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Links 25/7/2020: Mir 2.0 Released and FSF Talks DRM

  • GNU/Linux

    • Lilbits: PineTab Linux tablet coming in August, Jibo’s afterlife, and more

      Pine64 began taking pre-orders for their PineTab 10.1 inch Linux tablet in June, and now the company says it expects to begin shipping the tablet to customers in mid-August.

    • PineTab Linux Tablet Shipment Delays For A Week, But It’s Totally Worth
      Last month, pre-orders for the PineTab pilot batch went live and sold out within three days. Based on the PINE64 June blog, if you have ordered PineTab, you will be expecting its shipment to begin in the last week of July.

      Unfortunately, according to the latest PineTab update, the shipping date has been extended further by a week. As Lukasz Erecinski from PINE64 says, the cause of the delay is the decision to change the LCD panel driver, which is about to reach its end-of-life (EOL).

    • Linux can bring your old PC or Mac back to life -- for free [Ed: Really not accurate in a lot of places, but there we have it...]

      Have you heard of Linux? It's a version of Unix developed by a Finn, Linus Torvalds. But what is Unix? It's a computer operating system developed by Bell Labs in the 1960s. What was Bell Labs? It was the research arm of Bell Telephone Co. Unix lives on and we all use it just about every day. Every time we insert a dot (a period) inside something we type on the computer, like a .com, .org, or .gov, it is a Unix command to go to that location in its memory banks and find what came before the dot. Unix ran the big mainframe computers that used to fill large rooms; they had to be specially air-conditioned because of the heat generated by these huge machines. Torvald wanted a similar, free version of the system, so he rewrote it. A co-worker named it Linux, and the name stuck despite Torvalds' objection on grounds that it sounded egotistical. Linux can run on just about anything. Got an old PC or Mac gathering dust at the back of the closet? You can load Linux into it and it will live again. It's relatively trouble-free and comes in 20 flavors, each with a slightly different look. The most common is called Ubuntu, the latest flavor of which is named after a cat in Madagascar. But a reader wrote to say that he favors Linux Mint because it's similar to the Mac operating system. He installs it for schools and nonprofit organizations for $5 per machine. You can run Linux and keep your old operating system at the same time in one of two ways: Create a partition on your Windows PC and get an option to start up in either Windows or Linux. Linux will usually set this up automatically. The other way is to load Linux on a thumb drive and plug it in.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • TUXEDO Pulse 15 | Possible AMD Linux Laptop Upgrade

        My main machine a Dell Latitude E6440 has very happily been chugging away and meeting my needs very reliably. For most tasks, I don’t have any issues. I do probably push it by keeping too many tabs open far too frequently but for the things I need to do, CAD, video editing office tasks, VMs this silly site, I am very happy with the performance. I think where I am having trouble is that now that I have had a taste of high-resource application multitasking, now I want more of it. Also, the Server / workstation that I built last year has further wet my appetite for more power.

        I have looked at Tuxedo Computers several times and have been very interested by their many offerings. Looking at the 10th Generation Intel machines, I found the prospect of super long battery life with greater processing power compelling but not compelling enough. The difference in performance of the integrated GPUs vs the onboard AMD of my current laptop wasn’t enough of a difference to get me to make the purchase. I wanted more of a leap frog than a hop forward if I am going to make a major purchase.

        Then I have this article pop up in my Twitter feed. Now I am intrigued as this wasn’t just a few percentage points faster than my current machine. This was almost 6 times the CPU power and although uncertain the GPU performance increase, I am quite certain that the RX Vega 7 will do far better than the Radeon HD 8600M Series GPU I am currently enjoying.

      • Tuxedo Computers Pulse 15 Linux laptop is powered by AMD Ryzen 4000

        We recently told you about the beautiful 3rd-gen KDE Slimbook -- the world's first Linux Ultrabook with an AMD Ryzen 4000 CPU. Well, it seems there is yet another Linux laptop powered by AMD's latest mobile processors, this time from Tuxedo Computers.

        Called "Pulse 15," it has (as you can expect from its name) a 15.6-inch display. The screen resolution is 1080p, and it features 60Hz refresh and 100% sRGB coverage. Its I/O includes three USB-A ports (two are 3.0, one is 2.0), one USB-C at 3.0 speed, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm audio, and a micro SD card reader. And yes, it comes with Intel Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

      • KDE Slimbook to release first AMD Ryzen 4000 laptop running Linux

        The first Linux machines to use AMD Ryzen 4000 processors are now coming to the market courtesy of KDE Slimbook.

        Following the release of the AMD Ryzen 4000 processor, Windows hardware developers were quite quick to release a new model. On the other hand, there is a lack of Linux hardware, at least up until this point. Hardware manufacturer KDE Slimbook is the first to release a Linux laptop that uses the new Ryzen 4000 processor.

      • Commonly Asked Questions and Answers For Windows Users Looking to Switch to Linux

        Many people know “Linux” as an operating system, but the term “Linux” is actually referring to the Linux kernel. The kernel is the core of an operating system that controls and facilitates interactions between hardware and software components.

        When packaged with different desktop environment and software, it becomes an operating system, just like Windows or macOS. More accurately, it should be called a “Linux distribution” instead of “Linux”.

    • Server

      • Carrera Linux Argentina: Teaching Future Linux Leaders

        CLA: In the beginning, we only offered basic courses, but as time went by we realized that Linux was being installed on servers, and, to fill the growing need, we started expanding our course catalog and covering more complex subjects. This brought a lot of opportunities for us as big IT universities started to see that their students could benefit from learning from us.

        We also partnered with those universities offering not only our teaching but degrees in Linux system engineering. We also work with IP telephone networks, we teach how to set backups reliably, we help people look after their networks, and ease the way into virtualizing their operating systems. Now we are moving on to DevOps and IoT.

    • Kernel Space

      • Sony Provides Patch To Linux 5.9 For Allowing Further Access Restrictions On DebugFS

        A patch queued up into the driver core tree ahead of the upcoming Linux 5.9 kernel will allow further restricting access to DebugFS.

        Sony engineer Peter Enderborg wrote the patch to allow a new access restriction option on DebugFS, the pseudo file-system used for exposing debug-related information from the kernel and other details without having to stick to the ABI compatibility mandated by sysfs. The basis for this access restriction is that DebugFS can carry sensitive information and so should be treated more carefully, even though most Linux distributions already restrict DebugFS access to root/administrative privileges.

      • The Linux Kernel Begins Preparing Support For SD Express Cards

        Announced earlier this year was the SD Express specification offering around 4x the speed of existing SD cards thanks to leveraging PCI Express 4.0 (or otherwise PCI Express 3.0 fallback) and the NVMe 1.4 protocol. The Linux kernel has begun preparing for SD Express compatibility.

        SD Express aims to deliver nearly four gigabytes per second for data transfers thanks to leveraging PCIe and NVMe. SD Express is coming to SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC memory cards. These new SD Express cards that are expected to begin hitting retail channels in the months ahead do offer backwards compatibility with the legacy SD interface. In fact, the devices are initialized at first through the legacy SD interface. Following the legacy initialization process, the MMC host and SD card are both checked for PCIe and NVMe support. If both sides support the upgrades, then the new interfaces are utilized.

      • Systemd 246 Release Is Imminent With RC2 Released

        Systemd 246 should be shipping in the days ahead.

        Systemd 246 RC2 was released this morning. Normally there is at most two release candidates per systemd release, often with the official release shipping just days following the second release candidate. Thus it's looking like systemd 246 will be out in time for potentially making it into the likes of Ubuntu 20.10 and Fedora 33.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nouveau Changes For Linux 5.9 Bring Fixes, Prep For Future Improvements

          With basically at the cut-off for new feature material wanting to get into DRM-Next for Linux 5.9, Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs of Red Hat today sent in the primary feature pull.

          There isn't a whole lot to the open-source NVIDIA driver changes for Linux 5.9, which come in addition to the Nouveau CRC support that came by way of DRM-Misc-Next.

        • Mir 2.0 Released In Dropping Legacy Bits, New Platform Improvements

          Approaching two years already since the release of Mir 1.0 following its shift to Wayland support, Mir 2.0 is now available.

          Mir 2.0 was released this morning and it clears out the legacy Mir client/server packages as well as mir-utils and mirtest-dev. The legacy options around the host socket and nested passthrough were also removed. Various "obsolete stuff" from the Mir client code was also removed.

        • Intel Graphics Compiler Merges New Vector Compute Backend

          While Intel on the hardware manufacturing side continues facing stiff challenges, on the open-source software side the company continues making legendary progress. Out in today's Intel Graphics Compiler and in turn Intel Compute Runtime releases as part of their GPGPU toolchain is the recent open-sourcing and integration of their Vector Compute back-end.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Fast Friday

          At this point, longtime readers are well aware of the SPIR-V spec since I reference it in most posts. This spec covers all the base operations and types used in shaders, which are then (occasionally) documented more fully in the full Vulkan spec.

          There comes a time, however, when the core SPIR-V spec is not enough to maintain compatibility with GLSL instructions. In such cases, there are additional specifications which extend the base functionality.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Core i5 10600K Comet Lake vs. Core i5 Skylake / Haswell / Sandy Bridge

        The ~$270 Core i5 10600K "Comet Lake" processor features six cores and twelve threads with a 4.1GHz base frequency and 4.8GHz turbo frequency while having a 12MB L3 cache. The i5-10600L has a 125 Watt TDP. The i5-10600K is much better than the days of Intel Core i5 CPUs for several generations just being quad-core CPUs without Hyper Threading, but for quantifying the difference here is a look at this mid-range Comet Lake CPU to Kabylake, Haswell, and Sandy Bridge.

        The Sandy Bridge, Haswell, Kabylake, and Comet Lake i5 systems were all configured with dual channel memory at the rated frequencies supported by each CPU, default clock frequencies, and storage and other components aligned with the time for those systems being in their prime. There are GPU/disk differences given that while this article is focused primarily just on the CPU performance benchmarks. All systems were freshly re-tested on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

    • Applications

      • Linux Weekly Roundup: Applications, Distros, and News - July 25, 2020

        Before you head out to the weekend, here's a Linux Weekly Roundup for you catering to applications, distros and news for this week.

      • Martin Michlmayr: beancount2ledger 1.1 released

        Martin Blais recently announced that he'd like to re-organize the beancount code and split out some functionality into separate projects, including the beancount to ledger/hledger conversion code previously provided by bean-report.

        I agreed to take on the maintenance of this code and I've now released beancount2ledger, a beancount to ledger/hledger converter.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Werewolf: The Apocalypse releases in Q4 2020 with a new trailer, confirmed for Linux PC

        Today, July 24, Different Tales and Walkabout have confirmed that Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest will be launching in Q4 2020 with a brief new trailer.

        Previously announced in June comes from the makers of Wanderlust: Travel Stories and The Witcher 1. Heart of the Forest is a narrative adventure game based on the legendary role-playing game Werewolf: The Apocalypse. You play as Maia, a young woman looking to uncover her family’s history. In the pursuit of past mysteries, she arrives at the BiaÅ‚owieża Forest, an ancient wilderness full of ancient and dangerous secrets.

      • Puzzle Explorers: A Tangledeep Story announced and now on Kickstarter

        Puzzle Explorers: A Tangledeep Story is the next game from Impact Gameworks, set in the same world as the great Tangledeep dungeon crawler they've gone for something quite different.

        The gameplay combines classic Tetris-like falling-block puzzle mechanics with an "Active Time Battle" inspired JRPG battle system, plus other unique puzzle and town-building gameplay and a full story line to progress through. With the real-time combat, you and your party face off against up to 3 monsters. While monsters and your allies take turns attacking and using special abilities, the main character - Mirai - controls the flow of battle on the puzzle board. As you clear lines, you do damage to your enemies. There's a lot more to it than that though with special attacks, monsters that can mess with your puzzle board and more.

      • Prepare to get your feet wet in the latest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive maps

        A fresh Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update is out and Valve has done some map rotations to keep it all fresh. Prepare to get your feet wet.

        For the maps, Chlorine and Jungle have now left the official matchmaking pool. They've been replaced with two new community maps: Mutiny and Swamp across the Casual, Deathmatch, and Scrimmage game modes. Both have a theme of getting your feet wet with one being a bit flooded and the other having one team start on a pirate ship. Slightly amusing.

      • Orcs Must Die! 3 on Stadia is a vibrant and thoroughly entertaining romp

        Orcs Must Die! 3, a hybrid of tower defense and third-person action set in a slightly silly fantasy world from Robot Entertainment with publishing by Stadia Games and Entertainment is a huge amount of fun.

        It's a really ridiculously easy game to get into, and that's why I think I've enjoyed playing Orcs Must Die! 3 so much. You get to play through various levels that throw waves of Orcs at you, as you run around placing down traps and at times using your special character abilities and just blast through hundreds of enemies. There's no big fuss to it, it's good stress-free fun for anyone after a more laid-back experience that still has plenty of action involved.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: screencasting and shared clipboard on Wayland

          This week has seen more fixes and improvements to the Get New Stuff system, as well as speeding up Discover. But they may be overshadowed by Major Enormous Exciting Amazing new Wayland features such as screencasting and Klipper/shared clipboard support!

        • KDE Plasma 5.20 To Bring Working Screen Recording / Screencasting On Wayland

          KDE Plasma 5.20 is bringing an important feature in further closing the gap between Wayland and X11 feature parity... Finally there will be working screen recording and screencasting on Wayland for compatible applications.

