Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 15/04/2023: EasyOS 5.2.1 and Arkansas Versus Fentanylware (TikTok)

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • New Releases

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • ArduinoIs it too loud? This Arduino device will do the shushing for you

        Whether it is a library, conference room, school classroom, or some other public space, we all require peace and quiet to work sometimes, but achieving it can be a challenge.

      • HackadayKicad Autorouting Made Easy

        One of the most laborious tasks in PCB layout is the routing. Autorouting isn’t always perfect, but it is nice to have the option, even if you only use it to get started and then hand-tune the resulting board. Unfortunately, recent versions of Kicad have dropped support for autorouting. You can, however, still use Freerouting and the video from [Mr. T] below shows you how to get started.

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Web Browsers/Web Servers

      • Daniel Stenbergcurl speaks HTTP/2 with proxy

        This version of HTTP changed a lot of previous presumptions when it comes to transfers, which introduced quite a few challenges to HTTP stack authors all of the world. One of them being that with version 2 there can be more than one transfer using the same connection where as up to that point we had always just had one transfer per connection.

      • Chromium

        • Security WeekGoogle Warns of New Chrome Zero-Day Attack

          The high-severity vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2023-2033, is described as a type confusion in the Chrome V8 JavaScript engine.

          “Google is aware that an exploit for CVE-2023-2033 exists in the wild,” the company said in a barebones advisory that credits Clément Lecigne of Google’s Threat Analysis Group for reporting the issue.

    • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • [Old] Peter EisentrautHow collation works

        In this blog post, and probably one or more following ones, I want to discuss how collations in PostgreSQL work internally. See also this previous post about the work we have done for collations in PostgreSQL 15. And there is even more coming together in PostgreSQL 16 right now, which we will talk about in the future.

      • SQL Maxis: Why We Ditched RabbitMQ And Replaced It With A Postgres Queue

        We recently ripped out RabbitMQ from our system and replaced it with a queue built on top of our Postgres db and written in SQL. The change took half a day to implement + test, and had a net delta of -580 LOC. Much more importantly, it drastically improved the reliability and resiliency of our system. This is a writeup of that change, the rationale behind it, and how we did it.

        Note: this is not an indictment against RabbitMQ or other queuing systems. It’s quite possible (likely, really) that we were holding it wrong. If anything, it’s a push to keep things simple. And, of course, a very biased reminder that SQL is unbelievably powerful. In fact, it often really is all you need. Do we dream of a world where everything is SQL? Maybe.

      • PlanetScaleHow does database sharding work?

        If you’ve used Google or YouTube, you’ve probably accessed sharded data. Sharding helps you scale out your database by storing partitions of your data across multiple servers instead of putting everything on a single giant one. This post will walk through how database sharding works, how to think about implementing your own sharded database, and some useful tools out there that can help, with a particular focus on MySQL and Postgres.

      • OpenSource.comA distributed database load-balancing architecture with ShardingSphere

        Apache ShardingSphere is a distributed database ecosystem that transforms any database into a distributed database and enhances it with data sharding, elastic scaling, encryption, and other capabilities. In this article, I demonstrate how to build a distributed database load-balancing architecture based on ShardingSphere and the impact of introducing load balancing.

      • Peter EisentrautHow collation of punctuation and whitespace works

        First, let’s think about what we might like to happen. Maybe we want to treat punctuation and whitespace characters just like other characters. They sort in some relative location, and that’s it. Or maybe we want to mostly ignore these characters for sorting. Both of these are valid choices, and where people get upset is mainly when they expected one and get the other. In fact, Unicode allows both of these choices (and more!), and the implementation has to pick one or make users select one. (To keep it simple, I’ll just write “Unicode” in this article to mean one of the various standards that affect collation of Unicode characters. See the previous article for details.)

    • Programming/Development

      • Jay LittleLow Code Software Development Is A Lie

        Perhaps I'm getting a bit too old and loose lipped for my own good, but the truth is that creating software for other people is exceedingly difficult. Contrary to the opinions of non-practitioners (aka non-coders), this difficulty is not the fault of coding languages, tools and paradigms. It is actually the result of clients and developers not taking the time to understand the root causes of the problems they want to solve and not designing a solution around the conclusions you'd draw from that process.

      • Bryan LundukeFunny Programming Pictures part XXIX

        Doofenshmirtz, Excel, & ChatGPT. Oh, my.

      • Daniel LemireInterfaces are not free in Go

        Let us illustrate. Sometimes we like to ‘iterate’ through a set of values… we often call the software implementation of this concept an iterator. You can specify an iterator as an interface in Go… and once you have that, you can define function like the a function to count the number of elements: [...]

      • Rolling StoneThey’re Selling Nudes of Imaginary Women on Reddit — and It’s Working

        “For those who aren’t aware, I’m going to kill your fantasy,” the comment reads. “This is literally an AI creation, if you’ve worked with AI image models and making your own long enough, you can 10000% tell. Sorry to ruin the surprise, I guess.”

        Claudia is, indeed, an AI-generated creation, who has posted her (AI-generated) lewd photos on other subreddits, including r/normalnudes and r/amihot. She’s the brainchild of two computer science students who tell Rolling Stone they essentially made up the account as a joke, after coming across a post on Reddit from a guy who made $500 catfishing users with photos of real women. They made about $100 selling her nudes until other redditors called out the account, though they continue to post lewds on other subreddits.

      • Software Is CrapThe world is on fire, but not because of C23

        The premise seems to be that, since undefined behaviour is bad, any new way of invoking undefined behaviour is also bad. While it’s true that undefined behaviour can cause huge problems, and that this has been a sore point with C for some time, the complaint here is fallacious: the whole point of this particular annotation is to allow the programmer to specify their intent that a certain path be unreachable, as opposed to the more problematic scenario where a compiler determines code is unreachable because a necessarily-preceding (“dominating”) instruction would necessarily have undefined behaviour. In other words it better allows the compiler to distinguish between cases where the programmer has made particular assumptions versus when they have unwittingly invoked undefined behaviour in certain conditions. This is spelled out in the proposal for the feature: [...]

      • Seth Michael LarsonGoogle Assured OSS

        Live the "pushing left on security" mantra to the fullest and partner with maintainers and compensate them for their efforts. Not partnering with maintainers leaves many actual end-to-end security practices on the table that could get delivered to all open source consumers.

      • Thorsten BallTwo types of software engineers

        Here's something I've been kicking around in my head for a few weeks, a tiny theory I have of how people think about software engineering.

        According to my theory, there are two types of software engineers:

        Type 1, when presented with a problem, thinks: "easy, people can just do X."

        Type 2, when presented with the same problem, thinks: "very hard, because it requires people to do X."

      • Numbers To Know For Managing (Software Teams)

        Learning how to manage is a long race - it takes many years and each lap offers new learnings. Along the way, anchors emerge that can help orient a manager when a number of other variables are in flux.

      • Waleed KhanQuickly formatting a stack of commits

        A certain category of developer uses Git with a “patch stack” workflow, in which they accumulate a sequence of small, individually-reviewable commits that together implement a large change. In these cases, it’s oftentimes useful to run linters or formatters on each commit in the stack and apply the results. However, this can be tedious, and a naive approach can cause needless merge conflicts. (One workaround is to run formatters on each commit in the stack backwards.)

        git-branchless’s git test command offers a solution to quickly run formatters, etc., on an entire stack of commits without causing merge conflicts. Additionally, it can be performed in parallel, and it caches results so that reformats of the same commits are skipped. You can see the announcement post or the documentation for git test.

      • Java

        • Making most of Java: Features that you should use as a Java developer

          Java is a popular programming language used for developing a wide range of applications. From simple command-line programs to enterprise-level applications, Java is widely used for its simplicity, reliability, and security. This blog post will cover 12 Java programming features with examples that will help you write more efficient and scalable code.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Terence EdenStop treating eBooks like paper books

        Books are magical. And, in my humble opinion, eBooks are better than legacy paper books. I can boost the font size of my eBook rather than having to buy an expensive large-print version. I can navigate by searching, or by semantic features, rather than grubbing around with page numbers. And I can choose to follow a footnote or ignore it as the whim strikes me.

