Links 16/6/2020: HardenedBSD Report, FFmpeg 4.3 Released, Ubuntu Appliance Portfolio

Posted in News Roundup at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Threat to Windows and Linux cannot be really put in the same basket

      Twice in the space of three months, researchers from BlackBerry have put out studies pushing claims about malware and ransomware that is alleged to attack Linux, giving the impression that this operating system is also under as much threat as Windows.

      But both studies contained little to justify these conclusions; the second, issued in the first week of June, contained the word Linux thrice, in two sentences. One of these was the line: “Tycoon is a multi-platform Java ransomware targeting Windows and Linux that has been observed in-the-wild since at least December 2019.”

      And the other was: “The malicious JRE build contains both Windows and Linux versions of this script, suggesting that the threat actors are also targeting Linux servers.”

      The rest of the study, that runs to about 1500 words (not counting text in illustrations and tables), was solely about the Windows version of what the researchers claimed was a new form of ransomware known as Tycoon.

      The earlier study, issued in April, claims that groups connected to China were targeting Linux servers with malware, with the claim resting on the reported discovery of a previously unidentified Linux malware toolset which included two kernel-level rootkits that made it difficult to identify executables.

      But the study contained no information as to how this malware gained a foothold on these servers, surely an important step in the attack process. On asking, this response was elicited: “The rootkits were installed by way of an interactive bash script, which in some cases reached out to an online build server to determine particulars about the target system (distro, kernel version, etc) before delivering a bespoke rootkit and backdoor.” The vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel that were remotely exploited in this manner were not specified; it must be noted that such a class of flaws are very rare for Linux.

      The reply added: “There are several ways in which the installation script could have landed on the server, including brute force SSH attack (a technique reportedly used by the botnet to spread itself), physical access to the server (espionage operations are not always exclusively digital), or any other of the myriad ways in which admin credentials for servers are compromised and then used to log in.”

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • I will define 2020 as the first year of the Linux desktop

        Depending on your definition you might argue against it – Linux only desktops are still a minority for example – but here are my arguments for why it is: [...]

      • Changing the world with open source: GNOME president shares her story


        Growing up in Silicon Valley, Nuritzi Sanchez saw the powerful impact software can make on the world. Yet, unlike many others who were also steeped in the tech industry, her journey has taken her into the world of open source, where she is contributing to that impact.

        After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in International Relations, she became a founding team member of open source computing company Endless OS, served three terms as president and chair of GNOME’s board of directors, and in February 2020 was hired as the senior open source program manager (OSPM) at GitLab.

      • How to know if you’re ready to switch from Mac to Linux

        It’s been almost two years since I switched from Mac to Linux. I used Apple for about 15 years before my move and was a complete Linux newbie when I installed my first distribution in summer 2018.

        These days, I run Linux exclusively. I can do anything I want on it. Regular internet browsing and watching Netflix, writing and editing content for my WordPress blog, and even running my open source web analytics startup.

        And I’m not even a developer! Long gone are the days when Linux was considered not ready for everyday usage nor friendly enough for non-technical people.

      • Dell’s XPS 13 9300 – Successfully Evolving a Classic

        Dell also used the system to support Project Sputnik, an effort that saw the company significantly extend its engagement with developers by delivering XPS 13 models configured at the factory with Ubuntu Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Bigger than big: Linux kernel colonel Torvalds claims 5.8 is ‘one of our biggest releases of all time’

        All going well, the stable release should appear sometime in August.

        Introducing the release candidate, Torvalds said it was “right up there with v4.9, which has long been our biggest release by quite a bit in number of commits.” That said, the 4.9 kernel was “artificially big” because of a couple of special factors, whereas 5.8 is a “more comprehensive release.”

        Torvalds said: “The development is really all over the place: there’s tons of fairly fundamental core work and cleanups, but there is also lots of filesystem work and obviously all the usual driver updates too. Plus documentation and architecture work.” He added: “We have modified about 20 per cent of all the files in the kernel source repository. That’s really a fairly big percentage, and while some of it _is_ scripted, on the whole it’s really just the same pattern: 5.8 has simply seen a lot of development.”

        While the code for the kernel is large, only a small part of it ends up in any individual system, since the kernel source contains code for every chip architecture and hardware it supports. In early 2018, maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman said that “an average laptop uses around 2 million lines of kernel from 5,000 files to function properly.” At the time, there were 25 million lines of code in the kernel, whereas now there are over 28 million.

        What’s in the upcoming release? Michael Larabel of Phoronix has done a summary of changes here. Highlights include new and updated drivers, initial boot support for the forthcoming IBM/OpenPOWER POWER10 processors, KVM (Kernel-based virtual machine) improvements including support for nested AMD live migration, updates to the Samsung-backed file system driver for Microsoft’s exFAT, and accelerator support for the Habana Labs Gaudi AI Training Processor – this last one mentioned by Torvalds as accounting for a large chunk of new code. There is also support for Thunderbolt in Intel’s Tiger Lake processors.

        Torvalds claimed that “5.8 is up there with the best, despite not really having any single thing that stands out.”

      • Linus Torvalds: Linux kernel 5.8 is ‘one of our biggest releases of all time’

        Linux kernel head Linus Torvalds seems delighted with the first release candidate (rc1) of the Linux kernel version 5.8, which contains 800,000 new lines of code and over 14,000 changed files, representing about a 20% overhaul of the kernel’s files.

        “So I didn’t really expect this, but 5.8 looks to be one of our biggest releases of all time,” writes Torvalds on the Linux kernel mailing list.

        Earlier this month Torvalds’ fired off a stern email rejecting a security patch developed by Amazon Web Services engineers for Linux 5.8, which could have caused a performance hit on some applications.

      • Graphics Stack

        • GFX1030 Target Merged Into LLVM 11 AMDGPU Back-End For Navi 2

          Following the recent Linux kernel and Mesa patches for AMD “Sienna Cichlid” enablement for this “Navi 2″ graphics processor, the AMDGPU LLVM compiler back-end support has been merged into LLVM 11.

          Sienna Cichlid from the earlier RadeonSI patches confirm using “GFX1030″ as the target and that support was merged last night into the LLVM 11 compiler development code-base. AMDGPU LLVM serves as the default shader compiler back-end for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver, currently for RADV albeit transitioning to ACO, the AMDVLK Vulkan driver, and other components like ROCm.

        • Radeon RADV Driver Merge Request Opened To Use ACO By Default

          A merge request opened at the end of last week would now have the Mesa Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver default to using the Valve-backed ACO shader compiler in place of the default LLVM AMDGPU back-end.

          ACO is the back-end that Valve has been funding for faster shader compile times and more performance optimized at least for games. The AMDGPU LLVM back-end meanwhile is what RADV has used by default up until now and is currently used exclusively by the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver as well as other official AMD driver components.

        • Zink OpenGL-Over-Vulkan Now Exposes GLSL 1.30

          The Zink Mesa driver for implementing OpenGL over the Vulkan API is now quite close to hitting OpenGL 3.0.

          Zink has been striving for OpenGL 3.0 compatibility for some time and is getting close to crossing that prominent threshold. Merged over night was exposing GLSL 1.30. GLSL 1.30 is the shading language version for OpenGL 3.0.

