07.05.19

Links 5/7/2019: New GRUB Release and New Debian Coming Tomorrow

Posted in News Roundup at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • 9 Best Linux Distros For Beginner Users — 2019 Edition

        Are you looking for a Linux distro that’s suitable for new users who are willing to start an exciting Linux journey? Well, you’re in the right place.

        The beauty of Linux lies in the plethora of options available to the users. While some call it Linux distro fragmentation, I love to call it Linux’s strength. It allows the users to choose a Linux distro suitable for their needs and learn new things. The same choice allows one to find a beginner-friendly Linux distro, gaming distro, gaming distro, etc. These days, Linux Mint is giving a tough competition to Ubuntu as it’s very beginner-friendly. But what about other options for new Linux users? Let’s find out!

      • Release of the Open Build Service, Version 2.10

        The Open Build Service (OBS) project has announced the release of version 2.10 of OBS, which is a system to build and distribute binary packages built from source code. The new version has revamped the web user interface and upgraded the container delivery mechanisms. Beyond that, it has fixed plenty of bugs (of course), added a bunch of smaller features, and now provides integration with other online tools: “Another trend in the professional software world is to plug various tools together into grand continuous integration/deployment cycles (CI/CD). You, of course, also want to throw the OBS into the mix and we traditionally supported you to do that on GitHub with webhooks. The 2.10 release now brings the same kind of support to other tools like Gitlab and Pagure. You can trigger all kinds of actions on OBS for every git commit or other events that happen on those tools.”

      • Pinebook Pro Sets Date for Pre-Orders, Adds ‘Killer’ New Feature

        Pine64, the US-based company behind a growing range of ARM-powered Linux devices, say PineBook preorders will go live July 25, 2019.

        But there’s more.

        Aside from the date at which you can throw money at your screen the (terrifically productive) company has revealed a swathe of other interesting details…

      • Debian 10 “Buster” Coming Tomorrow, GRUB 2.04 Released, PineBook Pro Laptop Available for Pre-Order Soon, Raspberry Pi Sticker Give-Away and IPFire 2.23 Core Update 134 to Fix Security Issue

        The PineBook Pro laptop will be available for pre-order July 25, 2019. OMG! Ubuntu! reports that the $199 PineBook Pro will now include privacy switches to disable the internal Bluetooth and WiFi module, the webcam and the microphone at the hardware level. Go to Pine64.org for specs and more details.

    • Server

      • Red Hat/NC

        • Calling all female junior developers: new ‘open source apprentice’ program launched

          When it comes to the tech industry, it’s no secret that women are underrepresented.

          However, a boutique development company based out of Cary and Silicon Valley is hoping to change that.

          Introducing This Dot, a woman-owned company founded by Tracy Lee in 2016, which has recently launched its Open Source Apprentice Program.

          Its aim: to train and mentor female junior developers in open source, creating a pipeline of talent and changing the ratio in tech.

        • DevOps for doubters: How to deal with 9 kinds of people who push back

          At first glance, the benefits of DevOps are hard to deny. Continuous delivery of new software and features makes customers happy and businesses more agile. Highly collaborative, transparent, cross-functional ways of working can rally teams around a shared mission and purpose.

          It’s no wonder that companies big and small are singing DevOps’s praises and expecting everyone to get on board and never look back. That’s why it can be surprising when leaders encounter team members who seem to intentionally dig in their heels or create obstacles that slow DevOps down, says Matt Poepsel, senior vice president at The Predictive Index.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Arm’s Komeda Driver Adding Variable Refresh Rate Support

        Arm’s Komeda Linux DRM/KMS display driver for supporting their latest display IP such as the Mali D71 is seeing VRR support ala Adaptive-Sync / HDMI VRR.

        A developer from Arm Technology China sent out the patch this week enabling VRR support — Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) for their display driver.

