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Links 16/5/2020: FreeBSD 11.4 Beta 2

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #345: The Weekender XLVIII

        It's time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we're doing. We'd love to hear from you.

      • 2020-05-15 | Linux Headlines

        A Rust-based Node.js alternative is exciting developers while the language itself celebrates its fifth birthday, the Maui Project unveils its first stable toolkit, Mozilla rolls back Lockwise integration with operating system passwords, and Finnix lands its first new edition in five years.

      • Test and Code: 113: Technical Debt - James Smith

        Technical debt has to be dealt with on a regular basis to have a healthy product and development team.

        The impacts of technical debt include emotional drain on engineers and slowing down development and can adversely affect your hiring ability and retention.

        But really, what is technical debt? Can we measure it? How do we reduce it, and when?

        James Smith, the CEO of Bugsnag, joins the show to talk about technical debt and all of these questions.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking Amazon's Graviton2 Performance With 64 Neoverse N1 Cores Against Intel Xeon, AMD EPYC

         This week Amazon announced the general availability of their EC2 "M6g" instances powered by their second-generation Graviton processors. Amazon is offering a variety of M6g instances with the Graviton2 CPU, including a bare metal instance. In this article are many benchmarks looking at the various Amazon EC2 M6g instances compared to other EC2 Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC instances as well as looking at the M6g Graviton2 metal performance up against various Intel/AMD CPUs in our lab.

        Graviton2 is a big upgrade over the original Graviton CPUs that were designed by Annapurna Labs. With Graviton2 there are 64 Arm Neoverse N1 cores per system (for metal or up to their maximum M6g instance type) and this new generation supports always-on DRAM encryption, dual SIMD units, int8/fp16 instruction support, and other architectural improvements over the original Graviton and other Arm server SoCs for that matter.

    • Applications

      • Best Notepad++ Alternatives for Linux

          With increasing demand for programmers, tools like text editors have slowly grown in prominence and popularity. Text editors are programs that allow you to create and edit files. They can be used for simple writing tasks, such as allowing one to edit their essay, or to write their code to develop a computer program. Since these are simple programs that allow users to edit their files, they in turn have a lower overhead and are therefore generally quite fast to use.

        In addition, text editors allow users to create and modify files of all types of programming languages. This flexible nature of theirs makes them a popular choice among users. With a wide collection of options available, it is important to choose the text editor that offers the best features and allows users to do their work as efficiently as possible.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Caesar III open source game engine 'Julius' has a new release

        Julius, a constantly improving free and open source game engine to play the classic Caesar III on modern systems has a brand new release available.

        This new release went up a few days ago and it's quite a big one all things considered. Not because of any one thing, there's just lots of nice small additions to make playing Caesar III better.

        New support for language packs and the Korean and Swedish versions of the game, there's also now translations for French, German, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish for the options screen. There's new hotkeys like ALT+Enter for fullscreen and CTRL+O/S for loading and saving and you can actually configure your own hotkeys now too.

      • Into the Breach gets a few tweaks for the new Linux version

        After waiting quite a while, Subset Games finally gave us the Linux port of Into the Breach and it's been working well for us but they just put out a fresh update to fix some issues.

        The remnants of human civilization are threatened by gigantic creatures breeding beneath the earth. You must control powerful mechs from the future to hold off this alien threat. Each attempt to save the world presents a new randomly generated challenge in this turn-based strategy game from the makers of FTL. Yesterday May 15 a small patch v1.23 went up, and it's good to see Subset Games give plenty of attention to the Linux version as they continue to ensure it works nicely. There's always going to be a few rough edges on a new version on any platform of course, as nothing is ever perfect.

      • Valve Launches Half-Life: Alyx Workshop And Community Development Tools
      • Half-Life: Alyx gets a Linux release, level editing tools, Vulkan support, and more

        In addition, Steam Workshop support has arrived to the game as well, giving those who want to experience community-made modifications an easy way to find and install them with just one click.

        The new Linux version of Half-Life: Alyx uses the Vulkan rendering API. Valve says "AMD graphics and the Mesa RADV driver are recommended for best results" on the platform, and if Proton was used previously, users are recommended to uncheck the "Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool" box in the Alyx properties menu.

      • Half-Life: Alyx now available on Linux with Vulkan

        Just like Valve said to us they would do so, Half-Life: Alyx is now available on Linux using the Vulkan graphics API. This arrives as part of a big update that went out today which also brings in modding tools and Steam Workshop support, it's going to be very fun to see what the community comes up with for Half-Life: Alyx.

        Half-Life: Alyx is Valve’s VR return to the Half-Life series. It’s the story of an impossible fight against a vicious alien race known as the Combine, set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Playing as Alyx Vance, you are humanity’s only chance for survival.

      • Half-Life: Alyx Update Adds Native Linux Support, Vulkan Rendering

        On launch-day Valve had Half-Life: Alyx running on Linux via Steam Play while with the VR game's latest update is now a Linux-native build and Vulkan rendering support.

        Today's update to Half-Life: Alyx adds Steam Workshop support but also notable with this update is native Linux support using Vulkan. This update also makes Vulkan rendering on Windows optional as an alternative to Direct3D 11.

      • A quick look over recent and upcoming Linux game releases

        With so many games being released, announced and teased it's often hard to keep on top of things so we're here to help. Going over a good few pages and hundreds of articles, here's a quick round-up in case you've missed any.

        Just a note: this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, just a brief selection of titles we don't want you to miss.

      • How to use Xbox One controllers over Bluetooth on Linux

        Unlike other Bluetooth controllers, the Xbox One controller will not interact with Linux without modifications. The reason? The Bluetooth chip inside of it has a DRM feature enabled, which prevents it from pairing successfully.

        In this guide, we’ll go over how to disable the DRM feature that makes it impossible to pair your Xbox One controller to Linux over Bluetooth. Additionally, we’ll walk you through the pairing process.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE's May 2020 Apps Update

          Kid3 is a handy but powerful music tagging program which lets you edit the ID3 tags and similar formats on MP3 and other music files.

          This month is has moved to be hosted by KDE and has made its first release as a KDE app. The release note says:

          “Besides bug fixes, this release provides usability improvements, additional keyboard shortcuts and user action scripts. Special thanks go to various people at KDE, who translated the user interface and the handbook to new languages.”

          Kid3 is available in for Linux, Windows, Mac and Android. You can download from the website or through your distro and the stores Chocolatey, Homebrew and F-droid.

        • This week in KDE: Plasma 5.19 beta and more

          The KDE Plasma 5.19 beta has been released! We’re very proud of the work that’s gone into 5.19, but it is no doubt buggy and in need of QA. Please help us find all the bugs we missed! Go test it in your favorite distro; options include KDE Neon Testing or Unstable editions, openSUSE Krypton or KDE:Unstable repos, Arch’s kde-unstable repos, and probably many more I’m not familiar with (please tell me!).

        • KDE Developers Are Busy Polishing Plasma 5.19

          The Plasma 5.19 beta was released this week but that's not the finish line yet and KDE developers have remained very busy polishing it up for ensuring this open-source desktop has a stellar release coming up.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Modicia OS Ultimate Comes With Cool, Unique UI Twists

            Performance Factors The unique optimizations built into Modicia OS are the Turbo Boost processors, which are active by default. Also system swappiness is reduced to 10 percent, and programs are 25 percent faster, which the developer notes increases the life of the SSD disk.

          Data in RAM memory is compressed to enhance the speed by more than 20 percent when reading and writing, according to the developer. Also, Wine, Samba and Rsync are configured and active.

          QT and GTK applications share a similar look as if they relied on a single library. The Windows theme is the same for all applications. The theme, buttons and icons, like the VLC skin, were created specifically for Modicia OS Ultimate.

          You will find applications, management tools, and multimedia that do not exist in any other distribution. Everything installed is ready and preconfigured. Bottom Line Modicia OS Ultimate is graphically beautiful, complete, and uses only 450 MB of RAM. It performs well on older computers with more limited hardware resources and flies on more current boxes.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 Xfce Edition Review

          Linux Mint is quickly eroding Ubuntu’s position as the easy to use Linux desktop. But Mint comes in more than just one flavor, including a lighter version based on Xfce. How does this light version fare against its big brother? Does everything still “just work”, or are there hidden compromises? And how does it stack up against other lightweight distros? Check out our Linux Mint Xfce Edition review below.

      • New Releases

        • Kali Linux 2020.2 Released, Download Now!!!

          Offensive Security recently announced its second release of 2020, Kali Linux 2020.2 with infrastructure improvements, PowerShell by Default, changes with login, and other features.

          For those unaware, Kali Linux is one of the best Linux distros for hackers, pen-tester, and security researchers because most of the hacking tools that are available online are built-in this Linux Distro. The previous version of Kali Linux 2020.1 was released in January 2020.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 11.4-BETA2 Now Available

          The second BETA build of the 11.4-RELEASE release cycle is now available.

          Installation images are available for:

          o 11.4-BETA2 amd64 GENERIC o 11.4-BETA2 i386 GENERIC o 11.4-BETA2 powerpc GENERIC o 11.4-BETA2 powerpc64 GENERIC64 o 11.4-BETA2 sparc64 GENERIC o 11.4-BETA2 armv6 BANANAPI o 11.4-BETA2 armv6 BEAGLEBONE o 11.4-BETA2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD o 11.4-BETA2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD2 o 11.4-BETA2 armv6 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD o 11.4-BETA2 armv6 RPI-B o 11.4-BETA2 armv6 RPI2 o 11.4-BETA2 armv6 WANDBOARD o 11.4-BETA2 aarch64 GENERIC

          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access. Additionally, the root user password is set to root. It is strongly recommended to change the password for both users after gaining access to the system.

          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:

          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.

          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR system or on the -stable mailing list.

          If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing system, use the "releng/11.4" branch.

          A summary of changes since 11.4-BETA1 includes:

          o llvm, clang, compiler-rt, libc++, libunwind, lld, lldb and openmp have been updated to version 10.0.0.

          o An issue with loader.lua has been fixed.

          o A linker issue with stand/i386 has been fixed.

          o Two security issues with libalias(3) have been fixed. FreeBSD-SA-20:12.libalias FreeBSD-SA-20:13.libalias

          o procfs(5)-based process debugging has been deprecated.

          o Various potential system panics have been resolved.

          o An issue booting recent Linux kernels via bhyve has been fixed.

          o The ubsec(4) driver has been marked as deprecated.

          A list of changes since 11.3-RELEASE is available in the releng/11.4 release notes:

          Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be updated on an ongoing basis as the 11.4-RELEASE cycle progresses.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/20

          This week we had some trickier changes entering our beloved distro, which might even have causes some (minor) problems for you while running zypper dup. It’s about how we package symlinks in our RPMs. So far, brp-check-suse converted the symlinks to absolute ones, then rpm warned about that fact. No way of pleasing the packager, right? The brp policy has been updated and symlinks are now all converted to relative ones (almost all – things to /dev stay absolute, e.g. /dev/null). This has some advantages when inspecting chroots or other layouts that could be mounted somewhere else. The issues seen were that not everything got rebuilt in the same go, which resulted in zypper complaining about file conflicts.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Update on GNOME documentation project and infra

          As you may have noticed, GNOME was recently accepted as a participating organization in the Season of Docs 2020 program (thanks Kristi Progri, Shaun McCance, and Emmanuele Bassi for your help with this).

