Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 29/04/2023: KDE Development Report and GnuPG 2.4.1 Released

  • GNU/Linux

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • TecMintHow to Install PostgreSQL from Source in Linux

        PostgreSQL also called Postgres is a powerful and open-source object-relational database system. It is an enterprise-level database having features such as write-ahead logging for fault tolerance, asynchronous replication, Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC), online/hot backups, point-in-time recovery, query planner/optimizer, tablespaces, nested transactions (savepoints), etc.

        Postgres’s latest version 15.2 was released on 9 February 2023 by the PostgreSQL global development group.

      • Linux BuzzHow to Add Sudo User on RHEL / Rocky Linux / Alma Linux

        In this tutorial, we will cover how to add a sudo user on RHEL, Rocky Linux and Alma Linux.

      • OSTechNixAdd, Delete And Grant Sudo Privileges To Users In Fedora 38

        Using sudo program, we can elevate the ability of a normal user to run administrative tasks, without giving away the root user's password in Linux operating systems. This guide explains how to add, delete and grant sudo privileges to users in Fedora 38, 37 and 36 desktop and server editions.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Nate GrahamThis week in KDE: The bug slaughterfest continues

          Last week’s focus on bugs continues into this week, with the VHI-priority Plasma bugs slashed down to just three! In addition, Plasma 6 UI improvements are starting to land now that it’s stabilized a bit. In fact I’m typing this post from within a Plasma 6 session right now!

          In Elisa, double-clicking on a song or clicking its “Play now” button now puts its entire album in the playlist and begins playing from that song

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • Fedora Family / IBM

      • SequoiaPGPRPM Sequoia: A Sequoia-based backend for the RPM Package Manager

        Fedora 38 is out, and unsurprisingly it comes with a lot of shiny, new things. One especially interesting novelty for readers of this blog is that this is the first release of Fedora in which the RPM Package Manager uses Sequoia to verify packages. This blog post is the story of how that came to be.

    • Debian Family

      • It's FOSSDebian 12 'Bookworm' New Features and Release Date

        Debian's upcoming release code-named 'Bookworm' is almost here, with many improvements and new features over Debian 11 Bullseye.

        Debian 12 'Bookworm' contains over 11200 packages tha, bring it to a total of over 59000 packages!

        Most software included with Debian has been updated, with 9500+ packages being removed for being old or obsolete.

        Are you excited? Let's see what's new in Debian 12.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Linux GizmosAudio development board powered by ESP32 module

        The WVR audio development is a small embedded device featuring a ESP32 module and a 32-bit stereo DAC from Texas Instruments. This open-source device supports MIDI and it can be configured from a Web GUI for convenience.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Andrew HutchingsSchneider Euro PC: Restoration Part 2

        In my previous post the machine was disassembled and the battery removed. Since then I’ve been coming back to this machine on and off over the last week. In this post we dig a bit further to see if we can get the machine running.

      • Raspberry PiKeeping an eye on nocturnal visitors | HackSpace #66

        Something keeps waking my dog up in the middle of the night. That would be fine, except the dog keeps waking me up in the middle of the night. This is not fine. To find out what this is, I resolved to set up a wildlife camera to monitor the back garden.

      • Ben JojoDriver adventures for a 1999 webcam

        A good friend of mine this week was clearing out stuff and handed me an old logitech QuickCam Express webcam, this was actually a pretty serious nostalgic moment as it happened to also be the same model as my first webcam, so thinking it could be funny at some work meetings to have an “early 2000s” vibe I took it home.

        However the QuickCam Express has not had drivers since Windows XP it seems. I attached it to my Linux machine, and no module was loaded, and when I then attached it to my Windows 10 VM I was presented with an unknown device. Meaning I was out of luck for official support for this thing.

      • Matt KeeterMachined Aluminum Pen

        Still, not bad for a first try!

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • OpenSource.comHow I used guilt as a motivator for good

      Recently, I was asked by a friend and colleague if I were interested in speaking together at a conference. I was pleasantly surprised because I hadn't contributed much to the project they were presenting, but I expressed interest. We met to discuss the presentation, and that's when I learned the real reason I was asked to participate: The conference's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives required there to be at least one speaker that does not identify as a man. I was offended; it felt like I was approached only because of my gender, not based on merit.

      My friend assured me that wasn't the only reason I'd been asked. They needed new contributors to the project because there was a lot of work to be done, and they were hoping I could help fill that gap.

      I gave it some thought and tried to understand why the DEI initiatives were in place.€  I also thought about the other side of the coin, where the people who wanted to present couldn't, unless they found someone from a minority group to present alongside them.

    • Web Browsers/Web Servers

      • Daniel Stenbergcurl 8 is faster

        Over the last six months or so, curl has undergone a number of refactors and architectural cleanups. The primary motivations for this have been to improve the HTTP/3 support and to offer HTTP/2 over proxy, but also to generally improve the code, its maintainability and its readability.

        A main change is the connection filters I already blogged about, but while working on this a lot of other optimizations and “quirk removals” have been performed. Most of this work done by Stefan Eissing.

    • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Paolo MelchiorreUpgrade PostgreSQL from 14 to 15 on Ubuntu 23.04

        This article is aimed at those like me who use Ubuntu and PostgreSQL to develop locally on their computer and after the last update to Ubuntu 23.04 they have two versions of PostgreSQL installed.

    • Programming/Development

      • Felix KrauseContext SDK - Introducing the most intelligent way to know how and when to monetize your user

        Today, whether your app is opened when your user is taking the bus to work, in bed about to go to sleep, or when out for drinks with friends, your product experience is the same. However, apps of the future will perfectly fit into the context of their users’ environment.

