Links 26/11/2010: KDE SC 4.6 Features and Minor News (Happy Thanksgiving)

Posted in News Roundup at 12:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The quest for more – when $20 billion isn’t enough

    Simon Brew wonders if there are 20 billion reasons why the spirit of open source is being distorted…

  • LPC: Michael Meeks on LibreOffice and code ownership

    Back when the 2010 Linux Plumbers Conference was looking for presentations, the LibreOffice project had not yet announced its existence. So Michael Meeks put in a vague proposal for a talk having to do with OpenOffice.org and promised the organizers it would be worth their time. Fortunately, they believed him; in an energetic closing keynote, Michael talked at length about what is going on with LibreOffice – and with the free software development community as a whole. According to Michael, both good and bad things are afoot. (Michael’s slides [PDF] are available for those who would like to follow along).

    Naturally enough, LibreOffice is one of the good things; it’s going to be “awesome.” It seems that there are some widely diverging views on the awesomeness of OpenOffice.org; those who are based near Hamburg (where StarDivision was based) think it is a wonderful tool. People in the rest of the world tend to have a rather less enthusiastic view. The purpose of the new LibreOffice project is to produce a system that we can all be proud of.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Minefield Now With Improved Add-Ons Manager

        One of the design elements that I did not like in the development builds of Firefox 4 until now was the add-ons manager. I have reviewed it in detail in the article How To Uninstall Add-ons In Firefox 4. Basically, what I did not like was that it looked kinda messy, hard to read and out of place.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Non digital commons a lot more complicated than Free Software

      In September 2010 I went to the Open World Forum to present some first results of my research about local impacts of Open Data. The Forum was an interesting and varied event, that gave space to very interesting talks, keynotes and comments about freedom, education and gender diversity in software. Another great moment for me was the contribution to the final panel by John Wilbank, Vice-President for Science Creative Commons.

    • Open Hardware

      • Extend your Arduino

        The Arduino is a small programmable device that can hold a small program and perform tasks such as reading temperature sensors, turning on or off switches, and can even serve as the ‘brain’ for a robot. I have used the Arduino (actually freeduino) for projects related to HVAC and hydroponics automation.


  • Oracle whacked by DoJ complaint

    An industry group of 130 hardware maintenance providers has complained to the Department of Justice that they’ve been unfairly squeezed since Larry Ellison bought Sun Microsystems.

    The Service Industry Association has been complaining about Oracle’s tactics for some time, but has now written to the DoJ.

  • Eat a Bagel, Lose Your Baby
  • Mother, shall I put you to sleep?

    Young family members of this district in southern Tamil Nadu have been pushing their infirm, elderly dependents to death because they cannot afford to take care of them.

  • Ghosts of Unix past, part 2: Conflated designs
  • Health/Nutrition

    • US response to cholera in Haiti, fund exclusive elections

      In the face of a cholera epidemic that has claimed the lives of over 1000 people, infected many thousands and is feared to intensify due to widespread flooding in the wake of Hurricane Tomas, officials have stated that the elections scheduled for November 28 will go ahead as planned. While some candidates have questioned the wisdom of holding elections during such turmoil, a rising chorus of critics is disputing the elections’ very legitimacy and is urging the US, a primary funder, to take responsibility in guaranteeing a truly democratic process.

    • CDC Says Haiti’s Cholera Due to “One Event”
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Twenty-First Century Blowback?

      From 2001 to 2010, the US military spent about $32 million on construction projects in Oman. In September, the Army upped the ante by awarding an $8.6 million contract to refurbish the Royal Air Force of Oman’s air field at Thumrait Air Base.

      US efforts in Bahrain are on a grander scale. This year, the US Navy broke ground on a mega-construction project to develop 70 acres of waterfront at the port at Mina Salman. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the complex is slated to include new port facilities, barracks for troops, administrative buildings, a dining facility, and a recreation center, among other amenities, with a price tag of $580 million.

    • Barack Obama’s hopes for a nuclear-free world fading fast

      Barack Obama’s hopes of reshaping US foreign policy stand on the brink of failure tonight, after two of his most cherished initiatives — nuclear disarmament and better relations with Moscow — were dealt serious setbacks.

    • Guantánamo Bay prisoner payouts a first step to ending legacy of torture

      The government insisted today that it had started to draw a line under the legacy of complicity in rendition and torture that it inherited from the Labour administration by settling claims brought by 16 former Guantánamo inmates.

