having your lover, maybe your spouse of several decades, suddenly deported? Aside from all the life trauma that entails, there’s also the loneliness of the half-empty bed.

    • In the Time of the Orange Pig
      I’ve been following and writing about United States politics and society for more than twenty years. I often find that things here are much worse than people want to let themselves think.

      This is one of those times. The situation is very dire, and we must face it head on.

      Last Friday was another reminder that the White House is held by an aspiring fascist leader. The orange-tinted brute Donald Trump held another one of those ridiculous fake “press conferences” where he yells at reporters who fight to ask the Malignant One questions television viewers can’t hear over the roar of the emperor’s helicopter blades. Trump used this sorry gaggle to respond to Joe Biden’s campaign announcement video by offering a renewed defense of the openly fascist “blood and soil” Charlottesville Nazis, who chanted “Jews Will Not Replace” the night before one of them murdered Heather Heyer in August of 2017.

      Trump said that the white supremacists and anti-Semites who gathered to defend the statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville two summers ago were just fans of military history. That is false, of course. They were and are white nationalists who would like to see the Civil War replayed with a different outcome: Black chattel slavery successfully defended by the Confederacy, which took up arms against the United States to save the slave system.

      The visibly overweight and dementia-plagued 71-year-old Trump actually said this over the inaudible yelps of the reporters: “I’m a young and vibrant man. I’m so young. I can’t believe it, I’m the youngest person.” Who says shit like that? The point of his creepily narcissistic boasts, of course, was that his fellow septuagenarians “Sleepy Joe” Biden and “Crazy Bernie” Sanders are too old to be president whereas Trump’s invigorating fast-food diet is a magical fountain of youth.

    • The Era of “Centrist” Establishment Democrats Is Over
      What do you call a “healthy economy” that almost no one is experiencing personally? I call it a made-for-TV sham.

      “President Trump’s strongest case for reelection remains the country’s healthy economy, but the potency of that issue for him is complicated by a widespread belief that the economy mainly benefits people already in power,” The Washington Post reported on Monday morning. “This sentiment runs the deepest among Democratic and independent registered voters, but also exists among a significant slice of Republicans. About 8 in 10 Democrats and more than 6 in 10 independents say the country’s economic system gives an advantage to those already in power, while nearly a third of Republicans share that view.”

      The cognitive dissonance baked into that first sentence is worthy of immediate note. Exactly what “healthy economy” is the Post talking about? Unemployment is low because people need three jobs to stay above water. Wages have only just begun to catch up with the actual cost of living, and only in certain places where the minimum wage has been raised. Health care is murderously expensive, and student debt went over $1.5 trillion in the first quarter in 2018. The stock market is breaking records, though, and the rich people on TV all seem pretty happy (Mr. Bezos, your table is ready).

      After that strange declaration, the article goes on to describe how most people very correctly don’t believe a word of it, including more than a few Republicans. These people live with eyes wide open in a country where a serious illness can devour their financial future, where higher education is almost completely out of reach due to cost, and where having a job is no guarantee that workers can support their families. Millions of them got screwed this tax season by Donald Trump’s big rich-people giveaway tax bill, and eye their empty mailboxes and depleted bank accounts with ever-increasing wrath.

    • Ocasio-Cortez Came to ‘Knock Down the House’
      The day after the 2016 presidential election, filmmaker Rachel Lears woke up in her Brooklyn apartment feeling hopeless. The only way out of her funk was to take action, which she did by embarking on the making of a documentary about four grassroots candidates, each with limited experience and resources, running for House seats in the 2018 midterms. Among the surprise winners, as we all know now, was a bartender from the Bronx named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who gave Lears an intimate look at her campaign. The end result is the new documentary “Knock Down the House,” opening Wednesday in select theaters and on Netflix.

      “The concept of the film was always [that] it’s not that our democracy is something that exists and works and we have to have faith in it, but precisely that the system doesn’t work and we have to change it,” Lears said in an interview. “As Alexandria says in one of the rallies in the film, we have to rise to the promise, the promise that everyone can be part of the democratic process. And I think that’s what these campaigns are doing.”