    • Applications

      • FFmpeg 4.3 Released with Vulkan Support, AMD AMF Encoder, and AviSynth+

        Surprisingly dubbed “4:3”, the FFmpeg 4.3 release comes with Vulkan support, Intel QSV-accelerated MJPEG and VP9 decoding, support for the AMD AMF encoder on Linux via the Vulkan API, VDPAU VP9 hardware acceleration, TrueHD and MPEG-H 3D audio support for in MP4, and support for Sipro ACELP.KELVIN decoding.

        This release also features AV1 encoding support via librav1e, support for the ZeroMQ Message Transport Protocol (ZMTP), support for muxing PCM and PGS in M2TS, expanded styling support for 3GPP Timed Text Subtitle (movtext), and switches from AvxSynth to AviSynth+ on Linux.

      • Tixati review

        Tixati is generally excellent on the user experience front, but there is one notable initial hiccup. The slight concern for users who are not very tech-savvy is that when you download the Tixati client, the website does not detect your operating system automatically. So be sure to manually select the correct OS to get the right client for you. Fortunately, the rest of Tixati’s setup is simple and easy to follow.

        The user interface itself may appear to be a little outdated when it comes to the design. However, Tixati offers tooltips and pop-ups, making the setup process a breeze.

        If you’re switching from any other torrent client, Tixati may feel slightly different initially because its layout is rather distinct. While most torrent clients come with a left-aligned menu, Tixati has all the tabs aligned along the top. Further note that Tixati offers an option to tweak the interface slightly based on your preferences.

        The sheer number of customization options that Tixati offers makes it one of the favored clients among pro users. It provides access to a complete set of low-level details regarding swarms, and that is one of the reasons that makes it stand apart from the competition.

        The Tixati client provides access to a comprehensive help and support section. This helps users in addressing any issues they may face with the torrent client. There are plenty of troubleshooting tips, help guides, and additional useful hints that can aid in minimizing any downtime.

        Additionally, the highly active community forum can help address almost any issue the users may be facing. The community is quite lively and provides real-time support and quick solutions.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Humorous story-driven, platformer metroidvania Clunky Hero is funded

        Chaosmonger Studio who are also working on the sci-fi adventure ENCODYA have managed to succeed on Kickstarter again with their platformer metroidvania Clunky Hero.

        Mixing together a story-driven platformer metroidvania and a slice of RPG elements with some comedy, Clunky Hero is slightly absurd. You are running around with a bucket on your head and a broom, while fighting off drunken bees so expect the bizarre

      • Pharaoh-like isometric city builder Nebuchadnezzar confirmed for GOG and Steam

        You might not have heard of Nebuchadnezzar, an in-development isometric city-builder in the style of classics like Pharaoh and Zeus but it’s coming. Set in the mysterious history and culture of ancient Mesopotamia, it’s looking really good.

        Covered here back in 2019, it’s easy to forget with the constant flow of news coming in but Nebuchadnezzar might actually be one of my most anticipated titles for this year. I was a massive fan of Pharaoh and this really does look like a great upgrade to the classics. Today, it has been confirmed that it will be launching on GOG as well as Steam so it’s a good reminder of it.

      • Prison Architect – Island Bound now releasing June 23

        Paradox Interactive announced today that Prison Architect – Island Bound will now be launching on June 23 after they recently delayed the launch.

        Originally due to release on June 11, they mentioned before the delay was due to the themes present in the game and with everything going on they delayed the release ‘out of respect for the important voices that need to be heard’.

        Now the new date set with June 23 they announced that a free update for everyone, The Rock, will become available at the same time. The Rock update will bring in dynamic Reputations for your prisoners, quality of life improvements, and implement multiple bug fixes.

      • Physics-based building game ‘Besiege’ adds a powerful new tool

        Besiege is a fantastic build and destroy game all about making medieval siege engines and with the latest update it gained a very useful new tool.

        They already provide a ton of blocks and tools, allowing players to create anything from a simple rolling vehicle that just bumps into everything up to massive robots capable of immense destruction. However, it was somewhat limited by what it gave you, even though you could be incredibly creative in your creations. With the latest update though, there’s a new very powerful Build Surface feature.

      • Faraway Lands: Rise of Yokai mixes town building, exploration and an RTS

        Faraway Lands: Rise of Yokai from MythEgg Studios has pulled my interest in recently, mixing in a number of different genres set in Feudal Japan.

        You build up a town, gather resources and build a ship to explore new lands, trade with others and there’s plenty of real-time combat sprinkled into it across land and sea too. Genuinely does look like quite a nice blending together of gameplay elements.

      • Theme Hospital continues living on with a new CorsixTH release

        CorsixTH is the wonderful free and open source game engine for Theme Hospital, featuring plenty of improvements and modern system support.

        After a relatively short testing period for the Release Candidates and a year since the last full update, CorsixTH 0.64 has been released. This release comes with the ability to use ISO images of the original discs as a data source, since CorsixTH requires the original data files. With this release the UI was updated to be sized properly in all languages, Level 6 map issues were solved, rooms becoming stuck should no longer be an issue, potential memory leaks solved and a lot more done over the last year.

      • Colourful party game Aeolis Tournament launches July 16

        Aeolis Tournament, the first title from Canadian developer Beyond Fun Studio now has a confirmed release date of July 16 and this will feature Linux support.

        Inspired by Nintendo-style party games, Aeolis Tournament will have up to 8 players compete in various game modes based on a simple one-button mechanic. Characters use an air cannon to control the power of the wind and affect their surroundings. It’s a high-tempo game in the vein of Fuzion Frenzy with a cartoony and colourful art direction. Aeolis Tournament features physics-based gameplay, a tournament mode and local & online multiplayer play.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • WebKit Flatpak SDK and gst-build

          This post is an annex of Phil’s Introducing the WebKit Flatpak SDK. Please make sure to read it, if you haven’t already.

          Recapitulating, nowadays WebKitGtk/WPE developers —and their CI infrastructure— are moving towards to Flatpak-based environment for their workflow. This Flatpak-based environment, or Flatpak SDK for short, can be visualized as a software sandboxed-container, which bundles all the dependencies required to compile, run and debug WebKitGtk/WPE.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • HardenedBSD June 2020 Status Report

          Now that HardenedBSD’s infrastructure has found its new home, it’s time to ramp up development again. We’re working out kinks with regards to bandwidth and hope to increase bandwidth to our infrastructure on the inside of two months.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Developers Are Looking At Better Managing Retired Packages

          A change proposal for Fedora 33 would introduce the concept of “fedora-retired-packages” for removing retired packages when upgrading Fedora.

          Retired packages are those packages that are not required by any other packages and are no longer maintained upstream and then no longer packaged by Fedora maintainers. Currently, when upgrading Fedora Linux, these retired Fedora packages remain installed albeit with the older installed RPM.

          Fedora has the concept of fedora-obsoletes-package for retiring packages that would otherwise cause issues on upgrades, but nothing for the common packages that are retired / no longer being maintained.