        As app usage has exploded over the past decade, personalization and user context are becoming increasingly important to grow and retain your userbase. Context SDK enables you to create intelligent products that adapt to users’ preferences and needs, all while preserving the user’s privacy and battery life using only on-device processing.

  • Leftovers

    • YLEPolice release one, detain two in state secrets case

      The trio are all Finnish citizens, and were candidates during this spring's parliamentary elections — two for the Crystal party and one for the Power Belongs to the People (VKK) party. None were elected to office.

    • Science

      • Lee Yingtong LiA high-performance Rust implementation of interval-censored Cox regression

        hpstat intcox is a Rust implementation of interval-censored Cox regression using an iterative convex minorant-based approach described by Huang & Wellner [1], incorporating a damped iterative convex minorant algorithm for the baseline cumulative hazard as described by Aragón & Eberly [2] and Pan [3]. This contrasts with the expectation–maximisation algorithm used by IntCens and Stata. Standard errors are estimated in a computationally efficient manner using a profile likelihood-based method advanced by Zeng, Gao & Lin [4]. This contrasts with the bootstrap-based approach used by icenReg.

      • [Repeat] ZimbabweLocal startup shakes up banking sector with banking software as a service platform

        It’s like trying to ask Microsoft to customise Windows for you, removing what you don’t need and adding some stuff that’s important to you. If that’s an option you will pay top dollar for it.

        So Zimbabwean banks have had to try and create their own modules and integrate them with these bloated softwares. It’s not an easy task. It is both challenging and expensive. You may have noticed that local banks that have tried to innovate the most have struggled with stability issues. That’s how hard it’s been to integrate.

        The problem in short – Zim banks are paying a lot, in precious forex no less, for bloated software which packs fancy but useless modules and lacks important Zim-specific ones. Developing their own modules is an option but integration is expensive, difficult and time-consuming. This is a major factor hindering innovation in the sector.

      • Computer WorldApple's inexorable plan to replace retail banking

        At this point, Apple offers its users services to make purchases, transact sales, buy items on credit using a card, save money, a virtual currency, and to make small transactions over time at zero interest rates. It takes a tiny cut of cash from all these transactions. But even now the Apple Pay story is still just beginning.

    • Hardware

      • Herman ÕunapuuDell Latitude 5411: the Linux compatibility sweet spot

        Well, today I’m writing about the Dell Latitude 5411.

        It’s not the newest laptop in the world, but I decided to give it a go because of a few reasons: [...]

      • [Repeat] GoogleRelease of a Technical Report into Intel Trust Domain Extensions

        Today, members of Google Project Zero and Google Cloud are releasing a report on a security review of Intel's Trust Domain Extensions (TDX). TDX is a feature introduced to support Confidential Computing by providing hardware isolation of virtual machine guests at runtime. This isolation is achieved by securing sensitive resources, such as guest physical memory. This restricts what information is exposed to the hosting environment.

      • Stacey on IoTSolar charging an EV takes some pre-planning or costly add-ons

        On a recent Internet of Things podcast, we took a voicemail from Jared on our podcast hotline. Jared’s home is equipped with solar panels and he recently purchased a Tesla EV. He’s looking for some smart device that will let him charge his EV directly when his home is producing more energy than it’s using.

      • Chris HannahPersonalised radio station

        She is fond of music from old classics (from the 60's and earlier), so I hooked up a Raspberry PI with an FM transmitter and created her own private radio station. She tells me what songs she likes and I create different playlists that get broadcast on her station. It preserves the surprise element of radio, and there is nothing in there she doesn't like.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • IT WireSocial media report ‘reinforces need’ for more protections for consumers and small business: ACCC

        The report reveals that harms to consumer and businesses include excessive data collection practices, lack of effective dispute resolution options, prevalence of scams, lack of transparency for advertisers and “inadequate disclosure of sponsored content by influencers and brands”.

      • The Telegraph UKThe five signs you're using your mobile too much and how to break the habit

        More than 90 per cent of British adults now own a smartphone. A survey published earlier this month by the comparison website Uswitch found the average person scrolls through the equivalent of 43ft 3in of content daily: this translates to almost the height of the Elizabeth Tower that houses Big Ben every week – the equivalent of three miles, annually.

        But our national phone obsession is taking a toll on our health. “The negative impacts can range from eye strain and neck and back pain to sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression and decreased concentration,” says counselling psychologist Dr Rina Bajaj.

        Here are the risks to be aware of and some simple solutions to lessen the impact.

      • [Repeat] CS MonitorWrong door, wrong driveway: How US got to shoot first, ask later

        “What we are seeing is an abdication of responsibility to the public – we are not concerned about our fellow man,” says Kenneth Nunn, an expert on U.S. self-defense law and a law professor emeritus at the University of Florida. “I think there’s a belief that if you’re a homeowner and have a gun, you’re basically insulated from any criminal charges if you use it ... that there’s no limiting principle for vigilante violence. And some people are OK with that.”

      • NPRKids under 13 would be barred from social media under bipartisan Senate bill

        There are four lawmakers sponsoring the bill, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Alabama's Katie Britt alongside Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Connecticut's Chris Murphy, who say America's mental health crisis weighs most heavily on adolescents, especially young girls.

        "The business model of these apps is simple, the duration of time the user spends on the app and the extent to which they engage with content is directly correlated with ad revenue," Schatz said, arguing that companies want users to spend long amounts of time on their platforms but the results can be "catastrophic."