    • Guantánamo: security services must be protected, says Ken Clarke
    • Do Airport Screenings Really Make Us Safer?

      TSA’s activities provide substantial fodder for both citizen and professional journalists. YouTube is full of citizen-made videos of TSA agents engaging in questionable activities, like aggressively patting down a three year old child or pulling the pants off a wheelchair-bound, 71 year-old man to examine his knee implant.

    • Silvio Berlusconi ally was link to Sicilian mafia, judges rule

      he man who spearheaded Silvio Berlusconi’s entry into politics was also an intermediary between the media magnate and the Sicilian mafia, judges in Palermo ruled last night.

      In a lengthy written judgment on one of the Italian prime minister’s closest associates, the judges said that before entering politics Berlusconi paid “enormous sums of money” to Cosa Nostra for protection and later handed over funds to safeguard his network’s relay stations on Sicily.

    • Vox Taxi – Vox Dei

      I am not prepared to subscribe to such an anti-democratic statement. But if we want to move towards peace, we undoubtedly have to remove this huge rock blocking the road. We must infuse the public with another belief – the belief that peace is possible, that it is essential for the future of Israel, that it depends mainly on us.

    • Who’s correct about human nature, the left or the right?
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Pants on Fire: the Whoppers of the 2010 Elections

      Throughout the course of the 2010 Congressional midterm campaigns, candidates threw out countless fibs, questionable assertions, whoppers and half-truths. These are our candidates for the most misleading campaign ads of 2010, what are yours?
      Big Lie #1: Health Care Reform Guts Medicare

    • Capitol Hill’s Top 75 Corporate Sponsors

      Want to follow the money? Below, the 75 heaviest hitters in corporate campaign cash, 1989-2010.

      1 AT&T

      2 National Association of Realtors

      3 Goldman Sachs

      4 American Association for Justice

      5 Citigroup

      6 American Medical Association

      7 National Automobile Dealers Association


  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Egypt blogger out after 4-yrs in jail

      An Egyptian blogger has been released after serving four years in prison on charges of insulting Islam and the president, a human rights group said on Wednesday.

      The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil, 26, known as Kareem Amer, was in bad health and was beaten by security officers before his release on Tuesday.

      The Interior Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

      Amer, a student at the state-run religious al-Azhar University, was arrested in 2006 on charges of insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak in his blog posts. He was sentenced to four years in prison and expelled from the university.

    • Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel peace prize may not be given out at December ceremony
    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wanted by Interpol over rape case

      An international arrest warrant is being issued for the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, after Swedish prosecutors were today granted permission to detain him for questioning in a rape case.

    • BlackBerry to ‘allow Indian government to monitor messages’

      BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) is ready to allow Indian authorities access to the emails and messages of its most high-profile corporate customers, according to a ministry official in the country.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • ISPs should be free to abandon net neutrality, says Ed Vaizey

      Internet service providers such as BT should be allowed to abandon net neutrality and prioritise users’ access to certain content providers, the communications minister Ed Vaizey said in a speech today.

    • Oregon Senator Wyden effectively kills Internet censorship bill

      It’s too early to say for sure, but Oregon Senator Ron Wyden could very well go down in the history books as the man who saved the Internet.

      A bill that critics say would have given the government power to censor the Internet will not pass this year thanks to the Oregon Democrat, who announced his opposition during a recent committee hearing. Individual Senators can place holds on pending legislation, in this case meaning proponents of the bill will be forced to reintroduce the measure and will not be able to proceed until the next Congress convenes.

Clip of the Day

Nokia X7 00 Symbian^3 Nokiasaga com

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 25/11/2010: KDE SC 4.6 Beta1, Wayland Ease

Posted in News Roundup at 2:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Fast response times via process groups

      The automatic creation of process groups should keep the desktop interface responsive even when a large number of processes are making the CPU sweat. Meanwhile, the development of 2.6.37 is in full swing, and new stable kernels replace their predecessors; 2.6.35, on the other hand, has reached the end of its life.

      Last week, a small patch of only about 200 lines, designed to significantly increase the interactivity of desktop applications in some situations where a CPU works to capacity, sparked considerable debate in Linux circles. The discussions about the code modification had already started a month ago; a reworked version of the patch subsequently received extra attention when Linus Torvalds gave it a lot of praise last week, commenting that his system was clearly more interactive when compiling a kernel.