        • Enable Eclipse MicroProfile applications on Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.3

          In this article, we show you how to install Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBoss EAP) XP 1.0.0.GA and enable Eclipse MicroProfile support on JBoss EAP. Once you have MicroProfile support enabled, you can start using the quickstart examples or start developing your own application.

        • Enterprise Kubernetes development with odo: The CLI tool for developers

          Kubernetes conversations rarely center the developer’s perspective. As a result, doing our job in a k8s cluster often requires building complicated YAML resource files, writing custom shell scripts, and understanding the countless options that are available in kubectl and docker commands. On top of all of that, we have the learning curve of understanding Kubernetes terminology and using it the way that operations teams do.

          To address these challenges, the Red Hat Developer Tools team created odo (OpenShift Do), a command-line interface (CLI) tool built for developers and designed to prioritize the things that developers care about. In this article, I will use a hands-on example to introduce you to the benefits of using odo in conjunction with Kubernetes.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20 hits Beta with Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce desktops

          The Linux Mint team have announced the big push towards release with a Beta version of Linux Mint 20 available now across three different desktop environments.

          Being based on the latest Ubuntu release, this makes Linux Mint 20 a long-term support release so they plan to keep it in tip-top shape until 2025. As expected of a big new release, there’s plenty new and improved. Including the somewhat controversial decision to block Snap packages and snapd being installed unless you do it manually.

        • Is Ubuntu an enterprise Linux distribution?

          Is Ubuntu an enterprise Linux distribution? If you are asking, you are probably wondering if you can use Ubuntu anywhere else other than your workstation or development environment. Perhaps you are wondering whether you can implement Ubuntu in your enterprise, including production environments? If that is the case, I have good news for you. Yes. Ubuntu is an enterprise Linux distribution with full commercial support provided by Canonical, the publisher and maintainer of Ubuntu.

          But hold on for a second. What actually is an enterprise Linux distribution? And what does that mean for your business?

        • How To Change Inkscape Icon Theme on Ubuntu

          Thanks to my student, I am now aware that Inkscape can use different icon theme and that user can switch its icon theme just by renaming files. I use 0.92.5 and I can easily switch between icon themes available built-in. I noted here how I do that on Ubuntu Focal Fossa. Enjoy!

          I use Ubuntu 20.04 GNU/Linux operating system, and Inkscape version number 0.92.5, DEB package from official repository. No command lines needed to do this theme switching.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 635

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 635 for the week of June 7 – 13, 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How Xs:code Is Providing A Platform To Developers To Monetize Open Source Projects [Ed: No, it is far too close to Microsoft and strengthens the Proprietary Software monopoly of Microsoft]
      • Kubernetes Starboard Project Offers Security Scanning from Kubectl

        The project, licensed under Apache 2.0 and created by Aqua Security, among others, uses custom resource definitions (CRDs) to integrate security tools and make the results accessible via the Kubernetes API.

      • Hard lessons learned about Kubernetes garbage collection

        Some time ago, I learned an important Kubernetes lesson the hard way. The story begins with Kubernetes Operators, which is a method of packaging, deploying, and managing a Kubernetes application. The thing I tripped up on was garbage collection in the cluster, which cleans up objects that no longer have an owner object (but more on that later).

      • Programming/Development

        • Hideki Yamane: excitement kills thinking

          Just changing the words does not solve the problems in the real-world, IMHO (of course, it’s my opinion, may it be different from yours).

        • Google Interns Focus on Open Source

          As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, social distancing remains imperative, which means companies must continue to adapt to new ways of working. For Google’s annual summer internship program, that means going virtual.

          In a recent blog post, Eric Brewer, Google Fellow, VP Infrastructure, Google Cloud, said, “Although many aspects of the program remain the same with interns working from home, we had to make some adjustments. Interns won’t have the benefit of working next to experienced Googlers in a traditional office environment, which in turn impacts the kinds of projects they can work on.” As a solution, Google turned to open source.

        • 4 Excellent Free Books to Learn Icon

          Icon is a high-level, general-purpose language that contains a wide variety of features for processing and presenting symbolic data — strings of characters and structures — both as text and as graphic images.

          Icon has a large repertoire of operations for manipulating structures — records, lists, sets, and tables — and extensive capabilities for processing strings of characters. At the heart of Icon is a goal — directed expression-evaluation mechanism that simplifies many programming tasks. Storage is allocated automatically — you never have to worry about allocating space — and garbage collection reclaims unused space as necessary.

        • Rcpp 1.0.5 in two+ weeks: Please help test

          I remain rather disappointed and disillusioned about what happened after 1.0.4 was released. Two PRs in that release were soon seen to have side effects on more ‘marginal’ test systems, precisely what added testing could have revealed. An additional issue arose from changes in R’s make system, which is harder to anticipate or test. Each and every infelicity was fixed within a day or so, and we always make candidate releases available—the current Rcpp as of this writing is meaning twelve microreleases were made since 1.0.4. And those microreleases are always available for normal download and install.packages use via the Rcpp drat repository accessible to all. So it was truly troubling to see some, especially those with experience in setting up or running testing / ci platforms, pretend to be unable to access, install, and provide these for their own tests, or the tests of their users. It just doesn’t pass a basic logic test: it takes a single call to install.packages(), or, even more easily, a single assignment of an auxiliary repo. All told this was a rather sad experience.

        • Let’s talk about Web Monetization

          I’m one of the Grant for the Web Ambassadors and if you poke around the stuff I do, you’ll find that I pretty much do standard web developer things.

          Since I’m reasonably competent at that, I figured I would document the whole process of implementing the Web Monetization API, explain how the ecosystem works and basically build out a comprehensive guide to web monetization.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.24 Cloud Approaching

            In 10 days the Conference in the Cloud will start! If you want to experience that interactively, you can still sign up, tickets are only 10 US$! You can even join the Hallway Track! These are the presentations with Raku content:

        • Python

    • Leftovers

      • What About the International Students?

        When Tommaso Babucci, a recent Duke University graduate from Italy, sat down to take his first-ever college exam—an economics class—he could barely understand a single word. He had been educated in his native Italian all his life. “I did my best,” he said, “and got 10 percent.”

      • The Ghost in the Machine

        Race After Technology opens with a brief personal history set in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles, where sociologist Ruha Benjamin spent a portion of her childhood. Recalling the time she set up shop on her grandmother’s porch with a chalkboard and invited other kids to do math problems, she writes, “For the few who would come, I would hand out little slips of paper…until someone would insist that we go play tag or hide-and-seek instead. Needless to say, I didn’t have that many friends!” But beyond the porch, things weren’t so cozy. As she gazed out the back window during car rides, she saw “boys lined up for police pat-downs,” and inside the house she heard “the nonstop rumble of police helicopters overhead, so close that the roof would shake.” The omnipresent surveillance continued when she visited her grandmother years later as a mother, her homecomings blighted by “the frustration of trying to keep the kids asleep with the sound and light from the helicopter piercing the window’s thin pane.”