      • Intel Icelake Thunderbolt Support Not Coming Until Linux 5.4

        While the Linux support around Intel Icelake is largely settled, one area that has gone under the radar until now has been the Thunderbolt support, which now is available in patch form but won’t be mainlined until Linux 5.4.

        With Icelake, Intel moved the Thunderbolt controller onto the CPU itself (sans the Thunderbolt power delivery circuitry). Overnight the Linux support for this Icelake Thunderbolt support was published by Intel employee and Linux Thunderbolt code maintainer Mika Westerberg.

      • Linux’s Performance-Boosting FSGSBASE Support Dropped For Now Over Serious Bugs

        While we had been looking forward to Intel FSGSBASE support for yielding some performance benefits especially in areas impacted by Spectre / Meltdown / Foreshadow / Zombieload, after the support was queued for merging into Linux 5.3, the code has now been reverted over “serious bugs” with the implementation.

        Our testing of the code queued earlier for Linux 5.3 did show some performance improvements and thus were looking forward to the addition with this next kernel, now it’s not coming at least until being reworked. The FSGSBASE support has been present on Intel CPUs back to Ivy Bridge or on the AMD side with Zen version one and newer.

      • New Google “GVE” Driver Queued For Upcoming Linux 5.3

        Adding to the list of Linux 5.3 kernel features is a new “GVE” network driver from Google.

        The new GVE driver is nearly four thousand lines of kernel code and is an Ethernet driver for supporting a yet-to-be-released Virtual NIC used on Google Compute Engine.

    • Applications

      • 15 Best Linux Font Tools and How to Install Linux Fonts on Ubuntu

        If you’re like me and has been using Linux for a long time, you know font management can be an issue in most distributions – still! Although Linux has come a great way since its earlier attempt in font management which resulted in an amateurish looking desktop, it still has plenty to improve. It is still quite ambitious if you want your desktop fonts to look as sharp as on those Macs. However, today, Linux can render TrueType fonts much better than it used to. Additionally, a plethora of robust Linux font tools has made it very simple to manage your Linux fonts.

      • Copy and paste at the Linux command line with xclip

        How do you usually copy all or part of a text file when working on the Linux desktop? Chances are you open the file in a text editor, select all or just the text you want to copy, and paste it somewhere else.

        That works. But you can do the job a bit more efficiently at the command line using the xclip utility. xclip provides a conduit between commands you run in a terminal window and the clipboard in a Linux graphical desktop environment.

      • Vim vs Emacs: Detailed Comparison

        The Linux community is no stranger to heated debates. From discussing the pros and cons of proprietary versus open source software to defending their favorite distributions with the zeal of a knight defending the last redoubt, Linux users can be extremely opinionated, which doesn’t make it easy for newcomers to find useful, unbiased information.
        One debate that has been confusing newcomers for decades now revolves around Vim versus Emacs, which are two venerable text editors that many seasoned Linux users and programmers still prefer as alternatives to modern editors and IDEs such as Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code, or IntelliJ.

        In this article, we compare Vim and Emacs to explain why comparing these two text editors is like comparing apples to oranges. By the end of this article, you should be able to decide which of the two text editors fits your needs and preferences more and whether you shouldn’t stick with something more modern after all.

      • A few bits on tmux

        I don’t remember when I started using tmux, but, the move from screen to tmux was quick. I have it installed on all of my systems and VMs. Though I never bothered to have a proper configuration file, it also means that I never used any plugin or other particular configuration. I don’t prefer to use plugins for command line applications much (for example in Vim), as not all systems will have those plugins installed.

        [...]

        Following IPPSec, I have also converted the prefix key to Ctrl+a. This change helps to use another tmux in a remote system, where the default Ctrl+b works as the prefix key. I have also moved the default search to vi mode. You can start selecting text by pressing the spacebar, and then press y to copy text to the primary system clipboard, and helps to copy text easily to any other GUI application. This feature requires xclip tool from the system packages.

