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Links 6/10/2020: Python 3.9.0, Git 2.29.0 RC0

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Python Poscast: Threading The Needle Of Interesting And Informative While You Learn To Code - Episode 283 01:05

        Learning to code is a neverending journey, which is why it's important to find a way to stay motivated. A common refrain is to just find a project that you're interested in building and use that goal to keep you on track. The problem with that advice is that as a new programmer, you don't have the knowledge required to know which projects are reasonable, which are difficult, and which are effectively impossible. Steven Lott has been sharing his programming expertise as a consultant, author, and trainer for years. In this episode he shares his insights on how to help readers, students, and colleagues interested enough to learn the fundamentals without losing sight of the long term gains. He also uses his own difficulties in learning to maintain, repair, and captain his sailboat as relatable examples of the learning process and how the lessons he has learned can be translated to the process of learning a new technology or skill. This was a great conversation about the various aspects of how to learn, how to stay motivated, and how to help newcomers bridge the gap between what they want to create and what is within their grasp.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Could Soon Have A New Knob For Toggling Performance/Power-Profile For Laptops

        With upstream work Red Hat is engaged in for supporting HP and Lenovo laptops on Linux, a new standardized sysfs interface is being discussed for exposing the performance-profile option on newer laptops so users can more easily select their desired laptop power/performance characteristics.

        A standardized/common sysfs class was brought up by Red Hat's Hans de Goede for allowing controls over the performance profile on newer laptops in letting users choose between achieving maximum performance or extended battery life. It's similar to say the likes of the P-State/CPUFreq frequency scaling governor options but more at a platform level for newer laptops. In turn user-space and different desktop environments can support this standardized sysfs interface for having uniform control over the performance profile without relying upon driver-specific implementations.

      • U-Boot 2020.10 Released With Many Improvements

        U-Boot 2020.10 released on Monday as the latest quarterly feature update to this open-source bootloader popular with embedded devices.

        While not talked about as much as GRUB, U-Boot continues quite successfully in 2020 with appearing on hardware from Chromebooks and plenty of network devices to SpaceX rockets at the opposite end. With U-Boot 2020.10 there are a plethora of changes as usual compared to the previous release, v2020.07.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Back To Basics

          Descriptors are, in short, when you feed a buffer or an image (+sampler) into a shader. In OpenGL, this is all handled for the user behind the scenes with e.g., a simple glGenBuffers() -> glBindBuffer() -> glBufferData() for an attached buffer. For a gallium-based driver, this example case will trigger the pipe_context::set_constant_buffer or pipe_context::set_shader_buffers hook at draw time to inform the driver that a buffer has been attached, and then the driver can link it up with the GPU.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Xubuntu 20.10 Beta

          Today we are looking at Xubuntu 20.10 Beta. It comes fully packed with XFCE 4.14, Linux Kernel 5.8, and uses about 600MB of ram when idling. It is fast, stable, and should be another great Xubuntu release! Enjoy!

        • Xubuntu 20.10 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Xubuntu 20.10 Beta.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • balena-etcher-electron updated to 1.5.99

          Balena Etcher Electron is an application to write ISO files to a USB stick. Flash OS images to SD cards & USB drives, safely and easily.

        • Gimp image editor updated to 2.10.22

          The GIMP is an image manipulation program suitable for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. Many people find it extremely useful in creating logos and other graphics for web pages. The GIMP has many of the tools and filters you would expect to find in similar commercial offerings, and some interesting extras as well.

        • Telegram desktop updated to 2.4.2

          Telegram is an Open Source instant messaging platform for mobile and desktop focused on privacy.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • The Fedora For Smartphones Is Being Revived With A PinePhone Edition

          The PinePhone is a modular phone designed with replaceable parts. Most of the key components are attached using detachable cables which makes it possible to replace the camera module with a better camera (if a part becomes available available) or a new one if the old one breaks. It uses a rather weak quad-core Allwinner A64 SOC paired with a now old and weak Mali 400 MP2 GPU. It comes in variants with 2 or 3 GiB RAM, a 1440x720 5.95" IPS screen, MicroSD support, 16 or 32 GiB internal eMMC storage, a headphone jack, a USB-C port, 802.11n (Wifi 4) wireless connectivity, Bluetooth 4, FPS, a front and a rear camera (2 and 5 Mpx) and a removable 3000 mAh battery. It is equal to the cheapest Chinese phones you could buy off AliExpress for $50 five years ago in terms of specifications.

          A set of Fedora packages for the PinePhone are already available in the njha mobile copr repository for Fedora rawhide. The Fedora Mobile edition will use a custom touch-controlled Phosh shell. The Phosh shell is developed by Purism for the Librem 5 smarthphone. It uses a composite server called Phoc on top of the Wayland display server and standard GNOME technologies (GTK/GSettings/DBus) beneath the hood. The Fedora wiki PinePhone page notes that "KDE Plasma Mobile should also be compatible, but hasn't been packaged. If you're interested in packaging it, coordinate with others in the chat.".

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 6 Best Free and Open Source Console Based Network ‘top’ Tools

        Out of the myriad of utilities that are available for Linux, top is a troubleshooting tool that often comes up in conversation. With good reason, top is a tool that many users frequently turn to. It is is a small open source utility that offers a dynamic real-time view of a running system, allowing users to monitor the processes that are running on a system, and to identify which applications are consuming more resources than they should. While top (and other alternatives) are useful tools to monitor the running processes on a system, functionality does not extend to network activity.

      • New Nextcloud Hub version offers integration with several platforms

        Open-source file syncing and sharing software company Nextcloud has announced the launch of Nextcloud Hub 20, which adds new features and also integrates third-party social media, productivity and collaboration platforms like Twitter, GitHub and Discourse.