        But all that requires the publishers actually understanding how to take advantage of the format.

  • Leftovers

    • HackadayNeed To Pick Objects Out Of Images? Segment Anything Does Exactly That

      Segment Anything, recently released by Facebook Research, does something that most people who have dabbled in computer vision have found daunting: reliably figure out which pixels in an image belong to an object. Making that easier is the goal of the Segment Anything Model (SAM), just released under the Apache 2.0 license.

    • HackadayFail Of The Week: Car Starter Motors Aren’t The Best Fit For EBikes

      A lot of what real engineering is all about is designing to the limits of your materials, with a healthy margin for error. On the other hand, seat-of-the-pants engineering often takes the opposite tack — working with the materials you have and finding their limits after the fact. While the former is more rigorous and better suited to anything where life and limb are on the line, there’s something to be said for the flexibility that informal engineering offers.

    • HackadayBuilding An Electron Microscope For Research

      There are a lot of situations where a research group may turn to an electron microscope to get information about whatever system they might be studying. Assessing the structure of a virus or protein, analyzing the morphology of a new nanoparticle, or examining the layout of a semiconductor all might require the use of one of these devices. But if your research involves the electron microscope itself, you might be a little more reluctant to tear down these expensive devices to take a look behind the curtain as the costs to do this for more than a few could quickly get out of hand. That’s why this research group has created their own electron detector.

    • India TimesUS says Photoshop maker Adobe to pay $3 million to settle kickback allegations

      The settlement resolves allegations that Adobe made improper payments under its Solution Partner program to companies that had a contractual or other relationship with the government that allowed them to influence federal purchases of Adobe software, the Justice Department said.

      Between January 2011 and December 2020, Adobe allegedly paid the companies a percentage of the purchase price of the software, according to the Justice Department.

    • Common DreamsHow About a Parents' Bill of Rights for Those of Us Who Aren't Far-Right Culture Warriors

      There’s no question that parenting has gotten harder in this country.

    • The NationJustins
    • The NationSMOKE
    • Science

      • ChrisWhat Is Probability?

        This article is a short summary of the first handful of chapters of de Finetti’s classic treatise on the fundamentals of probability. The book itself contains much more interesting detail, proofs, edge cases, and arguments. Read it if this is your thing! The quotes in this article are from that book, but I have taken the liberty of editing them for conciseness. I have strived very hard to retain the spirit. of the message.

      • Hubble Sees Possible Runaway Black Hole Creating a Trail of Stars

        The universe is so capricious that even the slightest things that might go unnoticed could have profound implications. That's what happened to Yale astronomer Pieter van Dokkum when he was looking through Hubble Space Telescope images and noticed a suspected blemish that looked like a scratch on photographic film. For Hubble's electronic cameras, cosmic rays skimming along the detector look like "scratches." But once spectroscopy was done on the oddball streak van Dokkum realized it was really a 200,000-light-year-long chain of young blue stars located over halfway across the universe! van Dokkum and his colleagues believe that it stretches between a runaway monster back hole and the galaxy it was ejected from. The black hole must be compressing gas along its wake, which condenses to form stars. Nothing like it has ever been seen anywhere else in the universe before.

    • Education

      • Democracy NowRutgers on Strike: Meet One of Thousands of Profs & Grad Workers Demanding Better Pay, Job Security

        Faculty at the state-run Rutgers University in New Jersey have entered their fifth day of a historic strike — the first faculty strike in the school’s 257-year history. Organizers of three unions, representing more than 9,000 professors, lecturers and graduate assistants, are demanding increased pay and better job security, especially for poorly paid graduate workers and adjunct faculty. We get an update from Donna Murch, an associate professor of history at Rutgers University and New Brunswick chapter president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, one of the academic workers’ unions on strike.

      • [Repeat] Vice Media GroupGOP Mega-donor Who Bought The Constitution Now Owns Harvard’s Grad School

        A Harvard spokesperson did not comment when reached by Motherboard, but sent a press release from the university saying that Griffin’s donation to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences “comes at a moment of opportunity as the School undertakes a broad strategic planning process focused on delivering a forward-looking vision for excellence in graduate education, graduate education, faculty support and development, and organization of academic communities.”

        The donation also comes to Harvard at a moment when Republican-controlled states are taking over public school districts, voting to defund public libraries, and introducing legislation that criminalizes educators and librarians for providing access to books related to race, sex, and gender.

      • Deutsche WelleNigeria: Staying out of school to avoid kidnappings

        "Before the banditry, we lived normal lives like any other person. But then they first raided the neighbouring villages before ours. We were displaced and since then, there has been no opportunity for us to return to school. Our teachers have also deserted the school for fear of being kidnapped," Salisu told DW.

      • Lusaka ZMZambia Committed to Achieving Universal Access to Education

        During the General Debate at the 56th Session of the Commission on Population and Development at the UN Headquarters in New York, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Ms Lois Mulube, told participants that the Zambian Government was committed to the total implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action in the quest of achieving the internationally agreed goals, especially in the education sector.

    • Hardware

      • Ariadne ConillWriting portable ARM64 assembly

        The other main thing to watch out for is Apple’s custom mnemonics for NEON. In order to make writing NEON code less cumbersome, Apple introduced a set of mnemonics that allow simplification of specifying NEON instructions. For example, if you are targeting Apple devices only, you might write an exclusive-or NEON instruction like so: [...]

      • The Register UKLinux kernel logic allowed Spectre attack on 'major cloud provider' [Ed: Hardware issue, not a Linux issue]

        The moniker Spectre [PDF] describes a set of vulnerabilities that abuse speculative execution, a processor performance optimization in which potential instructions are executed in advance to save time.

        It's timing, however, that animates Spectre. Spectre v2 – the variant implicated in this particular vulnerability – relies on timing side-channels to measure the misprediction rates of indirect branch prediction in order to infer the contents of protected memory. That's far from optimal in a cloud environment with shared hardware.

      • HackadayHackaday Podcast 214: Jet Engine Hair Dryer, Comic Sans Type Balls, And Belief In Graphene

        This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Contributor Emeritus Kristina Panos gushed about all the best hacks of the previous week. But first, a contest! That’s right — hot on the heels of the Low Power Challenge comes the Op Amp Challenge, sponsored by Digi-Key. You have between now and June 6th to dip your toes into the warm waters of analog and show us what you’ve got. Will it be a musical hack? Will you seek high analog precision? We can’t wait to see.

      • HackadayRetro Gadgets: The 1983 Pocket Oscilloscope

        In the 1980s, an oscilloscope was typically a bulky affair with a large CRT, and a heavy power supply. So it probably grabbed a lot of attention in 1983 when Calvert Instruments Incorporated ran an ad in magazines like Radio Electronics. The ad touted a 5 MHz scope that was pocket-sized and weighed 4 ounces. The ad proudly proclaimed: CRT oscilloscopes just became obsolete!

      • Hackaday3D Printed Artificial Nose Is Totally Vegan

        Prosthetics are complicated, highly personal things. They must often be crafted and customized precisely to suit the individual. Additive manufacturing is proving a useful tool in this arena, as demonstrated by a new 3D printed nose design developed at Swansea University. And a bonus? It’s vegan, too!

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Foreign PolicyU.S.-Mexican Relations Fray Over Fentanyl

        Fentanyl has plagued the United States as a public health calamity. But now it’s on the brink of becoming a full-fledged diplomatic crisis between the United States and Mexico while also igniting heated new political rows between the Biden administration and Capitol Hill.

