Links 5/6/2017: OpenELEC 8.0.4 and UberStudent

Posted in News Roundup at 1:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How the Moby Project Pivots Docker’s Open Source Business Model

    When Docker creator Solomon Hykes announced the Moby Project at DockerCon, he said it was very close to his heart. It was the second most important project since Docker itself.

    What makes the Moby Project so special for Hykes is that it fundamentally changes the Docker world. It changes the way Docker is being developed and consumed. It changes the relationship between Docker the company and Docker the ecosystem, which is the open source community around the project. It changes the entire business model.

  • Predictive Policing and Software Freedom: Should the Police Use Open Source?

    Open source software is now widespread almost everywhere, from servers to smartphones. But there’s one place where open source is still not common: The world of policing. Here’s why open source and software freedom matter so much — and deserve more attention — in the realm of predictive policing.

    Like virtually every other type of profession and industry, policing has been transformed by software over the past decade. Police now rely on software tools that use machine learning and data analytics to predict where and when crime will occur. The strategy is called predictive policing.

  • Apache Foundation Suffers Money Problems, Organizational Headaches

    The Apache Software Foundation, which was founded in 1999, hardly gets any press compared to the Linux Foundation, when it comes to open source groups doing telecommunications and data center software.

  • Why Do You Choose Open Source?

    Conference keynote speeches can unify attendees around ideals or principles that cut
    across a broad swath of a particular field. Such was Chris Aedo’s recent OSCON keynote, which he summarizes in this short interview video. Chris works as the program manager, developer advocacy for IBM. OSCON is the annual O’Reilly Open Source conference. c

  • Meet Facebook’s New Open-Sourced, Encrypted Competitor, Minds

    YouTube has incited similar criticisms due to its decision to pander to pressures from advertisers to demonetize users based on the pretenses of fighting hate speech. The move sparked a backlash from YouTube celebrities and alternative media hosts who saw it as an attack on the popularity of independent and alternative media compared to corporate media sources.

  • [Older] Set the WABAC to 1984: Henry Spencer getopt, and the roots of open source

    Frustration mounted as the woman gave evasive answers which seemed to add up to “No, we refuse to commit to allowing general access to this code.” Which seemed to confirm everyone’s worst fears about what was going to happen to Unix source code access in general.

    At which point Henry Spencer stands up and says (not in these exact words) “I will write and share a conforming implementation.” – and got a cheer from the assembled.

  • Web Browsers

    • Brave – The browser taking on the Internet’s “ad problem”

      Online advertising is an important revenue source for websites and online publications, but an increasing amount of “invasive” ads have had a negative effect on user opinion.

      Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and cofounder of the Mozilla project, has created a new browser designed to improve the browsing experience for users, while allowing publishers to earn an income.

      Called Brave, the browser aims to revolutionise the way Internet advertising, publisher revenue, and web browsing works by using cryptocurrency and anonymous data collection.

    • Chrome

      • Google to give 6 months’ warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

        Publishers will get a six-month headsup before Google kills intrusive advertising on Chrome, sources close to the ad giant have reportedly said.

        Google will also hand online publishers a special tool to make sure that their ads are “compliant”, the WSJ was told, called “Ad Experience Reports” – ostensibly to be based on the recommendations of industry group the Coalition for Better Ads, of which Facebook and Google are members.

    • Mozilla

      • flatpak-ing Servo Nightly

        Servo – that rendering engine written in Rust – can be built from source. But there are also nightly builds available.

      • Mozilla Brings Virtual Reality to all Firefox Users

        We are delighted to announce that WebVR will ship on by default for all Windows users with an HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift headset in Firefox 55 (currently scheduled for August 8th). WebVR transforms Virtual Reality (VR) into a first-class experience on the web, giving it the infinite possibilities found in the openness and interoperability of the Web Platform. When coupled with WebGL to render 3D graphics, these APIs transform the browser into a platform that allows VR content to be published to the Web and instantaneously consumed from any capable VR device.

  • Databases

    • What Is NoSQL?

      NoSQL databases are one of those fun topics where people get all excited because it’s cool and new. But, they’re really not new, they’re different from SQL databases, and they have different use cases. NoSQL is not going to make world peace or give you your own private holodeck but, aside from those deficiencies, it is pretty cool.

    • Crate.io Packs New Features, Services Into DB Upgrade

      CrateDB 2.0 features clustering enhancements and SQL improvements. The enterprise edition adds authentication and authorization features for enhanced security, which are not provided in the open source version.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Not Open, Not Closed: The Future of Hybrid Licenses

      With proprietary software pressured and giving ground to open source competition, however, the process for selling software has become more challenging. It is possible, of course, to monetize open source software directly. A variety of mechanisms have been tried, from dual licensing to support and service to open core. It is inefficient and significantly less profitable than selling proprietary software was, however. Even the best in the industry depended heavily on volume to make up for the difficulty in converting users of free software to paid customers. MySQL, for example, reportedly was at its peak able to convert one in a thousand users to a paid product. Combined with generally lower margins (though Pivotal might disagree) due to increased competition from other open source projects, and it’s not difficult to understand why it’s harder for commercial organizations to extract revenue relative to proprietary competitors. Red Hat, then, is the exception that proves the rule.

  • BSD


    • 10 ways the GIMP image editor changed my life

      Like other young professionals, I have worked many odd jobs over the years, slowly spinning my strange and broad range of experience into a neatly packaged service. Dabbling in open source editing and design software was once a hobby. Now, I use GIMP every day.

      When I think of the primary driving factors of how I have built my own personal brand, GIMP sits at the top of the list. In celebration of its 19th birthday, I have compiled a top 10 list of how GIMP has positively impacted my life.

    • GDB 8.0 Released, Adds Many New Features, Drops Java GCJ Support

      GDB 8.0 has been released as the newest feature release for this widely-used GNU Debugger.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Programming/Development

    • Five Things That Make Kotlin Interesting

      The short version is that Kotlin is a JVM-based language originally released in 2011 by the JetBrains (makers of IntelliJ) team from St Petersburg, Russia. Like Scala, an inspiration for the language, Kotlin is intended to improve on the Java foundations both syntactically and otherwise while trading on that platform’s ubiquity.