      • Web Browsers

      • FSF

        • FSF 35 years: Limited edition T-shirt and poster for sale

          It's wonderful, but what is it? The undersea architecture of the future, of course! We looked up traditional thirty-fifth anniversary gifts, and learned that the thirty-fifth is our "coral anniversary."

          This is auspicious: the more we considered coral -- particularly Scleractinia, the reef-forming "stony corals" -- the more similarities to the free software ethos became apparent. In a coral reef, countless individuals of diverse species band together and share resources to collectively create the framework for an ecosystem of dazzling diversity. The free software movement is similar, being a large group of individuals collaborating to advance human freedom and an array of related ethical goals.

          A reef is home to thousands upon thousands of different species of fish, cnidarians, molluscs, crustaceans, and more, all built on the bedrock infrastructure of the coral. Sound familiar? Colonies of coral share resources by circulating food and water between individuals; they can split apart collectively or individually to go separate ways, or multiple colonies can join together in cooperation. Humans stand to learn much from coral -- lessons already embodied in the free software movement.

          As we consider what we can learn from coral, it's apparent that we are responsible to give something back. Coral reef ecosystems, much like free software, are under severe threat all around the world.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Xiaomi buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

            GNU GPL violations

            Smartphone manufacturers that release Android phones need to adhere to the GNU General Public License. This is a bit complicated, but the basic gist is that, since Android is an open-source system, companies like Xiaomi need to provide to the public the source code kernel of every device it manufactures.

            Over its history, Xiaomi has had a tough time with this. In many cases, its public posting of kernels would be delayed, and in some cases, it simply didn’t post anything. For various reasons, repercussions for this inaction didn’t fall too hard on the company.

      • Programming/Development

        • Git v2.29.0-rc0

          An early preview release Git v2.29.0-rc0 is now available for testing at the usual places. It is comprised of 588 non-merge commits since v2.28.0, contributed by 76 people, 22 of which are new faces.

        • Git 2.29-rc0 Released With SHA-256 In Experimental State, Restores Protocol v2 Default

          Git 2.29 is on the way with today marking the availability of the initial release candidate.

          Back during the Git 2.26 cycle the distributed revision control system's transport protocol v2 became the default. But then during Git 2.27, that default was reverted due to "remaining rough edges." But now that the Git Transport Protocol v2 implementation has been improved upon, for Git 2.29 they have switched back to the new version as the default. This documentation outlines all of the improvements in the protocol v2 state.

        • Faster in-memory ChEMBL search by using more C

          This is part of a series of essays I started writing a week ago where I use a few different approaches to implement cheminformatics fingerprint similarity search.

          In my previous essay, from last Friday, I developed a program to do a similarity search of the uncompressed chembl_27.fps.gz from ChEMBL containing RDKit Morgan fingerprints. That version used RDKit's BulkTanimotoSimilarity for the Tanimoto calculation. Profiling showed that 80% of the time was spent in the two lines of Python searching for scores at or above a given threshold. I concluded that I had to push more work into C.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Opt-in your CPAN repos for Hacktoberfest

            If you haven't heard, Hacktoberfest has now become opt-in, to reduce the number of spammy, or pointless, pull requests that people were doing, to get the t-shirt. In this post I'll describe how to opt your repos in, how to find opted-in repos, and why your repo might not be turning up in searches.

            So if you've got repos with issues that you'd be happy to receive pull requests on, add the topic hacktoberfest, and make sure that your repo turns up in searches.

          • 2020.40 Manifestly

            After last weeks part 1 of a Raku Manifesto, Daniel Sockwell continued with part 2 of a Raku Manifesto, handling matters such as valuing individual productivity over large-group productivity, without devaluing large-group productivity. Again, a must read for each Rakoon (/r/rakulang comments). Can’t wait to read part 3!

        • Python

          • [Python-Dev] [RELEASE] Python 3.9.0 is now available, and you can already test 3.10.0a1!
            On behalf of the Python development community and the Python 3.9 release team, I’m pleased to
            announce the availability of Python 3.9.0.

            Python 3.9.0 is the newest feature release of the Python language, and it contains many new features and optimizations. You can find Python 3.9.0 here:


            Most third-party distributors of Python should be making 3.9.0 packages available soon.

            See the “What’s New in Python 3.9 <>” document for more information about features included in the 3.9 series. Detailed information about all changes made in 3.9.0 can be found in its change log <>.

            Maintenance releases for the 3.9 series will follow at regular bi-monthly intervals starting in late November of 2020.

            OK, boring! Where is Python 4?

            Not so fast! The next release after 3.9 will be 3.10. It will be an incremental improvement over 3.9, just as 3.9 was over 3.8, and so on.

            In fact, our newest Release Manager, Pablo Galindo Salgado, prepared the first alpha release of what will become 3.10.0 a year from now. You can check it out here:


            We hope you enjoy the new releases!

            Thanks to all of the many volunteers who help make Python Development and these releases possible! Please consider supporting our efforts by volunteering yourself or through organization contributions to the Python Software Foundation.
          • Python 3.9.0 is now available, and you can already test 3.10.0a1!

            On behalf of the Python development community and the Python 3.9 release team, I’m pleased to announce the availability of Python 3.9.0.

          • Python 3.9 Released With Multi-Processing Improvements, New Parser

            Python 3.9 is out today as the newest feature update to this extremely popular language in open-source crowds.

            Python 3.9 brings a new PEG-based parser to CPython as a replacement to the previous LL-based parser, multi-processing improvements, fast access to module state from methods of C extension types, and a number of other interpreter improvements. Python 3.9 on the syntax side brings union operators for dict, type hinting generics in standard collections, relaxed grammar restrictions on decorators, and there is support with string methods to remove prefixes and suffices. Python 3.9 also includes IANA time zone database support in the standard library with zoneinfo and various other improvements.

          • What is an iterable?