      The search for candidates led Lears and her husband, writer-editor Robin Blotnick, to two political action committees Lears spotted on the pages of The Nation: Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress. From there, the filmmaking pair narrowed their scope to focus on grassroots candidates who had pledged not to take any corporate money and who were united on social democratic principles across racial and geographical barriers. By covering the nascent stages of a seismic shift to come months later in the midterms, Lears captured what no filmmaker had before her. Yes, campaigns have been the subjects of many prior films—but not campaigns involving everyday people bouncing back from personal loss or tragedy to seize control of their lives and political destinies. The four women Lears featured—Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin—persisted despite overwhelming odds. As a result, “Knock Down the House” achieves the impossible by actually humanizing political candidates.

    • Most Americans Reject Trump’s “America First” Policy
      As president, Donald Trump has leaned heavily upon what he has called an “America First” policy. This nationalist approach involves walking away from cooperative agreements with other nations and relying, instead, upon a dominant role for the United States, undergirded by military might, in world affairs.

      Nevertheless, as numerous recent opinion polls reveal, most Americans don’t support this policy.

      The reaction of the American public to Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from key international agreements has been hostile. According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll conducted in early May 2018, shortly before Trump announced a pullout from the Iran nuclear agreement, 54 percent of respondents backed the agreement. Only 29 percent favored a pullout. In July 2018, when the Chicago Council on Global Affairs surveyed Americans about their reaction to Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate agreement, it found that 66 favored remaining within the Iran accord, while 68 percent favored remaining within the Paris accord―an increase of six percent in support for each of these agreements over the preceding year.

      Most Americans also rejected Trump’s 2019 withdrawal of the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. A survey that February by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs reported that 54 percent of Americans opposed withdrawal from this nuclear arms control treaty and only 41 percent favored it. Furthermore, when pollsters presented arguments for and against withdrawal from the treaty to Americans before asking for their opinion, 66 percent opposed withdrawal.

    • Bernie Sanders Supports Voting Rights for the Imprisoned
      Corporate media’s twisted narrative frames voting rights as "letting terrorists and rapists vote."; Anoa Changa and Norman Solomon join host Jacqueline Luqman to discuss the battle over voting rights for people in jail

    • As Bernie Sanders Says 'No Apologies' for His Position, 70+ Groups Back Call for Prisoner Voting Rights
      In an op-ed for USA Today, the Vermont senator noted that prisoner disenfranchisement disproportionately harms poor people of color and is rooted in the "legacy of slavery and continuing racist attitudes post-Jim Crow."

      "Indeed, our present-day crisis of mass incarceration has become a tool of voter suppression," Sanders wrote. "Today, over 4.5 million Americans... have lost their right to vote because they have served time in jail or prison for a felony conviction."

      Sanders has faced continued backlash from right-wing media outlets, Republican lawmakers, and fellow Democratic presidential candidates since he expressed support for allowing prisoners to vote in a CNN town hall earlier this month.

      But in his op-ed Tuesday, the senator from Vermont—a state that allows inmates to vote from prison—said he makes "no apologies for that position" because "voting rights for all citizens is a basic principle of democracy."

    • Congress Should Be Ready to Arrest Attorney General Barr if He Defies Subpoena
      On Sunday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee threatened to subpoena Attorney General William P. Barr if he refuses to testify this week about the Mueller report.

      But a subpoena is unlikely to elicit Barr’s cooperation. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” says the President of the United States.

      In other words, according to Trump, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: No questioning the Attorney General about the Mueller Report. No questioning a Trump adviser about immigration policy.

      No questioning a former White House security director about issuances of security clearances. No questioning anyone about presidential tax returns.

      Such a blanket edict fits a dictator of a banana republic, not the president of a constitutional republic founded on separation of powers.

      If Congress cannot question the people who are making policy, or obtain critical documents, Congress cannot function as a coequal branch of government.

    • Fourth Shift Chicago
      Unemployment and ‘Missing’ notices are cannibal gaps in the labor cost-cut. But there is always a genius like Larry Hoover to find a void and fill it, which bring us roundabout to Compliments of Chicagohoodz, a stunning fotonarcorridoby Jinx and Mr C, published by the estimable Feral House. Hoover is not mentioned in Mr. Ranney’s book, but as founder of the Folk Nation he is more than a name in Chicago and he is always present in spirit. Although he is now in the Supermax for life, his genius was clearly of the permittedkind – a place ordained from the beginning by the power of City Hall as a protective device against real radicalism and as a testament to the paranoia of the rich. Local and national powers can afford a parallel incorporation; they even benefit from its price controls, its outlets for cash in danger of hording, and its dynamic figures who fight from nothing to ruthless heights. ‘I am a capitalist’, as bossman Larry Hoover said.