    • Learn Scala Programming with Free Books

      Scala is a modern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based programming and scripting language that’s released under the BSD 3-Clause License. It blends functional and object-oriented programming models. Scala introduces several innovative language constructs. It improves on Java’s support for object-oriented programming by traits, which are stackable and cannot have constructor parameters. It also offers closures, a feature that dynamic languages like Python and Ruby have adopted.

    • Dear Women in Tech: We Need You

      I started coding when I was about 9. I made embarrassing Geocities websites first, with sparkly fairy gifs that I am now incredibly grateful weren’t archived anywhere. I quickly got bored of that — thank God — and moved onto programming little Javascript clocks, finding my own hosting space and building a tiny online presence. I was able to do this because I became friends with a couple of women online who were slightly older and already doing the work I found fascinating. They were building cool personal sites in PHP, they were coding little site add-ons and offering them for free on their websites, they were offering free hosting space to women who wanted a subdomain. They were the reason I was able to progress so quickly, and maybe the reason I even progressed at all. They inspired me, they helped me and they supported the community.


  • Forget far-right populism – crypto-anarchists are the new masters
  • Farewell Walt Mossberg, the scourge of Silicon Valley

    The newspaper stood by its reporter and went to press with the scoop. The ads were duly pulled but Mossberg got a raise and, in the process, learned two things. The first is that when you come up with a story that powerful corporations don’t want published, you need a publisher that is strong enough to stand up to bullying; the second is that corporations are always ruthless in the pursuit of their interests.

  • [Old] The Great Healthcare Bloat: 10 Administrators for Every 1 U.S. Doctor

    A Harvard Business Review analysis shows the healthcare workforce has grown by 75 percent since 1990, but 95 percent of new hires aren’t doctors.

  • Why we should love null results

    In this post, I will try to make the case for null results. I’m up against Sanjay Srivastava’s gut feeling, so this better be convincing. Ok, here we go: Four reasons why we should love null results.

  • Microsoft’s cunning plan to make Bing the leading search engine: Bribery

    The uptake for Microsoft’s long-suffering search engine, Bing, continues to be so dismal that Redmond has resorted to paying people to use it.

    The “loyalty scheme” offers points that can be exchanged for charity donations or music, games, devices and other stuff on the Microsoft Store. Users are awarded three points per search, up to 30 a day at Level 1.

    To get an idea of what they’re worth, 5,300 gets you a £5 Xbox digital gift card, which equates to 10 per cent off a current-gen game. That’s quite a grind – 176 days of furious Binging for pennies. But hit Level 2, by bashing Bing for 500 points per month, and you can reap 150 points a day.

  • Microsoft is paying users to search with Bing over Google

    Under this scheme, the company will reward users for using Bing with points, which can later be exchanged for charity donations or freebies available on the Microsoft Store.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 1,453 trucks at under-construction third airport attempt to break record on anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest

      Yusuf Akçayoğlu, the CEO of IGA Airports construction, said they undertook a difficult task, vowing that the new airport would also start a new age in terms of aviation as it was with the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453.

    • The fate of the Chibok girls

      The Islamist militant group had terrorised the north-eastern corner of Nigeria since a wave of attacks in 2009.

    • [Old] The Media Needs to Stop Inspiring Copycat Murders. Here’s How.

      As a sociologist, I am increasingly concerned that the tornado of media coverage that swirls around each such mass killing, and the acute interest in the identity and characteristics of the shooter — as well as the detailed and sensationalist reporting of the killer’s steps just before and during the shootings — may be creating a vicious cycle of copycat effects similar to those found in teen and other suicides.

    • Home Office may not publish terrorist funding report amid claims it focuses on Saudi Arabia

      An investigation into the foreign funding of extremist Islamist groups may never be published, the Home Office has admitted.

      The inquiry commissioned by David Cameron, was launched as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats in December 2015, in exchange for the party supporting the extension of British airstrikes against Isis into Syria.

      But although it was due to be published in the spring of 2016, it has not been completed and may never be made public due to its “sensitive” contents.

    • ‘Sensitive’ UK terror funding inquiry may never be published

      An investigation into the foreign funding and support of jihadi groups that was authorised by David Cameron may never be published, the Home Office has admitted.

      The inquiry into revenue streams for extremist groups operating in the UK was commissioned by the former prime minister and is thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist jihadis.


      The unsayable in Britain’s general election campaign is this. The causes of the Manchester atrocity, in which 22 mostly young people were murdered by a jihadist, are being suppressed to protect the secrets of British foreign policy.

      Critical questions – such as why the security service MI5 maintained terrorist “assets” in Manchester and why the government did not warn the public of the threat in their midst – remain unanswered, deflected by the promise of an internal “review”.

      The alleged suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was part of an extremist group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, that thrived in Manchester and was cultivated and used by MI5 for more than 20 years.

    • Robbie Williams bursts into tears mid-song as he dedicates Angels to Manchester victims – so crowd sings it for him

      The superstar was performing in the city’s Etihad Stadium – the grounds of Manchester City Football Club – when he announced he was dedicating his song, Angels, to those who died in the attack.

      But halfway through one line in the song, he stopped singing and was visibly upset on the large screens projecting his face to thousands of fans.

    • Unicef Fears Yemen Cholera Outbreak Could Hit 300,000 in Coming Weeks

      Cholera cases in Yemen could quadruple in the next month to 300,000, the regional director of Unicef said Friday, calling the spread of the disease in the war-ravaged country “incredibly dire.”

      Speaking by phone after visiting Yemen, the agency’s regional director, Geert Cappelaere, said he had never seen a cholera outbreak of that size in the country, which already is contending with the risk of a famine and a collapse of the health care system because of the war.

