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Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Stay Protected with Librem 14’s Latest Pureboot Feature

        The Librem 14 Pureboot bundle is pushing the envelope on security tools. Newly added to our latest PureBoot release is a feature that protects against file changes on your root filesystem. This is the same validation done on the boot partition, simply expanded to specified directories on the root filesystem. This allows you to cryptographically sign your OS files with keys in your contro

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Top Five Arch-Based Linux Distros 2022 - Invidious

        I love Arch Linux and Arch-based Linux distributions, mainly because of the software availability and the rolling release model. I have looked at dozens of Arch-based distros over the years, but what do I consider the top five Arch-based distros?

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.17 Adds GPU Recovery Support For AMD Rembrandt APUs - Phoronix

        On top of all the GPU driver feature changes to merge last week, yesterday marked the first batch of "fixes" sent in to Linux 5.17 for the Direct Rendering Manager drivers. Notable from this batch of fixes is getting GPU recovery enabled for Yellow Carp / Rembrandt APUs.

        GPU recovery for these forthcoming APUs was sent in as a fix since at this stage it just needed to add a Yellow Carp check to a case statement. The rest of the code is already in place for handling GPU recovery on Yellow Carp. But from past experience, GPU recovery is very useful when encountering Radeon GPU hangs on Linux but thankfully those are far less common these days with the great shape of their open-source driver stack.

      • After Nearly Six Years, Dirk Hohndel Is Leaving VMware

        Wow! This is surprise!

        A week ago, Dirk Hohndel announced on LinkedIn that after five years and eight months he’s leaving VMware, where he’s been serving as a VP and as its chief open source officer. The decision was his, he said, and there’s nothing to indicate that it has anything to do with VMware’s newfound independence (the company was spun-off by its owner Dell in November).

      • Nintendo GameCube / Wii / Wii U Get Real-Time Clock Driver With Linux 5.17 - Phoronix

        The RTC subsystem changes have been submitted for the in-development Linux 5.17 kernel ahead of its merge window winding down this weekend.

        For those hobbyists interested in running Linux on Nintendo video game consoles, Linux 5.17 is set to introduce the "gamecube" RTC driver that provides real-time clock support for not only the Nintendo GameCube but also the Wii and Wii U hardware.

        The GameCube / Wii / Wii U all leverage a MX23L4005 chip with a clock and 64 bytes of SRAM storage. The new Linux driver provides support for using that chip as the real-time clock device with read/set support.

      • Intel Linux Driver Adds New DG2 "G12" Graphics Variant - Phoronix

        To date the Intel Linux graphics driver has supported Intel's DG2 "Alchemist" G10 and G11 sub-platforms/variants as the main designs to this point. However, at the end of last year we began seeing "G12" references surface in their compute stack and now the Intel open-source Linux kernel driver is formally preparing the DG2-G12 variant support.

        Posted a few minutes ago were the first Intel "i915" Linux kernel graphics driver patches for bringing up the new G12 sub-platform.

    • Applications

      • Flatpak App of the Week: QPrompt – Teleprompter Software for Video Creators

        Meet QPrompt (the successor of Imaginary Teleprompter), an open-source teleprompter software for video creators, designed to work across several popular platforms, including Linux and macOS, as well as to be compatible with both mobile and desktops.

        Written in C++ and QML, QPrompt leverages the Qt and Kirigami frameworks to provide users with a fast, easy to use and flexible GUI with a jitter free experience, which works with cellphones, webcams, tablet teleprompters, and PC-based studio teleprompters.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Mate Desktop Environment on Debian 11 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Mate Desktop Environment on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, MATE Desktop Environment, it continues GNOME 2. It is famous for being lightweight, fast, and stable that runs on Linux operating systems. It provides an attractive and intuitive desktop environment making it simple and easy to interact with.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Mate Desktop Environment on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • How to install and configure pCloud on Debian | FOSS Linux

        PCloud is a cloud file storage provider from Switzerland that provides around 10GB of free storage upon registration. To add on the 10GB free allocation storage, the software allows an extension of up to 20GB of free space, which is incredible. pCloud is available in Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS.

        This app securely stores your files and folders in 5 different servers to keep them safe from server failure or any alteration in case of a failure. This, in turn, works as a confirmation to users that their data is safe enough to be stored here. Additionally, file transfer between your local folder and pCloud drive is encoded with TLS/SSL protocol, which adds security to your data.

        The installation of this software requires Ubuntu version 14.04 and above, Fedora 21, Debian 8 and above, or later derivative distros.

      • [Older] How to Search Text in Multiple Files in Linux
      • How to Install Papirus Icon Theme on Ubuntu - OMG! Ubuntu!

        Changing the icon theme on Ubuntu is an easy way to give your desktop a new look and feel. In this post we show you how to install Papirus icons on Ubuntu from a PPA.

        Why use the Papirus icon set? Because it’s good — in fact, it’s one of the best icon themes for Ubuntu not to mention other Linux distros like Linux Mint, Zorin OS, and Manjaro. Thousands of users use this set, and several Linux distributions ship it as their default.

      • How to Install OpenLiteSpeed and PHP on Ubuntu

        In this tutorial, I will guide you step-by-step through the installation and configuration of OpenLiteSpeed and PHP on Ubuntu.

        OpenLiteSpeed ​​is a free open-source lightweight HTTP server developed by LiteSpeed ​​Technologies. It is a powerful, modular HTTP server and can handle hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections with low resource usage. OpenLiteSpeed offers unbeatable performance, security, scalability, simplicity, and optimization all bundled in a single package.

        OpenLiteSpeed provides a web-based user interface for managing the web server through a web browser. It uses the same configuration as the Apache web server and is compatible with most features offered by Apache.

      • How to Change Ubuntu's Login Screen Background - OMG! Ubuntu!

        I’m not saying the expansive block of aubergine that greets me on the Ubuntu login screen is bad, but it’s not really me.

        Until now I’ve not bothered to look into how to change the GDM background because —as I’m sure many of you are about to point out— I see it for about 3 seconds tops (6 maybe, if I make a typo in my password which, yes, is often).

        Or to put it another way: Ubuntu’s login screen is not something most of us see long enough to care enough about.

        And yet this evening curiosity got the better of me. I looked into how to change the Ubuntu login screen background and to my surprise I learned it’s …not that easy to do!

        Back in the days of LightDM (Ubuntu’s old login manager) we could change the login background image in a couple clicks. GDM is a tougher nut to crack; GNOME devs really want us to see anything but a solid colour in the greeter!

      • How to Install MongoDB in RHEL, CentOS, Rocky & AlmaLinux

        The open-source attribute of MongoDB as a database software makes it an ideal candidate for almost any database-related project. Its popularity is in its embrace of NoSQL document-oriented databases.

        While relational databases embrace the use of tables and rows to store data, MongoDB fancies the use of JSON-like documents which additionally supports the implementation of dynamic schemas.

        The scalability and developer agility traits of MongoDB make it a worthwhile installation candidate for RHEL 8 based distributions such as CentOS, Rocky, and AlmaLinux.

        Before we engage this post further, it is worth noting that the MongoDB database server release exists in two editions. We have the MongoDB Enterprise Server and the MongoDB Community Server (open source).

      • Add a User to Sudoers on elementary OS - LinuxCapable

        The user account created during the initial setup has sudo rights when installing the elementary OS Linux distribution. However, there may be a need to add additional sudo users or remove the access. This is a straightforward process with a few commands.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn to add a user to the sudoers group on any current elementary OS system.

      • Install Firefox Browser on elementary OS 6.xx - LinuxCapable

        The Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation. Firefox is featured on nearly all Linux distributions as the primary browser or secondary. Firefox is not natively installed for users new to elementary OS, but given the distribution is based on Ubuntu, this can be easily achieved.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest Firefox stable, beta, or Firefox Quantum on your elementary OS 6.xx desktop.

      • Install Google Chrome on elementary OS 6.xx - LinuxCapable

        Google Chrome is the most used Internet Explorer software globally, with a recent update in 2022 that Chrome is currently the primary browser of more than 2.65 billion internet users. However, as you would know, after installing the elementary OS, only GNOME Web is packaged with the distribution but luckily, installing Google Chrome is a straightforward task.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Google Chrome in three alternative ways: stable, beta, or unstable versions on elementary OS 6.xx.