        "Social media [companies] have stumbled onto a stubborn, devastating fact: The way to get kids to linger on the platforms and to maximize platforms is to upset them," Schatz told reporters at a press conference announcing the bill on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

    • Proprietary

      • AxiosRansomware is a forever problem now [iophk: Windows TCO]

        What's happening: Rob Joyce, the NSA's director of cybersecurity, told reporters during a briefing at RSA that Russian hackers are now weaponizing ransomware in attempted attacks against Ukrainian logistics supply chain companies, as well as organizations in Western-allied countries.

      • MWLChatGPT versus Facts

        A friend asked ChatGPT about me. It provided something that looks like an answer, but is not an answer.

        This illustrates how these large language models produce things that LOOK like answers, but are not actual answers. I’m a public figure with a fair amount of information in public, but it can’t get the details correct.

        I thought of going through this and highlighting everything incorrect, but I have no interest in helping train ChatGPT or in making more details of my life available. Every paragraph has multiple glaring inaccuracies.

      • Joonas LoppiAn approach to protocol reverse-engineering

        This basic principle has worked for me many times, so I figured it might be worth to share the process.

        In this instance I wanted to write a label printer driver in Go. A barebones implementation exists in Python that works to print a test image.3

      • MichaÅ‚ WoźniakBlueSky is cosplaying decentralization

        BlueSky differentiates itself from Hive, Post, and other centralized social media newcommers by being ostensibly decentralized. It differentiates itself from the Fediverse by not being the Fediverse, and by being funded by *checks notes* Twitter. Oh, and by being built by Silicon Valley techbros, instead of weirdos who understand consent and how important moderation is.

        I say “ostensibly decentralized”, because BlueSky’s (henceforth referred to as “BS” here) decentralization is a similar kind of decentralization as with cryptocurrencies: sure, you can run your own node (in BS case: “personal data servers”), but that does not give you basically any meaningful agency in the system. Quoting the protocol docs: [...]

      • Tim BrayBluesky Facts and Opinions

        The Fediverse has exploded in discussion of Bluesky, now that it’s launched a beta and harvested a few celebrities. Quite a lot of Fediverse voices have been angry and hostile, pointing out that several years of intense effort have produced a working ActivityPub-based federated monopoly-resistant conversational social network, and asking who are these dweebs ignoring that work and re-inventing the wheel, probably in an attempt to enrich Jack Dorsey?!

        I have a lot of sympathy with those opinions. Having said that, the assertions are not all fact-based. So, here are facts (and a few opinions) about Bluesky, as of late April 2023.

      • UbuntuUpgrade your existing Ubuntu LTS instances to Ubuntu Pro in AWS

        In April 2023, Amazon Web Services (AWS) released a new functionality that allows users running Ubuntu LTS to upgrade their instances to Ubuntu Pro with just a few clicks. This upgrade provides additional security features, including patching for universe packages, extended security management for an additional five years, live kernel patching, and access to FedRamp and FIPS modules. In this blog, we will cover all the steps needed to upgrade Ubuntu LTS instances to Ubuntu Pro on AWS using AWS License Manager.

    • Security

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • EFFAt Congressional Hearing, PCLOB Members Suggest Bare Minimum of 702 Reforms

          The witnesses managed to use the hearing to sketch out a vision for what a minimally sufficient bill to reform Section 702 would look like. However, they were not nearly as skeptical as we are of€ the necessity of domestic law enforcement’s use of these powers–especially when the information collected under 702 could be obtained by law enforcement with a warrant through more traditional avenues.€ 

          Section 702 allows the government to conduct surveillance inside the United States by vacuuming up digital communications so long as the surveillance is directed at foreigners currently located outside the United States. It also prohibits intentionally targeting Americans. Nevertheless, the NSA routinely (“incidentally”) acquires innocent Americans' communications without a probable cause warrant. Once collected, the FBI can search through this massive database of information by “querying” the communications of specific individuals.

          Previously the FBI alone reported conducting up to 3.4 million warrantless searches of Section 702 data in 2021 using Americans’ identifiers. Congress and the FISA Court have€ imposed modest limitations on these backdoor searches,€ but according to several recent FISA Court opinions, the FBI has engaged in “widespread violations” of even these minimal privacy protections.

        • EFFAppeals Court Should Reconsider Letting The FBI Block Twitter’s Surveillance Transparency Report

          In this long-running and important case, Twitter tried to publish a report bringing much-needed transparency to the government’s use of FISA orders and national security letters, including specifying whether it had received any of these types of requests. However, without going to a court, the FBI told Twitter it could not publish the report as written. Twitter sued, and last month the federal Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit upheld the FBI’s gag order.

          The court’s opinion undermined at least a hundred years of First Amendment case law on “prior restraints,” the term for when government officials forbid private speech in advance. It is a bedrock of constitutional history that prior restraints are subject to unique—and uniquely demanding—protections designed to ensure that the government cannot act as an unreviewable censor and stifle individuals’ right to free speech.

          But as we write in the brief, the court’s opinion in this case “carves out, for the first time, a whole category of prior restraints that receive no more scrutiny than subsequent punishments for speech—expanding officials’ power to gag virtually anyone who interacts with a government agency and wishes to speak publicly about that interaction.” This exception supposedly applies to “government restrictions on the disclosure of information transmitted confidentially as part of a legitimate government process,” including nondisclosure rules regarding national security requests like the ones Twitter wanted to discuss. Needless to say, this carveout goes against mountains of precedent from the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit itself.