      Drugs and gang work are too often confused; sometimes they are even at loggerheads (e.g., coke destroyed much of the Latin Kings’ leadership via addiction in the early ‘80s, leading to its severe proscription). Riding is also the simple fact of controlling areas, friendship and fighting together, redemption by violence and amateur policing – at least primarily in the period this book covers. Who would live without a circle of friends and who would deny that rank is also fellowship? What is more profound than leaving your group for an hour in the warm wind of mid-June? And graves, tit-for-tat, one going all out with the most momentous sign and leaving a name on a wall where strong streets collide. It’s not all glamour, though. Despite the busts and hypocrisy, there are security forces at every civic level. Fluidity between them is not only possible but desirable. Professionalism is moving from para to official, while keeping the game and past initiations close.

    • Democratic Triumph for Catalan Separatists
      The Spanish General election in Catalonia was a stunning victory for the Catalan Separatists, their best ever election result, achieved despite their leadership being exiled or political prisoners and despite an avalanche of MSM propaganda against them. Four of those elected are currently in jail. The Spanish state has reacted by declaring the two major separatist candidates, Clara Ponsati and Carles Puigdemont, ineligible for the European Parliament elections.

      The Catalan Republican Left won the biggest share of the vote, which negates the continued false propaganda being put about Catalonian Independence being a right wing movement. Over 60% of the vote in Catalonia went to avowedly left wing parties.

      It is further worth noting that there is a very plain correlation between the geographical location of the 3.6% of the vote that the neo-fascists of Vox gained in Catalonia, and the Spanish occupation garrisons in the country.

      You will struggle very hard indeed to learn any of the above facts from British mainstream media; I had to get them all from Catalan sources.

      The Guardian has published 55 articles in the last three years boosting Ines Arrimadas, the leader of the Catalan branch of the right wing “Spanish” Citizens Party, including at least three op-eds written by Ines herself. The Guardian has sought relentlessly to portray public opinion in Catalonia as anti-Independence, and Arrimadas as its true representative.

    • How Congress Can Help Fix the Federal Election Commission
      The Federal Election Commission (FEC) was established to safeguard the integrity of U.S. federal elections. But thanks to perpetual partisan gridlock, the agency has been failing do its job to enforce campaign finance law and to address the rapidly evolving legal and technological landscape.

      The FEC’s dysfunction has made it more difficult for political candidates to follow the law and easier for those who are breaking it. It has allowed more than $1 billion in dark money to infiltrate U.S. elections. It has failed to prevent candidates from collaborating extensively with lightly-regulated super PACs. And the FEC has done nothing to respond to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as documented in the Mueller report.

      In a new report, Fixing the FEC: An Agenda for Reform, the Brennan Center provides new statistics that reveal the FEC’s declining output and explains the impact of the commission’s recent paralysis. The report also proposes key reforms that Congress can pursue to help address the agency’s maladies.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter dumps Southern Poverty Law Center, stops making hate pay

      Reckless language can have awful consequences. To ask why the Law Center would continuously be so careless despite the risks is to solicit the answer given by Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is!” The Southern Poverty Law Center raked in $132 million in 2017, and its endowment pushed to nearly half a billion dollars.

      Observers from within the civil rights community have known for years the Law Center and its founder, Morris Dees, were all about the money.

    • CNN and BBC pulled off the air by Venezuela's government

      CNN was blocked about a minute after airing a live feed of the Venezuelan National Guard running over protesters who opposed Maduro.

    • China is attempting a large-scale rewriting of history

      On March 26, the Press Trust of India reported that the People’s Republic of China has destroyed some 30,000 old maps. Printed in China, the allegedly “incorrect” maps had depicted Taiwan as a separate state and Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. Such unprecedented, large-scale map burning mimics State-sponsored rewriting of history textbooks. The burning of maps has, incidentally, occurred after China’s foisting of a ‘nine-dash line’ map of the South China Sea a few years ago. What lies behind China’s cartographic aggression?

    • Russia's dubbed version of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ changes Marvel's first ‘gay moment’
      The Russian release of the Hollywood blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame” features some tweaked dialogue in an early scene that could constitute censorship intended to avoid conflicts with Russia’s ban on so-called “gay propaganda.”

    • Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service will review complaints about the delayed release of ‘Avengers: Endgame’
      “Avengers: Endgame,” one of the most anticipated and profitable motion pictures of all time, is premiering in Russia only today, four days after its global release. According to unverified reports, the movie came late to Russia because the Culture Ministry wanted to protect a domestic film, “Billion,” from competing with the Hollywood blockbuster, enraging theater-owners across the country. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) now confirms that a formal complaint against the delayed premiere of “Endgame” was filed on April 26. The agency is required to respond within 30 days.

    • Section 230 Is Not A Special “Tech Company” Immunity
      Members of Congress are fond of wrongly calling Section 230 (47 U.S.C. €§ 230) a “big tech company” immunity, implying that it doesn’t protect anyone else. And they are not alone in this mistake. We frequently hear the same mischaracterization from friends in academia and legacy news media.

      The characterization is wrong because Section 230’s protections have been enjoyed and employed by a wide variety of Internet users. The law’s protections are in no way limited to “tech companies,” of any size.

      Section 230, by its language, provides immunity to any “provider or user of an interactive computer service” when that “provider or user” republishes content created by someone or something else, protecting both decisions to moderate it and those to transmit it without moderation. “User,” in particular, has been interpreted broadly to apply “simply to anyone using an interactive computer service.” This includes anyone who maintains a website, posts to message boards or newsgroups, or anyone who forwards email. A user can be an individual, a nonprofit organization, a university, a small brick-and-mortar business, or, yes, a “tech company.”

    • Pantene moves from hair care to search care launching extension for safe unbiased browsing

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The NSA says it's time to drop its massive phone-surveillance program

      The program monitors millions of phone calls and texts for signs of terrorist activity.

    • At Long Last, NSA Finally Recommends Its Bulk Phone Collection Program Be Put Out Of Its Misery
      The program's alterations -- courtesy of the USA Freedom Act -- now require the NSA to provide reasonable, articulable suspicion prior to asking for records from phone companies. The phone companies simply return responsive records, rather than hand over call data on all calls to the agency for it to sort through at its leisure. The NSA claims "logistical and legal" issues make this program not worth continuing. Perhaps it's actually the evidentiary burden that's making this too much of a hassle -- more "legal" than "logistical."

      Whatever the case, it's up to Congress to officially dump the program. The NSA may not be currently collecting anything, but its guidance could be ignored by non-national security experts on Capitol Hill who may be less willing to shitcan domestic surveillance programs.

    • Austrian Government Wants To Outlaw Online Anonymity
      How this will be accomplished is anyone's guess. One theory is this will rely on two-factor authentication linking users' accounts to their phones. In Austria, the purchase of a phone or SIM card requires the purchaser to turn all of this information over to the retailer. More security but less privacy, I guess.

      This law would apply to any site that has more than 100,000 registered users or exceeds 500,000 euros in annual revenue. Good thing there's that much revenue involved, considering violators could be hit with 500,000 euro fines, which rise to one million if there are repeated violations.

      The deployment and enforcement logistics are only part of the problem. The other hurdle the proposal faces is being upheld by the European Commission, which may take a dim view of a law that does so little to protect the privacy of internet users.

    • New Documents Reveal DHS Asserting Broad, Unconstitutional Authority to Search Travelers’ Phones and Laptops
      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the ACLU today asked a federal court to rule without trial that the Department of Homeland Security violates the First and Fourth Amendments by searching travelers’ smartphones and laptops at airports and other U.S. ports of entry without a warrant.

      The request for summary judgment comes after the groups obtained documents and deposition testimony revealing that U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorize border officials to search travelers’ phones and laptops for general law enforcement purposes, and consider requests from other government agencies when deciding whether to conduct such warrantless searches.

      “The evidence we have presented the court shows that the scope of ICE and CBP border searches is unconstitutionally broad,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Adam Schwartz. “ICE and CBP policies and practices allow unfettered, warrantless searches of travelers’ digital devices, and empower officers to dodge the Fourth Amendment when rifling through highly personal information contained on laptops and phones.”

    • AWS Is Now The Largest Systems Business In The World
      Considering all of the hundreds of different moving parts, as gauged by different types of features and services, that Amazon Web Services delivers on its public cloud, and the ever-increasing complexity of the AWS platform, it is pretty amazing that the cloud juggernaut can delivery pretty consistently growing revenue growth. Sure, there is a hiccup here and there, but if Amazon had executed as well in its online retailing business as it has in the public cloud, half the strip malls in America would be dead.