      • [Repeat] Vice Media GroupArkansas Makes It Illegal For Minors to Be on Social Media Without Parental Consent

        It’s not overtly clear how this bill will help, given that it is chock full of loopholes. The bill states that it does not apply to “news or public interest broadcast, website video, report, or event,” any news-gathering organizations, any cloud service providers, or internet service providers who provide links to social media platforms.

      • TechdirtArkansas Governor Signs Social Media Bill Into Law, Even As Bill’s Own Sponsor Appears Confused About Who It Covers

        What could possibly go wrong? Earlier this week we wrote about an Arkansas bill, SB396, which was modeled after Utah’s recent unconstitutional social media bill, and tries to ban kids from social media. Except, as we noted, it appeared to explicitly exempt pretty much all of social media, except for maybe Facebook and Twitter. The wording is so unclear, but also, oddly specific. For example, it says it exempts:

      • RlangDetecting heart murmurs from time series data in R

        Time series data often contains information that’s not easily seen when simply visualising the data. We can uncover these hidden features using time series analysis, and use them to classify time series that exhibit similar features.

      • Common DreamsMedicaid Cutoffs to Poor a Truly American Horror Story

        The biggest threat to Americans today isn’t from a foreign power. It’s from a long-running war on the poor by out of touch politicians and their Wall Street backers.

      • Common DreamsPlan to Dump Wastewater From Indian Point Into Hudson River Paused After Local Outcry

        Clean water and public health advocates in New York's Hudson Valley applauded Thursday as the energy technology company Holtec International announced it will not move ahead with plans to dump wastewater next month from the former Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, following intense pressure from local communities and state lawmakers.

      • Common DreamsUnitedHealth Touts Growing Profits After Lobbying Against Medicare Advantage Crackdown

        The chief executive of UnitedHealth Group told investors Friday that he "appreciates" the Biden administration's decision to more slowly implement its crackdown on overbilling in Medicare Advantage, a privately run, government-funded program that the Minnesota-based insurance behemoth touted as a key profit driver in its newly released first quarter earnings report.

      • How antivaxxers “think” (that vaccine advocates think)

        I’ve written many times before about how antivaccine beliefs are rooted in what I like to call the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, which should not surprise anyone given that, when you boil any form of science denial down to its essence, all science denial is a conspiracy theory. In the case of antivaxxers, that conspiracy theory goes something like this. Vaccines are harmful/don’t work, but “They” (the CDC, medical profession, government, pharma, insurance companies, etc.) are hiding The Truth—with a capital T!—from you. However, antivaxxers are among the enlightened few who know The Truth—with a capital T!—and, as a result, have become brave maverick warriors for The Truth—with a capital T!—against the nefarious forces arrayed to defend the conspiracy. Once you understand this central premise, the antivaccine movement becomes a lot easier to understand as a movement; in brief, the antivaccine movement is really no different than QAnon, which, unsurprisingly, features a similar conspiracy theory, only about the evil elites. Understanding this central premise will lead you to understand as well articles like one by Alex Berenson (a.k.a. “the pandemic’s wrongest man“) How vaccine advocates think, to which he helpfully added the blurb:

      • Rolling StoneTikTok Is Obsessed With Water. Experts Are Concerned

        WaterTok “has the element of danger because it is a classic eating disorder behavior that happens,” says Jillian Lampert, chief strategy officer for the Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative, which offers comprehensive eating-disorder treatment programs in nine states. “In their fear and anxiety about eating and weight, they try to minimize the calories that come in.” Lampert refers to the practice of filling up on fluids as a means of ignoring hunger cues as “long-term, old-school eating disorder behavior.”

      • NPRMontana becomes 1st state to approve a full ban of TikTok

        The bill makes it illegal to download TikTok in the state, with penalties of up to $10,000 a day for any entity, such as Apple and Google's app stores or TikTok itself, that makes the popular video-streaming app available.

        If enacted, the ban in the state would not start until January 2024.

      • Hollywood ReporterTikTok Set to Be Banned In Montana, Which Would Be First State to Take Action

        The looming legal battle can be seen as a test case of obstacles the government might face if it passes a national TikTok ban. In addition to being difficult to enforce as it requires cooperation from third-party companies across the digital economy, the legislation likely implicates First Amendment concerns. Courts have blocked previous attempts in 2020 to block TikTok.

      • NBCMontana on cusp of becoming first state to block TikTok downloads

        The bill referred to concerns over data safety, surveillance from the Chinese government and minors engaging in “dangerous activities" as a result of TikTok use including “cooking chicken in NyQuil” and “attempting to climb stacks of milkcrates.” These activities were part of so-called challenges that critics say were popularized by users on the app.

      • New York TimesA Plan to Ban TikTok in Montana Is a Preview for the Rest of the Country

        But skepticism of TikTok ran deep at the hearing. Keith Krach, a former corporate executive behind some of the Trump administration’s efforts to marginalize Chinese companies, testified that he wouldn’t let his 11-year-old twins near the app. He said it was “disguised as candy, but it’s really cocaine.”

      • NeritamGM mustard will obliterate honey bees

        Over 100 apiculturists, or beekeepers, gathered at the ICAR-Mustard Research Institute in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, to protest against the Central government’s decision on giving environmental clearance for GM Mustard. Farmers from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana raised concerns and submitted requests to the Central government November 4, 2022 demanding withdrawal of the same.

      • The NationThe Fifth Circuit’s Abortion Pill Ruling Was All About Sowing Confusion

        Judges are political actors. They want to be treated like apolitical legal scholars, merely divining legal principles from above the political fray, but most often their decisions cannot be understood absent the context of the political and cultural battles their rulings are a part of.

      • India TimesLawmakers in US state of Montana vote to ban TikTok

        The bill, known as SB 419, would prohibit mobile app stores from offering TikTok for download to users in Montana. The Montana House voted 54-43 to approve the ban.

        TikTok as well as Apple and Google, which operate mobile app stores, would face fines if they violate the ban, should the bill become law.

      • ABCTikTok ban gets final approval by Montana's GOP legislature

        Congress is considering legislation that does not single out TikTok specifically but gives the Commerce Department the ability more broadly to restrict foreign threats on tech platforms. That bill is being backed by the White House, but it has received pushback from privacy advocates, right-wing commentators and others who say the language is too expansive.

      • ScheerpostNo Turning Back

        We Cannot Reverse the Damage Done By Poor Pandemic Reporting, But The Fourth Estate Must Do Better.

      • Pro PublicaIn-Person Service at Many Government Agencies Remains Curtailed

        In the hallway outside the public advocate’s office in New York, on the 15th floor of the monumental David N. Dinkins Manhattan Municipal Building, a metal sign on the wall states that the office has walk-in hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday. But the door is locked, and a paper sign on it has a contradictory message: “The Office of the Public Advocate is operating on a hybrid schedule and is only receiving constituents with an appointment.” Visitors are instructed to send an email or call a number if they want assistance.

        The sign on the door is not a holdover from some earlier stage of the coronavirus pandemic. It reflects the ongoing practice of the office, a 55-person agency with a budget just under $5 million that serves as a sort of ombudsman for residents seeking assistance with city services or regulations. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, first elected to the office in 2019, has decided for the foreseeable future to require employees to work in-person only two days per week, and the agency is therefore limiting public access to the actual office. “We’re modeling the hybrid,” said Kevin Fagan, its deputy communications director. “We’ve been calling on the city to adopt hybrid models where possible, to do remote work for health purposes and because that’s the way of the workforce right now, so that’s how we’re operating here at this point.”

    • Proprietary

      • IT WireAustralian and New Zealand organisations ‘paid up’ in Ransomware Attacks: Report [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Organisations experienced a significant increase in ransomware – from an average of four attacks over five years in 2021 versus four attacks over the course of one year in 2022 - and of those who fell victim, 82% admitted to paying the ransom at least once, according to a new research report.

      • The Register UKTo improve security, consider how the aviation industry stopped blaming pilots

        He then drew parallels to cybersecurity, claiming it can learn from aviation to look for the reasons behind the human error and determine if the mistake is perhaps systemic.