      • Health/Nutrition

        • Australia Triumphs Definitively In Long-Running Battle With Big Tobacco Over Plain Packs For Cigarettes

          Techdirt has written a lot about corporate sovereignty — also known as “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) — which allows companies to haul countries before special tribunals for alleged loss of profits caused by new laws or regulations. One industry’s use of ISDS that Techdirt has been following particularly closely is tobacco. As a typically brilliant John Oliver segment explained back in 2015, Big Tobacco companies have used corporate sovereignty clauses in international trade and investment deals to sue countries for daring to try to regulate cigarettes, advertising or packaging. Thankfully, that didn’t turn out so well. Philip Morris tried to use ISDS to roll back plain-pack laws, but cases against Australia and Uruguay were both thrown out. The tide against the use of corporate sovereignty by tobacco companies to undo health protection laws has turned so much that special carve-outs have been added to trade deals to prevent this kind of corporate bullying.

        • How Red Meat Became the Red Pill for the Alt-Right

          Nearly a billion pounds of beef move through the JBS processing plant in Grand Island, Neb., every year. Except this year: Over the last two months, the company has had to slow production as meatpacking plants around the country have been roiled by coronavirus outbreaks.

        • It’s a Pandemic, But Millionaire Trump Adviser Complains $600-Per-Week Boost in Unemployment Benefits Is Too Generous

          Economists have warned that in addition to “causing avoidable human misery,” ending the enhanced unemployment insurance “would severely hamper spending—and, by extension, the overall economic recovery.”

        • Citing ‘Known and Potential Risks,’ FDA Yanks Emergency Approval of Hydroxychloroquine Touted by Trump for Covid-19

          “America: Do not listen to President Trump on any medical advice.”

        • ‘She Understands Healthcare Is a Right for All’: Sanders Endorses Dr. Arati Kreibich’s Bid to Oust Right-Wing Democrat Josh Gottheimer

          “Arati decided to take on the incumbent Democrat in her district because she knows that this moment requires bold, progressive leadership.”

        • Florida Has Largest Daily COVID-19 Spike After RNC Moves to Jacksonville

          Officials in Florida expressed concern about public safety as coronavirus infections hit a record number for the third straight day following the Republican National Committee’s decision to relocate part of its annual convention to Jacksonville.

        • FDA Strips “Emergency Use” Authorization for Trump’s “Game-Changer” COVID Drug

          The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is rescinding its recommendations on use of a drug once touted by President Donald Trump to be a “game-changer” in the fight against coronavirus.

        • Surrounded by Liars and Lickspittles, Trump Dares COVID to Kill Him

          Trump campaign officials are spending $400,000 on aggressive pro-Trump ads that ran in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. As I noted last week, these are three places Trump has little chance of winning in 2020 — he lost D.C. in 2016 by a margin of 86.8 points. So why run them? Answer: So Trump will see them during his voracious daily consumption of television and think his campaign is doing well, and then he will stop screaming at people for a few minutes.

        • How America’s Hospitals Survived the First Wave of the Coronavirus

          The prediction from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was grim.

          In late March, as the number of COVID-19 cases was growing exponentially in the state, Cuomo said New York hospitals might need twice as many beds as they normally have. Otherwise there could be no space to treat patients seriously ill with the new coronavirus.

        • Coronavirus forces disaster planning rethink as storm threats rise

          As Cyclone Amphan barrelled down on Nagendrapur village in the Indian state of West Bengal in late May, Manasi Halder faced a dilemma: run for shelter, or risk waiting out the storm.

          In normal times, Halder would have gathered her neighbours and headed straight for the nearest official cyclone shelter about eight kilometres away. But with the coronavirus pandemic surging across the country, “people were not willing to leave the village,” said Halder, who volunteers for a local NGO named Mukti. “They were afraid, because of the coronavirus outbreak.”

          Amphan could not have come at a worse time in the Sundarbans, a low-lying, disaster-prone region straddling parts of coastal India and Bangladesh. Both countries were weeks into lockdowns meant to contain coronavirus outbreaks that have now infected more than 343,000 people in India and 90,000 in Bangladesh. Evacuees were forced to choose between being caught in the storm’s path, or the risk of catching the virus in crowded cyclone shelters.

      • Integrity/Availability

        • Proprietary

          • Security

            • Privacy/Surveillance

              • Bracelets, Beacons, Barcodes: Wearables in the Global Response to COVID-19

                In their efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic, governments around the world are rolling out body-worn devices (“wearables”) to assist in fighting the virus. Some governments want a technological silver bullet to solve the public health crisis. But many of the tools aimed at solving problems come with a host of other problems that will undermine the public health goals for which they are adopted, and create new unintended consequences for privacy, association, and freedom of expression.

                These electronic devices are usually worn on the wrist or ankle. Their use can be mandated by the government or voluntary (although users don’t always understand exactly what it is they’re being asked to wear). We might tend to associate the idea of a “wearable” with either a smartwatch or an ankle monitor, but governments are also using wrist-worn “bracelets” for a broad range of different purposes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

              • Can You Build A Privacy Law That Doesn’t Create Privacy Trolls?

                It’s safe to assume that most people recognize patent trolling as a problem, one that arises from our uniquely inefficient legal system. If we were given the opportunity to redesign patent litigation rules from scratch, why would anyone intentionally create a system so costly and uncertain that bad faith actors have a financial incentive to file weak lawsuits against cash-strapped startups that are better off paying extortive settlements than actually winning the case? And yet, some privacy advocates are openly calling for policymakers to replicate this disastrous state of affairs through a new regime of private enforcement for proposed state and federal comprehensive consumer privacy laws.

      • Defence/Aggression

        • Turkey’s Big Bet Has Put Libya in Center of a Global Power Struggle

          The series of debilitating military setbacks that Libya’s renegade general Khalifa Haftar suffered in recent months have spurred diplomatic activities over the conflict in the country. But the war is far from over.

        • Two police officers injured during shooting in Moscow

          Two police officers and one civilian were injured during a shooting on Moscow’s Leninsky Avenue, RIA Novosti reports, referencing the emergency services.

        • The Long Blue Line Connecting Police Brutality to Drone Strikes

          In early February of this year, 18-year-old Nurto Kusow Omar Abukar was blown to smithereens by American air strikes as she sat down for dinner with her family in Jilib, Somalia. Hurled indiscriminately by the US Africa Command (Africom) in its hunt for al-Shabaab militants, the bombs also injured Abukar’s younger sisters Fatuma, age 12, and Adey, age 7, as well as their 70-year-old grandmother, Khadija Mohamed Gedow. A few weeks later, on February 24, Africom lobbed a Hellfire missile that killed 53-year-old banana farmer Mohamud Salad Mohamud in the nearby village of Kumbareere.

        • The Military Must be De-Funded Along with the Police

          As Vijay Prashad explains in his book, Red Star Over The Third World, domestic fascism in the West has reflected the West’s pre-existing colonial practices abroad. Citing Martinique communist Aimé Césaire, Prashad explains: “What had come to define fascism inside Europe through the experience of the Nazis – the jackboots and the gas chambers – were familiar already in the colonies. . . . [F]ascism was a political form of bourgeois rule in times when democracy threatened capitalism; colonialism, on the other hand, was naked power justified by racism to seize resources from people who were not willing to hand them over. Their form was different but their manners were identical.”

        • String of apparent jihadist attacks kills dozens in northeast Nigeria

          The 10-year conflict in northeast Nigeria has killed at least 36,000 people and forced two million from their homes.

      • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

        • Fox News removes altered images from Seattle protest

          Fox News removed on Saturday digitally altered and misleading photos from its website that were used to illustrate Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle after the Seattle Times reported on the publication of the images.

      • Environment

        • We Need a Green New Deal to Confront the Economic Crash and Climate Crisis

          The tacit assumption of political leaders and the chattering class is that the economy will come back together in time, if not seamlessly, then at least without major political turmoil. The anodyne meme of “reopening the economy” suggests that, although we may have a rough road ahead, the end result will be a functional equivalent of the economy that we remember from last year.

        • Ocean warming spurs marine life to rapid migration

          Far from the sunlight and even at the lowest temperatures, ocean warming is making marine life uncomfortable.

        • Tibet’s Environment, Is It Better or Worse?

          Chinese mining operations in Tibetan areas “have caused great harm to the environment,” however, said Zamlha Tenpa Gyaltsen—a Tibetan environmental researcher at the Tibet Policy Institute in Dharamsala, India—speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service in a recent interview.

          “Tibet as the Roof of the World used to have a pristine environment, with hardly any problems with air and water. [But] the Chinese have excessively exploited Tibetan natural resources, and this has created issues with air and water pollution, and many animal species are now extinct,” Gyaltsen said.

        • Permafrost: The Hidden Climate Risk in the Arctic
        • Energy

        • Wildlife/Nature

          • The “Restoration Grazing” Argument Fell Flat in Court

            Last summer, in a remote corner of the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, in the one spot with just a little cell reception, I sat in my car listening by phone to attorneys argue before the U.S. District Court of Oregon more than a thousand miles away. The attorneys for conservation groups (Western Watersheds Project, Center for Biological Diversity, and WildEarth Guardians) faced off against the Bureau of Land Management, and both sides presented their strongest science-based cases (transcripts: Day 1 and Day 2) over whether or not a preliminary injunction was warranted to block Dwight and Steven Hammonds’ livestock from grazing on federal public lands. The preliminary injunction (PI) hearing turned on whether allowing the Hammonds’ cattle back onto public lands that had been rested for five years would result in “irreparable harm” while the case was wending its way towards a ruling on the merits. To make that determination, the judge would weigh the longstanding scientific controversy over whether livestock grazing is more likely to benefit or damage public lands.

          • Historical Origins and Dispersal through Europe of the Western House Mouse

            Measured by global dispersal alone, the common house mouse (Mus musculus ssp.) is the most successful invasive mammalian species. Perhaps surprisingly, the origin and history of this dispersal in the Western world has not be fully elucidated, but it is clear that mice have dispersed throughout the world in concert with human migration (posing a dual threat to native species diversity).

            That situation has changed, in a report by an international cadre of researchers reported in Nature last month entitled “Tracking the Near Eastern origins and European dispersal of the western house mouse.” These researchers assessed 829 specimens from 43 archeological sites from Southwestern Asia and Southeastern Europe representing from 40,000 to 3,000 years before the present day, performing mitochondrial genetic analyses on 85 samples and combining these results with radiocarbon dating and geometric morphometrics numerical taxonomy.

      • Finance

        • Instead of Bailing Out For-Profit Colleges, Congress Should Cancel Student Debt

          Lifting student debt burdens would particularly benefit people of color, while giving the economy a major boost.

        • Women Across Switzerland Share in ‘Mass Scream’ to Denounce Wage Inequality and Domestic Violence

          “In 2020 women are still in need to go to the streets and stage ‘mass scream’ over domestic violence and the gender pay gap… Why on earth?”  

        • GM Closed the Lordstown Auto Plant. Now Ohio May Force a $60 Million Repayment.

          The state of Ohio has put General Motors on notice that it may be forced to repay more than $60 million in public subsidies as a result of the automaker closing its massive assembly plant last year in Lordstown.

          The state’s collection effort, initially outlined in a letter to GM in March, has not been previously reported, and the automaker itself has not disclosed the potential liability to shareholders in its corporate filings.

        • Trump, USPS and Seniors

          Refusing to bolster the United States Postal Service in its time of need is nothing short of a betrayal of American seniors, who are more reliant upon the US Postal Service than any other age group.

        • The Postal Service Is Steadily Getting Worse — Can It Handle a National Mail-In Election?

          Two weeks after the polls closed in this year’s Ohio primary, two U.S. Postal Service employees showed up in the office of Diane Noonan, the director of elections in Butler County. The workers carried a tray of 317 unopened ballots that had been sitting in a Postal Service warehouse since the day before the election.

          The ballots would have counted if they had been delivered on time. Now, there was no way to legally count them. The next day, another ballot that had been postmarked in time to be counted arrived with no explanation. In Geauga County, officials found 26 such ballots; Lucas County saw 13. Many election administrators in Ohio had already lost patience with the Postal Service. During Ohio’s April 28 primary, mail delivery had been so slow that the secretary of state publicly warned voters and called for the Postal Service to add staff. As they counted votes, Noonan and her team checked in with the service every day until the deadline. “We said, ‘Listen this is the last day,’” she recalled. “‘If we get ballots after this, they’re not going to be counted.’ They assured us.”

        • Trump Adviser Complains Boost in Unemployment Benefits Is Too Generous

          With the U.S. jobless rate still at levels not seen since the Great Depression and coronavirus-induced mass layoffs continuing across the nation, millionaire White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow complained Sunday that the $600-per-week increase in unemployment insurance authorized by the CARES Act is too generous and said the benefits should expire at the end of July.

      • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Censorship/Free Speech

        • Tom Cotton Is Not a Free Speech Martyr

          Just as generals are sometimes guilty of fighting the last war, pundits frequently fight the last culture war. The world is on fire with global protests over police violence, the continued spread of Covid-19, and the ripple effects of the most severe economic crisis in nearly a century. But to judge by some of America’s best-known political columnists, the true danger is still political correctness destroying free speech, especially in the media.

        • Episode 93 – The Richmond Revolution, East Bay Collective, and the Post-Police Future w/Lavonia Bobo, Armond Corshawn, Samone Anderson, Lee Bidemi Animashaun, and Todd Davis – Along The Line Podcast

          Along The Line is a non-profit, education-based podcast that provides listeners with context and analysis about various critical and contemporary issues and topics. Hosted by Dr. Nolan Higdon, Dr. Dreadlocks (Nicholas Baham III), and Janice Domingo. ATL’s Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga. Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster. Along the Line is brought to you by The Media Freedom Foundation. Listen to our previous content at https://www.projectcensored.org/atl/ Along the Line is a proud member of the Demcast Network. https://demcastusa.com/ Listen to Along the Line on these platforms: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3E5JGKCDVVePzxQxFY7jJg?si=jd65roYdQwWYA00TC9K6tg Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/along-the-line/id1447780425?mt=2 Follow us on Twitter: ATL Official Twitter – https://twitter.com/alongtheline2 Dr. Nolan Higdon – https://twitter.com/Nolan_higdon Dr. Nicholas Baham III – https://twitter.com/doctordredlocks Janice Domingo – https://twitter.com/j_nice44 Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alongthelineshow/ RSS feed: https://www.projectcensored.org/feed/podcast/along-the-line Send us an email: [email protected] Check out these books: The Anatomy of Fake News by Nolan Higdon – https://www.projectcensored.org/product/the-anatomy-of-fake-news-a-critical-news-literacy-education-pre-order-singed-copy/ United States of Distraction by Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff – https://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100388060 Support Along the Line and Project Censored: https://www.projectcensored.org/support/