      • 4 Step Openldap container Podman Easy

        The project is to copy the LDAP reference source code. OpenLDAP is the abbreviation of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. LDAP is a vendor-neutral application protocol that lets you assess and maintain distributed directory information services over an ISP. There are many different ways to provide a directory. For example, using LDAP helps you to provide a central place to store usernames and passwords.

        So, many various applications and services could connect to the LDAP server to validate users. LDAP servers are widely used in Organizations to store the User name and password in a Centralized Server against which the User can authenticate further to programs and services present on the network. Furthermore, we will be using Symas OpenLDAP packages for the standard software maintenance commands native to your operating system. OpenLDAP is the principal contributor in writing 90% of OpenLDAP code. Also, check Tutorial OpenLdap on RHEL8 and OpenLDAP Documentation.

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • These Mockups of System76's Cosmic Desktop Leave Me Very Excited - OMG! Ubuntu!

        If last weeks sneak peek at real-world progress on System76’s new Rust-based desktop experience left you excited, just wait until you see what they’ve got planned next.

        Pop!_OS code explorer Eduardo Flores dug up a Figma design document made by System76 gives us a much better look at what’s in store for the next-gen COSMIC desktop environment.

        And though hate to be a tease: it looks amazing.

        Now, I’ve always been a fan of desktop applets, indicators, menu bar items, whatever you want to call then. Vanilla GNOME is pretty averse to them and its Status Menu ‘groups’ several functions into one menu. While there are extensions out there that can split them back out, it’s not the defeat.

    • Distributions

      • Hit roadblock building EasyArch

        I had not attempted this previously, partly because Arch is a rolling release. However, a few days ago I discovered that Arch keeps snapshots of all the packages, going back many years.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • (open)SUSE Announces D-Installer: Working On A Web-Based Distro Installer

          In addition to the Fedora / Red Hat Anaconda installer working on a web-based implementation, openSUSE/SUSE is also exploring a web-based installation front-end built atop their existing YaST. They are developing this new web front-end as the "D-Installer" project.

          With Red Hat's recently announced web-based UI they are looking to shift Anaconda from its existing GTK-based interface and rewriting it to be web-based while leveraging Cockpit. This new Anaconda installer web interface would work both locally or remotely.

          The current plan with (open)SUSE's D-Installer is to not replace YaST's existing installer front-ends whether it be the Qt or CLI versions but to be complementary to these existing front-ends.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Why Artificial Intelligence (AI) pilot projects fail: 4 reasons [Ed: When your project is basically a bunch of buzzwords strung together and you use Gartner to make a point about it]

          The artificial intelligence (AI) industry is continually evolving, with new solutions being created and deployed every day. Gartner predicts that 75 percent of organizations will have operational AI by 2024. However, Gartner’s research shows that only 53 percent of AI projects make it from prototype to production. What is holding new AI pilot projects back from hitting production?

          Successful AI projects are all around us, but there is no single best way to create and deploy an AI product with all of these developments. There are, however, four reasons businesses might be missing the mark when it comes to their AI solution.

        • 3 change management issues that keep IT leaders up at night

          For many of us, IT challenges can cause sleepless nights. As IT teams persistently leverage technology to solve business problems, rapid change is accompanied by fear of the unknown.

          For example, at the start of the pandemic, companies were forced to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy to meet the tsunami of consumer digital demand. Making that change meant racing into the unknown for IT teams. There was no certainty about what would – and would not – work.

        • How Are API Management and Service Mesh Different? -

          The use of APIs and microservices is increasing—a recent study from F5 estimated that the industry is approaching 200 million total APIs. As organizations expand their use of APIs and microservices, they inevitably require some form of service management architecture. There are primarily two major design options for implementing this: An API management system or a service mesh.


          I recently chatted with Mark Cheshire, director of product at Red Hat, about the emergence of both API management and service mesh. According to Cheshire, both approaches accomplished similar goals but evolved very differently. Below, we’ll revisit why these two paradigms emerged and compare and contrast them. In a separate article, we’ll consider when it’s best to integrate them both.

        • DevOps, Pandemics and 2022’s Cloud-y Future

          When I wrote the post “DevOps, DevApps, and the Death of Infrastructure” last year, at the time I saw many things coming, often influenced by the pandemic. In 2020, McKinsey and Co. found that digital transformation accelerated globally due to the pandemic. As we finished 2021 with new considerations for continued digital transformation, it is no longer a trend but a business requirement for companies that want to stay relevant in a socially distanced world.

        • Forrester study highlights partner opportunities for Red Hat OpenShift [Ed: IBM is paying pay-to-say liars]

          Containerization, and more specifically Kubernetes, is becoming more widely adopted by companies of varying sizes and industries€¹. Red Hat OpenShift is an enterprise-ready Kubernetes container platform built for an open hybrid cloud strategy.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • This End Times Cyberdeck Is Apocalypse-Ready | Hackaday

        In the cyberdeck world, some designs are meant to evoke a cyberpunk vibe, an aesthetic that’s more lighthearted than serious. Some cyberdecks, though, are a little more serious about hardening their designs against adverse conditions. That’s where something like the ARK-io SurvivalDeck comes into play.

        Granted, there does seem to be at least a little lightheartedness at play with the aptly named [techno-recluse]’s design. It’s intended to be an “Apocalypse Repository of Knowledge”, which may be stretching the point a bit. But it does contain an impressive amount of tech — wide-band software defined radio (SDR) covering HF to UHF, GPS module, a sensor for air pressure, temperature, and humidity, and a Raspberry Pi 3B running Kali Linux. Everything is housed in a waterproof ammo can; a 3D printed bezel holds an LCD touchscreen and a satisfying array of controls, displays and ports. The lid of the ammo can holds a keyboard, which was either custom-made to precisely fit the lid or was an incredibly lucky find.

      • WCH CH32V307 RISC-V development board features 8 UART ports controlled over Ethernet - CNX Software

        CH32V307V-EVT-R1 is a development board based on WCH CH32V307 RISC-V microcontroller with an Ethernet port, an USB Type-C port, and eight UART interfaces accessible through headers.

        As we noted in our article about CH583 Bluetooth 5.3 RISC-V microcontroller, WCH (Jiangsu Qin Heng) has started to hare resources like datasheets and code samples through Github. They’ve done the same again for CH32V307 with schematics (PDF only), a datasheet in English, and firmware either bare metal or based on RT-Thread OS to control the eight serial interfaces over Ethernet.

      • NTP Server Gets Time From Space | Hackaday

        Cheap GPS units are readily available nowadays, which is great if you have something that needs to be very precisely located. Finding the position of things is one of many uses for GPS, though. There are plenty of ways to take advantage of some of the ancillary tools that the GPS uses to determine location. In this case it’s using the precise timekeeping abilities of the satellites to build a microsecond-accurate network time protocol (NTP) server.

        GPS works by triangulating position between a receiver and a number of satellites, but since the satellites are constantly moving an incredibly precise timing signal is needed in order to accurately determine location from all of these variables. This build simply teases out that time information from the satellite network and ignores the location data. There are only two parts to this build, a cheap GPS receiver and a Raspberry Pi, but [Austin] goes into great detail about how to set up the software side as well including installing PPS, GPSd, and then setting up the actual NTP server on the Pi.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Hudi powering data lake efforts at Walmart and Disney+ Hotstar

        The open source Apache Hudi data lake project is helping power large deployments at a number of big enterprises, including Uber, Walmart and Disney+ Hotstar.

        Apache Hudi (Hadoop Upserts, Deletes and Incrementals) is a technology that was originally developed at Uber in 2016 and became an open source project the following year.

        In June 2021, Hudi became a Top-Level Project at the Apache Software Foundation, which was a major milestone for the project's maturity. Hudi provides a series of capabilities for data lakes, including a table format and services that enable organizations to effectively manage data for data queries, operations and analytics.

      • Aditi’s Open Source Journey

        Hi! I am Aditi from India.

        According to Wikipedia, India annually produces 1M engineering graduates! (Yep! That’s a lot). And I am one of the 1M graduating in 2022. Just like most people, when I started studying back in 2018, I was pretty lost!

        I spent my first three semesters trying to find a perfect road-map to being a good developer in a sea of infinite possibilities, skimming through various options. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, I just knew, I liked being in the field! It took me 1.5 years to realize that there is no perfect roadmap, it’s just as simple as when you start something, you like it, you stay consistent and end up in the right place!