        Christiaans said he is yet to come across a company that had implemented open reporting without punishment in cybersecurity.

        He attributed this to the industry working from the top down. The people at the top worked hard to get to leadership roles and become resistant to change. Shifting culture therefore needs to start with new recruits.

      • Digital Music NewsChina Clamping Down on AI with Stringent Government Reviews — Will The US Follow?

        “There’s real potential there to affect how the models are trained and that stands out to me as really quite important here,” Tom Nunlist, a Senior Analyst at Trivium China told Bloomberg. AI models in China will have to follow a series of guidelines established by regulators to ensure content meets these new guidelines. So how will the United States government respond?

        Back in the States, the Biden administration is seeking public comments on accountability measures for AI and how it could impact national security and education. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce Department agency that advises the White House on telecommunications and information policy, is seeking more input.

      • BW Businessworld Media Pvt LtdTwitter Increases Character Limit To 10,000 For Twitter Blue Users

        The most recent increase in character restrictions is only available to Twitter Blue users. Twitter verified this in a tweet, adding that blue users can personalise the text with bold and italic styling.

    • Pseudo-Open Source

      • Openwashing

        • Free Dolly: Introducing the World's First Truly Open Instruction-Tuned LLM

          databricks-dolly-15k contains 15,000 high-quality human-generated prompt / response pairs specifically designed for instruction tuning large language models. Under the licensing terms for databricks-dolly-15k (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License), anyone can use, modify, or extend this dataset for any purpose, including commercial applications.

    • Security

      • Krebs On SecurityWhy is ‘Juice Jacking’ Suddenly Back in the News?
      • EFFBe Skeptical of FBI Warnings About Phone Chargers

        Your phone is designed to communicate safely with lots of things – chargers , web sites, Bluetooth devices such as earbuds or speakers, Wi-Fi, and even other phones, for instance when sending and receiving text messages. If doing any of these normal phone things can give your phone malware, that is a security vulnerability (which is a type of bug).€ 

        Security vulnerabilities happen with some frequency. That is why your phone prompts you to update your software so often – the makers of its software find out about bugs and fix them.€ 

        So, when you hear a report that public chargers are giving people malware, you should ask “what is the vulnerability being used, and when will it be fixed?” as well as “how widespread is the problem? How many people are affected?” Unfortunately, the periodic reports of “juice jacking” never have such details, usually because they are recycled from earlier reports which themselves lack details.€ 

      • CAN Injection: keyless car theft

        This is a detective story about how a car was stolen - and how it uncovered an epidemic of high-tech car theft. It begins with a tweet. In April 2022, my friend Ian Tabor tweeted that vandals had been at his car, pulling apart the headlight and unplugging the cables.

      • Integrity/Availability/Authenticity

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • Vice Media GroupxHamster Ordered to Verify or Remove All Amateur Content

          xHamster already has a process for verifying users who want to upload videos, including providing a selfie and legal identification, such as a driver’s license, along with documentation of consent from everyone who appears in the videos. Its verification practices began in 2021, after Mastercard announced that it would require "clear, unambiguous and documented consent" for all adult sites. This followed Pornhub’s own purge of millions of unverified videos in late 2020, after Mastercard, Visa, and Discover stopped processing payments to the site, citing unlawful content.

          Heavier burdens on content creators and platforms to provide extensive documentation retroactively for videos has a chilling effect on their ability to earn a living and stay online. Porn sites face intense scrutiny from lawmakers and discrimination from financial institutions when it comes to identity and verification that other mainstream platforms such as Meta’s Instagram and Facebook, Twitter, and Tiktok do not.

        • India TimesIrish regulator has month to make order on EU-US Facebook data transfers

          EU regulators, led by Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) Helen Dixon, have been finalising a ban on the legal tool used by Facebook to transfer European user data because of concerns US intelligence agencies could access the information.

          Dixon, who is lead regulator for Facebook parent Meta because its European headquarters are in Ireland, last month said the ban could be in place by mid-May.

        • European ParliamentMEPs against greenlighting personal data transfers with the U.S. under current rules

          According to the text, the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework is an improvement on previous frameworks, but does not provide for sufficient safeguards. MEPs note that the framework still allows for bulk collection of personal data in certain cases, does not make bulk data collection subject to independent prior authorisation, and does not provide for clear rules on data retention.

          MEPs note that the Data Privacy Framework creates a Data Protection Review Court (“DPRC”) aimed at providing redress to EU data subjects, but its decisions would be secret, violating citizens’ right to access and rectify data about them. Moreover, DPRC judges could be dismissed by the U.S. President, who could also overrule its decisions, so the Review Court is not truly independent, say MEPs.

        • Common DreamsChild Advocates Rebuke 'Beyond Appalling' Facebook Push to Allow Kids in the Metaverse

          On the heels of a study showing that minors who use Facebook's virtual reality platform known as the "Metaverse" have routinely been exposed to harassment and abuse, a coalition of more than 70 children's health experts and advocacy groups on Friday called on its parent company Meta to scrap plans to officially open up the digital world to children as young as 13.

        • EFFEFF, International Allies Warn That Proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty, Rather Than Making Us More Secure, Could Legitimize Intrusive Surveillance and Drag Down Global Privacy and Free Expression Standards

          One big issue we're facing is that there isn't an effective global system in place to make sure human rights are enforced. Not many governments want to limit their own power to spy and track people closely. Because of this, the Convention might end up legitimizing intrusive surveillance power that invades people's private lives and infringe upon their rights.€ € 

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • New York TimesThe Airman Who Gave Gamers a Real Taste of War

        And so, beginning in at least October, Airman Teixeira, who was attached to the Guard’s intelligence unit, began sharing descriptions of classified information, group members and law enforcement officials said, eventually uploading hundreds of pages of documents, including detailed battlefield maps from Ukraine and confidential assessments of Russia’s war machine.

        His goal, group members said, was both to inform and impress.

      • ScheerpostMatt Taibbi: The Crackdown Cometh

        Leaks for me, not for thee.

      • TechdirtNintendo Wants Discord Subpoenaed To Reveal Leaker Of Unreleased ‘Zelda’ Artbook

        Readers of this site will know by now that Nintendo polices its intellectual property in an extremely draconian fashion. However, there are still differences in the instances in which the company does so. In many cases, Nintendo goes after people or groups in a fashion that stretches, if not breaks, any legitimate intellectual property concerns. Other times, Nintendo’s actions are well within its rights, but those actions often times appear to do far more harm to the company than whatever IP concern is doing to it. This is probably one of those latter stories.

      • TechdirtTwitter Suspends User For Sharing Washington Post Story About Pentagon Docs Leaker

        You know the drill by now. In October of 2020, the NY Post ran a story about the contents of a laptop hard drive that Hunter Biden apparently left at a computer repair store. There were questions about the provenance of that hard drive, and, given the history of foreign election interference, as well as some questions about the story itself, Twitter made the (ultimately unwise and mistaken) decision to block links to that story, and (in some cases) to suspend accounts that were sharing it. A day later, the company admitted this was a mistake and changed its policy.

    • Environment

      • RlangZombie Forests: Mapping Tree Migration with R Shiny

        Zombie forests – a creative, evocative term sprouting from one of many significant changes brought about by our changing climate. These forests are characterized by large numbers of dead or dying trees that remain standing outside of their rapidly shifting climate zones.

        Setting the Stage for Destruction

        Extreme weather conditions and temperature shift, resulting in warmer conditions, have left many of our forests off-balance. Unable to keep pace with the moving front, some tree spcies are struggling to surive in the new climate.