    • 'Facebook Dating' will launch in the US later this year

      The social media platform said during the company's yearly developer conference that the feature would be rolled out in 14 new countries Tuesday and in the U.S. this year.

    • Facebook dating service rolls out to 14 more countries — but not the U.S. just yet

      Online dating sites and mobile apps have exploded in popularity over the past decade, with many using Facebook’s social network to quickly upload personal information and find possible mates for their users. Tinder’s growth to 1.6 billion global users was fueled in part by easy access to Facebook’s data and targeting.

    • Facebook adds ‘secret crushes’ so you can see which friends are thirsting after you

      For those who haven’t seen it yet, Facebook Dating closely resembles its competitor Hinge. Unlike Tinder, it doesn’t ask you to swipe on potential matches. Instead, you answer question prompts and initiate conversations based on a photo or written answer in a person’s profile. It integrates with Facebook groups and events, encouraging you to find romantic partners both online and offline.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Anger at rape victims being asked to hand phones to police

      Civil liberties charity Big Brother Watch said victims should not have to "choose between their privacy and justice".

      "The CPS is insisting on digital strip-searches of victims that are unnecessary and violate their rights," the organisation added.

      Its director Silkie Carlo, told the Victoria Derbyshire programme the organisation had seen instances of police investigating a "stranger rape" requesting years of data from victims, including access to their cloud storage and social media accounts.

      She said it was deterring some victims from reporting rapes, potentially leaving dangerous offenders at large.

    • Rape victims among those to be asked to hand phones to police

      "I was required to hand in my phone and it was only returned to me after repeated requests after two years.

      "When I got my phone back, I saw that it had not even been turned on in two years.

    • No more champagne for FA Cup winners

      The Premier League has already stopped handing out champagne to man of the match winners, having encountered situations were Muslim players were being presented with alcohol.

    • West Papua: Three Detained for Planning Public Prayer

      Three West Papuans will today [23 April 2019] appear in an Indonesian court on treason charges.

      Yanto Awerkion, Sem Asso and Edo Dogopia were detained by police in January [2019] after they planned to hold a public prayer meeting.

    • We Got U.S. Border Officials to Testify Under Oath. Here’s What We Found Out
      In September 2017, we, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sued the federal government for its warrantless and suspicionless searches of phones and laptops at airports and other U.S. ports of entry.

      The government immediately tried to dismiss our case, arguing that the First and Fourth Amendments do not protect against such searches. But the court ruled that our clients — 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident whose phones and laptops were searched while returning to the United States — could move forward with their claims.

      Since then, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have had to turn over documents and evidence about why and how they conduct warrantless and suspicionless searches of electronic devices at the border. And their officials have had to sit down with us to explain — under oath — their policies and practices governing such warrantless searches.

    • Amerika: A Punch In the Face
      Using art to reflect and endure the merciless times, longtime bad boy Robert Longo's new exhibit Amerika exposes the darkness of our cultural moment with three chilling large-scale works, another step in his ongoing portrayal of the grim workings of American political power aptly dubbed his Destroyer Cycle series. Starting in the 1970s with Men in the Cities, featuring Mad Men-era figures caught in vivid mid-stride by gunfire, Longo's huge, intricate charcoal drawings have showed a chaotic country at war with itself - police brutality, gun violence, Ferguson protesters, shredded flags, desperate migrants, a divided political system reflected in iconic buildings and bleak titles - "Strike the Sun," "Everything Falls Apart."

      His 2012 Protocol Verso depicts stark U.S. flags juxtaposed with protests; a last flag is dedicated to Howard Zinn. A 2014 portrait of the US Capitol was paired with a 17-foot-high sculpture of a listing, collapsing American flag, a ship going down, titled "Untitled (The Pequod)" after Captain Ahab's doomed whaling ship. His 2018 portrait of the Supreme Court showed it split, clean but harsh, down the middle. Longo once noted, "I've become this old man carrying all these newspapers around – that’s my job, to catch these images and slow them down." “There’s this saying, those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it,” he said. “But those that know history just repeat it."