        • [Repeat] NetblocksTelegram restricted in Brazil after refusal to supply user data to authorities

          Real-time NetBlocks metrics show that Telegram frontends and backends have been restricted on leading providers Claro and Vivo (Telefonica) networks AS28573 and AS18881. The service remains accessible on some smaller networks and work is ongoing to assess the extent of compliance. This class of disruption can be worked around using VPN services (we recommend Surfshark), which can circumvent government internet censorship measures.

        • VOA NewsUS Intelligence Surveillance of Americans Drops Sharply

          The just-released report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found that even as U.S. intelligence agencies are making greater use of collection authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the number of U.S. persons — citizens or legal residents — being targeted has declined steadily.

          Friday's transparency report said there were only 49 court-approved surveillance or search orders for U.S. persons in 2022, down from 67 in 2021 and from 102 in 2020.

      • Confidentiality

        • GnuPGGnuPG 2.4.1 released

          GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign data and communication, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for public key directories. GnuPG itself is a command line tool with features for easy integration with other applications. The separate library GPGME provides a uniform API to use the GnuPG engine by software written in common programming languages. A wealth of frontend applications and libraries making use of GnuPG are available. As an universal crypto engine GnuPG provides support for S/MIME and Secure Shell in addition to OpenPGP.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Democracy Now“Provocative & Dangerous”: Biden to Send Nuclear-Armed Subs to South Korea as Activists Demand Peace

        On Wednesday, President Joe Biden pledged to deploy nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea for the first time in 40 years. Alongside South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol, Biden also pledged to involve officials from Seoul in nuclear planning operations targeting North Korea. The visit between the two leaders comes as the U.S. and South Korea mark 70 years of military alliance under 1953’s Mutual Defense Treaty, signed at the close of active conflict in the Korean War. No peace treaty was ever signed by the North and South Korean governments, meaning the two countries are still technically at war. We discuss continued tensions on the Korean Peninsula with Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War, and the coordinator of the campaign Korea Peace Now! Ahn says the Korean War marked the dawn of the military-industrial complex and that ever-more militarization of the peninsula is not the answer. “There is momentum now to transform this state of war into a permanent peace,” she says.

      • MeduzaArson by proxy How phone scammers are tricking older and vulnerable Russians into setting fire to conscription offices — Meduza

        For more than six months, senior citizens throughout Russia have been setting fire to military conscription offices and banks, not bothering to hide from police officers or security cameras. After being arrested, they’ve proceeded to give implausible explanations that often involve debts or loans. At least 16 such cases have been reported publicly. Almost all of these arson attempts have been unsuccessful, though the authorities are investigating at least two incidents as terrorist attacks. The independent news outlet Mediazona recently published an overview of these cases, finding that unusual phone scams are a root cause. In English, Meduza summarizes the report.

      • MeduzaThe Kremlin’s next headache Russia’s electronic conscription law has disrupted the public’s trust in the state’s digital bureaucracy. This will likely backfire when it’s time to re-elect Putin. — Meduza

        Having hastily passed a new conscription law under pressure from the Defense Ministry, Russia’s political establishment is faced with an unexpected conundrum: re-electing Putin (especially in triumphant unanimity, as the Kremlin has envisioned since last fall) will now be more difficult, as Russians grow warier of getting anywhere near the state’s online bureaucracy. Andrey Pertsev explains why electronic voting is essential to Putin’s re-election strategy, and what stands in the way of “successful” election fraud in 2024.

      • LRTLithuanian president signs migrant pushback bill into law

        The Interior Ministry, the initiator of the bill, says that the amendments make a clear distinction between natural migration and the instrumentalised migration facilitated by the Belarusian regime. The ministry also says that the law puts in place safeguards for vulnerable persons.

      • The HinduU.S. concerned over illicit technology procurement by Russia for war: official

        Speaking ahead of the first India-U.S. Strategic Trade Dialogue due to be held next month in Delhi, the official also said that compared to its concerns over China’s military appropriation of dual-use technology, the U.S. shares a “common security outlook” with India and has an ease of cooperation comparable to NATO partners.

      • Deutsche WelleBurkina Faso: 33 soldiers killed by militants, says army

        The West African nation has been in the grip of a jihadist insurgency with government forces battling groups linked to al-Qaida and the so-called "Islamic State" group for seven years.

        Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting which has also displaced two million people and divided the country.

      • ABCExtremists kill 33 soldiers in latest Burkina Faso attack

        “During particularly intense combat, the soldiers of the detachment showed remarkable determination when faced with an enemy that came in very large numbers,” the statement said, adding that 40 jihadis also were killed.

        Fighters linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have waged a violent insurgency in Burkina Faso for seven years. The violence has killed thousands of people and displaced around 2 million.

      • VOA NewsQ&A: Ukraine's Prosecutor General Discusses Accountability for Putin’s War Crimes

        Since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, Ukrainian prosecutors have documented more than 80,000 war crimes committed by Russia forces, as well some 17,000 crimes against the foundations of the national security of Ukraine.

      • The EconomistYuval Noah Harari argues that AI has hacked the operating system of human civilisation

        Fears of artificial intelligence (AI) have haunted humanity since the very beginning of the computer age. Hitherto these fears focused on machines using physical means to kill, enslave or replace people. But over the past couple of years new AI tools have emerged that threaten the survival of human civilisation from an unexpected direction. AI has gained some remarkable abilities to manipulate and generate language, whether with words, sounds or images. AI has thereby hacked the operating system of our civilisation.