      • Rolling StoneSixteen Kids Are Fighting the Climate Crisis in Court

        Gibson-Snyder signed onto the lawsuit as a plaintiff. It felt, finally, like agency. She joined 15 others, ranging in age from 2 years old to 18 and hailing from all over Montana: the doorsteps of Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, the Flathead Indian Reservation, western cities like Kalispell and east to the rural Powder River. The youngest two plaintiffs suffer from respiratory conditions that leave them vulnerable to the poor air quality of wildfire smoke; their parents signed them onto the suit. Most heard about it through school, friends, or older siblings and signed on themselves.

        Now, three years later, that case will finally be heard in June in Montana’s small capitol town of Helena. As the first youth-led climate case to make it to trial, it’s the first time that this generation and their prosecution can lay out a body of evidence for how climate change is impacting environmental resources, how a state’s fossil fuel-driven projects and existing policy violate a constitutional right and knowingly contribute to climate change, and the psychological injuries its children suffer as a result. A similar Utah case was recently dismissed, and a suit against the federal government has been languishing in delays since 2015; in 2020, a federal appeals court “reluctantly” threw it out, ruling that climate change was not an issue for the courts. But Montana is a unique battleground.

      • Energy/Transportation

        • The NationHe Made Louisiana History. Now He Wants to Change the State’s Climate Future.

          “You’re going to see me,” Davante Lewis told the crowd. This piece was supported with funding from Fossil Free Media.

        • teleSURZambia Grapples With Mealie Meal Shortage

          Mwaipopo said there is a need to evaluate the performance of the solar hammer mills and relook at the model because the project could deliver if the bottlenecks it has encountered were addressed.

          He said the solar hammer mill project was established to reduce the price of mealie meal and tackle poverty but noted that so far there has been no report to evaluate the performance and the impact on the cost of mealie meal. Over 1,000 solar-powered milling plants were installed in Zambia under the Presidential Milling Plants Initiative with the support of China.

        • India TimesUS SEC sees decentralised [cryptocurrency] platforms as exchanges, seeks public input

          "Make no mistake: many [cryptocurrency] trading platforms already come under the current definition of an exchange," SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in prepared remarks published on Friday.

          Most [cryptocurrency] trading platforms meet that definition, regardless of whether they call themselves decentralized, Gensler said.

        • Common DreamsOn Back of Willow Project, Biden DOE Approves 'Another Carbon Bomb' in Alaska

          Climate justice advocates on Thursday vowed to fight the U.S. Department of Energy's approval of exports from a proposed liquified natural gas project in Alaska, condemning the initiative as "another carbon bomb" that puts a livable future in jeopardy.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • NBCWhat might Colorado River cuts mean for states and their water supplies?

          The 1,450-mile (2,334-kilometer) river is a lifeline for seven U.S. states, dozens of Native American tribes, and two states in Mexico. It irrigates nearly 5.5 million acres (about 2.2 million hectares) of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico and generates hydroelectric power used across the West.

    • Finance

      • Common DreamsOxfam Shows US Billionaires Almost a Third Richer Today Than When Covid Hit

        As the deadline for Americans to file federal income tax returns fast approaches, Oxfam America on Friday renewed calls for taxing the ultrarich while publishing an analysis showing America's growing number of billionaires saw their wealth increase by nearly one-third since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and by nearly 90% over the past decade.

      • Rest of WorldIndia’s plan to export its wildly successful digital payments system

        UPI, introduced in 2016, has surpassed the use of credit and debit cards in India. Nearly 260 million Indians use UPI — in January 2023, it recorded about 8 billion transactions worth nearly $200 billion. The transactions can be facilitated using mobile numbers or QR codes, ranging from a few cents to 100,000 rupees ($1,221) a day. In 2019, Google recommended the U.S. Federal Reserve emulate UPI as it develops its own real-time payments system FedNow.

        In the aftermath of U.S. payment sanctions stunting Russia, more countries have vocalized a desire for internet and payments sovereignty. India has pitched its digital public infrastructure (DPI) as a sovereign, self-owned technology stack, policy experts told Rest of World.

      • [Old] MediumYour guide to UPI — the world’s most advanced payments system

        Unified Payments Interface, or UPI (this is important, remember this acronym), was created with the sole purpose of enabling interoperability. It is a platform that is simultaneously backward compatible and future proof — a common language.

        But as is usually the case with well designed systems, UPI ended up unleashing a tsunami of economic potential along the way. To understand why UPI is as powerful as it is, and how it completely changes the payments landscape, we must first understand how any payments system operates. Time for another detour.

      • Common DreamsThe Commodification of the Commons Is Killing Us All

        Americans used to understand the difference between private and public, between what government should regulate or even administer, and what is appropriately left in the private marketplace.

      • MeduzaRussia’s Economic Development Ministry forecasts 5-year peak in real wages growth — Meduza

        Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov predicts that real wages in Russia will increase by 5.4 percent in 2023, which should offset a one-percent drop in real wages in 2022, reports Interfax.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ScheerpostBillionaire Harlan Crow Bought Property From Clarence Thomas. The Justice Didn’t Disclose the Deal.

        The transaction is the first known instance of money flowing from Crow to the Supreme Court justice. The sale netted the GOP megadonor two vacant lots and the house where Thomas’ mother was living.

      • The NationThe Corrupt Courts and the Feckless Senate Judiciary Committee

        Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas likes to describe billionaire Harlan Crow as his friend, but recent revelations from ProPublica paint a much more sinister picture of a patron-client relationship. Last week, ProPublica documented that for more than two decades Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, have taken almost annual luxury vacations in the company of Crow. These vacations went undisclosed until ProPublica’s investigation. In 2009, the billionaire also gave $500,000 to Liberty Central, a right-wing activist group headed by Ginni Thomas. Answering criticism of his secretive ties to a plutocrat who often gives money to political causes that have business before the courts, Thomas responded that Harlan and his wife, Kathy Crow, are ”among our dearest friends. As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips.”

      • Democracy NowCuban Journalist: U.S.-Cuba Talks on Migration Come as Ongoing Embargo Creates Economic Refugees

        We look at U.S. policy toward Cuba as U.S. and Cuban officials met Wednesday to discuss migration from the island. This January, the U.S. Embassy in Havana began processing immigrant visas for the first time in more than five years in an attempt to control the extent of undocumented migration from the island. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to face pressure to lift the embargo that has severely limited trade and more with Cuba for decades. We speak with Liz Oliva Fernández, award-winning Cuban journalist with the independent Cuba-based media organization Belly of the Beast who is in the U.S. to report on the economic and political interests driving Cuba policy under President Biden.

      • TechdirtThe AI Doomers’ Playbook
      • MeduzaThe president from nowhere How a 36-year-old with no plans to run for office defeated Montenegro’s long-serving leader for the presidency — Meduza

        Jakov Milatović, the new president-elect of Montenegro, has lived his entire conscious life under the presidency or prime ministership of his predecessor in office, Milo Đukanović. He was just four years old when Milo,€ as he’s commonly known in the country,€ became the prime minister of the Socialist Republic of Montenegro, which was then a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Milo went on to lead Montenegro within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then within the common state of Serbia and Montenegro, and later within independent Montenegro after its secession from Serbia. But while Milo was governing, navigating independence, and weathering various corruption scandals, Milatović grew up, studied in the West, returned home, and —€ in a surprise to everyone involved —€ beat the veteran politician. Đukanović conceded and wished Milatovich success, but there’s little doubt that he plans to return. The independent outlet iStories recently took a look back at the events that led to Montenegro’s current political moment. In English, Meduza is publishing an abridged version of their story.

      • Michael West MediaAustralian War Memorial artefacts melted for medals in English boat race

        How the Governor-General’s man, army generals, a former MP and a rowing promoter worked to get artefacts from the Australian War Memorial to melt down for trophies at the Henley Regatta. A Jommy Tee investigation.

        Culturally significant artefacts from the Australian War Memorial (AWM), including a sample bronze plate from the revered Roll of Honour – which records and commemorates Australia’s war dead – were melted down to make a trophy and medals for a military rowing extravaganza.