      Half the cholera cases in Yemen belong to children, Mr. Cappelaere said, and parents have little recourse because many hospitals and clinics are closed or lack supplies.

    • ‘We must have some difficult conversations with Saudi Arabia’ – UK opposition leader Corbyn

      UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for some “difficult conversations” with Saudi Arabia, accusing it and other Gulf countries of promoting extremist ideologies.

      In a speech delivered at the northern town of Carlisle on Sunday, Corbyn, who is running for Prime Minister for the socialist Labour party in the upcoming election on Thursday, said that British values of tolerance must be maintained.

    • What’s going on with Qatar?

      Tensions have resurfaced in a sustained media onslaught that has again cast Qatar as a threat to stability and security in the Persian Gulf. At the heart of the latest argument among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are incendiary comments attributed to Qatar’s Emir Tamim at a military graduation ceremony May 23.

      A report published on the Qatar News Agency (QNA) website later that day alleged that the emir stated that Qatar had a tense relationship with President Trump’s administration, described Hamas as “the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” and called Iran “a big power in the stabilization of the region.” Qatar TV later reported the emir’s alleged speech on its evening news program before the government communications office claimed — belatedly, on May 24 — that the QNA website had been hacked and false statements posted on it.

    • The Manchester Bombing as Blowback: The latest evidence

      In summary, the evidence so far shows that there are six inter-related aspects of blowback:

      Salman Abedi and his father were members of a Libyan dissident group – the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – covertly supported by the UK to assassinate Qadafi in 1996. At this time, the LIFG was an affiliate of Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and LIFG leaders had various connections to this terror network.
      Members of the LIFG were facilitated by the British ‘security services’ to travel to Libya to fight Qadafi in 2011. Both Salman Abedi and his father, Ramadan, were among those who travelled to fight at this time (although there is no evidence that their travel was personally facilitated or encouraged by the security services).
      A large number of LIFG fighters in Libya in 2011 had earlier fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq – the al-Qaeda entity which later established a presence in Syria and became the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These fighters were among those recruited into the British-backed anti-Qadafi rebellion.
      UK covert action in Libya in 2011 included approval of and support to Qatar’s arming and backing of opposition forces, which included support to hardline Islamist groups; this fuelled jihadism in Libya.
      One of the groups armed/supported by Qatar in 2011 was the February 17th Martyrs Brigade which, some reports suggest, was the organisation which Ramadan Abedi joined in 2011 to fight Qadafi.
      Qatar’s arms supplies to Libya in 2011 also found their way to Islamist fighters in Syria, including groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS.

    • Theresa May is ‘responsible’ for London terror attack and must resign says top David Cameron aide

      The Prime Minister should resign over her alleged failure to prevent the London Bridge terror attack, a former senior aide to the last Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

      Former Downing Street director of Strategy, Steve Hilton, on Monday claimed the Theresa May was “responsible” for the attack that left seven people dead and many more injured, and called for her to resign rather than seek re-election.

    • How to fight terror: Start with the facts

      Terrorist attacks are designed to instill fear and put entire cities under virtual siege. In Europe, the strategy seems to be working. Governments are responding to a string of high-profile terrorist attacks with billions of euros in spending to harden the Continent’s defenses. Buildings are being blast-proofed. Barricades have gone up on packed pedestrian promenades. It’s no longer unusual to see soldiers patrolling in the center of a city.

      The threat is real, but the response needs to be proportionate. We can be sure that terrorists will strike the Continent once again, as they did this past weekend in London. Now is not the time to be complacent. But it’s important to remember that the risk of dying in a terrorist attack is dramatically lower than just about anywhere else on the planet.

      As a killer of European residents, terrorism remains extremely rare. Even in 2016, the year of the Brussels bombings and truck attacks in Nice and Berlin, it ranked far behind sporting accidents, heat waves, traffic accidents and suicide, not to mention mass killers like heart disease, respiratory illness and cancer.

    • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte jokes that soldiers can rape women under his martial law
    • [Older] [Reposted] Trump calls Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons,’ according to transcript of Duterte call

      Trump has not spoken out against that strategy, and in their call he praised Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

      “Many countries have the problem, we have the problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that,” Trump said, according to the transcript.

    • Trump tells Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ‘great job’ for drug war that killed thousands

      President Donald Trump appeared to endorse Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal campaign against suspected drug dealers, according to a transcript of an April phone conversation between the two.

    • Manchester Attacks: Spare us your crocodile tears, anti-Prevent lobby

      The attack in Manchester was devastating. But last week as I shed tears for the victims, my anger was growing, in particular against what is widely referred to as the Muslim anti-Prevent lobby, who have campaigned against Prevent but now coming out offering us their condolences.

      It’s high time we examined some of those groups — ask yourself whether such groups have hindered or helped in reducing the threat of terrorism in our country.

    • 5 Lessons for Us From the Manchester Bombing

      The anti-Islamists are your allies, not the “moderate” Islamists.

    • Bombing Manchester: It is war, not crime
    • We Know What Inspired The Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It

      The ultimate inspiration for such people is Wahhabism, the puritanical, fanatical and regressive type of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia, whose ideology is close to that of al-Qaeda and Isis. This is an exclusive creed, intolerant of all who disagree with it such as secular liberals, members of other Muslim communities such as the Shia or women resisting their chattel-like status.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange, Keating named among Australia’s top 10 figures of all time

      WHAT makes a leader great? And has Australia ever had a truly great political leader?

      Apparently we have had 10 — including several you have probably never heard of.

      A former top political advisor has compiled a definitive list of the greatest political figures in Australian history and it is nothing if not surprising.

      John Adams has warned that “hyperpartisanship” and relentless attempts to seize power by the political class has sent Australia into a “national decline”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Cryptoeconomics 101

      In recent discussions with people newly interested in the burgeoning token economy, one thing I’ve noticed is that the concept of cryptoeconomics is largely foreign to people. Cryptoeconomics is the fundamental catalyst for this whole movement, so I think that needs to change.

