Links 16/11/2012: Fedora 19 is Schrödinger’s Cat, Android Grabs 90% Smartphones Share in China

Posted in News Roundup at 3:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Nvidia’s Ginormous Gift to Linux Gamers

    “This could sway game companies to make more games for Linux, meaning that gamers would have to boot into Windows less and less, eventually maybe not at all,” said blogger Linux Rants. “Where go the games go the users. Other applications follow. If played correctly on the market, this could be the first step for Linux to more global acceptance on the desktop.”

  • ZaReason’s Ubuntu All-in-One PC Might Look A Little Familiar…

    Linux hardware re-sellers ZaReason have debuted their ‘Zimo 930′ PC – an all-in-one desktop computer that has more than a whiff of familiarity about it.

  • Students learn Linux

    More than 200 students from schools and pre-university (PU) colleges in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Kasaragod participated in competitions based on open-source software in a city college on Thursday. The event titled “Byte-Struck ’12” was held at P.A. College of Engineering (PACE), to create awareness about free open-source software (FOSS) among high school and PU students.

  • Desktop

    • $199 Acer C7 adds to Google’s Chromebook Holiday Push

      A few weeks after Samsung found surprising success with its new $249, ARM-based Chromebook, Acer launched an x86-based Acer C7 Chromebook on Nov. 13 for just $199. The latest two laptops running Google’s open source Linux- and Chrome-based Chrome OS are considerably cheaper than the Windows-based competition, putting them in the same territory as low-cost Android tablets like the Kindle Fire HD.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel Introduces PowerClamp Driver For Linux

      Linux kernel developers have created an Intel PowerClamp driver, which is an experiment with idle injection for Intel hardware to take advantage of power-efficient package-level C-states for power capping and passive thermal control. Separately, Intel RAPL (Running Average Power Limit) support is now exposed through TurboStat.

    • AMD Is Still Contributing Code To Linux

      Many Linux users have been mad over AMD closing down its Operating System Research Center resulting in many AMD Linux open-source developers losing their jobs. Last week I wrote that ultimately it shouldn’t be too worrisome for Linux users wanting to use AMD processors and chipsets on Linux and this still looks to be the case.

    • Kernel Log – Coming in 3.7 (Part 1): Filesystems & storage

      Linux 3.7 introduces a range of Btrfs performance improvements. The kernel now supports the SMB data exchange protocol that recent Windows versions use, and it offers discard functionality for software RAIDs, which is important for SSDs.

    • Intel Makes Microsoft’s C++ AMP Cross-Platform

      Engineers at Intel ended up developing “Shevlin Park”, which is a prototype implementation of C++ AMP built using OpenCL with LLVM/Clang. The LLVM/Clang compiler stack was modified to handle C++ AMP programming constructions and the C++ AMP computations expressed within OpenCL compute kernels.

    • Distributed filesystem: XtreemFS 1.4 with Hadoop support

      At the SC12 conference that is currently taking place in Salt Lake City, the XtreemFS developers have released version 1.4 of their distributed filesystem. XtreemFS 1.4 supports asynchronous background writes, which significantly improves performance when storing data. The developers say that they have further improved stability – server and client operation is now said to be “rock solid”. The new Hadoop client allows the filesystem to be used as a substitute for HDFS in Hadoop clusters.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa: Thread Offloading, Asynchronous SwapBuffers

        Marek Olšák continues to work on Mesa/Gallium3D performance improvements. Marek’s latest work is on implementing a-synchronous SwapBuffers and to allow for thread offloading of SwapBuffers via a new DRI2 extension to the libGL-Mesa interface.

  • Applications

    • Top 5 Free Suites to Replace Microsoft Office
    • Resara Me This

      More than any other program, Samba allows Linux desktops to exist in the world of Windows. In fact, Samba historically has allowed Linux to live secretly in the server room as well. It’s possible to emulate a Primary Domain Controller from your Linux server, and Windows machines can’t tell the difference. The problem is that Microsoft no longer uses PDCs and has turned to Active Directory.

    • Taking a look at NixNote

      Sometimes, well more often than that, I get annoyed by the lack of attention and outright affection that Linux gets from some software developers. Specifically the developers of web applications that also offer desktop clients.

      Case in point: Evernote. I use Evernote, not to remember everything but to remember certain things I need to remember. And if you’re going to excoriate me for using a web-based application, I don’t want to hear it.

      Back to Evernote. Users of Mac OS and Windows can install a shiny desktop application. No such beastie exists for Linux. Well, not officially. While I’ve run the Windows Evernote client under WINE, it wasn’t the most satisfying experience. Which is why I turned to NixNote (formerly NeverNote).