      • Common DreamsDemocratic Senator Says Clarence Thomas Should Be Referred to US Attorney General

        Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on Thursday urged the top policymaking body for U.S. federal courts to refer Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to the attorney general, citing the lack of immediate action from the high court amid fresh evidence that the right-wing judge violated disclosure laws.

      • Common DreamsMinnesota Dems Advance Bill to Ban Multinationals From Interfering in Elections

        Campaigners who have long pushed cities and states to adopt bans on foreign corporate interference in elections applauded Friday after the Minnesota House of Representatives passed legislation that would make the state the first to prohibit foreign-influenced corporations from spending money on electoral campaigns.

      • The EconomistByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent, reports a record profit
      • TechdirtSubstack CEO Chris Best Doesn’t Realize He’s Just Become The Nazi Bar

        I get it. I totally get it. Every tech dude comes along and has this thought: “hey, we’ll be the free speech social media site. We won’t do any moderation beyond what’s required.” Even Twitter initially thought this. But then everyone discovers reality. Some discover it faster than others, but everyone discovers it. First, you realize that there’s spam. Or illegal content such as child sexual abuse material. And if that doesn’t do it for you, the copyright police will.

      • ReutersSega nears deal to acquire Angry Birds maker Rovio for $1 billion, Wall Street Journal reports

        Tokyo-based Sega could finalize the deal to complete the acquisition of Rovio by early next week, the report said citing people familiar with the matter.

      • The Verge‘Angry Birds’ company is reportedly about to be sold for $1 billion... to Sega

        It’s surprising to think that Sega — specifically, its parent company Sega Sammy Holdings — would want to spend so much on Rovio given the decline in popularity of the Angry Birds games. The original game was a smash success in 2009, but the franchise has seemingly fallen off since its 2014 peak, when Rovio reported falling profits and layoffs.

      • Vox MediaSega might buy Angry Birds maker Rovio for $1B

        If the Sega-Rovio deal goes through, it would be yet another billion-dollar mobile game studio acquisition from a major game publisher. In 2021, Electronic Arts acquired Glu Mobile and Playdemic for $2.1 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. In 2022, Take-Two Interactive spent a whopping $12.7 billion on Zynga. Microsoft hopes to complete its acquisition of Candy Crush maker King this year, as part of its $68.7 billion buyout of Activision Blizzard.

      • Hindustan TimesTwitter boss Elon Musk forms new artificial intelligence company

        Musk, who is already the boss of Twitter and Tesla, was listed as director of X.AI Corporation founded on March 9, a state business filing indicated.

        Musk recently merged Twitter with a newly created "X" shell company, keeping the brand name for the platform but not the business.

      • Netzpolitik[Draft] Proposal for a regulation laying down the rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse Complementary Impact Assessment [PDF]

        The need to protect children against CSA is undisputed, and the study does not question that. At the core of this study essentially lies the balancing act of protecting children while safeguarding the fundamental rights of users of covered online services under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR). The study was conducted between November 2022 and March 2023 and is based on desk research, literature review, case law analysis and interviews. The European Commission’s Better Regulation Guidelines guided this study, in particular in regard to the fundamental rights test 6 and the cost-benefit analysis. 7

      • [Repeat] Vice Media GroupFarmers Win the Right to Repair Their Own Tractors in Colorado

        The Colorado state House approved the bill last February. It cleared the state Senate on Tuesday in a vote 46-14. Now governor Jared Polis has 10 days to sign it into law and a spokesperson has said he will.

        John Deere and other companies have lobbied hard against laws like this. Modern tractors have so many electronic components that manufacturers can lock farmers out of repairing their own equipment. It’s given John Deere and others a de-facto monopoly on the repair of modern equipment. It promised farmers it would let them repair their tractors, but it lied.

      • New StatesmanMary Quant: “Technology and culture are the same thing”

        The suggestion that such technological innovations – chiefly the widespread use of Lycra, pioneered by French company DuPont – have little to do with Thatcherism and the wider economic and cultural climate in Britain engenders an even more bizarre reply. “Technology and culture are the same thing. Technological advancement is the culture of our time.”

      • The Register UKUS extradites Nigerian charged in $6m email fraud scam

        According to court documents [PDF], the scam began around February 2016 and continued until July 2017, and involved co-conspirators in Maryland in addition to the three Nigerians.

      • MeduzaMTS, Russia’s largest mobile network operator, tells remote workers to return to Russia from abroad

        Starting on June 1, the company plans to shut out any employees outside of Russia from online corporate resources. The management is encouraging all staff to return to Russia. If they don’t, their contracts will be terminated, says a current MTS employee.

      • ScheerpostTennessee Lawmakers Aren’t the First Progressives Expelled for Their Activism

        John Wilkes, Adam Clayton Powell, and Julian Bond were elected, excluded and returned to the legislature.

      • The NationSexual Harassment Is a Civil, Not Criminal, Offense

        I swore that I was done writing about Andrew Cuomo. But the problem with shameless psychopaths is that they can easily cow a weakened media into reporting their nonsense as actual, relevant fact. And that’s where we find ourselves today. Cuomo, like Donald Trump and other serial abusers, continues to insist that the lack of criminal charges against him is proof of innocence. Rather than just quote him, though, reporters are now uncritically repeating his spin, ostensibly in the service of journalistic “context.” A recent Daily Beast article read: “Cuomo, who resigned in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct—which he still denies, and never faced any criminal charges over—remains one of only three New York governors without a portrait on display.” These kinds of caveats are meaningless drivel. Sexual harassment is simply not criminal. Period.1

      • Common DreamsAdvocates Warn Medication Abortion Still at 'Severe Risk' Despite High Court Reprieve

        "Mifepristone remains safe, effective, and AVAILABLE."

      • The NationThe Ruling Against Mifepristone Affects Reproductive Rights Nationwide
      • Democracy NowDeSantis Signs Six-Week Abortion Ban in Florida; Legal Fight Intensifies over Abortion Pill

        We look at the state of abortion access in the United States with The Nation's Amy Littlefield as the Supreme Court is expected to weigh in on a ruling set to take effect Saturday that effectively overrides the Food and Drug Administration's two-decade-old approval of the medication abortion pill mifepristone. Her most recent piece is headlined “A Conservative Christian Judge Rules Against Medication Abortion. How Hard Will Democrats Fight Back?”

      • Common DreamsThe Contradiction in Biden's Tech And Trade Policies

        President Joe Biden has earned a domestic reputation as a staunch critic of Silicon Valley. His Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice are bringing high-profile antitrust cases against Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. In his State of the Union address, he called for stronger countermeasures against the social media industry’s data-gathering practices on children and teenagers in particular. And Congress is taking a strident stance against TikTok in particular, as part of a chillier turn in relations with China.

      • ScheerpostIt’s Called the American Dream Because You Have To Be Asleep to Believe It

        A thorough dissection of America’s capitalist mythology reveals the sham to which lots of people continue to subscribe, despite growing nationwide suffering.

      • The NationDonald Trump Sinks to a New Low by Dog-Whistling an Old Racist Tune

        Donald Trump’s most recent Mar-a-Lago rant, the one following his first indictment on April 4, was mostly the same old stuff, delivered off a teleprompter with his usual listless monotone—as if by now his shtick bores even him. But one seemingly off-handed comment passed largely unnoticed, and the few who picked up on it largely laughed it off.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Washington TimesStanding up to schoolyard bullies: Colleges need to pay for censorship, campus violence

        Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines is going to sue and demand consequences for activists who assaulted her at San Francisco State University, where she discussed the impact of men competing in women’s athletic events. It should start a trend.

        Whether it’s any judge appointed by former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, commentators such as Matt Walsh and Ben Shapiro, or an NCAA swimmer who had her title stolen by a man, disrupting conservative and Republican-aligned speakers on college campuses has become as common as happy hour at the local dive.