            An iterable is anything you're able to iterate over (an iter-able).

          • SecureDrop QA workflow and how to improve it?

            Right now, we are in the QA period for the SecureDrop 1.6.0 release. SecureDrop is an open-source whistleblower submission system that media organisations and NGOs can install to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. It was originally created by the late Aaron Swartz and is now managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation.

            In this blog post I am going to explain how we do the QA for the release. I hope you can suggest some ways to improve the steps and make it better.

          • Red Hat Developers: Kubernetes integration and more in odo 2.0

            Odo is a developer-focused command-line interface (CLI) for OpenShift and Kubernetes. This article introduces highlights of the odo 2.0 release, which now integrates with Kubernetes. Additional highlights include the new default deployment method in odo 2.0, which uses devfiles for rapid, iterative development. We’ve also moved Operator deployment out of experimental mode, so you can easily deploy Operator-backed services from the odo command line.

        • Rust

          • Mesa Developers Debate Using Rust Code In Mesa

            The Mesa code-base does not have any code written in the Rust programming language. That could change. Alyssa Rosenzweig has taken the initiative to allow parts of Mesa to be written in Rust.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • The Innovation Arms Race

        Economists have long recognized that competition and innovation interact as key drivers of economic growth (Schumpeter, 1943; Arrow, 1962; Aghion and Howitt, 1992). Acknowledging this, regulators carefully scrutinize competitive behaviors that potentially affect innovation incentives, in particular in the field of M&A (Shapiro, 2012). Do acquisitions of innovative targets spur or stifle innovation? To address this question, we test the Innovation Arms Race hypothesis, providing a first large scale empirical investigation of M&A effects on acquirer rivals’ incentives to innovate and the equilibrium outcome resulting from this competitive process. Our results are consistent with the Innovation Arms Race hypothesis predictions: acquisitions of innovative targets push acquirer rivals to invest more in innovation, both internally through research and development (R&D) and externally through acquisition of innovative targets (the correlated investment prediction) and this increase in innovation investment under pressure of rivals leads to a decrease in firm market valuation (the value decrease prediction). These results are robust to endogeneity and are driven by High-Technology and (to some extent) Healthcare industries. This arms race process appears stronger for leaders and (to some extent) firms under strong competitive pressure (so-called neck-and-neck firms). Initial patents and patent citations based evidence shows no sign of innovation investment efficiency decline, suggesting that the Innovation Arms Race generates a transfer of economic rent favorable to consumers.

      • AI, on the Law of the Elephant: Toward Understanding Artificial Intelligence

        Machine learning and other artificial intelligence (“AI”) systems are changing our world in profound, exponentially rapid, and likely irreversible ways. Although AI may be harnessed for great good, it is capable of and is doing great harm at scale to people, communities, societies, and democratic institutions. The dearth of AI governance leaves unchecked AI’s potentially existential risks. Whether sounding urgent alarm or merely jumping on the bandwagon, law scholars, law students, and lawyers at bar are contributing volumes of AI policy and legislative proposals, commentaries, doctrinal theories, and calls to corporate and international organizations for ethical AI leadership.

        Profound concerns exist about AI and the actual and potential crises of societal, democratic, and individual harm that it causes or may cause in future. Compounding those deep concerns is lawyers’ lack of sufficient AI knowledge and technological competence, despite ethical mandates for diligence and competence. As a result, legal discussions and law and policy recommendations may be fundamentally flawed because they are constructed upon erroneous, uninformed, or misconceived understandings of AI technologies, inputs, and processes.

      • Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discoverers of the essential oxygen sensor for animal life

        The Americans William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza and the British Peter Ratcliffe have today won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of “how cells sense available oxygen and adapt to it.”

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Coronavirus cases 'lost' in test and trace blunder

          More than 15,000 positive Covid cases have become “lost” in Britain’s tracking systems, resulting in long delays being passed on to Test and Trace handlers.

          It means that tens of thousands of people who should have been told to self-isolate after coming into close contact with an infected case are only now being contacted – in some cases 10 days after transmission occurred.

          The Government blamed “computer issues” for a blunder which saw the number of daily cases appear to double overnight, and has been accused of “shambolic” handling by Labour.

        • Shock and despair follow revelations that ‘world-beating’ Test and Trace system is being run on Excel

          News that Britain’s ‘world-beating’ Test and Trace system is being run on Excel has been met with shock and despair today.

          The weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases soared in dozens of areas of England, following the addition of nearly 16,000 cases that went unreported by because of a technical error with the spreadsheet.

        • Security

          • John McAfee has been arrested in Spain and is facing extradition

            John McAfee, who built a fortune selling cybersecurity software and has in recent years become a cryptocurrency evangelist, has been indicted on charges of tax evasion by the Department of Justice (DOJ). He has been arrested in Spain and is awaiting extradition, the DOJ said.

          • Kaspersky finds UEFI images that could be used for malware transport

            Microsoft used one feature in the UEFI to introduce what it called secure boot in Windows 8 in 2012, in a manner that effectively prevented easy booting of other operating systems on machines which had secure boot enabled.

            Secure boot was designed so that an exchange of cryptographic keys took place at boot-time; a system could verify the operating system attempting to boot was a genuine one, and not malware. There were further key exchanges along the way.

            But four years later, two researchers cracked the technology when they found a so-called golden key that was protecting the feature.

            Lechtik, Kuznetsov and Parshin wrote: "A sophisticated attacker can modify the firmware in order to have it deploy malicious code that will be run after the operating system is loaded. Moreover, since it is typically shipped within SPI flash storage that is soldered to the computer’s motherboard, such implanted malware will be resistant to OS reinstallation or replacement of the hard drive."