    • Proprietary

      • ViewCast Introduces the Most Cost-Effective Digital Streaming Media System; Extends Support for Linux Community

        ViewCast Corporation (OTCBB: VCST), a developer of industry-leading solutions that help companies deliver video to broadband and mobile networks, announced today the availability of the newest addition to its line of industry-leading streaming media systems, the Niagara 9100-4D, a digital high-density encoder platform. The product will debut at Content & Communications World (CCW), the conference for innovative communication technologies in New York. Additionally, a new Linux driver for the Osprey 845e video capture card will be available soon.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

    • Games

      • Valve’s Steam License Causes Linux Packaging Concerns

        Valve’s initial roll-out of their Steam client for Linux is all centered around Ubuntu. With Ubuntu having the largest market-share on the Linux desktop, Valve is focusing upon proper Ubuntu support as their first priority. In the days that the Ubuntu/Debian package has been available of the Steam Linux Beta, it’s already been reported to work on other Linux distributions. Some Linux distributions have also begun to package the Steam Linux binary for their own platforms, but now there’s some concerns about doing this, at least from the Arch Linux camp.

        With catering to Ubuntu Linux users as their first priority, Valve released the Linux beta as just a Debian package. Other Linux distribution packagers meanwhile want Steam on their own Linux distribution and to make it easy for their Linux gamers, so some have begun creating their own Steam binary packages. One of the first Linux distributions doing this was Arch Linux where they re-packaged Steam for Linux for their system. However, concerns have arose whether this is permitted or not.

      • Steam for Linux gets three new games

        Steam is a great source for any gamer. It is a place that will allow you to try out and enjoy many of the more popular video games that are available on the market today. Steam Greenlight will allow you to vote on games that you would like to see become available. It is a great system for gamers; they do not have to drop $50 to purchase every game off the shelf. They can simply join Steam and enjoy the most popular ones at a reduced price.

        Steam is not only a place to acquire games to play. It is also a place where you can talk with other gamers and possibly get information on cheat codes or creative ways to pass a particularly difficult level. It is convenient and rather popular.

      • Let’s Play: Steam Linux Beta Client

        Now follow my installation video if you want to know how to run the client if you’re not a beta tester.
        As i said before, there are many games which can be already played, but the first thing to do (if you have not done it before) is to redeem all your HIB Steam keys.
        This is a list of playable games:

        - Aquaria
        - Cogs
        - Cubemen
        - Darwinia
        - Dungeons of Dredmor
        - Frozen Synapse
        - Space Pirates and Zombies
        - Uplink
        - World of Goo

      • I Will Survive – On Kickstarter

        I Will Survive looks like an interesting platform game with dark homer, uncensored adult content, gore and zombies.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Empathy 3.6.2 Integrates Better with GNOME Online Account

        Empathy 3.6.2 instant messaging client for the GNOME desktop environment, but also used on the Ubuntu operating system, was announced last evening, November 13.

        It has been a while since our last announcement for a stable version of Empathy, so we will list here all the fixes and enhancements implemented in the app since version, which improved Live search.

      • GNOME 3.8 Will Have Support for ownCloud

        The upcoming GNOME 3.8 desktop environment will allow users to easily connect to their ownCloud and Flickr accounts, via the GNOME Online Accounts app.

      • The 2012 GNOME User Survey Begins, Take It Now

        It’s time for the annual GNOME User Survey to solicit feedback from Linux desktop users about their views on the GNOME desktop, preferences about Linux desktop features, and other topics. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey.

      • GNOME 3.6.2 Has Been Officially Released
  • Distributions

    • Elementary OS Luna preview

      The first beta edition of what will become Elementary OS Luna has been released. Luna is a bold attempt to revamp and completely retool Jupiter, the distribution’s first edition. I got a first look at what Luna will bring to the table with the latest stable edition of Pear Linux, whose shell, Pear Shell, is based on Pantheon, the desktop environment and shell of Elementary OS.

      From what I have so far observed about Elementary OS Luna, it is built atop Ubuntu Precise Pangolin, on Linux kernel 3.2. It uses a pre-Ubuntu 12.10 version of Ubiquity, Ubuntu’s graphical installation program, which means that it lacks support for LVM and full disk encryption.

    • elementary OS 0.2 Beta 1 Looks Really Beautiful

      After years of hard work, Cassidy James proudly announced a few minutes ago that the first Beta release of the upcoming elementary OS 0.2 Linux distribution is now available for download and testing.

      Personally, I’m so excited about this development release of the elementary OS 0.2 that I don’t even know where to start.

    • CAINE 3.0 Review – Linux Forensics

      CAINE is a well-known specialised Linux distribution focusing on penetration testing. With its latest 3.0 release, it updates itself to the Ubuntu 12.04 base and adds a host of new tools

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 3 Alpha 3 Is Powered by Linux Kernel 3.6.5

        Anne Nicolas announced a few last night, November 14, the immediate availability for download of the third Alpha release of the upcoming Mageia 3 operating system.

      • Mageia 3 is Shaping up with Alpha 3

        After a bit of a delay Mageia 3 Alpha 3 was released yesterday. This offering brings several improvements, new security checks, and upgrades, but unfortunately for the impatient, no new artwork. Mageia is asking for testers, particularly of the installer and upgrade process, and bug reports to help make Mageia 3 as rock solid as possible.