          KDE Plasma now has the protocol coverage in place that is based on Pipewire for allowing the management of video feeds and requesting output / window streams. With this applications like OBS Studio will now be able to record the screen under the Wayland session come Plasma 5.20.

          KDE Plasma 5.20 with Klipper now also uses the Wayland clipboard with shared clipboard functionality working and putting that also on par with the X11 experience.

        • GSoC Work Status

          In the previous blog I wrote about my GSoC first evaluation. In this blog I have written about the activities on which I have worked further to add multiple datasets.

          I have added multiple datasets to three activities after GSoC first evaluation. Among them two have been merged to the master branch and one of them is still under review.

        • digiKam 7 Brings Deep-Learning Powered Faces Detection

          digiKam photo management software just announceed the release of its latest version 7.0.

        • digiKam 7.0 Released with Improved Face Detection
          digiKam photo management software 7.0 was released a few days ago with greatly improved face detection and recognition.

          digiKam 7.0 was released after one year of development. It features new deep learning faces management. No learning stage is required to perform face detection and recognition. And face detection reaches 97% of true positives.

          The improved face detection and recognition also supports non-human faces, blurred faces, covered faces, profiles of faces, printed faces, faces turned away, partial faces, etc.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Radio 3 Presentation at GUADEC 2020

          GNOME Radio is the Public Network Radio Software for Accessing Free World Broadcasts on Internet running on GNOME.

          On July 10, 2020 I published my Master thesis on GNOME Radio; gnome-radio-0.2.0 and gnome-internet-radio-locator-3.0.1, at Oslo Metropolitan University and University of Oslo in Norway.

        • Ayatana Indicators / IDO - Menu Rendering Fixed with vanilla GTK-3+

          The whole Ayatana Indicators project received a bit of a show stopper by the fact that the IDO (Indicator Display Object) rendering was not working in vanilla GTK-3 without a certain patch [2] that only Ubuntu has in their GTK-3 package. Addressing GTK developers upstream some years back (after GTK 3.22 had already gone into long term maintenance mode) and asking for a late patch acceptance did not work out (as already assumed). Ayatana Indicators stalled at a level of 90% actually working fine, but those nice and shiny special widgets, like the calendar widget, the audio volume slider widgets, switch widgets, etc. could not be rendered appropriately in GTK based desktop environments (e.g. via MATE Indicator Applet) on other distros than Ubuntu.

          I never really had the guts to sit down without a defined ending and find a patch / solution to this nasty problem. Ayatana Indicators stalled as a whole. I kept it alive and defended its code base against various GLib and what-not deprecations and kept it in Debian, but the software was actually partially broken / dysfunctional.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/30

          Due to a packaging change in a low-level package (krb5), I decided to trigger a full rebuild of openSUSE:Factory. Quite a lot of packages reference krb5-config to find the correct locations, but I could not get a conclusive list. The risk of not doing a full rebuild and having all packages follow the changes of krb5 could lead to devastating results, which I did not want to risk. This in turn meant OBS was busy for a bit longer and we only released two snapshots (0717 and 0720). The next one to be published (0721) will be the one with the full rebuild.

        • SUSE Introduces Training Credits to Help Enterprises Thrive Today and in the Future

          Now, SUSE is making it easier for enterprise customers to ensure their IT staff have the know-how they need to help their businesses thrive today and in the future. With the addition of SUSE Training Credits, customers can buy prepaid credits that can be redeemed for public or private instructor-led training and certification exam vouchers.

        • Setup secure private Docker registry in SUSE Linux Enterprise server 15Sp2

          Containerized application delivery has become the latest trend in today’s IT environment. These container images are distributed by respective Organizations/Communities through their official Docker container registries hosted online. Docker container registries are applications that manages storing and delivering of container images.

          Container images can be pulled from any online registry you can access to ,and you will also able to push your images to online registries. These online registries are public (unless you pay for online space ) and can be accessed by anyone else . It is important to setup an offline / private docker registry so that images can be securely stored offline. A private Docker registry allows you to share your custom images within your organization, keeping a consistent, private, and centralized source of building blocks of your architecture. A private Docker registry gives you better performances for big clusters and high-frequency roll-outs, plus added features like access authentication.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Big Blue Should Start Believing In Big Iron Again

          IBM did its best to ride the X86 server wave, but the lack of profits – at least the way that Big Blue ran its manufacturing – compelled it to sell of its System x business to Lenovo more than five years ago, leaving it with a very profitable legacy System z mainframe business and an aspiration to take on the X86 base with its Power Systems. This was a tough row to hoe for the Power8 and Power9 systems, given the enormous price/performance advantages for raw compute that Intel Xeon and AMD Epyc processors enjoy. But in many cases, where memory and I/O bandwidth, or NUMA scalability, are the most important attributes of a system, then the Power Systems machine can hold its own perfectly well and even trounce X86 or Arm alternatives at the CPU and the system level. And the System z mainframe is still second to none as a batch processing I/O beast for online transactions and batch processing, hammering away at work at 98 percent or higher CPU utilization for years at a time without respite.

          The persistence of those System z mainframes underpins the very existence of Big Blue and its ability to capitalize on other waves of computing in the datacenter while at the same time bringing those capabilities back home to the mainframe base for those who are quite literally too addicted to their mainframe applications to ever think of giving them up. They can wrap new software layers around them, they can create adjunct applications that run beside them and in conjunction with them, but unplugging them is not only unthinkable but virtually impossible.

        • Call for Code Daily: submission deadline, resources, and innovation

          The power of Call for Code€® is in the global community that we have built around this major #TechforGood initiative. Whether it is the deployments that are underway across pivotal projects, developers leveraging the starter kits in the cloud, or ecosystem partners joining the fight, everyone has a story to tell. Call for Code Daily highlights all the amazing #TechforGood stories taking place around the world. Every day, you can count on us to share these stories with you. Check out the stories from the week of July 20th:

        • Submit your entries: NLC2CMD competition at NeurIPS 2020 is now open

          The NLC2CMD (English to Bash) Competition at NeurIPS 2020 is now officially open for entries. The event is comprised of two main parts: the NLC2CMD Competition for automatic translation of English to Bash, and the NLC2CMD Challenge for gathering data related to such translations.

          The NLC2CMD Competition solicits entries that can translate a given natural language utterance into a command to be executed on the Bash terminal shell. For example, “show me a list of all files” should produce something similar to “ls” as the predicted command. The competition features two tracks: The first is the accuracy track, which is measured in terms of whether the right utility (for example, “ls”) is predicted, along with the correct flags required for it to complete the required task. Full details of the metric used for evaluation in the accuracy track can be found here. The second track is the efficiency track — energy efficiency is increasingly an important consideration for AI and Machine Learning models, and the aim of this track is to encourage systems that are judicious in their energy consumption. The competition is hosted on the EvalAI platform.

        • Red Hat Insights: compliance

          In simple terms, compliance means adherence to rules or fulfillment of specifications. Accordingly, you need a guideline with a set of rules against which you can align your systems. The first step, therefore, is to create a compliance policy. Until you have done so, there is nothing to see in the Insights dashboard (see Fig. 1).

        • Fedora program update: 2020-30

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. The Nest With Fedora Call for Participation is now open.

          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.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Web: A New Alternative for Chrome OS Based on Firefox [Ed: This might be a dodgy site]

          In a special turn of events, Ubuntu and Firefox teamed up to make a new alternative to Chrome OS! The project was announced by Ubuntu, that a new cloud-based OS with Mozilla’s Firefox as the base will be coming soon! And we feel this partnership could at least shiver Google’s native OS.

        • €¿Ubuntu/Mint? No, gracias

          Two of the most popular distributions include NVIDIA’s drivers in their ISO images and from here they are made a modest boycott so that users who feel free software can navigate with the tranquility of not talking or spreading those distributions that betray our philosophy that began more than 20 years ago. Ubuntu and Mint Linux are not free distributions, but proprietary ones, and therefore should not be used by users who understand why GNU/Linux exists and why it cannot embrace proprietary software: it is OUR ENEMY.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Craig Small: 25 Years of Free Software

        So you have written something you think others might like, what software license will you use to distribute it? In 1995 it wasn’t that clear. This was the era of strange boutique licenses including ones where it was ok to run the program as a hamradio operator but not a CB radio operator (or at least they tried to work it that way).

        A friend of mine and the author of the Linux HAM HOWTO amongst other documents, Terry Dawson, suggested I use GPL or another Free Software license. He explained what this Free Software thing was and said that if you want your program to be the most useful then something like GPL will do it. So I released axdigi under the GPL license and most of my programs since then have used the same license. Something like MIT or BSD licenses would have been fine too, I was just not going to use something closed or hand-crafted.

        That was a while ago, I’ve written or maintained many programs since then. I also became a Debian maintainer (23 years so far) and adopted both procps and psmisc which I still maintain as both the Debian developer and upstream to this day.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Beta via Flatpak

            What I've tried.

            Firefox beta as a snap. (Definitely easy to install. But not as quick and harder to use for managing files - makes it's own Downloads directory, etc)

            Firefox (stock) with custom AppArmor confinement. (Fun to do once, but the future is clearly using portals for file access, etc)

            Firefox beta as a Flatpak.

          • Extensions in Firefox 79

            To optimize resource usage, render information on inactive tabs is discarded. When Firefox anticipates that a tab will be activated, the tab is “warmed up”. Switching to it then feels much more instantaneous. With the new tabs.warmup function, tab manager extensions will be able to benefit from the same perceived performance improvements. Note this API does not work on discarded tabs and does not need to be called immediately prior to switching tabs. It is merely a performance improvement when the tab switch can be anticipated, such as when hovering over a button that when clicked would switch to the tab.

          • Mozilla VR Blog: A browser plugin for Unity

            Unity's development tools and engine are far and away the most common way to build applications for VR and AR today. Previously, we've made it possible to export web-based experiences from Unity. Today, we're excited to show some early work addressing the other way that Unity developers want to use the web: as a component in their Unity-based virtual environments.

            Building on our work porting a browser engine to many platforms and embedding scenarios, including as Firefox Reality AR for HoloLens 2, we have built a new Unity component based on Servo, a modern web engine written in the Rust language.

            The Unity engine has a very adaptable multi-platform plugin system with a healthy ecosystem of third-party plugins, both open-source and proprietary. The plugin system allows us to run OS-native modules and connect them directly to components executing in the Unity scripting environment.

      • Education

        • 41st Annual Conference of the TeX Users Group

          TUG 2020, the 41st Annual Conference of the TeX Users Group kicks off online today.

          Last night, at 20h00 MUT, prior to the conference, TUG carried out an introductory LaTeX workshop. Participants could attend and chat through Zoom or stream on YouTube. Check the conference programme and join to learn more about what is happening in the TeX world.

      • Funding

        • EFF to Court: Trump Appointee’s Removal of Open Technology Fund Leadership Is Unlawful

          San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today joined a group of 17 leading U.S.-based Internet freedom organizations in telling a federal appeals court that Trump administration appointee Michael Pack has no legal authority to purge leadership at the Open Technology Fund (OTF), a private, independent nonprofit that helps hundreds of millions of people across the globe speak out online and avoid censorship and surveillance by repressive regimes.

      • FSF

        • What has happened and where we've come: A short history of DRM

          The Free Software Foundation's (FSF) fight against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) goes a long way back, with efforts that have resulted in victories, and actions that have weakened the chains of DRM or even broken them. In 2006, the FSF ramped up its anti-DRM activities, under the campaign name Defective by Design (DBD). If we are to win the battle against DRM, it is important to have larger numbers on our side. To achieve that, it is fundamental to make people aware of the risk that DRM poses to our privacy and freedom.

          Remembering the past is crucial for those who are approaching this problem for the first time and who barely know what DRM is, as well as those who have fought it for years, because the past helps us to better understand the future. Timelines that reconstruct the story of Defective by Design have already been created. What is being done here, instead, is outlining a brief history of our DRM-related campaign activities to highlight important moments in the history of DRM itself, which is now over twenty years old. Before reading this article, the novice to Defective by Design may find it helpful to review how DRM is defined.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Guix: Improve Internationalization Support for the Guix Data Service

            The first half of my Outreachy internship is already over and I am really excited to share my experience. Over the past weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work on the Guix Data Service, watch myself change, and accomplish way more than I thought I would.

            The Guix Data Service processes, stores and provides data about Guix over time. It provides a complementary interface to Guix itself by having a web interface and API to browse and access the data.

            The work I have done so far revolves around storing translated lint checker descriptions as well as package synopsis and descriptions in the Guix Data Service PostgreSQL database and making them available through the Guix Data Service web interface.

            Initially the Guix Data Service database had translated versions of lint warning messages available, but they were not accessible through the web interface, so I made that possible during the contribution period.


            These first 7 weeks of my internship have gone by really fast, but I have enjoyed everything and I am so eager to experience what's to come.

      • Programming/Development

        • Release candidate: Godot 3.2.3 RC 1

          Godot 3.2.2 was released on June 26 with over 3 months' worth of development, including many bugfixes and a handful of features. Some regressions were noticed after the release though, so we decided that Godot 3.2.3 would focus mainly on fixing those new bugs to ensure that all Godot users can have the most stable experience possible.

          Here's a Release Candidate for the upcoming Godot 3.2.3 release. Please help us test it to ensure that no new regressions have slipped through code review and testing.

        • Postman – Make APIs development faster & easier

          If you are developing an API, you must know about Postman. Postman is a very useful tool for testing APIs along with your team of developers. The software makes it easier to run all the necessary tests before publishing the APIs.