    • The super-rich are different: they pay less tax

      The Swiss leaks and Panama papers open a window on the tax-dodger’s world

    • The myths about money that British voters should reject

      Befitting a surprise election, the manifestos from the main parties contained surprises. Labour is shaking off decades of shyness about nationalisation and tax increases for the rich and for the first time in decades has a policy agenda that is not Tory-lite. The Conservatives, meanwhile, say they are rejecting “the cult of selfish individualism” and “belief in untrammelled free markets”, while adopting the quasi-Marxist idea of an energy price cap.

      Despite these significant shifts, myths about the economy refuse to go away and hamper a more productive debate. They concern how the government manages public finances – “tax and spend”, if you will.

    • Fear of Brexit brain drain as EU nationals leave British universities

      More than 1,300 academics from the European Union have left British universities in the past year, prompting concerns of a Brexit brain drain.

      There has been a 30% rise in departures of EU staff in just two years, according to data released by dozens of universities under the Freedom of Information Act.

      Among those universities most affected were Cambridge, which lost 184 staff in the past year, up 35% on 2014-15, and Edinburgh, which lost 96 EU staff, up from 62 in 2014-15. However, the figures do not take into account new staff arriving from the EU.

    • The big issue: Labour’s manifesto proposals could be just what the economy needs

      Sunday 4 June 2017 00.05 BST

      On 8 June, voters will go to the polls for perhaps the most important UK general election since 1945. The importance arises in great part from profound differences in economic policy, reflecting different views of the nature and health of the British economy.

      The Conservative manifesto calls for continued austerity, which will tend to slow the economy at a crucial juncture, against the backdrop of Brexit negotiations. Their spending cuts have hurt the most vulnerable and failed to achieve their intended debt and deficit reduction targets.

      In contrast, Labour’s manifesto proposals are much better designed to strengthen and develop the economy and ensure that its benefits are more fairly shared and sustainable, as well as being fiscally responsible and based on sound estimations.

      We point to the proposed increases in investment in the future of the UK and its people, labour market policies geared to decrease inequality and to protect the lower paid and those in insecure work and fair and progressive changes in taxation.

      There is no future for the UK in a race to the bottom, which would only serve to increase social and economic inequality and further damage our social fabric. On the contrary, the UK urgently needs a government committed, as is Labour, to building an economy that really works “for the many, and not only the few”.

    • For Too Long, Austerity Has Excused Cuts – Investing In Our Police Is Literally Critical

      In difficult times people get the opportunity to pause and reflect on just how good our public services are. From the police to our NHS teams of doctors, nurses and other frontline staff, we can and do rely on the fact that they are never found wanting. When it’s time to stand up and be counted – even when there are fewer to count – they turn up. The harsh reality is that the people who do these tough, sometimes thankless, jobs need to be able to count on us and whilst it’s been good to hear praise from politicians, I hope many take the time to reflect.

    • Farmers feeling increasingly gloomy about future ahead of Brexit, says NFU

      Despite overwhelmingly being in support of leaving the European Union at the Brexit referendum, farmers are increasingly gloomy now that they are staring down the reality of what leaving will entail.

      In two years, confidence levels on the outlook for the next three years, as measured by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), have plummeted to just above zero from a high of 19 points on the positive side, in the wake of the general election being called and Brexit being set.

      The NFU takes regular soundings of its members and measures their confidence on a scale of 0-100 positive and 0-100 negative points, with zero representing a neutral outlook.

      Data on farmers’ investment intentions adds to the gloom. One in five farmers said they were reducing their investment, while only half that number were planning to increase their investments in the next year, as a result of the EU referendum.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Activists investigating Ivanka Trump shoe factory in China arrested, then ‘disappeared’

      A labor activist who was investigating labor conditions at a Chinese factory that makes shoes for Ivanka Trump’s brand was arrested by police, and has now disappeared, say his wife and a China labor rights group. Two other activists are also missing, and are also presumed to have also been detained by Chinese authorities for nosing around in Ivanka’s supply chain.

    • Trump orders agencies to ignore information requests from Democrats
    • Jeremy Corbyn Is Surging by Using Bernie Sanders’s Playbook

      “The Tories have been conducting a stage-managed, arms-length campaign, and have treated the public with contempt,”

    • Saudi Arabia, UAE to Donate to Women Entrepreneurs Fund

      The announcement by World Bank President Jim Young Kim came during a visit to Saudi Arabia by President Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

    • Ethiopia at tipping point as Congress mulls human rights bill
    • Trump Echoed Hitler in His Speech Withdrawing From the Paris Climate Accord

      That Trump essentially used the Rose Garden podium yesterday to give a giant “Fuck you” to the rest of the world is bad enough. But that he paraphrased Hitler in so doing raises a stench that even the cretins who head the Republican Party ought to blanch at.

    • Are The U.K. Polls Skewed?

      Although the polls haven’t been very accurate in the U.K., the errors have usually run in the same direction: Conservatives tend to beat their polls there.

    • Why We ALL Need to Be Activists Right Now

      Way too many Americans think about politics in the way of the Olympics — like it’s some big event that happens every few years, all but forgotten until the ad campaigns start up again. That’s unacceptable from an intellectual perspective and also a practical one.

    • Donald Trump Poisons the World

      By treating the world simply as an arena for competitive advantage, Trump, McMaster and Cohn sever relationships, destroy reciprocity, erode trust and eviscerate the sense of sympathy, friendship and loyalty that all nations need when times get tough.

    • Labour ahead of Conservatives in unadjusted poll of voters

      A new poll suggests Labour could be on course for a shock win at the general election – but only if all those considered least likely to vote turn out to cast their ballot on Thursday.

      The Ipsos Mori survey shows the Conservatives have a five point lead of 45-40 – but it reveals a separate result for “all giving a voter intention”, putting Labour on 43 and the Tories on 40. The overall result is reached by stripping out the “don’t knows” and those historically unlikely to vote, who include black and ethnic minorities as well as the under 35s and the least well off older people.

