Links 12/8/2020: Go 1.15, LibreOffice 7.0 Downloaded About Half a Million Times, LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.4

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Librem 14 Enhancements

        The Hardware kill switches have seen a number of enhancements. This is also the first Purism laptop to ship with a BIOS write protection switch and all M.2 key-E interfaces implemented.

        The Librem 14 is our most powerful and most secure laptop yet. If you want full control over your computer with cutting-edge, powerful hardware, the Librem 14 is the best (some would say the only) choice. Make it yours here.

      • The 2020 System76 Oryx Pro: Their Best 15″ Laptop Yet!

        I’ve had the new System76 Oryx Pro in the studio for a while now, and in this full review, I’ll give you guys my thoughts. We’ll take a look at the hardware, switchable graphics, and discover the meaning of life along the way.

      • Is Microsoft finally getting its Windows update act together?

        Updating Windows has become a bad joke. I can install three Linux distributions in the same time it takes me to make a single serious Windows upgrade.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-08-12 | Linux Headlines 187

        Mozilla announces a restructuring that lays off 250 employees, LibreOffice 7 posts an impressive adoption rate, Go version 1.15 is out with improvements to the toolchain, and WordPress 5.5 brings significant changes to the platform.

      • Linux Server Salvage | LINUX Unplugged 366

        We refurbish a special machine from the Jupiter Broadcasting Hardware Archive and try out Matrix, the one chat platform to rule them all.

        Plus Dan and Cassidy from elementary OS join us to discuss version 6.0.

      • mintCast 341 – GRUB Breaks the Internet

        First up, in our Wanderings, I’ve been browsing, Joe’s been fixing docks, Moss has been slowly filling up his machine, and Tony Watts gets a new axe

        Then, our news Linux Mint gets stats, Gnome squashes a memory bug, and Ubuntu hits its first 20.04 point release.

      • Useful Tools Within Emacs For Writers

        There seems to be a misconception about Emacs. Many think that Emacs is only useful for programming. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you do any kind of writing, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the tools that Emacs offers.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel

        • Intel Iris Gallium3D Driver Adds Compute Kernel Support In Mesa 20.3

          While Mesa 20.2 isn’t even releasing for a few weeks, Mesa 20.3 is already seeing new feature work that will debut next quarter.

          Intel’s Jason Ekstrand has landed a set of patches for handling of kernels within Iris, Intel’s modern Gallium3D driver. He commented, “This MR contains most of the patches required to handle kernels in iris. I’ve had them lying around in a branch in some form or another for a while. We should upstream what we can.”

        • Intel Making Progress On Their “mOS” Modified Linux Kernel Running Lightweight Kernels

          For a while now Intel has been quietly been working on “mOS” as the “multi-OS” that is a modified version of the Linux kernel that in turn is running lightweight kernels for high-performance computing purposes.

        • POWER10 Virtualization, Intel SERIALIZE Come For KVM On Linux 5.9

          Sent in last week for the Linux 5.9 kernel merge window were the initial batch of changes to the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) while today some additional interesting changes were sent out.

          This latest material for KVM in Linux 5.9 includes:

          - Support for the SERIALIZE instruction on KVM x86/x86_64. Intel’s SERIALIZE ensures all flags/register/memory modifications are complete and all buffered writes drained before moving on to execute the next instruction. This can be used for stopping speculative execution and prefetching of modified kernel. The first CPUs expected with SERIALIZE are Sapphire Rapids and Alder Lake next year while Linux has already begun preparing for SERIALIZE where relevant.

        • Ubuntu Is Looking At Offering Better WiFi Support By Using Intel’s IWD

          Ubuntu developers are looking at using Intel IWD as the iNET wireless daemon to potentially replace WPA_Supplicant for offering a better WiFi experience.

          Intel’s open-source team has always been working on IWD as a potential replacement to WPA_Supplicant while recently the Ubuntu folks have found it has “mostly reached feature parity” now to WPA_Supplicant albeit is in need of more testing on the desktop side.

    • Graphics

      • Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 20.Q3 Released For Linux

        AMD has released their Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 20.Q3 driver as their quarterly update to this enterprise-rated driver for their professional/workstation graphics offerings. In step with the new Windows driver release is also the 20.Q3 packaged Linux driver for enterprise distributions including RHEL/CentOS 8.1, RHEL/CentOS 7.8, Ubuntu 18.04.4, and SUSE SLED/SLES 15.


        With being based on the older 20.10 branch and not the latest 20.30 series and as acknowledged by the release notes, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is not supported by the 20.Q3 driver release. RHEL/CentOS 8.2 also isn’t officially supported but jut 8.1.

      • Lockdep False Positives, some stories about

        Recently we’ve looked a bit at lockdep annotations in the GPU subsystems, and I figured it’s a good opportunity to explain how this all works, and what the tradeoffs are. Creating working locking hierarchies for the kernel isn’t easy, making sure the kernel’s locking validator lockdep is happy and reviewers don’t have their brains explode even more so.

      • Mike Blumenkrantz: Formatting

        One thing that’s everywhere in mesa (at least outside of mesa core) is enum pipe_format. This enum is used to describe image formats.

    • Applications

      • Ulauncher – Ground control to Major Tux

        Application launchers are an interesting phenomenon. They are both an amazing piece of software and also something that most people won’t ever really need – or understand. They sit in the twilight zone between the Internet and your system menu. Which is what makes them so difficult to design and implement correctly.

        The best example of a successful tool of this nature is Krunner. It’s integrated into the Plasma desktop, and it works well. Practical, versatile, extensible, full of goodies. But then, when I try to think of other candidates, my brain doesn’t really throw any easy answers. Various Linux desktop did and do attempt to offer smart menus, but none of them really have that almost-AI super-tool. This led me on a pilgrimage, and what I found is a program called Ulauncher. Stop, testing time.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Terminal Phase in Linux Magazine (Polish edition)

        Hey look at that! My terminal-space-shooter-game Terminal Phase made an appearance in the Polish version of Linux Magazine. I had no idea, but Michal Majchrzak both tipped me off to it and took the pictures. (Thank you!)

        I don’t know Polish but I can see some references to Konami and SHMUP (shoot-em-up game). The screenshot they have isn’t the one I published, so I guess the author got it running too… I hope they had fun!

      • Imperator: Rome gets a major free update, new DLC and cross-store multiplayer

        Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio put out a massive upgrade for Imperator: Rome which includes a free update, an expansion and cross-platform / cross-store online play.

        There’s quite a lot to dissect here, so let’s start with the free content update. The 1.5 “Menander” update went out, as part of their focus on smaller and more regular updates to various systems. With the main point being to add greater depth to cultural management in the game.

      • Prepare your hard drive as another Steam Game Festival is coming in October

        After a massive success with the most recent Steam Game Festival back in June, it’s going to return for another round later this year in October. This is where Steam users get to play through a ton of limited-time demos, which originally started back in December 2019 to go along with The Game Awards.

        From a post on the Steamworks Development group on Steam, the date is confirmed to be October 7 – 13. Valve mentioned in the announcement that they will soon open up the developer opt-in for the event, giving developers another chance to get a demo out there and get more eyes on their game. Developers don’t have long, as the opt-in date is only open from between August 19 – 26.

      • DRAG | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 20.04 | Native

        DRAG running natively through Linux.

      • Sci-fi racer with fancy 4-point physics ‘DRAG’ is now in Early Access

        Orontes Games have finally unleashed DRAG, their sci-fi racer with advanced 4-point physics into Early Access. Note: key provided to GOL by the developer.

        Introducing what they say is a “new kind of vehicle-physics”, their 4-way contact point traction technology (or 4CPT-technology for short) simulates every component of the vehicles in real time. The result is supposed to give you “realistic, dynamic” behaviour with a full damage model, so expect to see wheels flying across your screen when in multiplayer.

      • My experiences of Valve’s VR on Linux

        As the proud and excited owner of a shiny new Valve Index kit to go with my almost-new all-AMD rig, I thought I’d outline the journey to getting it all working, exclusively on Linux.

        Now bear in mind that I’m not amazingly Linux-savvy. I’ve been using it since the early 2000’s, sure, and full time, exclusively, since 2013, but I’m not very interested in learning the guts of this stuff. I’m extremely technical as a network nerd, but my O/S is just a tool to let me run cool things. I want to be a “normal” consumer of that O/S and if things don’t work out of the box, I take a dim view of it and I don’t have a lot of patience for terminal hacks or “compiling my own kernel”.

      • Inscryption from the developer of Pony Island has a new trailer

        Inscryption from Daniel Mullins Games (Pony Island, The Hex) sounds absolutely wild and it’s got a brand new trailer but we’ve got quite some time to wait on it.

        Based upon the title Sacrifices Must Be Made, which Mullins made for the Ludum Dare 43 Game Jam, Inscryption is described as an “inky black card-based odyssey that blends the deckbuilding roguelike, escape-room style puzzles, and psychological horror into a blood-laced smoothie”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Windows Store Monthly Statistics

          For completeness, overall acquisitions since the stuff is in the store:

          Kate – Advanced Text Editor – 53,919 acquisitions

          Okular – More than a reader – 45,885 acquisitions

          Filelight – Disk Usage Visualizer – 9,033 acquisitions

          Kile – A user-friendly TeX/LaTeX editor – 5,446 acquisitions

          KStars – Astronomy Software – 2,935 acquisitions

          Elisa – Modern Music Player – 1,710 acquisitions

        • [Krita] SeExpr status update!

          It’s been quite a while since my last post. Exams for my teaching certification have not gone as expected – had to pull out after being flattened in quite a critical one…

          Buuuut! I am glad to announce that the SeExpr documentation is now available in the Krita manual!

        • Week 9 and 10 : [Krita] GSoC Project Report

          Last two weeks I worked on implementing saving and loading of storyboard items and fixed some bugs. For implementing saving and loading I created a copy of the data from the models in KisDocument. That data is kept in sync with the data in models.

          Saving and loading of storyboard items are working now. You can save a krita document with storyboards in it and the storyboard data will be saved. Thumbnails are not saved into the .kra file but are loaded using the frame number when the document is loaded. Other than that all data related to the storyboard such as scene name, comments, duration are saved. Since the data is in KisDocument we will have storyboards for each of the .kra files.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36.5 Desktop Update Released with Various Improvements and Bug Fixes

          Coming about a month after the release of the GNOME 3.36.4 update, GNOME 3.36.5 is here as the latest stable bugfix release for the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment series. As expected, the new update is packed with updated core components and apps to keep GNOME 3.36’s stability and reliability at the higher standards.

          Highlights of the GNOME 3.36.5 update include Firefox Sync improvements for the Flatpak version of the Epiphany (GNOME Web) web browser, along with a fix for the way newly created tabs are ordered when closing new tabs, as well as a fix for a drag-and-drop crash in File Roller that occurred when cancelling the file overwrite process.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.4

          LibreELEC 9.2.4 (Leia) has arrived based upon Kodi v18.8.

          Changes since 9.2.3:

          firmware fixes for RPi (fixes booting issues)
          Kodi 18.8
          Kodi 19 Matrix:

          We have currently no plans yet to create an official Alpha release of LE10 with the Alpha version of Kodi 19. Due the drawn out release cycle of Kodi and the experiences from the past few years we are waiting a bit longer to avoid major problems. Nightly builds could be downloaded like usual, that includes the latest unstable development snapshot of LE10/Kodi19.

      • BSD

        • Benchmarking NetBSD, second evaluation report

          This report was written by Apurva Nandan as part of Google Summer of Code 2020.

          This blog post is in continuation of GSoC Reports: Benchmarking NetBSD, first evaluation report blog and describes my progress in the second phase of GSoC 2020 under The NetBSD Foundation.

          In this phase, I worked on the automation of the regression suite made using Phoronix Test Suite (PTS) and its integration with Anita.