          • Microsoft puts lipstick on a pig to avoid scrutiny over security

            In what appears to be a bid to try and pretend that it is making no big contribution to the abysmal security environment in the tech sector, Microsoft has put out one of those reports, titled Microsoft Digital Defence Report, that aims to quell criticism of its role, at the same time trying to insinuate that security is in a bad state because of every single player.

          • Ransomware attack on Philadelphia firm hits COVID clinical trials

            Several companies, including IQVIA, the firm managing AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine trial, and Bristol Myers Squibb, which is leading a group of companies in developing a quick coronavirus test, have been affected by a ransomware attack on Windows systems at Philadelphia firm eResearchTechnology.

          • Four Malicious Packages In The NPM Repository With Names Similar To Popular Packages Were Phoning User Data Home

            Be careful what you npm install. Four packages in the NPM repository, published by a single author, where caught sending device fingerprint information, IP and geo-location data to a public GitHub page upon installation. All of them used package names similar to popular and widely used NPM packages.


            The malicious packages where published to NPM between August 17th and August the 24th. The typesquatting trick fooled more than 400 users into downloading and installing these packages before the software analysis company Sonatype detected it using their automated tools.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Consumer Reports Study Shows California's Privacy Law Is A Poorly-Enforced Mess

              Over the last few decades, the U.S. government (more accurately the industries that lobby it) have made it abundantly clear most aren't keen on even the most basic of privacy law for the internet era. Sure, companies like Facebook and AT&T say they want a privacy law, but they don't. Not really. Even the most basic privacy laws would educate consumers and empower them to more easily opt out of tracking and behavioral ads, costing countless sectors billions of dollars. What they want, if we have to have a law at all, is a law their lawyers write, so riddled with loopholes and caveats as to legalize dodgy behavior, not ban it.

            • Representatives Garcia and Wagner introduce EARN IT Act to the House

              The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act) is now on the House of Representatives floor. The bill (full text) was submitted by Representatives Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Ann Wagner (R-MO) and while it has not passed the Senate floor yet, the EARN IT Act has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The proposed bill would use the threat of civil litigation to force services to break encryption lest they fail to “earn” legal protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

            • Come Back with a Warrant for my Virtual House

              Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in your home can involve the creation of€ an intimate portrait of your private life.€  The VR/AR headsets can request audio and video of the inside of our house, telemetry about our movements, depth data and images that can build a highly accurate geometrical representation of your place, that can map exactly where that mug sits on your coffee table, all generated by a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) system.€  As Facebook’s Reality Labs explains, their “high-accuracy depth capture system, which uses dots projected into the scene in infrared, serves to capture the exact shape of big objects like tables and chairs and also smaller ones, like the remote control on the couch.” VR/AR providers can create “Replica re-creations of the real spaces that even a careful observer might think are real,” which is both the promise of and the privacy problem with this technology.

              If the government wants to get that information, it needs to bring a warrant.€ 

            • Future HomeKit System Could Track Users Through Rooms, Authenticate Via Biometrics

              The system, detailed in a patent application titled "Deducing Floor Plans Using Modular Wall Units," would use a suite of wall-mounted sensors to analyze and detect the activity within a given room. In addition to actually analyzing the floor plan of a room, and providing that data to a smart device like an iPhone or iPad, the system goes in-depth with various ways that it could track movement and room usage patterns.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Extinction Rebellion’s Long Overdue Reckoning With Race

        For the better part of September, thousands of Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate activists took to the United Kingdom’s streets en masse for the third time with three demands for the British government: Tell the truth, act now, and set up a Citizens’ Assembly to address the climate crisis. Now, as UK officials threaten to classify the British-born nonviolent group as a terrorist organization, XR is debriefing and planning future protests, including a “Money Strike.” The upcoming action, which will encourage individuals to withhold funds from institutions that are contributing to the climate crisis as well as economic inequality and systemic racism, seems to have been designed partly in response to a question that has been dominating conversations about the group for quite some time: Is Extinction Rebellion doing everything it possibly can to be inclusive?

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Bees Face ‘A Perfect Storm’ — Parasites, Air Pollution and Other Emerging Threats
        • Poison in the water column: Ocean pollution is injuring locals and killing marine life off the coast of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula

          Over the weekend of October 3–4, reports emerged about the contamination of the Pacific Ocean’s coastal waters around Russia’s far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. Surfers at the Avacha Bay’s Khalaktyrsky beach were the first to call attention to the problem. They complained of eye pain, blurred vision, and nausea after coming into contact with the water, and also reported dead fish, shellfish, and seals washed up on the beach. Upon inspecting the area, the regional Environment Ministry found twice the normal level of phenols and a four-fold increase in the amount of oil products in the waters around Khalaktyrsky beach. They also discovered signs of pollution from oil products in three other areas of the Avacha Bay. Greenpeace called the situation an ecological disaster, but the Kamchatka authorities maintain that there’s no talk of large-scale pollution as of yet. While a source told TASS that the oil products could have leaked from a passing tanker, a Meduza source close to the Kamchatka Krai’s government said that it could be due to the military dumping waste into a local river. The Defense Ministry denies any involvement in the incident.€ 

    • Finance

      • 'Promises Made, Workers Betrayed': Trump Gave $425 Billion in Federal Contracts to Corporations That Offshored 200,000 Jobs

        "Trump won in 2016 by pledging to voters in key industrial swing states that he would end job offshoring, but€ 200,000 more American jobs have been offshored during his presidency."

      • San Francisco Ballot Measure Gives Voters a Chance to Rein in Overpaid CEOs

        The city's Board of Supervisors has placed a proposal on the November 3 ballot that would increase taxes on corporations with extreme gaps between CEO and median worker pay.

      • Digital Piecework

        Homework and piece pay in the garment industry were largely abolished by the global labor struggles that preceded the New Deal. Silicon Valley capitalists have brought the model back.