      • KeePass open source password manager review

        KeePass is a free and open-source (FOSS) password manager. It is a Windows program, but versions of it are available for all platforms including macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. KeePass is not hard to use, but it lacks the slick user interfaces offered by many of its commercial rivals.

        Syncing across devices also take a little more work than with most password manager apps, but there is a good reason for this. KeePass uses true end-to-end encryption. You create encrypted KeePass (.kdbx) files that, by default, never leave the device they are created on.

        They are not stored on a centralized database that can be hacked (as commercial password manger ones often are), and only you hold the encryption keys to them. The main downside of this, of course, is that there is no safety net – no third party that can bail you out if you forget your master password!

      • Proprietary

        • Xpotify is an open-source Spotify client with some nice extra features

          As much as I like Spotify, I’ve always felt that the desktop app was missing something. Maybe it was too distracting, or perhaps it was the pop-up ads which annoyed me occasionally.

          I do keep it installed, but always wished for a better app.

          I tried to use Nuclear and Lofi, but they weren’t to my liking. Then I came across Xpotify, an app which has been around for a while, but was recently made-open source. It is a UWP with a fluent design, and looks very similar to the official app. That’s because it is based on Spotify PWA (Progressive Web App). But somehow it felt fresher than the original.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Dota Underlords now has scoreboards and more improvements plus a “Proto-Battle Pass” next week

        Valve continue to move at a rapid pace to improve their strategy game Dota Underlords, with the most recent patch adding in some new features that were needed.

        Since entering Early Access last month, Dota Underlords continues to pull in a good amount of players with a 24 hour peak of over 97K. Not quite as impressive as when it first arrived, but it’s only natural once the initial rush has subsided. I expect Underlords to have a good life though, Valve seem to have learned a lot of lessons from the failure of Artifact.

      • Total War: Three Kingdoms gets mod support, Reign of Blood DLC and 1.1 patch now out for Linux

        Two bits of news for those of you trying to conquer China. Total War: Three Kingdoms has gained modding capabilities with Steam Workshop support and the brutal Reign of Blood DLC is now out for Linux.

      • The Inanimate Mr Coatrack, a free comedy adventure worth taking a look at

        Made for the Adventure Jam 2019, The Inanimate Mr Coatrack from Powerhoof is a rather silly comedy adventure.

        The Adventure Jam 2019 ran back in June from the 8th to the 22nd, so considering they only had two weeks I’m astonished at the quality of it. Not only does it have some lovely artwork, the voice acting is amusingly good too, as is the story and gameplay. Not surprising then, that it actually won first place in the Game Jam.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Feren OS KDE Experimental with KDE Plasma 5.16.2

          Today we are looking at the June snapshot of Feren OS KDE, which is still a work in progress but it is all starting to fall in place and it is beautiful.

          As far as I can tell it is based on KDE Neon 18.04.2, KDE Plasma 5.16.2 and uses about 800mb -1GB of ram when idling. However, it is a highly customized edition of KDE, with a top panel showing of the time and calendar, the simple menu as the default menu and a brand new tiled menu, which remind me a lot of the Windows 10 menu, it is just personalized and ready to be customized.

          The themer is also working a lot better than before, it is not perfect yet but it is a lot better than before.

        • Feren OS KDE Experimental with KDE Plasma 5.16.2 Run Through
        • Calamares CVE

          Two CVE’s were files against Calamares this week, but I’ll only write about lax file permissions on initramfs images here. See the CVE database for more details.

          The issue comes down to this: when creating an initramfs (which is done as root), a sensitive file is read. The initramfs file (a cpio archive) is created with lax permissions, and so any user who can read the initramfs file can then extract the contents of the sensitive file.

          From the point of view of Calamares, the solution is to make sure that the initramfs is created with less lax file permissions. Simple, hey?