      • Mageia 3 receives third and final Alpha

        Mageia 3, the next version of the popular new distribution, is in its final Alpha stages, with updates to the installer and kernel

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Upstart 1.6

            While most Linux distributions have moved on to using systemd as their init daemon replacement, Canonical is still investing in their Upstart init daemon for Ubuntu. Upstart 1.6 has now been released and it presents several new features.

          • Could Ubuntu Power Your Phone?

            Ubuntu on smartphones remains a totally theoretical proposition. But that hasn’t stopped Canonical from releasing a video showcasing all the cool things that Ubuntu could do if it did run on phones. Is the company getting ahead of itself, or is this a sign that Ubuntu might finally be poised to make the jump to the mobile world?

          • Ubuntu gaining ground in website deployments

            Although it has chiefly been known as a desktop Linux distribution, Ubuntu has been gaining ground in data centers as well, according to the latest statistics from web survey outfit W3Techs.

            In figures compiled on Thursday, 7 per cent of all the world’s web servers were found to be running Ubuntu, up from 5.5 per cent the previous year.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • The Perfect Desktop – Kubuntu 12.10

              This tutorial shows how you can set up a Kubuntu 12.10 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. Kubuntu uses the KDE desktop environment.

              The software I propose as default is the one I found easiest to use and best in their functionality – this won’t necessarily be true for your needs, thus you are welcome to try out the applications listed as alternatives.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Vendor-supported open source software unpacked

    The value of vendor-supported open source software was the focus of the panel discussion at ITWeb and Linux Warehouse’s Virtual Data Centres Forum, held at Montecasino on Wednesday.

    The aim of the discussion was to unpack the vendor-supported open source software phenomenon and detail what opportunities this kind of software creates for virtual data centres.

  • Broadcom Releases Bluetooth Software Into Open Source
  • OmniOS Wants To Fill The OpenSolaris Void [link corrected]
  • Control vs. influence: Which way for open source?

    Apparently, all that’s stopping the music industry from returning to its former glory is its failure to punish people who download music without paying for it. But if that’s the case, why did music sales in Japan fall when downloaders of unlicensed content were slammed with draconian penalties?

    The same reverse effect applies to open source. Why do open source projects with a vendor tightly controlling the code usually fail to grow? Why do open source projects with relaxed licenses still get plenty of code contributions, though the license does not require them?

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • CMS

    • Rebuttal: Open Source DAM Solutions – Like Buying a Cake or Buying a Car?

      I often read Edward Smith’s contributions to CMSWire and he does a good job of presenting DAM concepts in a way that is straightforward for non-experts to understand. However, I disagree with a number of the points raised in his recent article, “Open Source DAM Solutions: More Control for Those Who Need It,” as I believe it misrepresents this category of software license.

  • Business

    • ForgeRock Launches Open Identity Stack To Protect Enterprise, Cloud, Social, And Mobile Applications

      ForgeRock Inc., the pioneer of open source Identity and Access Management (IAM), today announced availability of the first and only unified, 100% Open Source Stack to secure applications and services across enterprise, cloud, social and mobile environments. With over 250K downloads in less than 24 months, the ForgeRock Open Identity Stack is rapidly building a rich community of global companies working to deploy identity management infrastructure more easily and economically.

  • BSD

    • NetBSD 5.2 Release Is On Approach

      NetBSD 6.0 was released last month with better multi-core/SMP support, the experimental CHFS file-system for flash devices, and other worthwhile enhancements. However, for those not yet ready to jump from NetBSD 5.x to NetBSD 6.0, there is a NetBSD 5.2 release on approach.


    • Last day to submit Free Software Awards nominations!

      Here at the Free Software Foundation, we are grateful to the people who have devoted their lives to advancing free software. We’re thankful for the developers working hard to bring new free software tools into the world. We’re thankful for the legal eagles working to defend the GNU General Public License. We’re thankful for the organizers committed to introducing free software to new audiences. That’s why, each year, we give out the Award for the Advancement of Free Software to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and advancement of free software.

    • FSF to begin accepting scanned assignments from Germany

      The FSF is pleased to announce that we can begin accepting scanned assignments from contributors residing in Germany.

      Last year, the FSF was happy to announce a change to our copyright assignment policy. Based on the advice of our counsel we were able to begin accepting scanned copies of assignments from U.S. residents. We also updated our policy to enable sending digital documents worldwide, but we unfortunately could not begin accepting scanned documents in return from non-U.S. contributors.

    • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • Project Releases

    • FreeIPMI 1.2.3 Released
    • Samba 4 now planned for release on Dec 11

      Samba 4 — the first open source Active Directory-compatible print and file server — will now ship on December 11, developers say.