        In 1975 women in Iceland went on strike, bringing the entire nation to a standstill. For one full day, referred to now as “the long Friday,” 90 percent of women didn’t show up to their jobs, and refused to cook, clean, or look after children and the elderly. Men scrambled—overwhelming restaurants with food orders and working longer and harder than usual in an attempt to do both care work and their paid work. The point of the strike was to draw attention to what socialist feminists had been arguing for decades: economies are built upon women’s unpaid labor. Their action showed how capitalism has a propensity to make invisible the labor of people with little political power—both by refusing to recognize it as work and by refusing to pay for it.

        In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, U.S. industrialists exploited women’s subordinate position in both the family and the labor market to develop and extend “homework.” Garment manufacturers distributed tasks to immigrant women living in crowded tenements, paying them by the piece, not the hour. This piecework was advertised as “pleasure,” where a woman might make supplemental income while talking with friends. In reality, women homeworkers labored for eight to ten hours a day finishing the majority of all garments produced in the United States. That work took place in between, during, and after unpaid domestic work, at rates that were roughly one half of what women factory workers made. Homework and piece pay in the garment industry were largely abolished by the global labor struggles that preceded the New Deal and the legal standardization of the minimum wage. Though women, people of color, and immigrants continued to earn less than their white, male counterparts while laboring outside the home, the notion of a “living wage” became understood as a prerequisite for citizenship and freedom in a democracy.

        Silicon Valley capitalists have brought back piecework, using legal gray zones and digital machinery to accelerate the amount of work that goes unpaid. But, bedazzled by the technology and corporate narratives, few people have noticed. When venture-funded labor platform companies like Uber, Lyft, and Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) rose in popularity during the Great Recession, they promised to provide a source of flexible work and “freedom for people of all walks of life,” as one Uber ad put it. In a time of high unemployment and stagnant wages, jobs that people could get by downloading software or creating a profile seemed like a magical solution for precarious lives. But the corporate assurances were deceptive. While the companies might have created new ways for people to earn income, workers in the gig economy today labor for longer and earn far less.

      • Gates Foundation doubles down on misinformation campaign at Cornell as African leaders call for agroecology

        The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded another $10 million last week to the controversial Cornell Alliance for Science, a communications campaign housed at Cornell that trains fellows in Africa and elsewhere to promote and defend genetically engineered foods, crops and agrichemicals. The new grant brings BMGF grants to the group to $22 million.

        The PR investment comes at a time when the Gates Foundation is under fire for spending billions of dollars on agricultural development schemes in Africa that critics say are entrenching farming methods that benefit corporations over people.

      • While the Poor Get Sick, Bill Gates Just Gets Richer

        In the early days of the pandemic, President Trump made headlines when he reportedly tried to secure rights to a vaccine from German developer CureVac on behalf of the US government—a move that stirred questions about equity and justice. Should the United States get priority access to the Covid vaccine just because we are the world’s wealthiest nation? Shouldn’t the most vulnerable—no matter their nationality or salary—get vaccinated first?

        “Capitalism has its limits,” one German lawmaker noted in a widely reported tweet.

        Had Trump succeeded, the deal might also have sent another stark message about economic inequality—delivering a financial windfall to one of the most moneyed players in the pandemic response: the Gates Foundation.


        The foundation recently reported a $40 million stake in CureVac—one of dozens of investments the foundation reports having in companies working on Covid vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics or manufacturing, according to The Nation’s analysis of the foundation’s most recent tax return, web site, and various SEC filings. The foundation has also announced that it will “leverage a portion of its $2.5 billion Strategic Investment Fund” to advance its work on Covid.

        These investments, amounting to more than $250 million, show that the world’s most visible charity, and one of the world’s most influential voices in the pandemic response, is in a position to potentially reap considerable financial gains from the Covid-19 pandemic.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Indigenous Leaders Furious After EPA Grants Oklahoma Control Over Sovereign Tribal Lands

        "We must fight back against this underhanded ruling," said one Indigenous leader. "In the courts, on the frontlines and in the international courts, life itself is at stake."

      • Son of jailed ex-governor Sergey Furgal denies reports of his own arrest

        On Monday, October 5, reports emerged about the alleged arrest of Anton Furgal — the son of jailed former Khabarovsk Krai governor Sergey Furgal. This was first reported by the television channels Pyaty Kanal and REN TV.€ 

      • Federal Court Says Trump's Law Enforcement Commission Violates Federal Law

        The "rule of law" Administration is at it again. Ignoring the rule of law by ignoring applicable laws, the Administration decided to cozy up with law enforcement agencies while pretending to be serving the public. (h/t ProPublica)

      • WATCH: Campaigning for Biden in Michigan, Sanders Calls for Covid-19 Response and Economy 'That Work for All of Us'

        The senator said that while they still have some disagreements, "there is also no question that the economic proposals that Joe is supporting are strong and will go a long, long way in improving life for working families."

      • The Man Who Would Be President: Mike Pence, Corporate Theocrat

        The case of Mike Pence should be an ongoing urgent reminder that—as toxic and truly evil as Donald Trump is—the current president is a product and poisonous symptom of an inherently unjust and anti-democratic status quo.

      • Urged to Play Hardball to Delay Barrett Confirmation, Schumer Told to Ask Himself: 'What Would McConnell Do?'

        "Every. Single. Democratic. Senator. Needs to be ready to vote to deny Mitch McConnell adjournment tomorrow, unless that adjournment takes Barrett off the table."

      • Early elections, anyone? Russian politicians renew talk of holding the 2021 State Duma elections in the spring

        On Tuesday, October 6, parliamentary faction leaders are scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the possibility of moving up the 2021 State Duma elections, reported Open Media, citing three unnamed sources from parties in parliament.