        One of the best pieces of advice I received from her: “Switch from Windows to Linux!”


        I finished my outreachy initial application and devoted all my time in finding the perfect organization. That’s when I found GNOME. The skills required were C++ and JS – two languages I knew I had some experience in and liked working with. The GNOME community was indeed awesome. I never felt like an outsider. And that’s when I met Philip Chimento, one of the best mentors I’ve ever had. I remember being super excited when I finished building my first small app using GJS! (It just read a file and returned the number of lines, but it worked and that felt like a good enough reason to go on! :D). I couldn’t wait to officially start my internship with GNOME but my Outreachy initial application got rejected again because of time commitment issues.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Lots of new toys, caps lock still stuck on: ONLYOFFICE hits version 7

          Another contender in the productivity stakes, ONLYOFFICE Docs, has hit version 7, introducing fillable forms as well as multiple tweaks for its web and desktop applications.

          ONLYOFFICE is yet another option for users seeking an alternative to the tech giants, and currently comes in a self-hosted or desktop guise. A cloud version will, according to the team, "be available a bit later."

          The first major release of 2022, version 7 is a handy update. While the word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation modules have useful modifications, most eye-catching is the ability to create fillable forms online.

          The forms can be created from scratch or built from DOCX documents and are compatible with Microsoft Office content controls and Adobe forms, the team said.

      • Education

      • Programming/Development

        • PHP version 8.0.15 and 8.1.2 - Remi's RPM repository

          RPMs of PHP version 8.1.2 are available in remi-php81 repository for Fedora 33-35 and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 8.0.15 are available in remi repository for Fedora 35 and remi-php80 repository for Fedora 33-34 and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

        • What you need to know about fuzz testing and Go |

          The usage of Go is growing rapidly. It is now the preferred language for writing cloud-native software, container software, command-line tools, databases, and more. Go has had built-in support for testing for quite some time now. It makes writing tests and running them using the Go tool relatively easy.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Using Python to access a Solid Pod

            We can host these Pods in personal servers or at any provider. Everything is tied up based on the user identity, called WebID. It is an HTTP URI described as RDF document.

            You can decide who/what can access your data. Applications/humans can use Solid authentication and identify to the Pod server to access the data using open protocols.

        • Rust

          • Announcing Rust 1.58.1 | Rust Blog

            The Rust team has published a new point release of Rust, 1.58.1. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

            If you have a previous version of Rust installed via rustup, getting Rust 1.58.1 is as easy as:

            rustup update stable If you don't have it already, you can get rustup from the appropriate page on our website.

  • Leftovers

    • Dean & Britta—The Warhol: Silver Home Studio Sessions
    • Airline CEOs Freak Out Over 5G Despite Limited Evidence Of Real World Harm

      We'd already noted that the FAA had been pushing to impose limits on 5G deployments in certain bands due to safety concerns. The problem: the FCC, the agency with the expertise in spectrum interference, has repeatedly stated those concerns are unfounded based on the FCC's own research. The whole feud has been fairly bizarre, with the FAA refusing to transparently "show its math" at several points, but taking the time to leak its scary claims to select press outlets.

    • Science

      • NASA's Swift gamma ray burst observatory is in safe mode ● The Register

        NASA has put its orbiting Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory into safe mode due to a suspected faulty reaction wheel, the first time this type of failure has occurred in its 17 years of operation.

        NASA this week confirmed Swift was powered down on January 18. A team of scientists and engineers from Pennsylvania State University working at the Mission Operations Center (MOC) for Swift asked astronomers to hold off from requesting observation time as all science operations have temporarily halted.

        “The mission team is investigating a possible failure of one of the spacecraft's reaction wheels as the cause,” NASA said in a statement. “The team has powered off the suspected wheel. The observatory and all its instruments are otherwise healthy and operating as anticipated. The observatory will remain in safe mode as a precaution while the team further investigates the issue.”

    • Hardware

      • $400 mechanical keyboards are coming to the masses. Here’s why you’d want one

        In a word, customization. You get a level of personalization that can transform your everyday typing experience from something you just do into a genuine pleasure.

      • All About Mecanum | Hackaday

        If you’ve dealt with robots or other wheeled projects, you’ve probably heard of mecanum wheels. These seemingly magic wheels have the ability to move in any direction. If you’ve ever seen one, it is pretty obvious how it works. They look more or less like ordinary wheels, but they also have rollers that rotate off-axis by 45 degrees from the normal movement axis. This causes the wheel’s driving force to move at a 45 degree angle. However, there are a lot of details that aren’t apparent from a quick glance. Why are the rollers tapered? How do you control a vehicle using these wheels? [Lesics] has a good explanation of how the wheels work in a recent video that you can see below.

        With four wheels, you can have a pair of wheels — one at the front right and one at the back left — that have a net force vector of +45 degrees. Then the other pair of wheels can be built differently to have a net force vector of -45 degrees. The video shows how moving some or all wheels in different directions can move the vehicle in many different directions.

      • EC president promises European Chips Act to quadruple homegrown production by 2030

        The European Commission will introduce legislation next month designed to turn the continent into a center of chip expertise and manufacturing.

        The EC will propose the European Chips Act in early February, which will boost Europe's infrastructure for the production and supply chain of chip manufacturing, said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the commission, in an address to the World Economic Forum on Thursday.

        The goal is to raise Europe's market share of global chip production to 20 per cent by 2030, which would mean quadrupling the EU's current output, she said, and would involve state aid to build "first of a kind" production facilities.

      • 3D Printing Copper | Hackaday

        People really want to 3D print metal, but while true metal printers exist, they still are expensive and out of reach of most hackers. However, even if you can afford an exotic printer or use metal-impregnated polymer, you don’t often see copper as a print material. Copper has high electrical and thermal conductivity which makes it very useful. But that thermal conductivity also makes it very difficult to print using any process that involves heating up the material and copper reflects common lasers used in the 3D printing process. However, a German company, Infinite Flex, is claiming a breakthrough that will allow printers that use a standard IR laser to produce copper parts. The material, Infinite Powder CU 01 is suitable for selective laser sintering and several other laser-based techniques.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Heavily Polluted Louisiana Community Asks EPA to Step In

        A pair of local advocacy groups in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, submitted a civil rights complaint to the U.S. EPA on Thursday, accusing two state agencies of failing to protect residents of the low-income and predominantly Black jurisdiction from toxic air.

        "We're asking the EPA to step in to protect our civil rights."

      • 500K Jobs Lost, Starvation Looms as US Holds Afghan Funds Hostage

        As a report published Wednesday revealed the loss of over 500,000 jobs since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan last August, critics of the Biden administration's policy of economic sanctions and freezing billions of dollars in Afghan government funds renewed warnings of a "U.S.-fueled genocide" in the starving, suffering, war-torn nation.

        "The Taliban barely fired a shot in taking over the country last summer, but the U.S., with the press of a button, has flattened it."

      • How Omicron Upended What We Thought We Knew About Natural Immunity

        The pre-omicron research also indicated another downside to natural immunity: namely, that it can be more variable. All immunity differs from person to person and holds up better against some variants than others. But infection-induced immunity can also be more or less effective depending on how severe your case of COVID was, explained John Dennehy, a professor of biology at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Since the earliest studies, scientists have found evidence that more severe illnesses produce a higher antibody response, while mild cases end up producing much less.

      • Antibiotic resistance killed more people than malaria or AIDS in 2019

        More than a million people died from antibiotic-resistant infections across the globe in 2019, hundreds of thousands more than malaria or HIV/AIDS, according to a new estimate.

        Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are considered one of the biggest threats facing modern medicine. Overuse of such drugs has led to resistance becoming more widespread, raising the prospect that common infections such as sepsis and pneumonia will become harder to treat.

        Mohsen Naghavi at the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues devised a model to estimate how many people died in 2019 from bacterial infections that could previously have been treated were it not for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). No such global survey has been conducted before.

      • [Old] Antibiotics: Are you misusing them?