        • An Open-source Self-hosted Headless System for Professionals and Novices

          Directus is an enterprise-grade headless system that warps SQL database into production-ready API. It comes backed with a features-rich application, powerful API and SDK support and multiple SQL database engines support.


          Directus is released as an open-source project under the GPLv3 license.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: anytime 0.3.8: Minor Maintenance

          A new minor release of the anytime package arrived on CRAN overnight. This is the nineteenth release, and it comes just over six months after the previous release giving further indicating that we appear to have reached a nice level of stability.

          anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub for a few examples.

        • Which programming languages are useful for sysadmins?

          Life as a systems engineer is a process of continuous improvement. In the past few years, as software-defined-everything has started to overhaul how we work in the same way virtualization did, knowing how to write and debug software has been a critical skill for systems engineers. Whether you are automating a small, repetitive, manual task, writing daily reporting tools, or debugging a production outage, it is vital to choose the right tool for the job. Below, are a few programming languages that I think all systems engineers will find useful, and also some guidance for picking your next language to learn.

        • Python

          • Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q2 2020

            Let's give a round of applause to our newest PSF Fellow Members for Q2 2020!

          • The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever (In Python)

            The Labyrinth is a children’s movie. The main character is 16 years old, and solving a logic puzzle that will literally decide if she lives or dies. In fiction, characters are faced with realistic challenges: ones they can solve, even if they have to make an effort.

            So, it makes sense that the designer of the eponymous labyrinth did not consult logicians Richard Smullyan, George Boolos (no relation to the inventor of boolean algebra), and John McCarthy (yes, the same person who invented Lisp and suggested that a “2-month, 10-(person) study” would make significant headway in the study of Artificial Intelligence). Those three would suggest that the designer use The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever.

            There are persistent rumors of the movie getting a reboot, or perhaps a sequel. Like any good sequel, the protagonists should face newer and bigger challenges. In the interests of helping the screen writers for the sequel/reboot, here is my explanation of the “Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever”, together with clear code.

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 016 - Python, Advanced Objects.
          • Ian Ozsvald: “Making Pandas Fly” at EuroPython 2020

            I’ve had a chance to return to talking about High Performance Python at EuroPython 2020 after my first tutorial on this topic back in 2011 in Florence.

          • Instagram OSINT with python tools

            Information gathering is crucial to the hacking process. Due to the passion of open source hackers, there are many information gathering tools, easy to setup and use. Progressing in my journey as a beginner hacker, I decided to share some useful tools in Instagram OSINT.

          • Over-Solving or Solving Problems You Don't Have

            Sometimes we call them "Belt and Braces" solutions. As a former suspenders person who switched to belts, the idea of wearing both is a little like over-engineering. In the unlikely event of catastrophic failure of one system, your pants can still remain properly hoist. There's a weird, but defensible reason for that. Most over-engineering lacks a coherent reason.

            Sometimes we call them "Bells and Whistles." The solution has both bells and whistles for signaling. This is usually used in a derogatory sense of useless noisemakers, there for show only. Again, there's a really low-value and dumb, but defensible reason for this.

            While colorful, none of this is helpful for describing over-engineered software. Over-engineered software is often over-engineered for incoherent and indefensible reasons.

            Over-engineering generally means trying to solve a problem that no user actually has. This leads to throwing around irrelevant features.

          • Talk Python to Me: #274 Profiling data science code with FIL

            Do you write data science code? Do you struggle loading large amounts of data or wonder what parts of your code use the maximum amount of memory? Maybe you just want to require smaller compute resources (servers, RAM, and so on).

          • Niels Thykier: Support for Debian packaging files in IDEA (IntelliJ/PyCharm)

            I have been using the community editions of IntelliJ and PyCharm for a while now for Python or Perl projects. But it started to annoy me that for Debian packaging bits it would “revert” into a fancy version of notepad. Being fed up with it, I set down and spent the last week studying how to write a plugin to “fix” this.

            After a few prototypes, I have now released IDEA-debpkg v0.0.3 (Link to JetBrain’s official plugin listing with screenshots). It provides a set of basic features for debian/control like syntax highlighting, various degree of content validation, folding of long fields, code completion and “CTRL + hover” documentation. For debian/changelog, it is mostly just syntax highlighting with a bit of fancy linking for now. I have not done anything for debian/rules as I noted there is a Makefile plugin, which will have to do for now.

          • Introduction to Selenium in Python 3

            Selenium is a framework used for testing web applications. Selenium automates a browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, to run tests on your desired website. Selenium is also a very powerful web scraping tool. Selenium supports JavaScript and all the modern browser features. This tool is very effective at extracting information from websites.

            This article will show you how to set up Selenium on your Linux distribution (i.e., Ubuntu), as well as how to perform basic web automation and web scrapping with the Selenium Python 3 library.

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 017 - Python, Advanced Objects, Done!
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 5 Check-in
    • Standards/Consortia

  • Leftovers

    • High and Dry in the Mojave

      Let this be a lesson to you all: Don’t try to con teenagers when it comes to spring break. It can be done, of course, but the consequences are bound to be unspeakably harsh.

    • The Making of Oliver Stone, the Unmaking of Hollywood

      When I think about Oliver Stone, I imagine a gambler at a craps table who bets every chip he’s got, every time, and usually comes out a winner. And, his gain is ours as well, for he has gambled everything on making some of the best films of our generation.

    • The Dark Side of Fredric Jameson’s Moon

      As I type out these words, my fingers are still trembling. I think what happened earlier today will go down in the annals of history, an event which was both awesome and terrifying in its implications. For the decades following, the chroniclers will write about it – it will provide the fodder for countless novels and made-for-TV movies; it will become as much a part of our everyday vocabulary as the phrases ‘moon landing’ or ‘September 11th’. But I am still reeling, still trying to understand it in the here-and-now, to process it on a more modest and personal level.

    • Science

      • U.S. officials detail plans to build a national quantum internet

        The U.S. Department of Energy wants to develop a national quantum internet to enable more secure communications and advance scientific research in areas such as gravitational wave detection.

        Officials presented a blueprint strategy for the effort in a Thursday press conference at the University of Chicago. The 38-page paper outlines key goals, as well as research challenges that will need to be addressed before the concept can be realized.

      • Coping with Burnout in IT

        Even before the COVID-19 pandemic went full throttle in March, Micha Abram knew what it is like to feel burned out by his job. Abram, senior director of engineering at ResumeLab, says a tip he learned to help cope with burnout a couple of years ago was "to go off the grid" and "unplug for a while."

        Now, Abram is back working at a breakneck pace, he says, and feels the stress bubbling up again. "Due to the spread of COVID-19, we were taken down by a wave we never saw coming,'' he says. "To keep our heads above the water, we have to double down on our deliverables and put in long hours."

        In this current environment, many information technology (IT) professionals "are now expected to crank out strings of code at a breakneck pace, all while juggling a plethora of other extra projects," he says.

        The increased workload has left Abram feeling he has too much on his plate right now, he says. "As a result, I sometimes feel apathy toward my work. Specifically, I catch myself feeling depersonalization and a lack of interest for my day-to-day duties."

        Abram is far from alone. Before the pandemic struck, The Dice 2020 Tech Salary Report found that 60% of technologists who were unsatisfied with their jobs reported feeling burned out.

        The traditional factors that lead to burnout include workload, lack of recognition for work, lack of work/life balance, and lack of challenges/monotony, says Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, Inc., parent company to Dice.

      • Remote Working Can Increase Burnout in Tech

        In the article, Shein quoted Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, Inc., who said, frequent check-ins and an emphasis on openness and communication can help mitigate many problems. Additionally, "employers and technologists also need to set firm, careful schedules in order to ensure that those employees working from home have a proper work/life balance," he said.

    • Education

      • Public Health Experts Denounce New CDC Document Pushing School Reopenings as 'Politically Driven' and 'Irresponsible'

        "With outbreaks raging in the U.S., this can spell disaster."

      • The 'Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds,' Says Weingarten as Trump Cancels GOP Convention While Urging Schools to Reopen

        "It seems the lives€ of kids and teachers are less important to the president than those of GOP delegates."

      • Trump Cancels GOP Convention While Urging Schools to Reopen

        Citing the pandemic that he has downplayed for months, President Donald Trump on Thursday abruptly announced that it is “not the right time” to hold the Republican National Convention in August in Florida as planned — moments before he repeated his demand that public schools in the Sunshine State and nationwide reopen even as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country.

      • Virtual [sic] is the way to go for (most) academic conferences

        At the last count, I have participated in 22 academic conferences. Only seven did not require me to fly. Of the other 15, six were short-haul and nine were long-haul. And, if I’m honest, I would like to continue to fly. But academic flying is unsustainable. A single long-haul flight emits, per passenger, roughly a tenth of all the annual carbon dioxide generated by an average person in a country such as the UK. And that is only one of the ways that flying contributes to climate change.

        Until we have figured out a viable way to fly sustainably, we must come to terms with this reality. If we’re serious about saving the environment and bringing about some measure of social justice, we simply have to change our ways.

        It is here that the global pandemic comes in, with its lesson that virtual conferences can work perfectly well. It is a lesson that we must all learn – including the globe-trotting, masters-of-the-universe types.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Stories Dooming Vaccine Hopes Overlook Immunity’s Complexity in Search of Easy Clicks

        This kind of story surely promotes a nihilistic outlook and undermines the efforts needed to convince a wary public to participate in a vaccination program—which really is something to panic about.

      • Can We Attend a Big Fat Covid Wedding?
      • 'It Is Political': Progressive Challenger Alex Morse Rips Rep. Richard Neal for Inaction on Opioid Crisis

        "It's easy to say that addiction and loss aren't political when you haven't experienced them personally, or when you have the money to afford the best treatment options."

      • Russia Accused of a Plot to Steal Vaccine Research!

        There is simply no reason to believe that reliance on the search for corporate profit represents anything like a sensible strategy for dealing with problems affecting the entire globe.

      • Trump's Authoritarianism is Ill-Suited to a Pandemic

        The Trump administration is apparently undertaking its latest effort to make 2020 more of a Kafkaesque nightmare than it already is. Yes, we’ve got murder hornets and a swarm of flying ants that can be seen from space over in Ireland, but maybe the scariest plague of the year is the president.

      • How Covid-19 Is Changing the Way We Work

        In two weeks, my partner and I were supposed to leave San Francisco for Reno, Nev., where we’d be spending the next three months focused on the 2020 presidential election. As we did in 2018, we’d be working with UNITE-HERE, the hospitality industry union, only this time on the campaign to drive Donald Trump from office.

      • Making Coronavirus Testing Easy, Accurate and Fast Is Critical to Ending the Pandemic—the US Response Is Falling Far Short

        Every little improvement in testing capabilities means more COVID-19 cases can be caught before the virus is transmitted.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Massive COVID-19 Outbreak At Women’s Medical Prison—Plus, Disney, McDonald’s Retaliate Against Workers

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola provides an update on the COVID-19 outbreak at Federal Medical Center Carswell, where the number of women who have tested positive is now over 500. NSA whistleblower Reality Winner is one of the prisoners that received positive results.

        Later in the show, Gosztola covers the Pentagon’s “aggressive” leak investigation that Pentagon Secretary Mark Esper apparently launched in early 2020. He breaks down how the insider threat program was likely used and the impact it probably has had on potential whistleblowers.

      • Yale epidemiologist Harvey Risch defends hydroxychloroquine in Newsweek—badly

        I’m generally a big fan of epidemiology and epidemiologists. After all, epidemiology is how we know that tobacco smoking causes cancer and that vaccines do not cause autism, sudden infant death syndrome, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, or the other conditions and diseases attributed to vaccines by antivaxxers. Epidemiology is also how we will ultimately figure out who is at most risk for serious disease, complications, and death from COVID-19 and then use that information to fine tune the public health response to the pandemic and to develop additional interventions. So I scratched my head mightily yesterday when I saw an op-ed in Newsweek by Harvey Risch, MD, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health entitled The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It. What is this “key” that Risch is talking about? Hydroxychloroquine. No, seriously, I kid you not. He’s talking about what I’ve started calling the “acupuncture of the COVID-19 pandemic”:

      • ‘Our epidemic could exceed a million cases’ — South Africa's top coronavirus adviser

        Salim Abdool Karim: “The best protection we have from this virus is ubuntu — a South African word that means ‘I am because you are’. I am safe because you are safe.”Credit: Dean Demos

        From the coronavirus pandemic’s first months, the World Health Organization warned that Africa’s health systems would struggle to cope if the virus began to spread on the continent. That prediction is starting to be realized, as Nature has reported from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. But more than half of the continent’s 780,000 reported cases are in South Africa.

        Initially, a hard five-week lockdown from 27 March helped to keep numbers low, but that became economically ruinous as 3 million South Africans lost their jobs. The official death toll stands at 6,000, but as with other countries, this is likely to be an undercount, according to the South African Medical Research Council.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Sweet Home 3D released version 6.4 with improvements and bug fixes

          Sweet Home 3D is a free interior design application that can help you to draw the plan of a house, arrange furniture, items, and see the result in 3D. It is a Java-based application and can run any Linux systems.

        • New NAKIVO Backup & Replication v10 Features Linux Workstation Backup

          NAKIVO Inc., a fast-growing software company dedicated to protecting virtual, physical, cloud and SaaS environments, announced today the release of NAKIVO Backup & Replication v10.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (qemu), Fedora (java-11-openjdk, mod_authnz_pam, podofo, and python27), openSUSE (cni-plugins, tomcat, and xmlgraphics-batik), Oracle (dbus and thunderbird), SUSE (freerdp, kernel, libraw, perl-YAML-LibYAML, and samba), and Ubuntu (libvncserver and openjdk-lts).