    • Why Trump Actually Pulled Out Of Paris

      Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement was not really about the climate. And despite his overheated rhetoric about the “tremendous” and “draconian” burdens the deal would impose on the U.S. economy, Trump’s decision wasn’t really about that, either. America’s commitments under the Paris deal, like those of the other 194 cooperating nations, were voluntary. So those burdens were imaginary.

      No, Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from this carefully crafted multilateral compromise was a diplomatic and political slap: It was about extending a middle finger to the world, while reminding his base that he shares its resentments of fancy-pants elites and smarty-pants scientists and tree-hugging squishes who look down on real Americans who drill for oil and dig for coal. He was thrusting the United States into the role of global renegade, rejecting not only the scientific consensus about climate but the international consensus for action, joining only Syria and Nicaragua (which wanted an even greener deal) in refusing to help the community of nations address a planetary problem. Congress doesn’t seem willing to pay for Trump’s border wall—and Mexico certainly isn’t—so rejecting the Paris deal was an easier way to express his Fortress America themes without having to pass legislation.

    • Guardian staff come out of closet for Corbyn

      Congratulations on coming out of the Guardian closet and admitting that you have been a secret Jeremy Corbyn admirer all along. Your column, “I used to be a shy Corbynite but I’m over that now”, was excellent.

      Interestingly, I noticed Jonathan Freedland, the paper’s senior commentator and its Corbyn-denigrator-in-chief (he has some competition!) – and your boss, I suppose – wrote an oped a couple of days ago admitting he may have misjudged Corbyn. Maybe that was the moment you finally sparked up the courage to come clean about liking Corbyn.

    • Who is (the real) Jeremy Corbyn?

      British politics has long been infamous for the personal nature of media attacks on leaders, but the hostility faced by Mr. Corbyn has been something else. It’s been driven in part by his steadfast refusal to play ball with the mainstream media — he doesn’t take press questions after every public speech, and often ignores questions out of the context of a planned interview, often preferring to respond to criticism on his own terms, through social media. He doesn’t wheel out his family for photo opportunities. He’s made a point of focussing on talking to people directly, as was the case with his first performance at Prime Minister’s Questions in 2015, when he relied on questions gathered from the public. An avowed socialist, he has no qualms talking about re-nationalising infrastructure or raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy, an approach shunned by Labour since the days of Tony Blair. He doesn’t even look like many think a politician should: his trademark beard came well before fuzz became fashionable while his casual, sometimes maverick, dressing style had some Conservatives seething when he first entered Parliament.

    • A Noun, a Verb and Vladimir Putin

      The Democrats’ strategy could be summed up in two words: Donald Trump.

      He was, they asserted again and again, unacceptable, immoral and corrupt. Every focus group they assembled raised serious questions about his disparagement of various ethic groups, his brutish mannerisms, his business ties to foreign governments, his lack of qualifications. Almost every professional polling firm showed deep and mounting disapproval of his behavior—he was, they calculated, the most unpopular candidate in American history. Many in the Republican establishment criticized or outright denounced him. And yet, defying all the confident predictions right up until election night, Trump managed to eke out a shocking victory, relying particularly on a surge of “forgotten voters” in the Midwest.

    • Jeremy Corbyn tells Theresa May ‘you cannot protect the public on the cheap’

      Jeremy Corbyn has torn into Theresa May’s security record in the wake of the London Bridge attack, accusing her of trying to “protect the public on the cheap”.

      In a speech in Carlisle, the Labour leader highlighted the 20,000 police officers cut while Ms May was Home Secretary and Prime Minister, and said the police “must get the resources they need”.

      Speaking less than 24 hours after the latest terror outrage following a short political truce, the Labour leader also said the aim of terrorists was “plainly to derail our democracy” – and that the election must not be postponed.

    • I’m a serving firearms officer and the Government is wrong to claim police cuts have nothing to do with recent attacks

      After the Manchester Arena terror attack, Amber Rudd told the public: “We must not imply that this terrorist activity wouldn’t have taken place if there had been more policing … good counter-terrorism activity is because you have a close relationship between the policing and intelligence services.”

      This kind of rhetoric may seem persuasive and eloquent but, as so often with politicians trying to avoid blame, it is untrue. It is untrue because it misses a key and huge fundamental point to the protection of our national security: community policing intelligence.

      Police officers embedded in the community, there to help, there to listen, there to understand the community they serve. It is in the community where the best intelligence is learnt and gathered, from the people who notice a change in behaviour of their friends and neighbours, allowing early intervention and monitoring.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Turkey: Kurdish Activist Arrested for Social Media Posts on Armenian Genocide

      Mukaddes Alataş, a Kurdish human rights activist from Diyarbakir, was recently arrested for “being a member of a terror organization.” Her crime? She posted about the Armenian Genocide on social media and engaged in women’s rights activism.


      Turkey not only denies the Armenian Genocide but also violently crushes any voice that dares tell the truth about it. Meanwhile, those who incite mass murder against dissident academics and peace activists are protected, promoted, and awarded.

    • The State of Internet Censorship in Indonesia

      Multiple sites expressing criticism towards Islam were found to be blocked, possibly under Article 156(a) of Indonesia’s Criminal Code which prohibits blasphemy against religions. Even though Indonesia’s government announced that it would primarily be blocking sites hosting pornographic materials and gambling applications, we found numerous other sites to be blocked as well.

    • Lawsuit over Islam comments tests boundaries between controversial language and free speech

      Soti Triantafyllou is set to appear in court on July 21 on charges of using racist language in an article that included a quote, which she attributed to 13th-century Venetian traveler Marco Polo, that said, “The militant Muslim is the person who beheads the infidel, while the moderate Muslim holds the feet of the victim.”

    • Bahrain Indefinitely Suspends Independent Newspaper

      Bahrain on Sunday suspended the country’s only independent newspaper indefinitely over a column that insulted a “sisterly Arab country”, state news agency BNA reported, the second time the publication has been banned this year.