        It's tempting to stop taking an antibiotic as soon as you feel better. But the full treatment is necessary to kill the disease-causing bacteria. Failure to take an antibiotic as prescribed can result in the need to resume treatment later and may promote the spread of antibiotic-resistant properties among harmful bacteria.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Blizzard boss details what the studio is doing to ‘rebuild your trust’

          Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of huge franchises like Diablo and Overwatch, has been under intense scrutiny since California sued parent company Activision Blizzard last summer over allegedly fostering a culture of harassment and discrimination. In an attempt to assure employees and fans that the company is making positive changes, Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra published a blog post detailing what it is doing to “rebuild your trust.”

        • Canon Business Services acquires Microsoft partner Satalyst

          CBS says the acquisition strengthens application, security, data, and AI capabilities within the company, while providing the Microsoft specialist with the backing it needs to fast-track expansion plans.

          The acquisition supports CBS’s customers in the region and the business’ commitment to local innovation, by ensuring it continues to develop and invest in local products and services aligned to the future needs of businesses across the region.

        • Google reportedly is developing an augmented reality headset

          Google is currently developing an operating system called Fuchsia that features extensive cybersecurity optimizations, as well as capabilities designed to facilitate simple software updates. If Google opts not to ship Project Iris with Android, it may use Fuchsia to power the device. Another possibility is that the search giant may develop an entirely new operating system, perhaps based on the Linux kernel, which it used as the foundation for Android.

          On the hardware side, Google reportedly plans to equip its AR headset with a custom chip.

          Few details are available about the chip except that it will provide only a part of the device’s processing capacity. The rest will reportedly be provided by Google’s cloud data centers. The plan is to render AR content in the cloud and stream it to Project Iris headsets over an internet connection, The Verge’s sources said.

        • Google is building an AR headset

          Google’s headset is still early in development without a clearly defined go-to-market strategy, which indicates that the 2024 target year may be more aspirational than set in stone. The hardware is powered by a custom Google processor, like its newest Google Pixel smartphone, and runs on Android, though recent job listings indicate that a unique OS is in the works. Given power constraints, Google’s strategy is to use its data centers to remotely render some graphics and beam them into the headset via an internet connection. I’m told that the Pixel team is involved in some of the hardware pieces, but it’s unclear if the headset will ultimately be Pixel-branded. The name Google Glass is almost certainly off the table, thanks to the early blowback (remember “Glasshole?”) and the fact that it technically still exists as an enterprise product.

        • Security

          • China’s Olympics App Is Horribly Insecure - Schneier on Security

            China is mandating that athletes download and use a health and travel app when they attend the Winter Olympics next month. Citizen Lab examined the app and found it riddled with security holes.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Attacks Escalating Against Linux-Based IoT Devices [Ed: Why does a Linux “news” site help a Microsoft proxy attack Linux?]
            • Fileless Malware on Linux: Anatomy of an Attack |

              Recent years have demonstrated that Windows users are not the only ones who should be concerned about malware. Linux is becoming an increasingly popular target among malware operators due to the growing popularity of the open-source OS and the high-value devices it powers worldwide. Security researchers from AT&T Alien Labs are now warning that “cyber gangs have started infecting Linux machines via a fileless malware installation technique that until recently was more commonly used against Windows-based systems”.

              So what exactly is fileless malware and how does a fileless malware attack on Linux work? This article will provide you with answers to these questions by honing in on the anatomy of a Linux fileless malware attack - equipping you with the knowledge necessary to secure your systems and your data against this stealthy and malicious threat. Let’s begin by exploring the concept of fileless malware.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • DSA: EU Parliament Vote Ensures a Free Internet, But a Final Regulation Must Add Stronger Privacy Protections

              In today's vote, the EU Parliament made the right choice. It rejected the idea of a made-in-Europe filternet, and refrained from undermining pillars of the e-Commerce Directive that are crucial to a free and democratic society. Members of Parliament (MEPs) followed the key Internal Market Affairs Committee (IMCO) and opted against upload filters and unreasonable take down obligations, made sure that platforms don't risk liability just for reviewing content, and rejected unworkably tight deadlines to remove potentially illegal content and interfere with private communication. Further analysis is required but, on the whole, the EU Parliament avoided following in the footsteps of prior controversial and sometimes disastrous EU internet rules, such as the EU copyright directive. Parliamentarians also advocated for greater transparency by platforms, more professional content moderation, and users' rights rather than speech controls and upload filters. In other words, lawmakers focused on how processes should work on online platforms: reporting problematic content, structuring terms of use, and responding to erroneous content removals. If the proposed DSA becomes law, users will better understand how content decisions are made and enjoy a right to reinstatement if platforms make mistakes.

              This is the right approach to platform governance regulation. It was a victory for civil society and other voices dedicated to making sure that all users are treated equally, including the Digital Services Act Human Rights Alliance, a group of civil society organizations from around the globe advocating for transparency, accountability, and human rights-centered lawmaking. For example, the Parliament rejected an unworkable and unfair proposal to make some media content unblockable so that publishers could profit under ancillary copyright rules. The Parliament also decided to step up efforts against surveillance capitalism by adopting new rules that would restrict the data-processing practices of big tech companies. Under the new rules, Big Tech will no longer be allowed to engage in targeted advertising if it is based on users' sensitive personal data. A "dark patterns" provision also forbids companies from using misleading tabs and obscuring functions to trick users into doing something they didn't mean to do.

              The DSA strengthens the right of users to retain anonymity online and promotes options for users to use and pay for services anonymously wherever reasonable efforts can make this possible. However, the DSA also requires mandatory cell phone registration for pornographic content creators, posing a threat to digital privacy. Also, no further improvements were made to ensure the independence of "trusted" flaggers of content, which can be law enforcement agencies or biased copyright industry associations.

            • CES 2022: Next Generation of TVs Have Application for Remote Learning, Promoters Say

              The next generation of television uses a combination of over-the-air broadcasting and [Internet] broadcasting, which could serve as an opportunity for remote learning, the Consumer Electronics Show heard earlier this month.

              ATSC 3.0, also known as NextGen TV, is said to offer 4K high-definition video quality, better sound, more personalized broadcasts, advertisements, and interactive capabilities by combining over-the-air broadcasting with a home [Internet] connection, according to its promoters.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Amid Rising Russia Tension, US May Stumble Into War, Warns Katrina vanden Heuvel
      • War With Russia Over Ukraine 'Last Thing' US Needs, Say Progressives

        Ahead of a highly anticipated Friday meeting in Geneva between the top U.S. and Russian diplomats over the escalating Ukraine crisis, anti-war progressives around the world are pressuring leaders of the nuclear-armed nations to prioritize diplomacy in the pursuit of de-escalation and peace.

        "Practically speaking, the path to peace does require mutual accommodation by all parties."

      • Opinion | Making a Case Against the US Going to War Over Ukraine

        As Moscow signals its apparent readiness for war over Ukraine, the U.S. government seems determined to ignore Russia's not-so-ridiculous concerns over the military alliances of neighboring states and the prospect of nuclear weapons on its borders.

      • ACTION ALERT: NYT’s China Covid Coverage Needs to Acknowledge Reality

        The New York Times report (1/12/22) on the response to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Chinese city of Xi’an featured over-the-top hand-wringing about “authoritarianism” and a complete erasure of the dangers of the coronavirus. Had this article been about Covid-19 response in Europe or the United States, one could swear it was from InfoWars or some other far-right, Covid-denying fringe outlet.

      • Humanity at "Doom's Doorstep" Says Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

        Top scientists responsible for the "Doomsday Clock" issued a stark warning Thursday about how close the world is to catastrophe due to the climate emergency, nuclear weapons, and "disruptive technologies in other domains."

        "The Doomsday Clock continues to hover dangerously, reminding us about how much work is needed to be done to ensure a safer and healthier planet."

      • Dems to Biden: Overhaul Drone Program That Has Killed Thousands of Civilians

        A group of 50 Democratic U.S. lawmakers on Thursday sent a letter to President Joe Biden focusing on the "inexcusable" number of noncombatants killed by drone strikes in the 20-year so-called War on Terror and urging his administration to "review and overhaul" American counterterrorism policy to "center human rights and the protection of civilians."

        "In far too many cases, rather than achieving the policy goal of eliminating hostile combatants to preserve U.S. national security, lethal U.S. strikes have instead killed thousands of civilians."