    • Finland’s brand strategy builds on the ideas of free software

      Finland’s national brand strategy project released their report today on the Tehtävä Suomelle website. The basic idea is to promote the Finnish capability for getting things done, and the communal approach to problem solving.

    • Graphics Stack

      • It’s Becoming Very Easy To Run Wayland

        When Wayland started out in 2008 it was very difficult to build and run this lightweight, next-generation display server. Wayland leverages the very latest Linux graphics technologies and at that time all of Wayland’s dependencies had to be patched or built from branched sources and Wayland even had its own EGL implementation at the time (Eagle) rather than Mesa and overall it was just a high barrier to entry. Wayland at that time also worked with only the open-source Intel driver, while now it can work with most any KMS / GEM / Mesa driver. It was not until recently that it became possible to build Wayland from mainline components beginning to ship in new Linux distributions, thereby making it much easier to experiment with the open-source display server. Now it’s to a point where you can just run a simple script and be up and running with a Wayland Display Server in just minutes.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • 4.6 Beta1 Brings Improved Search, Activities and Mobile Device Support

        KDE releases 4.6 beta1 of Workspaces, Applications and Development Frameworks, bringing significant improvements to desktop search, a revamped activity system and a significant performance boost to window management and desktop effects. Efforts all across the KDE codebase pay off by making KDE’s frameworks more suitable for usage on all devices. The release provides a testing base for a stable release in January 2011.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Watch Unity People Place in action [Video]
        • Here come the Ninjas

          We also want to make it easier for new members to start working on Ubuntu. When a new member is interested in helping Ubuntu, they would like to help fix bugs in Ubuntu but are often lost.They do not dissociate Ubuntu from Upstream packages or projects. They just want to help Ubuntu and fix bugs. As a new member interested in fixing bugs in Ubuntu, where do they ask? Where do they start?

        • Rolling Releases Make no Sense for a Linux Distribution Like Ubuntu

          It seems reasonable to assume that Mark Shuttleworth’s comments were targeted more in the direction of mobile devices. The leap by online authors to equate this with a total change of the Ubuntu development infrastructure seems rather foolish and let’s one wonder if this was one of those “Oops I did it again – let’s bash Ubuntu” attitudes again. In particular since such news could potentially confuse lots of partners, developers, and users of Ubuntu and could undermine its current strong position.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • John Lilly at Mozilla

        John is not leaving Mozilla per se, although he won’t be around the office day-to-day anymore. As he joins Mozilla’s Board of Directors, his influence and guidance will continue.

  • Databases

    • Leaving MariaDB/Monty Program

      When I joined the company over a year ago I was immediately involved in drafting a project plan for the Open Database Alliance and its relation to MariaDB. We wanted to imitate the model of the Linux Foundation and Linux project, where the MariaDB project would be hosted by a non-profit organization where multiple vendors would collaborate and contribute. We wanted MariaDB to be a true community project, like most successful open source projects are – such as all other parts of the LAMP stack.

      So we went ahead and told about this vision when we promoted MariaDB and recruited users and contributors or customers to our company:

      * In Monty’s keynote at this year’s MySQL conference we positioned MariaDB as a unifying force in the universe of competing MySQL forks.
      * I have personally spoken abou this in public places, such as when Drupal was adding MariaDB support, using it as an obvious argument in favor of MariaDB.
      * Most recently I defended MariaDB’s status as a community project vigorously on Brian Aker’s blog. Little did I know that while I was doing so, the plan had already been changed…

      I’m sure there are other occasions too that I wasn’t involved in, like convincing Linux distributions that MariaDB is preferable to MySQL, or that we should get a free booth in the dot-org pavilion at a conference.

  • Oracle

    • Hudson java.net migration status update

      Even worse, there’s no ETA — it’ll definitely take a week, but since this is a Thanksgiving weekend, it can take longer, Oracle said.

      I find this situation plain unacceptable, and e-mails from the earlier migration effort made me doubt if the new infrastructure is any better. I also had a pleasure of working closely with CollabNet folks over the past years and I was also involved in some earlier conversation and experiments about the new java.net infrastructure, and when it comes to performance and monitoring, CollabNet folks really knew what they are doing. So I had multiple reasons to worry if the new infrastructure can handle the load of java.net, which the old CollabNet-hosted one couldn’t handle.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • What the new government transparency website could mean for journalists and media

      The government yesterday launched a searchable database of business plans, structures, salaries and other data for its departments. The launch of the online transparency database is the latest move by government to shift power away from central government and increase its accountability to the public.