          While we are eagerly awaiting potential participants to apply for the program and start contributing as documentation writers to GNOME user and developer documentation projects, I also wanted to summarize recent updates from the GNOME documentation infrastructure area.

          Back in January this year when conferences were not solely virtual, Shaun McCance, David King and yours truly managed to meet right before FOSDEM 2020 in Brussels, Belgium for two days of working on a next-gen site generator for GNOME user documentation.

          As largely unmaintained library-web running behind remains one of the biggest pain points in the GNOME project, we have a long-term plan to replace it with Pintail. This generator written by Shaun builds Ducktype or Mallard documentation directly from Git repos, surpassing the need to handle Autotools or Meson or any other build system in a tarball, as opposed to library-web, which, for historical reasons, depends on released tarballs generated with Autotools only, with no support for Meson.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-20

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Fedora 30 will reach end-of-life on 26 May.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Build Smart on Kubernetes with OpenShift from anywhere in the world

          The Build Smart on Kubernetes World Tour is a series of in-person and virtual workshops around the globe that help you build the skills you need to quickly modernize your applications.


          CodeReady Containers provide a great way to get started with learning the basics of working with Red Hat OpenShift. In this workshop, you set up CodeReady Containers locally and then run through a series of modules that use the OpenShift command line to create a project. Create an app from a variety of sources, including source code (Node.js), a Docker image, or even a GitHub repository. Then learn how to monitor the status of OpenShift, interpret logs, and assess the state of running applications. The introduction finishes with an exploration of key concepts for exposing your application, including port-forwarding and routing.

        • Amazon Red Hat OpenShift Launched

          Red Hat and AWS have announced Amazon Red Hat OpenShift, a jointly-managed and jointly-supported enterprise Kubernetes service on AWS.

          “Amazon Red Hat OpenShift will offer customers the ability to launch Red Hat OpenShift clusters and provide the benefit of an AWS integrated experience for cluster creation and management, AWS Console listing, on-demand (hourly) billing model, single invoice for AWS deployments and the ability to contact AWS for support,” said Sathish Balakrishnan, Red Hat’s VP of Hosted Platforms, in a blog post.

      • Debian Family

        • XMPP: ejabberd Project on

          Some days ago I wrote a small script to export the needed values to x-nodeinfo2 that is queried by It's surely not the best script or solution for that job and is currently limited to ejabberd servers that use a PostgreSQL database as backend, although it should be fairly easy to adapt the script for use with MySQL. Well, at least it does its job. At least as there is no native ejabberd module for this task.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Learn Ubuntu 20.04 From The Basics

            Here is a complete user resource to learn Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa from the basics. This page informs you things you need and want to know about using computer with Ubuntu divided in ten sections: the knowledge of operating system itself, how to install and upgrade it, the Ubuntu basics for your daily computing, software installation, working with LibreOffice, how to print and scan, terminal commands, applications recommendation, and more readings. There are also ebooks downloadable below. I hope this big list helps anybody starting with Ubuntu in 2020 and even starting with using computer as well. Welcome to computing without virus and antivirus powered by free, libre, and open source software. Have successful works with Ubuntu!


    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Suddenly Remote: What the Open Source Community Can Teach Us

        Remote work — all of a sudden with no time to plan for it — is disruptive. It’s unfamiliar. It’s stressful. It’s distracting, especially for those with school-aged children who are now themselves remote learners. Here are some of the ways open source communities mitigate the absence of physical human contact.

      • Events

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Linux Plumbers Conference 2020 Goes Virtual

          As previously promised, we are announcing today that we have decided to hold the the Linux Plumbers Conference 2020 virtually instead of in person. We value the safety and health of our community and do not wish to expose anyone to unnecessary risks.

          We do appreciate that it is the in-person aspect of plumbers (the hallway track) which attendees find the most valuable. An online Linux Plumbers Conference will clearly be different from past events. We are working hard to find ways to preserve as much of the LPC experience as we can while also taking advantage of any new opportunities that the online setting offers us. Since we no longer have many of the fixed expenses of an in-person conference, we are able to reduce the registration fee to $50. In addition we are pushing back the opening of registration to June 15 2020.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Relaxing video series brings serenity to your day

            Sitting in front of a computer all day (and getting caught up in the never-ending bad news cycle) can be draining. And if you happen to be working from home, you might also be facing distractions and other stressors. A soothing scene set to gentle white noise could be just the thing to restore serenity and focus to your day.

            Right click on any of these relaxing videos and select “Loop” for continuous play. Then click the blue Picture-in-Picture button to pop the video out and play alongside while you go about your business on other tabs or do things outside of Firefox. You can also grab it with your mouse to move it around or resize it to your liking. Don’t see the Picture-in-Picture button? Download latest Firefox browser to use it.

          • Armen Zambrano: Treeherder developer ergonomics

            In the last few months I’ve worked with contributors who wanted to be selected to work on Treeherder during this year’s Google Summer of Code. The initial proposal was to improve various Treeherder developer ergonomics (read: make Treeherder development easier). I’ve had three very active contributors that have helped to make a big difference (in alphabetical order): Shubham, Shubhank and Suyash.

            In this post I would like to thank them publicly for all the work they have accomplished as well as list some of what has been accomplished. There’s also listed some work from Kyle who tackled the initial work of allowing normal Python development outside of Docker (more about this later).

            After all, I won’t be participating in GSoC due to burn-out and because this project is mostly completed (thanks to our contributors!). Nevertheless, two of the contributors managed to get selected to help with Treeherder (Suyash) and Firefox Accounts (Shubham) for GSoC. Congratulations!

          • Forget Me Not - Firefox cookies chef galore

            Forget Me Not is a wonderful extension. It's powerful, rich and effective. The only problem is, it has a rather complicated workflow, which can make it somewhat difficult for ordinary users. The solution would be to somewhat rearrange options, so the setup becomes more linear, and thus easier to follow and master.

            That said, Forget Me Not does an excellent job. You can now keep important cookies, and delete the useless rest, and you have other assets in your toolbox, too, like the ability to handle various types of cleanable data, perform automatic or manual maintenance, and then some. Very practical, and another notch on your privacy belt. So there we go, a great little finding, post-quantum. I'm actually happy. Curtain.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Month of LibreOffice, May 2020 – Two weeks in!

          Two weeks ago, we started a new Month of LibreOffice, saying thanks to contributors from our worldwide community. Everyone who helps out with our projects this month can claim a cool sticker pack at the end – and also has a chance to win a hoodie, T-shirt or mug!

          So far 259 sticker packs have been awarded – click the link to see if your name/username is in the list. If not, read on and find out what you can do, to take part!

        • (Pictured) Libre Office 7.0 First Release: Enhanced Compatibility with Microsoft Office Documents

          This week the DocumentFoundation launched the first alpha version of Libre Office 7.0 for Windows, Linux and macOS. This version, launched by the Document Foundation during the first BUG RewardS meeting, allows users to try out the latest version of the latest productivity suite and share any issues they encounter with the development team, which helps the development team polish the application from these early stages of development.

          Libre Office 7.0 is expected to launch in August this year and has made major improvements to each of the productivity suites. One notable improvement in this release is the right. DOCX document import and export filtering greatly improves compatibility with Microsoft Office documents.

        • LibreOffice Weekly Clippings – May 15, 2020
      • Education

        • Why European universities are choosing open source software

            Nowadays, it is no surprise that a lot of universities, academies, colleges, conservatories, etc. have already implemented open source software in their learning process.

          Open source culture and concepts help students, professors, and communities have a better learning experience, being independent of tech giants that always call the shots, and therefore free to share their ideas and build on the work of others.

          Let's explore why open source software is so attractive for Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Europe.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • January 2020 License-Review Summary

            License-Review mailing list topics for January 2020:

            Continued discussion on the Mulan PSL V2 Continued discussion on the Cryptographic Autonomy License (Beta 4) Resolution of the Vaccine License – Not Approved Continued discussion on the BSD-1-Clause [Legacy] Resolution of the CasperLabs Open Source License (COSL) – Considered Withdrawn


            Continued discussion on the BSD-1-Clause [Legacy]

            Argument that all that use the license should just be relicensed under the BSD License since multiple identical licenses hinders freedom due to their costs

            Clarification that as a legacy submission, the submitter has no power over the license and that there are significant logistical issues with regards to push a change

      • Programming/Development

        • ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

          2020 marks 60 years since ALGOL 60 laid the groundwork for a multitude of computer languages.

          The Register spoke to The National Museum of Computing's Peter Onion and Andrew Herbert to learn a bit more about the good old days of punch tapes.

          ALGOL 60 was the successor to ALGOL 58, which debuted in 1958. ALGOL 58 had introduced the concept of code blocks (replete with begin and end delimiting pairs), but ALGOL 60 took these starting points of structured programming and ran with them, giving rise to familiar faces such as Pascal and C, as well as the likes of B and Simula.

        • Cross-compiling with gst-build and GStreamer

          gst-build is one of the main build systems used by the community to develop the GStreamer platform. In my last blog post, I presented gst-build and explained how to get started with it. Now, let's get straight to the point regarding cross-compilation.

          For this example, we will target an AArch64 CPU for a Xilinx reference board, the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC ZCU106 Evaluation Kit. As you'll see, cross compiling can be very useful when you want to save time when working with GStreamer, or when you want to be able to work on both the host and target with the same base code.

        • Intel oneAPI DPC++ Compiler Merges Its Initial CUDA Backend

          Intel's oneAPI crew just released version 2020-03 (though one would have thought it should be 2020-05) of their Data Parallel C++ (DPC++) compiler and with this release are several new features including the NVIDIA CUDA back-end.

          This CUDA back-end allows for Data Parallel C++ / SYCL to run atop CUDA-enabled NVIDIA GPUs. This is the compiler work carried out by Codeplay as part of their effort for bringing oneAPI/DPC++/SYCL to NVIDIA GPUs in cooperation with Intel. The heavy lifting is helped in part by DPC++ being built off LLVM and being able to re-use the NVIDIA NVPTX code already within upstream LLVM.

        • Get hands-on COBOL development experience with IBM Z software trials

          Several people have approached me in the past few weeks looking to experience the latest solutions for working with COBOL code on IBM z/OS. At face value, this seems like it should be a simple request. One of the biggest challenges of demonstrating new mainframe technologies is figuring out exactly how to get your hands on an environment. A sandbox system needs to be isolated, so any changes made while exploring won’t break another user. Then there is the logistical hurdle of the amount of time needed to install front-end clients, back-end servers, and perhaps even middleware components. A “simple” proof-of-concept may not be so simple. Enter IBM Z software trials.

          IBM Z trials are available to demonstrate selected solutions. They are free, self-provisioned, sandbox environments that live for three days. Need more time than that? No problem — provision another one after your first trial dies. Trials include all of the necessary pieces from the front-end to the back-end, and they are isolated so users cannot impact one another. And each trial contains multiple scenarios with step-by-step guidance on what to do.