          The automation framework consists of two components Phoromatic server, provided by Phoronix Test Suite in pkgsrc, and Anita, a Python tool for automating NetBSD installation.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • OBS NDI™ Plugin on openSUSE

          The NDI plugin offers a fairly easy way to send OBS video signal (presumably other applications can take advantage of this too) to another OBS instance on another machine. This can come in handy for numerous reasons such as splitting up workloads between machines by capturing output from one machine, such as gaming computer, to stream with a dedicated unit that interfaces with YouTube. This has advantages in that you can move the machine doing the heavy lifting into another room or across the room as to not hear the fans and so forth. In my case, my primary machine is getting long in the tooth. I prefer the setup I have as far as the screen layout and height of the computer as well as the location. I use my AMD Desktop / server / workstation machine to talk to YouTube or Twitch directly with that OBS instance and record locally in effect freeing up my laptop from quite a bit of the workload.

        • Data Explosion – Is the Cloud Your Silver Bullet?
        • Women in Tech: “Aptitude has nothing to do with gender or inborn capabilities”

          Women are underrepresented in the tech sector —myth or reality? Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Jessica Yu, Linux Kernel Developer at SUSE.
          A research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

          Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Jessica Yu, Linux Kernel Developer at SUSE.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM, the Linux Foundation, and Grillo unveil global earthquake early-warning system

          Only a handful of countries (Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, and China) have nation-wide earthquake early-warning systems. Isn’t that weird?

          Many other countries have alert systems in place for certain portions of the population but a significant portion of the estimated 2.7 billion people who live in daily risk of experiencing a dangerous earthquake remain uncovered.

        • Introduction to vDPA kernel framework

          This posts provides a high level overview of the vDPA (virtio data path acceleration) kernel framework merged to the Linux kernel in March 2020. This effort spanned almost three years, involved many developers and went through a number of iterations until agreed upon by the upstream community. For additional information on vDPA in general please refer to our previous post, “Achieving network wirespeed in an open standard manner: introducing vDPA.”

          The vDPA kernel framework is a pillar in productizing the end-to-end vDPA solution and it enables NIC vendors to integrate their vDPA NIC kernel drivers into the framework as part of their productization efforts.

        • Red Hat Begins Talking Up The New RHEL Flatpak Runtime

          With the recently released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, the Flatpak sandboxing and app distribution tech is ready to shine and there is also the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Flatpak runtime.

          The Flatpak runtime and SDK images are supported with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 with a focus on containerized desktop applications. The new RHEL Flatpak Runtime follows the traditional Red Hat Enterprise Linux lifecycle that is expected for a much longer duration than the likes of the FreeDesktop.org Flatpak Runtime. Red Hat intends to maintain their new Flatpak runtime for the same 10-year cycle as RHEL8.

        • Introducing the Red Hat Flatpak runtime for desktop containers

          For many years, application developers who wanted to create desktop applications for Linux had to build their applications not just for a particular Linux operating system, but for a particular version of that operating system. Whether it was on the server-side or the desktop, developers wanted to create applications that reliably worked the same in development and production environments. They wanted to upgrade the production environment without having to rebuild and revalidate every running application.

          Containers solved these requirements for server-side applications, but not for the desktop. That’s why we need Flatpak, a container system just for desktop applications. In this article, I offer an overview of Flatpak, its integration with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.2, and what developers can expect from the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Flatpak runtime.

        • Fedora’s FESCo Approves Using DXVK As Their Default Wine Direct3D Back-End

          Last month was the proposal for Fedora to make DXVK their default back-end for Direct3D 9/10/11 usage with their packaged Wine build rather than WineD3D. That’s now been approved for Fedora 33!

          The Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) has approved the proposal to use DXVK by default with their Wine package rather than WineD3D, which maps D3D 9/10/11 over OpenGL. With DXVK going from Direct3D to Vulkan it generally delivers sizable performance benefits especially for modern Windows games.

        • How RBC Built Its Own GPU Farm for an Artificial Intelligence-Powered Banking Platform

          Its vendors, Nvidia and Red Hat, expect lessons from the collaborative project will benefit the broader fintech space, as well as other industries.

        • Best YUM Command Examples For Everyone

          List Of Best YUM Command Examples For RHEL or CentOS users.

          YUM or Yellowdog Updater, Modified is a free package management system for RPM-based Linux distributions. It is e de-facto tool for installing and maintaining packages on RHEL, CentOS, and few other Linux operating systems.

          In this post, we are going to show you some of the best YUM command examples that might be of help.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian GNU/Linux 11 (Bullseye) Artwork Contest Is Now Open for Entries

          This is the moment for aspiring artists and designers who want to display their work in front of millions of Debian users to submit their best artwork for the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 11 (Bullseye) operating system series, due for release in mid-2021.

          Submissions are opened until November 1st, 2020, but your artwork needs to meet the following specifications. For example, you will have to create a wiki page for your artwork proposal at DebianArt/Themes, write down a few words about your idea, use an image format that can be later modified using free and open source software, and add a license that lets the Debian Project distribute your artwork within Debian GNU/Linux.

        • Artwork Help Is Needed For Debian 11 “Bullseye”

          If you are more of an artistic type than programmer, there still is plenty of valuable assistance that can be provided to free software projects… The latest call for help is that of the Debian project in looking for the Debian 11 “Bullseye” desktop artwork.

          The formal call for the Debian 11 artwork proposals has been sent out in coming up with the desktop look-and-feel for this free software GNU/Linux platform come its release next year.

        • Finnix 121 Released: Linux LiveCD For System Administrators

          For those who don’t know, Finnix is one of the oldest Debian GNU/Linux-based Live CD operating systems for system administrators. It is still actively maintained and used for tasks such as filesystem recovery, network monitoring, and OS installation.

        • [Updated] Michael Stapelberg: Optional dependencies don’t work

          In the i3 projects, we have always tried hard to avoid optional dependencies. There are a number of reasons behind it, and as I have recently encountered some of the downsides of optional dependencies firsthand, I summarized my thoughts in this article.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Interest in Kodi Declines After a Turmultuous Few Years of Piracy Headlines

        After many years of being mentioned in the same breath as movie and TV show piracy, interest in the Kodi media player appears to have peaked and is now on the decline. That’s according to Google Trends data which suggests that after reaching a high in early 2017, interest via search is now on a continuous downward trend.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Browser Wish List – Distressful Content Filtering

            On the other hands, they are system where you can shield yourself against the website practice. For example for privacy, you may want to use something like uMatrix where you can block everything by default, and allow certain HTTP responses type for each individual URIs. This is what I do on my main browser. It requests a strong effort in tailoring each individual pages. It’s a built a policy on the go. It creates general list for future sites (you may block Google Analytics for every future sites you will encounter), but still it doesn’t really learn more than that on how to act on your future browsing.

            We could imagine applying this method to distressful content with keywords in the page. In terms of distressful content, it may dramatically fail for the same reasons that universal shields fail. They don’t understand the content, they just apply a set of rules.

          • Firefox maker Mozilla axes a quarter of its workforce, blames coronavirus, vows to ‘develop new revenue streams’

            Firefox maker Mozilla has axed 250 employees, or a quarter of its workforce, claiming the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is to blame after hitting it in the wallet. The organization will also “ship new products faster and develop new revenue streams.”

            “Economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic have significantly impacted our revenue,” Mozilla Corp CEO Mitchell Baker said in a public statement today. “As a result, our pre-COVID plan was no longer workable.”

            Mozilla gets the vast, vast majority of its funding from Google, Yandex, and Baidu, who pay to be the default search engine in Firefox in their regions. In 2018, Moz had a $451m cash pile, 95 per cent of which, some $430m, was provided by these web giants. Those deals will expire [PDF, p25] in November 2020 unless renewed or renegotiated.

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: js13kGames 2020: A lean coding challenge with WebXR and Web Monetization

            Have you heard about the js13kGames competition? It’s an online code-golfing challenge for HTML5 game developers. The month-long competition has been happening annually since 2012; it runs from August 13th through September 13th. And the fun part? We set the size limit of the zip package to 13 kilobytes, and that includes all sources—from graphic assets to lines of JavaScript. For the second year in a row you will be able to participate in two special categories: WebXR and Web Monetization.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.0: A week in stats

          One week ago, we announced LibreOffice 7.0, our brand new major release. It’s packed with new features, and has many improvements to compatibility and performance too. So, what has happened in the week since the announcement? Let’s check out some stats…

          These are just stats for our official downloads page, of course – some Linux users will have acquired the new release via their distribution’s package repositories.

        • LibreOffice 7.0 Is Already Approaching A Half-Million Downloads
        • LibreOffice 7.0 approaches half a million downloads in week one

          Last week, The Document Foundation released LibreOffice 7.0 with features such as OpenDocument Format 1.3 support and Vulkan GPU-based acceleration. The Document Foundation has now published some stats about the first week of availability, including the fact the new office suite has been downloaded 422,938 times.

          The figure which The Document Foundation has published only represents the stats from the official downloads page so the figure is probably a bit higher as Linux users will download the new version from their respective package managers instead. Only a portion of Linux distributions, however, will have switched to LibreOffice 7.0 because the bigger ones like Ubuntu and Linux Mint are still offering LibreOffice 6.4 in their latest distributions.

        • Installing LibreOffice 7.0 On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          We’re happy LibreOffice 7.0 finally released early August this year. This tutorial explains things for you wanting to get it on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa. This tutorial offers you standard ways (Deb) as well as alternative ways (AppImage, Flatpak, Snap) you may choose to install it. For merely testing purpose you must start with the AppImage one as it is safest to your system. Finally, congratulations to LibreOffice community and gratitude to all the developers! Happy writing!

        • LibreOffice GSoC Week 9 Report

          I want to share with you the progress of this week.

        • LibreOffice GSoC Week 10 Report
      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.5 Arrived With These Awesome Features

          WordPress 5.5 is finally out. The content management system that powers most of the web has received a major update. If you are using WordPress or plan to host a website, you should check this out.

          As I said WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. With great power comes great responsibility. WordPress team keeps releasing security and optimization updates regularly.

          In WordPress 5.5, the team has focused on three aspects, speed, search, and security.


          But the benefit of using any open-source software is that hundreds of developers keep auditing popular plugins. Any vulnerability discovered in WP plugins is patched before it’s exploited in the wild. So to keep sites secure, it is immensely important to keep all plugins up-to-date.

          It often happens that the site admin miss updating a certain plugin. The update may contain a security fix or it is just a sweet feature release. WordPress will now take care of it all. It will check for plugins and themes updates twice a day. If the admin has toggled on the auto-update on plugins, then WordPress will apply any available update automatically.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Emacs 27.1 Released with Native JSON Parsing Support

            GNU Emacs 27.1 was released after almost one year of development. Here is what’s new and how to install it in Ubuntu.

            Emacs is available Snap Store, v27.1 will be available very soon.

            To install Emacs Snap, simply search for and install Emacs in Software utility.

          • GNU Emacs 27.1 Released: A Free/Libre And Open Source Text Editor

            GNU Emacs is one of the most powerful free/libre and open-source text editors, available for several operating systems regardless of the machine type such as GNU/Linux, BSD, macOS, Windows, and Solaris.

            Now, after a year of development, Nicolas Petton has released a new version 27.1 of the Emacs text editor. Obviously, it comes with a wide variety of new changes, ranging from installation, startup, and editing to changes in specialized modes and packages.

          • Stallman gives cryptocurrencies the thumbs down

            Open sauce guru Richard Stallman said he did not particularly like cryptocurrencies.

            In an interview in Cointelegraph, Stallman said that while he was not against them, and was not campaigning to eliminate them, “I just don’t particularly want to use them”.

            Stallman said that digital payment systems are fundamentally dangerous if they are not engineered to ensure privacy.

            Countries like China which are thinking about bringing them in are the enemy of privacy.

            “China shows what totalitarian surveillance is like. I consider that hell on earth. That’s part of why I haven’t used cryptocurrencies that are issued by the community. If the cryptocurrency is issued by a government, it would surveille people just the way credit cards do and PayPal does, and all those other systems meaning completely unacceptable.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Go 1.15 Release Notes

          The latest Go release, version 1.15, arrives six months after Go 1.14. Most of its changes are in the implementation of the toolchain, runtime, and libraries. As always, the release maintains the Go 1 promise of compatibility. We expect almost all Go programs to continue to compile and run as before.