          • Librem 14 Features BIOS and EC Write Protection

            We have been focused on BIOS security at Purism since the beginning, starting with our initiative to replace the proprietary BIOS on our first generation laptops with the open source coreboot project. This was a great first step as it not only meant customers could avoid proprietary code in line with Purism’s social purpose, it also meant the BIOS on Purism laptops could be audited for security bugs and possible backdoors to help avoid problems like the privilege escalation bug in Lenovo’s AMI firmware.

            Our next goal in BIOS security was to eliminate, replace or otherwise bypass the proprietary Intel Management Engine (ME) in our firmware. We have made massive progress on this front and our Librem laptops, Librem Mini, and Librem Server all ship with an ME that’s been disabled and neutralized.

            After that we shifted focus to protecting the BIOS against tampering. We started by adding TPM chips to our laptops and began work on integrating the Heads tamper-evident firmware project into our overall boot security package we call PureBoot. Now customers can choose between our default coreboot BIOS or our “PureBoot Bundle” when they place an order. The PureBoot Bundle also enabled us to enhance our anti-interdiction services and change it from a secret menu option to a drop-down choice both for customers facing stronger threats and those who just want more peace of mind.

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 153 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 153. This version includes the following changes:

            [ Chris Lamb ]

            * Drop some legacy argument styles; --exclude-directory-metadata and --no-exclude-directory-metadata have been replaced with --exclude-directory-metadata={yes,no}.

            * Code improvements:

            - Make it easier to navigate the entry point. - Use a relative import for get_temporary_directory in diffoscope.diff. - Rename bail_if_non_existing to exit_if_paths_do_not_exist. - Rewrite exit_if_paths_do_not_exist to not check files multiple times.

            * Documentation improvements:


            - Add a quick note about adding/suggesting new options. - Update and expand the release process documentation. - Add a reminder to regenerate debian/tests/control.

            - README.rst:

            - Correct URL to build job on Jenkins. - Clarify and correct contributing info to point to

          • There's An Effort By A System76 Engineer To Bring Coreboot To Newer AMD Platforms

            With System76 working towards offering more AMD Linux laptop options as well as continuing to expand their line-up of AMD desktop offerings, it appears their next hurdle is on bringing Coreboot to these current-generation AMD platforms.

            System76 principal engineer Jeremy Soller who is also known for his work on the Rust-written Redox OS has initiated the effort on porting Coreboot to AMD Matisse and Renoir platforms.


            In any case, we are eager to see Coreboot support eventually come to these modern AMD platforms so stay tuned to Phoronix for reports on the progress.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Study confirms companies with poor privacy practices are more likely to suffer data breach

              A new whitepaper by Osana confirms what many of us already suspected: that companies with poor privacy practices are 80% more likely to suffer a data breach. To back up the intuitive conclusion that companies with poorer privacy practices are more likely to suffer a data breach, Osana first started by assigning a privacy score to over 11,000 companies and organizations. These aren’t just random companies, they are a representative set of the 11,000 most visible companies across industries based on website ranking.

            • CBP Has Access To Billions Of License Plate Images Collected By Private Companies

              The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has a thirst for license plate images. It wants as many as it can get. And as far inland as it can get without straying from the areas it's really supposed to be keeping its eyes on: the nation's borders. Two consecutive Privacy Impact Assessments of the agency's automatic license plate reader program came to the same conclusion: if you don't want to get your plate read, don't drive anywhere. Sure, it may seem easy to avoid the border, but the agency is allowed to do its border protecting stuff up to 100 miles from any border, which includes coastlines and international airports.

            • EFF Joins HOPE 2020

              EFF staff members will present some of our latest work at 2600 Magazine's biennial Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference beginning this weekend. HOPE is a diverse hacker event that has drawn thousands of tinkerers, security researchers, activists, artists, and makers since 1994. In a departure from the infamous Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, this first-ever virtual edition of HOPE will run an epic 9 days from July 25 through August 2.

              EFF's presentations will cover diverse online rights topics including facial recognition, government surveillance powers, digital identity standards and specifications, security dangers in Amazon's Ring, and much more. HOPE registrants will also be able to participate in free-form question and answer sessions with EFF and members of the Electronic Frontier Alliance.

            • Some Nest thermostats can no longer connect to the internet, so Google is replacing them

              Some users of Nest thermostats can no longer control the devices remotely, and the issue is forcing Google to replace the devices entirely if otherwise standard troubleshooting fails. The issue, which began popping up on Nest forums as early as last November and racking up more than 200 responses, is known as the “w5 error,” and it disables remote control of the company’s thermostats.

              Controlling the temperature of your home with your smartphone when you’re out of the house or away from the physical device is pretty much the sole selling point of the Nest thermostat. So that makes this a pretty serious issue, even if you still can manually adjust the temperature on the device itself. Google says it’s aware of the problem and that it’s now offering replacements to owners of the device who cannot solve the issue through standard reset procedures.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Patriotic Dissent: How a Working-Class Soldier€ Turned Against “Forever Wars”

        When it comes to debate about US military policy, the 2020 presidential election campaign is so far looking very similar to that of 2016. Joe Biden has pledged to ensure that “we have the strongest military in the world,” promising to€ “make the investments necessary to equip our troops for the challenges of the next century, not the last one.”

      • 'Lawlessness Upon Lawlessness': Iran Foreign Minister Condemns US for Dangerous Mid-Air Harassment of Civilian Plane

        Iranian officials accused the U.S. military of "endangering innocent civilian passengers"—some of whom were injured.

      • "Two Less Stomachs to Feed": a Murder/Suicide Under Lockdown in Palghar

        When Dilip Wagh left for work at 2 in the afternoon on June 22, he waved a habitual goodbye to his wife, Mangal and daughter Roshni. The next he saw them was two days later, wrapped in white sheets at a local hospital.

      • Israel’s Jewish National Fund is Uprooting Palestinians – Not Planting Trees
      • Did Trump Bomb Syria on False Grounds?

        A series of leaked documents from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) raise the possibility that the Trump administration bombed Syria on false grounds and pressured officials at the world’s top chemical weapons watchdog to cover it up. Two OPCW officials, highly regarded scientists with more than 25 years of combined experience at the organization, challenged the whitewash from inside. Yet unlike many whistle-blowers of the Trump era, they have found no champion, or even an audience, within establishment circles in the United States.

      • Epistemic Democracy: Elizabeth Anderson and Deweyian Experimentalism

        Elizabeth Anderson writes with a scalpel. Every word is chosen with precision. Her arguments are taut and tightly argued. No fat left on the plate. In a previous Counterpunch essay on Anderson’s thought (“Communist dictatorship in our midst,” October 19, 2019), I set out her argument for democratic governance in the workplace. Gazing around at the US corporations, she couldn’t find any evidence of such a beast. In this article, I would like to extrapolate some key ideas from one section of her article, “The epistemology of democracy,” Episteme, 2006. Although she does not dwell in the land of an extensive deliberative democracy scholarship, she offers us several concepts that enhance and deepen our understanding of the epistemic foundations of egalitarian decision-making. She works within the domain of “social epistemology” which investigates the “epistemic powers of institutions.”

      • UK-Russia Report: the Integrity Initiative Strikes Again!

        On October 17th, 2019, Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee sent the final draft of its report on Russia to the ruling Tory government. In accordance with the Justice and Security Act 2013, passed by the Tory-Liberal coalition government (2010-15), the incumbent could withhold the report in the name of national security. On 29th, British MPs voted for a general election. The report was suppressed for the duration of the campaign, and beyond.

      • Letter from America: An Empire Unglued

        It is an odd thing to live in the United States right now. The greatest empire in the history of the world has devolved into a twisted, macabre, grotesque caricature of itself, and the world looks on in astonishment and horror. My good, dear friend Heidi texts from Cologne, Germany about unidentified government agents snatching Black Lives Matter protesters off the streets of Portland, Oregon and forcing them, with heavy weaponry, into unmarked vans. “This is fascism, no?” she writes. I reply. “Well, yes, it is.”

      • ‘The bleeding didn’t stop’ Defendant in Russia’s controversial extremism case shares letter describing his confession under torture

        Moscow’s Lyublinsky District Court will soon announce the verdicts for the seven defendants in the controversial “Novoe Velichie” (“New Greatness”) extremism case. Prosecutors are demanding the most severe punishment for 27-year-old Ruslan Kostylenkov — seven and a half years in a penal colony. In 2018, Kostylenkov was arrested on his birthday, March 15. That same day, the Telegram channel “Kremlevskaya Prachka” (dedicated to airing the authorities’ “dirty laundry,” its name literally translates as “The Kremlin Washerwoman”) uploaded a video of his interrogation. In the video, Kostylenkov can be seen explaining that the purpose of their group was to act as a “tribunal over members of the ruling elites” and “abolish the repressive, existing laws and constitution.” Kostylenkov later recanted, claiming that he confessed under torture. The pretrial detention center’s medical unit diagnosed Kostylenkov with multiple bruises and hematomas — two weeks after he was beaten. According to Kostylenkov’s lawyer, Svetlana Sidorkina from the rights group “Zona Prava,” this was noted in the case file. However, her last three attempts to initiate proceedings against the officers who arrested her client have been denied. During the trial, Kostylenkov spoke about the fact that force was used against him more than once, but he didn’t dare provide any details about what happened. In March 2020, he spoke in detail about the torture he experienced in a letter to a friend. After prosecutors requested the sentences for him and the other defendants in the case, Kostylenkov decided to make this story public. Meduza shares a translation of the full text of his letter, with only minor edits.

      • Russia’s Foreign Ministry dismisses U.S. claims about Russian weapons testing in space

        In a statement on its website, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has dismissed claims from the United States Space Command about Russia testing weapons in space as “part of an information campaign to discredit” the country’s space-related activities and efforts to prevent an arms race in space.

      • Marjorie Cohn on Portland Secret Police

        This week on CounterSpin: Some corporate media appear agog that militarized federal agents—deployed with a mission reflected in Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s comment that city streets are a “battlespace,” filled with what acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf called “violent mobs”—would go ahead and tear gas protesters in Portland, Oregon, even though Portland’s Democratic mayor, Tom Wheeler, was among them.€  Outrageous, sure, but we’re a bit beyond outrage now, aren’t we? While we wait to see if corporate media can decide which optic is an optic too far, we talk about the legal, constitutional elements of the fight for our right to protest, including against the very forces that are sent to police the protesting. Our guest is Marjorie Cohn, past president of the National Lawyers Guild, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and contributor/editor on a number of books, including The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, and Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues.

      • Chinese ‘Imperialism’ in Hong Kong Concerns US Media; Puerto Rican, Palestinian Colonies, Not So Much

        When China passed a national security law for Hong Kong on June 30, criminalizing terrorism, secession and subversion of the Chinese government, as well as collusion with foreign governments, massive condemnations resounded all over Western media.

      • The New Cold War Heats Up

        At this time of all times, when the world is staggering from the shattering effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, it would be sensible for nations to pull together in order to devise policies and practicalities to counter and defeat the devastation that is taking place and seems likely to increase.€ € Now is the time for cooperation, compromise and mutual assistance in all spheres of medical research and in devising protective measures which can be emplaced and enforced with the minimum of dislocation.€ € Internationalism should be the norm, and the best brains in the world should be in harness, from Beijing to Boston and beyond.

      • COVID-19 and Bioweapons Research

        The anthrax attacks of 2001 were carried out via mail. Anthrax was sent via the US Postal Service to members of Congress and media executives together with notes reading “Death to America,” and “Allah is great.” Five died. In the weeks following the September 11 attacks, the intent of the perpetrators was to make it appear that the anthrax was being sent by Islamic militants.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Man of steel ‘Novaya Gazeta’ reports on the backroom business schemes that maybe ruined a Russian governor

        For the past several weeks, Russia’s apparent epicenter of civic activism has moved from its traditional home in Moscow to the Far East, where federal agents recently arrested the governor of Khabarovsk, leading to widespread mass demonstrations. The popular backlash to Sergey Furgal’s ouster has played well in the media, supplying footage of big crowds, colorful slogans, and rare displays of public discontent. Behind the spectacle, however, there’s a convoluted story of cutthroat competition for a steelworks. In an investigative report for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, special correspondent Irina Tumakova dissected the charges against Sergey Furgal and the business intrigue that may have landed him behind bars. Meduza summarizes Tumakova’s article below in English.

    • Environment

      • Thawing Arctic Permafrost

        It’s no surprise that first prize, or the blue ribbon, for exceeding 2€°C above baseline goes to the Arctic with permafrost that covers 25% of the Northern Hemisphere. Recognition is long overdue, as it’s been totally neglected far too long by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

      • Class Struggle and the Parable of an Environmental Victory

        The great mystery of the neoliberal takeover of the American left lies in differing class outcomes being attributed to ideology. The liberal view of ideology is classless— the rich, PMC, working class and poor can be right or left as is their predilection. Quite remarkably, given how insistently differences have been proclaimed, this is the view of much of the American left as well. However, to the extent this is descriptively accurate, it hides more than it reveals. For the rich and PMC, ideology is a tool of class management. Yesterday’s law and order politician is today’s anti-racist warrior.