      It’s a bit of a delay from the recent slated finish date of Nov 27th, now the targeted date for release candidate 5. Release candidate 4 of Samba was posted on Nov 13.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Harvard Research Scientist: Sharing Discoveries More Efficient, More Honorable Than Patenting Them

      More efficient. More honorable. It’s a small example of the potential destruction for both prongs of the pro-patent argument. If it makes science more efficient to not patent, there goes promoting the progress. If it’s more honorable, there goes the moral argument. And, unlike some pharma companies, I’m not even going to make patents the key point here: Bradner’s focus is on helping people. Do we get the same sense from the crowd patenting their drugs, their medical diagnostic techniques, and anything else they can get their hands on?

    • Open-Source Advocacy Proves Its Value in 2012 Elections

      Open source is a term first used to describe software, meaning both its free redistribution and the practice of making it easy for anyone to change a product’s design and use. Open-source organizing meant youth groups were able to do more with less.

    • African company constructs world’s first open-source metabolic chamber

      HealthQ Technologies, a high-tech startup facility based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, claims to have constructed the first open-source metabolic chamber in the world.

      The company says that the metabolic chamber will enable South African entrepreneurs and researchers to perform crucial experiments using facilities which were previously inaccessible. It is also intended to be used for developing new technologies and products in the wellness, weight-loss and fitness industries.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open standards unlock software potential

      Unpacking all things open source, Red Hat’s open source evangelist for EMEA, Jan Wildeboer, stressed that open source software means increased flexibility and freedom.

      During his keynote address at the Virtual Data Centres Forum, held at Montecasino this week, Wildeboer, sporting his trademark red hat, provided a brief history of the development of open source, open standards and open content.


  • “Involuntary porn” site tests the boundaries of legal extortion

    In the era of Polaroid cameras, you didn’t have to worry too much about a racy snapshot you took in the privacy of your bedroom becoming available to the general public. But thanks to the rise of digital cameras and the Internet, that’s now a real risk. Hackers, disgruntled exes, and other vindictive individuals who gain access to your compromising digital snapshots can share them with the world with a single click.

    Recently, a number of websites have sprung up to cash in on the public humiliation of others. One of the first such sites was IsAnyoneUp, which solicited nude pictures of ordinary Americans submitted by third parties. To maximize the humiliation, the photos were posted along with identifying details such as name and home town. The site’s owner, Hunter Moore, reportedly raked in thousands of dollars a month in advertising revenue, and he made the rounds on television talk shows defending his site.

  • Science

    • Robots in demand in China as labour costs climb

      In China, there’s no better time to be a robot. Pictures from last week’s International Industry Fair in Shanghai show them duelling with lightsabers, playing ping pong and dancing in lion costumes. One shows a female robot in a white wool coat shaking hands with a visitor.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Anti-GM protests throughout Latin America

      Fear of unforeseen health and environmental consequences resulting from genetically-modified crops has caused protests throughout Latin America in recent months, notably in Paraguay and Mexico. (item 2)

    • Hide the Kids, the Elderly, the Sick & the Poor! Paul Ryan is Headed for the Cliff

      After an electoral shellacking and exit polls that show the vast majority of Americans are on Barack Obama’s side when it comes to the major issues of the day, Paul Ryan is headed back to Congress convinced that he espouses “very popular ideas” and calling the 2012 results “a very close election.”

      With this mind-set Ryan is prepping to turn the “fiscal cliff” austerity debate to the advantage of the Social Security bashers and Medicare slashers.

    • Tamiflu scrutinised as BMJ calls on pharmaceutical giant to release data

      A leading British medical journal is asking the drug maker Roche to release all its data on Tamiflu, claiming there is no evidence the drug can actually stop the flu.

    • ‘Grand Bargain’ Charade a Scheme to Protect Corporate Welfare

      Congress is still talking about a “Grand Bargain” that “balances” far more spending cuts than tax increases. That is another way of saying that you – the consumer of Medicare and Medicaid services, the recipient of Social Security, and the average taxpayer will take the brunt of the spending cuts, while the wealthy get their income taxes restored, not raised, to their pre-Bush modest levels. Don’t buy it!

  • Security

    • CGit Maintainer Disappears, Security Hole Found

      The maintainer behind the open-source CGit project, the popular web front-end to viewing Git repositories, disappeared some months ago. Since then a new maintainer has taken over work on this widely-used software while also discovering a nasty security hole that allows arbitrary command execution. A new CGit release has now occurred under the new leadership to address this problem.

    • At SEC: Porn Surfing Down, Waste Up, Stunning Disregard For Basic Computer Security

      An internal investigative report of the SEC’s Trading and Markets division has been recently been reviewed by Reuters. After reading its rundown of the misdeeds and abuses uncovered, I’m left with the urge to laugh maniacally in the manner of someone having just cleared the tipping point and now sliding irretrievably into insanity. The sheer irresponsibility on display here springs from the sort of irredeemable carelessness that comes with spending other people’s money (taxes) and operating without any credible oversight or accountability (a large percentage of government entities).