        • Devin Nunes’ Lawyer Tells Judge To Ignore Section 230, Because Twitter Is Anti-Devin Nunes

          Twitter and Steven Biss (Devin Nunes’ rather busy, but still terrible, lawyer) were in court on Friday to continue Nunes’ frivolous SLAPP suit against a satirical internet cow who makes fun of Nunes. The current issue remains Twitter’s unwillingness to reveal who is behind the @DevinCow account. Twitter, correctly, continues to point out that it doesn’t need to give up the account info, that it’s protected from doing so under Section 230, that the Cow has engaged in 1st Amendment protected speech, and more. And Biss’s response appears to be… “but Twitter’s mean to us, so it’s not fair, it’s not, it’s not, it’s not.”

        • US Lawmakers Call For Answers on Zoom Shut-down of Dissident Accounts

          More than a dozen U.S. lawmakers took Zoom to task and demanded detailed explanation Friday after the California-based teleconferencing company admitted to suspending the accounts of three Chinese activists at Beijing’s request.

          Zoom said Thursday that it had deactivated the accounts of U.S-based, pro-democracy activists Zhou Fengsuo and Wang Dan, and Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk-Yan at the request of the Chinese government after they held meetings using the online media platform in conjunction with the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

        • Former Lawmaker In Iran Being Tried For Voicing Criticism

          In a post published on her Telegram channel, Salahshouri said in January 2020 that the IRGC and “certain other entities” had lodged complaints with the court against her. She maintained that the charges against her violated Articles 84 and 86 of the Islamic Republic Constitution, which allow legislators “to speak about all affairs of the country”.

          Earlier, Salahshouri had made some fiery speeches lambasting the regime. In one of her speeches in a public session of parliament, she strongly criticized the “objectionable governance of the country and grim despotism and the ever-increasing powers of parallel, unelected centers of power.” Furthermore, she had called the Islamic Republic’s system as a “rogue tyranny”.

        • Philippines Spits On Free Speech, Convicts Journalist Maria Ressa For Criminal ‘Cyber Libel’

          This is a real travesty. Reporter Maria Ressa (and research Rey Santos Jr.) have been convicted of criminal “cyber libel” in the Philippines, and now face fines and possibly years in jail for their reporting — a direct attack on free speech and a free press in the Philippines.

        • Philippines: Maria Ressa’s cyber libel verdict ‘a method of silencing dissent’

          Other media outlets who have been critical of the government have faced similar forms of intimidation meant to stop them from reporting. Last month, the nation’s largest broadcaster, ABS-CBN, was shut down because it was not allowed to renew its legislative franchise. Months earlier, the country’s largest broadsheet, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was threatened with closure when its owners were charged with tax evasion.

          At a press conference after the announcement of Monday’s verdict, Ressa was defiant and resolved to continue her work as a journalist. “Investigative journalism is more important today than ever. So much is happening in an opaque, grey area,” she said.

        • Rappler CEO Maria Ressa convicted of cyber libel in Philippines

          What to watch: This is also a test case for the cyber libel law, which could ultimately be applied to anything posted online — not just from media outlets.

      • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • Reinvigorating the UN?

          Whatever corner of the world one happens to live in, the most pressing issues of the day affect everyone. Pandemics/epidemics and the environmental emergency; war and terrorism; poverty and food insecurity; overpopulation and the displacement of persons. Such crises cannot be limited by borders or controlled by nation states; no government or corporate power can manage them. They are interconnected global issues and they require a coordinated global response.

        • UN Human Rights Council Agrees to Hold Hearing Focused on ‘Racial Inequality and Discrimination’ That Characterizes American Society

          “The protests the world is witnessing are a rejection of the fundamental racial inequality and discrimination that characterise life in the United States for black people.”

        • ‘Deeply Disappointing’: Supreme Court Slammed for Refusing to Examine Doctrine That Bolsters Police Immunity

          “Recent events demonstrate the urgent need for Congress to stand up for the rule of law and abolish qualified immunity.”

        • Symbols are Invested with Power. Don’t Dismiss the Importance of Toppling a Statue

          I did not expect to be returning to this issue so soon but I was surprised, to put it mildly, to discover that my last post on anti-racists toppling a statue of the notorious slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol proved to be the most polarising article I have ever written. Given the many controversial topics I have addressed over the years, that seems noteworthy in itself.

        • Russian authorities launch nearly 200 prosecutions for ‘fake news’ during coronavirus pandemic

          The Russian authorities have launched nearly 200 prosecutions for the illegal distribution of “fake news” since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, says a new report from the human rights organization “Agora.”

        • Black Fathers Matter
        • The Banality of Racism and the Tearing Down of Statues

          As long as those stone or bronze testaments to a “heritage” or a “way of life” remain fixed in their places, they will continue to permeate our sense of what is just and acceptable in human relations.

        • The More Israelis Breathe, the More Palestinians Choke: IDF Soldiers Kill Autistic Man For No Discernible Reason
        • More Schools Are Ending Contracts With Cops Following Protests Over The Killing Of George Floyd

          Putting cops in schools has proven to be a disaster. Treating discipline problems like criminal acts has turned students into criminals and placed vulnerable kids in the hands of sadists who feel force deployment and power flexing are the best responses to common in-school issues.

        • Interview: Stacey Abrams Breaks Down Georgia’s (Latest) Election Meltdown

          Against the backdrop of a months-long pandemic and weeks-long uprising against police violence, Tuesday’s Georgia election debacle felt comparably apocalyptic. ‘complete meltdown’ screamed a banner headline in the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Social media was littered with photos of long lines, tales of broken voting machines, and complaints of citizens prevented from exercising their legal right.

        • A Domestic Terror Law Could Quash Political Dissent in the US

          Passing a law allowing the designation of domestic groups as terrorist would allow the government to silence opposition.

        • Will the Death of George Floyd Mark the Rebirth of America?

          A man forced to die with his face pressed to the ground may yet shift the earth under your feet.

        • Dismantling a Complex Ideology: Thoughts on the BLM Movement

          On Sunday, May 31, 2020, over 700 people joined me and my friends in solidarity to fight against white supremacy and the institutions that uphold them in the United States. The sun was shining, the wind was there to keep us cool, and love was reigning for all of us. This day all came about through a simple tweet, a rhetorical question that asked “Can we please do a protest in Monroe, please”. This shot in the wind caught the attention of Suhi Saran and was followed by her question of “How do we get a protest to happen in Monroe?” This was the spark to a fire in which ignited the #BlackLivesMatter protest in the 845, and it was through mere word of mouth and the help of Sky Arroyo, Chris Omar, Tabatha Castro, Tyjai Lewis and social media that made the demonstration prominent in the Hudson Valley.