      • China admits Three Gorges Dam 'deformed' by flood

        Beyond the integrity of the dam, many have questioned the structure's purported purpose of flood control, given the extensive flooding recently seen both above and below the dam. Some Chinese citizens immediately downstream of the dam in cities such as Yichang, which has been hit by severe floods this year, suspect that authorities have been releasing more water from the dam than they are willing to admit to protect it rather than people from harm.

        Indeed, satellite imagery of the dam taken on July 9 shows all the floodgates open, despite the fact that China has only admitted to opening "three flood discharging outlets."

      • Donald Trump Wants a Fight on the Green New Deal. So Do We.

        At the 2019 Republican Retreat, Donald Trump promised his allies that he would make this election about climate change: “I want to bring them way down the pike,” he said, “before we start criticizing the Green New Deal.”

      • 'For a Greener Future': Omar, Sanders Lead Bill to End Destructive Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

        "We need more safe, healthy, good paying jobs—not more corporate polluter giveaways."

      • Energy

        • Ohio Nuclear Power Scandal

          The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI this week charged the speaker of the Ohio House of Representative and four others in a $61 million scheme to use $1 billion in ratepayers money to keep two decrepit nuclear power plants operating.

        • Following Lawsuit, Formosa Agrees to Hold Major Construction on One of Largest Planned US Plastics Plants Until 2021

          Today, the company agreed to limit its construction activities until early next year, under a legal agreement reached with several community and environmental organizations who had filed a lawsuit last week. Major construction activities at the site will not move forward until February€ 2021 under the terms of today’s agreement, with the company required to provide monthly status reports including photographs of work underway and€ completed.

        • We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Oil Money to Fund Public Lands

          What does it take to get the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the League of Conservation Voters in bed with anti-conservation Republicans like Cory Gardner of Colorado, the fossil fuel lobby group Western Energy Alliance, and President Trump, whose tenure has brought a wrecking ball to environmental law?

        • Fossil fuel companies getting more U.S. bailouts than any other sector

          For decades, activists, academics, and others have warned that there will come a point that carbon would become unburnable: it would have to stay in the ground. It would become stranded. But those voices were ignored by the industry as it coaxed and coerced investors in a product that they knew would become essentially worthless.

        • Pandemic Bailout of the Fossil Fuel Industry Highlights Financial Sector Risks

          Many assume that transition risks will be driven by government policies, such as the proposed “Green New Deal” in the U.S. Should the transition to a low-carbon economy occur over a long enough period, the financial sector will have time to adjust and the systemic impact will be dampened. However, should the transition occur suddenly and rapidly, perhaps driven by mass political protest, financial institutions could find themselves exposed to a range of fossil fuel assets that are effectively worthless – so-called “stranded assets.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • A Battle Over Water Resources: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan’s Impending Water War

          Last month, the Egyptian and Sudanese governments, after almost a decade of negotiations with Ethiopia, have taken their dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where Addis Ababa stated they would begin filling the dam in July despite its endangering the lives of 150 million Egyptians and Sudanese. As a result of this appeal, a UNSC session was held at the end of June, where African member states, to include South Africa, the current chair of the African Union and a non-permanent UNSC member, requested time to address the dispute. Notwithstanding, Addis Ababa wants the UN to stay out of this dispute and let the AU take the lead. At the end of June, Egypt’s foreign minister exhorted the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to aid in resolving the dispute over the hydroelectric dam.

    • Finance

      • 'This Whole House of Cards Is Gonna Collapse': GOP Shutters Senate With US on Verge of Economic Catastrophe

        "The magnitude of suffering this is about to cause is so immense."

      • 2020 Vision Will Show You What is True, if You Can Keep Your Sanity

        We’ve all been making jokes about how terrible 2020 has played out, but I think even those of us with a bit of an imagination for the absurd and ominous missed the mark as far as this ultimate level of governmental degeneracy we’ve been able to achieve.

      • UN Calls for Temporary Basic Income for World's Poorest 2.7 Billion People as 'Lifeline' Amid Pandemic

        "The case for implementing this proposal is unimpeachable and world leaders should proceed immediately."€ 

      • 'Going to Lead to Desperation for Millions': Wyden Slams GOP for Leaving Town as Unemployment Benefits Set to Expire

        "Republicans move mountains for corporations and special interests, but when it comes to helping workers their message is clear: you're on your own."

      • U.S. Capitalism Is in Total Meltdown

        The COVID-19 pandemic is like Hurricane Katrina, but for the entire country. And things are only going to get worse.

      • ‘A Combination of Forces Puts Our Postal Service at Grave Risk’

        Janine Jackson interviewed True North Research’s Lisa Graves about attacks on the US Postal Service for the July 17, 2020, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Cutting UI Benefits by $400 Per Week Will Significantly Harm U.S. Families, Jobs, and Growth

        3.4 million fewer jobs will be created over the next year as a result.

      • Why Does Essential Work Pay So Little and Cost So Much?

        In two weeks, my partner and I were supposed to leave San Francisco for Reno, Nevada, where we’d be spending the next three months focused on the 2020 presidential election. As we did in 2018, we’d be working with UNITE-HERE, the hospitality industry union, only this time on the campaign to drive Donald Trump from office.

      • The $24 an Hour Minimum Wage

        The push for a $15 an hour minimum wage has developed considerable political momentum over the last decade. It is a very real possibility that we will see legislation imposing a national minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2024 if Joe Biden wins the election this fall.

      • The Eviction Ban Worked, but It’s Almost Over. Some Landlords Are Getting Ready.

        As tenants across Florida lost their jobs and incomes during the coronavirus pandemic, executives at Axiom Realty Partners LLC, whose portfolio includes at least nine apartment buildings throughout the Southeast, applied pressure on some tenants to either pay rent or move out.

        One Axiom tenant, who asked that her name not be used for fear of retribution from her landlord, told ProPublica that she fell behind on rent in early April when her 4-year-old’s day care closed because of the pandemic.

      • This is What Collapse Looks Like

        It’s time to normalize the word, “collapse,” to describe the ongoing conditions in the US.

      • Noam Chomsky: Trump Is Using Pandemic to Enrich Billionaires as Millions Lose Work & Face Eviction

        As millions of people in the U.S. lose work and face eviction due to the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, the 1% have seen a massive increase to their wealth, with Amazon founder and world’s richest person Jeff Bezos recently adding an estimated $13 billion to his net worth in a single day. World-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky says the corporate windfall is yet more evidence that the U.S. is run “essentially by the corporate sector” for its own profits. “They’re just running wild.”

      • GOP Coronavirus Relief Package to Include Romney Bill That Would 'Fast-Track Social Security and Medicare Cuts'

        "They will use every opportunity and every crisis—including the mass death and economic carnage from Covid—as cover for their sick desire to destroy our Social Security system."

      • 'Shut It Down, Start Over, Do It Right': Medical Experts Urge US Lockdown to Stop Covid-19 Spike

        "Our decision-makers need to hit the reset button. Continuing on the path we're on now will result in widespread suffering and death."

      • GOP COVID Relief Plan Includes Romney Bill to Slash Social Security and Medicare

        Shortly after publicly ditching one attack on Social Security — the payroll tax cut — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Thursday that the Republican coronavirus relief package will include legislation sponsored by Sen. Mitt Romney that one advocacy group described as an “equally menacing” threat to the New Deal program.

      • Self-Inflicted Wound of Brexit Will Make It Harder for UK to Recover From COVID

        Even as Britain pivots its pandemic response and struggles to reopen businesses and schools amid the global pandemic, it is simultaneously hurtling toward its final, year-end break with the European Union (EU) — a self-inflicted wound that will be even harder to heal from in the age of COVID-19, as it will not have access to the huge pool of rescue funds recently negotiated by the 27 remaining EU nations.

      • How the US Chamber of Commerce Wrecked the Economy and Made the Pandemic Worse

        As hospital intensive care units overflow again, and delays in COVID-19 testing reports reach record levels in many cities, a conversation I recently with Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, reminded me that I had forgotten something utterly critical: Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally disarm America in the face of the coronavirus invasion was urged upon him by an ostensible defender of American business: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

      • With GOP Refusing Urgent Relief for Main Street, Tens of Thousands of Shuttered US Businesses Now Closing... Permanently

        Permanent closures now account for 55% of all closed businesses since March 1.€ 

      • Senate passes bill to prevent debt collectors from garnishing stimulus checks

        The Senate on Thursday passed bipartisan legislation that would protect coronavirus relief payments from being garnished by banks and debt collectors.

        The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent.

        Legislation Congress passed in March, known as the CARES Act, authorized payments for most Americans of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The CARES Act prevented the payments from being reduced because of unpaid taxes or other debts owed to state and local governments.

        However, it did not prevent private debt collectors from garnishing the payments. The bill the Senate passed on Thursday would protect the stimulus payments from being garnished by banks, similar to how Social Security payments are protected from garnishment.

      • Aid’s cash crunch, Amazon peoples in peril, and hardline extremism in Nigeria: The Cheat Sheet

        Due to a shrinking economy, the UK may cut up to $3.6 billion (about 18 percent) from its international aid budget this year. But that's just the start: Rich country aid could fall by $19 billion (from $153 billion in 2019), according to a “worst-case” scenario published by analysts Development Initiatives (DI). Its survey of humanitarian funding (a subset of overall aid spending) showed a decline in 2019 – the first since 2012. The Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2020 also found that even less than usual reached the governments and NGOs of affected countries, and that more donor funding is earmarked for specific purposes. Reduced tax revenue and private remittances due to COVID-19 will have more impact on the economies of countries in crisis than aid flows, however. DI reported that use of cash allowances as aid to affected people increased in 2019, now standing at $5.9 billion of a total of $29.6 billion in 2019. More on that in the annual report of the humanitarian cash group CaLP, also out this week.


        Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP), the Nigerian jihadist group, has executed five civilians abducted last month. They included four aid workers from Action Against Hunger, International Rescue Committee, Reach International, the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, and a security guard – all kidnapped on the road from the northern town of Monguno to Maiduguri, the state capital. The group had reportedly demanded a $500,000 ransom. In January, ISWAP freed three aid workers and a civilian they had abducted the previous month. “Ransom payments have become part of the conflict economy, [but in this case] the negotiations failed,” a security analyst told The New Humanitarian. In 2019, ISWAP executed 12 aid workers while two others remain in captivity. There has been a series of leadership changes within ISWAP. Its new incarnation is taking a harder line, targeting civilians it accuses of siding with the army – an approach it had previously avoided. The new wali, or governor, is believed to be a man known as Ba Lawan – one of the early jihadist pioneers. Section commanders also seem to have greater autonomy in keeping with the more fluid leadership, the security analyst told TNH.

      • The Long-Term Impact of Early-Career Setbacks

        Fail fast, fail often is one of Silicon Valley’s best known mantras. Is there something to this belief that if you’re not failing fast and often you may be stuck in a stagnating endeavor? After all, social scientists have their own Matthew Effect, - i.e., the rich get richer and the famous get more famous, - as evidenced in our age of rising economic inequality and superstar dynamics.

        In early March, - just before Covid-19 brought normal life to a screeching halt, - I attended a very interesting seminar by Northwestern professor Dashun Wang. Over the past several years, professor Wang, along with various collaborators, has been investigating the impact of early-career setbacks on the future careers of scientists.

        “Setbacks are an integral part of a scientific career, yet little is known about their long-term effects,” notes a recent article he co-authored in Nature Communications. “Despite the ubiquitous nature of failures, it remains unclear if a setback in an early career may augment or hamper an individual’s future career impact.” The Matthew Effect would suggest that early-career success is an important determinant of a successful scientific career. On the other hand, early setbacks could well be a marker for future achievement, teaching young scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, etc, valuable lessons that they wouldn’t have otherwise learned, i.e., what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Which is the most likely scenario?

      • Venezuela: Paralysed Companies Rescued by an ‘Army’ of Volunteer Workers

        The movement, with 2,270 members spread across the country, defines itself as "an unconventional army to win an unconventional war."

        When the EPO is contacted by workers from the company in trouble, those best placed -- according to the sector to be treated and the geographical location of the company -- visit the entity to "diagnose the critical productive knots.”

        This report is carried out by interviewing both managers and the working class "on a par with EPO’s diagnosis itself,” notes Sergio Requena, a member of the movement. "Workers who have consciously decided to belong to the Productive Workers' Army (EPO) have a very high technical level and own tools for the operational recovery of paralysed or semi-paralysed entities,” he explains.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Polling Shows Trump's Secret Police in Portland—and GOP Lawmaker Complicity—Could Have 2020 Consequences

        MoveOn says voters are "fed up" with GOP senators from the battleground states of Arizona, Maine, and North Carolina "carrying water for him as he trundles toward authoritarianism."

      • How to Steal an Election
      • “We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident”

        What Donald Trump says matters because of the office he holds and because of the cult-like following he has. But absolutely none of it, zilch, is worth being taken seriously on the merits.

      • President, Plague, Bungler, Camera, TV

        Trump’s new round of televised Covid-19 briefings is nothing but another attempt to blame others for his deadly mistakes.

      • A Singular Campaign: Trump, Pence, Biden, ?

        In 1922 Maxfield Parrish produced a cover for Life magazine which showed a knavish character taking the letters L and E off of the title “LIFE” which then left “IF” as the title. The illustration was a visual representation of the sentence, “He is a rogue indeed who robs life of its ends and fosters doubt.”