          The solution I turn to for IBM Z DevOps is the IBM Z Open Development Trial, which demonstrates key DevOps technologies using a combination of open source and IBM tools. The user starts by loading COBOL code from a Git repository into IBM Developer for z/OS. After modifying the code, it is built by IBM Dependency Based Build (DBB), and then deployed to z/OS using Jenkins.

        • Python

          • 802.11n AP Client Kick-Off Script (Py)

            So I have been running multiple APs with the same SSID on separate channels and frequencies and noticed that the clients are really good at switching from a weak 802.11ac signal strength to the stronger but lower speed 802.11n AP station. This is good, however, they don’t seem to be as aggressive in switching back to 802.11ac once they get closer again (unless they turn off or shutdown or restart their network stack since the 802.11n just gets stronger the closer you get). I found an OpenWRT compatible shell script which kicks clients off a given radio depending on their signal strength to the router. I adjusted it to disconnect a client if they start to get too close to the N router as they are likely going to get a good signal strength from the AC AP instead. You can set the AP deauth time (ex 19 seconds), the time between kicking the same client on/off again (ex 31 mins), and it checks for the signal-to-noise ratio to get above a certain amount (ex 45 SNR) before activating on a client!

          • Python Concurrency Tutorial

            This is a quick guide/tutorial on how to effectively write concurrent programs using Python. Concurrency in Python can be confusing. There are multiple modules (threading, _thread, multiprocessing, subprocess). There’s also the much hated GIL, but only for CPython (PyPy and Jython don’t have a GIL). Collections are not thread safe, except for some implementation details with CPython.

            The objective of this tutorial is to provide down-to-earth recommendations on how to approach each use case of concurrent (or parallel) code.

            You’ll notice that, unlike some other more traditional “multithreading only” Python tutorials, I start with a summary of both Computer Architecture and concepts of Operating Systems. Understanding these basic concepts is fundamental to correctly build concurrent programs. Please skip these sections if you’re already familiar with these topics.

          • 5 takeaways from the Python Developer Survey 2019

            Last week the Python Software Foundation (PSF) published the results of the Python Developer Survey 2019. The research was conducted in the fall of 2019 and collected answers from over 24 thousand Python developers from 150+ countries. The Python Developers Survey is an official instrument endorsed by the PSF and serves as a reference to understand what is going on in the Python world.

          • Nginx caching with django

            For a small django site I run, I'd like to add nginx caching in front of my django server. Here's the setup I ended up with.

            The pages I want to cache are available for both anonymous and logged in users. The majority of traffic is from anonymous users and since they all get the same contents I'd like to serve it from the cache. Contents for logged in users should never be cached.

            Because we show different content to logged in users, and therefore check e.g. request.user.is_authenticated, the SessionMiddleware correctly sets a Vary: cookie header.

            As an extra spanner in the works, we use google analytics which adds its own cookies. These aren't used by the django server but means that even anonymous visitors submit cookies with their request.

          • Looking at the process through psutil and Python

            Lately I have been trying to improve my system administration skills. I needed to monitor some of the running processes. To do that I used psutil module in Python. It is a cross platform module to parse the information about running process. It also provides information on how the system is being utilized. In the area of - CPU, memory, disks, network, sensors. The name psutil is the abbreviation for - process and system utilities. It supports the following platforms...

          • How to Play Sound in Python

            It is an easy task to play sound using Python script, because this language contains many modules to use script in order to to play or record sound. By using these modules, you can play audio files such as mp3, wav, and other audio file types. You must first install the sound module before using the module in the script. This tutorial will show how to install different types of Python modules to play sound.

          • How to Read and Write TOML Files Using Python

            TOML, short for “Tom’s Obvious Minimal Language,” is a relatively new and popular file format that focuses on minimal semantics for writing configuration files. The file format has been created by Tom Preston-Werner, the former CEO of GitHub. As of the time this article was written, the first release candidate of version 1.0.0 has been tagged, so the specification is more or less finalized. This article will give a brief introduction to the TOML file format and describe how this file format can be used in Python applications and scripts.

  • Leftovers

    • It's business time: Max Seddon dissects the controversy at ‘Vedomosti’ and reviews the nature of financial reporting in Russia today

      In the past several weeks, Meduza has written extensively about the newsroom controversy at Vedomosti, one of Russia’s top business newspapers. Most recently, Meduza published a joint investigation with a handful of other independent news outlets (including Vedomosti itself) about the backroom wheeling and dealing that’s guided the outlet’s ownership for the past five years.

    • RIP Little Richard, Tutti Frutti Sex Revolutionary

      It was cancer, not the coronavirus, that took the life of the 87-year-old rock music pioneer known to the world as Little Richard.

    • Basket Case

      I’ve always thought basketball the most American of sports. Baseball purports to be the “national pastime,” but it is similar to English cricket, indeed, likely derived from it—though sporting patriots contest the claim. Baseball conjures the American agrarian idyll with its grass field (now often artificial) and a pace of play beyond the tyranny of time: the length of the game is not dictated by a clock but goes on until the last player has had his chance. The longest major league game went for more than eight hours.

      As the most violent of team sports, football might also seem to draw on forces fundamentally “American.” Its ideology is territorial, militaristic. The Market has weighed in the matter, too: the sport has the most fans, and its professional league is the most lucrative in the world.

      But drive across the United States and you’ll see more basketball being played than football, baseball, or soccer. Basketball is the most popular kids sport.

    • State Department Inspector General Steve Linick Is Fired

      In a statement late Friday night, the State Department said it was “happy to announce that Ambassador Stephen J. Akard will now lead the Office of the Inspector General.”

    • State Department inspector general fired

      Linick, whose ouster was first reported by Politico, played a small role in President Trump’s impeachment, providing documents to lawmakers that had been handed over to the State Department by Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.

    • Why Facebook Censored an Anti-Trump Ad

      But wait: The "Mourning" ad seems accurate. Online critics wondered whether Facebook—whose handling of misinformation in the 2016 election seemed to benefit the Trump campaign—was doing the White House a favor in censoring the Lincoln ad.

      The truth is not so nefarious but not terribly comforting, either.

      Facebook relies on outside fact-checking organizations to determine the truthfulness of controversial content. These operations choose what stories to vet, either by identifying controversial content or by selecting from a dashboard of popular content provided by Facebook. In this case, Politifact, the fact-checking branch of the nonprofit Poynter Institute, decided to look at the ad, which had instantly garnered a lot of attention.

    • Science

      • Didier Raoult in the NYT: The “brave maverick” narrative and bypassing science-based medicine

        As hard as it is to believe, it’s been a month since I’ve written about Didier Raoult and his promotion of the combination of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin as a near-miraculous treatment for COVID-19, fueling its rise as the preferred go-to cure that “they” don’t want you to know about among COVID-19 conspiracy theorists and the right wing media based on various Silicon Valley tech bros picking up on his execrable study and singularly uninformative first study, leading President Trump to tout it as a “game changer.” Raoult’s followup studies since then have been no better, including a case series with no control, which he later expanded. The weakness of the science didn’t stop the FDA from issuing an emergency use authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 based on the thinnest of evidence. So, at the end, what we had was an EUA for a drug that had shown almost zero evidence of working, other than studies by a French “brave maverick scientist” and anecdotes, even though the drug could produce substantial cardiac, liver, and retinal toxicity. This was truly a cautionary tale about the dangers of bypassing science- and evidence-based medicine, even during a pandemic, something the FDA also did with remdesivir, issuing an EUA based on a highly questionable study that hadn’t even been published yet (and, two weeks later, still hasn’t).

    • Education

      • Episode 84 - The History of 420 and Teaching in Quarantine with Ben Boyington (Vice President of ACME) - Along The Line Podcast
      • DeVos's Channeling of CARES Act Funds Seen as Boosting 'Perennial Goal' of Advancing Voucher Program

        New reporting on the Education Secretary's directing of the money follows concern by a House Democrat that DeVos may be hampering "the response of public school systems in the states most severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis."

      • 2020 AP Exams Online Result In Technical, Access Issues for Students

        The exams’ implementation appeared to hit many roadblocks. Some students reported on Twitter that secure submission forms didn’t work, and, according to those I spoke to, appeared to be designed without features like auto-submit, so in-progress work was lost if submission timed out. Students reported that the upload procedure rules constrained response time windows, meaning that if they answered the first question quickly, they could not use that extra time on a more difficult second question as they could during the in-person exam. These reported technical issues could have been avoided if the College Board had postponed the test in order to design a better online exam and provided technical and support resources in advance for disadvantaged students and others struggling with slow [Internet] speeds or who accessed the exams on phones or outdated devices. When confronted on Twitter, a spokesperson for the College Board said there was no significant problem. He claimed that the majority of students encountered no issues, blamed outdated browsers for errors, then said they had anticipated the technical problems (but didn’t release a troubleshooting guide until Wednesday morning). When some students asked how to submit answers when the online exam failed them, the Board told them to apply to retake the exam in June.

    • Hardware

      • Audio Fun

        During the last weeks, as for most of us, the communication happens over applications on the PC. For this matter, I use my headphones which cover the ears, have a decent sound quality and a microphone builtin to the cable. It is a pure analog device with a 4 pin jack connector which has the big advantage to also work on my cell phone.


        In the meeting people started complaining about a loud noise. It took me a while to figure out that they complained about me resp. my fan making the noise as the headphones shielded this noise pretty well. I simply muted my mic to get a quick solution. At the same time, I wondered why the microphone placed in the cable of the headphones is so good to pick up the fan’s noise.

        A bit of research turned out that it was the builtin microphone of the laptop which was used all the time and not the one located in the cable. Checking what is going on, I found out that the audio output switches from speaker mode to headphone mode when you plugin the headphone jack but that it does not switch the mic at the same time. You can do that manually, but it switches back to builtin equipment as soon as you pull the headphone plug. That’s not elegant and I thought that there must be a solution to automate the process.

        Searching for the term “howto automatically switch mic from builtin to headphone on linux” I got sound – How do I make Ubuntu select my headset mic as default … as the first hit. Well, I am using openSUSE Leap 15.1 but gave it a shot anyway. And guess what: it was exactly the solution I needed mainly because the person who answered the original question had a very similar, if not even the same hardware.

      • The US is trying to cut off Huawei's global chip supply, China threatens retaliation

        Things are heating up between the US and China – the US Department of Commerce is tweaking its export rule to “strategically target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors that are the direct product of certain US software and technology,” reports Reuters.

        Last year, the Department of Commerce put Huawei on the so-called entity list, which effectively banned US companies from selling hardware and software to Huawei. A ban that was extended into 2021. Today, things got worse as the Commerce Secretary says that Huawei has been able to acquire US tech by buying from foreign producers that use it, circumventing the ban.


        It’s not just TSMC that got caught in the crossfire either, a total of 114 Huawei affiliates have been blacklisted due to national security concerns.