      • WSWSAmerican Library Association registers a near doubling of efforts to censor, ban books in 2022

        Ignorance goes hand in hand with social reaction. Moms for Liberty, as noted, is a far-right organization, with ties to fascist elements in and around the Republican Party. Considering those political surroundings, its claim to be concerned with an accurate depiction of the Holocaust needs to be taken with a very large grain of salt. The outfit has particularly close ties to the administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Media Matters for America has correctly pointed out that Moms for Liberty uses “parental rights” as a cover for harassing public schools and libraries. They are opposed to “indoctrinating” children—except with chauvinism, militarism, anti-communism and religious bigotry.

      • BIA NetJournalist Dilan Akyol detained by anti-terror police in Antalya

        Focusing on the rights of the Kurdish people in Turkey, as well as other countries in the region, the agency faces legal harassment frequently, including court cases against its journalists and online censorship.

      • CPJTurkey charges 17 Kurdish journalists, media worker with membership in a terrorist organization

        According to the indictment, the journalists and media worker are employed by local ARÄ°, PEL, and PÄ°YA production companies and produce Kurdish-focused shows on news, culture, arts, political debates, and documentaries.

      • Meduza‘A cry of shame and despair’ How a dissident couple who protested the war with graffiti split up when tried by a Russian court

        The Russian artist Lyudmila Razumova and her husband Alexander Martynov shared a love of nature and outdoors, a free-spirit lifestyle, and liberal convictions. When Russia invaded Ukraine, the couple traveled from Tver region to Moscow to take part in mass protests. When they saw the police decimating the small crowd of courageous people who had come out to protest the war, Alexander and Lyudmila were disheartened. On their return home, they began to come out at night to spray protest graffiti around their small town and the nearby villages. Within a month, they were arrested and charged with vandalism, and later with spreading disinformation under the new Russian law against “fakes” about the Russian military. Unexpectedly, the pressures of confinement and the court trial drove a wedge between the couple who had planned to spend the rest of their lives together. The Russian outlet Verstka published the story of two activists who loved one another but parted ways while a Russian court tried them for having an opinion. Meduza in English has translated it.

      • Meduza‘A fair solution in this delicate sphere’: State Duma creates committee for depriving ‘foreign agents’ and dissident artists of Russian income — Meduza

        Russia’s State Duma has tasked a special committee with developing a proposal on how to deprive antiwar Russian artists and people designated as “foreign agents” of their income in Russia. Deputy speaker of the Duma Petr Tolstoy announced this on his Telegram channel.

      • MeduzaState Duma deputies ask that Pushkin Museum director be investigated after she compared Stalin to Mickey Mouse — Meduza

        State Duma deputies from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation have asked Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s federal Investigative Committee, to open a criminal case against Elizaveta Likhacheva, the director of the Pushkin Museum, regarding her remarks about Joseph Stalin.

      • The NationHow Woke Bob Hope Got Canceled by the Right

        On April 3, after Bud Light named trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney a spokesperson, Kid Rock responded with a video showing him firing an automatic rifle at a stack of Bud Light beer cases. Country star Travis Tritt announced that he was dropping the beer from his tours, and several conservative social media personalities launched a boycott of the brand. In Tennessee, the state legislature recently banned drag queen shows but, after the Covenant Baptist School shooting, expelled two Black legislators for protesting gun violence with demonstrators. And last month, the Republican Party of Texas censured GOP Representative Tony Gonzalez, whose district includes Uvalde, Tex., for backing bipartisan gun safety laws and protections of same-sex marriage laws.

      • Hindustan TimesWhy we should all care about the textbook debate

        A reference to this champion of Indian nationalism, a freedom fighter whom former Prime Minister (PM) Jawaharlal Nehru called Mir-e-Karavan (leader of our caravan) when he announced his death, is the latest excision in school textbooks. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has called these deletions a step towards syllabi rationalisation, but every day brings new details of what is being edited out.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The NationThe Julian Assange Test Facing Every Member of the House

        There is a growing consensus in journalistic circles that the efforts by the US Department of Justice to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for obtaining and revealing information regarding alleged atrocities committed during the US occupation of Iraq pose a serious threat to the freedom of the press.

      • MeduzaRussia declares Carnegie Endowment and publication Agentstvo ‘foreign agents’ — Meduza

        Russia’s Justice Ministry has included the musician Semyon Slepakov, the journalist Pavel Kanygin, and the publication Agentstvo on its list of “foreign agents,” according to the ministry’s website.

      • MeduzaMeduza’s sources say Putin’s annual televised question-and-answer show likely being planned for June — Meduza

        Meduza has learned that the Russian authorities are likely planning to hold “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin,” the Russian president’s annual television question-and-answer program, in early June.

      • Meduza‘I’m ashamed of my country’: Letters from Meduza’s readers to jailed journalist Evan Gershkovich — Meduza

        It’s been more than two weeks since Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on espionage charges. According to Bloomberg, the arrest was personally approved by Vladimir Putin. The U.S. government, numerous major international media outlets, and hundreds of independent journalists have demanded Gershkovich’s release. The day after his arrest, Meduza asked readers to write letters to Evan, and in the days that followed, we received more than 350. We’re grateful to everyone who took the time to let Evan know he hasn’t been forgotten, and we’ll send the letters to him soon. In the meantime, we’re publishing some of them below. We hope they’ll bring comfort to everyone who’s worried about Evan.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Pro PublicaMississippi to Require Lawyers for Defendants Before Indictment

        Poor defendants in Mississippi are routinely jailed for months, and sometimes even years, without being appointed an attorney due to the state’s notoriously dysfunctional public defender system. The Mississippi Supreme Court now says this practice must end.

        The state’s highest court approved a mandate on Thursday that criminal defendants who can’t afford their own attorney must always have one before an indictment.

      • MeduzaMediazona: No fewer than 66 Russians arrested on railway sabotage charges, one third of them minors — Meduza

        At least 66 Russians have been arrested and charged with railway sabotage since last fall, Mediazona has calculated.

      • Reputable lawyer brings ErdoÄŸan's candidacy to ECtHR

        Former chairperson of the Ä°stanbul bar association, Turgut Kazan stated that the rule limiting the number of terms of presidency stated in the Constitution is binding for all including the Supreme Election Council.

      • EFFLatam Media Briefing: Proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty Lacks Sufficient Human Rights Safeguards, Exacerbating Threats to Privacy and Civil Liberties in Latam
      • Vice Media GroupA Computer Generated Swatting Service Is Causing Havoc Across America

        The bombs weren’t real. But, crucially, neither was the man’s voice. The panicked man’s lines sound artificially generated, according to recordings of the swatting calls reviewed by Motherboard. It is unclear how exactly the caller generated the voice, be that some form of artificial intelligence tool or another speech synthesis program. The result, though, is a voice that sounds very consistent across multiple calls.

        In fact, Motherboard has found, this synthesized call and another against Hempstead High School were just one small part of a months-long, nationwide campaign of dozens, and potentially hundreds, of threats made by one swatter in particular who has weaponized computer generated voices. Known as “Torswats” on the messaging app Telegram, the swatter has been calling in bomb and mass shooting threats against highschools and other locations across the country. Torswat’s connection to these wide ranging swatting incidents has not been previously reported. The further automation of swatting techniques threatens to make an already dangerous harassment technique more prevalent.

      • Pro PublicaElkhart, IN, Police Scandal Ends With Second Guilty Plea

        A second police officer has pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge filed in response to a 2018 investigation of the criminal justice system in Elkhart, Indiana, by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica. His conviction is the latest development in the extensive fallout from the news organizations’ reporting on the city’s policing.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • [Old] uni MichiganDigital Copyright

        Technology now permits copyright owners of works in digital format to monitor and meter the consumption of their works. The ubiquity of digital technology in the information and entertainment industries and the rapid penetration of the Internet into Americans’ lives have enabled the dissemination of an increasing amount of information on a pay-per-view basis. In the current milieu, the policy arguments over the rationale for copyright owners’ imperfect control have taken on immense practical significance. If the reason that authors’ and their publishers’ control over uses of their works has been narrowly confined is to enable consumers and future authors to make the broadest possible use of protected creations that is consistent with the copyright system’s encouragement of authorship, then digital technology changes very little. The fact that technology enables copyright owners to exercise more complete control is no reason to modify the copyright law to facilitate it. If, in contrast, the goal of copyright law is to place all feasible control over works of authorship firmly in the hands of copyright owners, new digital technology offers us the opportunity for the first time to come very close to perfecting the system.