      • Computer WorldUK to spend $124 million on task force for secure AI

        In a statement announcing the funding, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) said that AI technology is predicted to raise global GDP by 7% over a decade, making its adoption a “vital opportunity” to grow the UK economy. The news follows the announcements Chancellor Jeremey Hunt made in his budget last month, which included a new AI research award which will offer €£1 million per year to the company that has achieved the “most groundbreaking British AI research.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The AtlanticClarence Thomas Is Winning His War on Transparency

        The financial relationship between Crow and Thomas raises obvious questions about the influence the Texas-based donor has over the justice; Crow-funded organizations have done remarkably well before the Roberts Court. Conservative outlets have asserted that the reporting by ProPublica, Slate, and CNN is a “smear,” but none of those outlets forced Thomas to not disclose his financial entanglements with a man spending fortunes to advance his political interests. If Thomas had made the disclosures, he still would have come under criticism, but public suspicion is much greater because he did not. And although that lack of disclosure is damaging in and of itself, it does not confirm that Thomas has ever used his power on Crow’s behalf.

      • TruthdigDaniel Ellsberg Week: The legendary whistleblower is now “living under a deadline.”

        Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers and pulled back the curtain on the U.S. government’s systemic lies about the Vietnam War, is being celebrated this week. On March 2, Ellsberg wrote a public letter disclosing his diagnosis of inoperable pancreatic cancer, with a prognosis that he has only three to six months to live. “As I just told my son Robert: he’s long known (as my editor) that I work better under a deadline. It turns out that I live better under a deadline!”

    • Environment

      • SalonMassive, exploded SpaceX rocket devastated a town and a wildlife reserve — and locals are furious

        But the community living near the launch site has been dealing with fallout from the launch, in both senses of the word. The explosion essentially obliterated the launch pad, carving a massive crater and sending chunks of concrete, sheets of stainless steel and other debris flying into the ocean on Boca Chica Beach. A Dodge Caravan was smashed with wreckage, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported was scattered over 385 acres, causing a fire that burned 3.5 acres on Boca Chica State Park land.

        Clouds of ash and particulates rained down on residents of Port Isabel, about six miles away, settling onto homes, cars, and streets, breaking several windows. It's not clear if the particulate matter is dangerous to breathe or touch, or if it will pollute the soil. An FAA environmental assessment of the spacecraft notes that some stages of the rocket used kerosene as fuel, which is toxic to breathe; the assessment also notes over 100 gallons of hydraulic fluid in the rocket, which is often hazardous.

        Salon reached out to SpaceX to inquire why the launchpad did not have a flame diverter, among other questions; SpaceX did not respond to Salon's request for comment.

      • The NationThe Revolutionary Potential of the Inflation Reduction Act

        Cities, states, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations want to build green-energy infrastructure. But in the past, the federal government has incentivized green energy mostly through tax credits—a system that doesn’t help the public and nonprofit sectors. To get a tax credit, you need to have tax liabilities, which these entities rarely have. But starting this year, something will be different: As a result of the Inflation Reduction Act’s “direct pay” feature, the federal government will provide subsidies straight to these groups, without needing to go through private investors.

      • The NationConnecticut Will Require Public Schools to Teach Climate Change. Can More States Follow?

        Starting in July, every K-12 public school in Connecticut will be required to teach their students about climate change. After years of organizing from environmental groups, advocates, and students, the new standards garnered bipartisan support during an education committee vote and passed during the 2022 legislative session. These requirements make Connecticut the second state in the nation—after New Jersey—to mandate some form of climate education in all public schools.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Daniel MiesslerPre and Post-LLM Software

        The recent RSA conference has left me concerned for the many companies in attendance. It seems we are at a turning point in software history, divided into two epochs: Pre-LLM and Post-LLM.

      • Hollywood ReporterU.S. Digital Giants to Finance Local Content After Canada’s Online Streaming Bill Becomes Law

        As the CRTC decides on how it will regulate U.S. digital giants — and crucially defines what does and doesn’t count as Canadian, especially as it applies to user-generated content on YouTube, TikTok and Facebook or as part of a streamer’s local spending obligations — the American players will continue to argue they already invest in indie Canadian production and shouldn’t be bound up in red tape when doing so.

      • Broadband Breakfast‘Watershed Moment’ Has Experts Calling for Increased Federal Regulation of AI

        While some AI displacement is comparable to previous technological advances that popularized self-checkout machines and ATMs, Townsend argued that the current moment “feels a little bit different… because of the urgency attached to it.”

        Recent AI developments have the potential to impact job categories that have traditionally been considered safe from technological displacement, agreed Cameron Kerry, a distinguished visiting fellow at Brookings.

      • Computer WorldEU closes in on AI Act with last-minute ChatGPT-related adjustments

        The European Parliament is set to formalize its position on what could be the world’s first set of regulations for AI by a major legislative body, as EU lawmakers reached a provisional political agreement on Thursday.

        Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have been debating the content of the EU's AI Act and have agreed on compromise amendments, with a few last-minute adjustments pertaining to generative AI.

      • RFERLU.S. Imposes Sanctions On Iran's IRGC Intelligence Unit, Russia's FSB For Detentions Of U.S. Citizens

        The FSB also has been previously designated for sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department. OFAC said its action on April 27 against the FSB implemented the State Department's designation of the Russian organization.

      • Daniel PocockGiving away Debian domains

        People are wondering why on earth would CHF 50,000 of Debian money be wasted on a Swiss lawsuit spreading rumors about a mentor/intern relationship? Especially after I convincingly proved those rumors to be false.