        China is already threatening retaliation, including investigations and possible restrictions on Apple, Cisco and Qualcomm, who rely on Chinese factories. It may also suspend the purchase of Boeing planes.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Workingman’s Blues (COVID 19 Version)

        I went back to work last week. Even though neither I most of my fellow workers are convinced library books are an essential service, the fact that we are once again loaning them out appeals to a certain pretense that they are. This is despite the fact that libraries—both public and academic—are often the first entities to be cut during times of austerity. That in itself, seems to indicate their non-essentialness in the minds of the politicians and their paymasters. Indeed, this might be why so many public libraries across the US are providing some level of curbside service in spite of the risks the COVID-19 pandemic presents. Perhaps if their borrowing statistics are at least equal to those statistics prior to the various quarantine orders, libraries will not suffer as much from the layoffs and cutbacks sure to come in the new fiscal year.

      • Professional soccer will return to Russia on June 21

        Professional soccer in Russia has a return date. The Russian Premier League announced on Friday that it will return to play on June 21, following a decision by the Russian Football Union, the country’s official governing body of soccer. The games will be played in empty stadiums without fans present.

      • Can We Simultaneously Oppose Bayer/Monsanto’s Biotechnology and Support Cuba’s Interferon Alpha 2B?

        Genetically engineered crops are a form of food imperialism. This technology allows mega-corporations like Bayer/Monsanto to patent seeds, lure farmers into buying them with visions of high yields, and then destroy the ability of small farmers to survive.

      • The Liabilities of History: the Dangers of Pandemic Compensation

        Smug assertions of liability in history are often incautious things. They constitute a fruit salad mix: assertions of the wishful thinkers; hopes of the crazed; the quest of genuinely aggrieved generations who feel that wrongs need to be rectified (the Elgin Marbles and transatlantic slavery come to mind). Before you know it, the next historical act will require compensation, the next crime balanced on the ledger of misdeeds. Lawyers will be summoned, writs and briefs drawn up.

      • Healthcare Workers Appalled as Trump Says Nurses 'Running Into Death' to Treat Covid-19 Patients Is 'A Beautiful Thing to See'

        "A sick and twisted sentiment... Inadequate PPE is not beautiful."

      • The Infodemic of Fake News in the Era of CoV-19

        In Italy Facebook and Twitter are not the primary social media apps of Italians generally speaking. More than ever WhatsApp and Instagram are the mobile apps of choice for social media messaging and these apps have been the cause of many fake news stories where local gossip is translated into a media story only later to be discovered as fake. There are even fake animal stories in abundance on social media on Instagram and Twitter and filters on Instagram that made claims to diagnose—and even cure—COVID-19.

      • She Fought to Keep COVID-19 Out of Her Nursing Home. Then, She Got Sick.

        From her bed in the intensive care unit at Rhode Island Hospital, Lakesha Lopez wanted to send a message to her staff at the nursing home.

        The 40-year-old director of nursing at Bannister Center for Rehabilitation and Health Care, in Providence, had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. She had pneumonia in both lungs.

      • Yandex ends its free COVID-19 home testing program

        Yandex has ended a program that offered free home coronavirus testing in Moscow. Launched on April 20, the Internet giant sent medical professionals to roughly 20,000 homes to collect samples for COVID-19 tests. As of Friday, May 15, new applications for home tests are closed.

      • Foreign Policy Sees ‘Repression’ in Vietnam’s Fight Against Coronavirus

        A recent piece in Foreign Policy (5/12/20) is headed with a photograph of a placard that features an image of a nurse demonstrating the importance of wearing a face mask as both personal and interpersonal protection against the coronavirus. But reader beware: It’s not public education, it’s a “propaganda poster”—because it’s not from New Jersey, but was “seen on a wall in Hanoi.”

      • Families Were Grieving and Planning Funerals. They Still Wanted to Share Their Stories.

        Hey. I’m Duaa, a reporter with ProPublica Illinois. I was part of the team that reported and wrote the story “The First 100: COVID-19 Took Black Lives First. It Didn’t Have To,” which we published last Saturday. If you’ve read it, thank you. If you haven’t, I hope you’ll pull it up on your phone or tablet or however you consume your news, grab a cup of coffee and settle in. Actually, maybe two cups. Now that everyone’s caught up, I’d like to tell you how and why we reported it.

        ProPublica decided early on in the pandemic that investigating the racial disparities around the coronavirus was central to our mission as an organization. Reporters and editors didn’t know how the coronavirus would affect communities of color, but based on what we did know about underlying medical conditions and how structural racism has played out in our health care system — including disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality for black women — we expected communities of color might be hit hardest.

      • 'Shameful Does Not Even Begin to Describe' Trump EPA Decision on Chemical Known to Damage Children's Brains

        "Yet another abdication of duty by those that are entrusted with protecting Americans from needless and preventable harm."

      • A Tale of Two Viruses

        The lesson of COVID-19 is that nature demands respect. If we continue trying to dominate and commodify nature, we will pay dearly. “Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of agriculture, intensive farming, mining and infrastructure development, as well as the exploitation of wild species have created a ‘perfect storm’ for the spillover of diseases from wildlife to people.” So says the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Aside from ecosystem destruction freeing up viruses to jump to human hosts, we’re breeding dangerous pathogens by confining farm animals to unsanitary facilities. Instead of giving them the natural ingredients of health – sunlight, fresh air, clean water and nutrient-dense food – industrial agribusiness pumps them full of antibiotics so they can still function as four-legged meat factories despite failing health.

      • To Re-Open Safely We Need a “Health Force” of Disease Detectives

        Conservative governors are now openly at odds with epidemiologists as plans move ahead for more than half the states to loosen social distancing and permit many businesses to re-open this month despite none of them meeting White House Coronavirus Taskforce guidelines.

      • Coronavirus spread in Russia appears to be slowing, though new daily cases hover at 10,000

        On the morning of May 15, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 10,598 new coronavirus infections in the past day (up 4.2 percent from the day before) bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 262,843 patients. The only country in the world with more registered coronavirus patients is the United States, where more than 1.4 million people have tested positive for the disease.

      • 'Anything But Secure': Advocates Decry USDA Rule Allowing Big Ag to Set Its Own Regulations on GMOs

        "The new regulations finalized by USDA, paradoxically named the SECURE rule, are anything but secure."

      • Native Americans Wage War Against New Virus and a 400-year Disease of Bias, Ignorance

        "We’re helping other nations with billions in aid, and the Navajo are still waiting on aid."

      • Why Capitalism Can’t Cure Global Pandemics

        We frequently hear that COVID-19 is the worst pandemic since the influenza of 1918. It is forgotten that another pandemic known as “the third plague” (because it was “the third major bubonic plague outbreak to affect European society”) killed millions from the 1890s to the 1950s in Asia’s southern, southeastern, and eastern regions, continuing well after the 1918 flu was over. It killed an estimated 10 million in India alone.

      • Stop the $2 Billion Arms Sale to the Philippines

        Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte is using the pandemic to crush his opposition—and the U.S. is poised to arm him to the teeth.

      • Essential Sanitary Workers Strike for Hazard Pay and PPE in New Orleans

        The severe outbreak of COVID-19 in southern Louisiana was the last straw for a group of sanitation workers who pick up trash in eastern New Orleans. Last week, they walked off the job and went on strike, demanding hazard pay and a $15 living wage.

      • Trump Says Doctors and Nurses “Running Into Death” Is “Beautiful Thing to See”

        During an event meant to highlight the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers across the country, President Donald Trump issued out controversial remarks, comparing those workers to soldiers who are “running into death” on the proverbial battlefields of the coronavirus crisis.

      • US Deports COVID-Positive Immigrants to Haiti and Guatemala, Spreading Virus

        The United States continues to deport thousands during the coronavirus pandemic, causing a dangerous spread of COVID-19 to Central America and the Caribbean. We speak with Haitian American novelist Edwidge Danticat, who says “U.S. deportations to Haiti during coronavirus pandemic are ‘unconscionable,’” and go to Guatemala City for an update from reporter José Alejandro García Escobar.

      • The Covid-19 Testing Fiasco

        From the start, testing for Covid-19 in the U.S. has been abysmal. Experts agree that without adequate testing, the disease cannot be stopped. Poor testing means no idea how many are infected or how to trace and quarantine their contacts or how to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. There has been speculation that the Trump administration’s puzzling reluctance to test derives from its wish to fudge the numbers of the sick and dying. Well, that reluctance most certainly made the U.S. the plague’s epicenter. We have more Covid-19 infections than any other country. And our dead are piling up fast.

      • Do the Most Severe Lockdowns Coincide to the Highest COVID-19 Death Rates?

        The organization Our World in Data is running an article on the severity of government lockdown policies used to deal with the Covid-19 disease, “How Are Governments Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic?”. It is shows rankings of the severity (“stringency”) on nine measures of lockdown policies throughout the world; it also addresses testing and tracking. A click-able global map showing overall lockdown severity ratings for individual countries can be found here.

      • Antibiotics: Big Ag’s Can of Worms
      • Gilead should ditch remdesivir and focus on its simpler and safer ancestor

        In the midst of a pandemic like Covid-19, for which there are no FDA-approved drug treatments, hope is important. That’s one reason why remdesivir, an antiviral drug that Gilead Sciences originally made to fight Ebola, has been propelled into the spotlight with the hope that it can stop, or at least curtail, the ravages of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

        Data from the open-label SIMPLE trial, sponsored by Gilead, and the randomized controlled Adaptive Covid-19 Treatment Trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, show that remdesivir may accelerate recovery rates among patients with advanced Covid-19. The drug’s modest effects are a far cry from the strong antiviral activity it demonstrated in preclinical primate models of coronavirus (both MERS and SARS-CoV-2). Yet that has been enough for the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorization for remdesivir and for the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare to approve it for the treatment of Covid-19.

      • FDA halts Bill Gates coronavirus testing program

        The Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) said on its website that the FDA had asked it to pause testing while it receives additional authorizations, but maintained its procedures are safe.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (apt, inetutils, and log4net), Fedora (kernel, mailman, and viewvc), Gentoo (chromium, freerdp, libmicrodns, live, openslp, python, vlc, and xen), Oracle (.NET Core, container-tools:1.0, and kernel), Red Hat (kernel-rt), Scientific Linux (kernel), SUSE (kernel, libvirt, python-PyYAML, and syslog-ng), and Ubuntu (json-c).

          • Python Scripting For Ethical Hacking Part 1

            We’ve been working on so much lately that it’s been a while since our last post so thank you all for being patient.

            We decided that we should start a Python series dedicated to Ethical Hacking that you can use for your penetration tests, so we will start with and introduction to Python modules and go from there.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Noyb files complaint against Google under GDPR, saying Android Advertising ID can be tracked

              Every phone has an Android Advertising ID and it can be used to track your phone’s actions – and tied back to your identity. A privacy advocacy group called Noyb – European Center for Digital Rights has filed a legal complaint with the Austrian Data Protection Agency against Google under Europe’s GDPR law. Noyb stands for None of Your Business – and that’s exactly how activists feel about the use of the Android Advertising ID to track Android users. Noyb was started by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems who has filed privacy cases against Google and Facebook in the past and is deservedly highly celebrated in the privacy community.

            • Senate Passes Surveillance Reauthorization Bill 80-16 -- One Stripped Of Almost All Of Its Reforms

              The Senate voted today to give us five more years of pretty much unaltered surveillance. The reauthorization of key spy powers is back on again, after Congressional inaction ran head-on into a global pandemic, allowing these to (briefly) expire. Not that this temporary expiration resulted in any less surveillance. And with this overwhelming vote in favor of resumed spying, it will probably only be a matter of days before a consolidated bill ends up on Trump's desk. Despite his continual agitation against the "Deep State," Trump is expected to give these powers his official blessing.