      • Techdirt28 State AGs Urge Congress To Pass Stalled ‘Right To Repair’ Bills

        In just the last five years, the “right to repair” movement has shifted from nerdy niche to the mainstream, thanks in part to significant support from the Biden FTC. We’ve seen numerous state bills make significant inroads in passing laws opening the door to undermining repair monopolies, even though industry lobbying has, at times, neutered the proposals in a bid to make them useless (see: Kathy Hochul in New York State).

    • Monopolies

      • CoryDoctorowIs antitrust anti-labor?

        Trusts were an incredibly successful business structure. A bunch of competing companies would be sold to a new holding company ("the trust"), and the owners of those old standalone companies would get stock in this new trust. The trust would operate as a single entity, hiking prices and suppressing wages. If anyone tried fight the trust with a new, independent company, the trust could freeze them out, by selling goods below cost, or by doing exclusive deals with key suppliers and customers, or both. Once a trust sewed up an industry, no one could compete. The trust barons were rulers for life.

      • Computer WorldIt’s déjà vu all over again as governments put Microsoft in their crosshairs

        Microsoft faces a bigger problem than the Activision lawsuit. It’s facing multiple government actions that target the engine turbocharging the company’s growth: the cloud.

      • Patents

        • Daniel PocockWorld.IP.Day & WIPO bribery and corruption

          The case was processed by the ADR Forum rather than WIPO. When the ADR Forum notified us of the case, they informed us that the panelist would be a lawyer associated with IBM. In fact, the lawyer in question had a leading role in the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), a lobby group funded by IBM. A fellow director of FAST is another lawyer who spent 35 years working for IBM. IBM is the owner of Red Hat, therefore, the proposed panelist would clearly have a conflict of interest. When this was pointed out, the lawyer in question immediately resigned from the process and ADR Forum appointed another lawyer to replace them.

          Nonetheless, conflicts of interest like this are usually not so easy to detect. We don't know if Matthew Kennedy, Clive Duncan Thorne or Oleksiy Stolyarenko have ever worked on legal projects for any of the companies who give money to Debian. Nonetheless, there are enough companies giving money to Debian that there is a high probability that at least one of the lawyers has done work for one of those companies. In fact, in almost 30 years of Debian, there has never been any attempt to give a transparent report about which companies are funding the project with cash or employee time. This is the reality of many non-profit organizations: the non-profit status is simply an illusion to obfuscate the identity of the organizations who control the revenue.

        • EPO’s quality chief answers critics | Managing Intellectual Property [Ed: EPO 'puff piece' partner printing EPO lies behind a paywall so that people cannot respond to the lies]
      • Software Patents

        • India TimesGoogle must face trial over Sonos patents, says California judge

          Sonos said Google stole its technology to use in products like Chromecast Audio and Google Home after working together to integrate Google's streaming music service into the Sonos ecosystem. Google has countered that Sonos copied its technology after their collaboration.

          Sonos accused Google in the San Francisco case of infringing four patents related to multi-room wireless speaker technology. U.S. District Judge William Alsup previously invalidated one of the patents and determined Google infringed another.

      • Trademarks

        • TTAB BlogTTAB Renders Split Decision in "ELECTRIC LAST MILE SOLUTIONS" Section 2(d) Appeal

          The Board affirmed-in-part and reversed-in-part a Section 2(d refusal to register the mark ELECTRIC LAST MILE SOLUTIONS in five classes: batteries and chargers (class 9), vehicles and electric vehicle (12), floor mats (27), electric vehicle retail services (35) and repair of electric vehicles (37). The Board found confusion likely with the registered mark LAST MILE for electric vehicles as to applicant's class 12, 35, and 37 goods and services, but not likely as to the class 9 and 27 goods and services. In re Mullen Automotive Inc., Application Serial No. 90366095 (April 11, 2023) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman).

      • Copyrights

        • Walled CultureWriters and publishers face an existential threat from AI: time to embrace the true fans model

          The real solution is to move to an entirely different business model, which is based on the unique connection between human creators and their fans. The true fans approach has been discussed here many times in other contexts, and once more reveals itself as resilient in the face of change brought about by rapidly-advancing digital technologies.

        • Torrent FreakKorean Piracy Giant Noonoo TV Shuts Down Citing Bandwidth Costs & Pressure

          One month ago, South Korean movie and TV show piracy platform Noonoo TV was riding the crest of a wave along with tens of millions of dedicated fans. A few hours ago, the site shocked its users by shutting itself down. A statement in Korean first lays the blame on "outrageous" bandwidth charges but it seems that extraordinary anti-piracy pressure was the reason behind the site's demise.

        • Torrent FreakRussian Registry Revokes TorrentGalaxy's Domain Name for Unknown Reasons

          Popular torrent site TorrentGalaxy has lost control of its .su domain name after the Russian Institute for Public Networks revoked the Soviet TLD without warning. Without an official explanation the true motivation remains unknown, but TorrentGalaxy's operator believes that the action might be related to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • A site about nothing

        Why do I keep coming back here? ... well, I think most people here don't have anything to share really. In fact, when they do, I try to say clear. No mister, you won't have me involved in those fancy knowledge sharing shenigans! I'd much rather lean in my rocking chair with my beer to watch the neighbours coming and going!

      • 🔤SpellBinding: CLMYSUO Wordo: GECKO
      • The Chaos Crier, Issue #0

        My copies of Black Sword Hack: Ultimate Chaos Edition and The Chaos Crier, Issue #0 arrived. Naturally, I read the later first. It describes a creepy seaside town, the horrible monsters that are subverting it, the cult that foolishly enables it, the town's inhabitants, and those who struggle against the coming apocalypse. Excellently written, though I take fault with the layout. Overflowing with great ideas.

      • The Stonecutter, Part 6

        He could reach immense speeds. He could blow away the roofs of buildings and the umbrellas of the nobles. He could move the clouds and thus control the Sun’s brightness or where the rain would fall.

        As winter came he caused blizzards and froze people to death where they stood. So much schadenfreude, so much glee.

        Not only could he blow rooftops off houses. If he pushed himself he could blow away the houses themselves, or cause floods that floated them out into the oceans.

      • Disrespect

        The head manager of the store, Mike, is a real jackass.

        We had a coworker leave a few weeks ago, Johann, he was referred to the store by Roomie. Well Johann proved to be a bit of a liar and started missing shifts constantly claiming to be sick while hanging out with mutual friends, so we knew he wasn't. He hadn't fulfilled a shift in 3 weeks when he finally wrote a long, meandering text to Mike saying he was quitting, along with some digs at Mike and our other horrid supervisor Chuck. Since Johann left, Mike has been treating me a bit nicer. He was showing me respect, asking me to do things in a polite manner and praising me when I did a good job.

    • Technical

      • Programming

        • Emacs Configuration Refactoring

          I'm going through a refactoring stage where I wanted to try the new wave of completion packages that are available; namely Vertico, consult, embark, corfu, cape, orderless and marginalia.

          Overall the experience is very nice; every package is an improvement of some aspects of the packages it replaces. We are talking about helm and company, mainly.

          Instead of helm, vertico is the UI of the completion; running in the minibuffer, but it doesn't make a difference.

        • Re: My create article script

          I found funny that I have my own version of that script. By reducing friction, it is easier to post more frequently, isn't it?

        • Yretek - My create article script

          This one was much easier, practice makes you better and all that.

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

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