    • After daughter of two celebrities wins ‘The Voice Kids,’ Russian state TV channel asks Interpol partner to investigate
      On April 26, the final vote in Russia’s branch of the international franchise The Voice Kids, a song competition reality show, was announced. Ten-year-old Mikella Abramova won with 56.5 percent of viewers’ votes. Abramova is the daughter of the Russian singer Alsou and the banker Yan Abramov.


      Pervy Kanal sources said the full results of the company’s investigation will be made publicly accessible.

    • Bt Brinjal Illegally Growing in India: Who Is Really Pulling the Strings?
      In February 2010, the Indian government placed an indefinite moratorium on the commercial release of Bt brinjal. Prior to this decision, numerous independent scientists from India and abroad had pointed out safety concerns regarding Bt brinjal based on data and reports in the biosafety dossier that Mahyco, the crop developer, had submitted to the regulators.

    • Finding Common Ground on Repealing the Death Penalty
      How ending capital punishment transcends the political divide. What do Michael Bloomberg and Oliver North have in common? How about Michelle Malkin and Kim Kardashian West, or Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders? They may not share much turf when it comes to their political or social views, but they do all agree on one point that may surprise you.

      They all oppose the death penalty.

      Support for repealing the death penalty is diverse, it is growing, and it is bipartisan in nature. The brokenness of the death penalty system, long documented in local headlines and the cases they highlight, has hit a turning point with the public. This year alone, Republicans sponsored death penalty-repeal bills in ten states. That’s in keeping with trends that my organization, Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, has been tracking since 2012.

      I am a walking example of this trend.

      Growing up as a conservative and as the daughter of a Southern Baptist minister, my views on the death penalty were for many years exactly what one might expect—absolutely pro. But I changed my stance after finally digging deeper, and learning just how frequently innocent people are caught up in the system. I learned about the outrageous costs of the death penalty’s operation. I learned that the death penalty does not deter crime. I learned of the extraordinary arbitrariness and racial bias in sentencing.

      These are the reasons that many on the political right, like myself, are joining the opposition to capital punishment and fighting for repeal.

    • Russia's FSB reportedly purges dozens of officers following arrest of top colonel for bribery
      Following the arrest of FSB Colonel Kirill Cherkalin, who faces up to 15 years in prison on major bribery charges, Russia’s Federal Security Service has fired 27 officers who worked with him, a source in law enforcement told the website “So far, they’ve established that all together they were pulling down about a billion rubles [$15.5 million] every month. These guys just didn’t know when to stop,” the source said.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Wireless Carriers Make It Clear: You’re Going to Pay More For 5G

      But there’s one problem as consumer groups see it: US 4G (LTE) customers already pay some of the highest prices in the developed world for mobile data. In addition these high flat-month billing rates, LTE wireless networks are also subject to all manner of odd restrictions and caveats, many of which are designed to covertly raise your monthly rate even higher.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • In re Morinville: Biz.Orgs. Not Patent Eligible
      Morinville is an independent inventor and inventor-advocate. In the photo to the right, see Morinville burning one of his patent documents. He is also a regular contributor to Gene Quinn’s IPWatchdog site.

      In this case, Morinville is attempting to patent a method of reorganizing a business hierarchy into a more centralized functional hierarchy. Example: Move from Fig. 1 to Fig. 2.

      Operationally, the claims require association of “roles” with each position, including a “major function” and then identifying positions in the hierarchy that have functional commonality between the roles. Those associations are then used to generate a new hierarchy. And, “each of the steps is automatically implemented in the computer.”

    • 50 days: Chinese SPC IP Tribunal closes its first case
      Valeo Systèmes d'Essuyage (Valeo, the plaintiff in the original trial) is a global automotive supplier headquartered in France and owns the invention patent for a “wiper connector of motor vehicle and the corresponding connecting device” (No. ZL200610160549.2) in China.

      Valeo initiated proceedings before the Shanghai IP Court, claiming that the three Chinese defendants, namely Xiamen Fu Ke Auto Parts Co., Ltd. (Fu Ke Auto), Xiamen Lucas Auto Parts Co., Ltd. (Lucas Auto) and its general manager Shaoqiang Chen, had been manufacturing and selling three specific models of windscreen wipers which fell within the scope of Valeo’s patent claims 1-10. Valeo thus requested an order that the defendants must cease and desist from their infringing activities and compensate for the loss and the reasonable expenses for deterring the infringement in the amount of CNY 6 million. Further, considering the ongoing nature of the infringements, Valeo petitioned to the Court to take immediate measures to prevent the infringing activities whilst the trial proceeded.