          In principle, the umask is responsible for masking out file permissions bits, so a umask of 077 (octal!) would prevent group and other users (i.e. all the non-privileged users) from reading the initramfs. So all Calamares needs to do is set up a good umask before calling the tools, right?

          If only it were that simple.

        • Implementing a derivated class of kis_brushes_pipe

          I am still working on the change of the brush index, so far I’ve been confused with the classes, because I am not sure why somethings are implemented and then overriden or why somethings are where they are, and I am not sure exactly when or why to do this.

          I’ve been working all week, instead of trying to deliver a feature I tried to write and organize the whole class, and then slowly write all the small functions, this is because I’ve had problem with classes and objects, but I understand functions, so I to tried work with my strengths.

          This is a little analysis of the things I’ve been trying implement based on kis_imagepipe_brush.h and kis_brushes_pipe.h.

        • A week in Valencia

          From 19th to 25th of June, all the Plasma team gathered in Valencia, graciously hosted by the Slimbook people in their office. This was a special sprint, as it was co-located with the Usability sprint together with some VDG members. While some of the time each team was occupied in their own discussions, there were a big margin of overlap, allowing us to have a lot of discussions about the design and usability of our beloved Plasma desktop shell.

          We now have plans in the coming months for several improvements across the board, including further improvements on the new shiny notification framework by Kai Uwe.

          Also, we talked (and worked on) plans for further improving our Wayland support, including middle mouse button clipboard, and screen rotation for phone, tablets and 2 in 1 laptops).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Nuritzi’s Travel Sponsorship Guide for GUADEC 2019

          This week, I had the opportunity of helping some GNOME newcomers apply for travel sponsorship, and I wanted to blog about some of the questions that came up along the way. I hope this helps anyone else who is trying to better understand how to apply for sponsorship under the new travel policy.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Debian Family

        • Upcoming Debian 10 “Buster”!

          The Debian Release Team in coordination with several other teams are preparing the last bits needed for releasing Debian 10 “Buster” on Saturday 6 July 2019. Please, be patient! Lots of steps are involved and some of them take some time, such as building the images, propagating the release through the mirror network, and rebuilding the Debian website so that “stable” points to Debian 10.

          If you are considering create some artwork on the occasion of Buster Release, feel free to send us links to your creations to the (publicly archived) debian-publicity mailing list, so that we can disseminate them throughout our community.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Contributor profile: Primož Klemen

        In this new series we are going to introduce the contributors behind Kiwi TCMS. This is our community and these are their stories.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla GFX: moz://gfx newsletter #46

            Hi there! As previously announced WebRender has made it to the stable channel and a couple of million users are now using it without having opted into it manually. With this important milestone behind us, now is a good time to widen the scope of the newsletter and give credit to other projects being worked on by members of the graphics team.

            The WebRender newsletter therefore becomes the gfx newsletter. This is still far from an exhaustive list of the work done by the team, just a few highlights in WebRender and graphics in general. I am hoping to keep the pace around a post per month, we’ll see where things go from there.

          • Mozilla Is Offering Ad-Free Internet For $5 Per Month

            Advertisements rule the internet and now Mozilla is arguing that the online advertisement ecosystem is broken. The non-profit company says that the majority of the revenue generated from advertisements is landing in the pockets of a handful of companies while other publishers are not benefiting from it.

            On similar lines, Mozilla has today teased a new service under which it will offer advertisement-free internet at a monthly subscription service. The page says, “Sign up now! $4.99 per month” but clicking on it leads to a survey as Mozilla wants to analyze the user’s response before launching the service.

          • Mozilla Reps Community: Rep of the Month – June 2019

            Please join us in congratulating Pranshu Khanna, Rep of the Month for June 2019!