            • As Some Are Requiring People To Give Up Their Info To Dine, Stories Of Creeps Abusing That Info Come Out

              I think many of us are going to avoid eating at sit-down restaurants for the foreseeable future, even if governments deem them to be "safe." However, I find it at least somewhat unnerving to see Governor Jay Inslee in Washington say that in order for a restaurant to offer dine-in services, it will need to keep a log of all diners for 30 days, including their telephone and email contact info.

            • Documents Show NSO Group Is Pitching Its Malware To US Local Law Enforcement Agencies

              Infamous Israeli malware developer NSO Group is currently being sued by Facebook for using WhatsApp as its preferred attack vector. Malicious links and malware payloads are sent to targets, allowing government agencies -- including those in countries with horrendous human rights records -- to intercept communications and otherwise exploit compromised phones.

            • Facebook is buying Giphy and integrating it with Instagram

              Giphy is one of the largest GIF sites on the [Internet], offering tools for creating, sharing, and remixing GIFs. Facebook has already relied on Giphy’s API for sourcing GIFs in its apps for years: Instagram, the main Facebook app, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp all already work with the service. According to Facebook, 50 percent of all of Giphy’s traffic comes from its apps, with half of that coming from Instagram alone.

            • Scoop: Facebook to buy Giphy for $400 million

              New York-based Giphy had raised around $150 million in VC funding since its 2013 inception, from firms like Betaworks (which incubated the company), Lerer Hippeau, IVP, DFJ Growth, GGV Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Its most recent private valuation was around $600 million.

            • Buying Giphy Gives Facebook a New Window Into Its Rivals

              Facebook has a history of trying to learn more about its rivals through data-rich acquisitions. In 2013, it acquired the VPN app Onavo, and later used it to gather data about apps like the messaging platform WhatsApp, which it also bought the next year. Data from Onavo showed that people were sending far more messages a day on WhatsApp than on Facebook Messenger, which helped to justify paying $19 billion for the competing app. Facebook shut down Onavo in 2019, after it was criticized for using code from it to collect data about people as young as 13.

            • Facebook Data Help Track COVID-19 Spread

              The survey is live globally through a partnership with the University of Maryland and is very active in the U.S.

            • The Senate Could've Blocked the FBI From Accessing Your Web History Without a Warrant, But Didn't

              Five years later, the Freedom Act is up for renewal this year. When the House of Representatives first considered its renewal in March, they reauthorized the act with a bill that further bolstered the Freedom Act’s limitations on the Patriot Act, according to the Washington Post. With the House’s amendments, the National Security Agency would no longer have the power to obtain Americans’ phone records to aid in terrorism investigations (a practice reportedly discontinued in 2019). There would also be additional protocols in place regarding warrants for cell tower and GPS data.

              On May 13, as the Senate debated the House’s reauthorization bill, one of the most pivotal additional amendments brought to the floor during the Senate’s consideration was an expressed ban on the FBI being able to look at Americans’ web browsing history without a warrant.

            • Senate Votes to Allow FBI to Look at Your Web Browsing History Without a Warrant

              The US Senate has voted to give law enforcement agencies access to web browsing data without a warrant, dramatically expanding the government’s surveillance powers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

              The power grab was led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as part of a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which gives federal agencies broad domestic surveillance powers. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) attempted to remove the expanded powers from the bill with a bipartisan amendment.

              But in a shock upset, the privacy-preserving amendment fell short by a single vote after several senators who would have voted “Yes” failed to show up to the session, including Bernie Sanders. 9 Democratic senators also voted “No,” causing the amendment to fall short of the 60-vote threshold it needed to pass.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Guaidó and the Failed Military Operation Against Venezuela: a Story of Betrayal and Financial Corruption

        Now that we have had a few days to study the failed, illegal paramilitary incursion by a group of American and Venezuelan mercenaries into Venezuela, some key details have emerged in this incredible story. They reveal the internal dynamics of the fractured, demoralized, and financially corrupt nature of the hardline sectors of the opposition. Much of the information was provided by the former U.S. soldier Jordan Goudreau, hired for “Operation Gideon” by Juan Guaidó himself along with advisors Sergio Vergara, Juan José Rendón, and with the advice of attorney Manuel Retureta, all of whom signed the service plan to launch the paramilitary operation (called “General Services Agreement”).

      • For Cuba and Venezuela, US Silence May Not Be Golden

        The U. S. President and his Secretary of State frequently expound about the supposed failings of enemies abroad. Recently they’ve blasted China’s response to the pandemic, Venezuela’s dictatorship, Cuba’s “slave doctors” overseas, and even Iranian border guards beating up on Afghan migrants. But they’ve been mostly silent about two recent disruptions of the imperialist status quo.

      • How Economic Misery Helped Fuel the Syrian War

        Ever since the civil war began in Syria in early 2011, the left has largely ignored the social and economic circumstances that led to a conflict costing over a half-million deaths and the migration—internal and external—of half the population. The tendency was to see Syria as a piece on a global chessboard with “the axis of resistance” fending off attacks from the West. There was lip-service to the idea that Syrians had legitimate grievances against the government early on, but by the end of 2011, the “anti-imperialist” consensus was that the rebels were jihadists interested more in fighting unbelievers than inequality.

      • For John Bolton, No Bad Deed Goes Unrewarded

        And most vulnerable among us are forced to pay the price.

      • Corporate Media Setting Stage for New Cold War With China

        Corporate media are laying the ideological groundwork for a new cold war with China, presenting the nation as a hostile power that needs to be kept in check.

      • 'They Came to Kill the Mothers': MSF Mourns After Sinister Attack on Maternity Ward in Kabul

        "This country is sadly used to seeing horrific events. But what happened Tuesday is beyond words."

      • Veterans Exposed in Cold War Bioweapons Testing Still Awaiting Answers — and Help

        On May 12, 2000, the CBS Evening News first reported that over 1,000 American sailors were unwittingly exposed to chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents in the 1960s and early 1970s as part of secret military experiments to study the vulnerability of US Navy ships to germ warfare attacks. The Pentagon responded to the report by insisting that the sailors “were not exposed to any harmful chemical and biological compound” and they all “were fully informed about the details of each test.” Neither of those claims turned out to be true. Subsequent reports revealed that some of the deadliest biological weapons, including VX and sarin nerve gas, were sprayed over unsuspecting sailors during Project 112 and its offshoot, Project SHAD. For decades, the Pentagon denied the existence of these tests before concluding in the 2000s that there was “no clear evidence” of long-term health problems resulting from them. Veterans —€ including some who blame their serious health problems on the tests —€ are still waiting for answers over 50 years later.

      • War and Plagues: Military Spending During a Pandemic

        Camus’ novel of a lethal contagion in the North African city of Oran is filled with characters all too recognizable today: indifferent or incompetent officials, short sighted and selfish citizens, and lots of great courage. What not even Camus could imagine, however, is a society in the midst of a deadly epidemic pouring vast amounts of wealth into instruments of death.

      • El Diego: the Two Lives of Maradona

        22 June 1986.€ € A world cup quarter-final is about to play out in the Estadio Azteca stadium at the heart of Mexico City.


        Four years earlier Argentina had made the move to occupy the Malvinas/Falkland Islands which, up until that point, had been one of the lingering bastions of the vanishing British Empire. In an attempt to drum up popular support for a government which was flagging against a backdrop of economic stagnation and social decay, the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher launched a war in order to reclaim the islands and galvanize the more noxious instincts of national chauvinism and patriotic fury on the part of an otherwise weary population. It was a war which was fought for the cameras, a depressing spectacle played out not because the Falklands were a significant economic interest to the UK but because of the political capital sought by interested parties and the need of a leader to bask in the irradiating and toxic colours of the imperial flag.

        The Argentine forces were rapidly decimated by the more muscular British army and the rather sordid conflict achieved its ends; that is, it provoked an upswing in reaction among those flag-waving elements in the British population whose frustration, pettiness and lack is always compensated for by the thought of ‘the great nation’ and the destruction of lives in lands faraway. Nevertheless, to the majority of people around the world, the war appeared very much as it was; the exercise of belligerent, arbitrary power on the part of a strong state against a much weaker one – over a territory it had no business with in the first place.

        And this was why the game between England and Argentina felt like something more than a simple football match, was freighted with broader meaning and significance. As Maradona himself revealed, the shadow of the Falklands conflict was cast across the game: ‘Although we had said before the game that football had nothing to do with the Malvinas war, we knew they had killed a lot of Argentine boys there, killed them like little birds’. For the Argentines, and their charismatic and volatile captain, a win here would mean ‘revenge’.

      • Roaming Charges: Unmasked and Anonymous

        + I’m hyped for some ObamaGate action, as long as its about things that matter: health care plan designed by Heritage Foundation, bailing out Wall Street, failing to close Gitmo, droning US citizens, Afghan surge, the jailing of whistleblowers and legal harassment of journalists, the Libyan and Honduran coups, mass surveillance, the funding and arming of proxy wars in Yemen and Syria, record deportations, Deepwater Horizon, new nukes (both power plants and weapons), etc…

      • Hillary Clinton calls armed Michigan lockdown protests 'domestic terrorism'

        Some 200 protesters turned out for Thursday's event, where one demonstrator was seen carrying an American flag with a doll hanging by a noose. The event mirrored a similar protest at the end of April, during which hundreds of protesters — many armed with rifles — entered the Capitol.

      • Detroit man arrested after allegedly threatening to kill Whitmer, Nessel

        Tesh allegedly communicated through a social media messenger with an acquaintance, making threats to kill Whitmer and Nessel on April 14. Later that day, the Detroit Police Department arrested Tesh at his home in Detroit, the release said.

      • MI Legislature Cancels Work as “Reopen” Protesters Call for Whitmer's “Lynching”

        The Michigan state legislature called off meetings scheduled to take place on Thursday as demonstrations were set to take place against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • An Ex-Google Employee Turned 'Whistleblower' and QAnon Fan Made 'Plandemic' Go Viral

        In April, an-ex Google employee turned QAnon fan and committed anti-vaxxer named Zach Vorhies was both publicly and privately crafting a plan to get Plandemic to the widest possible audience. In an unlisted YouTube video that circulated in right-wing circles before Plandemic was released, Vorhies discussed his own plan to make the film go viral, which included running Mikovits' social media accounts: "I know how to run a campaign … so that's what we're going to do. We're going to make her famous." It worked.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Corruption and the Pandemic Bailout

        Neil Irwin had an interesting New York Times piece on how concerns about moral hazard in the bailout may damage the recovery. The gist of the article is that the fear that bad actors will be wrongly rewarded will prevent us from spending enough money to get the economy back on its feet. Irwin’s point is very important, but it does require some further examination.

      • Simple Solution to California’s Anticipated $54 Billion Budget Deficit

        The California Department of Finance recently projected that the state is facing a $54 billion deficit. There is hope for a bailout from the federal government.