        A lot of it seems to revolve around Debian domain names. A whole lot of them are mentioned in the documents. Jonathan Carter is desparate to own the domain and many others:

      • VarietyDisney Entertainment Television Reshuffles Comms and PR Roles Following Layoffs

        In addition to this week’s changes, Variety has confirmed that since February, Shari Rosenblum has led publicity, talent relations and events across 20th Television, 20th Animation and ABC Signature as SVP of publicity for Disney Television Studios.

      • The NationDemocrats Respond to the Festering Supreme Court Rot by… Calling a Hearing

        If Congress really wanted to hold justices accountable, the obvious solution would be to bring impeachment charges against them. Congress would investigate whether Justices Thomas and Gorsuch violated legal disclosure requirements (spoiler: Thomas did, and Gorsuch may have) and if so, remove them from the bench. That will never happen, though, because impeachment starts in the House (currently run by the kinds of people who think bribery is speech) and ends up in the Senate, where McConnell and company will circle wagons to defend the antidemocratic rule of their handpicked justices.

      • Computer WorldDropbox lays off 16% of staff to refocus on AI, as sales growth slows

        Facing a slowdown in revenue growth, cloud storage company Dropbox announced today that it is laying off 500 employees, or 16% of its workforce, mainly in order to be able to hire staff with AI expertise.

      • India TimesNorway's sovereign wealth fund chief seeks state regulation of AI

        The Government Pension Fund Global operates under ethical guidelines set by parliament and excludes investments in companies that it says does not respect the guidelines. Norges Bank, the country's central bank, holds stakes in more than 9,200 companies globally through the wealth fund.

        The fund, which owns about 1.5% of all globally listed shares, is a big investor in tech companies including Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc, Nvidia Corp and Microsoft Corp, which are all gearing up to deploy AI to transform their businesses.

      • Democracy Now“Rising Tide of Fascism”: Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones Warns of GOP’s Growing Embrace of Authoritarianism

        Earlier this month, the largely white Tennessee House of Representatives, with its heavily gerrymandered Republican supermajority, expelled two members, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, the two youngest Black representatives in the House. They stood accused of breaching House “decorum” for nonviolently protesting the chamber’s inaction on gun violence in the wake of a mass school shooting in Nashville. Days after their expulsion, both Jones and Pearson were temporarily reinstated to their seats by local authorities. Justin Jones joins us again on Democracy Now! and says there is a “rising tide of fascism and authoritarianism that’s taken hold of our nation,” linking the expulsions of state lawmakers to the January 6 attack on Congress.

      • Pro PublicaTN Governor Wants to Expand Faulty Gun Reform System

        The first time Tennessee’s Republican governor stood at the podium in the wake of the mass shooting at the Covenant elementary school last month, he was flanked by GOP lawmakers. They touted school “hardening” measures, including hiring more armed guards and strengthening entry points.

        A week later, Gov. Bill Lee stood alone. He called for something rare in a Second Amendment-friendly state like Tennessee: gun-control measures. The violence had struck close to home, taking the life of six victims, including a close family friend of the governor’s.

      • Pro PublicaPhotos of Nude Children in Billionaire’s Email Prompted Investigation

        Investigators discovered photos of nude children, estimated to be as young as 8, in an email account they said was associated with South Dakota billionaire T. Denny Sanford, according to previously sealed records released Thursday.

        The records — which ProPublica had been fighting to make public for almost three years — shed light on the origins of the child pornography investigation into Sanford, a credit card magnate and philanthropist who has donated vast sums to children’s causes.

      • Digital Music NewsMeta’s Reality Labs Burned Through $4 Billion Last Quarter — Or Roughly $44 Million a Day

        Meanwhile, Meta is still shilling a cartoon world that aims to hoover up every possible piece of data it can about you. So will these massive billion-dollar losses Reality Labs keeps posting ever pay off? Is the hype generated by the metaverse possibility dead in the water? It could be—but don’t call this one a corpse yet. There are still a few shambles left in this zombie.

      • India TimesHere’s what OpenAI did to get the ban lifted on ChatGPT in Italy

        Sometime in March, Italy became one of the first countries to ban the popular chatbot ChatGPT. A few weeks later Italian authorities laid down some guidelines for OpenAI if it wanted the chatbot to run in Italy. OpenAI has followed the guidelines and Italy has lifted the ban on ChatGPT. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman tweeted that the chatbot is now available in Italy again.

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

        • Quoth antivaxxers: “Big pharma got Tucker Carlson!”

          I haven’t written about Tucker Carlson much on this blog, mainly because this blog is not about politics, at least not primarily. That isn’t to say that Carlson hasn’t, however, managed to come to my attention in a blog-relevant manner a number of times. After all, how could Orac resist a target as big and fat as Carlson lamenting the supposedly falling testosterone levels in men and feature, among a number of quack “solutions,” a testicular tanning device along with “bromeopathy”? (It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since that particular piece aired!) Of course, when Tucker Carlson was mainly about dishing out white supremacist and fascist talking points for his Fox News audience, I had less to say, but as he became more and more antivaccine after the pandemic hit, I did mention him more, such as when he repeated the lie that COVID-19 vaccines don’t prevent transmission at all and mischaracterized the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as “mandating” COVID-19 vaccines for children before they could attend school (hint: ACIP doesn’t have that power), I did feel obliged to comment.

        • [Old] The Washington PostThe Chinese government fakes nearly 450 million social media comments a year. This is why.

          Internet researchers have long known that the Chinese government manipulates content on the Internet. Not only does it censor heavily, but it also employs hundreds of thousands of people, the so-called 50 cent army, to write comments on the Internet.