            Pranshu is from Surat, Gujarat, India. His journey started with a Connected Devices workshop in 2016, since then he’s been a super active contributor and a proud Mozillian. He joined the Reps Program in March 2019 and has been instrumental ever since.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Japanese Open-Source Self-Driving Startup Tier IV Raises Over $100M In Massive Series A

          Tier IV has developed something called “Autoware,” or what it describes as “the world’s first ‘all-in-one’ open-source software for self-driving technology.” It is so far being used by more than 200 organizations, according to Tier IV, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), automotive manufacturers, and “many self-driving startups.”

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GRUB 2.04 release
        • GRUB 2.04 Bootloader Released With RISC-V Support, Native UEFI Secure Boot, Btrfs RAID

          It’s been two years since the release of GRUB 2.02 while today it’s finally been replaced by the long-awaited GRUB 2.04 bootloader release.

        • GRUB 2.04 release
          Hi all,
          
          GRUB maintainers are proud to announce GRUB 2.04 that has been just released.
          You can find list of new features and major fixes since release 2.02 in the
          NEWS file.
          
          We would like to thank all the people who have contributed to the project.
          
          The tarball is available at https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/grub/grub-2.04.tar.xz
          and its signature at https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/grub/grub-2.04.tar.xz.sig
          
          Release is signed with the following fingerprint:
            BE5C 2320 9ACD DACE B20D  B0A2 8C81 89F1 988C 2166
          
          It's also available as a signed grub-2.04 tag in official git repository.
          
          If you do not have xz support alternatively you may consider file
          https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/grub/grub-2.04.tar.gz and its signature at
          
          https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/grub/grub-2.04.tar.gz.sig
          
          If you want a binary version for Windows (i386-pc, i386-efi and x86_64-efi
          flavors) it is available under 
          
          https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/grub/grub-2.04-for-windows.zip
          
          and its signature at https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/grub/grub-2.04-for-windows.zip.sig
          
          Daniel
          
      • Programming/Development

        • Reproducible Builds in June 2019

          Welcome to the June 2019 report from the Reproducible Builds project! In our reports we outline the most important things that we have been up to over the past month.

          In order that everyone knows what this is about, whilst anyone can inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws, almost all software is distributed to end users as pre-compiled binaries. The motivation behind the reproducible builds effort is to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

        • Maintainance of GeoIP legacy databases

          Since 9 months now Maxmind is not providing the CSV sources for their legacy database format, but only for their new GeoLite2 database. That is legitimate in my opinion, because the API is quite old and software projects should move to the new format, but mostly all (IMHO) important software projects still only support the old API.. :-(

        • Learn object-oriented programming with Python

          In my previous article, I explained how to make Python modular by using functions, creating modules, or both. Functions are invaluable to avoid repeating code you intend to use several times, and modules ensure that you can use your code across different projects. But there’s another component to modularity: the class.

          If you’ve heard the term object-oriented programming, then you may have some notion of the purpose classes serve. Programmers tend to consider a class as a virtual object, sometimes with a direct correlation to something in the physical world, and other times as a manifestation of some programming concept. Either way, the idea is that you can create a class when you want to create “objects” within a program for you or other parts of the program to interact with.

        • Made With Mu: Alpha 2 Released with Web Mode

          We are delighted to announce the release of Mu 1.1 alpha 2. Visit Mu’s download page to get installable versions for Windows and OSX. If you’re on Linux, please run Mu from source by following these instructions.

          We’re especially proud that alpha 2 contains the largest number of updates, from the most culturally diverse group of contributors for any release of Mu so far. This is a healthy sign that Mu is flourishing all over the world.

          A particular highlight of such community participation is the contribution of Sean Tibor, a teacher from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A teacher contributing code to the tools used to teach code is a wonderful sort of virtuous circle. Well done Sean (whose podcast, hosted with his colleague Kelly, is a thing of pedagogical wonder)!

          The full list of changes can be found in the change log for this release.