      • Socialism and Collective Responses: Attacking Venezuela in a Pandemic

        That feeling of international solidarity. This pandemic has brought terror in daily life to many, including this home where a 79 year old with COPD resides. Global calls of “we are all in this together” have served to blunt the bleakness in the face of unprecedented threats to our collective health. However, the initial rush of this solidarity– along with people like Mitt Romney talking about a permanent Universal Basic Income, or multiple European leaders muttering about ignoring sanctions on Iran– has hinted that maybe, just maybe, there is more than rhetoric to the idea that the very best of human beings emerges in times of great crisis.

      • Sears’ Headquarters Was Supposed to Turn a Sleepy Suburb Into a Boomtown. It Never Happened.

        On a hot Sunday afternoon in June 1989, two of the most powerful men in Illinois met to watch a ballgame at Wrigley Field — and, if all went well, to make a deal.

        James R. Thompson, the state’s four-term Republican governor, and Edward Brennan, chairman of Sears, Roebuck & Co., the world’s largest retailer, had been deep in talks for months.

      • Revolution in the Twenty-First Century: A Reconsideration of Marxism

        In the age of COVID-19, it’s even more obvious than it’s been for at least a couple of decades that capitalism is entering a long, drawn-out period of unprecedented global crisis. The Great Depression and World War II will likely, in retrospect, seem rather minor—and temporally condensed—compared to the many decades of ecological, economic, social, and political crises humanity is embarking on now. In fact, it’s probable that we’re in the early stages of the protracted collapse of a civilization, which is to say of a particular set of economic relations underpinning certain social, political, and cultural relations. One can predict that the mass popular resistance, worldwide, engendered by cascading crises will gradually transform a decrepit ancien régime, although in what direction it is too early to tell. But left-wing resistance is already spreading and even gaining the glimmers of momentum in certain regions of the world, including—despite the ending of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign—the reactionary United States. Over decades, the international left will grow in strength, even as the right, in all likelihood, does as well.

      • Rostec finally finds a buyer for its unwanted fleet of Sukhoi Superjet 100s: Russian taxpayers

        After years of failing to find new buyers on the open market, the Russian state corporation Rostec plans to supply Red Wings Airlines with as many as 60 “Sukhoi Superjet 100” aircraft over the next several years, three sources told the newspaper Vedomosti.€ 

      • 'Why Democrats Lose Elections': Clyburn Admits Paycheck Guarantee Best Way to Save Jobs—But Says It Costs Too Much

        An analysis of the paycheck guarantee proposal showed it would cost less than what Congress has already appropriated for its flawed small business loan program.

      • How We Reported on the $500 Million Sears Deal

        This project is the result of a collaboration between the Daily Herald and the Local Reporting Network of ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative outlet.

        To report this story, the Daily Herald and ProPublica reviewed thousands of pages of state and local records obtained under Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act, lawsuit and bankruptcy court filings, and internal Sears documents. We also interviewed state and local officials, economic development experts and people with knowledge of the Sears deal.

      • Another Private Jet Company Owned by a Trump Donor Got a Bailout — This One for $20 Million

        An Omaha, Nebraska-based private jet company whose principal owner donated generously to Donald Trump and Republicans ahead of the 2016 election received $20 million in taxpayer aid from the federal bailout package passed in March.

        Jet Linx Aviation, which caters to well-to-do CEOs and executives, was the second private plane company founded or owned by Trump donors to receive federal funds designated for the airline industry under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. CNBC reported on Thursday that Clay Lacy Aviation, a Van Nuys, California-based private jet company whose founder has given nearly $50,000 to the Republican National Committee and Trump, got $27 million in federal funds.

      • Democrats’ Relief Bill Would Let Lobbying Giants Access Small Business Aid

        House Democrats’ newest coronavirus relief proposal would allow influential Washington lobbying groups — funded by deep-pocketed corporations — to access forgivable small business loans.

      • Monster Capitalism

        I read Mike Davis’ tour de force,€ The Monster Enters€ (O/R Books), when I was sick and in bed and thought that I might have COVID-19. Originally published in 2005, the book has just been reissued with a new, nifty wham bam introduction that lays the blame for the current pandemic where it rightfully belongs on the doorstep of the noxious nexus that has brought about monstrous slums, industrial farming, corrupt political regimes and the failure of public health services in the U.S. and many other countries in the world.

      • Visions of a Future Beyond Capitalism: Revolutionary Films to Watch Under Quarantine

        In this time of pandemic and quarantine, there is power in exploring the ways that past generations have confronted rising tides of fascism and crisis. For 100 years, communists, socialists, anarchists, anti-colonialists, and other revolutionaries have made films that attempt to intervene in their moment, to not just tell stories, but lift up silenced voices and imagine better futures. Together, they form an underground history of the 20th and 21st centuries. The films in this list were made by radical and visionary artists; many of them wanted to both overthrow capitalism and transform cinema.

      • Billionaires Are the Biggest Threat to Public Schools

        For education "disruptors" like Bill Gates and Betsy DeVos, COVID-19 isn’t a crisis—it’s an opportunity.

      • Whistleblower: Wall Street Has Engaged in Widespread Manipulation of Mortgage Funds

        Among the toxic contributors to the financial crisis of 2008, few caused as much havoc as mortgages with dodgy numbers and inflated values. Huge quantities of them were assembled into securities that crashed and burned, damaging homeowners and investors alike. Afterward, reforms were promised. Never again, regulators vowed, would real estate financiers be able to fudge numbers and threaten the entire economy.

        Twelve years later, there’s evidence something similar is happening again.

      • Whistleblower: Wall Street Has Engaged in Widespread Manipulation of Mortgage Funds

        Securities that contain loans for properties like hotels and office buildings have inflated profits, the whistleblower claims. As the pandemic hammers the economy, that could increase the chances of another mortgage collapse.

      • Former Inslee Staffers Urge Biden and House Dems to Embrace $1.2 Trillion Green Stimulus as Part of COVID-19 Recovery

        Staffers who helped develop Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's€ widely-praised climate policy during his 2020 presidential run are now calling on congressional Democrats to adopt the bold initiatives included in the plan to make a shift to a renewable energy economy within coronavirus relief€ legislation.

      • Former Inslee Staffers Urge Biden and House Dems to Embrace $1.2 Trillion Green Stimulus as Part of Covid-19 Recovery

        "It's time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis."

      • The Best Way to Ensure Unemployed Workers Get Health Care? Pay for It Through Medicare

        There's only one group that benefits handsomely from the COBRA proposal: The health insurance industry.

      • Sanders Bill Would Expand Medicare During Covid-19 Crisis Instead of Costlier Plan to Prop Up Private Insurers

        "No one in this country should be afraid to go to the doctor because of the cost—especially during a pandemic."

      • One Pound Capitalism, a Pinch of Democracy and Keep On Keepin’ On

        (Includes a Discomfort Foods recipe, and the words in bold inspire it)

      • USPS Reportedly Considering Price Hikes as Trump's Takeover Accelerates

        With the leadership of the U.S. Postal Service soon to be completely under the control of President Donald Trump’s appointees, the agency has reportedly launched a review of its package prices and bulk delivery contracts as it faces the possibility of imminent collapse due in large part to the coronavirus crisis.

      • US Postal Service Reportedly Considering Price Hikes as Trump's Takeover of the Beloved Agency Accelerates

        "President Trump's clear intent is to raise prices and force a crisis at the Post Office so that his political benefactors at the corporate shippers can increase their company profits at the expense of the people."

      • The Fed Hasn’t Spent a Dime Yet for Main Street Versus $735 Billion for Wall Street

        The stimulus bill known as the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27. Among its many features (such as direct checks to struggling Americans and enhancing unemployment compensation by $600 per week for four months to unemployed workers so they could pay their rent and buy food) the bill also carved out a dubious $454 billion (or 25 percent of the total $1.8 trillion spending package) for the U.S. Treasury to hand over to the Federal Reserve. This was the Faustian Bargain the Democrats had to agree to in order to get the deal approved by the Wall Street cronies in the Senate.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • For People, Planet & Peace: Interview with Lisa Savage, Ind. Candidate for Senate in Maine

        Lisa Savage is running for Senate in the state of Maine, against Republican incumbent, Susan Collins. Lisa is long-time antiwar and environmental organizer, as well as being a public school teacher and a grandmother. Although she has been an active member of the Green Party, Lisa is running as an independent candidate due to restrictive ballot access laws in Maine. The state does, however, boast the advantage of having ranked choice voting, which gives independent candidates a better shot.

      • Russia challenges $50-billion award to former Yukos shareholders in the Dutch Supreme Court

        The Russian government has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of the Netherlands against a ruling by the Hague Court of Appeal ordering Moscow to pay $50 billion to the former shareholders of the oil company Yukos, according to an announcement from Russia’s Justice Ministry on Friday.

      • Vice President Kamala Harris?

        The Washington Post and other generally reliable sources of Washington (or is it Wilmington?) scuttlebutt report that Kamala Harris’s chances of becoming Joe Biden’s running-mate are on the rise. She wiped the floor with that doddering doofus in the debates, but they say that he doesn’t care anymore. More likely, he doesn’t remember.

      • We Can and Must Do Better: Why I Will Vote No on the HEROES Act

        Our response here in Congress must match the true scale of this devastating crisis. The Heroes Act—while it contains many important provisions—simply fails to do that.

      • 'We Should Be Leading With Bold Ideas': Despite Progressive Objections, House Pushes HEROES Act Forward

        "This unprecedented crisis needs us to show leadership today, not tomorrow."

      • Can Democracy Survive Bill Barr?

        Bill Barr is covering up for Donald Trump.

      • Ari Berman on Voter Suppression and Coronavirus

        This week on CounterSpin: From targeted “voter ID” laws to purging people from the rolls to fighting vote by mail, Republicans are making ever-bolder attempts to suppress voting—expanding the franchise doesn’t work in their favor, Donald Trump unabashedly stated recently. It’s a patently anti-democratic project by definition, but corporate media’s business-as-usual, partisan framing reduces a struggle over a fundament of societal participation to jockeying between elephants and donkeys. It’s a failure of the greatest magnitude, and no amount of ponderous, prize-winning books written in the aftermath will substitute for tough reporting done now to protect the integrity of the vote going into one of the most monumental presidential elections in the country’s history. We’ll talk about that with Ari Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, and a senior reporter on the voting rights beat at Mother Jones.

      • The Sanders Campaign Was About “Us”–Not Bernie–Remember?

        During the five weeks since Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign, many fervent supporters have entered a “WTF?” space. The realities of disappointment and distress aren’t just about dashed hopes of winning the presidential nomination. Much of the current disquiet is also due to a disconnect between choices made by the official Sanders campaign in recent weeks and his statement on April 8 that “we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.”

      • Don't Let the Politicians Divide Us During This Crisis

        From the beginning of this pandemic, the response of our elected officials has prioritized private profits over saving lives.

      • Calling on Americans to Vote Trump Out, The Lancet Eviscerates US President Over 'Incoherent' Covid-19 Response

        "The Lancet isn't playing. They want Trump out."

      • 'Obvious Our President Is Beyond Incompetent': Chorus of Ridicule After Trump Brags of New 'Super-Duper Missile'

        "An actual quote by the sitting president of the United States."