          New research by Gary King, Jennifer Pan and Margaret Roberts (whom I’ll refer to as KPR for convenience) uses sophisticated techniques of gathering and analyzing massive amounts of data to tell us what is going on.

        • [Old] uni HarvardHow the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, not Engaged Argument

          The Chinese government has long been suspected of hiring as many as 2,000,000 people to surreptitiously insert huge numbers of pseudonymous and other deceptive writings into the stream of real social media posts, as if they were the genuine opinions of ordinary people. Many academics, and most journalists and activists, claim that these so-called ``50c party'' posts vociferously argue for the government's side in political and policy debates. As we show, this is also true of the vast majority of posts openly accused on social media of being 50c. Yet, almost no systematic empirical evidence exists for this claim, or, more importantly, for the Chinese regime's strategic objective in pursuing this activity. In the first large scale empirical analysis of this operation, we show how to identify the secretive authors of these posts, the posts written by them, and their content. We estimate that the government fabricates and posts about 448 million social media comments a year. In contrast to prior claims, we show that the Chinese regime's strategy is to avoid arguing with skeptics of the party and the government, and to not even discuss controversial issues. We show that the goal of this massive secretive operation is instead to distract the public and change the subject, as most of the these posts involve cheerleading for China, the revolutionary history of the Communist Party, or other symbols of the regime. We discuss how these results fit with what is known about the Chinese censorship program, and suggest how they may change our broader theoretical understanding of ``common knowledge'' and information control in authoritarian regimes.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • ANF NewsJournalist Gök jailed in Amed: Fascism will be defeated

        Besides journalists, lawyers, rights defenders, political activists and artists were also taken into custody in the police operation which was carried out within the scope of an investigation launched by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

        The detained journalists include Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) editor Abdurrahman Gök and reporters Ahmet Kanbal and Mehmet Şah Oruç; editor-in-chief of Yeni Yaşam daily newspaper Osman Akın; the publisher of the only Kurdish print newspaper in Turkey, ​​Xwebûn Weekly, Kadri Esen; JinNews reporter Beritan Canözer; and journalists Mehmet Yalçın, Mikail Barut, Salih Keleş and Remzi Akkaya.

      • VOA NewsTurkey Arrests Four Kurdish Journalists Ahead of Crucial Elections

        JinNews reporter Beritan Canozer, journalist Remzi Akkaya, Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) editor Abdurrahman Gok, and MA reporter Mehmet Sah Oruc were taken into custody in coordinated dawn raids Tuesday, in which Turkish police detained at least 128 people in 21 cities.

        Among those detained are 10 journalists, a lawyer representing arrested Kurdish journalists in other court cases, and members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the third-biggest party in the Turkish parliament.

      • RFAScreams from abducted Vietnamese blogger heard on Thai security camera video

        One witness who was interviewed, who hadn’t seen the video, did an almost exact imitation of the screams – testimony that helped the activists confirm it was Thai’s cries in the video, Bui said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • MeduzaPutin signs life-sentence penalty for treason into law. Other amendments include penalties for aiding organizations like ICC. — Meduza

        Vladimir Putin has signed into law new amendments to Russia’s Criminal Code, increasing the penalties for treason, terrorism, and aiding the work of international organizations in which Russia is not a member.

      • Pro PublicaHow South Carolina Ended Up With an All-Male Supreme Court

        When attorneys arrived for oral arguments in South Carolina’s high-profile abortion case last fall, state Supreme Court Justice Kaye Hearn took her seat up front, a ruffly white shirt beneath her black robe, the only woman on the dais. With piercing green eyes, she scanned the courtroom.

        A sea of white men jammed one side of the room. Before them, at a wooden table, sat three male attorneys there to argue in favor of the state’s law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.

      • MeduzaHow Russians became the ‘barbarians’ Moscow’s neighbors erecting border walls are inadvertently helping Putin corral his people into the army and a wartime economy — Meduza

        Having recently passed a new military conscription law that many criticized as the advent of a “digital gulag” for draft-eligible men, Russia found itself in a surprising new situation. While the Kremlin is at pains to strengthen the system of electronic controls that would let it conscript citizens into the army without having to worry about them leaving, Russia’s neighboring countries are building walls to keep out the Russians who might pour across the borders in flight from the regime. Meduza’s Ideas editor Maxim Trudolyubov suggests that these security efforts might lead to results those countries would rather avoid, helping the Kremlin coerce a captive population into a militarized economy and directly into Russia’s Armed Forces. In this way, countries now bent on keeping at bay the “barbarian hordes” of Russian migrants may be inadvertently collaborating in realizing their nightmare.

      • RFATibetan Buddhists traveling to Lhasa on pilgrimages face new hurdles

        Many Tibetan Buddhists travel to Lhasa, which has a population of about 560,000, to visit the major religious sites such as the Potala Palace, Barkhor Street, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka Palace.

      • CBCSaving kidnapped girls in Nigeria is the first step. Mental health support after is key

        The struggle for abducted Nigerian women and girls doesn't end when they escape, says Dr. Fatima Akilu. The trauma scars them, and she says it's important they receive the mental health supports they desperately need.

        "They come back to a system where we're only beginning to really understand the effects of trauma. And it's also in a country where we don't really have very many practitioners that work in mental health," Akilu, executive director of the Neem Foundation in Nigeria, told Matt Galloway on The Current.

      • La Prensa LatinaDigital divide hits women harder in poor nations – UNICEF

        This translates to about 65 million adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 who don’t have access to the internet, versus some 57 million of their male peers.

        On average across 32 countries and territories, girls are 35% less likely than their male peers to have digital skills, including simple activities like copying or pasting files or folders, sending emails, or transferring files.