        • A Bittersweet Juneteenth

          Americans may or may not know there’s more than one Independence Day in the United States. In addition to the Fourth of July holiday all Americans recognize, black Americans commemorate our ancestors’ freedom from slavery on Juneteenth.

        • In Other Words

          I didn’t do nothing serious man please please please I can’t breathe please man please somebody please man I can’t breathe I can’t breathe please man can’t breathe, my face just get up I can’t breathe please I can’t breathe shit I will I can’t move mama mama I can’t my knee my nuts I’m through I’m through I’m claustrophobic my stomach hurt my neck hurts everything hurts some water or something please please I can’t breathe officer don’t kill me they gon’ kill me man come on man I cannot breathe I cannot breathe they gon’ kill me they gon’ kill me I can’t breathe I can’t breathe please sir please please please I can’t breathe

        • Moving Street Protests from Futility to Utility

          The nationwide street protests following the gruesome murder of George Floyd, who was pinned to the ground and choked by a Minneapolis police officer and three accomplices, were spontaneous and diverse. No leaders, charismatic or otherwise put out the call for people to turn out in the face of militarized police legions. It was a wondrous display of civic self-respect.

        • Court Cites George Floyd Killing While Denying Immunity To Officers Who Shot A Black Man 22 Times As He Lay On The Ground

          The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has triggered a shock wave across the country. The nation has seen the full horror of law enforcement’s indifference to the lives of black people, this time personified by Officer Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck. In full view of several citizens’ cameras, the officer choked Floyd to death, leaving his knee on his neck for nearly three minutes after another officer failed to detect a pulse.

        • Police Anti-Bias Trainer Shot in Groin by San Jose Cops at Protest: “It’s Clear This Isn’t Working”

          As protests against racism and police violence continue across the United States, we speak with Derrick Sanderlin, a San Jose community organizer who has spent years training police on avoiding implicit bias toward people of color, but an officer from the same police department shot him in the groin with a rubber bullet during a May 29 protest against racism and police violence, rupturing Sanderlin’s testicle and possibly affecting his ability to have children.

        • The Killing of Rayshard Brooks: Atlanta Police Shoot Dead Unarmed Man Who Fell Asleep in His Own Car

          Protests have erupted in Atlanta, where the police killing of unarmed African American man Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot has outraged residents. The autopsy revealed that Brooks was shot in the back as he was running away, and the death has been ruled a homicide by the county medical examiner. Brooks’s killing comes as protests against racism and police violence continue across the country. The Atlanta police chief has already resigned, and the officer who shot Brooks has been fired. “What we saw happen to Mr. Brooks is unfortunately something that we continue to see repeated in our communities all across this country,” says Mary Hooks, co-director of Southerners on New Ground, which is part of the National Bail Out collective and the Movement for Black Lives. “What we continue to see is police being called in as first responders to things that they should not be showing up for.”

        • Now More Than Ever, We Need Images of Black Dignity and Resistance

          The Nation and Magnum Foundation are partnering on a visual chronicle of untold stories as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and the rest of the world—read more from The Invisible Front Line.—The Editors

        • America’s Racist Police Won’t Be Dismantled by 2 Weeks of Protests

          Like all black parents, I believe that talking to my children about the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd also involves contextualizing the current struggle against police brutality within the generations-long struggle for equal rights. I need my sons to know that the fight they see on television is part of a larger struggle that started long before they were born and that they must take up after I am gone.

        • Congress Can Lead the Charge on Divesting From Law Enforcement

          The acknowledgment that Black Lives Matter demands bold and visionary leadership at the national level.

        • “He Wanted to Hurt Me”: New York Protester Hospitalized After NY Officer Shoved Her to the Ground

          In a rare development, a New York police officer has been charged with assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing, after a viral video showed him violently shoving a peaceful protester to the ground as he shouted an expletive and a misogynistic slur. We speak with Dounya Zayer about the attack she faced during a protest against police brutality in Brooklyn on May 29 and how she suffered a seizure and was hospitalized with a concussion. We’re also joined by one of her attorneys, Tahanie Aboushi.

        • ‘We Should Be Committed to Decriminalizing if We Want to Help Communities of Color’

          Janine Jackson interviewed the Drug Policy Alliance’s Maritza Perez about the war on drugs and overpolicing for the June 12, 2020, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

        • California Domestic Workers Fight To End Exclusion From National Workplace Protections

          Soccoro Diaz is a domestic worker and worker leader at the Women’s Action and Solidarity Alliance (ALMAS). After fires devastated Santa Rosa in northern California, Diaz says she was forced to work “cleaning homes in the evacuation zone.”

          “I got very sick and got very strong physical reactions being exposed to smoke and toxic ash. It got me sick for several days,” Diaz told Shadowproof.

        • Murdered in silence Police ignored rape allegations and death threats reported by her mother. Now this 12-year-old girl has been found dead outside Krasnoyarsk.

          On June 1, a 12-year-old girl was found murdered in the Siberian town of Nizhnyaya Koya, Krasnoyarsk Krai. She had gone missing two days earlier, after leaving home to go to the playground. Her body, which was found in an abandoned water tank, showed signs of violence.

        • Defund the Police, Invest in Communities

          Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division released a damning report on the Ferguson, Missouri police department.

        • When White People Call the Cops on Black People, They Lay Bare Classic US Racism

          By now, everyone should be familiar with the incident in Central Park, when a white woman named Amy Cooper confronted a Black man named Christian Cooper (no relation) and called the police on him, claiming that he was threatening her. The incident was captured on a video that went viral, and the retribution to Amy Cooper was swift. She was excoriated on social media, fired from her job, temporarily had her dog taken from her (the same dog she refused to put on a leash), and now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing for the enactment of a bill popularly known as the “Amy Cooper” bill, first introduced in 2018 by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, which could deem a false 911 call based on race a hate crime.

        • Tulsa Officials Tell Trump to Rethink Planned Campaign Rally Over COVID-19 Fears

          Local officials and media in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are asking President Donald Trump to reconsider plans to hold his first re-election campaign rally there since the coronavirus pandemic forced him to suspend traveling.

        • Atlanta Organizer: Rayshard Brooks Killing Shows Urgent Need to Dismantle Police

          Protests have erupted in Atlanta, where the police killing of unarmed African American man Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot has outraged residents. The autopsy revealed that Brooks was shot in the back as he was running away, and the death has been ruled a homicide by the county medical examiner. Brooks’s killing comes as protests against racism and police violence continue across the country. The Atlanta police chief has already resigned, and the officer who shot Brooks has been fired. “What we saw happen to Mr. Brooks is unfortunately something that we continue to see repeated in our communities all across this country,” says Mary Hooks, co-director of Southerners on New Ground, which is part of the National Bail Out collective and the Movement for Black Lives. “What we continue to see is police being called in as first responders to things that they should not be showing up for.”

      • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

        • US Falls Out Of Top 10 Fastest Broadband Speeds

          For all of the talk about being #1, America’s broadband networks are routinely mediocre. The U.S. consistently ranks among the middle of the pack in speeds and overall availability, while Americans continue to pay some of the highest prices in the developed world for both fixed and mobile broadband. The reasons aren’t mysterious: we’ve let a bunch of telecom monopolies not only dominate the sector, we’ve allowed their corrupt influence over state and federal lawmakers and regulators to become so pronounced, they dictate most US telecom policy and literally write the law. Both with a relentless focus on hamstringing competition.