      • "Wartime President" Trump Thinks His Culture War With Democrats Will Save Him

        A few weeks ago, in one of his many branding brainstorms during this COVID-19 crisis, President Trump started calling himself a “wartime” president who was valiantly leading the country in the battle against “the invisible enemy.” This was rolled out like a campaign slogan, indicating that it was part of a planned strategy to put Trump at the center of the response to the pandemic.

      • "Faithless Electors" SCOTUS Case Tests If Electoral College Members Can Go Rogue

        The Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a case that could shape the outcome of future presidential elections. The question at hand was whether Electoral College members can “go rogue” and support candidates who did not win the state’s popular vote. In 2016, one of Colorado’s nine electors, Michael Baca, attempted to cast his Electoral College ballot for Republican John Kasich instead of Democrat Hillary Clinton. The Colorado secretary of state at the time — a Republican — removed Baca as an elector. Colorado is one of 31 other states that has a law requiring presidential electors to vote for the candidate who wins the state’s presidential election popular vote. Baca sued Colorado, and the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled his removal was unconstitutional. The case reached the Supreme Court this week. We speak with Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who says, “What is at stake in this case is the foundation of our democracy.”

      • Dark Winter? Honey Badger Trump Don’t Care

        “This coalition of the business elite, right-wing Christian evangelicals, and white nationalists and other white supremacists is very dangerous. Fascism is ultimately a death cult.” – Jason Stanley , May 11, 2020

      • Rebuilding the Constitution

        American democracy is broken. Here’s how to fix it.

      • Anticipating Phase Two of the Trumped Up “Obamagate”

        Independent observers and analysts should understand the strength of the allegations of misconduct, which could trigger criminal liability. Indeed, it is valuable to identify any credible complaints of official wrongdoing, and separate those from Trump’s deceptive and deliberately false accusations.

        As for practitioners who are engaged in countering disinformation, they should consider how this foreseeable outcome of one or more criminal indictments will be used by Trump, his Attorney General Bill Barr, and the Director of National Intelligence (whether Rick Grenell or John Ratcliffe) to conflate truth and falsehoods. Indeed, the failure to have appreciated the seriousness of the allegations will bolster Trump and his surrogates’ disinformation campaign. It will be used to discredit analysts. They will be accused of dishonesty and bias, not just of an analytic oversight. More Americans will be encouraged to think of Trump and his political loyalists as validated sources of information. And the public will be left with even less ability to sort fact from fiction.

        Indeed, a well-orchestrated disinformation tactic, pioneered by Soviet intelligence, would involve the following steps: [...]

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Not Liberty, Happiness

        In 1863, John Stuart Mill posited the utilitarian principle as the foundation of ethics. Even today this lets us weigh actions morally: the more happiness an action promotes, the more upright it is. But if this simple calculus allows us to determine the greatest good for the greatest number of people, then how do we fare?

      • Arabs, UN Must Move to Swiftly Protect the Status of Palestinian Refugees

        ‘Heinous racism,’ is how the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor described a recent decision by Lebanese authorities to bar Palestinian refugee expats from returning to Lebanon.

      • Reopening the Economy is a Death Sentence for Workers

        Every morning for the last two months, I’ve checked the news in my home state of Florida with growing concern.

      • DeVos Sued Over New Title IX Rules That Make It 'Easier for Schools to Sweep Sexual Violence Under the Rug'

        "Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration have shown, once again, that they have no interest in supporting student survivors and their rights."

      • Racism and the National Soul

        How deep does American racism go?

      • Facing Down Bigotry and a Pandemic

        A random pedestrian spit on a 26-year-old woman on her way to the gym in her San Francisco neighborhood. In New York, a stranger chased and struck down a woman who appeared to be of Asian descent. And in Texas, a man stabbed a family of three at a store because he thought they were Chinese Americans spreading the coronavirus.

      • Who Is "Essential" to Our Covid-19 World

        A military spouse's perspective on fighting this pandemic.

      • Prisons Are Using the Pandemic to Impose Lockdowns

        Advocates say the extreme restrictions on movement are punitive and dangerous.

      • Racism, Animal Rights and Eugene Debs

        I was excited to read The Universal Kinship, a 1906 book by John Howard Moore, which argues the ethical implications of Darwinism is some form of animal liberation. Unfortunately, the text is marred by the pseudo-scientific racism that seems to have been popular at the time.

      • Democrats, Racism, and the Future

        Whatever the political back-and-forth over whether or not the current pandemic was predictable, what was predictable was the bipartisan response to it. The first instinct of the Trump administration, just like the Obama administration before it, was to secure the wealth of the rich through bailouts and special privileges and leave the rest of us to figure things out on our own. Some governors in hard hit states stepped up— mostly late and without adequate resources. It seems that political proximity to the little people was the determinant factor.

      • 36.5 Million Americans Seek Jobless Benefits

        In two months now, 36.5 million jobless workers have filed for compensation, more than one of every five employees in the U.S. labor force of more than 164 million.

        The government last week said the official April unemployment rate was 14.7%, but key Trump administration economic officials say it likely is higher and could approach 25% in the coming weeks. The government says the national economy dropped 4.8% in the first quarter, but that was before the full impact of the pandemic became apparent.

      • Breonna Taylor Was Murdered for Sleeping While Black

        Police claim they announced themselves before using some type of battering ram to force their way in, but witnesses say the police did not identify themselves as police officers. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, says he believed they were being robbed and fired a gun at police, striking one officer in the leg. Police responded with a hail of gunfire. The police shot Taylor, who was unarmed, at least eight times, killing her. They then arrested and charged Walker with attempted murder of a police officer.

        The police say they were looking for evidence against a suspect in an ongoing narcotics [sic] investigation. That suspect lives 10 miles away from Taylor’s home. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Canadian Wireless Carriers Making A Killing During COVID-19, Won't Remove Caps 'For Safety'

        Canadians already pay some of the highest prices for mobile data in the developed world thanks to limited competition and feckless regulators. With COVID-19 forcing everybody to stay at home, rural Canadians are now being pummeled with even higher bills than ever before. Especially those in rural areas forced to use capped, throttled, and otherwise restricted wireless lines as their primary connections:

      • Hey, Epic, If you're Going To Boldly Give Away A Historically Popular Game For Free, Make Sure You Can Handle The Demand

        The Epic Store is still around, still rocking its exclusivity deals with game publishers, and is still trying really hard to unseat Valve's Steam as the dominant PC gaming platform of choice. Truthfully, the news about the ongoing battle between Steam and Epic has sort of quieted down. That ultimately is probably not a good sign for Epic. If there is unseating to be done, it's going to have to be done loudly, publicly, and with much coverage in the press.

    • Monopolies

      • COVID-19 Planning: Is It Time to Nationalize Big Pharma?

        Pharmaceutical corporations make billions providing drugs to help improve some people’s lives, in much the same way that privately-run hospitals provide care to those who can afford to pay. But Big Pharma is not a caring industry. Big Pharma has done some truly despicable things over the past hundred years or so. This is why Big Pharma and the management of our health should not remain in the hands of huge corporations. It is high time that we bring vital private health industries under democratic public ownership. This is the only way to remove the perverse financial incentives that places profit before human need.

      • [Attackers] Target European Supercomputers Researching Covid-19

        Supercomputers in Europe being used to research Covid-19 were [attacked] this week, according to several laboratories. Some of the computers remain offline following the attack.

        Supercomputers in Switzerland, Germany, and the U.K. were affected. It’s not clear if the attacks were linked or who was behind them.

        Supercomputers can assist in researching Covid-19 and other maladies by running simulations to study the disease’s effect on cells and to gain further insight on potential treatments.

        Several affected labs said that only the login portal to the supercomputers were affected, not the machinery that runs the computations. That could mean that an attacker was seeking to breach the system in order to steal research or to disrupt the progress of researchers, according to an employee of one of the supercomputing sites, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

      • 2019 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy

        The NML Review is provided (and needed) because "[c]ommercial-scale copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting cause significant financial losses for U.S. right holders and legitimate businesses, undermine critical U.S. comparative advantages in innovation and creativity to the detriment of American workers, and pose significant risks to consumer health and safety." The Review provides "prominent and illustrative examples" of markets that "engage in or facilitate substantial piracy or counterfeiting." The goal of disclosing these markets in the Review is to "motivate appropriate action by the private sector and governments to reduce piracy and counterfeiting." The listed countries and markets "exemplify global counterfeiting and piracy concerns and because the scale of infringing activity in these markets can cause significant harm to U.S. intellectual property (IP) owners, consumers, legitimate online platforms, and the economy."

      • Patents

        • The Plot Thickens: Sigma Aldrich Has Allowed Claims

          For several years, Sigma Aldrich has been prosecuting several applications (including USSNs 15/188,911; 15/188,924; and 15/456,204) claiming CRISPR technology that (it alleged) would be deserving of an interference with University of California's U.S. Application Nos. 15/9547,718 and 15/981,809, and reserving the right to supplement its request to include other patents and patent applications owned by the University of California Berkeley et al. (collectively "CVC") as well as those of owned by The Broad Institute and colleagues (see "Sigma-Aldrich Wants Its Piece of CRISPR Pie" and "Sigma-Aldrich Tries Again"). Such an interference, if declared, threatened to upset the CVC/Broad apple cart regarding CRISPR-Cas-9 patent ownership, Sigma–Aldrich alleging an earlier priority date than the Broad's earliest date and 3-7 months after CVC's earliest date:

          However, the U.S. Patent Examiner had taken the position that Sigma-Aldrich was not entitled to a Declaration of Interference until it had obtained allowed claims, and that CVC's earlier patent dates prevented such an allowance unless, inter alia, Sigma-Aldrich could swear behind the earlier patent application filing dates. With significant justification, Sigma-Aldrich characterized this situation as a Catch 22 in view of the seemingly contradictory conclusion arrived at by both Patent Trial and Appeal Board (see "PTAB Decides CRISPR Interference -- No interference-in-fact" and "PTAB Decides CRISPR Interference in Favor of Broad Institute -- Their Reasoning") and Federal Circuit (see "Regents of the University of California v. Broad Institute, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2018)").

        • India: Can Artificial Inventor Own Invention?

          Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a robot or machine that thinks like humans and mimics actions of human cognition such as speech, perception, vision, and even decision making. AI has already started affecting the legal sphere including the Intellectual Property laws for which Patent offices are now facing challenges in various ways. The issue of patent protection for AI is in the process of getting resolved and new guidelines are being issued to process AI-related inventions. Curiously, the question of AI as an inventor became a point of discussion, when two patent applications EP 1875163 and EP 18275174, also known as DABUS patents, were filed in EPO naming AI as an inventor.

          While thousands of AI-related patent applications are being filed all over the globe, the two AI-related DABUS patent applications filed with AI as an inventor remained unnoticed until their examination. The two patent applications directed towards a beverage container and a flashing device gained more popularity when got embroiled in a curious legal situation. Given that AI systems can think when fed with a theory of mind rather than a pre-programmed consequence engine, the theory of mind enables AI systems to create invention on its own without human intervention or assistance. Thus, AI-enabled machines are being developed in such a way, that they are capable of creating inventions without human intervention. That being the situation some experts believe that such AI related inventions should get patent rights for the created invention.