      • ‘It’s 20 Years of Detention and It Needs to End’

        Janine Jackson interviewed the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Pardiss Kebriaei about Guantánamo prisoners for the January 14, 2022, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Opinion | American Empire's Prison From Hell: Guantánamo

        It's now more than 20 years later and that American offshore symbol of mistreatment and injustice, the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is still open. In fact, as 2021 ended, New York Times reporter Carol Rosenberg, who has covered that notorious prison complex since its first day, reported on the Pentagon's plans to build a brand-new prefab courthouse at that naval base. It's intended to serve as a second, even more secret facility for holding the four remaining trials of war-on-terror detainees and is scheduled to be ready "sometime in 2023."

      • Opinion | Israel Violates Geneva Convention (Again) With Home Demolition in Occupied East Jerusalem

        The Israeli newspaper Arab 48 reports that early on Thursday morning, Israeli security forces brought bulldozers to demolish the house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Occupied East Jerusalem of the Salhiyeh family, having expelled the thirteen family members who owned it into the street on a freezing, rainy winter night.

      • The IDF Killed a Palestinian US Citizen. Why Is the US Doing Nothing?
      • Israel Accused of 'War Crime' of 'Ethnic Cleansing' in Sheikh Jarrah

        Governments around the world on Wednesday joined human rights advocates in condemning Israeli authorities' forced expulsion of a Palestinian family and the demolition of their longtime home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, with regional leaders accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing.

        "This crime is part of policies of persecution, racism, and ethnic cleansing against Indigenous landowners in favor of settlers."

      • As U.S.-Russia Tensions Escalate over Ukraine, U.S. May Stumble into War, Warns Katrina vanden Heuvel

        President Biden said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a “serious and dear price” if he orders his reported 100,000 troops stationed along the Russian-Ukraine border to invade Ukraine, a scenario Biden says is increasingly likely. This comes as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukraine’s president on Wednesday, similarly warning Russia could attack Ukraine on “very short notice.” We speak with The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel, who says the hawkish U.S. approach to the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a waste of national resources, and says the U.S. should pursue diplomacy instead of throwing around threats of expanding NATO into Eastern Europe. “More attention should be paid to how we can exit these conflicts, how we can find a way for an independent Ukraine,” says vanden Heuvel, who calls the Ukraine conflict a civil war turned into a proxy war. “If there is creative diplomacy, I think you could see a resolution of this crisis.”

      • The Smearing of Emma Watson

        The purpose of such false accusations is of course to deflect attention away from what is happening on the ground—the real (war) crimes that Israel is perpetrating against the Palestinian people—to the supposed motivations of the critics. Unable to defend its criminal actions, all that Israel’s increasingly desperate defenders have left is smear and innuendo, as the attacks on Emma Watson make clear.

        But the accusations may also have some other unintended consequences—they make real anti-Semitism (the right-wing fascist variety that really does hate Jews as Jews) more respectable and legitimate—and thus even more deadly. In that sense, the Zionist defenders of Israel are among the most dangerous purveyors of contemporary anti-Semitism—the hatred of Jews as a collective.

      • British Jewish leader resigns following comments about ‘war with Islam’

        A senior member of British Jewry’s main communal organization has resigned following his suspension over social media posts seen as hostile to Muslims.

        Gary Mond, a vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the treasurer of the UK branch of the Jewish National Fund, a pro-Israel charity committed to strengthening the Jewish state, had written on Facebook that “all civilization” is “at war with Islam,” among other social media activity unearthed by a news investigation.

      • Texas terrorist in final phone call: ‘F***ing Jews … I’ve come to die’

        The JC said that the recording was nearly 12 minutes long, but the paper uploaded only around three-and-a-half minutes to YouTube.

      • How England’s dying industrial towns became the West’s largest jihad factory

        As investigators in two continents now work to piece together what led 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram to travel across the Atlantic to take hostages at a synagogue in Texas, US, the story of the riot in his home town helps understand how England’s dying industrial towns turned into the West’s largest jihad factory.

        Fourteen hundred United Kingdom citizens, almost all second- and third-generation immigrants, are estimated to have served with the Islamic State alone; “British fighters have been found on almost every jihadist battlefield since Afghanistan in the 1970s,” scholar Raffaello Pantucci has recorded.

      • Don't Let CAIR off the Hook for Its Role in the Colleyville Hostage Crisis | Opinion

        These details give us some clarity about the horrific events of this past weekend. But one haunting reason why a synagogue was held hostage is that a major American institution targeted synagogues. The gunman was just aiming at the proverbial bullseye that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had set.

      • Thousands of Danish-born denied passport under tough Citizenship Law

        An increasing number of people in Denmark have a so-called ‘Alien’s Passport’ recognising them as “stateless” because they can neither get a Danish passport, nor are eligible for a foreign one, reports DR.

        While this is the case for many refugees and their reunified family members, tight Danish legislation means their children, born in Denmark, are too.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Real photos of ‘Putin’s palace’ Alexey Navalny’s researchers say they’ve corroborated a bombshell report on the Russian president’s alleged seaside residence

        Alexey Navalny’s investigative team operating abroad has released a new report devoted to “Vladimir Putin’s palace” — a seaside mansion that’s been under construction for years in Gelendzhik and linked to the Kremlin and the president’s close friends. Exactly a year and a day ago, Team Navalny published an investigative report about the residence that has attracted more than 121 million views. In these new revelations, the jailed opposition leader’s researchers say they’ve obtained real photographs of the palace’s interior. The images apparently corroborate the accuracy of last year’s 3D mockups that were created using leaked blueprints and furniture catalogs (including a design for a hookah lounge that contains a “dance pole”).

      • #SocialMediaComplianceWatch: an analysis of Compliance Reports for the month of October

        Google (including YouTube), Facebook, Instagram, ShareChat, Snap, Twitter and WhatsApp have released their reports in compliance with Rule 4(1)(d) of the IT Rules 2021 for the month of October, 2021. The reports continue to suffer from the same shortcomings, which exhibits a lack of effort on the part of the SSMIs and the government to further transparency and accountability in platform governance. The SSMIs have continued to not report on government requests, used misleading metrics, and not disclosed how they use algorithms for proactive monitoring. You can read our analysis of the previous reports here.

    • Environment

      • After Year One, Climate Group Says Biden 'Failing Us'

        The youth-led Sunrise Movement on Thursday deemed President Joe Biden's first year in office a failure on the existential threat of climate change, which the administration has vowed to tackle while simultaneously greenlighting fossil fuel projects that will worsen the crisis.

        "Put simply, he needs to act with the urgency and courage that the climate crisis demands."

      • Opinion | How Are the US and Other Countries Doing on Fighting Climate Change?

        On December 8, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to spearhead his administration’s efforts to combat climate change. What does this order actually promise to accomplish? How does that compare with what other nations are doing? Is any of it enough to avert global calamity?€ € 

      • Energy

        • Sunrise Movement Calls Out Biden for Siding With Fossil Fuels
        • 'A Basic Human Right': Bowman, Markey Unveil Affordable Energy Bill

          Pledging to end the "life and death crisis of energy injustice" in the U.S., Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Sen. Ed Markey on Thursday introduced a bill to expand federal investment in energy assistance for low-income households and protect millions of people from utility shutoffs.

          The ability to heat and cool one's home is a "basic human right," Bowman said as the lawmakers introduced the Heating and Cooling Relief Act. Yet one-third of Americans experiences some form of energy insecurity, the New York Democrat noted on social media.

        • Russian central bank proposes ban on cryptocurrencies, citing threat to financial stability

          Russia's central bank on Thursday proposed banning cryptocurrency in the country over concerns about financial instability.

          The bank released a report saying that cryptocurrency should be blocked as a means of transaction for government-issued currency, and financial institutions should be prevented from using it, Reuters reported. It also proposed banning the mining of cryptocurrency in the world's third largest region for such mining, citing the large amount of energy it takes to mine the currency via powerful computers.

        • Twitter brings NFTs to the timeline as hexagon-shaped profile pictures

          No matter what your opinion of easily reproduced digital trinkets is, Twitter is integrating them in a way that separates ridiculous images of cartoon apes that have been right-clicked from ridiculous images of cartoon apes that are connected to blockchain tokens by adding a special “soft hexagon” shape around them.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Omicron Supply-Chain Disruptions Are Hitting Low-Income Communities the Hardest
      • What We Owe People Experiencing Homelessness in the US

        Nearly two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, a wealth of scientific information has been amassed. We understand the range of symptoms, how the virus spreads, how to mitigate risk of infection, and what is necessary to build and maintain proper isolation and quarantine spaces. Much of this foundational data from which Americans and the world have benefited came from people experiencing homelessness and those who work with them. Yet, despite the knowledge gained from this population, the response has been continued demonization and criminalization.