      “We’re going to smash open state monopolies. We’re going to invite new providers in. And in one of the biggest blows for people power, we’re shining a bright light of transparency on everything government does. Because each of these Business Plans does not just specify the actions we will take. It also sets out the information we will publish so that people can hold us to account… Plain-English details about the progress of the reforms and the results they are achieving,” said Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech yesterday.

    • Sony chooses open

      Phrases I considered for this post’s title ranged from “surprising choice” to “sign of the apocalypse.” More than a few years ago, I remember buying my first piece of Sony hardware–a video camera. It was one of the first that also let you take digital stills, which it saved to a tiny, purple, proprietary Sony memory stick that was an expensive pain to replace or get a spare of. And that was how I first learned that Sony was mostly only interested in Sony.


      Of course this isn’t the first surprise turn to openness from Sony. They launched their first Android-based handset just over a year ago, and rumors are that the “Playstation phone” likely to be announced December 9 will be Android-based as well. Interestingly enough, Android 3.0 (“Gingerbread”) will be released three days earlier on December 6. If all the rumors add up to be true, it could be a game-changer for gaming on Android.

    • Making it easier to share
    • Open Data

      • International Open Data Hackathon – 63 cities, 25 countries, 5 continents

        …and counting. Never could any of us have imagined that there would be so many stepping forward to organize an event in their cities.

        The clear implication is that Open Data matters. To a lot of people.

        To a lot of us.

        If you are in the media, a politician or the civil service: pay attention. There are a growing number of people – not just computer programmers and hackers, but ordinary citizens – who’ve come to love and want to help build sites and applications like fixmystreet, wheredoesmymoneygo, emitter.ca or datamasher.

      • A simple change in the law could open up online access to the BBC’s archives

        In the melee of the last days of the Labour government, among the casualties were clauses in the digital economy bill that would have solved the intractable problems that stand in the way of giving public access to this country’s great archives of radio and television programmes.

        Think of George Orwell and W H Auden, of Laurence Olivier and Peggy Ashcroft, of any British artist or musician you can name. The BBC’s archives are a treasure trove of their work, of interviews with them and discussions and documentaries about them.

    • Open Access/Content


  • UK net migration climbs to 215,000
  • Government ‘cites national security to suppress embarrassing information’

    The government was today accused of increasingly citing national security in court cases in order to justify suppressing potentially embarrassing information.

    The charge was made in a letter to the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, from Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the civil rights group Liberty.

    The letter followed many cases in which Chakrabarti said ministers and their lawyers abused their position by demanding unwarranted secrecy.

  • America’s Thanksgiving – the historical foundation
  • Science

    • The Insanity Virus

      Schizophrenia has long been blamed on bad genes or even bad parents. Wrong, says a growing group of psychiatrists. The real culprit, they claim, is a virus that lives entwined in every person’s DNA.

    • Scientists attach barcodes to mouse embryos – human ones coming soon

      Fans of the film Blade Runner may remember a scene in which the maker of an artificial snake is identified by a microscopic serial number on one of its scales. Well, in a rare case of present-day technology actually surpassing that predicted in a movie, we’ve now gone one better – bar codes on embryos. Scientists from Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), along with colleagues from the Spanish National Research Council, have successfully developed an identification system in which mouse embryos and oocytes (egg cells) are physically tagged with microscopic silicon bar code labels. They expect to try it out on human embryos and oocytes soon.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Haiti: Ground Truthing Cholera in Mirebalais

      In very worrisome news Tuesday, the Haitian Health Ministry estimated that the cholera outbreak in Haiti is resulting in an average of 32 deaths every 24 hours since the epidemic began on October 20.

    • McDonald’s and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy

      The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald’s and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The ‘Safe Haven’ Myth

      Richard Holbrooke, America’s special envoy to South Asia, maintains that if the Taliban succeed in Afghanistan, “without any shadow of a doubt, Al Qaeda would move back into Afghanistan, set up a larger presence, recruit more people and pursue its objectives against the United States even more aggressively.” That, he insisted, is “the only justification for what we’re doing.” This is an especially ardent presentation of the “base camp,” or “safe haven,” myth. Stressed by virtually all promoters of the war, this key justification–indeed, the only one, according to Holbrooke–has gone almost entirely unexamined.