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • A Presidential Candidate Who Will Talk About Drones
    • The Real Scandal: Crimes of War, Not Passion

      The media blitz is fully engaged around the latest Washington sex scandals, and with it come nascent cheers from some anti-war sectors over the public unraveling of the top brass who have helped to orchestrate the longest war in U.S. history. On email threads and in the blogosphere, one is likely to view celebratory remarks laced with words like “comeuppance,” “karma,” and “justice.” Yet while it may be true that there’s a certain element of ironic remuneration in all of this, it’s also the case that such episodes can serve to draw our focus toward the wrong issues and the wrong scandals.

    • Police ban Israeli activists from West Bank demonstrations

      Israeli police officers distributed closed military zone orders for four West Bank villages early Sunday morning to 13 prominent activists in groups such as Anarchists Against the Wall, Ta’ayush, and the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. In most cases, the military orders were delivered personally, but for some activists who happened not to be home, they were left under their doors. In some cases, the officers came to look for the activists in their old addresses, disturbing family members and friends, entering homes without a court order, and videotaping those present against their will, even after they were requested not to do so.

    • Cybersecurity Bill Fails To Move Forward In The Senate (Again)

      As was widely expected, Harry Reid tried to bring the problematic Cybersecurity Act back from the dead today. He needed 60 votes for cloture, which would have then allowed the bill to actually be debated upon (with various amendments considered as well). However, after a few short grandstanding speeches, the attempt at cloture failed, 51 votes to 47, well short of the 60 votes needed. Harry Reid then got up and lashed out at his colleagues, basically saying that he and other Cybersecurity supporters have been spreading so much FUD about how we’re going to be attacked that he can’t believe Senators didn’t fall for it.

    • Dismissal of Whistleblower’s Lawsuit Against Rumsfeld Grants US Officials Greater Immunity for Torture

      A federal court dismissed a lawsuit last week against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The suit, brought by Donald Vance, a US Navy veteran and former defense contractor, and Nathan Ertel, also a former defense contractor, alleged he was responsible for torture they had experienced in an American-run prison in Iraq for nearly one hundred days. The dismissal effectively makes it even more impossible for US citizens to sue high-ranking officials, who are responsible for their torture.

    • Hillsborough investigation: police watchdog given list of 2,444 police officers

      Owers told the committee that the IPCC’s Hillsborough inquiry was into the aftermath of the tragedy – into whether there was a cover-up, why blood samples were taken, what information was released to the media.

    • A country at war rarely spares a thought for the children of the enemy
    • Kent police officers arrested over crime statistics ‘irregularities’

      Five detectives are being questioned in an anti-corruption probe into the alleged manipulation of crime statistics to meet detection targets.

      Kent police said on Thursday the officers – understood to be a detective inspector, detective sergeant and three detective constables – had been arrested “over allegations of administrative irregularities” relating to prisoners.

    • Burma frees more than 450 prisoners before Barack Obama’s visit

      Human rights campaigners say no dissidents are among prisoners to be released in ‘goodwill gesture’

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Madrid demonstration leads general strike as Spain comes to a standstill
    • Rebel mayors threaten banks that continue with eviction policy
    • The Growing Global Movement Against Austerity

      Amaia Engana didn’t wait to be evicted from her home. On Nov. 9, in the town of Barakaldo, a suburb of Bilbao in Spain’s Basque Country, officials from the local judiciary were on their way to serve her eviction papers. Amaia stood on a chair and threw herself out of her fifth-floor apartment window, dying instantly on impact on the sidewalk below. She was the second person in two weeks in Spain to commit suicide as a result of an impending foreclosure action. Her suicide has added gravity to this week’s general strike radiating from the streets of Madrid across all of Europe. As resistance to so-called austerity in Europe becomes increasingly transnational and coordinated, President Barack Obama and the House Republicans begin their debate to avert the “fiscal cliff.” The fight is over fair tax rates, budget priorities and whether we as a society will sustain the social safety net built during the past 80 years.

    • Soup Kitchens Overwhelmed in Crisis-Ridden Spain

      A huge pot of rice steams on the stove at the soup kitchen run by Emaús in the municipality of Torremolinos, on the outskirts of this southern Spanish city. This morning, like every other, Pepi, Adriana and Diego are cooking for over a hundred people who can no longer afford to feed themselves.

    • The American Anti-Corruption Act gets money out of politics, so the people can get back in.
    • Financiers Still Aren’t Rocket Scientists

      Over at Slate, John Dickerson has a piece expressing amazement that “numbers guy” Mitt Romney was so badly misinformed about the election. While I’ll admit to a certain amount of schadenfreude about the general bafflement of the Romney campaign and the Republicans generally, this particular slant (which Dickerson isn’t the only one to take, just the latest in a series) is more annoying than entertaining.

      You would think that the 2008 economic meltdown, in which the financial industry broke the entire world when they were blindsided by the fact that housing prices can go down as well as up, might have cut into the idea of Wall Street bankers as geniuses, but evidently not. The weird idea that the titans of investment banking are the smartest people on the planet continues to persist, even among people who ought to know better– another thing that bugged me about Chris Hayes’s Twilight of the Elites was the way he uncritically accepted the line that Wall Street was the very peak of the meritocracy. It’s not hard to see where it originates– Wall Street types can’t go twenty minutes without telling everybody how smart they are– but it’s hard to see why so many people accept such blatant propaganda without question.