        • Best Plugins for PyCharm

          Plugins are software add-ons that allow you to customize computer programs, web browsers, and software apps to enhance their features and capabilities. For instance, if you want to live stream a soccer match on a website, you may need to install a plugin because your browser does not have the tools required to stream.
          You might want to think of plugin as an integral part of your computing and web browsing, making sure each activity you do is running smoothly even if it is just about viewing a document or surfing a blog.

        • PyCharm Git Integration

          Over time, Git has turned out to be one of the most popular Open Source Version Control Systems of today. Its speed, simplicity, and efficiency to manage projects and make revisions over distributed systems have made software development a whole lot of easier.

  • Leftovers

    • ‘Microsoft’s worst move in 30 years’ – MPN changes spark uproar

      Microsoft partners have been left “flabbergasted” at the vendor’s decision to withdraw what are seen in some quarters as two key benefits to Gold and Silver reseller partners.

      The vendor revealed in an online document that it intends to withdraw the internal use rights it grants to those who are part of its Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

    • Science

      • What’s up with HCI: The divergence of convergence

        Savvy engineers like Ken Olsen at Digital Equipment and other companies got to work in the 1960s and created minicomputers. These smaller and much cheaper versions of mainframes used newer semiconductor technology, Ethernet, tape and then disk storage, and system software.

        IBM launched its first personal computer on August 12, 1981, following pioneering work in the 1970s by Altair, Apple, Commodore and Tandy. PCs used newer semiconductor technology, commodity disk drives and network connectivity and third-party system software such as CPM and DOS.

        In due course, the technology evolved into workstations and servers. These servers ran Windows or Unix and displaced minicomputers. The server market grew rampantly, pushing mainframes into a niche.

        Three-tier architecture came along from the mid-90s onwards, with presentation, application and data tiers of computing. The enterprise purchase of systems became complex, involving racks filled with separately bought servers, system software, storage arrays, and networking gear. It required the customer or, more likely, a services business to install and integrate this intricately connected set or blocks of components.

        Customers buying direct from suppliers certainly did not enjoy having support contracts with each supplier and no one throat to choke when things went wrong.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Austria Poised to Become First EU Nation to Fully Ban Glyphosate

        Austria is on track to become the first country in the European Union (EU) to fully ban the world’s most commonly used herbicide after the nation’s lower house of parliament passed a bill Tuesday that would outlaw all uses of glyphosate, which researchers and global health experts have tied to cancer.

        “The scientific evidence of the plant poison’s carcinogenic effect is increasing,” the leader of Austria’s Social Democrats, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, said in a statement. “It is our responsibility to ban this poison from our environment.”

    • Security

      • Security updates for Friday

        Security updates have been issued by SUSE (firefox, mozilla-nss, mozilla-nspr, helm-mirror, libu2f-host, and libu2f-host, pam_u2f) and Ubuntu (bzip2 and irssi).

      • Man Gets Prison For DDoSing Steam, EA, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, DOTA2, Riot Games….

        In one of its kind acts, a Utah-based man named Austin Thompson (23) is going to prison for launching DDoS attacks on servers of various gaming companies.

        The hacker, who goes by the online moniker DerpTrolling, compromised the servers of Microsoft Xbox, Sony Play Station, Quake Live, DOTA2, League of Legends, and Steam between December 2013 and January 2014.

      • Hacker who launched DDoS attacks on Sony, EA, and Steam gets 27 months in prison

        At the time, Thompson used the @DerpTrolling Twitter account to announce attacks and take requests for services users wanted him to take down.

        While the hacker had been active since 2011, his most famous stretch of activity was between December 2013 and January 2014, when most of his high-profile DDoS attacks took place, before the account going inactive.

        The attacks caused many online gaming services to go offline, and after seeing DerpTrolling success and the media coverage the hacker got, many other hacking crews followed suit in subsequent years.

      • Ubuntu updates for TCP SACK Panic vulnerabilities

        Issues have been identified in the way the Linux kernel’s TCP implementation processes Selective Acknowledgement (SACK) options and handles low Maximum Segment Size (MSS) values. These TCP SACK Panic vulnerabilities could expose servers to a denial of service attack, so it is crucial to have systems patched.