    • Bahrain, main secular opposition party banned

      A Bahrain tribunal has ordered the dissolution of the country’s top opposition group in the country, in the context of an increasingly marked campaign launched by the Sunni authorities against the Shiite component (majority) of the population.

    • The Middle Eastern kingdom of Bahrain is quietly heading towards a ‘total suppression of human rights’

      Last month, a government advisory body passed a constitutional amendment which means civilians suspected of attacking security forces can be tried in military courts.

    • Arrested Thai Activist Getting S. Korean Human Rights Award

      A Thai law student arrested for sharing an article about the country’s new king that was posted on Facebook is this year’s winner of South Korea’s most prestigious human rights award.

    • Europe says Twitter is failing to remove hate speech

      A year into the agreement, the European Commission said that Facebook and YouTube, which is owned by Google, have both managed to remove 66% of reported hate speech.

    • Censorship forgotten as Cubans rock to The Beatles at Havana tribute gig

      Communist-run Cuba held an open-air covers concert in a Havana park on Thursday, celebrating 50 years since the release of the band’s landmark album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

      The government once frowned upon the Beatles as a decadent Western influence.

      Beatlemania has flourished belatedly on the Caribbean island, where authorities in the 1960s and 1970s considered Beatles songs “ideological diversionism.”

    • Author battles ‘censorship’

      Citizens of a free society should never take their freedom for granted. Unless they remain vigilant and are prepared to resist the political and corporate forces that erode the freedoms of speech and expression, liberty will inevitably recede.

      In a free society, writers are sentinels of liberty. They communicate ideas, propose theories, challenge orthodoxy, and pass the story of the nation from one generation to the next.

      A controversy swirling around Ottawa author Lowell Green’s latest non-fiction book is yet another skirmish in the struggle against censorship in Canada. The battle pits the scrappy former radio broadcaster against the forces of political correctness and corporate power.

    • UN flight ban reduces Yemen access at critical time

      Overshadowed by Syria and Iraq, the war in Yemen has long struggled to compete for media attention. But it is also bedevilled by a lack of reliable information both for news organisations trying to cover the humanitarian crises and for aid agencies trying to access and help those most in need. And now, just as a cholera epidemic threatens to spiral out of control, IRIN has learnt that the nominal government of Yemen and its Saudi Arabian-led backers have moved to prevent journalists and human rights workers from travelling on UN chartered flights to the capital, further reducing coverage and access at a critical moment.

    • Stricter censorship ordered for Turkish drama series on Astro

      The Film Censorship Board (LPF) has directed Measat Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd (Astro) to take immediate action to review and censor the contents in the drama series The Magnificent Century – which allegedly contains scenes that are not suitable for the Muslim community.

    • Iran lifts more than decade-long censorship on Kurdish novel

      Iranian authorities have granted a license to publish a Kurdish novel that focuses on the role of the father figure in patriarchal society after it was partially censored for years.

      The Fence and My Father’s Dogs by renowned Kurdish author Sherzad Hassan was published in Kurdish in the early 1990s.

      It was then translated into Farsi.

    • Former Trump Spokeswoman Cries Censorship Because She Has No Idea How Twitter Works
    • Horrific image of Trump was wrong; so were those of Obama

      Even with the First Amendment guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression, it’s possible to cross a line – and that’s what comedian Kathy Griffin did with a photo of her holding a bloody, decapitated head representing President Donald Trump.

      As the kerfuffle continues to simmer on social media, fans and foes of the president are squaring off. Outraged Trump supporters insist Griffin broke the law, and that the Secret Service should investigate her for “threatening” the president. And ironically, many of the folks making the loudest noise are simultaneously demanding a halt to the probe into possible Russian interference with the U.S. election process.

    • Wikipedia Seems to Be Winning Its Battle Against Government Censorship
    • The BBC is censoring political content by banning ‘Liar Liar’ – but not because it is biased towards the Government
    • Film Certification In India And The Curse Of Pre-Censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ‘Blame the internet’ is just not a good enough response, Theresa May

      We can feel pretty certain that the London Bridge attackers did the following things: owned smartphones; and used Google, YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp. That isn’t because owning those things and using those services marks you out as a terrorist: it’s because it marks you out as someone living in the west in the 21st century.

      The problem, as those companies (actually only two: Google owns YouTube, and Facebook owns WhatsApp) are discovering, is that politicians aren’t too picky about the distinction. Speaking outside 10 Downing St this morning, Theresa May was much more aggressive in her tone than previously. The London Bridge attack had its roots in Islamic extremism, she observed: “We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services, provide.” She continued: “We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning.”

    • Theresa May wants to ban crypto: here’s what that would cost, and here’s why it won’t work anyway

      Aaron Swartz once said, “It’s no longer OK not to understand how the Internet works.”

      He was talking to law-makers, policy-makers and power-brokers, people who were, at best, half-smart about technology — just smart enough to understand that in a connected world, every problem society has involves computers, and just stupid enough to demand that computers be altered to solve those problems.

      Paging Theresa May.

      Theresa May says that last night’s London terror attacks mean that the internet cannot be allowed to provide a “safe space” for terrorists and therefore working cryptography must be banned in the UK.

    • Should CYBERCOM Split From the NSA?

      On December 23, 2016, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. This in itself is nothing extraordinary. What came as a shock was the news that US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) would be elevated to the unified command plan (UCP) as the fourth functional combatant command, pending review of CYBERCOM’s efficacy by the Pentagon of course. The National Defense Authorization Act allocates $75 million a year to CYBERCOM for upkeep of current facilities, training of personnel, acquisition of hardware, and development and deployment of new programs.

    • Vladimir Putin on Edward Snowden’s NSA Leak: He Shouldn’t Have Done It
    • Putin: What Snowden did to the NSA was ‘wrong’
    • Snowden not a traitor, but what he did was wrong – Putin to Oliver Stone
    • What this ex-NSA agent wants you to know about your smartphone

      Your mobile phone can open you to attack as well. Knowing that, DeMott was resistant at first to getting a smartphone. “I didn’t get the iPhone 1 or 2,” he says. “My first iPhone was like the 4 or something. I did originally wait on that.”