      • D.C. Attorney General Sues Customer Service Firm Arise for Stiffing Workers on Pay

        The Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office sued Arise Virtual Solutions, the work-at-home customer service company, on Wednesday, alleging the company stole wages from workers and deprived them of minimum wage, overtime pay and paid sick leave.

        Large companies like Airbnb and Disney hire Florida-based Arise, which in turn recruits workers to answer customer service calls from their homes for its corporate clients. The attorney general’s civil suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court, alleges that Arise illegally classifies those workers as independent contractors rather than regular employees. That deprives the workers of a range of wage and other protections that the law provides only to employees.

      • Bree Newsome Bass: "Capitalism Has to Collapse"
      • The Political Economy of the Pandemic in the U.S. and Moving Forward

        If we measured how the economy is doing by the two most common measures, the unemployment rate and GDP or GDP growth, the economy is doing well over the second half of 2020 and 2021.

      • Biden Criticized for Ignoring Question on Student Debt Promise

        Progressives criticized President Joe Biden on Wednesday night for ignoring a reporter's question about whether he plans to keep his promise to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt per federal borrower—and reminded the president that he can do that, and more, with "the stroke of a pen."

        At the end of Biden's first press conference of the year, a reporter asked two questions. The first was: "You campaigned on canceling $10,000 in student loans. Do you still plan to do so, and when?"

      • World Bank chief contrasts Microsoft deal with poor countries' debt

        A G20 debt service suspension initiative expired at the end of 2021, and this year alone, those countries must pay $35 billion in debt service.

      • now says someone tried to drain $34m from hundreds of accounts on Thursday said in a roundabout way that an unidentified person stole or attempted to steal as much as $34m in cryptocurrency from customer accounts.

        In an update on the cyberattack reported earlier this week, the Singapore-based firm said it "learned that a small number of users had unauthorized crypto withdrawals on their accounts."

        That small number, the biz revealed, amounted to 483 customers.

        Normally, such actions are attributed to some entity – an attacker, a threat actor, thief, malicious insider, hackers, miscreants, or such – even if that term is only a placeholder for the responsible party because attribution isn't certain. however made no mention of any person or persons known, suspected, or presumed to be behind the attack described in its incident report, as if the funds absconded on their own.

      • Russia's Putin out the idea of a broad cryptocurrency ban

        Russia has floated the prospect of Putin a ban on cryptocurrencies.

        The Bank of Russia, the nation's central bank, yesterday published a Consultation Paper [PDF] titled "Cryptocurrencies: Trends, Risks, and Regulation" that ponders the impact of unbacked cryptocurrencies and stablecoins on Russia's economy.

        The document opens by noting that Russian citizens have not missed the crypto investment boom, and transact an estimated $5 billion a year with the digi-dollars, while the nation has become a major centre for crypto-mining.

        But the paper doesn't see that as a good thing. It notes that cryptocurrencies are volatile and therefore create risks for investors. The Bank also worries that widespread use of cryptocurrencies reduces governments' ability to operate the levers of their economies.

      • Boom Bust: Inflation reaches 7% highest level since 1982
      • Economic Update: Emotions and US Politics Today

        On this week's show, Prof. Wolff talks about US bank closings as a sign of system decline

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Trump Appeal on Docs Going to Jan. 6 Committee
      • Terry Teachout and the Last of the Conservative Critics

        The critic and dramatist Terry Teachout had many friends, so news of his death at age 65 on January 13 spread very quickly. I heard about it that afternoon, shortly after listening to the episode of the podcast Know Your Enemy dealing with the recent death of another prominent writer: Joan Didion. The podcast and Teachout’s death became quickly intertwined in my mind not just because of the coincidence of timing. Didion and Teachout were both exemplars of a kind of literate and skeptical cultural conservatism that with their deaths now seems a preciously rare commodity. The United States in 2022 is awash in conservatives trying to ignite a culture war, but now there aren’t many conservatives engaged in genuine cultural conversation and debate.

      • Washington’s Dominion Is Ending—but Not Without a Struggle

        Throughout 2021, Americans were absorbed in arguments over mask mandates, school closings, and the meaning of the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Meanwhile, geopolitical hot spots were erupting across Eurasia, forming a veritable ring of fire around that vast land mass.

      • The Ravenous Press

        He was pleasant and friendly; alas, they were not! They were focused on making sure he was “got!” They were focused on being the lead in their stories, Hoping for “press” and for headliner glory! They condemned and imputed, kept repeating their brief. “Things aren’t perfect! Your fault! You’re Commander in Chief. “We still have pandemic! Why haven’t you stopped it? “No Voting Rights Bill! Another ball you have dropped! “Did you promise too much? Do you think you’re too old? “Are you weak? Are you dumb? Too naive? Or too bold?” He stayed calm. He tried reason. He explained many things. He explained the confusion new variants bring. He explained the economy, the bad and the good. Said things don’t always go as you think that they should. He spoke about job growth, low unemployment. None of that seemed to give them enjoyment. “Forget the 2 billion in Covid Relief, “Forget Infrastructure! We’re looking for grief! “Forget child poverty greatly reduced! “Forget the lives saved by the vaccine produced! “Say you’re sorry, you’ve failed, you’ve let us all down!” Only rarely did he respond with a frown. For two hours he stood there, withstood their attacks, Trying to get them to deal with the facts! And then he misspoke, oh the glory of that! The gotcha was gotten, they threw up their hats! “We knew it! We knew it! He made a mistake! “Now it’s done and we did it! Let’s go home and eat cake!”

      • Asked About Black Voters, McConnell Says Quiet, Racist Part Very Loud

        Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was excoriated Thursday after suggesting that Black Americans aren't really American during a news conference the previous evening.

        "McConnell's comments suggesting African Americans aren't fully American wasn't a Freudian slip—it was a dog whistle. The same one he has blown for years."

      • Voting Rights Legislation, Filibuster Changes Fail to Pass in the Senate
      • Voting Rights Bill Blocked by Parties Unknown—According to Headlines

        With the GOP leaning ever more heavily on a strategy of voter suppression and election manipulation to gain power, Democrats finally made an effort to stop some of those maneuvers by bringing a voting rights bill before the Senate. But Wednesday’s unified GOP filibuster—and the refusal by Democratic senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin to modify Senate rules to allow a majority vote on this one bill—killed the attempt.

      • Biden Asks the Best Question: “What Are Republicans For?”

        He couldn’t win, but he might have fought to a draw.

      • Fetterman Calls Fall of Union Membership 'A National Disgrace'

        Union membership in the U.S. declined by 241,000 workers in 2021 as federal legislation aimed at strengthening the right to organize languished in the Senate, leaving corporations with significant power to crush collective bargaining efforts.

        According to figures released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall U.S. union membership fell to 10.3% in 2021—down from 10.8% the previous year—even as public approval of unions rose to its highest point in nearly six decades.

      • Opinion | Beware the GOP's Election Cop Proposals

        Republicans have been committing election fraud right out in the open since 1964 and covering it up by yelling about "voter fraud."

      • DeSantis, Perdue Push GOP Election Police Force

        Former Republican Senator, gubernatorial candidate, and "big lie" promoter David Perdue said Thursday that he wants a special election police force for Georgia.

        His proposal comes on the heels of a similar plan from Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for a police force authorized to investigate and arrest alleged election law-violators.

      • Fins Twisting
      • Opinion | 12 Years After Citizens United, the Supreme Court's Right-Wing Revolution Continues

        Today marks the twelfth anniversary of one of the most destructive rulings ever issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

      • Ralph Nader: Biden’s First Year Proves He Is Still a “Corporate Socialist” Beholden to Big Business

        As President Biden marks one year in office, we speak with former four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader and The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel, who say Biden has failed so far to sell his agenda to the American people and bring about the transformative policy he campaigned on — from quelling the pandemic to passing his landmark Build Back Better legislation. The two also critique the U.S. mainstream press for asking “war-inciting questions,” with Nader saying “the self-censorship of the press is overwhelming.”

      • Now is the Moment to Declare Independence

        The UK government is reeling. It is like a boxer already knocked unconscious before hitting the floor. The wheels of the civil service continue to turn, but there is no longer any connecton to those at the top. Authority has simply disintegrated in Boris Johnson’s hands. Everybody knows he is no longer in charge, and nobody yet knows who will be.

      • A Visionary Without a Country

        On Sept. 9, 1999, David Letterman entertained millions of television viewers by riffing on a scientific breakthrough that had made an obscure Princeton assistant professor famous overnight. The late-night host’s top-10 list of “Term Paper Topics Written by Genius Mice” — including “A Sociological Study of Why Cats Suck” and “Outsmarting The Mousetrap: Just Take The Cheese Off Really, Really Fast” — saluted Joe Z. Tsien’s achievement in genetically engineering a mouse to learn faster and adapt better to changing conditions.

        As the years passed, Tsien’s fame faded. Then, like hundreds of other scientists at U.S. universities, he found himself in the crosshairs of a federal crackdown on China’s theft of American research and expertise. His employer, the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, and one of his main funders, the National Institutes of Health, accused him of failing to disclose positions and funding in China, as well as his participation in China’s lucrative — and controversial — Thousand Talents recruitment program. The university removed his endowed chair, reassigned him to a smaller lab, and blocked him from sending his genetically modified mice to a professor in Shanghai who wanted to study them.

      • Biden Implies Sanders — Not Manchin or Sinema — Is Obstructing Democratic Agenda
      • Amid 'Slow-Motion Coup,' Manchin and Sinema Help GOP Sink Voting Rights

        Right-wing Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema ensured the defeat of their own party's voting rights legislation Wednesday night by teaming up with the GOP to sink a proposed change to the Senate filibuster, leaving millions with inadequate protections as Republicans suppress ballot access nationwide.

        The failed attempt to temporarily weaken the filibuster—which, in an evenly divided Senate, gives the minority party veto power over most legislation—came after the GOP used the archaic rule to block the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, a popular megabill that would restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965, establish stronger federal voting rights standards, and limit the role of dark money in elections.

      • Setback for Democracy: Manchin & Sinema Join Senate Republicans to Block Voting Rights Legislation

        As President Biden marked one year in office this week, conservative Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema joined with Republican senators to block a proposed change to filibuster rules that would have allowed two voting rights bills to move forward, foreclosing the chance to stop hundreds of anti-voting laws passed after the 2020 election. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders blasted his colleagues for opposing the rules change, and Georgia’s Raphael Warnock likened the fight for voting rights to the civil rights movement. We air excerpts from their speeches.

      • After a Year of Biden, We Still Have Trump-Era Foreign Policy
      • US Urges Ex-American Hostage in Iran to Halt Vienna Hunger Strike

        The Biden administration is urging a 77-year-old former U.S. hostage in Iran to call off a hunger strike in Vienna aimed at pressing for a U.S.-Iranian deal to free Americans and other Westerners of Iranian origin detained in Iran.

        Barry Rosen said in a Twitter video that he began the hunger strike Wednesday outside Vienna's Palais Coburg hotel, the main venue for separate U.S.-Iran indirect talks about reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The JCPOA is a 2015 deal in which Iran promised to constrain its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief from the U.S. and other world powers.

      • Senate Panel Approves Antitrust Bill to Rein in Big Tech

        The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved antitrust legislation targeting corporate behemoths such as Google, Apple, and Amazon, a move that anti-monopoly campaigners hailed as a positive step toward reining in Big Tech.

        Formally known as the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, the bipartisan legislation cleared the judiciary panel by an overwhelming vote of 16-6 despite fierce lobbying by Google and Apple, whose chief executives personally reached out to lawmakers to express their opposition to the bill.

      • Big tech’s supersized ambitions

        Governments, rivals and billions of customers, who already fear these firms are too powerful, may be alarmed by all this. One view is that the companies’ large customer bases, and control of pools of data with which to train artificial intelligence (AI), give them an insurmountable advantage. Won’t the giants use that to squash rivals? Yet all these new areas look competitive for the time being. Many other firms are in the metaverse race, for example. “Fortnite”, made by Epic Games, has more than 300m players worldwide, while Roblox has 47m gamers who spend 3bn hours a month on its platform. Nvidia, a chip firm, is moving into the space, too. Even Microsoft’s Activision deal would raise its market share in gaming to only 10-15%—hardly a monopoly. In autonomous cars, big tech must contend with the likes of Tesla, GM and Volkswagen. Global startups raised $621bn of venture funding in 2021, far more than big tech invested. And new rivals have emerged with unexpected speed in some areas, such as TikTok in social media.

      • Meta, Google grilled over misinformation and cyberbullying, Twitter next

        Sydney: An Australian government committee on Thursday grilled Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google about the spread of misinformation and cyberbullying across their platforms.

        Google's director of government affairs and public policy, Lucinda Longcroft, was asked by the committee about misleading Covid-19 information on YouTube, and was specifically shown at least nine United Australia Party (UAP) ads containing Covid misinformation.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • ASPI - The Gov’t-Funded Conspiracist Think Tank Now Controlling Your Social Media Feed

        Social media giant Twitter raised many eyebrows recently when it announced that it had partnered with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in its fight against disinformation and fake news. ASPI, Twitter revealed in a blog post, had helped identify thousands of accounts that “amplified Chinese Communist Party narratives” around China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. These accounts have now been permanently deleted.

      • Facebook posts falsely tout flour as treatment for burns and scalds

        Multiple Facebook posts shared repeatedly claim that flour is an effective treatment for burns and scalds. However, health experts call the claim "absolutely false" and told AFP that flour is not recommended as a treatment for burns and scalds as putting flour into an open wound may result in further inflammation. They advise people to clean burn wounds with water and those who experience serious burns should seek professional medical help for proper treatment.

      • Media messes up coverage of voting rights, blames Biden for GOP's racism

        Republicans made their choice Wednesday, using their filibuster power — which is shamefully being protected by two turncoat Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — to block the passage of the Senate voting rights bill. Some Republicans are no doubt personally racist, in full agreement with Donald Trump's repeated insistence that racially diverse voters in cities like Philadelphia and Detroit are "frauds". Some are just worried about their own power, which they know is threatened in all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity, have equal rights to the ballot box. Either way, the use of the filibuster — in line with its history — was leveraged by Republicans as a tool of white supremacy.

        The obvious people to blame for this gross behavior are Republicans themselves. But what's the fun in that? So, instead, far too many in the media are letting Republicans off the hook and instead fixing the blame on Democrats for somehow not doing more to make Republicans less evil.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Harrison Greenbaum Latest Trick: Having Paul Levy Respond To Criss Angel's Thuggish Legal Threat

        Last week, we wrote about how entertainer/magician Criss Angel sent a ridiculous threat letter to comedian/magician Harrison Greenbaum after Harrison created a parody website/menu gently mocking Criss Angel's bizarrely named restaurant, CABLP. Greenbaum had announced on Twitter that he wasn't going to stand for this kind of bullying, and apparently he made the very smart decision to have Public Citizen Litigation Group lawyer Paul Levy respond on his behalf. If you've been reading Techdirt for any length of time, you should probably know that if you're on the receiving end of a letter from Paul Levy, you've probably done something very dumb. But, damn, Paul's letters are just so entertaining -- you can just picture the grin on his face as he writes these. And I'm not going to mention all the puns/references to magic, because I'll let you spot them all on your own.

      • Pak Woman, 26, Sentenced To Death For Texting Caricatures Of Prophet

        A Muslim woman was sentenced to death in Pakistan on Wednesday after being convicted of sending a blasphemous text message and caricatures of Prophet Muhammad via WhatsApp, a court said.

        Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, and laws prohibiting it can carry a potential death sentence -- although it has never been enforced for the crime.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Jamaal Bowman Arrested Alongside Other Voting Rights Protesters

        Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York drew praise Thursday for "standing with the people" after being arrested outside the U.S. Capitol for taking part in a voting rights protest.

        "Breaking News," tweeted the Sunrise Movement. "Fighting for voting rights is an arrestable action."

      • Fighting for Fair Representation in North Carolina

        In 2020, Keisha Dobie, a lifelong educator and a native of Elizabeth City, the predominantly African American county seat of Pasquotank County, N.C., embarked on a journey that has transformed her into a fierce advocate for fair redistricting.

      • Add The United Nations To The List Of Entities Helping The Chinese Government Oppress Its Minority Uighur Population

        It's no secret the Chinese government wants to control its population through pervasive surveillance. It's also no secret the government wants very badly to eliminate a certain sector of its population with (in every sense of the words) extreme prejudice.

      • How to Change the NFL’s Racist Hiring Practices

        What has long been an embarrassment for the National Football League now constitutes a crisis. After the firing of Houston Texans head coach David Culley, following just one overachieving 4-13 season (the Texans had no business winning anything), the NFL is down to one Black head coach, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. All Tomlin has done to keep his job is not have a losing season for 15 years. In addition to Culley’s getting canned, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was summarily fired after a near-miraculous season where he led to Dolphins to a 9-8 record after a 1-7, injury-plagued start. It was Flores’s second winning season in a row for a franchise that before him barely registered a pulse.

      • Pro-Life Charity Comes With a Catch

        Around 25 years ago, a young friend of mine had an accidental pregnancy. What should she do? This was New York City, so abortion, with state Medicaid funding, was readily available. Adoption, private or through an agency, was another possibility—lots of people would want a healthy white newborn. But what if she wanted to have the baby and keep it?

      • 'Getting A Lot of New Followers,' Says Cisneros After Cuellar FBI Raid

        Hours after U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer announced his endorsement of right-wing Rep. Henry Cuellar ahead of the Democratic primary in Texas' 28th district, the FBI conducted what appeared to be a raid at the congressman's home and campaign office late Wednesday—resulting in what could be a boost to Cuellar's progressive opponent.

        Jessica Cisneros, an immigration and human rights attorney, welcomed a slew of new followers on social media following reports that Cuellar was under investigation.

      • EFF Sues the U.S. State Department over Documents Related to Activist Leila Khaled

        EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records from the State Department last summer to find out whether the federal government€ directed technology platforms€ to censor Khaled’s speech.€ Six months later, the State Department has still not confirmed whether any such records exist, much less turned records over as required€ by the Freedom of Information Act. EFF is suing to force the agency to comply with its obligations under FOIA and to learn€ what role the federal government played in this platform censorship.

        As EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry wrote in 2020, "Particularly now, when so much intellectual debate depends on Internet communication, we need Internet services willing to let that debate happen. And if those service don’t exist, now would be a good time to create them—and for universities to commit to using them."

      • Sedition Prosecution Of Oath Keepers Members Shows The FBI Can Still Work Around Encryption

        There is no "going dark." Despite the FBI's protestations otherwise -- mostly embodied by FBI directors with axes to grind and narratives to sell -- investigators aren't finding encryption to be much of an impediment.

      • Kazakhstan unrest: 'If you protest again, we'll kill you'

        Like many others, she joined what started as peaceful protests against fuel price rises in early January. Kazakhstan has some of the world's largest oil reserves but most of the population doesn't share in the wealth.

        The demonstrations quickly spiralled into mass disturbances and looting that led to the worst bloodshed in the former Soviet state's 30 years of independence.

        The authorities are accused of using excessive force to restore order. Officially, 225 people were killed and many more were injured. Some 10,000 people have been detained in the wake of the disturbances, the authorities say.

      • Rights Groups: Taliban Arrest 4 Afghan Women at Homes

        A female Afghan human rights activist, her two sisters and another activist have been taken from their homes after recent protests in Kabul, friends and activists say, prompting suspicions they were detained by the Taliban.

        Shafi Karimi, a freelance journalist, told VOA that Tamana Paryani and her two sisters have been missing since Wednesday night.

      • Saudis warned of jail time for posting rumours after harassment claims

        But several women who have spoken to the BBC previously about their concerns over harassment of women at entertainment events in the kingdom insist that some of what was reported was genuine. They concede that this is hard to prove - as there don't appear to be videos or photos to back up the claims.

      • Taliban erasing Afghan women from public life, say UN experts

        The report was released on Monday by the Special Procedures group, which is the largest body of human rights experts in the UN system.

        In a tweet posted on the group’s official site, the experts claimed that Taliban leaders were “attempting to erase women and girls from public life through systematic gender-based discrimination & violence.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • China doubles its 5G user base ● The Register

        730 million 5G subscriptions have been ordered in China, according to operational statistics published this week by the nation's big three carriers: China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile.

        That total means 396.5 million new 5G packages were activated during 2021, more than doubling the 333.5 million services in operation as of January last year. The actual market could be even larger, as the three report subscriptions which could cover multiple devices or people.

        Demand for other communications services continued to grow in China across 2021.

        Even as they migrated millions of customers from 4G to 5G, the three carriers added another 100 million 4G subscribers. Not everyone wants the leading edge, it seems.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Why Netflix keeps cranking up its prices

        While the price hikes sting for consumers, it’s safe to expect they’ll continue — especially for Netflix. Growth opportunities have stalled, and the company’s spending on content continues to grow. To keep up, Netflix has to either increase the number of subscribers paying for its service or ask its existing customers for more money. And right now, Netflix knows it can.

      • TikTok is thinking about letting its creators charge subscription fees

        TikTok confirmed Thursday that it is testing support for paid subscriptions, paving the way for creators on the short form video platform to charge for their content. First reported by The Information, the company didn’t share details about when it might roll out to creators, how many creators are currently testing it, or what the pay structure might look like. Company spokesman Zachary Kizer said in an email to The Verge that the subscriptions were a “concept that’s been in testing,” and that it was “always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” (whatever that means).

        If adopted, it would be the latest move by TikTok to help its creators monetize their content; it introduced its Creator Next hub with monetization tools, and rolled out its tipping feature to eligible creators in December, after testing it with a smaller group.

    • Monopolies

      • NortonLifeLock and Avast tie-up falls under UK competition regulator's spotlight [Ed: Two companies that make malware and spyware while claiming to protect you from these]

        The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has invited comments from industry and interested parties about NortonLifeLock's proposed $8bn purchase of fellow infosec outfit Avast.

        The merger inquiry will run until the 16 March when the comments will be collated and assessed to determine if there is sufficient concern to warrant a deeper investigation.

        "The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002," it said.

        If that is the case, the watchdog will try to ascertain "whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets" in the UK for goods and services.

      • Patents

        • Inventive AI: European Patent Office finds that only humans can be inventors

          As artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in the R&D process, the premise that invention is a uniquely human characteristic is being challenged.

          Patent offices and courts around the world have recently been grappling with the question of whether an AI system can be the inventor of a patent. This has been prompted by Dr. Stephen Thaler’s applications to designate his AI system (known as ‘DABUS’) as the inventor of patents filed in multiple jurisdictions. Most recently, the appeal board of the European Patent Office (EPO) refused Dr. Thaler’s patent applications because there was no valid inventor.

      • Copyrights

        • Record Labels Face Sanctions Over 'Destroyed' Piracy Evidence

          Internet provider Bright House has asked a Florida federal court to sanction several record labels for 'destroying' evidence that it says is crucial to the ongoing piracy liability lawsuit. In addition to sanctions, the ISP also wants the option to inform the jury about the missing evidence, while testimony based on that information should be precluded from trial.

        • Totally Bogus DMCA Takedowns From Giant Publishers Completely Nuke Book Review Blog Off The Internet

          Just as we're in the midst of a Greenhouse series all about SOPA, copyright industry lobbyists, and former copyright industry lawyers now running the Copyright Office are conspiring to make copyright law worse and to favor Hollywood and give the big giant legacy copyright companies more control and power over the internet.

        • The Fight For Anti-Censorship Tools Continues

          This week (January 18) marks the ten-year anniversary of the successful campaign against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States. This proposed legislation threw up grave challenges to the future of an open Internet, including freedom of expression and access to information, by creating a blacklist of censored websites to be blocked and made inaccessible to the public.€ 

        • 10 Years Later: SOPA Protests Were A Turning Point, But Not The Beginning Or The End

          The SOPA blackouts of 2012 marked an important milestone in the power of online activism to influence policy at the highest levels, but it would be a mistake to view it as either the start or the end of the struggle it represents. It is still among the most strikingly-effective examples to date, but it built on years of policy work that continues to this day.

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