    • Ex-Transit Officer Sentenced To Two Years In Shooting Death Of Unarmed Man

      A Los Angeles judge sentenced a former transit officer convicted of shooting an unarmed man on an Oakland train platform to two years in prison.

    • Stephen Fry leads protest tweets against Twitter joke verdict

      Stephen Fry took just minutes to reiterate his offer to pay the fine of Paul Chambers, the 27-year-old man convicted of “menace” after making a Twitter joke about blowing up an airport.

      Chambers today lost his appeal against the conviction and £1,000 fine, Judge Jacqueline Davies dismissing his case on every count. The former accountant’s offending tweet – “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!” – sent publicly to a Northern Ireland mother he met online, was found to be a menacing threat to security.

    • Twitter jokes: free speech on trial

      Thursday was a bad day for free speech. It came to light that a plastic surgeon has been threatened with a libel action for expressing concerns and scepticism about a breast enhancement cream (no, really!) and we read reports of the RSPB being sued for libel by two people for criticisms one of its scientists made of a study they carried out on baby grouse in Wales (yes, seriously!).

      But also in the crown court in Doncaster, Paul Chambers lost his appeal over a Twitter joke. The facts of this case have been well narrated by David Allen Green among others. His message, which appears on the screens of his 600 followers if they are watching, said: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!!”

    • British deny George Bush’s claims that torture helped foil terror plots

      British officials say there is no evidence that waterboarding saved lives of UK citizens, as Bush claimed in his memoirs

    • George Bush accused of borrowing from other books in his memoirs

      Now it appears that Decision Points is not so much the former president’s memoirs as other people’s cut and pasted memories.

      Bush’s account is littered with anecdotes seemingly ripped off from other books and articles, even borrowing without attribution – some might say plagiarising – from critical accounts the White House had previously denounced as inaccurate.

      The Huffington Post noted a remarkable similarity between previously published writings and Bush’s colourful anecdotes from events at which he had not been present.

    • Cameron in China: What does Beijing think of us? Let’s start with hypocrisy
    • China court jails father of ‘tainted milk’ child

      A Chinese court has handed down a two-and-a-half year jail sentence to a man who organised a website for parents of children who became ill from drinking tainted milk after his own son became sick.

      The court found Zhao Lianhai guilty of “inciting social disorder”, his wife Li Xuemei told Reuters.

    • Bombs Away: Afghan Air War Peaks With 1,000 Strikes in October

      The U.S. and its allies have unleashed a massive air campaign in Afghanistan, launching missiles and bombs from the sky at a rate rarely seen since the war’s earliest days. In October alone, NATO planes fired their weapons on 1,000 separate missions, U.S. Air Force statistics provided to Danger Room show. Since Gen. David Petraeus took command of the war effort in late June, coalition aircraft have flown 2,600 attack sorties. That’s 50% more than they did during the same period in 2009. Not surprisingly, civilian casualties are on the rise, as well.

    • No charges for destroyed CIA tapes

      A special prosecutor cleared the CIA’s former top clandestine officer and others Tuesday of any charges for destroying agency videotapes showing waterboarding of terror suspects, but he continued an investigation into whether the harsh questioning went beyond legal boundaries.

      The decision not to prosecute anyone in the videotape destruction came five years to the day after the CIA destroyed its cache of 92 videos of two al-Qaida operatives, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri, being subjected to waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning. The deadline for prosecuting someone under most federal laws is five years.

    • Nato summit to outline Afghanistan withdrawal plan
    • Stop and search plans are ‘discriminatory’, watchdog warns
    • TSA Administrative Directive: Opt-Outters To Be Considered “Domestic Extremists”

      If the information recently acquired by Doug Hagmann of Northeast Intelligence Network is accurate, then something really big is happening in America right now – and it’s most certainly not a step towards individual liberty.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World’s forests can adapt to climate change, study says

      It is generally acknowledged that a warming world will harm the world’s forests. Higher temperatures mean water becomes more scarce, spelling death for plants – or perhaps not always.

    • Arctic oil spill clean-up plans are ‘thoroughly inadequate’, industry warned

      The next big offshore oil disaster could take place in the remote Arctic seas where hurricane-force winds, 30ft seas, sub-zero temperatures and winter darkness would overwhelm any clean-up attempts, a new report warns.