      • Twenty-One State Attorneys General File Suit to Stop 'Illegal' Effort by Trump to Skew the Census for Political Gain

        The effort by the president to thwart the counting by excluding undocumented immigrants, said New York AG Letitia James, is "another election-year tactic to fire up his base by dehumanizing immigrants and using them as scapegoats for his failures as a leader."

      • How the Barr Justice Department Works

        A number of readers have asked me to explain the different ways the trump justice system impacts those who have been convicted of criminal activity.€  It is the mark of a truly just justice system that not every criminal is treated the same since it suggests that there is a concern for the individual and not a mindless imposition of punishment on those convicted of criminal activity notwithstanding their other virtues.€  And so it was that within a very short time we saw how a trumpian justice system furthers the cause of justice.

      • Who Will Come to America’s Aid?

        USA needs help. Let’s face it: our democratic institutions aren’t working well; our president is behaving like a depraved, spiteful monarch; our police, with almost 19,000 independent units nationwide, are unmanageable; our unprecedented social and economic divides are growing; the health of American people is declining; new digital platforms are sources of unprecedented hate and threats; media is so polarized, we don’t know whom to believe. (Then there’s the Covid-19 pandemic.)

      • Russia’s Central Election Commission announces three-day voting period for September elections

        Voting in Russia’s upcoming elections will take place over the course of three days, from September 11 to 13, announced the head of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, according to TASS.€ 

      • NY Post's Journalistic Malpractice: Misleading Reporting On Nick Sandmann's Washington Post Settlement

        Earlier this year, we wrote about the bizarre reporting on the confidential settlement between CNN and Nick Sandmann, the high school student whose encounter in Washington DC became an internet sensations based initially on a short video that many suggested misrepresented the encounter and others argued did not misrepresent it at all. It was all a matter of perspective, though many people eventually came to the reasonable conclusion that there was a knee-jerk reaction in the initial coverage that was perhaps unfair to Sandmann. Indeed, many, many people admitted that they shouldn't have jumped to conclusions so quickly without knowing the full story.

      • Donald Trump and the Use of Psychology

        In 1999, Justin Kruger and David Dunning wrote a paper, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.” The paper provided, with unparalleled accuracy, an explanation for Donald Trump’s temperament and behavior.

      • Fascism Expert Warns Trump’s Deployment of Feds Could Suppress Election Turnout

        President Donald Trump’s plans to place federal agents in cities across the nation in order to quell uprisings responding to the killings of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement may be an attempt to help Trump win reelection, an expert in fascism recently warned.

      • Catch and Kill: the Protection Racket Used by Trump, Weinstein, Epstein and Wall Street
      • Trump's Racist Play for the Suburbs

        Inclusive and equitable suburbs build more affordable housing, advance fairness in education, and centers environmental justice.

      • What People Who Live in Mostly White Towns Need to Know About History
      • Electionland 2020: Inside the EAC, Poll Worker Woes, Cybersecurity and More

        How Voter-Fraud Hysteria and Partisan Bickering Ate American Election Oversight

        The federal Election Assistance Commission has neglected key responsibilities or ceded them to other agencies — and two of its four commissioners are parroting the president’s unfounded warnings about vote by mail. Read the story.

      • King Joe and the Round Table: Biden’s America in a Multipolar World

        In an article in Foreign Affairs in March titled, “Why America Must Lead Again,” Joe Biden claimed that “the world doesn’t organize itself,” and promised to “put the U.S. back at the head of the table” among the nations of the world. But the premise that the world can only organize itself under the direction of the United States and Biden’s ambition to restore the U.S. to such a dominant position at this moment in history are out of touch with global reality.

      • The Girl Who Wore a Hijab and Kicked Up a Hornet's Nest in Congress

        The global refugee crisis has been with us for a while. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there’s been a steady flow of displaced humans from their home nations into statelessness and then on to begrudged statefulness among strangers. According to the agency, there are 4.2 million stateless people right now. Some people are stateless within their own natal nation (Yemen). The number of refugees stayed at about 40 million a year until about 2012, when it began an unbroken rise upward to the 80 million mark today.

      • ‘Special troublemakers’ The Khabarovsk Territory’s new acting governor says local protests are being organized from abroad. Here’s what the Kremlin thinks.

        On Friday, July 24, the Khabarovsk Territory’s newly appointed acting governor, Mikhail Degtyarev, told reporters that foreign citizen flew in from Moscow to help organize local demonstrations against his appointment. Khabarovsk has seen sustained mass protests in response to the arrest of now ex-governor Sergey Furgal since July 11. Here’s how Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to a Kommersant FM correspondent’s questions about Degtyarev’s claims.

      • The U.S. sanctioned Ramzan Kadyrov’s family members and he isn’t taking it well

        The U.S. State Department declared Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s repressive Chechen Republic, responsible for human rights violations and imposed sanctions against him, his wife Medni Kadyrova, as well as his older daughters Aishat and Khadizhat. Thus, Kadyrov and his family members were banned from entering the United States. While Kadyrov has been denied entry into the United States ever since he was included on the list of individuals sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act in 2017, these previous sanctions didn’t apply to any members of his family.€ 

      • Trump Is Flailing, and the Country Is Paying the Price
      • Scoring Fascism

        A year ago, the idea that Trump was a fascist was whispered. Today, after the dispatch of Homeland Security shock troops to Portand, it’s shouted. But what kind of fascist is he? The answer so far is an incompetent one: His popularity is tanking and he’s losing control of the media and the masses. But wait, wasn’t Hitler a failure too (mocked and belittled) until he wasn’t?

      • Is Donald Trump Responsible for His Bad Behavior?

        Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, confirms in her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man€ (Simon & Schuster, 2020) what many other psychologists and non-psychologists alike have concluded over the past three and a half years: Donald Trump is a psychopath.

      • Fox cut away from a disturbing Portland video shown at WH briefing
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • We Can’t Deny Our History, Can It Guide Us to Become Anti-Racist?

        It really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, as much as we had hoped for it, the election of our first Black president did not bring us into a post-racial America. 400 years of institutionalized racism did not end on November 4, 2008. Actually our national penchant for racism goes back much further, the American colonists had been practicing racism against the indigenous of Turtle Island since 1492. From its beginning, America was built on racism and theft, the looting of land, labor and lives.

      • In Defense of Hamilton, an American Musical: It’s Not History, It’s a Show

        Much criticism has been leveled at€ Hamilton, the musical, following the successful airing of the filmed performance on the Disney channel. This isn’t to question the validity of the criticism about its glossing over the slave-owning history of our “Founding Fathers,” or the real Hamilton’s complicity, or his role in creating the capitalist state. This is to question the intensity of the criticism.

      • The First Amendment Bars Regulating Political Neutrality, Even Via Section 230

        At the end of May, President Trump issued an Executive Order demanding action against social media sites for “censoring” conservatives. His Department of Justice made a more specific proposal in mid-June. Clearly coordinating with the White House, Sen. Josh Hawley introduced a bill that same morning, making clear that his “Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act” is essentially the administration’s bill — as called for in the May Executive Order. The administration is expected to make its next move next week: having NTIA (an executive agency controlled by Trump loyalists and advised by a former law professor intent on cracking down on tech companies) ask the FCC to make rules reinterpreting Section 230 to do essentially the same thing as the Hawley bill. These two approaches, both stemming from the Executive Order, are unconstitutional for essentially the same reasons: they would put a gun to the head of the largest social media websites, forcing them to give up editorial control over their services if they want to stay in business.

      • About Time: New York Finally Passes Anti-SLAPP Bill

        It's been truly amazing that, for years, despite being the heart of the media business in the US, New York state had a pathetically weak anti-SLAPP bill. It only applied to issues related to petitioning the government. So you were protected from lawsuit if you were complaining about a law or zoning issues, but these days most SLAPP suits are unrelated to such things. So it's exciting to find out that the New York legislature has finally passed a real anti-SLAPP law. The actual bill expands the coverage of NY's anti-SLAPP law to include:

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Talking About Racism On Social Media (2019)

        Summary: With social media platforms taking a more aggressive stance regarding racist, abusive, and hateful language on their platforms, there are times when those efforts end up blocking conversations about race and racism itself. The likelihood of getting an account suspended or taken down has been referred to as “Facebooking while Black.”

      • Philippines Senator Targets Critics With 'Cyberlibel' Law, Gets Hailed As A Son Of A Bitch By Thousands Of Citizens

        The most dangerous cybercriminals in the Philippines are the ones who swear. When not locking up critics and journalists under the country's "cyberlibel" law, government officials are sending the cops after people for not being sufficiently respectful.

      • Taibbi, Harper's and the Intellectual Dark Web

        Just a day before the Harper’s Open Letter appeared on July 7th, Osita Nwanevu wrote an article for The New Republic on “The Willful Blindness of Reactionary Liberalism” that made Matt Taibbi sound as if his name would show up there the next day. Indeed, in a convivial Rolling Stone podcast that Taibbi and his partner Katie Halper did with Thomas Chatterton Williams, the godfather of the letter regretted that he didn’t have Taibbi’s email address otherwise he would have been invited.

      • PTA asks operators to ensure ‘immoral’ content is inaccessible to users

        In a letter dated July 21, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the PTA said it had discovered that a high volume of immoral content was being served through Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). “You are requested to ensure that no pornographic/immoral/illegal content is being served to the users through CDNs. Compliance report in this regard is required to be submitted within 10 days of this letter,” it stated.

      • Facebook user in Mauritius arrested for calling Member of Parliament a "dirtbag" in her timeline post

        Since amendments were made to the ICT Act of Mauritius, politicians, mainly Members of the National Assembly have grown "sensitive" to comments made about them on social media and they show almost zero tolerance to critics that contain harsh words.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • 'Disturbing—and Dangerous': Journalists Denounce Judge's Order for Outlets to Turn Over Protest Footage to Seattle Police

        "This turns journalists into an arm of the government. We are not here to do surveillance for police."

      • Assange to appear over video link at Monday 27 July hearing

        Julian Assange is expected to appear over video link at Westminster Magistrates’ Court’s hearing on Monday (27 July), despite medical advice that he risks contracting COVID-19. A lung infection combined with a pre-existing condition and the risk of exposure to COVID-19 had prevented him from attending recent hearings.

      • UNCHR Concerned About Arrests of Zimbabwe Journalist, Opposition Leader

        The U.N. High Commission for Human Rights says it is "concerned" that authorities in Zimbabwe may be using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on citizens’ freedoms. This week, police arrested a prominent investigative journalist and an opposition leader, accusing them of inciting public violence.

        Journalist Hopewell Chin'ono and politician Jacob Ngarivhume have been jailed since Monday on allegations of inciting public violence -- through social media -- ahead of a planned July 31 government corruption protest. Both men have denied the charges.

      • Arrests of Zimbabwe Journalist, Opposition Leader Worry OHCHR

        The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said it is "concerned" that authorities in Zimbabwe may be using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on citizens’ freedoms. This week, police arrested a prominent investigative journalist and an opposition leader, accusing them of inciting public violence.

        Journalist Hopewell Chin'ono and politician Jacob Ngarivhume have been jailed since Monday on allegations of inciting public violence -- through social media -- ahead of a planned July 31 government corruption protest. Both men have denied the charges.

        In Geneva on Friday, OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell said Zimbabweans have a right to protest corruption or anything else.

      • Temporary Visa Reprieve for VOA Thai Journalist

        The reprieve gives temporary relief to Chomchuen, who worked for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal before leaving Bangkok to join VOA last year. But questions remain about the status of the review of J-1 visas – the entry permit for individuals with unique skills – that USAGM management announced earlier this month.

      • Tories want new law that could punish journalists and whistleblowers with 14 years in jail

        Clues as to what any new legislation might look like were provided in the 2017 Law Commission document, entitled Protection of Official Data.

        The commission noted that its recommended offence of espionage would “be capable of being committed by someone who not only communicates information, but also by someone who obtains or gathers it”.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A New Bill of Rights

        Of the 27 existing amendments to the U.S. constitution, only two have passed in the last fifty years. In 1971, the 26th Amendment set the voting age at 18 (it had previously been 21), and in 1992 the constitution was amended to delay congressional pay rises to the term after they were enacted (to keep members of Congress from voting themselves even more gravy trains).

      • Our Enemy, Law and Order

        Law and order. Just the sound of those three words sets my teeth on edge. Together they form a verbal menage a trois that quite possibly amounts to the three ugliest words in the English lexicon. It brings to mind dreadful images of everything my wild anarchist heart reviles. It conjures up everything I despise, everything I’ve sworn to die fighting. Law and order is rules and hierarchies and boundaries. It’s borders and courts and prisons packed full of shackled renegades. It’s cops and judges and prosecutors and priests and ties and condoms and dental dams and neatly pressed uniforms and carefully gendered haircuts and Kamala fucking Harris. It’s schools full of well behaved children, television sets governed by the paternal censorship of weaponized banality, bedrooms free from the glories of sin. It’s clean streets, carcinogenic manicured lawns, and jackbooted PTA’s slut shaming bouffant haired single mothers. It’s that motherfucker who coughs real fucking loud at the IHOP when you try to light a cigarette at 3 in the goddamn mourning. It’s that shrill church lady that gives you the stanky eyeball at the bus stop when you’re trying to lez out with your girlfriend. In a sentence, law and order is fascism, American style, aAll Postsnd it’s where that human landmine, Donald Trump, finally found his fucking groove.