      • Monopolies

        • Copyrights

          • Internet Archive Closing National Emergency Library Two Weeks Early, Due To Lawsuit, Despite How Useful It’s Been

            Last week, the Internet Archive announced that it was going to close the National Emergency Library two weeks earlier than it had originally planned to do so, because of the disappointing lawsuit against the organization by most of the major publishing houses. As we said when that lawsuit was filed, while the publishers may win (and may force the entire Internet Archive to close), it’s still a blatant attack on culture. And, of course, the lawsuit isn’t just over the National Emergency Library, but the entire concept of Controlled Digital Lending, the underpinning of the Internet Archive’s OpenLibrary, which lets you check out scans of books in a one-to-one relationship with physical books the library holds.

          • Sharing Openly Licensed Content on Social Media: A Conversation with GLAM

            How often do you debate whether to share an openly licensed work on social media? If you do share a work, how often do you fret over whether you’ve provided proper attribution? I’ll answer first: All the time!

          • Pirate Downloads of ‘Gone With The Wind’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’ Surge after Being Pulled

            Last week several movies and TV-shows were pulled from online streaming platforms for depicting racist and prejudicial content. Suddenly, the 1939 film classic Gone With the Wind was taken offline, while the TV-show Little Britain and an episode from Fawlty Towers were purged too. This ignited a widespread debate as well as a surge in downloads for these titles on pirate sites.

          • The Pirate Bay’s IP Address Belongs to a VPN Provider, ISP Tells Court

            An IP address allegedly used by The Pirate Bay and claimed to be owned by a Swedish ISP does not belong to the provider, it’s being claimed. According to Obenetwork, the IP address is actually operated by local VPN service OVPN. As a result, the ISP has asked a court to withdraw an information injunction obtained by a pair of Scandinavian movie companies.

The ‘Stronger’ Patents Act (STRONGER Patents Act of 2019) Killed by Coronavirus

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

Long live the SCOTUS determination on Alice

EFF on STRONGER Patents Act of 2019

Summary: The STRONGER Patents Act of 2019 (or 2018, or even 2017) is nowhere to be seen this year; it’s safe to say that all momentum is gone now, along with the push to bring software patents back

THE situation in the US isn’t too encouraging when it comes to patents. It’s not so discouraging, either. Basically, the USPTO carries on granting many software patents in defiance of 35 U.S.C. § 101. Yesterday Patently-O said that “[i]t is a slow patent news day,” albeit we found quite a few items and put them in Daily Links. For instance, there was this bounty against a patent troll with a “patent [that] generally relates to a customer computer and vendor computer that are interconnected by means of a network.” (Abstract? Seems likely.)

“We just didn’t envision something like COVID-19 coming along, in effect ending all hope and suspending any remaining ‘progress’ that the lobbyists were claiming.”Due to our focus on the EPO we haven’t been covering American patent affairs lately (barely at all this year, except in Daily Links), but this is likely a positive thing. What we post is typically reactionary, i.e. a response to displeasing things such as falsehoods and injustices. From what we can gather, based on recent court outcomes, software patents aren’t coming back to the US any time soon. Remember how last summer there was an effort to make patents even weaker with a bill called “STRONGER”? Where is that now? After 3 consecutive summers, this time around nothing is even being tabled to that effect. It’s dead. It’s finished. Just as we predicted all along.

Does this surprise us? Not at all. We just didn’t envision something like COVID-19 coming along, in effect ending all hope and suspending any remaining ‘progress’ that the lobbyists were claiming. Big law firms reportedly cut salaries and lay people off. This means fewer lawsuits and it is likely also caused by fewer lawsuits being filed. As one site put it: “Major law firms have been attempting to manage their expenses by using the cost-cutting measures of salary cuts and benefits reductions, and some have even gone so far as to conduct furloughs and layoffs.”

IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 15, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:16 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

A Poem for King Nadella, Our Father and Mentor

Posted in Humour, Microsoft at 12:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We love you Satya Techrights loves Satya

Summary: A poem for Satya Nadella, advised by Bill Gates to confess his love for us all (Microsoft is all about love now)

THE JOB you have done is splendid and fine
Your company now feels very much like mine

“JEDI” is yours, return of the Jedi
Bombing dark people with the help of Hey Hi (AI)

ICE contracts are cool, even cooler than ice
The Orange One you appeased, oh how very nice

Dictators are no villains, only misunderstood
GitHub needs censoring because openly-shared projects are all ‘nasty’ under the hood

Tax evaded is lots of money saved
Oh, thank you for sparing us the public budget we could have had

In conclusion and in a cordial fashion we wish to congratulate
Not to demonise, except those whom you hate

Offensive Words We Should Uproot and Eliminate From Technology

Posted in Humour at 12:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Microsoft Enabling Slavery (master copy of an article from 10 years ago)

Tarantino Telling A Story: If I remove violence from all my movies then violence will cease to exist... You realise how stupid that sounds, right?

Summary: Technology is the domain of the privileged and the affluent; we can put an end to this inequality and the growing injustice by simply removing the principal barrier, which is bad words

SINCE it’s nowadays fashionable to simply delete any mention of any word that someone dislikes seeing, let’s go further and also remove the following technical terms:

  1. Monitor – we should say “screen” instead. Monitors are used in hospitals to observe the health of ill people. We must not cause people panic (tragedy relived), reminding them of the time they spent on life support or some near-death experience.
  2. Terminal – we must all say “shell” instead. Terminal is the state of a patient who is likely dead by now; when we say terminal it can trigger some bad memories, or someone like a long-lost loved one (often a relative or parent).
  3. Ncurses – we should speak of interactive shells; the religious user is likely to associate curses with very bad things, leading to angst.
  4. Daemon – see above. We must not remind the religious user of demons. Use buzzwords like “microservice” instead (with the caveat below).
  5. Services – this term should be reconsidered; it’s too similar to servant, which is a synonym of slave in some contexts.
  6. Wiki – use the term “collaborative page” instead. Wiki is Hawaiian for “fast” or “quick” and there may be racial connotations associated with Hawaii, which is historically a disputed territory with mixed roots and language disputes.
  7. Web (or World Wide Web) – Arachnophobia means that the term can invoke negative feelings or overt fear. Use the term “Interpage” instead.
  8. Mouse – same as above, albeit fear of rodents. Say “pointing device” instead.
  9. Command/instruction/directory – this implies a relationship of subjugation and/or servitude; say “guidance” instead.
  10. Laptop – there may be sexual connotations impacting that word. So “portable computer” would be better. No more bad jokes in the workplace.
  11. Home – /home needs to be aliased or replaced by /location as some people are homeless and this directory structure may remind them of their misfortune.
  12. File manager – the term manager implies inequality; it should be called file organiser instead.

There are no reasons not to implement most of the changes above. After all, this only requires changing some texts and strings in a few places and it doesn’t cost anything. What’s more, if fewer people find computers offensive, then more of them will adopt computers. It will improve the diversity of computer users.

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