        • Go 1.15 Released With Much Improved Linker, New CPU Mitigations

          Go 1.15 is out as a rather significant update to this popular, modern programming language.

          Go 1.15 brings a wide variety of improvements including:

          - The Go linker now has much lower resource use, is faster, and has improved code quality. Generally for large Go programs the linking process is around 20% faster while using around 30% less memory.

        • RcppSimdJson 0.1.1: More Features

          A first update following for the exciting RcppSimdJson 0.1.0 release last month is now on CRAN. Version 0.1.1 brings further enhancements such direct parsing of raw chars, working with compressed files as well as much expanded querying ability all thanks to Brendan, some improvements to our demos thanks to Daniel as well as a small fix via a one-liner borrowed from upstream for a reported UBSAN issue.

          RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic and genuinely impressive simdjson library by Daniel Lemire and collaborators. Via very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in parsing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed; see the video of the talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (also voted best talk).

        • Jonathan Dowland: Generic Haskell

          When I did the work described earlier in template haskell, I also explored generic programming in Haskell to solve a particular problem. StrIoT is a program generator: it outputs source code, which may depend upon other modules, which need to be imported via declarations at the top of the source code files.

          The data structure that StrIoT manipulates contains information about what modules are loaded to resolve the names that have been used in the input code, so we can walk that structure to automatically derive an import list. The generic programming tools I used for this are from Structure Your Boilerplate (SYB), a module written to complement a paper of the same name.

        • 9 reasons I upgraded from AngularJS to Angular

          In 2010, Google released AngularJS, an open source, JavaScript-based frontend structure for developing single-page applications (SPAs) for the internet. With its move to version 2.0 in 2016, the framework’s name was shortened to Angular. AngularJS is still being developed and used, but Angular’s advantages mean it’s a smart idea to migrate to the newer version.

        • [Old/Odd] 5 news feautures of PHP-7.2

          Before PHP 7.2 the object keyword was used to convert one data type to another (boxing and unboxing), for example, an array to an object of the sdtClass class and/or vice versa, as of PHP 7.2 the object data type can be used as parameter type or as function return type.

        • Python

          • How To Build A Simple Virtual Assistant Using Python

            Virtual assistants are everywhere from Alexa, to Google Home, to Apple Siri. They help us check the weather, make phone calls, control the thermostat, door locks, and other smart home devices e.t.c

            In this article, I will be walking you through how to create a simple virtual assistant using Google Speech Recognition and IBM Watson Text to Speech in Python.

          • Deep Learning in Keras – Building a Deep Learning Model

            Deep learning is one of the most interesting and promising areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning currently. With great advances in technology and algorithms in recent years, deep learning has opened the door to a new era of AI applications.

            In many of these applications, deep learning algorithms performed equal to human experts and sometimes surpassed them.

            Python has become the go-to language for Machine Learning and many of the most popular and powerful deep learning libraries and frameworks like TensorFlow, Keras, and PyTorch are built in Python.

            In this series, we’ll be using Keras to perform Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA), Data Preprocessing and finally, build a Deep Learning Model and evaluate it.

            In this stage, we will build a deep neural-network model that we will train and then use to predict house prices.

          • Return modified string with Python

            Hello and welcome back, today I have solved another python related problem on CodeWars and would like to post the solution here.

            The question is as follows:-

            Given 2 strings, a and b, return a string of the form short+long+short, with the shorter string on the outside and the long string on the inside. The strings will not be the same length, but they may be empty ( length 0 ).

          • Python 3.9.0rc1

            This is the first release candidate of Python 3.9

            This release, 3.9.0rc1, is the penultimate release preview. Entering the release candidate phase, only reviewed code changes which are clear bug fixes are allowed between this release candidate and the final release. The second candidate and the last planned release preview is currently planned for 2020-09-14.

          • Python 3.9.0rc1 is now available

            Python 3.9.0 is almost ready. This release, 3.9.0rc1, is the penultimate release preview. You can get it here:


            Entering the release candidate phase, only reviewed code changes which are clear bug fixes are allowed between this release candidate and the final release. The second candidate and the last planned release preview is currently planned for 2020-09-14.

            Please keep in mind that this is a preview release and its use is not recommended for production environments.

          • The Inner Workings of: Arq

            The main point of (what I colloquially call) a job library is, essentially, to execute a function (i.e. job) somewhere else, and potentially at a different time. When using a sync approach to web services (such as when using non-async Django or Flask), the limitations of the synchronous IO model basically require the use of a job library to execute logic outside of the context of a single request handler – if you don’t want to do the logic in the scope of a request (and make the request take longer), you need to do it somewhere else, so you need a job library like Celery. A simple example might be an HTTP interface to send an email to a lot of recipients. You might not want the request to wait until all the emails have been sent to return a response since that might take a long time, so you would just schedule a job to run somewhere else to do the work.

            Job libraries like Celery basically require you to run special worker processes in addition to your web handler processes, and the worker processes use a database to get instructions to run functions, and then they run them.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In | GSoc | #11
          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #433 (Aug. 11, 2020)
        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Decision Making With If Else and Case Statements in Bash Scripts

            In this chapter of bash beginner series, you’ll learn about using if-else, nested if else and case statements in bash scripts.

          • Why I still love tcsh after all these years

            consider myself a happy Bash user. However, when I started exploring Unix, it was on a proprietary Unix system that provided tcsh by default, so my earliest shell experiences were on a modern version of the C shell (csh). That turned out to be a fortunate accident because tcsh was also the shell of choice at the film studio where I worked later in my career.

            To this day, there are several tasks I associate with tcsh, even though there’s no logical correlation there. I still use tcsh on at least one system, if only to stay in practice. I also keep it installed on all my systems to maintain compatibility with my own tcsh scripts and to ensure I can launch it when I need to write a script I prefer to have in tcsh.

        • Rust

        • Laravel

  • Leftovers

    • Comix Nation
    • Avengers, Assemble
    • Woody Guthrie Lives!
    • The Love Poems of Virginia

      Which is to say: You do not want To share a language, lover. You want to do something. You want to constitute an enemy. You want to organize. You want To learn. You want to work.

    • Alleging ‘Cover-Up to Protect Secretary Bernhardt,’ Lawmakers Demand Criminal Perjury Probe Into Top Interior Official

      “Officials who violate the public trust and break the law must be held accountable.”

    • Status Update

      across a screen in Silicon Valley where some kid codes We are safe. All’s well, we buzz from our train

    • Americans Scorned

      Trump administration orders shortening census taking by a month and slowing the activities of the United States Postal Service that may impact mail-in balloting have a common denominator: both scorn the American people.

    • The Biden-Harris logo is here

      The new Biden logo uses the sans-serif typeface Decimal, unlike the previous logo Biden used during the primaries which was set in the sharper-edged sans serif Brother 1816. Decimal was released in 2019 by Hoefler & Co., the type foundry behind former President Obama’s campaign typeface Gotham. Decimal was inspired by vintage watch lettering and makes the new logo appear sturdier. Biden senior creative adviser Robyn Kanner told Yello in July the campaign decided to introduce it into its visual identity because it was “true as time.”

    • Lebanon’s Gov’t Resigns Amid Public Rage over Beirut Blast, But Protesters Demand Structural Change

      After days of protests, Lebanon’s government has resigned following the devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut that killed 200 people and injured thousands. The port blast, the source of which was 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate left unattended in a warehouse for more than six years, occurred as Lebanon was already facing political, economic and public health crises. We speak with Ziad Abu-Rish, a historian and research fellow at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies and co-director of Bard College’s Masters of Arts program in human rights and the arts, who says despite public outrage toppling the government, structural change may be harder to attain. “The fall of cabinets and even the holding of early parliamentary elections are not necessarily signs that fundamental transformation is underway in Lebanon,” Abu-Rish says. “For now at least, this is politics as usual.”

    • Science

      • Android users now have a personal earthquake detector right on their phone

        Google is teaming with ShakeAlert in California that taps into a network of hundreds of seismometers installed across the state that “sends data to a central site where ground motion signals are analyzed, earthquakes are detected and warnings are issued.” According to ShakeAlert, studies show that the warning time would range from a few seconds to tens of seconds. That might not seem like much time, but even a few seconds could give someone time to take protective actions and save a life.

        But that’s not the really cool part. Beyond sending alerts, Googler is also turning Android phones everywhere into makeshift seismometers to help detect tremors. By using the accelerometer built into every handset, your phone will now be able to send a signal to an earthquake detection server if it detects something “it thinks might be an earthquake.”

    • Education

      • Scores of Education Experts Call on Schools to Reject Screen-Saturated Return to Learning

        “Now is the time for parents and teachers to come together and demand what children really need.”

      • Betsy DeVos’ Deadly Plan to Reopen Schools

        Districts need more funding, not less, to implement the CDC’s guidelines. Given that state and local governments are already cash-strapped, it’s estimated that K-12 schools need at least $245 billion in additional funding to put safety precautions in place — funding that Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration refuse to give.One might think an education secretary would be studying what kind of safety precautions would work best, and seeking emergency funding for those safeguards. Not DeVos. Just like her boss in the Oval Office, she’s been hard at work shafting working families to advance her personal agenda. In late April, she issued rules for how states should use the $13 billion allocated in the CARES Act for schools. Her rules would divert millions of dollars away from low-income schools into the coffers of wealthy private schools. It’s such a blatant violation of federal law that several states are suing her and her department. DeVos’ entire tenure has centered on shafting low-income students and their families — the very people she’s supposed to protect.She has repeatedly empowered the predatory for-profit college industry at the expense of the students they prey upon. Why? She has considerable financial stakes that are rife with conflicts of interest. Her financial investments are a web of holdings in for-profit colleges and student loan collectors.When DeVos took office, she repealed an Obama-era rule imposing stricter regulations and higher standards on for-profit colleges. She also stopped canceling the debts of students defrauded by these institutions — a move that has prompted 23 states to bring a lawsuit against her. In the process, she was even held in contempt of court for violating a federal court order. Now, in the middle of the worst public health crisis in more than a century, she’s jeopardizing the safety of our students, teachers, parents, bus drivers, and custodians, while rerouting desperately needed public school funds towards the private schools she’s always championed.Remember, when you vote against Trump this November — you’re voting against her, too. It’s a win-win.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Labor and Environmental Groups File Legal Petition Demanding Trump Solve ‘Unconscionable’ Shortage of PPE for Essential Workers

        “Workers aren’t being honored or protected, they’re being sacrificed.”

      • Medical Experts Denounce ‘Irresponsible’ Rush to Covid-19 Vaccine by Russia

        “The collateral damage from release of any vaccine that was less than safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably.”

      • ‘Coronavirus Is a Hoax’ and Other Fantasies

        Support independent cartooning: join Sparky’s List—and don’t forget to visit TT’s Emporium of Fun, featuring the new book and plush Sparky!

      • ‘Just Insane’: As Pandemic Rages and Hunger Soars, Trump USDA Under Fire for Blocking Access to Food Benefits

        “This is not the time for people who are already vulnerable to lose their benefits.”

      • Putin announces registration of Russia’s first coronavirus vaccine

        Russia has registered its first vaccine against the coronavirus, announced President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with members of the government on Tuesday, August 11. According to the Russian president, the vaccine is effective, builds stable immunity, and has passed all of the necessary tests.

      • Local Officials Say a Nursing Home Dumped Residents to Die at Hospitals

        The nurse with the Columbia County Health Department recorded the COVID-19 deaths at nearby hospitals — two at Albany Medical Center on May 4, another at the same hospital two days later; one at Columbia Memorial Hospital on May 17, and another there two days later — and, along with her boss, concluded there was a pattern.

        The people dying at the hospitals had been residents of a local nursing home, the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell in the tiny town of Valatie, New York. In all, the nurse counted 18 deaths of residents over five weeks. She didn’t have detailed medical records for the patients, but she noted that all had arrived at the hospital with orders saying no extraordinary measures were to be taken to keep them alive. As a result, she and the Columbia County health director developed a theory: “For me,” said Jack Mabb, the health director, “it appeared they were sending people to the hospital so they wouldn’t die in the facility.”