      • Of Wolves, George Floyd, and the Limits of Human Empathy

        Like many people throughout the world, I am deeply saddened by the murder of George Floyd and by the ignorance and callousness that led to his death. One upshot, however, is that Mr Floyd’s death has resulted in a groundswell of collective outrage and empathy, which in turn has led to a commitment to be more humane and just in our treatment of others. This is the good news. We can rejoice that we are now on the verge of much needed and potentially seismic change. The bad news is that the benefits of this movement do not extend to other underserved, under-represented and voiceless communities that are no less deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

      • 'Victory for the Rule of Law': Federal Judge Curbs Powers of Trump's Secret Police in Portland

        "This injunction is a critical protection for journalists and legal observers exercising their fundamental right to record and observe police activities at these important protests."

      • Portland
      • Baseball Takes A Knee
      • Porgy and Bess in the Time of BLM

        Last Friday night while protesters were being shoved into unmarked vans in Portland by federal€ paramilitaries, PBS broadcast George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in its Great Performances series. The opera was a strange choice for these times. The live recording had been made on February 1st, little over a month before the Covid crisis darkened American theatres.

      • Top Ten Protest Albums Of 2020 (So Far)

        *The following is a collection of some of the best albums of protest music released in 2020 (so far). They were selected by Kevin Gosztola and C.J. Baker, who publishes writing regularly at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs. They are in alphabetical order by artist.

      • 'We're Ready': Trump Threatens to Deploy 75,000 Federal Agents Into US Cities

        "Watching moms, reporters, medics, and peaceful protesters get tear gassed and beaten by federal agents on a regular basis," said one critic, "isn't the imagery I'd choose as a cornerstone of my campaign."

      • "Peak Libertarianism?" No, Thom Hartmann is Just a Sore Winner.

        “We have now reached peak Libertarianism,” Thom Hartmann informs us at CounterPunch, “and this bizarre experiment that has been promoted by the billionaire class for over 40 years is literally killing us.”

      • Trumpian Loudmouths Apparently Losing Interest In Parler With No One To Play Victim To

        What a shock. Parler, the site that falsely claimed that it would be the "free speech" alternative to Twitter, but who quickly realized that it was going to have to aggressively ban users as well, is apparently suffering from abandonment. As the Daily Beast reported, many of its most vocal supporters seem to have disappeared from the platform, preferring Twitter instead.

      • Robert E. Lee High School in Virginia Renamed to Honor John Lewis

        A school in Fairfax County, Virginia, will remove Robert E. Lee from its name and change it to honor the life and legacy of the late Rep. John Lewis.

      • EFF and 45 Human Rights and Civil Liberties Groups Condemn Federal Law Enforcement Actions Against Protesters in Portland

        EFF joined dozens of other groups in a letter condemning the behavior of federal law enforcement agencies in Portland, Oregon. Despite the wishes of local government officials, the federal government deployed law enforcement, including U.S. Marshals and Customs and Border Protection officers, to Portland. The federal government officially explained these actions as an effort to protect federal buildings, but it appears to be a militarized counter-insurgent effort to suppress protesters and the residents of Portland.

        The coalition—which includes Fight for the Future, Media Justice, and PDX Privacy—called for unwanted federal forces to be removed from Portland and urged Congress to investigate the pattern and practice of abuses against protesters.€ 

      • Why Are Mayors Inviting Trump’s Federal Agents Into Their Cities?

        There has been significant outcry over Donald Trump’s decision to deploy federal law enforcement to Portland to quell protests there. Now, Trump has announced that he is ramping up Operation Legend, which will send hundreds of federal law enforcement officers to Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, and possibly other major cities, including New York and Philadelphia, to deal with increases in shootings. These initiatives have spurred some protest from officials in Portland and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, as well as calls from members of Congress to significantly curtail such interventions. What has been left out of these conversations is the Trump administration’s existing plan to flood seven cities with additional federal and local police as part of Operation Relentless Pursuit (ORP).

      • Can Trump Win in November by Reviving Willie Horton?

        In the end, all Donald Trump has left is fear. In running for reelection, there’s little else he can rely on. His handling of the pandemic has been a disastrous mixture of denial and disinformation. Prior to the pandemic, he might have made a plausible claim as a steward of the economy who presided over the first substantial wage growth in two decades. But now Trump’s economy is in shambles and not likely to recover until Covid-19 is under control. He’s kept America out of large-scale wars, but America’s international reputation has sunk and there are ominous rumblings of a potential conflict with Iran.

      • “There’ll Be Some Changes Made”: Current and Future American Policing
      • Noam Chomsky on Trump’s Troop Surge to Democratic Cities & Whether He’ll Leave Office if He Loses

        “President Trump is desperate,” says world-renowned dissident Professor Noam Chomsky in an extended interview that begins with President Trump’s vow to send a “surge” of federal agents into major Democrat-run cities across the United States. “His entire attention is this one issue on his mind: that’s the election. He has to cover up for the fact he is personally responsible for killing tens of thousands of Americans. It’s impossible to conceal that for much longer.”

      • “Man. Woman. Camera. Person. TV.”: Noam Chomsky Responds to Trump Bragging He Aced a Dementia Test

        Is the United States being run by a madman? “What can you say about a person who, before speaking before an adoring crowd, raises his eyes to heaven and calls himself the chosen one?” says Noam Chomsky, responding to President Trump’s boast that he aced a mental acuity test.

      • Black Lives Matter Chicago Sues to Prevent Occupation by Trump’s Paramilitaries

        Taking a page from Hitler’s Brownshirts, Donald Trump is sending his secret paramilitary forces into U.S. cities to terrorize the population. Ostensibly designed to “restore order” in the wake of massive uprisings against white supremacy and police brutality, this move appears to have a more cynical purpose lurking behind it: Trump’s desire to tar Democrat-led cities with a false narrative to boost his sagging poll numbers. But protesters are taking to the courts to rein in an out-of-control executive.

      • The Antifa Bogeyman

        In an unparalleled assault on the Constitution recently, federal agents descended on Portland, Oregon. They behaved like storm troopers. They snatched people off the street, tossed them into unmarked vans and detained them without charge. This is what happens in a police state. Mindful of that, the governor and mayor implored the agents to leave. The Trump regime refused, threatening to send its Gestapo to other Democratic-run cities. Trump cited, of course, anarchists and antifa.

      • Uprising: Mass Protests Rock the Nation

        In an act of political desperation, President Donald Trump ordered a contingent of federal law-enforcement officers to impose order in Portland, OR. Under the direction of Attorney General Bill Barr, agents from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Bureau of Prisons were deployed to protect federal property from vandals. On July 14th, these agents, dressed in quasi-military uniforms and without identification, initiated attacks on protesters at the federal building and, over the next couple of nights, extended their military suppression campaign throughout the city. Their campaign resembled an all-American version of the Hitler-era Nazi Brownshirts.

      • WhereIsMyName: Afghan women campaign for the right to reveal their name

        The problem starts early, when a girl is born. It takes a long time for her to be given a name. Then when a woman is married her name does not appear on her wedding invitations. When she is ill her name does not appear on her prescription, and when she dies her name does not appear on her death certificate or even her headstone.

        But some Afghan women are now campaigning to use their names freely, with the slogan "Where Is My Name?" The campaign began three years ago when Laleh Osmany realised she was fed up with women being denied what she thought was a "basic right".

        "The campaign is getting one step closer to achieving its goal of persuading the Afghan government to record the mother's name on a birth certificate," Ms Osmany, who is 28, said.

      • New York Times' sexist double standard: AOC coverage reeks of misogyny

        A critical "tell" in the Times coverage — something perhaps only fellow journalists would fully appreciate at first — was that the paper had previously avoided directly quoting Yoho's particular words, but did so now: [...]

      • AOC Refuses to Accept Rep. Yoho’s Pathetic Excuses for His Verbal Assault
      • AOC’s Anti-Sexism Speech Yesterday Was a Triumph

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s blistering speech yesterday powerfully connected her experience of sexism with the broader issues of patriarchy and workplace harassment. It was proof, once again, that it’s very nice having democratic socialists in office.

      • Watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fire Back on House Floor After Rep. Yoho Calls Her An “F’ing Bitch”

        We bring you Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s full address from the floor of the House when she excoriated her Republican colleague, Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, after he verbally attacked her earlier in the week on the steps of the Capitol and used a sexist slur overheard by a reporter, calling her a “fucking bitch,” then issued a non-apology from the House floor. “My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television,” she says, “and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.”

      • NLG National Office Takes Some Time to Recharge

        Since May, the N.O. has worked around the clock to provide legal support to movements and communities in support of the uprisings and the movement for Black Lives. This summer has created countless emergencies, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, led to many new challenges facing communities and movements for liberation.

        But in these moments of crisis, reasons for hope have also emerged. Movements in solidarity with the values and political frame to which the NLG is committed, such as abolition, defunding the police, and transformative justice, have united communities across the country and the world.

      • NLG Southwest Region & Water Protector Legal Collective Joint Statement on Federal Troops in Albuquerque, NM

        The Southwest Region chapters of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-SW) and Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) call on New Mexico state officials and federal officials to act quickly to halt the deployment of federal law enforcement officers to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

        On July 4, 2020, President Trump deployed federal agents to Portland to “quell” demonstrations. These officers—primarily U.S. Marshals and members of a tactical unit of Border Patrol—have since subjected demonstrators to unconscionable violence resulting in physical injury and trauma. The officers do not wear name badges and as such, are unidentifiable and unaccountable as they routinely and indiscriminately launch offensives against demonstrators in Portland.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • FCC Boss Ajit Pai Pretends To Care About A Prison Telco Monopoly Problem He Helped Protect

        Over the last few decades, companies like Securus have managed to obtain a cozy, government-supported monopoly over prison phone and teleconferencing services. Like any monopoly, this has pretty traditionally resulted in not only sky high rates -- upwards of $14 per minute for phone calls -- but comically poor service as well. Because these folks are in prison, and as we all know everybody in prison is always guilty, drumming up enough sympathy to convert into political momentum has long proven difficult, so regulatory fecklessness has proven easy to come by.

      • Proposing a new newsgroup: Internet History
        I am thinking about making a formal proposal for one of two new
        unmoderated groups. The group would either be comp.internet.history or
        soc.history.internet. I think you can see where these two names could
        possibly overlap.

        The general idea of the new group is to discuss retro internet technologies such as IRC, ftp sites, BBSs (telnet and otherwise), MUDS, MOOs, and of course Usenet and others. We could also discuss the culture that surrounded many of these technologies especially IRC and Usenet as they were maturing. Many of use don’t consider these technologies to be “retro” because we use them everyday and yet interest in them is waning and in order for them to continue, fresh interest must be continually be added.
    • Monopolies

      • Don’t be Out-Zucked by Facebook

        Many people at Facebook call their boss – Mark Zuckerberg, valued at $82.3bn – simply Zuck. After rafts of recent scandals, many have come to the conclusion, that people’s trust in Facebook had been misplaced, that Facebook is a threat, and that it undermines democracy. Overall, three issues have enabled the stratospheric success of Facebook: relentless surveillance; sharing (i.e. selling) of user data; and what the industry, rather euphemistically, calls persuasive technologies which, in reality, is behavior modification boiling down to behavior manipulation.

      • Zombie Seizures: the Hacking of Twitter

        July 15, 2020. It was a day that will be remembered in the history of social media giant, Twitter. In what is becoming an increasingly quotidian occurrence with such companies, Twitter faced a hack described as “catastrophic”. The company’s own language was milder: that day, “we detected a security incident at Twitter and took immediate action.” As of July 18, the company believed that the “attackers targeted certain Twitter employees through a social engineering scheme.” For the untainted, an explanation is offered. “In this context, social engineering is the intentional manipulation of people into performing certain actions and divulging confidential information.” Sounds awfully like Twitter itself.

      • Twitter, Facebook block accounts of Bolsonaro supporters

        The affected accounts include high-profile figures such as conservative former lawmaker Roberto Jefferson, business magnate Luciano Hang and far-right activist Sara Winter.

        Visitors to their Facebook and Twitter pages in Brazil, though not other countries, saw messages indicating they were blocked.

      • Pivotal tech antitrust hearing officially postponed

        Monday’s congressional hearing with the chief executives of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple has officially been delayed as the late Rep. John Lewis will lie in state at the US Capitol next week.

        The House Judiciary Committee had initially scheduled the blockbuster hearing for Monday at noon, setting the stage for a dramatic public airing of the various antitrust concerns facing the companies. But a source familiar told The Verge Thursday that “it is highly likely that the House Judiciary Committee will reschedule Monday’s hearing to allow Members of Congress to pay their respects.”

        It’s still unclear when the hearing will ultimately take place, although the CEOs are expected to attend remotely, due to coronavirus concerns.

      • EU’s IP ‘action plan’ could spark ‘controversial’ discussions

        In-house counsel unpick the ‘action plan’, which proposes increased collaboration, a uniform AI approach and improved online enforcement

      • Patents

        • Patent Office Updates You Need to Know

          As part of our dedication to helping our clients stay up-to-date on the ever-changing landscape as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve compiled the following highlights of changes to patent, trademark, and copyright operations around the world.

          As always, a complete list of countries may be found in our Google Document.


          The U.S. Copyright Office has further extended the temporary adjustments to certain timing provisions for persons affected by the COVID-19 emergency through September 8, 2020.

          The Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO) waived fees for belated payments of renewal fees falling due on or after March 15, 2020 up until August 31 2020.

          The Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM) confirmed that PCT applicants are now able to obtain patent protection in Italy directly via an international PCT application, starting July 1, 2020.