      Look, Romney was an investment banker and corporate raider at Bain Capital. This is admittedly vastly more quantitative work than, say, being a journalist, but it doesn’t make him a “numbers guy.” The work that they do relies almost as much on luck and personal connections as it does on math– they’re closer to being professional gamblers than mathematical scientists. This is especially true of Bain and Romney, as was documented earlier this year– Bain made some bad bets before Romney got there, and was deep in the hole, and he got them out in large part by exploiting government connections and a sort of hostage-taking brinksmanship, creating a situation in which their well-deserved bankruptcy would’ve created a nightmare for the people they owed money, which bought them enough time for some other bets to pay off.

    • AT&T’s $14 Billion Dollar ‘Bribe’ to Get Rid of Telecom Regulations Is a Multi-Layered Hoax

      Kushnick’s Law states: “A regulated company will always renege on promises to provide public benefits tomorrow in exchange for regulatory and financial benefits today.”

      On November 7th, 2012, AT&T’s press release announced that it would “invest $14 billion to significantly expand wireless and wireline broadband networks, support future IP data growth and new services.”

    • Bankers Beginning to Look a Smidge Desperate: Goldman Looking for Technology Magic Bullets to Fix its Cost Problem

      Now that Wall Street blew up the global economy in its search for fun and profit, it is finally having to eat its own cooking in the form of more modest profits. Of course, the slightly chastened Masters of the Universe seem constitutionally unable to recognize that their own actions might have something to do with the fix they are in. Yes, the immediate aftermath of the crisis looked just dandy, as super low interest rates and official confidence building led to some lovely trading opportunities, which in turn produced record bonuses in 2009 and 2010. But as the Fed flattened the yield curve and the economy has stayed stuck in low gear, investors aren’t keen on taking risk, even if negative real interest rates leave doing nothing as an unattractive option.

    • Alert! Rahm Takes First Step to Privatize Chicago Water – Under the Radar

      To Mayor Emanuel, some jobs are worth more than others–What’s really saved by privatizing a couple dozen positions at the water department?

    • Britain stands at equality crossroads, according to landmark report
    • Will EU nations turn over tax-and-spending sovereignty to Germany?
    • Greece’s creditors should take a haircut

      Caricatures normally paint the IMF as the hard guy, the one who insists that sour austerity medicine is taken on time and in full. By contrast, the EU and the ECB are the softies who roll over in the end and agree a compromise.

      If you ignore the detail of the current spat within the so-called troika, these pen portraits fit. Christine Lagarde and the IMF think the 2020 deadline for reducing Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio to 120% should be kept. The EU politicians think an extension to 2022 is in order on the grounds that Athens is doing a reasonable job in cutting spending and raising taxes.

    • Gas prices: FSA examines whistleblower’s claims of ‘Libor-like’ manipulation
    • A highly taxing session for the men from Amazon, Google and Starbucks

      This public accounts committee interrogation made other recent grillings look like a chat on the sofa with Richard and Judy

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • This Is What Plutocracy Looks Like: Romney Suggests Obama Bribed Voters
    • WI Legislators Receive $24K in Campaign Contributions After Pushing ALEC Predatory Lending Bill

      Wisconsin’s effort to open the state to predatory lenders using American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) legislation has paid dividends for the ALEC legislators behind it.

      In May of 2011, Rep. Robin Vos, the ALEC State Chair in Wisconsin and head of the powerful Joint Finance Committee, rolled a provision into the 2011-2012 budget bill resembling ALEC model legislation and that legalized auto title loans. Democrats voted against the provision, but it ultimately passed the Republican-led Finance Committee and state legislature.

    • Winners and Losers in the “Big Secret Bucks” Spending War

      The Sunlight Foundation has crunched the numbers and calculated the “return on investment” that big-spending Super PACs and “dark money” groups achieved in the 2012 cycle. It reflects how much of the money spent by each group went to support candidates who won (or to oppose candidates who lost) in the general election campaign.

    • After at Least $6 Billion Spent on 2012 Election, Reformers Look to Future

      Now that the most expensive election in history is over, an increasing number of Americans are demanding action to reduce the influence of money and corporations in our political system — and reformers are offering solutions.

      Polling shows nine in ten Americans agree there is too much corporate money in politics. The vast majority of Americans believe special interests and campaign donors have the most influence over our elected officials (59 percent believe “special interest groups and lobbyists” have the most influence and 46 percent believe it is campaign donors). Only 15 percent of Americans believe that ordinary people are calling the shots.

    • The Petraeus Legacy: A Paramilitary CIA?

      It was the CIA director’s relationship with JSOC—not Paula Broadwell—that should have raised concerns.