      • RFERLIranian Woman Dies After Confrontation Escalates Over Hijab

        The altercation grew, with women and men hurling sexual insults at the family, before one woman attacked Kolsoom Oftadepour, her daughter, and granddaughter with a slipper. Police officers arrived at the scene and sided with the hijab enforcers, sources say. The family is expected to appear in court on May 9.

      • RFERLPlainclothes Agents Reported To Be Enforcing Iran's Hijab Law In Tehran

        Recent videos from music concerts also have shown disputes over the hijab, where the majority of women are often not wearing the mandatory hijab. In response to this defiance, an unspecified number of commercial establishments, including music clubs and restaurants, in Tehran and other cities have been sealed shut due to noncompliance with the hijab law.

      • ReasonThis Georgia Man Has Been Jailed for 10 Years Without a Trial

        Regardless of the source of the issues, it's clear that something is very wrong. When sloppy bureaucracies go unchecked, defendants like Jimmerson—who cannot afford their own lawyers and must rely on public defenders—are in danger of being effectively denied their Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.

      • VOA NewsTaliban Reject UN Resolution Against Curbs on Afghan Women

        The statement came a day after the 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the ban and demanding Taliban leaders swiftly end their restrictions on Afghan women's access to education and work.

        The resolution, co-sponsored by more than 90 countries, expressed "deep concern at the increasing erosion of respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms" of Afghan women and girls by the Taliban.

      • RTLTaliban leader says UN Security Council 'pressure' won't work

        Since ousting the foreign-backed government and returning to power in August 2021, Taliban authorities have imposed an austere version of sharia that the United Nations has labelled "gender-based apartheid".

        Women have been barred from most secondary education and universities, prevented from working in most government jobs as well as NGOs and blocked from public spaces such as gyms and parks.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Hollywood ReporterA Eulogy for Netflix’s DVD-by-Mail Era

        Netflix’s disc-toss feels like a decisive pivot point because the trajectory of the company neatly parallels the second stage in the evolution of hands-on, at-home movie watching. The first stage, of course, was television, which busted up Hollywood’s racket in the immediate postwar period. The second stage began with VHS, crested with DVD, and seems now to have come to rest with digital streaming, which is where we all come in.

      • OMG! LinuxHow to Install Spotify on Linux
      • Digital Music NewsOutages Plague Spotify This Week — 15,000+ Complaints Stack Up

        Spotify has experienced at least two outages this month, with another at the beginning of April 2023 that impacted around 20,000 people in the United States and 8,000 people in the UK. Spotify’s growth may be contributing to the periodic outages as the company reported 515 million monthly active users for the first time ever earlier this month. Spotify says it expects to grow to 530 million monthly active users by the end of the next quarter and has plans to grow to one billion active users by 2030—reaching $100 billion in annual revenue.

    • Monopolies

      • El PaísUK blocks Microsoft-Activision gaming merger, thwarting the biggest tech deal in history

        The Competition and Markets Authority said in its final report that “the only effective remedy” to the substantial loss of competition “is to prohibit the Merger.” The companies have vowed to appeal.

      • VarietyAvatars as Actors: Will AI Unleash Celebrity ‘Simulation Rights’? [iophk: Right-to-Publicity]

        Realistic avatars and voice clones can be effectively deployed into new environments or productions without the talent’s physical presence or contribution being required, even in instances beyond an individual’s physical ability — for example, if an actor is already engaged in a different project, is sick or even dead.

        That ability to replicate a specific actor for future or additional performances he or she might not otherwise have been able to execute is new. Theoretically, it offers actor talent more commercial opportunities, without doing much or any physical work to appear or perform in new productions. Optimistically, generative AI could have a multiplier effect on talent opportunity if it allows them to accept simultaneous projects, albeit where some use their digital likeness.

      • India TimesUS judge denies Google's motion to dismiss advertising antitrust case

        "I'm going to deny the defendant's motion to dismiss," Judge Leonie Brinkema said in a federal court in Virginia. Google is a unit of Alphabet Inc.

      • Patents

        • European CommissionIntellectual [sic] property [sic] – new framework for standard-essential patents: commission adoption

          A patent that protects technology essential to a standard is called a standard-essential patent (SEP). Patent-holders commit to licence their SEPs to users of the standard on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions. However, some users have found that the system for licensing SEPs is not transparent, predictable or efficient. This initiative seeks to create a fair and balanced licensing framework and may combine legislative and non-legislative action.

      • Software Patents

        • EFFStupid Patent of the Month: Trying to Get U.S. Patents On An AI Program

          Stephen Thaler hasn’t gotten this memo, because he’s spent years trying to get copyrights and patents for his AI programs. And people do seem intrigued by the idea of AI getting intellectual property rights. Thaler is able to get significant press attention by promoting his misguided legal battles to get patents, and he has plenty of lawyers around the world interested in helping him.€ 

          Thaler created an AI program he calls DABUS, and filed two patent applications claiming DABUS was the sole inventor. These applications were appropriately rejected by the U.S. Patent Office, rejected again by a district court judge when Thaler sued to get the patents, and rejected yet again by a panel of appeals judges. Still not satisfied, in March, Thaler petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take his case. He got support from some surprising quarters, including Lawrence Lessig, as noted in a Techdirt post about the Thaler case.€ 

          Fortunately, on April 24, 2023, the Supreme Court declined to take Thaler’s case. That should put an end to his arguments for his AI patent applications once and for all.€ 

      • Copyrights

Recent Techrights' Posts

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