      • It’s Time to Abolish Nursing Homes

        Albert P. died alone in a nursing home from covid-19. because of new safety regulations, his daughter, Gita, was not allowed to visit. In the days before his death, she told me, the nursing home staffers “spoke to my mom at length about how great my dad was doing…. [They] said, ‘He’s eating. He’s drinking water. He’s smiling. He’s doing really well.’”

      • Ardently Anti-Mask Republicans Make Masks Mandatory for Upcoming Convention

        In spite of many Republicans being ardently against mask mandates, both nationally or at the state level, the Republican National Convention slated to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, later this month will now require all participants to wear facial coverings during its events.

      • How the Pandemic Defeated America: Ed Yong on How COVID-19 Humiliated Planet’s Most Powerful Nation

        As the world passes a grim milestone of 20 million coronavirus cases, we look at how the pandemic humbled and humiliated the world’s most powerful country. Over a quarter of the confirmed infections and deaths have been in the United States, which has less than 5% of the world’s population. Ed Yong, a science writer at The Atlantic who has been covering the pandemic extensively since March, says existing gaps in the U.S. social safety net and the Trump administration’s “devastatingly inept response” made for a deadly combination.

      • Canceling College Football Could Save Lives — and Wake Up Some COVID Deniers

        If you are one who is paying close attention to the COVID-19 pandemic but have little use for big-time organized sports in this country, I urge you to pay attention to this. The 2020 college football season — slated to start within weeks — is on the verge of being canceled. If there is no fall football this year, the effect will be seismic not just in the realm of sports, but across the entire social and political landscape.

      • As Putin Pushes Russia’s Untested COVID Vaccine, Experts Worry Trump May Follow

        Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country has created a coronavirus vaccine, adding that his own daughter has already taken it.

      • COVID-19 Poses a Huge Threat to Stability in Africa

        In March 2020, as the COVID-19 virus traversed the planet, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire to fight the common enemy.

      • Trump Launches Attack on Social Security and Medicare

        Watch out! Uncle Donald is coming for your and all your relatives’ Social Security and your Medicare!

      • Coping With a Deadly Virus, a Social One, Too

        It didn’t matter that all but one of them had tested negative for coronavirus. The sarpanch, in agreement with the villagers, had issued a diktat. The family couldn’t leave their home for a month – though the mandatory quarantine period was 14 days. One of them had been infected with the virus.

      • Why defunding the police means investing in mental health

        As any social worker or ER nurse can attest, there are different protocols for dealing with deliberate violent criminality and those suffering from mental illness. Yet most police, at least as they exist today, seem to flatten the distinction.

        As Goff pointed out, an officer “pointed a gun as soon as [Floyd] opens the door” — a vast and unwarranted provocation for someone accused of a minor petty crime. “There is nothing in the video that I saw that would justify that to have escalated.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Ransom Demands Rise With Market Share Split Between Big Game Hunters and Amateur RaaS Affiliates [iophk: Windows TCO]

          In Q2, the average ransom payment increased while the number of attacks decreased among the top ranking variants. Market share by variant was more distributed in Q2 than in Q1. This was driven by increased attacks from small, opportunistic ransomware threat groups, utilizing new and low-cost ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). The availability of free, do it yourself RaaS kits, and cheap attack ingredients pushed the barrier to entry extremely low. Deep technical expertise is no longer needed to participate in the cyber crime economy. It is also possible that the increase of RaaS usage is related to the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, driving more financially stressed individuals towards cyber crime. On the lower end of the market, cheap RaaS services to target the softest, smallest targets; small businesses that simply do not have the resources to defend themselves.

        • Quadriplegic ‘Fortnite’ Player Signs Esports Deal With Luminosity Gaming

          Stoutenburgh, known in the gaming community as RockyNoHands, uses a Quadstick — a device controlled with his mouth — to play the battle royale arena hit, as well as other games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Warzone and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

        • [PCLinuxOS] Opera Browser updated to 70.0.3728.106

          Opera is a Chromium-based browser using the Blink layout engine. It differentiates itself because of a distinct user interface and other features.

        • Vivaldi Explains Why They Make “Proprietary Garbage”

          It is unfair to say that Vivaldi is not open source at all as someone like Distrotube has done, the way the company behind Vivaldi has decided to handle this application is by using a dual licensing system where the open source portion of the application is licensed under an open source BSD license but that’s not the point of today, the point is to explain why they have decided to license their software in such a way.

        • Scientists Forced To Change Names Of Human Genes Because Of Microsoft’s Failure To Patch Excel

          Six years ago, Techdirt wrote about a curious issue with Microsoft’s Excel. A default date conversion feature was altering the names of genes, because they looked like dates. For example, the tumor suppressor gene DEC1 (Deleted in Esophageal Cancer 1) was being converted to “1-DEC”. Hardly a widespread problem, you might think. Not so: research in 2016 found that nearly 20% of 3500 papers taken from leading genomic journals contained gene lists that had been corrupted by Excel’s re-interpretation of names as dates. Although there don’t seem to be any instances where this led to serious errors, there is a natural concern that it could distort research results. The good news is this problem has now been fixed. The rather surprising news is that it wasn’t Microsoft that fixed it, even though Excel was at fault. As an article in The Verge reports:

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Pysa: An Open-Source Tool To Detect & Fix Security Issues In Python Code

              Facebook has open-sourced Pysa, an internal tool used on Instagram to detect and fix bugs in the huge Python codebase of the app. Pysa can automatically identify vulnerable code snippets written by Facebook engineers before they are integrated into the social network’s systems.

              It is a static analyzer tool meaning it works by scanning code in a “static” form before the code is compiled. It hunts for common patterns that are usually observed in bugs and flags the potential issues in the code.

            • Facebook Open Sources Analysis Tool for Python Code

              The security-focused tool relies on Pyre, Facebook’s type checker for Python, and allows for the analysis of how data flows through code. It can be used to identify issues related to the protection of user data, as well as flaws such as XSS and SQL injection.

              In addition to making Pysa available in open source, Facebook released many of the definitions that it leverages when looking for security bugs, making it readily available for others to start analyzing their own Python code.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Robert Reich: Trump Is Giving Billionaires Free Rein to Profit Off the Pandemic

              Big drug company CEOs and their major investors are doing nicely, too. Since the start of the pandemic, Big Pharma has raised prices on over 250 prescription drugs, 61 of which are being used to treat COVID-19.

              Apologists say this is the “free market” responding to supply and demand. The barons of Big Tech, online retail and Big Pharma are merely providing what consumers desperately need during the pandemic.

              But the market also operates under laws that ban profiteering, price gouging and monopolizing—and that tax excess profits in wartime. Where did these laws go? The Trump administration hasn’t enforced them.

            • Linux Foundation

              • The Linux Foundation Wants Open-Source Tech to Address Future Pandemics

                The Linux Foundation, which supports open-source innovation in blockchain tech, launched the Linux Foundation Public Health Initiative (LFPHI) at the end of July. The LFPHI’s goal is to promote the use of open source by public health authorities, which can be scrutinized by anyone, to fight not just COVID-19 but future pandemics as well.

              • LF Edge’s Akraino Project Release 3 Now Available, Unifying Open Source Blueprints Across MEC, AI, Cloud and Telecom Edge

                LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced the availability of Akraino Release 3 (“Akraino R3”). Akraino’s third and most mature release to date delivers fully functional edge solutions– implemented across global organizations– to enable a diversity of edge deployments across the globe. New blueprints include a focus on MEC, AI/ML, and Cloud edge. In addition, the community authored the first iteration of a new white paper to bring common open edge API standards to align the industry.

              • Linux Foundation Launches Jenkins X Training Course

                Linux Foundation has launched a new training course, LFS268 – CI/CD with Jenkins X. Developed in conjunction with the Continuous Delivery Foundation, the course will introduce the fundamentals of Jenkins X.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firmware-nonfree, golang-github-seccomp-libseccomp-golang, and ruby-kramdown), Fedora (kernel, libmetalink, and nodejs), openSUSE (go1.13, perl-XML-Twig, and thunderbird), Oracle (kernel, libvncserver, and thunderbird), Red Hat (kernel-rt and python-paunch and openstack-tripleo-heat-templates), SUSE (dpdk, google-compute-engine, libX11, webkit2gtk3, xen, and xorg-x11-libX11), and Ubuntu (nss and samba).

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (dovecot and roundcube), Fedora (python36), Gentoo (chromium), openSUSE (ark, firefox, go1.13, java-11-openjdk, libX11, wireshark, and xen), Red Hat (bind and kernel), SUSE (libreoffice and python36), and Ubuntu (dovecot and software-properties).

          • Microsoft August 2020 Patch Tuesday fixes 120 vulnerabilities, two zero-days
          • Nearly Every Android Phone Has Over 400 Vulnerabilities

            Many smartphones rely on third-party Digital Signal Processor (DSP) chips, which is basically a system on a chip. The system abilities include charging capabilities, such as “quick charge,” multimedia, audio features, image processing, and voice data.

          • Intel Publishes 18 New Security Advisories For 52 Vulnerabilities

            It is Intel’s August 2020 disclosure day with 18 new advisories being issued for covering 52 vulnerabilities.

            Intel engineers uncovered around half of those 52 vulnerabilities internally while the rest were found by external security researchers.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Congressional Reps Want To Know Why The California DMV Is Making $50 Million A Year Selling Driver Data

              Congressional legislators — apparently caught off guard by one state’s revenue stream — are asking the California Department of Motor Vehicles a $50 million question: why the hell are you selling residents’ personal data?

            • Forget TikTok. Feebly Secured Infrastructure Is Our Real Problem

              One of the dumber aspects of press coverage of the TikTok kerfuffle is the lack of broader context. How, exactly, does banning a Chinese-owned teen dancing app solve our security and privacy headaches in a world where apps and services everywhere are collecting most of the same data, if not more? And why the myopic focus on just TikTok when Americans attach millions of totally unsecured Chinese-made “smart” IOT devices to their home and business networks with reckless abandon? If you’re going to freak out about U.S. consumer privacy and internet security — why not focus on actually shoring up overall U.S. consumer privacy and security?

            • How the government legally tracks your smartphone use with the Anomaly Six SDK

              A Virginia based government contracting firm called Anomaly Six LLC has been revealed to be inserting a proprietary software development kit (SDK) into over five hundred mobile apps then sharing gathered data with the government. This government tracking system for smartphones is now out in the open thanks to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Despite their best efforts to find out what those apps are, Anomaly Six did not provide that information when asked, and the SDK itself is intentionally obfuscated. Since there’s no indication if the app you’re using is tracking you for the government, there is intrinsically no way to opt out.

            • Facebook is getting more serious about becoming your go-to for mobile payments

              Keeping Facebook users inside those apps for payments, rather than having them slip out to use Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, or other digital currency platforms, will help the company’s advertising bottom line. “As payments grow across Messenger and WhatsApp, and as we’re able to roll that out in more places, I think that that will only grow as a trend,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the company’s latest earnings call, according to MarketWatch.

            • Reddit bans racist subreddit after co-founder Alexis Ohanian calls it out on Twitter

              Motherboard staff writer Samantha Cole visited the subreddit after reading Ohanian’s tweet and found that r/DegradeEbonyThots featured racist and / or sexist remarks targeted at Black women. The subreddit’s gone now, but we managed to find some screenshots, which give you an idea what type of content was posted there. Motherboard published its story about the subreddit being banned roughly two hours after Ohanian’s tweet, so it’s not clear whether the tweet or Cole’s communication with Reddit led to the ban.

            • Instagram Faces Lawsuit Over Illegal Harvesting of Biometrics

              In the new lawsuit, filed Monday in state court in Redwood City, California, the company is accused of collecting, storing and profiting from the biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without their knowledge or consent.

              The practice violates an Illinois privacy law that bars the unauthorized collection of biometric data, according to the lawsuit. Under the law a company can be forced to pay $1,000 per violation — or $5,000 if it’s found to have acted recklessly or intentionally.

            • TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report

              The data that was taken from the Android phones is a 12-digit code called a “media access control” (MAC) address, according to the Journal. Each MAC address is unique and are standard in all internet-ready electronic devices. MAC addresses are useful for apps that are trying to drive targeted adds because they can’t be changed or reset, allowing tech companies to create consumer profiles based off of the content that users view.

              Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, MAC addresses are considered by the Federal Trade Commission to be personally identifiable information.

            • Did Instagram copy me? After congressional hearing, a startup founder wonders.

              Cunningham has no direct evidence that Instagram copied his app. It’s the circumstances that bother him: the similar functionality, the past examples of alleged copying by Instagram and RWND beating Boomerang to market by more than a year.

              Then there’s the logo. Boomerang used the mathematical symbol for infinity — the same logo as RWND.

            • Trump’s TikTok War Pits Free Speech Against National Security

              According to the order, TikTok “captures vast swaths of information from its users,” which could allow the Chinese government “to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” Trump’s order also said that TikTok “reportedly censors” content and “may also be used for disinformation campaigns.”

            • Google blames software update for Home speakers recording users

              Google LLC has admitted that its Google Home speakers were recording users even when they hadn’t said, “OK Google” to the device.

            • TikTok Secretly Collected Device Data in Android App in Violation of Google Policies (Report)

              TikTok tracked Android phones’ MAC (media access control) addresses — unique hardware identifiers assigned to a network interface — possibly for advertising purposes, per the Journal story. TikTok stopped the practice in November 2019. The popular video-sharing app is facing a potential ban in the U.S. over national-security concerns, given its ownership by Chinese internet giant ByteDance.

              The TikTok Android app didn’t notify users of the MAC-address tracking. In addition, TikTok uses an “unusual” additional layer of encryption for user data it collects and transmits back to the company’s servers, which concealed the fact it had been tracking MAC addresses, according to the Journal report.

            • Neil Young to Change Archives Site to Block Facebook, Google Logins

              Young also referred to Facebook as “the corrupt social platform,” though he did not explain why he was targeting Google. “The money we are spending to get out of this mess is … in keeping with what we have been maintaining re: the irresponsible social media platform for the past two years,” Young wrote.

              A note from the site’s admin team said that updating login information should take “just a few extra clicks.”

            • Neil Young Spends $20,000 to Disengage Website from ‘Corrupt’ Facebook and Google

              Now, he says he’s spending $20,000 to eliminate Facebook and Google logins to his Archives website because of policies regarding the forthcoming presidential election.

              “Facebook knowingly allows untruths and lies in its political ads to circulate on the platform, while bots sow discord among users,” the announcement reads in part. “Sowing dissent and chaos in our country via political disinformation is something we cannot condone. Simply put, Facebook is screwing with our election.” His issues with Google are not addressed in the announcement.

            • Tencent’s China Literature Crashes to $465 Million Loss

              China Literature, which is both China’s leading online bookstore and owner of one of the country’s top TV producers, swung from profits of $55 million a year ago to net losses of $465 million in the six months to June. Revenues were up 10% to $461 million.

              The company, which is majority owned by social media and entertainment giant Tencent but is separately listed in Hong Kong, said that its financial performance was undermined by the impact of the coronavirus and by huge provisions at New Classics Media, the film and TV producer it bought in 2018.

            • The EU is launching a market for personal data. Here’s what that means for privacy.
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Progressive Groups Pressure Biden and Trump to Include Nuclear Disarmament in Campaign Platforms

        “The United States urgently needs a leader who will have the courage to look at, think hard about, and speak openly about the dire perils posed by our country’s vast nuclear arsenal.”

      • Will October Surprise Be Trump-Provoked War With Iran?

        Why war with Iran could very well be Trump’s election eve shocker.

      • Domestic Violence in the Times of the Pandemic

        The conditions of isolation foster not only physical but also psychological violence, which can be even more devastating for the victims.

      • The Debate That’s Needed on How to Engage With China—Before It’s Too Late

        The cold war with China is on. In a bellicose speech last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo resuscitated the rhetoric of the 20th century Cold War: “If we want to have a free 21st century and not the Chinese century of which Xi Jinping dreams, the old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won’t get it done,” he said. “The free world must triumph over this new tyranny.”

      • Is Trump Hoping Warmongering Against Iran Will Help Him Win the Election?

        Was Donald Trump’s January 3rd drone assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani the first step in turning the simmering Cold War between the United States and Iran into a hot war in the weeks before an American presidential election? Of course, there’s no way to know, but behind by double digits in most national polls and flanked by ultra-hawkish Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump is a notoriously impetuous and erratic figure. In recent weeks, for instance, he didn’t hesitate to dispatch federal paramilitary forces to American cities run by Democratic mayors and his administration also seems to have launched a series of covert actions against Tehran that look increasingly overt and have Iran watchers concerned about whether an October surprise could be in the cards.

      • On Right-Wing Violence in Texas, Media’s Silence Sends Message

        Hank Gilbert, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Louie Gohmert in Texas’ 1st congressional district, held a rally in Tyler, Texas, on July 26 against federal law enforcement agencies’ recent intervention in Portland, Oregon. But armed participants of a “Back the Blue” counter-protest crashed the event, beating and robbing attendees in the park. The attack injured a number of rally attendees, including Gilbert’s campaign manager Ryan Miller, resulting in at least two police reports being filed so far.

      • Pompeo’s Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Were Legal—but Heightened Risks of Civilian Casualties in Yemen

        A State Department watchdog report concludes that Pompeo followed proper channels in sending arms to Saudi Arabia but faults the State Department for not assessing the humanitarian risks of such a move.

      • Sorry, Brits, But Opposition to Jihad Violence and Islamic Supremacism Still Isn’t Racism

        Yet all the comments that 5Pillars quotes opposing the mosque are concerned about Islamic supremacism, about the old Islamic adage “Islam must dominate, and not be dominated.” None of them say anything to the effect of “Muslims are of a different race and thus this mosque must not be built.”

        This reflects the general confusion in British society, as well as American society today: any opposition to jihad violence and Sharia oppression is decried as “racism,” even if race is never mentioned. Muslims, and Islamic jihadis, are of all races, but the enablers of that violence and oppression know that racism is generally considered to be the foremost sin of all in the modern age. Thus to denounce opposition to the mosque as “racism” is makes sense tactically: it lines up all the right-thinking people who abhor racism, or at least those among them who are unthinking lemmings, in support of the mosque.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • How to Not Make an Ass of Yourself in Online Discussions

        If you’re going to make a claim, any claim, be prepared to back it up with sources. If you’re going to state a fact, you should not only be prepared to share your sources if asked, but you should probably just go ahead and put the sources right next to the claim you’re making.

    • Environment

      • Mauritius braced for ‘worst case scenario’ over oil tanker leak, says PM

        A Japanese ship that ran aground on a reef off Mauritius two weeks ago has now stopped leaking oil into the Indian Ocean but the island nation must still prepare for “a worst case scenario”, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said late on Monday.

      • The Green New Deal Just Won a Major Union Endorsement. What’s Stopping the AFL-CIO?

        “If you believe in something, you gotta be willing to fight for it.”

      • End of Arctic sea ice by 2035 possible, study finds

        How soon will the northern polar ocean be ice-free? New research expects the end of Arctic sea ice by 2035.

      • Energy

        • Trump Plans to Gut Emission Rules for Oil, Gas Industry “Beyond Comprehension”

          In a move one green group said shows the Trump EPA’s approach is “manifestly inconsistent with the agency’s legal obligations” and with science, the agency is under fire for preparations to roll back methane rules for U.S. oil and gas producers.

        • A Plastics Spill on the Mississippi River But No Accountability in Sight

          After seeing photographs by New Orleans artist Michael Pajon published on NOLA.com, I went to see if a cleanup of the spilled plastic was underway. A week after the spill, I saw no signs of a cleanup when I arrived in the early afternoon, but I did watch a group of tourists disembark from a riverboat that docked along the plastic-covered riverbank. By most accounts, the translucent plastic pellets are considered pollution, but government bureaucracy and regulatory technicalities are making accountability for removing these bits of plastic from the river’s banks and waters surprisingly challenging.

        • Trump EPA Plan to Gut Emission Rules for Oil and Gas Industry Denounced as ‘Beyond Comprehension’

          “If Trump is reelected and this rule sticks, it is probably the single most consequential near-term climate decision of his presidency.”

        • Texas Town Sues Netflix, Hulu Over Utility Fees

          “When a Netflix subscriber wants to view Netflix programming, the subscriber’s Internet service provider will connect the subscriber to the closest Netflix Open Connect server offering the fastest speeds and best video quality,” writes attorney Austin Tighe in the complaint, which is posted below. “According to Netflix, that means that most of its subscribers receive Netflix’s video programming from servers either inside of, or directly connected to, the subscriber’s Internet service provider’s network within their local region.”

          Hulu operates similarly, according to the complaint. The city argues that the state requires video service providers to file an application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas for certification and Netflix and Hulu failed to do that — and failing to fill out the paperwork doesn’t relieve them of the obligation to pay a quarterly franchise fee to each city where they provide service.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Why the Stimulus Deal Should Include Free College

        With youth unemployment and student debt skyrocketing, young people need free higher education.

      • There is No Evidence That Generous Unemployment Benefits are Making It Difficult to Find Workers

        The July employment report showed the economy adding another 1,761,000 jobs in July. This follows gains of 2,725,000 in May, and 4,791,000 in June, leaving the economy down 12,881,000 jobs from its February level.

      • Why Capitalism is in Constant Conflict With Democracy

        The capitalist economic system has always had a big problem with politics in societies with universal suffrage. Anticipating that, most capitalists opposed and long resisted extending suffrage beyond the rich who possessed capital. Only mass pressures from below forced repeated extensions of voting rights until universal suffrage was achieved—at least legally. To this day, capitalists develop and apply all sorts of legal and illegal mechanisms to limit and constrain suffrage. Among those committed to conserving capitalism, fear of universal suffrage runs deep. Trump and his Republicans exemplify and act on that fear as the 2020 election looms.

      • Defund Fascism, Blue and Orange

        The American ruling class says it is opposed to “big government.” It isn’t. The wealthy Few are only against what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called “the left hand of the state” – those parts of government that reflect the victories of past and ongoing social movements by serving the common good, regulating Big Business, and offering support, protection, inclusion and empowerment to the lower and working classes. That is the “big government” the rich and powerful don’t like. That is the big bad State they want to “starve” and “drown.”

      • US sanctions: economist Yu Yongding flags risk of Chinese bank assets being seized overseas
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • In ‘Battle for the Soul of This Nation,’ Biden Names Kamala Harris as Vice Presidential Running Mate

        “All of us will need to do everything we can do defeat Donald Trump this November, and Joe Biden will need strong progressive energy to win,” said the PCCC in response.

      • Presidential Diagnosis

        He tweets wacko theories. He rants and he raves. His language decay is steady. The question is asked: Is he falling apart— Or was he apart already?

      • Coalition Objects to ‘Profoundly Inappropriate’ Trump Plan to Accept GOP Nomination at ‘Hallowed’ Gettysburg Battlefield

        “Our national parks should not be exploited for political gain. They are meant to be enjoyed by all Americans, regardless of party affiliation or politics.”

      • Will Enough Americans Show Up to stop Trump From Using the Dictator’s Playbook?

        The question we will see answered over the next six months is whether Trump has taken America so far down the road to oligarchy and fascism that we can’t recover.

      • Progressive Ilhan Omar Faces Dark Money and Right-Wing Attacks in Minnesota Primary

        “When you speak truth to power, power fights back,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said of Omar’s primary challenge.

      • Live-blogging day three of protests in Belarus
      • Many Progressives Respond With Disappointment as Biden Picks Harris for VP

        Presumptive Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden has selected Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his vice-presidential running mate.

      • Trump Says Biden “Roped Himself Into” Picking a Woman VP and Men Feel “Insulted”

        During a Fox Sports Radio interview on Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump insinuated that former Vice President Joe Biden’s decision to pick a woman to run alongside him on the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket later this fall may have been unwise, and may have even hurt his chances with men.

      • Real People Are Paying the Ultimate Price for Trump’s Monstrous Failures

        This isn’t a reality TV show. We can’t afford a vaudeville president. We need leadership in the face of a real and present danger.