      • End the Corporate-Sponsored Presidential Debates

        The vast majority of viewers think the Commission on Presidential Debates is some sort of government agency, established by Congress. Instead, it is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation sponsored by corporate and foundation support.€ 

      • Politicians in Robes

        In Supreme Inequality, Adam Cohen argues that for half a century, America’s highest court has waged “an unrelenting war” on the poor while championing the rich. The Supreme Court, he laments, has consigned to legal helplessness those reduced to government welfare subsidies, even in the face of unjustified deprivations. Its “campaign finance decisions have expanded the rights of wealthy individuals and corporations to use their money to gain influence over government.” Rulings “on partisan gerrymandering, voter ID, the Voting Rights Act, and voter roll purges have diminished the ability of those with little money to use the one thing they have at their disposal to win influence over government: their votes.”

      • Trump May Be Infectious, but He’s Still Ignorant

        The Trump campaign had a plan for the last month of the presidential race: It would highlight the contrast between the two candidates on Covid-19, calling attention to the stark differences between Trump’s confidence that the pandemic has been largely conquered and Joe Biden’s alleged fearmongering. This strategy has become considerably more difficult to execute after Trump tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday evening and was hospitalized at Walter Reed Army Medical Center the following day.

      • Handmaids
      • Elevate the Debate The Two-Party System’s Failure is the People’s Opportunity

        Last week’s showdown between the sitting U.S. President and his opponent was an exhausting production that played into the divisiveness of our country, rather than focusing on solutions.

      • House Panel to Seek Breakup of Tech Giants, GOP Member Says

        The critique and the panel’s report are still drafts and the contents of both could change. It’s not clear which members will endorse the report, whose release has been delayed because of last-minute information regarding Facebook Inc., CNBC reported earlier. The report was expected this week, but it’s been pushed back, according to a person familiar with the matter.

      • Central America Dismantles Democracy

        In Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, authoritarian and corrupt politicians have found fertile ground.

        On February 9, just weeks before the coronavirus hit El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele forced his way into the Legislative Assembly surrounded by armed soldiers. He had spent the previous days warning lawmakers that he had constitutional grounds to dissolve the legislative body if it didn’t approve a security loan he was asking for, paving the way for an attempted coup. He believed his approval rating (at that point over 90 percent) gave him enough leverage to get away with it. Bukele sat in the seat reserved for the chairperson of the assembly, hit a gong to open the almost empty legislative session he had summoned, and prayed. Then he suddenly left the hall and told hundreds of followers waiting outside that God had asked him to be patient. He gave lawmakers one more week to approve the loan (as of this writing, they have yet to vote on the proposal). The coup was averted.

        The scene seemed preposterously outdated. But it was a sign of the times. In El Salvador, as in most of Central America, democracy is being dismantled. And very few people outside the region are watching.

      • Monetary Democracy

        The rules of the monetary system are too important to be left to financial elites. When ordinary people speak up, they often come up with better ideas.

        The Bank of North Dakota (BND) looks like a typical bank. Its main building has the design of a glass-and-steel corporate headquarters, the boardroom sitting atop a façade that leans forward like the prow of a ship. It points west, of course, because that is the traditional direction of opportunity in America. The bank’s most recent annual report, from 2018, begins with a cascade of business catchwords that promise “quality, sound financial services,” a “people-centered” ethos, and the ability to “empower individuals.” It all sounds very on-brand for the corporate world. But turn a couple of pages, and you will discover that BND is actually quite unique: it is the only state-owned bank in the country.

        The economic crisis induced by COVID-19 allowed the bank to put deeds behind its words. Thanks to BND, according to a May 15 report in the Washington Post, North Dakota awarded more Paycheck Protection Program funds on a per-worker basis than any other state. The PPP was Congress’s attempt to flash freeze small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. It provided forgivable loans intended primarily to keep workers on payroll until normal operations could resume. Unsurprisingly, the major national banks tasked with issuing the money favored their own big clients. Since the loans were basically government grants, they offered little to the banks besides the opportunity to give some extra goodies to the companies they did a lot of business with. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve backstopped the corporate sector by pledging virtually unlimited purchases of an ever-growing range of financial securities. Writing for the American Prospect, David Dayen observed, “The monopolists get concierge service, the small businesses get to take a number.”

        BND made North Dakota different. Because it is accountable to the people of the state instead of shareholders, it has a public mandate that goes beyond its bottom line. This includes supporting community banks to retain their independence even as the financial industry undergoes wave after wave of consolidation. Community banks are intimately familiar with local small businesses. With help from BND, they directed PPP funds to those small businesses, which employ nearly 60 percent of the state’s workers. In this way, BND helped to stabilize North Dakota’s economy and, as of May, keep its unemployment rate among the lowest in the country.

      • Litigation for the People

        Can anti-discrimination litigation be a tool for social change? For many years, a contingent on the academic left contended that the answer is no. The Critical Legal Studies movement (CLS) of the 1970s and ’80s argued that using litigation to enforce rights privileged lawyers, fed an alienating and individualized discourse, and ultimately had a depoliticizing effect. CLS adherents believed that anti-discrimination laws often legitimated, rather than challenged, the fundamental inequalities of society.

        Although CLS is no longer a presence in law schools, its ideas live on. Its critique of rights litigation has been bolstered by the opposition to identity politics from some on the left. In the words of Nancy Fraser, today’s neoliberals “[talk] the talk of diversity, multiculturalism, and women’s rights, even while preparing to walk the walk of Goldman Sachs.” A commitment to anti-discrimination “charge[s] neoliberal economic activity with a frisson of excitement,” she writes, and allows it to take on the mantle of “the forward-thinking and the liberatory, the cosmopolitan and the morally advanced.”