        Updated versions of the Linux kernel packages are being published as part of the standard Ubuntu security maintenance of Ubuntu releases 16.04 LTS, 18.04 LTS, 18.10, 19.04 and as part of the extended security maintenance for Ubuntu 14.04 ESM users.

        It is recommended to update to the latest kernel packages and consult Ubuntu Security Notices for further updates.

    • Environment

      • Biggest Ever Seaweed Bloom Stretches From Gulf of Mexico to Africa

        A vast expanse of brown seaweed stretching across the Atlantic is a threat to tourism but a boon to marine life, U.S. researchers have said.

        A report by the University of South Florida, published on Thursday, showed satellite images of the biggest ever bloom of the sargassum seaweed, which last year extended from the U.S. and Mexico’s Atlantic coast to Africa.

        The report, published in Science magazine, estimated that the giant patch grew to 8,850 kilometers (5,500 miles) wide and weighed 20 million tons.

        Researchers found that sargassum, which was previously confined to the Gulf of Mexico and the Sargasso Sea, has spread to the central Atlantic Ocean over the past decade.

        They said that some beaches in Florida and Mexico now have had so much sargassum that at times, swimmers are prevented from entering the sea.

      • Anchorage, Alaska Hit 90 Degrees for First Time on July 4th

        Fourth of July fireworks were canceled in Anchorage, Alaska Thursday as America’s “coolest city” hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time in recorded history.

        Alaska has had an unusually warm spring and early summer, The New York Times reported. It experienced its warmest March on record, and this June is likely to be its second-warmest ever. National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Bob Clay told The New York Times that the city could break its 85 degree record and see temperatures into the 90s Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

      • Anchorage Had Never Reached 90 Degrees. That Changed This Week.

        In more than 100 years of Anchorage history, weather stations have never recorded a single 90-degree reading. If current forecasts hold, it could happen multiple times in the coming days.

        With the combined forces of climate change that has disrupted temperature trends around the state, a remarkable dearth of ice in the Bering Sea and weather patterns generating a general heat wave, Alaska is facing a Fourth of July unlike any before. Anchorage has canceled its fireworks display because of wildfire concerns, city officials are worrying about air quality and forecasters expect temperatures to rival those in Miami.

        “This is unprecedented,” Anchorage’s mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, said in an interview. “I tease people that Anchorage is the coolest city in the country — and climatically that is true — but right now we are seeing record heat.”

      • Anchorage breaks all-time record high temperature

        The official temperature record fell. Anchorage hit 89 degrees Thursday to break the all-time highest temperature ever recorded at the official recording station. The previous record was 85 degrees set on June 14, 1969.

        Several recording stations in the Anchorage area hit 90 degrees or higher. The Campbell Creek Science Center hit 91 degrees as of 5:00 p.m. Merrill Field also hit 90 degrees on Thursday.

      • Anchorage cancels Fourth of July fireworks due to extreme heat wave

        he city of Anchorage, Alaska, canceled its July 4 fireworks display this week over an extreme heat wave.

        The Anchorage Fire Department put out a burn ban and said that any use of fireworks could result in a fine.

        “Just a reminder per MOA Code 14.70.180 it is unlawful to knowingly sell, possess, or use any explosive fireworks or stench bombs to which fuses are attached or which are capable of ignition by matches or percussion, without permission of that municipal official charged with issuing permits for such activities,” the department said in a statement. “Violation of this section shall be punishable by a civil penalty of $300.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The global tree restoration potential
        • The Best Way to Fight Climate Change? Plant a Trillion Trees

          And there’s enough room, Swiss scientists say.