      • Trump and Biden, Two Ignoble Minds Here O’erthrown

        At the presidential level and perhaps down-ticket too, this year’s electoral circus will be a spectacle well calculated to cause disgust and despair – thanks mainly to Donald Trump’s unprecedented machinations, but also because, at least in the presidential contest, the main contenders, both of them, are embarrassingly unfit to serve.

      • The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities

        We live in an era of resurgent nationalism. From Scotland to Sri Lanka, from China to Brazil, governments rely on nationalism as a source of communal identity and a vehicle for common action.

      • Trump’s Presidency is a Death Cult

        When President Donald Trump was challenged by Axios national political correspondent Jonathan Swan to respond to the fact that, “a thousand Americans are dying a day” due to COVID-19, the president responded as though the grim tally was perfectly acceptable, saying, “They are dying, that’s true. And it is what it is.” While observers were aghast at the callousness of his statement, it should not have surprised us. Trump had warned that the death toll would be high, and he had asked us months ago to get used to the idea. In late March, the White House Coronavirus Task Force had projected that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans would die from the virus. Rather than unveil an aggressive plan to tackle the spread and prevent the projected mortality figures, the president had said, “I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead.”

      • Lebanon’s Government Resigns Amid Public Rage Over Beirut Blast

        After days of protests, Lebanon’s government has resigned following the devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut that killed 200 people and injured thousands. The port blast, the source of which was 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate left unattended in a warehouse for more than six years, occurred as Lebanon was already facing political, economic and public health crises. We speak with Ziad Abu-Rish, a historian and research fellow at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies and co-director of Bard College’s Masters of Arts program in human rights and the arts, who says despite public outrage toppling the government, structural change may be harder to attain. “The fall of cabinets and even the holding of early parliamentary elections are not necessarily signs that fundamental transformation is underway in Lebanon,” Abu-Rish says. “For now at least, this is politics as usual.”

      • Leaders in Lebanon Resign Over 200 Tragic Deaths, But Trump Refuses Accountability for 163,505 Covid-19 Fatalities

        Despite refusing one shred of responsibility, the U.S. president by his peculiar combination of narcissism, contrarianism, irrationality, and political guile, has polished off more Americans than died in the entire Vietnam War.

      • #SaveThe600 Coalition Slams Trump Executive Action as ‘False Promise’ to Laid-Off Workers and Desperate Families

        “It is likely illegal, unworkable, won’t get money to anyone quickly or for long, and is deeply inequitable.”

      • Representative Barbara Lee: ‘The Public Is With Us’

        Representative Barbara Lee of California cast the sole vote in 2001 against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that George W. Bush and ensuing presidents have employed as their excuse to wage what have come to be known as “forever wars.” Political and media elites decried her vote. But millions of Americans embraced the slogan, “Barbara Lee Speaks For Me.” Since 2001, Lee has kept speaking for peace and for economic, social, and racial justice. And she’s gained allies in Congress. In July of this year, 93 House members and 23 senators supported a proposal by Lee and Representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin to cut the Pentagon budget by 10 percent—so that money could be freed up to battle Covid-19, mass unemployment, and other domestic challenges.

      • Trump Ramps Up His Assault on Democracy
      • Kamala Harris Will Shred Mike Pence in the Vice Presidential Debate

        Vice President Mike Pence just got some very bad news. He’s going to lose the vice presidential debate this fall, and that loss is going to do serious damage to the already diminished 2020 election prospects of the Republican Party.

      • The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid

        Xi Jinping and Ali Khamenei prefer Joe Biden to Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin prefers Donald Trump to Joe Biden. That’s according to William Evanina, Director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

      • By clasping hands with Netanyahu, ‘top cop’ Kamala Harris whitewashes Israel’s racism

        Historical black solidarity with Palestine

      • Sanders Joins Calls for Resignation or Removal of Postmaster General Over Efforts to ‘Suppress the Vote and Undermine Democracy’

        The Vermont senator accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of “a blatant attempt” to sabotage the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the November elections.

      • Sanders Joins Calls for Resignation or Removal of Postmaster General

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday became the latest lawmaker to demand the immediate resignation or removal of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor to President Donald Trump whose brief tenure as head of the most popular government institution in the U.S. has brought major nationwide slowdowns in package delivery less than 90 days before an election that could hinge on mail-in ballots.

      • DNC Announces Progressive Champion Ocasio-Cortez Will Speak at Convention
      • Twitter is for real rolling out its reply-limiting feature to all users

        Here’s how the feature works. Before sending a tweet, users will have three options to choose who can reply: everyone, which is the standard default setting, only people the users follows, or only people the user mentions in the tweet. If you pick a setting other than the default, the reply icon will be grayed out for anyone not allowed to reply. And even if they can’t reply, other Twitter users can still retweet, comment, share, or like the tweet in question.

      • Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in the second quarter

        Several civil rights groups earlier this year launched an ad boycott campaign called “Stop Hate for Profit,” asking companies to pull their ad dollars from Facebook for the month of July until action was taken on those issues. Hundreds of businesses joined the campaign, with many extending the pause beyond July.

      • QAnon backer Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia GOP runoff

        Greene also gained attention over comments in which she expressed support for QAnon, a conspiracy theory that posits that President Trump and his allies are working together to expose and arrest an underground cabal of global elites who control the government.

      • How much does America’s missing diplomatic leadership matter?

        Hence the third reason for alarm over the state of American diplomacy: its undermining by its own government. A senior US diplomat says the White House is “blatantly hostile” to the foreign service. Mr Trump publicly refers to “the Deep State Department”, implying its people are out to sabotage him. “Diplomacy is simply not valued,” says Roberta Jacobson, who resigned as American ambassador to Mexico in 2018. “The only form of foreign policy that this administration seems to understand is one of threats.” Mr Trump’s threats have sometimes targeted his own diplomats—including Marie Yovanovitch, who was his ambassador to Ukraine before being abruptly recalled. In the phone call in July 2019 that led to his impeachment by the House of Representatives, Mr Trump told Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, that she was “bad news” and that “She’s going to go through some things.”

      • The Week in Internet News: U.S Wants China-Free ‘Clean’ Internet

        U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he wants a “clean” Internet free of Chinese apps and network equipment, The Next Web reports. Pompeo also wants to keep U.S. cloud data away from Chinese companies and stop China from spying on traffic in undersea cables. Critics say Pompeo is trying to create a U.S. version of the Great Firewall of China. The Verge, meanwhile, says Pompeo’s announcement is “just bluster” for now.

      • Mike Pompeo wants to build the US a ‘clean’ [I]nternet free of Chinese tech

        He said he’s opening up five new lines of initiatives to protect the county’s telecommunication network from the threat of the mighty Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Those five lines include Clean Carrier, Clean Store, Clean Apps, Clean Cloud, and Clean Cable.

      • ‘The people of Belarus have made their choice’ Belarusian opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya calls for end to protests in suspicious video shared online

        Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya), the leading opposition candidate in Belarus’s recently concluded presidential election, appears in a newly released video where she calls on her supporters to cease all street protests. 

      • ‘Any Belarusian could replace me’ Maria Kolesnikova — the last member standing of the opposition ‘women’s triumvirate’ — says she’s not going anywhere

        Maria Kolesnikova (Maryia Kalesnikava) was the campaign manager for Victor Babariko (Viktar Babaryka), who was initially expected to be the main challenger in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, which concluded on August 9. Things turned out otherwise, however. Babariko was arrested and Kolesnikova continued her work on the campaign trail as one-third of the opposition’s “women’s triumvirate” alongside Veronika Tsepkalo (Veronica Tsapkala) and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya). Today, Kolesnikova is the only one of these three who remains in Belarus; her two companions fled or were forced out by government pressure. She spoke to Meduza special correspondent Svetlana Reiter about the presidential race, the protests, and why she plans to stay put in Belarus.

      • ‘We Belarusians are peaceful people’ Photos from the second straight night of protests in Minsk

        The protests that began in Belarus after the end of the presidential elections on August 9 have continued. Initially, the demonstrations sparked after election officials announced that incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) — who has been in power since 1994 — had won the vote. Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya) didn’t recognize the official result. On Monday, August 10, mass demonstrations continued in the capital, Minsk, as well as in other cities across the country, with opposition protesters demanding a revision of the voting results. Special police units made violent arrests, and in several cases used stun grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets against demonstrators (for more details, check out yesterday’s live blog). Belarusian police officials also reported the death of a protester in Minsk, who allegedly tried to throw an “unidentified explosive device” at riot police officers (the device supposedly went off in his hands and killed him). According to official reports, 2,000 people were arrested across the country during the second straight night of protests. While the number of wounded demonstrators remains unknown, police officials reported 21 injuries among law enforcement officers.

      • Protests in Belarus turn deadly following sham election

        Sunday’s rigged presidential elections have yielded political uncertainty unlike any seen in Aleksander Lukashenko’s 26-year tenure. After claiming an implausible 80% of the vote, Lukashenko is using every tool in the authoritarian arsenal to maintain his grip on power.

      • UN fundraising for Beirut gathers pace, but reconstruction will get political

        The UN is asking the international community for tens of millions of dollars to help Beirut weather the immediate aftermath of last week’s devastating explosion, but funding for longer-term reconstruction is expected to be complicated by concerns over corruption.

        Relief activities costing about $116 million were presented to donors last weekend by the UN, but that figure is expected to rise in a new appeal due be announced before the weekend, according to UN officials, who requested anonymity as details are still being decided.

        The preliminary “Emergency Response Framework” already presented to donors, and obtained by The New Humanitarian, is a “guesstimate” that is being reviewed, according to a senior UN official familiar with the process.

        Details are still emerging about the full impact of the 4 August blast at Beirut’s port and the subsequent emergency needs, but there have been more than 220 reported deaths (including 34 refugees), and thousands of injuries.

        Local officials say as many as 250,000 people may be displaced or homeless, and some 120 schools were damaged, as well as six hospitals and dozens of clinics, to varying degrees. There are also concerns about food supply, with Beirut’s grain silos destroyed and its port infrastructure in disrepair.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Mealy-Mouthed Universities: Academic Freedom and the Pavlou Problem Down Under

        A sorry state of affairs has descended upon Australian academic institutions like a suffocating cloak. Vice-Chancellors and their overly remunerated toadies are getting human relations departments to scribble their apologias for sins against thought. Overt political opinions, notably when expressed in a manner that might threaten brands and compromised lines of funding, are being hunted down by cadres of paranoid officials. This process is being undertaken against both staff and students. Terrible that it should happen to the staff, but when university officialdom turns against the students, it is perhaps time to go into ignominious retirement or advertising.

      • Yes, Facebook Treats Trump Fans Differently: It Has Relaxed The Rules To Give Them More Leeway

        I know that it’s become accepted wisdom among some that the various social media platforms have an “anti-conservative bias” in how they moderate content. However, we’ve yet to see any evidence to actually support such a claim. Indeed, one study that has been pointed to frequently seemed to show that Twitter, at least, had an anti-Nazi and anti-troll policy — and unless you think “conservatives” are synonymous with Nazis and trolls, then that doesn’t really prove very much. Of course, there was another report that came out around that time noting that some Republican politicians’ accounts were indistinguishable from Nazi accounts — so… who knows?

      • Iran shuts down economic newspaper over COVID-19 reporting

        The Press Supervisory Board of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance revoked the operating license of Jahane Sanat for publishing an interview with a member of Iran’s National Coronavirus Task Force, who said the country’s officials are covering up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak, according to news reports.

      • Nigerian singer sentenced to death for blasphemy in Kano state

        The singer who is currently in detention, had gone into hiding after he composed the song.

        Protesters had burnt down his family home and gathered outside the headquarters of the Islamic police, known as the Hisbah, demanding action against him.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • War on Truth: How Kashmir Struggles for Freedom of Press

        On the first anniversary of the Indian crackdown on Kashmir, the repercussions for the Kashmiri people are dire. It is said that in time of war, the first casualty is truth. And while India has not declared war on Kashmir, it’s brutal repression of that country and its people has caused that ‘first casualty’ to occur.