        A remarkable new book by Michael McCann and George Lovell offers a different view. In Union by Law: Filipino American Labor Activists, Rights Radicalism, and Racial Capitalism, McCann and Lovell, professors of political science at the University of Washington, trace the history of Filipino workers in the United States through the last decade of the twentieth century, starting from the U.S. occupation of the Philippines following the Spanish-American War. This review will not spend much time on McCann and Lovell’s engaging treatment of U.S. imperialism before and after the Second World War. Rather, it will focus on the implications of their argument for how anti-discrimination law can be a useful political tool and not simply written off as elitist, alienating, and supportive of the status quo.

      • Poll: Many Americans blame virus crisis on US government

        More Americans blame the U.S. government instead of foreign nations for the coronavirus crisis in the United States, a rebuke to the Trump administration's contention that China or other countries are most at fault, a new poll shows.

        The poll by The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research was conducted before President Donald Trump tested positive for the virus Friday and was hospitalized. Trump has downplayed the severity and impact of the pandemic in recent months.

        Although many see plenty of blame to go around and there's a wide bipartisan divide over who is responsible, 56% of Americans say the U.S. government has substantial responsibility for the situation. That compares with 47% who place that much blame on the governments of other countries and only 39% who say the same about the World Health Organization.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Nico Perrino and Nolan Higdon - The Project Censored Show

        Then in the second half-hour, Nico Perrino joins the program to explain the results of a new study of freedom-of-speech on US college campuses, based on a survey of 20,000 students at 55 schools. At which schools is freedom of speech most respected, and what policies should every college follow to protect it?

      • Judge Refuses To Dismiss Batch Of Nicholas Sandmann's Media Lawsuits In The Laziest Defamation Ruling I've Ever Seen

        I am perplexed. Nicholas Sandmann, the Kentucky teenager who had a highly publicized and widely debated encounter in Washington DC is somewhat of a Rorschach Test for how you view the media. There are all sorts of interpretations of his encounter, and all sorts of arguments about the media coverage of that encounter -- and much of it is driven by people's prior beliefs. What should not be controversial, however, is that his ongoing series of SLAPP suits about the media coverage of that encounter are an attack on the 1st Amendment.

      • This climate activist says he was silenced on Twitter

        A Ugandan environmental activist was suspended from Twitter in the midst of a high-profile campaign — a suspension he believes is connected to his opponents in the country’s government and industries linked to deforestation. Twitter won’t say what caused the account to be frozen, but environmental groups worry it’s part of a broader trend of powerful stakeholders exploiting Twitter’s moderation system to silence climate activists.

        The suspension happened on the night of September 12th, after 22-year-old Nyombi Morris had just finished a television appearance about the preservation of the Bugoma Forest. The morning after the interview, he woke up to find his account was frozen without explanation. He says he contacted Twitter’s Help Center at least five times during the weeks his account was suspended but couldn’t figure out what had triggered the freeze, and began to suspect the suspension could be connected to his advocacy. Another Ugandan activist with Fridays for Future who fights deforestation, Leah Namugerwa, had her account frozen in September, too.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Working from home? Slow broadband, remote security remain top issues

        That's one takeaway from a survey of 100 C-level executives and IT professionals in the US by Navisite designed to highlight the biggest headaches for organizations providing IT services to workers since offices began to close in March.

        Around half (51%) of those surveyed said they experienced some “IT pains” during the rapid shift to support home workers, while almost a third (29%) continue to face technical challenges.

        At the same time, the majority (83%) now expect to continue with remote work policies when pandemic restrictions are lifted.

    • Monopolies

      • Twitch clarifies its ban on terrorism and extremist content

        Twitch has updated its community guidelines, the rules that govern the site, to clarify its ban of terrorist and extremist content. The move appears to be in order to strengthen its language around that sort of material.

      • The ‘Fighting Coronavirus’ platform

        It is often said that times of crisis facilitate and accelerate innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented urgent challenges on a global scale, ranging from the preservation of economic activity, to preventing the spread of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and saving lives. Perhaps recognising this, the EPO has recently launched a platform, ‘Fighting Coronavirus’, to facilitate knowledge transfer from published patent applications to those involved in the development of technologies to counter COVID-19.

        As we know, patent applications often provide a wealth of information, which can guide innovators in solving problems and devising new inventions. However, it can be difficult to navigate the sheer volume of information in the patent system. Instead, innovators might tend to favour peer-reviewed journals as their primary source of information, meaning the information published in patent applications is largely ignored and underused.

      • Chapter 2 – Ownership and Assignment of Intellectual Property [Ed: Jorge L. Contreras (University of Utah) promotes the lie and the propaganda term “Intellectual Property”, which is neither “owned” nor “property” (yet these journals allow this nonsense even in titles)]

        The owner of an intellectual property right, whether a patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret or other right, has the exclusive right to exploit that right. Ownership of an IP right is thus the most effective and potent means for utilizing that right. But what does it mean to “own” an intellectual property right and how does a person – an individual or a firm – acquire ownership of it? This Chapter explores transfers and assignments of IP ownership, first in general, and then with respect to special considerations pertinent to patents, copyrights and trademarks.

      • What is Intellectual Property 'theft' and how to avoid it? [Ed: When they call it “AYE PEE” they start mislabelling people “pirates” and “thieves” (which is of course a lie, it’s slander)]

        Intellectual Property rights (IPRs) are generally known as "negative rights" because the owner enforces them by stopping third parties from exploiting the rights' subjects. An IPR is typically infringed when a third party performs an act that is legally restricted to either the owner of the IPR or a person who has the owner's permission to exploit the right (a licensee). It is essential for general counsels, business owners or shareholders to understand IP infringement's precise nature in various circumstances and how it can be combated.

        In general terms, patents protect inventions, entitling owners to bar the unauthorized exploitation of them. Trademarks protect distinctive signs and names, and copyrights protect original works of art and literature. In all cases, holders of these rights are likewise entitled to prevent unauthorized use of the protected invention, confusingly similar marks or stop the reproduction or adaptation of one or more protected artworks, as the case may be. The exact nature of an IPR is such that an owner of an IPR has the power and monopoly to prevent others from exploiting the subject of the right without the owner's permission.