  • Censorship

    • Israel Throttles Palestinian Television
    • Senator Wyden Opposes Anti-Leaks Provisions, Puts Hold on Intelligence Authorization Bill

      Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has placed a public hold on the intelligence authorization bill to prevent anti-leaks provisions from passing without any meaningful debate or amendments because he believes they would “inhibit free speech and damage the news media’s ability to report on national security issues.”

      On the Senate floor, Wyden declared, “Congress should be extremely skeptical of any anti-leaks bills that threaten to encroach upon the freedom of the press, or that would reduce access to information that the public has a right to know.”

    • Senator Wyden Puts Hold On Intelligence Authorization Act Over Free Speech Concerns

      Once again, Senator Ron Wyden seems like one of a very small number of people in Congress actually willing to stand up against bad bills that are pushed forward with fear mongering. Earlier this year, we noted just how absolutely ridiculous it was that Senator Dianne Feinstein seemed a hell of a lot more concerned about punishing whoever blew the whistle on questionable US activities like Stuxnet, then about the questionable activities themselves. In response, she put forth some legislation that was designed to punish government whistleblowers, rather than understand why they were blowing the whistle. This bill got dumped into a key appropriations bill, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. In other words, Feinstein basically said that if we are to fund intelligence activities we have to crack down on whistleblowers. Shameful stuff.

    • “Involuntary porn” site tests the boundaries of legal extortion

      Freedom of expression has been at the top of the agenda this week in Baku at the internet governance forum (IGF), an annual United Nations “multi-stakeholder” meeting. The IGF has previously been held in less democratic states, such as pre-Arab-spring Egypt, and was set up by the UN world summit on the information society, held in Tunisia (and Geneva). But the Azerbaijan government has been particularly vicious in its attacks on journalists and bloggers.

    • Latest Company To Discover The Streisand Effect: Casey Movers

      Phil Buckley has a story of a Massachusetts-based moving company, called Casey Movers, which appears to have violated both of those rules, starting with a legal threat to Buckley’s wife concerning a negative review she had written about Casey Movers 18 months ago, after her parents had a very bad experience with the company. It first took the company over a year to even notice the review and then post a weak defense of its practices. It didn’t respond to any of the specific complaints about unprofessional behavior or broken promises. It only focused on the amount that the company had been willing to pay for damages, and gave a somewhat “technical” response about how this was what the “insurance option” she chose provided — and even could be read as scolding her for not choosing the more expensive insurance option.

    • There’s no way to stop children viewing porn in Starbucks

      Last week’s debate in the Lords on the proposal to stop opt-out pornography filters was a perfect parable about the dangers of putting technically unsophisticated legislators in charge of technology regulation.

  • Privacy

    • Now E-Textbooks Can Report Back on Students’ Reading Habits

      Data mining is creeping into every aspect of student life—classrooms, advising, socializing. Now it’s hitting textbooks, too.

      CourseSmart, which sells digital versions of textbooks by big publishers, announced on Wednesday a new tool to help professors and others measure students’ engagement with electronic course materials.

      When students use print textbooks, professors can’t track their reading. But as learning shifts online, everything students do in digital spaces can be monitored, including the intimate details of their reading habits.

    • When Will our Email Betray Us? An Email Privacy Primer in Light of the Petraeus Saga

      The unfolding scandal that led to the resignation of Gen. David Petraeus, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, started with some purportedly harassing emails sent from pseudonymous email accounts to Jill Kelley. After the FBI kicked its investigation into high gear, it identified the sender as Paula Broadwell and, ultimately, read massive amounts of private email messages that uncovered an affair between Broadwell and Petraeus (and now, the investigation has expanded to include Gen. John Allen’s emails with Kelley). We’ve received a lot of questions about how this works—what legal process the FBI needs to conduct its email investigation. The short answer? It’s complicated.

    • article image8 million UK children on secret database without parental consent
    • The alternatives to the draft Communications Data Bill

      Big Brother Watch has submitted supplementary evidence to the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill highlighting the alternatives and opportunities available. The draft Bill, which would require details of our every email, website visit and social media log to be recorded, is currently under review from a specially convened joint committee of MPs and Peers.

    • ORG applies to intervene in Golden Eye case – and we need your help

      We want to do more to promote digital rights like privacy through interventions in relevant court cases.

      As part of that ambition, we have applied for permission to intervene in the appeal of the Golden Eye International v Telefonica UK decision. And we need your help to take this important case.

    • How one law student is making Facebook get serious about privacy

      The world’s largest legal battle against Facebook began with a class assignment. Student Max Schrems still hasn’t turned in his university paper on the topic, due well over a year ago, but he has already accomplished something bigger: forcing Facebook to alter its approach to user privacy. Now, Schrems wants cash—hundreds of thousands of euros—to launch the next phase of his campaign, a multi-year legal battle that might significantly redefine how Facebook controls the personal data on over one billion people worldwide.