      • Wife of ‘Meduza’ correspondent missing in Minsk files police report in Moscow about his disappearance

        Alina Solopova, the wife of missing Meduza correspondent Maxim Solopov, has filed a police report in Moscow. At the time of this writing, the last known contact with Solopov was more than 40 hours ago, when eyewitnesses saw police beating him up in Minsk. His current whereabouts are unknown.

      • Meduza’s missing correspondent in Belarus has been located and freed, says Russia’s embassy in Minsk

        Meduza special correspondent Maxim Solopov, who was beaten and arrested by riot police while reporting from a protest in Minsk on Sunday night, has been released from jail, according to Russia’s embassy in Belarus. The journalist was reportedly freed from a detention center and transferred to the custody of Russian diplomats, who say he will be returned to Russia soon.

      • Video surfaces showing riot police in Minsk beating up ‘Meduza’ correspondent Maxim Solopov

        The media outlet Daily Storm has published footage of Meduza correspondent Maxim Solopov’s arrest in Minsk after midnight on August 10. The video shows how riot police beat Solopov with clubs as he kneeled on the ground.

      • Hong Kong Uses New National Security Law To Arrest Prominent Pro-Democracy Media Tycoon

        Hong Kong’s new national security law — foisted upon it by the Chinese government — has nothing to do with securing the nation and everything to do with silencing pro-democracy voices. It criminalizes advocating for secession from China, as well as other forms of dissent, under the bogus theory that speaking out against the government makes Hong Kong — and China — less secure.

      • Whereabouts unknown More than 50 journalists have been arrested in Belarus this week

        During the protests in Minsk on the night of August 10, Belarusian riot police beat up Meduza’s special correspondent Maxim Solopov. Afterwards, he went missing for more than 40 hours. During the day on August 11, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demanded that the Belarusian authorities free all Russian journalists in custody in Belarus. Maxim Solopov was freed later that evening. However, dozens of journalists are still under arrest — some newsrooms have been unable to reach their correspondents for several days. Meduza sums up the circumstances surrounding the mass arrests of journalists in Belarus.

      • ‘Meduza’ special correspondent Maxim Solopov has been missing for more than 36 hours now since he was beaten and arrested in Minsk

        It’s now been more than 36 hours since known contact with Meduza special correspondent Maxim Solopov, who was reportedly beaten and arrested while covering Sunday’s protests in Belarus. 

      • Belarus police attack and detain journalists amid election protests

        Yesterday, riot police in Minsk, the capital, assaulted at least four journalists and detained at least five, according to news reports and a database compiled by the Belarusian Association of Journalists, a local trade and advocacy group.

        As the protests continued today, police in Minsk and the western city of Hrodno detained at least three journalists and shot one with a rubber bullet, according to news reports.

      • China Web users hail arrest of Jimmy Lai, want him to be tried in mainland

        Video clips and images of Lai’s arrest Monday (Aug 10) were trending a day later on Chinese microblogging website Weibo, with their popularity boosted by state media outlets and government accounts promoting or reposting them.

        So were some posts related to prominent Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow, who was reportedly arrested hours later.

        The official Weibo accounts of some regional police bureaus, prosecutors and courts also reposted Lai’s arrest.

      • Arrested Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai tells staff to ‘fight on’

        A clampdown has gathered pace in Hong Kong since Beijing imposed a sweeping security law in June, with opposition politicians disqualified and activists arrested for social media posts.

        Lai, 71, was one of 10 people arrested by police on Monday as part of an operation into alleged collusion with foreign forces, a new offence under the security law.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The User Always Loses

        In the mid-1990s, as part of a carpet-bombing campaign to market the still nascent World Wide Web to potential consumers, America Online offered free dial-up Internet trials and mailed CDs containing software to several million Americans. Reportedly, half the CDs in the world at one point were branded with the AOL logo. For several weeks in 1998, the company apparently used the entirety of the earth’s CD manufacturing power.

      • Riot police in Minsk disperse gathering commemorating protester who died during demonstrations

        Riot police in Minsk have begun dispersing people who gathered to lay flowers at the site where a protester died during last night’s demonstrations on Pushkin Square, reports the independent Belarusian outlet Euroradio. 

      • How Indigenous Peoples are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices to Fight Mining Corporations and Covid-19

        As the effects of Covid-19 continue to be felt unequally around the globe, Indigenous peoples, such as the Xinka in Guatemala, are finding ways to organize and care for each other, while firmly rooting their response in ancestral practices that have sustained them throughout time.

      • Tear Gas Ted Has a Tantrum in Portland

        The liberal landed gentry dripping with multi-generational wealth and entitlement, as represented by Tear Gas Ted Wheeler, has made a pronouncement: the good folks trying to burn down the police station there in outer east Portland the other night were guilty of “attempted murder,” as twenty defenseless, though heavily-armed, police officers inside cowered and shivered and called their mothers to say their last words before meeting their terrible fates. I made the last part up, but he did say the attempted murder part, and there were twenty heavily-armed cops inside the building at the time of this latest attempt to take the building. He also referred to the police inside the building as “trapped,” although they could easily have rolled up their garage door and exited, guns blazing, at any moment. Maybe their riot gear would have gotten a little burnt, but they would have made it out OK from the looks of it. Unlike Tear Gas Ted, last month was not the first time in my life I’ve ever been to a protest that got messy, so I have some familiarity with these things.

      • “Prisons Are Not Fit for Human Occupation”: San Quentin Prisoners Speak Out as Virus Deaths Reach 25

        California’s notorious San Quentin State Prison is experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreak in the United States. At least 2,200 prisoners have been infected, and 25 have died. More than 260 staff members have also been infected. We hear from two people incarcerated at San Quentin about conditions inside and the punitive measures authorities have taken against prisoners campaigning for better safety measures, and speak with James King, a member of the Stop San Quentin Outbreak Coalition. “The conditions at San Quentin are horrific,” says King, who was incarcerated at San Quentin from 2013 until December 2019. “You have these tightly confined spaces where people are living in close proximity to each other with no ability to physically distance.”

      • Case Closed: Michigan Judge Removes Grace, Black Teen Jailed for Not Doing Online Schoolwork, From Probation

        A Michigan family court judge on Tuesday terminated the probation and closed the case of Grace, the teenager whose detention drew national scrutiny after a ProPublica Illinois story detailed her case last month.

        The 15-year-old girl had been sent to a juvenile facility amid the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-May for violating her probation when she didn’t do her online schoolwork. She was on probation for charges last year of assault against her mother and theft of a classmate’s cellphone.

      • Federal Judge Sets Out to Bring Down Law Shielding Police From Legal Liability

        As the Massachusetts legislature debates whether to water down its qualified immunity defense, a federal judge in Mississippi filed a stunning 72-page opinion blasting the doctrine. Qualified immunity has entered the national discourse with the massive uprisings in the wake of the public lynching of George Floyd. It allows police and other government officials to escape liability for their law breaking.

      • On the Road to Victory for Human Rights in Mexico!

        Mexico’s National Commission for Human Rights has taken a crucial step towards averting a human rights catastrophe, asking Mexico’s Supreme Court to assess the constitutionality of the Mexican copyright law: The Commission stated that the law contains “possible violations of the rights to freedom of expression, property, freedom of commerce or work and cultural rights, among others.”

        Last month, Mexico enacted a terrible new copyright law, one that duplicated the worst aspects of the US copyright system without even including its (largely inadequate) protections. The new Mexican law–passed as part of Donald Trump’s US-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA)–is dangerous to the human rights of Mexican people and puts Mexican businesses at a permanent, structural disadvantage relative to companies in the USA and Canada.

      • Victory! Court Orders CA Prisons to Release Race of Parole Candidates

        In a win for transparency, a state court judge ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to disclose records regarding the race and ethnicity of parole candidates. This is also a win for innovation, because the plaintiffs will use this data to build new technology in service of criminal justice reform and racial justice.

        In Voss v. CDCR, EFF represented a team of researchers (known as Project Recon) from Stanford University and University of Oregon who are attempting to study California parole suitability determinations using machine-learning models. This involves using automation to review over 50,000 parole hearing transcripts and identify various factors that influence parole determinations. Project Recon’s ultimate goal is to develop an AI tool that can identify parole denials that may have been influenced by improper factors as potential candidates for reconsideration. Project Recon’s work must account for many variables, including the race and ethnicity of individuals who appeared before the parole board.

      • Pinterest Accused of Gender Bias in Suit by Former No. 2 Executive

        In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Ms. Brougher accused the $21 billion company, which makes virtual pinboards, of firing her after she complained about sexist treatment. In her suit, which was filed in San Francisco Superior Court, Ms. Brougher said she had been left out of important meetings, was given gendered feedback, was paid less than her male peers when she joined the company, and ultimately was let go for speaking up about it.

        “Gender discrimination at the C-level suite may be a little more subtle, but it’s very insidious and real,” Ms. Brougher, 54, said in an interview. “When men speak out, they get rewarded. When women speak out, they get fired.”

      • Pinterest’s former COO is suing for gender discrimination and retaliation

        The former COO of Pinterest is suing the company for gender discrimination. Françoise Brougher says she was paid less than her male peers, repeatedly left out of important meetings, and given gendered feedback, according to her legal complaint. She was fired after speaking out about these concerns, the lawsuit says.

      • Sharia court sentences singer to death for blasphemy

        A Sharia court in the state of Kano on Monday said it had found a 22-year-old musician, Yahaya Aminu Sharif, guilty of using derogatory expressions against the Prophet Mohammed in one of his songs and sentenced him to death by hanging.

        Sharif had reportedly circulated the song on WhatsApp in March, prompting angry demonstrators to burn down his family house.

        Media reports said that it wasn’t immediately clear how the lyrics violated the local blasphemy law and Sharif may appeal the verdict

      • PKK prisoner goes on hunger strike after being tortured

        Yakut added: “My client cannot feel his left arm and hand after being beaten. A disciplinary investigation has been opened because Cüneyt Gül and his friends do not accept the standing count. In addition, my client was put in an isolation cell. He is not given newspaper or television. Even the books he brought with him from the other prison have not been given to him. He continues to be exposed to insults, swearing and threats many times during the day. Eventually my client sent a petition to the Ministry of Justice, but we think that this petition had not been even sent out from prison.”

      • Daughter Of Man Abducted By Iran Intelligence Says There Is No News About Him

        Almost a week after the Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence announced its agents abducted a dissident and took him back to Iran, the family of the detainee still has no news about him.

        In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda Mr. Jamsjid Sharmahd’s daughter says her father has Parkinson’s disease and needs medical help. She also said the family wants to pursue the case to see if any other governments had a role in her father’s abduction.

      • “Bosses Can’t Be Anti-Racist, Their Job Is to Exploit People”

        Jacobin contributor Mindy Isser interviewed Krystle D’Alencar, a bartender and server at Tattersall Distilling, about their union drive, why racial justice has been central to the organizing effort, and what advice she would give to other restaurant workers attempting to unionize during the pandemic.

      • What about the 17 million slaves in the Islamic world?

        The French historian Sylvain Gouguenheim, a medievalist at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, in the book “Aristotle at Mont-Saint-Michel” wrote that the Greek heritage in the Middle Ages was transmitted to Western Europe from Constantinople, not from the Islamic world. “Greek culture did not return to the West only thanks to Islam: to save the ancient philosophers from oblivion would have been above all the work of Eastern Christians, who fell under Muslim domination, and therefore Arabized.” It was in the scriptorium of the ancient abbey that gives the book its title, in the twelfth century, that Aristotle’s works were translated directly from Greek by the copyist monks.

        Serial petitions against Gouguenheim followed.

        Meanwhile, another French historian, Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau, got into trouble with the book “La Traite des Noirs”, in which he explains: “The number of Christian slaves pillaged by Muslims exceeds that of Africans deported to the Americas.”

      • Six Years After The ISIS Yazidi Genocide, One Woman Reflects

        Six years ago this week, ISIS killed thousands of people – mostly women and children – and enslaved thousands more. They were Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq. ISIS was defeated, but those who survived the genocide continue to struggle with what they went through. NPR’s Jane Arraf has one woman’s story. And a note – it is a difficult story to hear. It includes descriptions of violence and a suicide attempt.