      With the ban on offshore drilling lifted in the Gulf of Mexico, big oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell are pressing hard for the Obama administration to grant final approval to Arctic drilling. Shell has invested more than $2bn to drill off Alaska’s north coast, and is campaigning to begin next summer.

    • Greenland wants $2bn bond from oil firms keen to drill in its Arctic waters
    • Tony Hayward: Public saw us as ‘fumbling and incompetent’

      The former boss of BP admitted last night that the oil giant had been completely unprepared for the Gulf of Mexico accident that nearly sank it financially.

      When the crisis hit, BP was forced to make up its oil spill disaster response as it went along, something that made it look “fumbling” and “incompetent” in the eyes of the public, said Tony Hayward.

    • Dispersants’ Toxic Legacy

      In the weeks after BP’s massive oil spill in the Gulf, a number of environmental groups and scientists began raising concerns about the huge volume of chemical dispersants the company was spreading in the water. These chemicals are used to break the oil into smaller globs, which causes them to sink and supposedly biodegrade faster.

    • Royal Society: “There are very strong indications that the current rate of species extinctions far exceeds anything in the fossil record.”

      Prior to this year, I wrote about extinction only occasionally — since the direct impact of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions on humanity seemed to me more than reason enough to act. But the mass extinctions we are causing will directly harm our children and grandchildren as much as sea level rise. In particular, I believe scientists have not been talking enough about the devastation we are causing to marine life (see “Geological Society: Acidifying oceans spell marine biological meltdown “by end of century”).

    • Dear Stewart Brand: If we can’t trust your claims on DDT, why should we trust you on anything else?
    • Rise in number of sunburnt whales

      An increase in the number of whales with sunburnt skin has been documented by scientists after they took photographs and tissue samples of the animals.

      In the worst-hit species – the blue whale – researchers found that the numbers affected rose by 56 per cent between 2007 and 2009, which they said has “worrying” implications for their health.

    • Climate change: science’s fresh fight to win over the sceptics

      Vicky Pope, head of climate-change advice at the UK Met Office, agreed. “We are currently collecting vast sets of data for our studies of the climate and we are going to have make these available in forms that can be used by interested groups. They can then see for themselves that our analyses are sound and correct. It means a lot of extra work but if that is the price for making sure we demonstrate the dangers posed by climate change then we will have to pay it.”

    • Indonesia eyeing $1bn climate aid to cut down forests, says Greenpeace

      Indonesia plans to class large areas of its remaining natural forests as “degraded” land in order to cut them down and receive nearly $1bn of climate aid for replanting them with palm trees and biofuel crops, according to Greenpeace International.

  • Finance

    • Nothing Grows Forever

      PETER VICTOR is an economist who has been asking a heretical question: Can the Earth support endless growth?

    • Rich Vail Fund Manager Hits Cyclist And Runs, Gets Off Because Charges Might “Jeopardize His Job”

      The rich are different from you and me; they get to hit and run, almost killing a cyclist, but get off without serious charges because it is hard to be money manager for Smith Barney if you have a record. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert is not charging Martin Joel Erzinger with a felony, because “Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession,” which is managing billions for rich people.

    • Johann Hari: Clegg – the man who betrayed us all

      Clegg 2.0 promised to protect the poor. Clegg 3.0 throws the poor out of their homes and makes it harder for them to go to university

    • Is the Deficit Commission Serious?

      I’ve been trying to figure out whether I have anything to say about the “chairman’s mark” of the deficit commission report that was released today. In a sense, I don’t. This is not a piece of legislation, after all. Or a proposed piece of legislation. Or even a report from the deficit commission itself. It’s just a draft presentation put together by two guys. Do you know how many deficit reduction proposals are out there that have the backing of two guys? Thousands. Another one just doesn’t matter.

    • Ireland resists calls to seek EU financial aid
    • DeLay Is Convicted in Texas Donation Case

      Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful and divisive Republican lawmakers ever to come out of Texas, was convicted Wednesday of money-laundering charges in a state trial, five years after his indictment here forced him to resign as majority leader in the House of Representatives.

    • EU gives green light for Russia joining WTO

      Russia and the European Union struck a deal yesterday (24 November) to phase out Russian export tariffs on raw materials, paving the way for Moscow to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

    • Thanksgiving: A Time to Think about Gift Economies?

      This post was published earlier. But Thanksgiving (in the US) seemed like a good time to think about the ideas again.