      “If we get €300,000 ($384,000), we ca

    • FBI’s abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation

      That the stars of America’s national security establishment are being devoured by out-of-control surveillance is a form of sweet justice

  • Civil Rights

    • If There Needs To Be An Investigation, It Should Be About Why The FBI Was Reading Certain Emails

      While some have noted the irony of General Petreaus being taken down due to online surveillance methods that he should have been aware of, the case is bringing growing attention to an issue many of us have been discussing for a while: how easy it is for law enforcement to snoop through your email. We raised the question already, but as more info comes out, the whole thing is looking that much more questionable.

    • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel On City’s Illegal Recordings Of Conversations With Journalists: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

      Chicago city hall officials are in a bit of trouble for recording phone conversations with Chicago Tribune reporters without their consent. A city attorney is downplaying the incidents, insisting that there’s no “widespread practice of such tapings” and promising that “steps are being taken” to prevent this from happening again.

    • It Isn’t a Crime When the Government Does It

      So remember when Chicago police were arresting people for recording them, and charging them with crimes punishable by 10 or more years in prison? Remember the woman who was arrested and charged because she attempted to record Chicago PD internal affairs police browbeating her when she tried to report a sexual assault by a Chicago cop? Remember all that stuff we heard from Chicago PD and Cook County DA Anita Alvarez’s office about protecting privacy?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Democrats & Republicans Should Come Together To Support A Future Of Abundance

      As a therapist would tell a couple bickering over each others’ working and spending habits, Republicans and Democrats now quarreling over the federal budget should change the framing of topic. Instead of focusing only on how much the government should tax and spend in the economy we know, the leaders of the opposing parties should look at what the economy could quickly become if government passed laws encouraging productive private sector investment in growing technology-driven markets.

    • Thailand To Join TPP Negotiations; Access To Medicines Likely To Suffer As A Consequence

      If Thailand joins the TPP negotiations, it will undoubtedly be forced to rescind those compulsory licenses — one of the key features of TPP is its strengthening of protection for pharma patents. The inevitable consequence of that will be increased prices in Thailand for key medicines, and more people suffering and dying as a result. It would be interesting to know what pressure has been brought to bear on the Thai government to take what seems such a damaging step for its people, when other nations are moving in precisely the opposite direction.

    • Copyrights

      • When Agents Attack

        About a year ago, I noticed a shift in the general tone of writers’ conferences. For the ten years I’ve been attending them, there was a tendency for agents at these events to lord it over the room, being very strict about what they were looking for, how they like to be approached, how not to approach them, and how to talk to them. The power balance was one-sided, needlessly (and sometimes insultingly) so.

        Then agents started getting nervous. And defensive. Instead of, “This is how to get us,” the line became, “This is why you need us.” And things started to get a lot more interesting.

        A week and a half ago, I had the opportunity to go to the Novelists, Inc. 23rd Annual Conference. And on one of the panels I sat on, all the growing tension and dissatisfaction came to a head.

      • University Of Washington’s Defense Of Twitter Limits On Journalists More Ridiculous Than The Restrictions Themselves

        Except… that’s not true. The “live description of events” is not protectable by the University. It’s possible that someone could claim copyright over their own description of the events, but the University has no IP rights on the “live description of events.” Such a thing simply doesn’t exist and it would be a massive First Amendment issue if it did. That someone there thinks such a “right” exists is ridiculous.

      • Another Kirtsaeng Question: Why Have the Distribution Right?

        In the wake of the Kirtsaeng oral argument, I wanted to look at a strange thing about how the first sale doctrine works in our copyright laws. The first sale doctrine makes it legal for you to sell, lend, or give away copies of copyrighted works that you own. Without it, it would be copyright infringement for you to do any of those things with a book, a CD, or a DVD, even if you’d bought and paid for a legitimate copy of the thing.

        In much the same way that deeply-held values of free speech and expression are reconciled with copyright law through the doctrine of fair use, first sale allows copyright law to coexist with the older doctrines of property: the fact that I own this physical object means I get to decide how I want to dispose of it.

        Even though the law recognizes that owning your own copies of works is a fundamental right, it still gets to that right in a slightly roundabout way. If I were to walk through how copyright and first sale governed my sale of a paperback, I’d first look at section 106(3) and see that it gives a copyright holder the ability to prevent me from selling my copy of a book. But then, section 109(a) sweeps in to preserve my property rights within the sphere of copyright.

      • RIAA Prefers Customers Who Buy A Little To Pirates Who Buy A Lot

        To me, this was a fairly innocuous finding, well in line with other studies. For my money, the more important findings were that personal sharing ‘between friends’ is about as prevalent and as significant in music acquisition as ‘downloading for free’, and that together they are outweighed by legal acquisition.

      • Book Scanning As Fair Use: Google Makes Its Case As Authors Guild Appeals Hathitrust Fair Use Ruling

        Two new developments in the two big cases concerning book scanning and fair use: first up, we’ve got the somewhat unsurprising news that the Authors Guild is appealing its rather massive loss against Hathitrust, the organization that was set up to scan books from a bunch of university library collections. As you may recall, Judge Harold Baer’s ruling discussed how the book scanning in that case was obviously fair use. It was a near complete smackdown for the Authors Guild.

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