        • Experts warn AI inventorship debate will only heat up

          AI legal specialists debated how companies will manage if machines continue to be refused patent inventorship

        • European Union: Opposition Case Studies

          With an increasing number of European patents being granted year on year, freedom to operate for third parties has never been so important. When a patent application is filed at the European Patent Office (EPO), upon grant it becomes a bundle of national patents and subject to national patent laws. For third parties looking to clear the way, this can prove very complicated. Different countries may have differences in national laws and invalidation procedures which may lead to different outcomes.

          The EPO offers an efficient and cost effective post grant opposition procedure, whereby within nine months of grant a third party can centrally challenge the European patent. If successful, the patent is then revoked (or amended) across all countries in which it is in force. Oppositions can therefore avoid the potential inconsistency of challenging patents nationally and at a fraction of the price. The official fee for filing an EPO opposition is currently 815 EUR, with attorney fees typically in the tens of thousands of EUR, as opposed to hundreds of thousands or even millions for national litigation.

          The statistics on opposition outcomes at the EPO are also generally favourable to the challenger, with just over two thirds of patents opposed either being revoked or amended.

      • Trademarks

        • Supreme Court Limits and Questions Preclusion of Defenses in TM Case

          The parties in this case have been fighting in federal court over trademark rights for almost 20 years; and in three separate actions.

          The petition before the U.S. Supreme Court involves “defense preclusion” –asking when a defendant in a subsequent action will be precluded from raising a defense that was or could-have been raised in the prior action. In its decision, the Supreme Court explained that there is no special doctrine of defense preclusion, but rather the courts should apply the general rules of claim preclusion and issue preclusion.

          The first litigation ended in a settlement. During the second litigation, Lucky Brand raised the prior settlement as a reason to dismiss, but the court denied the motion-to-dismiss without prejudice (thus not “on the merits”). The second litigation was then decided on other grounds. In the third litigation Lucky Brand again raised the prior settlement as a defense, and Marcel argued that it was precluded. In its analysis, the Supreme Court focused on whether the third litigation involved the “same claim” as the second; and whether it mattered.

        • The new Greek Trademark Law: read all about it

          The Greek Trademark Office (TMO) will no longer be competent to reject a Greek trademark application on relative grounds; only absolute grounds will be considered. However, as is also the case with the EUIPO, the TMO will notify trademark owners if a similar later application is filed. The owner will then have the right to file an opposition.

      • Copyright

        • Taiwan, US vow police cooperation in copyright protection after streaming site bust

          The arrest was made in a Taiwan-U.S. collaboration involving intelligence sharing between the CIB’s Telecommunications Investigation Corps and Washington-based Motion Pictures Association (MPA), reported CNA. This has led to the shutdown of around a hundred pirate streaming websites.

        • Disney: If We Can't Run Club Penguin, No One Can Run Club Penguin

          Disney's overly aggressive copyright bullying strikes again. Apparently, Disney has decided that if Disney can't run Club Penguin in a way that people want to use it, then no one should be able to run Club Penguin, and so the company has used the DMCA to takedown a fan server.

        • Club Penguin Online shuts down after receiving copyright claim from Disney

          Club Penguin Online, an unlicensed revival of the popular Disney-owned children’s social network, is one of the largest fan replicas of the game, accruing over 8 million users over the last two years. In a now-removed blog from this week, Club Penguin Online wrote that the game would no longer be running “after May 2020” as the result of a copyright claim. The notice, which is available in full through the nonprofit Lumen Database, says the site “is an unauthorized version of the Club Penguin game and contains infringing copyrighted content.”

        • Disney forces explicit Club Penguin clones offline

          Since then, unofficial clones of the website have been operated by fans. These private servers were launched using stolen or copied source code, and can easily be found by children searching the [Internet].

          Club Penguin Online is the largest of the social network's unofficial clones. It says its popularity has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic and now has seven million registered players.

        • Waiting for Constantin: Hague District Court orders release of ISP user data, including e-mail addresses

          Directive 2004/48/EC (the Enforcement Directive) allows rightsholders to obtain, from intermediaries, information concerning infringers. But what kind of information can be requested? The District Court of the Hague addressed the question in a recent decision, ruling inter alia on the compatibility of such a request with Regulation 2016/679 (the General Data Protection Regulation, commonly known as GDPR).

          The decision [here] is of particular interest because a closely related question is currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in C-264/19 Constantin Film Verleih [here]. Advocate General (AG) Saugmandsgaard Øe recently issued his opinion in that case, [here, Katpost here], finding that "names and addresses" in Article 8(2)(a) Enforcement Directive is limited to names an physical addresses, thus excluding e-mail addresses or phone numbers.

          The Hague district court, however, ordered the internet service provider (ISP) to also disclose the infringing users' e-mail addresses. Let's take a closer look to see why.


          Within the context of the Enforcement Directive, "minimum harmonisation" is commonly understood to mean a base level of enforcement possibilities for IPR holders, which Member States may expand. Some authors believe this to mean that safeguards for infringers may be overruled by Member States wishing to strengthen rightholders' positions at their expense. I believe this view to be flawed as it would render meaningless the balance struck by the Enforcement Directive between various competing interests. The safeguards that the Enforcement Directive provides to infringers constitute ceilings to allowable enforcement of IP rights.

          However, if this latter view is correct, one wonders to what extent the balance struck in Article 8(2) Enforcement Directive likewise places a ceiling on "rights to receive fuller information" under Article 8(3). Presumably, Member States could not enact legislation that allows rightholders to claim any information they desire: some limits must exist. Indeed, the referring court in Constantin Film noted that provision of personal data beyond "names and addresses", as mandated by Article 8(2) Enforcement Directive, implicates the users' right to privacy. If the phrase "names and addresses" in Article 8(2) reflects the balance between IP rights and privacy, then how can national laws provide for further-reaching disclosure obligations that would upset this balance?

        • Wrong Pirate Bay URL in BBC Video Report Triggers Malware Warnings

          In a video report on piracy habits during the coronavirus pandemic published by the BBC this morning, The Pirate Bay is presented as an example of a site being utilized by pirates. However, the news organization inadvertently showed the wrong URL which, when visited, triggers malware warnings due to the claimed presence of a trojan.

        • Pirate Release Group ‘TRUMP’ Promises the Best From the US, but Don’t Count Out ‘HILLARY’

          The inner workings of scene release groups are shrouded in secrecy. While they are private by design, their names are well-known to millions of people. This includes TRUMP, a new group that has released hundreds of TV-shows in recent months, promising to bring the "best from the US." While it's not clear whether this is a political message, TRUMP now faces a new rival group going by the name HILLARY.

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Links 02/03/2024: Actual Journalists Under Attack, More Software Patents Being Challenged
Links for the day
Gemini Links 02/03/2024: NixOS on GPD, Meson Woes
Links for the day
statCounter March 2024 Statistics (Preliminary)
Notice Asia
Links 02/03/2024: More Lawsuits Against Microsoft, Facebook Killing Hard-To-Find News
Links for the day
ZDNet (Red Ventures) Works for Microsoft (Redmond), Many Of Its Pages Are Spam/Advertisements Paid for by Microsoft
Here is the "smoking gun"
Wikipedia Demotes CNET Due to Chatbot-Generated Spew as 'Articles'; It Should Do the Same to ZDNet (Also Red Ventures, Also Microsoft Propaganda)
Redmond Ventures?
The Direction WordPress (GPL) Has Taken is an Embarrassment
it comes with strings attached
March in Techrights (EPO Litigation and More)
One theme we'll explore a lot when it comes to GNU/Linux is the extent to which communities truly serve communities
Don't Forget to Also Follow Tux Machines
We've split the material
Yandex Usage Has Surged Since the Invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft Fell to 0.7% (It Was 1.7% Before the 'Bing Chat' Hype Campaign)
In Soviet Russia, Bing searches user
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 01, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, March 01, 2024
Sellout Completed: Linux Foundation Converging With the Gates Foundation
not a joke
Hitler Rants Parodies on Steve Ballmer
Parody created using clips from Downfall (Der Untergang)
With Windows This Low (27% of the "OS" Market), Steve Ballmer Would Have Thrown Another Chair
The media produced many puff pieces about Nadella at 10 (as CEO), but what has he done for Windows? Nothing.
[Meme] The Naked President
EPO Suffers From Shrinkage
Understanding Cardinal George Pell prosecution, Institutional abuse & Debian cybertorture
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 01/03/2024: Many More Layoffs, "Funerals" for Software Patents in the US
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: OFFLFIRSOCH 2024 and Dark Streets Tech Demo
Links for the day
Links 01/03/2024: Navalny Funeral and Media Under Attack
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Making Art and the Concept of Work Management
Links for the day
Schriftleitergesetz: Hiding the Holocaust with censorship
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] His Lips Moved
Here is your national "news" for today
statCounter: GNU/Linux Exceeded 6% in Asia Last Month (Compared to 4% Just 12 Months Earlier)
numbers may be biased
What the End of Journalism Looks Like
All on the same day
Links 01/03/2024: Microsoft 'Retiring' More Services and Raspberry Pi Celebrates 3rd Birthday (Launched on February 29th, 2012)
Links for the day
Women's Empowerment
Sponsored by Bill Gates
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Speed Bumps and Analog Stuff
Links for the day
[Meme] Those Greedy EPO Examiners
Says the litigation industry, charging 300 euros an hour per attorney
EPO Discriminates Against Families of Its Own Workers, the Union Explains Legal Basis Upon Which It's Likely Illegal and Must be Challenged
To the Council, the EPO boasts about its wealth (seeking to impress by how much breaking the law "pays off")
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 29, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 29, 2024
Links 01/03/2024: Misuse of Surveillance Against UK-Based Journalism, EPO Conflict Now in the Media
Links for the day
Taking a Break From Paid Promotion of the Illegal, Unconstitutional Kangaroo Court for Patents (UPC)
JUVE returns to its 'roots'?
FSFE admits losing funds from bequest by insulting and ignoring Fellowship representative
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Raspberry Pi Incus Cluster and Aya 0.5.0 Coming Soon
Links for the day
Links 29/02/2024: Layoffs at Apple, Expedia, and Electronic Arts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Web Enshittification and Firefox user-agents
Links for the day
Spiked Piece/Censoreed Piece: 'Microsoft Copilot is a gimmick', says top CIO
Issues relate to connectivity and cost
Enrico Zini, Mattia Rizzolo, Plagiarism & Debian
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Clergy of GNU/Linux (Corporations Like IBM)
Volunteers as powerless "followers" of companies that "harvest" their labour
There Will Be Lots More Apple Layoffs (Already Years in the Making)
The corporate media still tries to shape the narrative to prevent panic or delay market hysteria
Latest SUEPO (Staff Union of EPO) Report For The Hague Reveals EPO Does Not Obey Court Orders, Refuses to Allow Workers to Freely Talk to One Another
working in a place where communication itself is restricted
[Meme] The Oppression Will Continue Until EPO 'Quality' Improves
wonder why EPO morale is so low?
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Outreachy, GSoC-mentors & Debian-Private may soon become public records in federal court
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock