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Links 23/02/2023: Transmission 4.0.1 and Ubuntu 22.04.2 LTS

  • GNU/Linux

    • Applications

      • Linux Links6 Best Free and Open Source Econometric Software

        Econometric software is statistical software that is specialized for econometric analysis. This type of software offers regression analysis including time-series analysis and cross-sectional analysis. Modern econometric software enhances the process of model formulation, estimation and validation, and provides helpful graphical information as well as tables of output. They are important tools in the analysis of stock markets, budget planning, and aid in decision making by policy makers.

        For many years the computer package SAS (developed by the SAS Institute) has dominated the econometric software market. Other prominent software includes GAUSS, OxMetrics, Stata, and SPSS. All of these applications are high quality and available for Linux. However, they are commercial software released under proprietary software licenses. The purpose of this article is to identify open source software which allow users to perform econometric analyses.

      • NeowinTransmission 4.0.1

        Transmission is a fast, easy-to-use bittorrent client with support for encryption, a web interface, peer exchange, magnet links, DHT, €µTP, UPnP and NAT-PMP port forwarding, webseed support, watch directories, tracker editing, global and per-torrent speed limits, and more.

        Transmission has one of the lowest memory & resource footprints of any major BitTorrent client. Transmission's light overhead is one reason why it is so well suited for home NAS and media servers. Having been used by Western Digital, Zyxel and Belkin, Transmission gives truly impressive performance on almost any compatible hardware.

        Transmission is an open source, volunteer-based project. Unlike some BitTorrent clients, Transmission doesn't play games with its users to make money.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Exple.Tive.OrgModern Problems Require Modern Solutions

        Over on Mastodon I asked: “What modern utilities should be a standard part of a modern unixy distro? Why? I’ve got jq, pandoc, tldr and a few others on my list, but I’d love to know others.”

        Here’s what came back; I’ve roughly grouped them into two categories: new utilities and improvements on the classics.

        In no particular order, the new kids on the block: [...]

    • Games

      • GamingOnLinuxValve tricks Dota 2 cheaters and then bans 40,000 of them

        In a new post titled "Cheaters Will Never Be Welcome in Dota", Valve mentioned how they managed to get a whole lot of cheaters to show themselves and then gave them a swift boot to the buttocks.

      • Techdirt‘Spellbreak’ Developer Gets It Exactly Right In ‘Shutting Down’ Its Game

        We’ve been talking a lot about video game preservation and strategies for maintaining as much of this cultural output as possible in an industry where the norm is to sunset games after a certain period of time. Most recently, we discussed the comments made by legendary game designer John Carmack, prescribing how game publishers and developers could take steps to ensure their games live on long after they are no longer supported and/or hosted by them directly. At a high level, his suggestions all amount to something that some publishers and developers have a hard time doing: giving up control in order to keep their games alive.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Education

      • Business WireFOSSDA Project to Record Open Source History

        The free and open source software movement was started by a generation of technical visionaries who believed that access to information is fundamental to human rights in our digital age. It grew into a movement that has transformed software development, business, and modern society. Open source projects have resulted in global collaboration and the creation of Linux, the most popular operating system on earth–along with community tools like Firefox, Sendmail, and the backbone of the Internet. Today, there are over 50 publicly traded commercial open source software companies representing billions in value, and they are in the process of changing how business works today.

        “FOSSDA is about the personal stories of those who came together to revolutionize our modern technological world,” said Heather Meeker, FOSSDA’s founder. “A lot has been written about open source development and open source licensing — some practical, some dogmatic, some thought-provoking. But the FOSSDA Project is about a trailblazing human journey.”

      • Unicorn MediaApache and Mozilla Sponsor Organization to Collect FOSS Oral History

        Since you’re reading FOSS Force, you probably don’t need to be told that there’s a rich history behind Linux and open source, going back to at least 1983, which is when Richard Stallman founded the GNU Project.

        Along the way Stallman wrote his requirements for The Four Essential Freedoms of Free Software and issued the GPL; Linus Torvalds started work on Linux, the operating system which has in many ways taken over modern computing; BSD battled AT&T for the right to issue Unix software as open source; and more.

    • Programming/Development

      • Daniel MiesslerExploring the intersection of security, technology, and society—and what might be coming next...
      • Fernando BorrettiAnd Yet It Understands

        These dismissive analogies serve to create a false sense of security—that if I can name something I understand it and know how it works and it is no longer a threat4—and to signal to the listeners that the speaker has some revealed knowledge that they lack. But nobody knows how GPT works. They know how it was trained, because the training scheme was designed by humans, but the algorithm that is executed during inference was not intelligently designed but evolved, and it is implicit in the structure of the network, and interpretability has yet to mature to the point where we can draw a symbolic, abstract, human-readable program out of a sea of weights.

      • Tim BradshawHow to understand closures in Common Lisp

        It’s easy to see why this has happened: the CL standard has a lot of discussion of lexical closures, lexical and dynamic environments and so on. So it’s tempting to think that this way of thinking about things is ‘the one true way’ because it has been blessed by those who went before us. And indeed CL does have objects representing part of the lexical environment which are given to macro functions. Occasionally these are even useful. But there are no objects which represent closures as distinct from functions, and no predicates which tell you if a function is a closure or not in the standard language: closures simply do not exist as objects distinct from functions at all. They were useful, perhaps, as part of the text which defined the language, but they are nowhere to be found in the language itself.

        So, with the exception of the environment objects passed to macros, none of these objects exist in the language. They may exist in implementations, and might even be exposed by some implementations, but from the point of the view of the language they simply do not exist: if I give you a function object you cannot know if it is a closure or not.

      • OpenSource.comLearn Lua with our new downloadable guide

        Lua is a programming language designed for simplicity and performance, used by video game and multimedia companies as a front-end scripting language. It's also used by the Awesome window manager, the Far file manager, the Howl text editor, and many more open source projects for its clarity and clean design. Lua is embeddable, too, so you can include Lua code in codebases of another language (such as Java, C, and C++), as well as interact with a rich C API. Whether you want to want to learn Lua to get into the gaming and media industry, or you're just interested in an easy scripting language with no upper limit, Lua is an approachable and powerful programming language.

      • Python

        • Andrew HealeyMy Own Python Web Framework

          Jar is a toy Python web framework, implemented in about 200 lines of code (see I built it to explore some ideas around framework APIs, and to explore frameworks from the author-side of things. Please don't actually use it. It's called Jar because it has almost no features and you need to fill it up yourself!

  • Leftovers

    • Terence EdenNecroposting - blogging from before you started blogging

      A blog isn't an immutable chain of events. There's nothing to stop us travelling in time. When I go digital sperlunking though my history, I often find interesting things I wrote before I blogged. So I bring these "back from the dead" and publish them as Necroposts.

    • Hicks DesignFiddling makes me happy

      I keep thinking about Ethan’s famous quote "let your website be a worry stone". I’m constantly fiddling with for this very reason. It’s my playground to try different techniques and layout ideas, and here's what I've been fiddling with recently.

    • ZimbabweThis is what Zimbabweans do on the internet when they are not on WhatsApp

      There was a time when the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) used to break down the internet usage stats they release in their sector reports. From that data, we found out that WhatsApp accounted for close to half of all [Internet] usage in the country.

    • The HillMost young men are single. Most young women are not.

      “We’re in a crisis of connection,” said Niobe Way, a psychology professor and founder of the Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity at New York University. “Disconnection from ourselves and disconnection from each other. And it’s getting worse.”

    • Science

      • Matt RickardErdÅ‘s Vocabulary

        Paul ErdÅ‘s was a prolific mathematician who published more than 1,500 papers in his lifetime. You might hear someone refer to their ErdÅ‘s number, talking about the “collaborative distance” between them. The distance is measured by the shortest path via co-authorship of papers. The Kevin “Bacon number” applies the same idea to movies.

        But one of the most unique things about Erdős was his distinctive vocabulary.

      • CNNWebb telescope makes a surprising galactic discovery in the distant universe

        The telescope observes the universe in infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, and is capable of detecting the faint light from ancient stars and galaxies. By peering into the distant universe, the observatory can essentially see back in time up to about 13.5 billion years ago. (Scientists have determined the universe is about 13.7 billion years old.)

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • The DriveHacker Uncovers How to Turn Traffic Lights Green With Flipper Zero

        For the record, building and using one of these transmitters as a member of the general public isn't exactly a good idea nor is it legal It's best treated like something read in The Anarchist's Cookbook unless you want to end up in prison for six months, that is. But for those in a position where they are authorized to use the devices as part of their work, Fairlie's example serves as a low-cost proof of concept for agencies that don't have tons of cash to spend on first-party transmitters.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • ABCHow Did TikTok Bans Go Viral In State Legislatures?

        One big difference is that states banning TikTok are taking a more targeted approach than Trump by pinpointing state-owned or state-operated devices. (Trump’s proposal would have effectively banned TikTok in the U.S. entirely.) And the political stars may be aligning to make the bans an appealing issue for both parties, according to Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego. Republicans have long harbored animus toward both China and social media companies. Democrats, too, Kousser said, likely see this as a winning issue given the escalating tension between China and the U.S. over tech competition and economic leadership. And lawmakers at the federal level are trying to push the bans even further, with some Republicans even calling for TikTok’s outright ban.

      • uni John HopkinsUndergrads partner with NATO to reduce combat casualties

        Now combat triage is undergoing yet another dramatic transformation—this time, a digital one. Working with the NATO HQ Supreme Allied Command Transformation Innovation Hub and the SACT Medical Branch, student engineers and scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the Czech Technical University have leveraged artificial intelligence to create a Digital Triage Assistant. Worn like a watch on soldiers' wrists, the device collects their vital signs and location data, feeding that information in real time to a dashboard that not only tells medics where the wounded are located, but also assesses the severity of their injuries.

      • The AtlanticAdults Are Letting Teen Girls Down

        When I gave up Facebook, it felt like I’d been given back time and peace of mind. So our house rule was no social media until age 18. We were always open to talking with both of our kids about our decision, but my husband and I both felt strongly that it was the right choice and we stuck with it.

        I got a surprise when my daughter made an impassioned plea to be allowed to use social media at 17. I was wavering, thinking maybe we’d waited long enough, and wanted to avoid conflict. But it was her 20-year-old brother who spoke up and said, “Don’t do it, Mom. It’s not a good place.”

        In the end, our daughter agreed to wait another year, albeit grudgingly. What convinced her was a conversation we had about her workload and how easy it is to lose yourself in your phone, even when you’re not on social media. She was able to acknowledge the danger of distraction and waited until she turned 18.

    • Proprietary

      • [Repeat] Federal News NetworkFederal IT leaders see ‘critical moment’ in securing systems from fraud [iophk: Windows TCO]

        And during a Congressional hearing earlier this month, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro said the Government Accountability Office is, for the first time, trying to come up with an estimate of the total amount of fraud across all federal programs.

        Deidre Harrison, the acting controller at OMB, said while federal CFOs are still identifying pandemic-related fraud and recovering funds whenever possible, they also need to look forward to prepare with better fraud detection and prevention tools in the future.

      • CyberRisk Alliance LLCNPM repository flooded with 15,000 phishing packages

        The malicious packages were created using an automated process to distribute links to phishing campaigns across a few hours between Feb. 20 and 21. It was carried out through multiple user accounts, making it difficult for security teams to identify and remove packages quickly, Checkmarx researcher Yehuda Gelb noted in a Tuesday blog post.

      • Lionel DricotWe need to talk about your Github addiction

        Listen my fellow geeks in code, we need to have a serious conversation about Github.

        At first, Github was only a convenient way to host a git repository and to collaborate with others. But, as always with monopolies, once you are trapped by convenience and the network effect, the shitification process starts to try to get as much money and data from you.

      • 37signals LLCWe stand to save $7m over five years from our cloud exit

        Since declaring our intention to leave the cloud in October, we've been busy at work making it so. After a brief detour down a blind alley with an enterprise Kubernetes provider, we found our stride building our own tools, and successfully moved the first small application out of the cloud a few weeks ago. Now our sights are set on a total cloud exit by the end of the Summer, and by our preliminary calculations, we stand to save about $7m in server expenses over five years from doing so. Without changing the size of our ops team.

      • 37signals LLCFive values guiding our cloud exit

        I've talked a lot about cost in our reasoning for leaving the cloud. But while cost is crucial, it is not the only motivating factor. Here are five values that have guided our decision, and that I recently articulated in an internal post at 37signals (so excuse the code names etc): [...]

    • Security

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • Rolling StoneElon Musk’s Twitter Goes Dark on Government Data Grabs

          For a decade, Twitter published rundowns twice a year of all of those government requests. But under Musk, that appears to have ended.

          Despite Musk’s rhetoric about government bullying of social media, his company hasn’t published one of the formerly regular transparency reports detailing what governments are demanding from Twitter — and whether the company is bending to them.

        • VOA NewsKenyan App Users Pay for Health Care With Personal Data

          To address the relatively high cost of health care in Africa, a Kenyan mobile application lets users pay for medical services by selling their personal data through blockchain technology. [...]

        • Deutsche WelleGerman government banned from operating Facebook page

          Germany's Data Protection Commissioner Ulrich Kelber demanded on Wednesday that the federal government stop operating its Facebook page.

          A letter to the German government's press office (BPA) about this was sent out at the beginning of the week. The press office has four weeks from receipt of the notice to close the page or file a legal objection to Kelber's decision.

          Kelber justified his decision on doubts about the page fulfilling all data protection requirements. On Wednesday, Kelber pointed to the "extensive processing of personal data" of Facebook users, which made it impossible to operate the page in compliance with data protection laws.

        • Scoop News GroupDigital drivers license downloads soar in Louisiana amid porn restriction

          The number of daily downloads of LA Wallet, the state’s digital ID app, has jumped from between 1,200 and 1,500 to more than 5,000, since Dec. 31, a day before the law took effect, according to Calvin Fabre, senior analyst and president of Envoc, the vendor that developed the app.

        • [Repeat] Scoop News GroupSupreme Court declines to hear Wikimedia case against NSA surveillance program

          The American Civil Liberties Union and Knight First Amendment Institute filed a petition for the high court to hear the case on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit sided with the NSA’s defense that proceeding with the trial would reveal sensitive state secrets. By denying to hear the case, the court leaves that judgment in place.

          “It’s very disappointing. This surveillance program is one of the most sweeping ever enacted and it has yet to be subject to judicial review in a court. That’s a real problem for the rule of law,” Alex Abdo, litigation director at the Knight First Amendment Institute, told CyberScoop.

        • Data BreachesTrove of L.A. Students’ Mental Health Records Posted to Dark Web After Cyber Hack

          The student psychological evaluations, published to a “dark web” leak site by the Russian-speaking ransomware gang Vice Society, offer a startling degree of personally identifiable information about students who received special education services, including their detailed medical histories, academic performance and disciplinary records.

        • Deutsche WelleFacebook's subscription plan fails to impress

          A blue badge for $15 a month is widely seen as a raw deal for users and a desperate attempt to boost revenues. Have Facebook and Instagram's abuse of privacy for advertising bucks reached their limits?b

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • TruthdigDid Five Supreme Court Justices Lie About Abortion?

        The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, issued last year, overturned Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), and dismantled the federal constitutional right to abortion. One of the lingering questions in the aftermath of Dobbs is whether any of the five justices who voted to take that drastic step lied about their views on abortion during their respective confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

        A strong argument can be made that each of them either lied or made materially misleading statements.

    • Environment

      • CS MonitorDid the Ohio train derailment break a social contract?

        As someone who worked in manufacturing years later in Graniteville, I often thought about the idea of the social contract. The social contract suggests that big business should make decisions that positively affect society. It’s not enough for a corporation to produce jobs and support local events and charities as a trade-off for environmental calamity and insufficient infrastructure.

      • Helsinki TimesLapland's snow-less tourism to focus on midnight sun and autumn colors

        The long-term goal of the tourism industry is to increase Lapland's reputation as a summer destination and improve the accessibility of Lapland's destinations through new flight openings. All major tourism areas in Lapland, including Rovaniemi, Levi, Ylläs, Lapland North, and Ruka-Kuusamo, as well as Visit Finland, which promotes international tourism nationwide, are involved in the development of summer tourism. The measures will benefit the entire Lapland region as awareness grows and connections improve.

      • Energy/Transportation

        • The EconomistA new way to clean up the steel industry

          Cleaner ways of producing steel are being explored. Mostly, these are based on the use of hydrogen instead of coke as the reagent which extracts the oxygen from iron-oxide ore. But much of the pertinent technology is in its infancy. That, together with the cost of converting from old to new equipment, which might run to several billion dollars per plant, means it could take decades for steelmakers to go green.

        • La Prensa LatinaCuba reports new failure in electrical grid

          According to CMHW radio station, which broadcasts from the central province of Villa Clara, the power failure happened afresh in the 220KW power line that connects Matanzas with Cienfuegos.

        • BW Businessworld Media Pvt LtdIndian Railways Reaches 100% Electrification In Uttar Pradesh

          The 85 km long stretch of the Shubhagpur-Pachperwa region in Gorakhpur under North Eastern Railway has been electrified and connects East Coast Railway, North Central Railway, West Central Railway, Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway. All of them are already electrified. The railway ministry is further working on a target to achieve 100 per cent electrification of all its broad gauge routes. So far, 85 per cent of the work has been completed.

        • Scoop News GroupThe Energy Department’s Puesh Kumar on grid hacking, Ukraine and Pipedream malware

          Cyberattacks against the energy sector have received increasing attention since a ransomware attack against Colonial Pipeline catalyzed a nation’s understanding of the risks to critical infrastructure. The Department of Energy is the agency responsible for ensuring that the energy sector is secured against all types of threats — whether physical or digital. The DOE stood up the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, or CESER, in 2018 under the Trump administration to focus on such threats to the sector.

          At the annual industrial cybersecurity conference S4, CyberScoop caught up with Puesh Kumar, director of CESER, to discuss where the new office is heading, lessons learned from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and how to protect the grid of the future. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • New York TimesCocaine Bear, Meet Cannabis Raccoon and McFlurry Skunk

          Some of their stories are amusing, even relatable. “I received a call of a skunk out behind a hotel, running around in the parking lot with a McFlurry cup on its head,” said Jeff Hull, an environmental conservation officer for New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation. But animals’ taste for human goods — licit and illicit — can also bring trouble for them and for us.

        • The ConversationIn defence of vultures, nature’s early-warning systems that are holy to many people

          Vultures act as a sentinel species, which are animals that are more susceptible to hazards in a habitat than humans. Vultures consume any toxins a carcass may have carried. If these toxins are particularly dangerous, vultures that have fed on the chemical-filled body may struggle to reproduce, become ill or die. In this way, declines in vultures could highlight pollutants in the environment that may be harmful to many other species, including humans.

    • Finance

      • [Repeat] NPRNPR says it's cutting jobs by 10% as ad revenue drops

        On an annual budget of roughly $300 million, Lansing says, revenues are likely to fall short by close to $30 million, although that gap could reach $32 million.

      • Hollywood ReporterNPR to Cut Workforce by 10 Percent, as Advertising Slowdown Hits Public Media

        “Our financial outlook has darkened considerably over recent weeks,” Lansing wrote in a memo to staff Wednesday. “At a time when we are doing some of our most ambitious and essential work, the global economy remains uncertain. As a result, the ad industry has weakened and we are grappling with a sharp decline in our revenues from corporate sponsors. We had created a plan to address a $20M sponsorship revenue falloff for FY23 but we are now projecting at least a $30M shortfall. The cuts we have already made to our budget will not be enough.”

      • MeduzaRuben Vardanyan steps down from Artsakh prime minister post after less than 4 months in office — Meduza

        The ultra-wealthy entrepreneur and investor Ruben Vardanyan has been dismissed from his prime minister’s post in the breakaway Artsakh Republic, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • India TimesMusk continues to sack Twitter employees despite promise not to do so

        Elon Musk is still laying off Twitter employees as dozens of workers across sales and engineering departments were laid off last week, including one of Musk's direct reporting executive who was managing engineering for Twitter's ads business.

        It means that the new Twitter CEO has done at least three rounds of layoffs, according to The Verge.

      • IT WireNokia wins new 10-year 5G deal with Antina in Singapore

        Nokia says the deal will improve the 5G connectivity experience for businesses and consumers underpinning Singapore’s vibrant 5G ecosystem.

        Under the deal, Nokia will equip new buildings throughout the city state with its AirScale indoor Radio (ASiR) small cell solution for seamless indoor coverage and will also provide equipment from its latest energy-efficient AirScale portfolio including 5G base stations, massive MIMO adaptive antennas for urban and wide-area coverage as well as dual-band remote radio heads (RRH).

      • Hindustan TimesGoogle tests blocking content for some Canadians in response to news bill

        Google is blocking some Canadian users from viewing news content in what the company said Wednesday is a test run of a potential response to a Canadian government’s online news bill.

        Bill C-18, the Online News Act, would require digital giants such as Google and Meta, which owns Facebook, to negotiate deals that would compensate Canadian media companies for republishing their content on their platforms.

      • MIT Technology ReviewEntering the software economy

        The acceleration of digital transformation and speed of customer demands is turning almost every business into a technology business. Creating, using, or selling technology is now a critical part of every enterprise. But how do companies add emerging technologies and innovations?

      • ScheerpostAI and ChatGPT: Yet Another Assault on Democratic Governance?

        The use of AI systems in the political sphere raises some serious red flags. A Massachusetts Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Jake Auchincloss, wasted no time using this untested and still poorly understood technology to deliver a speech on a bill supporting creation of a new artificial intelligence center. While points for cleverness are in order, the brief speech read by the Auchincloss on the floor of the U.S. House was actually written by ChatGPT. According to his staff, it was the first time that an AI-generated speech was made in Congress. Okay, we can look the other way on this one because Auchincloss was doing a little grandstanding and trying to prove a point. But what about Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) who used AI to write a bill to regulate AI and who now says he wants Congress to pass it?

      • NBCFeds fine Mormon church for illicitly hiding $32 billion investment fund behind shell companies

        In an order released Tuesday, the SEC alleged that the church illicitly hid its investments and their management behind multiple shell companies from 1997 to 2019. In doing so, it failed to disclose the size of the church’s equity portfolio to the SEC and the public.

        The church was concerned that disclosure of the assets in the name of the nonprofit entity, called Ensign Peak Advisors, which manages the church's investments, would lead to negative consequences in light of the size of the church’s portfolio, the SEC said.

      • New York TimesHow Arizona Is Positioning Itself for $52 Billion to the Chips Industry

        Arizona, which is vying for subsidies along with Texas, New York and Ohio, may have a head start on the action. The state has been home to semiconductor makers since the 1940s and has 115 chip-related companies, whereas there is one major manufacturer in Ohio.

        Arizona has also led the nation in chip investments since 2020, with the announcements of two new chip-making plants by TSMC and two additional factories from Intel that will cost a combined $60 billion. State leaders had helped persuade the companies to open the facilities by offering big tax breaks and water and other infrastructure grants. They also promised to expand technical and engineering education in the state.

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

        • RTLOnline manipulation, hate 'must stop': UN conference

          Hundreds of officials, tech firm representatives, academics and members of civil society were invited to the two-day meeting hosted by the UN's cultural fund to brainstorm how to best vet content while upholding human rights.

          "Digital platforms have changed the way we connect and face the world, the way we face each other," UNESCO director general Audrey Azoulay said in opening remarks.

          But "only by fully evaluating this technological revolution can we ensure it is a revolution that does not compromise human rights, freedom of expression and democracy."

        • El PaísThey’re not TV anchors, they’re avatars: How Venezuela is using AI-generated propaganda

          The alleged journalists are Noah and Daren, two avatars created with artificial intelligence from the Synthesia software’s catalog of more than a hundred multiracial faces. Like Noah and Daren, there are avatars dressed as television hosts, but there is also Dave who can be made to look like a doctor or an executive, Carlo who wears a construction helmet, a woman in a hijab, a chef and even Santa Claus. A few months ago, some of them, also in their role as reporters, were used in a pro-China disinformation campaign, as The New York Times reported a few days ago.

          The videos of the fake presenters talking about Venezuela had hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, went viral on social media apps like TikTok and were inserted as paid advertising on that platform. In addition, they were aired on the state broadcaster Venezolana de Televisión, the Nicolás Maduro administration’s main broadcasting mouthpiece.

        • GannettMSU tragedy brings out fake photos and Spartan Strong scams

          “They were NOT wearing this sweatshirt design,” Parker wrote. “The company altered the photo."

          Taking the callous capitalism up a notch, the Facebook site that promotes the sweatshirt design — called "Love MSU" — updated its profile photo to feature Emma Riddle, an MSU student who survived the Oxford High School shooting.

        • Bridge MichiganMichigan State shooting update: Nessel, university warn of Spartan Strong scams

          The university’s licensing department has seen an uptick in the number of scams selling unlicensed Spartan Strong products, meaning the university can’t verify if proceeds from those sales will be donated to the fund, according to a news release.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • SalonAgainst the bait and switch censorship of Roald Dahl

        In other words: censorship. The censoring of Dahl comes at a time when books, literature and their writers face very real threats. In 2022, author Salman Rushdie was stabbed onstage in a near-fatal attack; the writer has since lost sight in one eye. Thousands of books about race, gender and sexuality have recently been banned around the country, with librarians, including elementary school librarians, on the front lines dealing with serious prosecution for something as simple — and necessary — as providing access to books.

        Is the censoring of Dahl meant to avoid being burned in this hot climate, or to somehow bring relevance to an antiquated author? Either way, censoring Dahl is a bad idea and actually commits the ultimate sin in children's literature: viewing child readers as less-than.

      • QuilletteRoald Dahl and the Ethics of Art

        These changes (they are listed in full here) are at best clumsy and gratuitous and at worst ludicrous attempts to replace Dahl’s vivid grotesqueries with sanitised language more suited to a corporate diversity and inclusion training course. The terrifying child-murdering witches of Dahl’s 1983 novel of that name, for example, wear wigs to conceal their baldness, making them hard to detect, since, as the protagonist’s grandmother tells him, “you can’t go round pulling the hair of every lady you meet” to see if it’s real. Instead, in the revised version, the grandmother primly tells her grandson, “there are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.”

      • ReasonSave Roald Dahl Books From the Dreaded Sensitivity Readers

        The sensitivity readers have come for beloved children's author Roald Dahl. A recent report in The Telegraph notes that Puffin, publisher of classics such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches, will soon release new editions of the books, sans problematic phrasing and terminology.

      • RFERLActivist Handed 18 Years In Prison After Calling For Iran's Supreme Leader To Resign

        Criticism of Khamenei, who has the last say on almost every decision in the Islamic republic, is considered a red line in Iran, and his critics often land in prison, where political prisoners are routinely held in solitary confinement and subjected to various forms of torture.

      • RFAYouTube shuts down satirical spoof video channel targeting Chinese leader Xi Jinping

        The takedown comes as Chinese censors grow increasingly concerned about satirical content about Xi Jinping coming from overseas, where students and activists recently demonstrated in solidarity with the "white paper" protests that swept China at the end of 2022, and where social media accounts often post content that would be banned or blocked in China.

        It suggests Chinese censors are using YouTube's copyright infringement reporting system to shut down content they find politically unacceptable, according to a fellow satirist.

      • New York TimesSupreme Court Seems Wary of Limiting Protections for Social Media Platforms

        In the course of a sprawling argument lasting almost three hours, the justices seemed to view the positions taken by the two sides as too extreme, giving them a choice between exposing search engines and Twitter shares to liability on the one hand and protecting algorithms that promote pro-ISIS content on the other.

        At the same time, they expressed doubts about their own competence to find a middle ground.

        “You know, these are not like the nine greatest experts on the [Internet],” Justice Elena Kagan said of the Supreme Court, to laughter.

      • Jerusalem PostIranian foundation offers land to Salman Rushdie's attacker - state media

        An Iranian foundation has praised the man who attacked novelist Salman Rushdie last year, leaving him severely injured, and said it will reward him with 1,000 square meters of agricultural land, state TV reported on Tuesday through its Telegram channel.

      • NPRThe story of Section 230 goes back to an AOL troll. Now the law may be undone

        It gives [Internet] platforms a legal shield that tech companies have benefited from since 1996. The law essentially allowed the [Internet] to blossom in its early days without being bogged down with pesky lawsuits, supporters say. It also allowed tech companies to decide what is allowed and what isn't on their own sites, without being on the hook legally for every single thing a user posts.

      • Broadband BreakfastSupreme Court Justices Express Caution About Entering Section 230 Debate

        Gonzalez v. Google, argued on Tuesday, hinges on whether YouTube’s use of recommendation algorithms puts it outside the scope of Section 230, which generally provides platforms with immunity for third-party content.

        A separate case involving terrorism and social media, Twitter v. Taamneh, was argued on Wednesday. Although the basic circumstances of the cases are similar — both brought against tech companies by the families of terrorist attack victims — the latter focuses on what constitutes “aiding and abetting” under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

      • The HillSupreme Court appears hesitant to hold Twitter responsible for ISIS terror attack

        Google asserted that Section 230 — a controversial liability shield for internet companies — protects the company from the underlying terrorism claims.

        If the justices ultimately rule in favor of Twitter in the second case, they wouldn’t need to touch the Section 230 question in Google’s dispute because the company wouldn’t need the protections in the first place.

      • VoxThe Supreme Court is befuddled by whether Twitter is liable for ISIS’s terrorism

        Should Twitter be held responsible for the Islamic State’s terrorist acts because ISIS used Twitter’s website? That’s the central question underlying a case the Supreme Court heard on Wednesday, which concerns the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

        But unfortunately, JASTA reads like it was written by someone who takes a perverse pleasure in watching lawyers and judges try to navigate a maze of vague rules, incomprehensible legal standards, and multi-factor tests layered on top of other multi-factor tests.

      • GannettWhat happens to our culture when books are banned: 'A chilling effect'

        But have you thought about the bigger picture? What do book bans do to our relationship with reading? And to our relationships with our neighbors? How do they impact our community?

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • CPJTurkey indicts 10 journalists on terrorism charges

        On February 8, the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office indicted 10 Kurdish journalists, nine of whom have been under pretrial arrest since late October, on the charge of membership in a terrorist organization. The indictment was made available to the journalists’ lawyers and CPJ on Friday, February 17, after it was approved by the court.b

      • Hindustan TimesTV journalist shot dead in US' Florida while reporting on a murder: Report

        The journalist was from Spectrum News 13, Associated Press reported. Besides the journalist and the 9-year-old girl, a TV crewmember and the girl’s mother were wounded during the second shooting.

      • NPRA girl and a TV journalist were fatally shot near the scene of another shooting

        According to witnesses, a man approached the news vehicle later Wednesday and opened fire, hitting the two reporters. The man then walked to a nearby home and shot the mother and daughter.

      • The Hill3 killed, including child and journalist, in Florida shootings; suspect in custody

        Around 4 p.m., with news crews around reporting on the homicide from the morning, the same suspect allegedly returned to the scene and shot two male journalists — a reporter and a photographer — one of whom later died, according to Mina. The suspect then allegedly entered a nearby house and shot a woman and her 9-year-old daughter, who died. Mina said it was unclear why the suspect returned to the scene or entered the house.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • VoxThe five-day workweek is dead

        Then as now, the country may be ripe for a change. Some employers are testing out four-day workweeks. A recent study of shorter workweeks in Iceland was a big success, boosting worker well-being and even productivity. And workers themselves are pushing back against schedules that crowd out everything that isn’t work. During the pandemic, there was a growing feeling that “we have one life — and are we working to live, or are we living to work?” Rachel Deutsch, director of worker justice campaigns at the Center for Popular Democracy, told Vox.

        But to really make the workweek fair and humane for all Americans — and give people more time to do things that aren’t work — the country will need systemic changes to help workers take back their power. Otherwise, only the most privileged will benefit from the new interest in shorter workweeks — if anyone benefits at all.

      • RFAChina increases surveillance, security in run-up to Tibetan New Year celebrations

        “Beginning in February, Chinese authorities started installing more surveillance cameras in Lhasa ahead of the start of Losar, citing unreasonable reasons such as for security,” said a Tibetan from the region, who like other sources in the story declined to be named so as to speak freely and without retribution by authorities.

        “Police are stationed every kilometer where [members of] the public are summoned for random searches, especially of their cell phones,” he told Radio Free Asia.

      • Vice Media GroupAI Use by Cops, Child Services In NYC Is a Mess: Report

        AI systems are being used by agencies like the police, child services, and more, and the policies guiding their implementation in New York City are a mess, a new report has found.

      • ReasonColorado Cop Kills a Man Who Accidentally Got Into the Wrong Car

        McWhorter drew his gun during the scuffle and fired three shots; according to Chostner's letter, Ward was struck in the throat, chest, and collarbone. As Ward rolled over onto his back and his mother screamed, "Is my son shot?!" from the front seat, Gonzales yelled for Ward to "stop moving!" The deputies called for paramedics but did not attempt to render aid, leaving Ward bleeding on the pavement while forcing his mother to stay in the vehicle.

        The encounter, from approaching the car to shooting Ward three times, took less than two-and-a-half minutes, all within view of middle school students and their parents. Ward was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • TechdirtT-Mobile Has Axed 9,501 Employees Since Its 2018 ‘Job Creating’ Merger Was Announced

        Former T-Mobile CEO John Legere€ repeatedly promised in print€ that the Sprint merger would result in a€ massive€ surge in new jobs. In a rambling missive that took aim at critics of the deal, who predicted job losses, the charming potty-mouth CEO proclaimed that critics were lying, and that the deal would be “job positive from day one” and every day thereafter.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Tom's HardwareWindows 11 Watermark Showing Up On Unsupported Systems

        Windows 11 has some surprisingly strict minimum system requirements, because it requires TPM 2.0 security. As a result, Windows 11 is only officially supported on CPUs equivalent to, or newer than, Intel's 8th-Gen (and some 7th-Gen) and AMD's 2nd-Gen processors. It also requires 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, minimum. If your PC meets these requirements and you're getting this message, you may need to enable TPM 2.0 in your BIOS.

        At the moment, it looks like unsupported systems will only have to deal with a mildly-annoying watermark, but this could be the first step toward more drastic measures. Microsoft has warned that it will disable updates on unsupported systems (though this clearly has yet to come to fruition, as you'll only get the watermark if you install the latest update).

    • Monopolies

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • Hebrew Planets and Astronomical Terms

        I think it is a shame that the planets have been named after Roman gods, and I have wondered if there might be alternative Hebrew names available. One such list is given in the article linked above. I've condensed the list (removed the discussion) and reproduced it below. Now, not all of the terms are used in the Bible; some, e.g., have a Talmudic origin. There are also a few less common, or speculative, terms which are not reproduced below — see the article for details.

      • ChatGPT On Electronic Pets

        In my view, e-pets promote a culture of laziness and detachment, as they allow people to avoid the responsibilities that come with owning a real pet. They do not require any real effort or care, and can be easily ignored or forgotten about. This lack of accountability can lead to a lack of empathy and understanding for the needs of real animals, and can contribute to the mistreatment of pets in the real world.

    • Technical

      • parabola

        This is a command line program that takes a gmisub url (on gemini), such as Antenna, follows all the links, and prints an Atom feed with all the post included and converted to HTML to stdout.

        Any links in them retain the gemini:// scheme so you can open your Gemini browser from your Atom reader if you wanna browse around further.

      • Internet/Gemini

        • We've Been on That

          I'm annoyed by a lot of the changes happening to the fediverse lately. Unlike what seems to be the majority over there, I don't really see a massive influx of new users as a Good Thingâ„¢. That said, there are some things which are fascinating to watch. The recent tech layoffs and reaction to chatbots is definitely one of those things.

          I am not a tech worker (although I would like to be). I never went to college. I would not have made it through college, not because of any lack in intelligence or innate talent, but more due to what I like to call my severely low bullshit tolerance. Being made to live in a dorm rather than finding cheaper housing off campus? That would have made me quit. And I know it's a thing because my kids have complained about it. Mandatory courses that have no relation to my major? Another deal breaker. But mostly I just don't believe in the concepts of intellectual property or paying for knowledge. That's the biggest line of bullshit that has ever existed. My feeling is and always has been that the entire sum of human knowledge should be freely available to anyone who has the desire to learn it. With no further qualifiers. This is only tangentially related to the subject of the post, but an introduction to my life's circumstances.

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It's like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

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