      The Shanghai IP Court acknowledged the infringement but reserved the issue of damages, so on 22 January 2019, it issued an interim judgment, requiring Fu Ke Auto and Lucas Auto to immediately cease and desist from infringing the plaintiff’s patent rights (the evidence was not sufficient to prove that also Shao Qiang Chen had committed infringing acts). Fu Ke Auto and Lucas Auto lodged an appeal against the decision to the SPC IP Tribunal.


      For all its merits, the interim judgment is still extremely rare in Chinese IP trials. The interim judgment issued by the Shanghai IP Court was the very first one since this court's establishment in 2014.

      One core issue that was expected to be clarified by the SPC was how to deal with the preliminary injunction issued by the first instance Court in the context of interim judgment. Whilst the academia was abuzz with discussions, instead of offering a direct answer, the SPC IP Tribunal opined that the permanent injunction issued in the final judgment made it needless to render any preliminary injunction -- the question therefore remained unanswered. The Court did point out that the preliminary injunction and interim judgment were two procedural tools that had their respective values and they could co-exist.

    • Eligibility Cannot be Raised in IPR Appeal
      This appeal combines twelve different inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. In each case, the PTAB Board sided with the patentee — holding that the claims of Lilly’s U.S. Patent 7,772,209 were not proven invalid. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed.

      Premetrexed disodium is a drug treatment for malignant mesothelioma that works as a folate antagonist — blocking cell usage of folic acid necessary for rapid DNA replication. The drug has major side effects addressed by the Lilly patent. In particular, the claimed invention calls for a pre-treatment of a patient with folic acid and vitamin B12 in order to reduce the risk skin rashes, fatigue, etc.


      Patent Eligibility: Patent Eligibility cannot be challenged in IPR proceedings. Still, on appeal the patent challengers argued that the claims here are so far beyond the pale of eligibility that the court should simply reject the claims as a matter of law. When questioned regarding appellate jurisdiction, the challengers cited the Administrative Procedures Act requirement that “a reviewing court shall decide all relevant questions of law. . . . This Court’s review is not limited to the grounds considered by the Board (either implicitly or explicitly) where the question is one of law. See In re Aoyama, 656 F.3d 1293, 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (holding that this Court could reach indefiniteness for the first time on appeal since it is a question of law).”

      On appeal here, however, the Federal Circuit refused the chance to opine on eligibility — holding that IPR proceedings are limited only to obviousness and anticipation, and appeals are likewise limited.

    • Examining Octane Fitness Five Years On
      Five years ago today, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Octane Fitness LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., empowering district courts to award attorneys’ fees in those patent case that “stand out from others.” Last year, we crunched the numbers and explored several notable trends that have emerged post-Octane Fitness. For that article, we looked at nearly 420 decisions spanning nearly four years.

    • Measuring Patent Thickets
      Measuring the effect of patenting on industry R&D is an age old pursuit in innovation economics. It's hard. The latest interesting attempt comes from Greg Day (Georgia Business) and Michael Schuster (OK State, but soon to be Georgia Business). They look at more than one million patents to determine that large portfolios tend to crowd out startups. I'm totally with them on that. As I wrote extensively during troll hysteria, patent portfolios and assertion by active companies can be harmful to innovation.
    • Patent Inequality
      Using an original dataset of over 1,000,000 patents and empirical methods, we find that the patent system perpetuates inequalities between powerful and upstart firms. When faced with growing numbers of patents in a field, upstart inventors reduce research and development expenditures, while those already holding many patents increase their innovation efforts. This phenomenon affords entrenched firms disproportionate opportunities to innovate as well as utilize the resulting patents to create barriers to entry (e.g., licensing costs or potential litigation).

      A hallmark of this type of behavior is securing large patent holdings to create competitive advantages associated with the size of the portfolio, regardless of the value of the underlying patents. Indeed, this strategy relies on quantity, not quality. Using a variety of models, we first find evidence that this strategy is commonplace in innovative markets. Our analysis then determines that innovation suffers when firms amass many low-value patents to exclude upstart inventors. From these results, we not only provide answers to a contentious debate about the effects of strategic patenting, but also suggest remedial policies to foster competition and innovation.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube CEO addresses top creator issues including copyright claims and trending section

        YouTube’s policy team is also planning to add more detailed guidelines around what content is suitable for advertisers, Wojcicki says. YouTubers have been frustrated over the lack of clarity on what content can make their video ineligible for advertising — complex rules around a seemingly simple issue like swearing have made the current guidelines hard to follow.