        • Patent Office Updates You Need to Know

          European Patent Office (EPO) has announced that Applicants can delay payment of renewal fees due from June 1 through August 31 without incurring any late fees. EPO has released three joint statements with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) including extending fee deadlines, providing time extensions, and offering flexibility on hearings through video conferences or postponements.

        • Patentability of Diagnostic Inventions in the United States, Europe and Canada – Part 2

          Despite the challenges of obtaining patent protection for diagnostic inventions in the U.S., patent protection for diagnostic inventions is available in a number of jurisdictions outside of the U.S. Europe remains a pro-patentee jurisdiction as far as diagnostic inventions are concerned. At the European Patent Office (EPO), Article 53(c) of the European Patent Convention (EPC) does state that: “European patents shall not be granted in respect of … methods of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body…” (emphasis added). However, the EPO applies this exclusion narrowly. To be excluded, the method must be both diagnostic in nature and practiced on the human or animal body.

          In G 1/04, the Enlarged Board stated that because neither the EPC nor the preparatory documents to the EPC provided a definition for the term “diagnostic methods”, according to established jurisprudence of the EPO, a diagnostic method must include at least the following steps...

        • ENDRA Life Sciences Granted Additional European Patent As Commercialization Begins

          "The granting of our second European patent comes at an opportune time, as we're currently focusing on finalizing our first clinical evaluation reference sites in Europe and initiating sales in this key market, where the TAEUS Fatty Liver Imaging Probe System received CE Mark Approval in the first half of the year," said ENDRA's Chief Executive Officer, Francois Michelon.

          The recently issued patent extends coverage to Europe for an important platform capability of TAEUS covered in the related U.S. patent, US10022107. More specifically, the patent covers ENDRA's method and system to improve ultrasound image quality and spatial resolution in tissue regions where fat-induced artifacts impair conventional ultrasound reconstruction methods. ENDRA's method and system also potentially reduces the computation-time that is typically required to correct for fat-related aberrations.

          Kai Thomenius PhD, a research scientist at the Institute of Medical Engineering & Science at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-inventor of the patent, said, "This is a novel approach to correcting fat induced image distortion in ultrasound imaging, leveraging the inherent fat and lean tissue contrast of thermoacoustics."

        • In brief: patent prosecution in United Kingdom

          A quick look at the essentials of patent prosecution in United Kingdom, including key disclosure requirements for patent applications, expedited procedures, oppositions, timeframes and costs.

        • Notes from the USPTO and Patent Public Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting Part 6 of 8: International Update

          The United States Patent and Trademark Office (the Office) and the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) recently held their Patent Public Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting to review policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees. Topics addressed included 1) Update on Patents business units; 2) Finance/Budget; 3) IT update; 4) Artificial Intelligence; 5) International update; 6) Pendency and Quality; and 7) PTAB update.

          This is the sixth of eight alerts Vorys will be publishing to summarize topics discussed at the Quarterly Meeting. This note summarizes international updates provided by the Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) and the Office of International Patent Cooperation (OIPC).

          In her introductory remarks, PPAC International Subcommittee Co-Chair, Tracy Durkin, acknowledged the various collaboration agreements implemented between the Office and many IP offices around the world. The Office is particularly proud of its close collaboration with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and believes that the agreement signed last January between the U.S. and Mexico stands as a model for bilateral cooperation. The Office stands ready to extend its collaboration with other countries around the world interested in enhancing intellectual property rights.

        • PTAB H1 filing rankings: top petitioners, owners and law firms

          Samsung is top petitioner, Rovi the lead patent owner, and Finnegan and Fish & Richardson the most prolific law firms

        • Oppositions hearings by video conference

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced a pilot project to trial opposition hearings by video conference.

          For the past few years, it has been possible to request that oral proceedings before the Examining Division are held by video conference, and at AdamsonJones we have been taking advantage of this for some time. However, it has not been possible to hold Opposition or Appeal hearings in the same way due to the additional complication of having multiple parties involved in addition to the Opposition Board, and the need to ensure that all parties have a fair hearing.

          The President of the EPO has now announced that a pilot project for oral proceedings by video conference before Opposition Divisions will be held. The option for oral proceedings by video conference will extend to all oral proceedings scheduled to take place after 4 May 2020 and will run until 30 April 2021.

        • Patent Prosecution Tool Kit: Information Disclosure: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

          An essential part of U.S. patent prosecution is the duty of disclosure, which requires the disclosure of all known information that is material to patentability. 37 C.F.R. ۤ 1.56.

        • What Mediaeval animal trials can teach us about AI and the law

          In October 2018, the physicist and engineer Dr Stephen Thaler filed UK, US and EU patents for two new inventions: the neural flame and the fractal container. However, both of these inventions were not created by Thaler, but his AI “creativity” machine DABUS. In these patent applications, Thaler named DABUS as the inventor, but himself as the owner of the patents.

          Thaler’s patent applications ask two questions: “can a machine be an inventor?” and, if so, “who owns the patents?”. In response to the first question, the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (IPO) Hearing Officer reasoned, “I have found that DABUS is not a person… and so cannot be considered an inventor”, whilst the European Patent Office (EPO) explained “an inventor has to be a human being, not a machine”. This is due to a lack of clarity in the law on who can be an inventor.

          The second question (“who owns the patents?”), however, highlights how AI’s absence of legal personhood is even more fundamentally problematic. At the moment, inventorship is legally coupled with ownership. By default, the inventor is the owner of the patent unless it is assigned to another entity. But because DABUS is not a legal person, it cannot own or assign ownership of the patents to anyone.

          Accordingly, as noted by the UK IPO, Thaler “is still not entitled to apply for a patent simply by virtue of ownership of DABUS, because a satisfactory derivation of right has not been provided”. The key to resolving the conflict between inventorship and ownership, in DABUS’s case, is to define the machine’s rights and duties.

        • Huawei's automotive component-level patent license deal with Sharp reduces Daimler's injunction-related exposure by 86%

          Whether (and if so, when) Sharp is going to obtain a standard-essential patent injunction against Daimler remains to be seen. Two of the five German Sharp v. Daimler cases have already been stayed due to the patents-in-suit being likely invalid, and another stay is quite a possibility (though far from certain) on September 10, 2020 when the Munich I Regional Court's Seventh Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Matthias Zigann; side judges: Judge Klein and Judge Dr. Werner) will announce a decision in case no. 7 O 8818/19 over EP2667676 on a "base station device, mobile station device, and uplink synchronization requesting method," based on how yesterday's trial went.

          Should Sharp prevail over Daimler on some cellular SEP, the economic impact of the hypothetical enforcement of an injunction will amount to only one-seventh of what it would have been before Huawei secured a component-level SEP license from Sharp that covers baseband chips, connectivity modules, and telematics control units provided by Huawei or its customers, such as Continental and Harman. Quinn Emanuel's Jérôme Kommer, who argued the FRAND part of the case for Daimler, told the court that the amount of the security (bond or deposit) Daimler would want Sharp to post should an injunction be enforced during an appeal (so as to ensure Daimler can be made whole in the event of wrongful-enforcement damages) had been reduced by six-sevenths (roughly 86%) as a result of the Sharp-Huawei deal.

          This suggests that the Mercedes maker can equip 6 out of 7 of its models with TCUs that come from Huawei or contain a Huawei component. Mr. Kommer, who according to one of my sources arrived in a Tesla (which I can relate to and simply shows the primary threat Daimler is facing doesn't come from patents), provided only that ballpark figure without elaborating on what Daimler products could not be equipped with TCUs covered by the Sharp-Huawei license deal. I find it technically hard to imagine that Daimler's other TCU suppliers (or their network access device suppliers) couldn't simply incorporate a Huawei baseband chip into their products, but based on what I remember from FTC v. Qualcomm, Huawei's HiSilicon division makes chips only for Huawei's own use. Therefore, the ongoing Sharp v. Daimler patent litigation campaign increases the pressure on Daimler's other suppliers to secure exhaustive component-level SEP licenses from Sharp.

        • Academic spotlight (I): Sterzi, Rameshkoumar and Van der Pol on NPE activity

          n between chasing birds and lounging on her editors' desks, Merpel occasionally reads some of the materials that pass over them. Recently, she came across two academics publications that may be of particular interest to patent-oriented readers of IPKat.

          This post, therefore, kicks off a two-part miniseries, which will summarize both papers and offer a reflection. Merpel has selected these two papers because each was picked up by industry groups that (very) actively participate in the debate on the contours of contemporary patent law.

          Such strong interest in academic studies shows that a lot is at stake. The IPKat wrote earlier about how different industry interests clashed over the proposed German patent reform [here]; it is therefore understandable that each side in this debate seeks to provide evidence for the positions it takes. The stalemate gives academics a great opportunity to demonstrate the practical relevance of their work and forms an impetus to perform (empirical) research that will foster a better understanding the real-world effects of the patent system.

          First up for discussion is a study by Valerio Sterzi, Jean-Paul Rameshkoumar and Johannes van der Pol of the University of Bordeaux, entitled 'Non-practicing entities and transparency in patent ownership in Europe' [here]. This paper was publicly presented in a webinar hosted by IP2Innovate called Ensuring Europe's patent system is fit for purpose in the digital age [recording here].

        • Sovereign Immunity for the Involuntary State Plaintiff; But Infringement Lawsuit Continues Without the Patent Owner

          University of Texas (UT) owns the patents (US8728806; US9333248 — using modified dendritic cells to create an anti-tumor immune response); Gensetix is the exclusive licensee who sued Baylor for patent infringement. The first-named-inventor, William K. Decker continues to research in this area, but is now at Baylor rather than UT and is a defendant in the lawsuit. Note also that the Gensetix license doesn’t come directly from UT. Rather, UT provided the exclusive license to “Mr. Alex Mirrow” who later “sold” the license to Gensetix.


          Immunity: First, everyone recognizes that the Supreme Court has extended sovereign immunity beyond the text of the 11th Amendment. The court explained in Coll. Sav. Bank v. Fla. Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd., 527 U.S. 666 (1999) that sovereign immunity was not created by the 11th Amendment but rather is “reflected in” the amendment and that immunity “transcends the narrow text of the Amendment itself.” Of course, that conclusion from the Supreme Court overlooks history — that the Amendment was adopted to overrule a U.S. Supreme Court decision denying immunity to the States.

          Gensetix argued that immunity should be limited to its text and applied only to cases “against one of the United States.” (Quoting the Amendment). On appeal, Judge O’Malley explained that the 11th Amendment protects state egos against the “indignity” of coercive judicial process. And, the court could find no principle to distinguish an unwilling plaintiff from an unwilling defendant based upon the breadth of Supreme Court cases.

          Writing in dissent, Judge Newman argued that exclusive license created a contractual obligation for UT to participate in patent enforcement litigation, and that the 11th Amendment cannot to be used to protect the state in this context. “When a State agency enters into commercial transactions, it is subject to the rules of commerce.” Newman in dissent. On this point, Judge Newman cites to Justice Breyer’s dissent in College Savings Bank.

        • New Article “Avoiding Responsibility: The Case for Amending the Duty to Disclose Prior Art in Patent Law”

          Federal regulation requires patent applicants in the United States to disclose to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) a wide range of references that might be material to their invention’s patentability. Applicant disclosure of prior art currently plays a large role in the prosecution and litigation of patents. The effects are quite deleterious, resulting in the filing of unnecessary references that go unreviewed in the USPTO and providing plausible grounds for the assertion of inequitable conduct defenses in patent infringement actions. This Comment looks at the history of the laws that evolved into the codified duty to disclose prior art and finds that the historical rationales no longer justify such an imposition. It also examines several foreign jurisdictions that differ from the United States in their mandates to disclose prior art, ultimately recommending the adoption of the standard used by the European Patent Office as a way to resolve both the administrative and legal challenges posed by the current standard.

        • Software Patents

          • Helios Streaming/Ideahub patent challenged as likely invalid

            On July 23, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,645,562, owned by Ideahub, Inc., and licensed to and asserted by Helios Streaming, LLC, an NPE. The '562 patent is directed to receiving media segments and processing metadata at an end-user terminal and is currently being asserted against Showtime, Vudu, Crackle, and Starz. Helios is asserting the ‘562 patent against MPEG-DASH functionality and video-on-demand (VOD) systems (e.g., systems that can dynamically switch between different quality streams).

      • Copyrights

        • Mexico's new copyright law puts human rights in jeopardy

          Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation joins a coalition of international organizations in publishing an open letter of opposition to Mexico's new copyright law; the letter lays out the threats that Mexico's new law poses to fundamental human rights and calls upon Mexico's National Human Rights Commission to take action to invalidate this flawed and unsalvageable law.

          In a rushed process without meaningful consultation or debate, Mexico's Congress has adopted a new copyright law modeled on the U.S. system, without taking any account of the well-publicized, widely acknowledged problems with American copyright law. The new law was passed as part of a package of legal reforms accompanying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Donald Trump's 2020 successor to 1989's North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

        • ‘Hellboy’ Now Wants $150,000 in Piracy Damages from MKVCage

          The makers of the movie 'Hellboy' are continuing their quest to obtain piracy damages from the defunct torrent site MKVCage. After their "sum certain" demand for $270,000 was rejected by the court, they now request a regular default judgment, asking for a substantially lower sum of $150,000 in statutory damages.

        • Russian Government Mulls Fines to Prevent Camming in Cinemas

          Russia's Ministry of Culture has presented draft legislation to the government designed to prevent 'camming' in cinemas. The bill, should it be passed, would prevent all acts of filming when a movie is being shown, even if that takes the form of a video 'selfie' among friends.

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