        • Climate change: Trees ‘most effective solution’ for warming

          Researchers say an area the size of the US is available for planting trees around the world, and this could have a dramatic impact on climate change.
          The study shows that the space available for trees is far greater than previously thought, and would reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by 25%.
          The authors say that this is the most effective climate change solution available to the world right now.
          But other researchers say the new study is “too good to be true”.

        • How to erase 100 years of carbon emissions? Plant trees—lots of them.

          An area the size of the United States could be restored as forests with the potential of erasing nearly 100 years of carbon emissions, according to the first ever study to determine how many trees the Earth could support.

          Published today in Science, “The global tree restoration potential” report found that there is enough suitable land to increase the world’s forest cover by one-third without affecting existing cities or agriculture. However, the amount of suitable land area diminishes as global temperatures rise. Even if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the area available for forest restoration could be reduced by a fifth by 2050 because it would be too warm for some tropical forests.

        • Planting Billions of Trees Is the ‘Best Climate Change Solution Available Today,’ Study Finds

          The study, published in Science Friday, set out to assess how much new forest the earth could support without encroaching on farmland or urban areas and came up with a figure of 0.9 billion hectares, an area roughly the size of the U.S., BBC News reported. That makes reforestation “the most effective solution” for mitigating the climate crisis, the researchers concluded.

          “Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today and it provides hard evidence to justify investment,” senior study author and ETH-Zürich Professor Tom Crowther said, as BBC News reported. “If we act now, this could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 25 percent, to levels last seen almost a century ago.”

        • Planting more trees could cut carbon by 25%

          Swiss scientists have identified an area roughly the size of the United States that could be newly shaded by planting more trees. If the world’s nations then protected these 9 million square kilometres of canopy over unused land, the new global forest could in theory soak up enough carbon to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas by an estimated 25%.

          That is, the extent of new tree canopy would be enough to take the main driver of global heating back to conditions on Earth a century ago.

          And a second study, released in the same week, identifies 100 million hectares of degraded or destroyed tropical forest in 15 countries where restoration could start right now – and 87% of these hectares are in biodiversity hotspots that hold high concentrations of species found nowhere else.

        • Critically Endangered Right Whales Are Dying in Record Numbers. High-tech Fishing Gear Could Help Save Them

          Many fish, marine mammals and seabirds that inhabit the world’s oceans are critically endangered, but few are as close to the brink as the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Only about 411 of these whales exist today, and at their current rate of decline, they could become extinct within our lifetimes.

          From 1980 through about 2010, conservation efforts focused mainly on protecting whales from being struck by ships. Federal regulations helped reduce vessel collisions and supported a slight rebound in right whale numbers.

          But at the same time, growing numbers of right whales died after becoming entangled in lobster and crab fishing gear, and the population has taken a significant downward turn. This may have happened because fishing ropes became stronger, and both whales and fishermen shifted their ranges so that areas of overlap increased. In research that is currently in press, we show that 72 percent of diagnosed mortalities between 2010-2018 occurred due to entanglements.

          This comes after a millennium of whaling that decimated the right whale population, reducing it from perhaps between 10,000 to 20,000 to a few hundred animals today. And entanglement deaths are much more inhumane than harpoons. A whaler’s explosive harpoon kills quickly, compared to months of drawn-out pain and debilitation caused by seemingly harmless fishing lines. We believe these deaths can be prevented by working with the trap fishing industries to adopt ropeless fishing gear – but North Atlantic right whales are running out of time.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Donald Trump Now Wants to Ban End-to-End Encryption

        After banning and unbanning Huawei, United States President Donald Trump is now planning to go after end-to-end encryption, with a new report claiming that senior White House officials met this week to discuss the first step the administration could make in this regard.
        Politico notes, citing three people familiar with the matter, that number two officials from several key agencies discussed a potential offensive against end-to-end encryption.

        “The two paths were to either put out a statement or a general position on encryption, and [say] that they would continue to work on a solution, or to ask Congress for legislation,” one source was quoted as saying by the cited publication.

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