    • Former NSA exec says agency used ‘blanket’ surveillance in 2002 Olympics in Utah

      Former National Security Agency senior executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake revealed himself this week as the source for a lawsuit alleging the NSA conducted “blanket, indiscriminate surveillance” of Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

      In a declaration filed in discovery in the case in U.S. district court in Utah, Drake asserted the NSA, in coordination with the FBI, scooped up and stored the content of emails and text messages sent and received by anyone in the city and Olympic venues – including American citizens.

    • Ex-spy says NSA did mass surveillance during Utah Olympics

      A former top spy agency official who was the target of a government leak investigation says the National Security Agency conducted blanket surveillance in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, according to court documents.

      Ex-NSA official Thomas Drake wrote in a declaration released Friday that the NSA collected and stored virtually all electronic communications going into or out of the Salt Lake City area, including the contents of emails and text messages.

    • NSA conducted blanket surveillance of Salt Lakers during 2002 Games, former official says

      The declaration by Thomas A. Drake contradicts one given earlier this year by the former director of the NSA, Michael Hayden, that said neither the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP), nor any other NSA intelligence-gathering activity, was involved in indiscriminate and wholesale surveillance in Salt Lake City or other Olympic venues during the 2002 Winter Games.

    • Microsoft redesigns Skype to look like the inside of a migraine

      In other words, “the next generation of Skype” (for realsies) has gone from sensible business tool to looking like the contents of a child’s stomach after a birthday party where it had gorged on dolly mixtures and cake and then vomited it all over the back of daddy’s Volvo on the way home.

      Other writers may be less kind.

    • Facebook may soon launch a messaging app just for teens

      The code said, “Talk is a messaging app where you fully control the contacts and your child uses the Talk app to chat with you in Messenger.”

    • Theresa May: Internet must be regulated to prevent terrorism

      In the U.K., a parliamentary committee report published last month alleged that social media firms have prioritized profit over user safety by continuing to host unlawful content. The report also called for “meaningful fines” if the companies do not quickly improve.

    • [Old] The war on terror hijacked for the war on privacy

      And to be honest, I am more concerned with my data in the hands of unaccountable corporate behemoths, than with government.

    • How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide

      Bullshit expressed as data, on the other hand, is relatively new outside scientific circles. Multivariate graphs didn’t begin to appear in the popular press until the nineteen-eighties, and only in the past decade, as smartphones and other information-gathering devices have accelerated the accumulation of Big Data, have complex visualizations been routinely presented to the general public. While data can be used to tell remarkably deep and memorable stories, Bergstrom told me, its apparent sophistication and precision can effectively disguise a great deal of bullshit.

    • British PM seeks ban on encryption after terror attack

      British Prime Minister Theresa May has used Saturday’s terrorist attack to again push for a ban on encryption.

    • Digital Privacy: The Next Frontier In Antitrust Law

      It’s a conviction major tech platforms are listening to closely, especially since Mundt’s agency is in the midst of a high-profile investigation into whether Facebook abused its dominance as a social network by forcing customers to agree to unfair terms about the way the company uses their data. Mundt’s words may have sounded mundane, but his implication was anything but: the world’s foremost antitrust regulators were publicly discussing whether they should intervene if a transaction weakens consumer privacy protections, a pervasive concern in the era of big data.

    • Edward Snowden Claims to Have Been in Contact with President Obama’s White House

      Will Obama’s legacy come to be, as Snowden seems to suggest, that he normalized police state surveillance?

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality: one year after, a dark picture

      On the first anniversary of the adoption of the EU regulation on the Open Internet which governs the aspects of Net neutrality, and as the ARCEP (French Telco regulator) publishes its first report on the state of the Internet, we paint a dark picture of its implementation in France and within the EU.

      While the ARCEP report reveals some positive points, it also draws too elegiac an assessment, leaving in the dark everything that is not progressing. La Quadrature thus wishes to draw its own —darker— assessment of the state of Net neutrality, and more broadly, of the role of technical intermediaries in exercizing fundamental freedoms in the digital environment.

    • [Old] Make the internet great again

      If you go to CNN.com today, the front page of their website will take up just shy of 100 MB of RAM while it is loaded. By comparison, the same page from the year 2000 takes literally 1/10th that (thanks Archive.org).

      CPU usage is even worse. The idle CNN.com from the year 2000 just sits there. Happily eating just about 0% of even the slowest CPUs. Today’s version gobbles up a good 10% of the i7 sitting in front of me—while sitting idle. For a single page. Displaying a few news headlines.

    • Letter to EU Institutions: WIFI4EU must promote diversity, locality and Human rights

      As the EU Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission enter the dark rooms of trialogues on the WIFI4EU draft regulation, European community networks and the open-wifi community wanted to remind them of the importance of the inclusion of all actors in the development of local connectivity.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • No, Netflix Hasn’t Won The War on Piracy

        Netflix offers a great alternative to piracy, and for dozens of millions of people it’s a favorite pastime. However, recent claims that the company is winning the war on piracy may be a bit overstated. In fact, the rapid rise of streaming piracy poses a grave threat, as millions of people regularly watch Netflix content through unofficial sites and apps.

      • Torrents Help Researchers Worldwide to Study Babies’ Brains [iophk: "environmental data would have been safe had they also use torrents"]

        Researchers from three leading British institutions are using BitTorrent to share over 150 GB of unique high-resolution brain scans of unborn babies with colleagues worldwide. Using the popular file-sharing protocol is a “no-brainer,” according to a Research Associate, who says that dealing with people’s misconceptions toward torrents was one of the biggest challenges.