      • Suspected ‘Pirate’ Wins Data Disclosure Battle Against Copyright Troll’s Law Firm

        The wave of piracy settlement letters in Finland has resulted in a privacy-related win for an accused file-sharer. A local court has ruled that law firm Hedman Partners must allow a suspected file-sharer to see all technical evidence the outfit has on her, which it initially refused to do. The ruling could lead to a lot of extra paperwork for the law firm involved.

      • China Shuts 361 Movie Piracy Sites, 57 Apps, and Arrests 251 Suspects

        China's Ministry of Public Security has announced details of a major crackdown on groups involved in movie piracy. In a lengthy report, the authorities reveal they have "destroyed" 361 pirate sites, 57 apps, and arrested 251 suspects. This, they say, is "an inevitable requirement for improving the competitiveness of China's film and television industry."

      • CC Search is out of beta with 300M images and easier attribution
        CC Search searches images across 19 collections pulled from open APIs and the Common Crawl dataset, including cultural works from museums (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art), graphic designs and art works (Behance, DeviantArt), photos from Flickr, and an initial set of CC0 3D designs from Thingiverse.

        Aesthetically, you’ll see some key changes — a cleaner home page, better navigation and filters, design alignment with, streamlined attribution options, and clear channels for providing feedback on both the overall function of the site and on specific image reuses. It’s also now linked directly from the Creative Commons homepage as the default method to search for CC-licensed works, and replaces the old search portal (though that tool is still online here).

        Under the hood, we improved search loading times and search phrase relevance, implemented analytics to better understand when and how the tools are used, and fixed many critical bugs our community helped us to identify.

      • Announcing: The Public Domain Song Anthology
        You realize something needs to be done and you are the only one crazy enough to do it. This happened when my law and music worlds collided: A D.C. restaurant stopped booking live music due to license demands from a Performance Rights Organization. I suggested that bands could play "originals," and play from a book of Public Domain popular music – but no such book exists – even though as of Jan. 1, 2019 more music is entering the Public Domain.

        I realized I knew the very best music, law, and library people to create such a book, of 370 songs, and to give it away – in text and musical notation software, free for creative use and adaptation – as an Open Educational Resource. And to add up to 50 more "1924" tunes next Jan. 1. But this would mean raising all the money in advance to pay the curator / arrangers, who have agreed they would not claim any purported (and dubious) rights in their research, notation, harmonization, notes, or formatting, or in the compilation itself. If any such rights exist they will be licensed cc-0.

      • Both Sides Want The Supreme Court To Review Decision Denying Copyright In Georgia's Law. How About You?
        Last year the Eleventh Circuit held that the Georgia statutory code, including annotations, was not protected by copyright. It was an important decision, not just for Carl Malamud's, which had been sued for publishing Georgia's operative statutory law, including the annotations, but for any member of the public who necessarily needs to be able to freely access the law that governs them.

        Georgia has now petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the Eleventh Circuit's decision. But more significantly, Public Resource is also planning to file a brief encouraging that review. Not because Public Resource wants the decision reversed, of course. But because it wants the decision to be affirmed.

        Here's the situation. If the Supreme Court declines to review the decision, it will stand. That's a good thing, because it means there would be no risk of infringing copyright in publishing the Georgia state code. Given the decision's reasoning, it would also be difficult for any other state within the Eleventh Circuit to assert copyright in its statutory code either. But for any other state outside the Eleventh Circuit the question of whether statutory law could be copyrighted would remain unsettled. The Eleventh Circuit's decision is persuasive authority that courts elsewhere may defer to, but it's not binding authority, so they don't have to. What the Eleventh Circuit got right they could still get wrong.

        Also, even if other courts were to ultimately follow in the Eleventh Circuit's footsteps, it is arduous and expensive to have to litigate in each state and circuit in order to get to that point. Meanwhile plenty of publicly-beneficial uses will remain chilled by the fear of potential litigation and liability as we wait for all these courts to eventually rule that this public access, unrestrained by copyright, is OK.

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