      When I sat down to research this post, I thought I would write a post about barter, since it seemed like if our current financial system failed, barter would be one possible form of back-up. But when I started to research barter, the first thing I came across was this statement:

      Contrary to popular conception, there is no evidence of a society or economy that relied primarily on barter. Instead, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economics. When barter did in fact occur, it was usually between either complete strangers or would-be enemies.

      So I decided to step back a bit, and look into gift economies.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Search and Surveillance Bill: causes for concern

      The Search and Surveillance Bill, currently being considered by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, has been presented as bringing together and modernising the laws surrounding state powers to search people and property, and conduct surveillance.

      While there are some procedural improvements when state agencies conduct surveillance, with time limits and reporting procedures, the Bill as a whole is concerning. It extends state powers beyond Police and intelligence agencies to an array of other state agencies. This page aims to explains the problems presented by the Bill.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Is There Some Reason That Barry Sookman Refuses To Quote The WIPO Treaty?

      In his article Separating copyright fiction from facts about C-32’s TPM provisions, Barry Sookman once again avoids the issue. Curiously, the target of his tirade, Michael Geist also avoids the issue.

      As I pointed out earlier this month in my article The TPM Provisions in Bill C-32 Are Not In Compliance With The WIPO Internet Treaties, neither of them seems willing to actually quote the clear wording of the treaty. Mihaly Ficsor, who supposedly was involved in drafting the treaty, never gets around to quoting it either, even when I blasted back at him three times (here, here, and here).

      In fact the three of them have a record for inaccuracies that is totally unbelievable. I rather expect that most regular readers have noticed this by now. I don’t like lies of omission. Talking about a treaty, without quoting the treaty is a lie of omission in my eyes.

    • Patent Office Agrees To Facebook’s “Face” Trademark

      Facebook is just a payment away from trademarking the word “Face.” As of today the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office has sent the social networking site a Notice of Allowance, which means they have agreed to grant the “Face” trademark to Facebook under certain conditions.

      All Facebook needs to do is pay the issue fee within three months of today and the “Face” trademark will be issued and be published in the official USPTO gazette and everything.

    • Copyrights

      • Open Letter to ‘Operation:Payback’
      • UPDATED: Industry Execs Call Out PC Mag For Encouraging Piracy

        Irked by an article published in PC Mag listing a number of alternative P2P services in the wake of the LimeWire shutdown, a number of music industry executive earlier this month sent the news outlet an angry letter that all but accused the publication of encouraging copyright infringement.

      • How Do You Measure The ‘Benefits’ Of Copyright?

        One of the major problems we have with the way copyright law today is developed is how much of it is faith-based — with supporters insisting that more stringent copyright law is obviously “better,” without presenting any evidence to support that. The history of copyright law is filled with examples of this sort of argumentation in favor of stronger copyrights.

      • ACTA

        • How ACTA Will Increase Copyright Infringement

          Every so often, we get copyright system supporters here in the comments who, when they run out of arguments, go with something along the lines of “but it’s the law, and it’s your duty to respect the law.” It’s a rather authoritarian point of view and there are all sorts of reasons why that makes little sense. We don’t need to go into the full philosophical arguments, but one key one is that you should never respect something just because someone says you should — only because it has earned the respect. Glyn Moody has a fascinating post highlighting a new paper about ACTA that suggests the process by which ACTA was agreed upon has all sorts of problems. Moody calls out one paragraph in particular that I think is quite important:

          there is the question of public perceptions as to the value and fairness of the agreement. A perception that it is fair as between stakeholders is important to IP law, which it is not readily self-enforcing. By this I mean that IP law requires people to self-consciously refrain from behaviours that are common, easy, and enjoyable: infringement is so easy to do and observing IP rights, particularly copyright, involves, particularly these days, some self-denial. IP law therefore needs support from the public in order to be effective, and in order to receive any such support IP law needs to address the needs of all stakeholders. 135 Treaties that strengthen enforcement without addressing the needs of users look unfair and will bring IP law further into disrepute.

        • Why ACTA is Doomed (Part 2)

          What’s really fascinating for me here is that it clearly describes the trend towards owning *every* piece of music and *every* film ever recorded. The concept of owning a few songs or films will become meaningless as people have routine access to everything. Against that background, the idea of “stopping” filesharing just misses the point completely: few will be swapping files – they will be swapping an entire corpus.

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