EPO Workers May be About to Go on Strike Again

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Infographic from the last EPO strike

7 reasons to strike at the European Patent Office left

7 reasons to strike at the European Patent Office right

Summary: A call for another strike at the European Patent Office is circulating among staff, which sees the writings on the wall and hopes to save the European Patent Office if it’s not too late

THE strike last year was massive. EPO was half empty and Battistelli escaped overseas with his bodyguards.

“If any examiners out there are reading this, please seriously consider signing the petition.”We recently learned that another strike is in the making. “The CSC [Central Staff Committee] has been made aware that a petition to the Administrative Council is circulating among EPO examiners,” one person quotes to us from internal sources. Here is the text of the petition: “We, examiners of the European Patent Office, are submitted to constraints that are no longer compatible with fulfilling appropriately our duties within the Search and Examination divisions. We are far too often put in front of the dilemma of either working according to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and respecting the Examiner’s Guidelines, or issuing “products” as our hierarchy demands. We feel that timeliness and number of “products” should not be the only criteria to assess the Office and examiners performance, but that attention should be paid to providing a high level of presumption of validity to the patents we grant.”

If any examiners out there are reading this, please seriously consider signing the petition. In the coming days we shall show many new reasons to do so. Not too long ago the Central Staff Committee sent the following letter to Battistelli:

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr Benoît Battistelli
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081

Call for strike – “RESPECT STAFF”

Date: 22 May 2017

Dear Mr President,

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) and the Local Staff Committees (LSC) of all sites call for a strike – “RESPECT STAFF” around the next Administrative Council.

Reasons for strike

Three years after the inception of “social democracy” and two and half years after the introduction of the “new career system” the situation in the Office is more toxic than ever. There are many reasons for discontent, but these are the most prominent and urgent:

• Lack of respect for the Rule of law and fundamental rights of staff;

• Disastrous consequences of the reforms and new practices for:
◦ the health of staff,
◦ the quality of the service rendered by the EPO to Europe,
◦ the reputation of the Office.

• Staff representation resources and prerogatives are reduced even further as of 1.7.2017, to a level that makes the effective representation of staff interests impossible.

• The President’s persistence in wanting to increase his arbitrary powers, which is an affront not only to Staff but also to the Council and its legislative intent as expressed in CA/26/16 and CA/32/17.

These issues must be solved urgently to avoid irreparable damage. This requires a change not only in certain regulations, but also in the attitude of the Administration towards staff. We reiterate our proposal to involve an external professional mediator to facilitate productive discussions with the Office administration.

Yours sincerely,

The Staff Representation

For the Central Staff Committee

We confirm that this letter was legitimately decided and produced by the Central Staff Committee 1 .

1 Pursuant to Article 35(3) ServRegs, the Central Staff Committee shall consist of ten full and ten alternate members.

The CSC presently consists of 8 full and 7 alternate members, because two have resigned in December 2014, one has been dismissed in January 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee), one resigned as of October 2016, one has been further dismissed in November 2016 and one refused replacement of a full member since November 2016 and a further one since December 2014 against Article 7(3) of Circular 355.

Furthermore, one member of a LSC has been dismissed and a further full member of the CSC has been downgraded in January 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee). In fact, the Office has launched investigations and disciplinary procedures against several other Staff representatives as well, affecting negatively their health.

That footnote is very important because it reveals the degree of courage now required for one to become (or remain) in the Central Staff Committee. The EPO is nothing like a “social democracy” but rather a totalitarian den of corruption and nepotism. It’s a total embarrassment to the whole of Europe and it won’t survive unless something radically changes very soon.

Battistelli’s ‘Boss’, Jesper Kongstad, Rumoured to Have Been Paid by Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also see: Some Details About How the EPO’s President is Rumoured to be ‘Buying’ Votes and Why It’s Grounds/Basis for “Immediate Dismissal”

Battistelli and Kongstad

Summary: Potential scandal surrounding Jesper Kongstad, Battistelli's protector, explained in light of new information

FOR QUITE some time we have been attempting to get information or retrieve some proof pertaining to the ousting of Jesper Kongstad, the head of the EPO (Organisation, not Office).

“Maybe someone from Denmark can also petition for transparency about this.”“New vacancy at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office,” one person wrote the other day, linking to http://www.altinget.dk/digitalvelfaerd/jobannoncer/erhvervsministeriet-soeger-direktoer-til-patent-og-varemaerkestyrelsen [in Danish]

If someone can translate this for us, we would really appreciate it. We don’t rely on automated translations. Maybe someone from Denmark can also petition for transparency about this. It is, after all, not a private business and transparency in Denmark is often tolerated.

Another comment then said: “The question is how BB [Battistelli] will manage to exploit the unexpected departure of the Chairman of the Administrative Council to his advantage. For example by arguing that “stability” can only be ensured by prolonging his (BB’s) tenure.”

We thought about that as well as the possibility that UPC limbo will be used as some sort of excuse by Battistelli.

“More of the same,” the next comment said, “Battistelli latest abusive proposals to the June Admin Council : sanctions, more sanctions, harsher sanctions against staff… https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/23/euro_patent_office_internal_rule_changes/” (covered here before).

“In interviews with the media Kongstad stated that he had not been paid for these duties.”News from Administrative Council, sent to us while I was away on holiday, shed more light on what had happened. To quote: “J. Kongstad would have had to resign from his position of head of DK IPO (for personal reasons you bet) since Denmark Government would have found out that he was in receipt of EPO funds (quite a lot of money altogether) for a position (Chairman of the Council) that was supposed to be an unpaid one (only travel costs foreseen). If this is true (which would not be surprising) this would explain JK’s support to Battistelli during all these years…”

In interviews with the media Kongstad stated that he had not been paid for these duties. We wrote about that last year. Did Battistelli quietly change this while also rewarding himself with pay rise (for himself and his cronies)? Remember that it’s Kongstad who approves Battistelli’s secret contracts…

To put it quite bluntly, it seems plausible that EPO money is flying off the shelves and all those who pocket this money blindly protect one another. At whose expense?

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