      • Cartoon: British media in search of humanity

        UK TV news crews have been accused of insensitive and misguided coverage of migrants and asylum seekers attempting to cross the English Channel in small boats.

        MPs, analysts, and activists have said the coverage was dehumanising, reckless, and feeds into an alarmist narrative that is not justified.

        Both Sky TV and BBC have chartered boats to search for and intercept small dinghies, and shout questions and film them, in some cases live.


        Sky TV insisted that its coverage was “responsible and human”, and said that they would monitor boats in case they got into distress. The BBC told the Guardian: “Channel crossings is a topic of huge importance and we always endeavour to cover the story sensitively.”

        The image above is a take commissioned by TNH from Nairobi-based cartoonist Gathara.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Bye bye, Bynet Belarusian officials say foreigners are responsible for the country’s sudden Internet outages, but I.T. experts suspect the government is to blame

        Belarusians have witnessed rolling Internet blackouts for the past three days. The major social networks, instant messengers, and search engines have been nearly inaccessible, while the rest of the world has been unable to open websites hosted on Belarus’s national domain (.by). President Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) and the Belarusian authorities say foreign cyberattacks are to blame for the sudden problems with Internet service, but I.T.-experts and human rights organizations say Belarus is in the throes of a state-orchestrated Internet shutdown. 

      • The Silver Lining Of Internet Regulation: A Regulatory Impact Assessment

        To design better regulation for the Internet, it is important to understand two things: the first one is that today’s Internet, despite how much it has evolved, still continues to depend on its original architecture; and, the second relates to how preserving this design is important for drafting regulation that is fit for purpose. On top of this, the Internet invites a certain way of networking – let’s call it the Internet way of networking. There are many types of networking out there, but the Internet way ensures interoperability and global reach, operates on building blocks that are agile, while its decentralized management and general purpose further ensure its resilience and flexibility. Rationalizing this, however, can be daunting because the Internet is multifaceted, which makes its regulation complicated. The entire regulatory process involves the reconciliation of a complex mix of technology and social rules that can be incompatible and, in some cases, irreconcilable. Policy makers, therefore, are frequently required to make tough choices, which often manage to strike the desired balance, while, other times, they lead to a series of unintended consequences.

      • IPv4, IPv6, and a sudden change in attitude

        Postel’s Law is the principle the Internet is based on. Not because Jon Postel was such a great salesperson and talked everyone into it, but because that is the only winning evolutionary strategy when internets are competing. Nature doesn’t care what you think about Postel’s Law, because the only Internet that happens will be the one that follows Postel’s Law. Every other internet will, without exception, eventually be joined to The Internet by some goofball who does it wrong, but just well enough that it adds value, so that eventually nobody will be willing to break the connection. And then to maintain that connection will require further application of Postel’s Law.

    • Hollywood/Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Joe Biden Picks Kamala Harris as Running Mate

        Her sharp performances on the Senate Judiciary Committee — where her pointed questioning of President Donald Trump’s officials has often gone viral on social media — has made her a national star. She has deep ties to the entertainment industry, thanks to three statewide campaigns in California, and drew heavily on Hollywood dollars during her run for the presidency last year. Though seen as charismatic, she struggled to define herself in a crowded field before dropping out of the race last December.

      • Hollywood Insiders Cheer as Home State Star Kamala Harris Lands VP Spot

        Harris has long-standing connections to the industry, thanks to more than a decade as a rising star in California politics. Her showbiz connections also come close to home. Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, is an entertainment lawyer at DLA Piper in Century City.

    • Monopolies

      • 34 Attorneys General Call to Bust Gilead’s Pharma Monopoly on COVID Treatment Remdesivir

        On August 4, nearly three dozen attorneys general representing nearly 60 percent of the U.S. population published an open letteraddressing top federal health officials. Even by the standards of an increasingly heated and high-stakes debate over drug prices, the letter is a remarkable document. With clarity and urgency, the signatories push the federal government to take strong and immediate action to lower costs and increase supplies of remdesivir, an antiviral treatment against COVID-19. Remdesivir is produced under patent by the California drug giant Gilead Sciences.

      • Pushing GMO Crops into India: Experts Debunk High-Level Claims of Bt Cotton Success

        On 6 July 2020, an article extolling the benefits of genetically modified (GM) crops appeared on the BloombergQuint website based on an interview with Dr Ramesh Chand, a member of the key Indian Government think tank Niti Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) . On 17 July, another piece that placed a positive spin on GM crops and gene editing technology (Feeding 10 Billion People will Require Genetically Modified Food) appeared on the same site.

      • Major ‘Milestone’ for Workers as California Judge Rules Uber and Lyft Must Classify Drivers as Employees

        “This is a resounding victory for thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers who are working hard—and, in this pandemic, incurring risk every day—to provide for their families.”

      • Uber and Lyft ordered by judge to classify drivers in California as employees

        California Assembly Bill 5, signed into law Sept. 18 and in effect since January, forces companies to classify gig-economy and freelance contractors as employees if they work more thanr a certain number of hours. Supporters say the law protects worker rights such as minimum wage, unemployment insurance, paid family leave, workers’ compensation and paid sick leave.

        The ruling by Judge Ethan Schulman of the San Francisco Superior Court came after the city attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, along with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, filed a lawsuit against both Uber and Lyft, arguing that both companies were violating AB 5 by misclassifying drivers.

      • Amazon wants to turn your local Sears into a warehouse

        Faced with closing stores and dwindling foot traffic, US mall owners have been looking beyond retailers to occupy their empty spaces. One telling shift has included converting stores into e-commerce fulfillment warehouses, and now Amazon reportedly wants in.

        The e-commerce juggernaut has been in talks with Simon Property Group, the largest mall owner in the US, about turning some of the spaces occupied by its anchor department stores into distribution centers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The talks have focused on spaces held by JC Penney, which filed for bankruptcy in May, and Sears, which has struggled since its 2018 bankruptcy filing.

      • Patents

        • A vs The: Preamble Limitations

          The Federal Circuit originally decided this claim construction case in June 2020 on the topic of when a claim preamble is limiting. The court has now denied Firebug’s petition for rehearing.

          The case is interesting because it involves two Firebug patents with identical claim preambles. On appeal the Federal Circuit found one preamble limiting, and the other non-limiting. The result here shows that (1) this continues to be a tricky issue; and (2) whether a preamble is limiting is substantially determined by the body of the claim (rather than simply an examination of the preamble itself).

          The preamble at issue: “1. An internally illuminated textile footwear comprises.” U.S. Patents 8,992,038 and 9,301,574. The prior art internally illuminates a piece of plastic that is part of the shoe upper, and the patentee argues that its claims require the textile itself to be internally illuminated. The problem for the patentee is that the limitations in the claim body do not expressly require light diffusion through the textile — hence its reliance on the preamble.

        • USPTO Initiates Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program

          In a notice published in the Federal Register last month (85 Fed. Reg. 39888), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it was initiating a Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program, to provide for the advancement of applications out of turn in ex parte appeals before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The new pilot program, which took effect on July 2, 2020, is scheduled to run until July 2, 2021 or until 500 petitions for inclusion in the program have been accepted, whichever occurs earlier.

          In announcing the new pilot program, the Office noted that appeals to the PTAB are normally taken up for decision in the order in which they are docketed, with the exception of a small number of appeals (about 1.1%) that are advanced out of turn due to special status. In view of the success and popularity of prioritized examination, which the Office notes was granted for approximately 2.7% of the total number of applications filed in FY2019, the PTAB has decided to adopt a similar mechanism for according fast-track status to ex parte appeals.

          Appeals advanced out of turn under the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program are expected to reach a decision within six months from the date an appeal is entered into the new program. The Office notes that the average appeal pendency is currently about 15 months. The Office also notes that the new pilot program is intended to “hasten patentability determinations on new inventions and the pace at which products or services embodying these inventions are brought to the marketplace, thus spurring follow-on innovation, economic growth, and job creation.”

        • Software Patents

          • Guitar Villain? Ubisoft Patents Basic Teaching Techniques

            In 2012, Ubisoft launched an educational video game called Rocksmith. The idea was simple: why get good at playing a toy guitar, as in games like “Guitar Hero,” when you can use—and learn to play—the real thing? Their game helps beginner musicians identify the skills they need to work on, and then helps them improve those skills by providing gradually more complex songs and exercises.

            These steps will sound familiar to anyone who has tried to learn an instrument. A teacher offers exercises, evaluates your performance, and adjusts the difficulty of the lesson to match your ability—keeping you from being bored or overwhelmed. This cycle of feedback is an example of a well-established teaching technique that many educational programs use to help users hone other skills, from language fluency to typing proficiency. Educational games, like Mario Teaches Typing (1992), have been using many of these techniques for several decades. Is adding a guitar to the picture really that innovative?

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • Google Beats Song Lyric Scraping Lawsuit

          Genius Media Group was pretty clever when it used digital watermarks to show that Google had been using its huge collection of song lyrics. One of those watermarks spelled “redhanded” in Morse code. That Google was caught with another site’s song lyric transcriptions made international news — and even merited a mention during Congress’ Big Tech hearing late last month. But was there anything unlawful about Google’s alleged scraping (direct or indirect)? On Monday, a New York federal judge dismissed claims by Genius.

        • Pornhub Sister Company Wants to Expose Video Hosting Site ‘Pirates’

          MG Premium has requested three new DMCA subpoenas targeting the operators and uploaders of video hosting sites Tapecontent.net, Netu.tv and Gounlimited.to. Pornhub’s sister company requests information from Cloudflare in the hope of identfiying those who share its copyrighted material without permission.

Mega Setup, Mini Budget

Posted in Site News at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Small spendings, big workspace/high productivity

My desk setup - August

Summary: For a sum total of under £800 (eight hundred British pounds are about USD/$1043) one can piece together a versatile working environment (my latest additions, as of 5 days ago, are the 4 plastic plants)

A, B: Plastic plants, Primark, £2.50
C: ASUS (ARM), Argos, £149
D: HP, Argos, £79
E: AOC, Currys, £110 (in 2011)
F: HP, Refurbished, £29
G: HP ProBook (refurbished), £199
H: Acer (x86), Currys outlet/clearance, £129
I: Logitech (6-piece audio set, used), £29
J: Two Palm Tungsten PDAs (newer bought for £15 in 2012)
K: Misc. mice (about £10 each), local market (connected via Barrier/Synergy, but it helps to have one for each laptop regardless to enhance multitasking by multiple pointers)
L: Plastic plant, Primark, £1.25
*: Additional items like external drives unlisted, not shown

Twitter Appears to Have Taken Vendor/Platform Lock-in up Another Notch, Having Become Almost as Malicious as Facebook

Posted in Standard at 4:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The long-lost data or what’s sometimes known as ‘Internet rot’ is only a matter of time (planned obsolescence when the monopolistic business model says so); information destruction assured as addiction-optimised Twitter gets worse and worse (now it seems to be rejecting landlines as one’s phone number, which becomes essential for identity under circumstances in which an account gets locked; Twitter uses mobile numbers and harvesting these by blackmailing users — all this to profit through third parties, to which it illegally sells all this data, with impending fines for the unlawful practice)

Twitter lock-in
Oh, wow! Has Twitter jumped the shark?

Summary: As yesterday I had my 800,000th “tweet” posted — or automatically exported from Diaspora as I don't post directly to Twitter anymore — I was going to make a backup of the Twitter account, originally exported from Identica (account backups may be essential assuming it can be ‘locked’ or terminated at any time without due process, as happened many times before); shockingly, at first sight it seemed like Twitter may have silently removed the “download” option (perhaps for more platform lock-in), but instead I always get (perpetually): “The download your data feature is unavailable right now. Try again at a later date.” (see screenshot above; it’s supposed to look like this) Moreover, if one uses the older interface it seems like many users and tweets that link to Techrights.org are being omitted (made invisible), so censorship in the shadowban sense prevails and probably broadens so as to de-platform views/narratives/perspectives not supported by the corporate press (even if they’re well supported by hard facts and evidence).

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:33 am by Needs Sunlight



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