      • Patents

        • Cisco ordered to pay US$1.9b for patent infringement

          Networking giant Cisco Systems has been found to have infringed four cyber-security patents owned by Virginia firm Centripetal Networks, with a judge ordering the company to pay US$1.9 billion (A$2.64 billion) in damages.

          Reuters reported that US District Judge Henry Morgan in Norfolk, Virginia, came to the decision after a non-jury trial that lasted for a month.

          The judge found that a fifth patent was not infringed.


          “The infringing functionality was added to their accused products post 20 June 2017, and resulted in a dramatic increase in sales which Cisco touted in both technical and marketing documents,” he added.

          Cisco said it would appeal the decison to the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

        • Albright: ‘PTAB process is independent from mine’

          The Western Texas judge, who has increased patent case filings by 629% in two years, says it’s his job to handle whatever cases come into his court

        • How jury trials are affecting US IP: judges and lawyers [Ed: This authorconflates patent law with this fiction called “AYE PEE” although patents are NOT property]

          Judge Alan Albright, and in-house and private practice lawyers weigh in on how the seventh amendment is – and isn’t – affecting the US patent landscape

        • Third Circuit Limits FTC Ability to Recoup Profits From AbbVie (1)
        • The latest round in the CRISPR patent battle has an apparent victor, but the fight continues

          The long-running patent battle over CRISPR, the genome editor that may bring a Nobel Prize and many millions of dollars to whoever is credited with its invention, has taken a new twist that vastly complicates the claims made by a team led by the University of California (UC).

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruled on 10 September that a group led by the Broad Institute has “priority” in its already granted patents for uses of the original CRISPR system in eukaryotic cells, which covers potentially lucrative applications in lab-grown human cells or in people directly. But the ruling also gives the UC group, which the court refers to as CVC because it includes the University of Vienna and scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier, a leg up on the invention of one critical component of the CRISPR tool kit.

          “This is a major decision by the PTAB,” says Jacob Sherkow, a patent attorney at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who has followed the case closely but is not involved. “There’s some language in the opinion from today that’s going to cast a long shadow over the ability of the [CVC] patents going forward.”

        • Former Patent Litigator Becomes Federal Judge And Begins Advertising For Patent Trolls To Come To His Court (And They Have In Droves)

          For years, you may recall that we would write about the insane nature of forum shopping for patent trolls, in which the trolls would flock to the federal courts in East Texas. Going back nearly 15 years, we wrote about how East Texas courts became grand central for patent troll cases, leading to all sorts of sketchy behavior. There are a bunch of empty office buildings setup in small Texas cities (mainly Marshall and Tyler) just to "pretend" to have offices there. Companies engaged in many patent cases started to try to suck up to residents of those small cities, in case they might be on a jury. TiVo literally bought a "Grand Champion Steer" just weeks before a jury was set to rule on a massive TiVo trolling case. Samsung threw so much money at the local "Stagecoach Days" event that it was renamed "Samsung Stagecoach Days," and built a Samsung ice rink right next to the courthouse in Marshall.

        • Software Patents

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • Open Access Faces Many Problems; Here's One That The Indispensable Internet Archive Is Helping To Solve

          As Techdirt has reported many times, open access is a self-evidently great idea, but one that is still beset with many problems. That's not least because academic publishers are keen to remain in control of any transition to open access, and aim to maintain their extremely high profit margins whatever the publishing model. But there's one problem for open access that ironically derives from its greatest strength -- the fact that anyone can access journals at any time, for free. Because material is always available, librarians have tended not to worry about making some kind of backup. That's not the case for traditional journals, where there is potentially a big problem if a subscription is cancelled. The end of a subscription often means that readers lose their existing access to journals. To address this, librarians have come up with a variety of ways to ensure "post-cancellation access", explained well in a 2007 post on a blog about digital preservation, written by David Rosenthal. A recent article on the Internet Archive site provides some interesting statistics on the scale of the problem of creating permanent copies of open access titles:

        • Led Zeppelin Wins ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Battle as Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case

          The appeals court’s en banc ruling marked a win for the music industry, which had felt besieged by frivolous copyright suits since the “Blurred Lines” trial in 2015. The appeals court overturned the so-called “inverse ratio rule,” a standard that set a lower bar for similarity if plaintiffs could prove a higher level of access to the infringed work.

          The 9th Circuit also made it harder to claim infringement based on a “selection and arrangement” of unprotectable musical elements. Finally, the ruling expressed skepticism about claims based on just a handful of notes.

        • US Criminal Prosecution Casts Doubt Over Team-Xecuter's Future

          Late last week the US Department of Justice indicted three members of the hacking group Team-Xecuter. Thus far, the group's official site remains up and running and after a brief outage, the licensing service is working again as well. Still, the future is uncertain. Today we take a more detailed look at the US Government's indictment, which reveals some of Team-Xecuter's internal communications.

        • Take-Two Going To Trial Over Yet Another Tattoo Artist Claiming Copyright On Athlete Bodies

          Back in 2016, we began a series of posts about a tattoo artist suing Take-Two Software over the faithful depiction of tattoos on several NBA players' bodies. The whole thing was fairly insane, with Solid Oak Sketches appearing to claim that because players had its tattoos on their bodies, those players no longer had the full control and ability to profit off of their own likenesses in video games. While the court in that case allowed that case to go to trial, the court also ruled in favor of Take-Two in summary judgement, ruling that fair use of course protected such depictions as a matter of art and speech with minimal copying as part of the game. What made the lawsuit particularly cringe-worthy was the implications of its argument. As I said at the time:

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