05.05.21

Links 5/5/2021: Windows Security Breaches and GNU Pokology Launched

Posted in News Roundup at 3:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Desktop PC – Multiple Operating Systems – Week 5

        This is a weekly blog looking at the HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Desktop PC running Linux.

        This week’s blog looks at some of the ways you can run programs from different operating systems on the HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Desktop PC. We examine hardware virtualization, dual booting, as well as using a compatibility layer.

        This machine was made available by Bargain Hardware. Bargain Hardware retails refurbished servers, workstations, PCs, and laptops to consumers and businesses worldwide. All systems are completely customisable on their website along with a vast offering of clean-pulled, tested components and enterprise replacement parts. They supply machines with a choice of Linux distros: Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora.

        Our HP EliteDesk has an Intel i5-6500T processor with 4 cores. It uses the Intel Skylake chipset, comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB Samsung M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD.

      • Go full Retro with this custom Linux terminal for your Chromebook

        I love to tinker. I spend a good portion of my week fiddling around with the Linux container on Chrome OS just to see what I can or can’t do with Crostini. While I’m no Linux guru, I have become fairly handy at navigating the terminal app and living in the “command line.” The Linux terminal on Chrome OS has undergone some upgrades over the past year that have given users some customization options and that’s great but sometimes, you just want to take a step back in time and reminisce a little bit.

        You can find a wide variety of terminals and terminal emulators that can be installed in the Debian 10 container that runs on Chrome OS but today, I stumbled upon one in particular that really took me back. If you got your start in computing on dinosaurs like an Apple II or a DOS PC, you’re probably familiar with the old-school cathode tube displays. Just one look at this antiquated screen drums up enough nostalgia to take me all the way back to grade school and I love it. Cool Retro Terminal is an emulator that gives you that very experience right on your Chromebook.

    • Server

      • In Search of Multi-Modal Data Integration – IT Jungle

        Much of what the company does starts with CDC. It developed its own CDC technology to capture binary data from relational databases, which enables it to get the freshest possible data out of the database. It supports Db2 for i and Db2 for Linux, Unix, and Windows (LUW), in addition to other popular databases, like Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, and Postgres.

      • Ubuntu Blog: Security and automation in Fintech infrastructure

        A private cloud is an integral part of a hybrid multi-cloud strategy for financial services organisations. It enables financial institutions to derive competitive advantage from agile implementations without incurring the security and business risks of a public cloud.

        Private clouds provide a more stable solution for financial institutions by dedicating exclusive hardware within financial firms’ own data centres. Private clouds also enable financial institutions to move from a traditional IT engagement model to a DevOps model and transform their IT groups from an infrastructure provider to a service provider (via a SaaS model).

      • Oracle Enterprise Manager for Oracle Private Cloud at Customer: Self Service Administrator Tasks made easy with short training videos

        Oracle Private Cloud at Customer is a subscription service that provides local Infrastructure as a Service to customers. It is based on an on-premises installation of the Oracle Private Cloud Appliance, which Oracle maintains and monitors.

        In this week’s Training Tuesday blog, we present a set of free, short training videos that demonstrate the self-service administrator tasks for Oracle Private Cloud at Customer within Oracle Enterprise Manager. The administrator tasks center on supporting the entire lifecycle of a self-service environment including actions such as infrastructure and database-as-a-service setup, managing software libraries, changing admin roles, creating services, providing self-service portal access, resource scaling, and finally service termination and resource clean-up.

        This series of videos provides demonstrations of a number of configuration tasks to enable rapid and managed deployment of servers in a virtualized environment. You learn how to create, deploy, configure, administer, and monitor your virtual machines with Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control.

      • New Relic open sources Pixie, its Kubernetes-native in-cluster observability platform

        The good news is that cloud computing, Kubernetes, and cloud-native computing have combined to make software development faster and more powerful than ever. The bad news is that keeping an eye on all that is harder than ever. That’s why New Relic’s contribution of Pixie, its Kubernetes-native in-cluster observability platform, as a new open-source project to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) under the Apache 2.0 license is good news.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • My new OBS Recording PC! Thoughts on components and overall Build

        I felt it was time to build a new recording PC, my existing one had some rough edges that were causing delays in recording. In this video, I talk about the components I chose and some overall thoughts on the build. My choice of operating system might surprise you.

      • Easily Customize DWM With Flexipatch

        Dwm-flexipatch has a different take on dwm patching. You edit a patches file that lists all available dwm patches. You enable the patches that you need and disable the patches that you don’t need. Then “sudo make install” and you have patched dwm that doesn’t require git merges or manually patching.

      • You’ve Got Mail | LINUX Unplugged 404

        It’s episode III, Return of the Email. Everyone says never host your own email, so we’re doin it.

        We just have one last job to complete.

      • Trackma Is The Best Way To Track My Anime

        It’s no secret that I’m a big weeb so I need some way to track my anime and my favourite service is Kitsu but there aren’t that many clients out ther for Linux but recently someone told me about Trackma and I haven’t looked back ever since.

      • mintCast 360 – Uno Reverse Card

        First up, in our Wanderings, I fly like an eagle, Joe goes to Florida, Moss is attacked by the trees, Mike wings it.

        Then, in the News, a Linux Mint update, Ubuntu too! Wenty-1.04, everyone’s favorite: NFTs, and more.

        In Security, meet the new hacking tools, same as the old hacking tools, a reverse Uno card, QNAP, and the University of Minnesota.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux kernel vulnerability discovered, fixed. Ghostwriter tied to UNC1151. Online ordering platforms breached.

        Researchers at Cisco Talos have discovered an information disclosure vulnerability (CVE-2020-28588) in the Linux kernel. An update is now available that fixes the issue. According to Shachar Menashe, VP Security, Vdoo, a specialist in product security, the vulnerability looks like an easy one to exploit:

        “This newly discovered vulnerability indeed looks very actionable and easy to exploit under the right technical conditions, so we recommend affected vendors to update their kernel or apply the patch. These kinds of vulnerabilities are almost exclusively used as part of a local privilege escalation attack chain to circumvent the Linux kernel randomization (KASLR) mitigation.

      • Turbostat For Linux 5.13 Brings AMD Zen Fix, New Intel CPU Support – Phoronix

        The Turbostat utility that lives within the Linux kernel source tree for reporting on CPU topology and various power/frequency metrics has some useful additions pending for the Linux 5.13 kernel.

        With Turbostat’s development being led by Intel and their significant engineering resources, it’s no surprise they are always punctual in their new enablement support. With Linux 5.13 the Turbostat tool adds support for Alder Lake mobile processors as well as Ice Lake D. There are also fixes/tweaks to existing CPU support.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Fixes Up The Recent L3 Cache Pinning Rework – Phoronix

          Going on for a few years now has been some Mesa optimizations for AMD Ryzen CPUs and in particular L3 cache optimizations. There is now a fix to re-enable this support after it was mistakenly broken earlier this year.

          Back in March and back-ported to stable with Mesa 21.0.2 was an effort to improve the AMD L3 cache calculation code. This was due to the prior code breaking on dual socket AMD EPYC systems checked, but it turns out that fix was broken itself.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Sign Users In with IndieAuth

        What You’ll Need

        You’ll need a few tools and libraries to sign users in with IndieAuth.

        An HTTP client.

        A URL parsing library.

        A hashing library that supports SHA256.

        A library to find <link> tags in HTML.

        The ability to show an HTML form to the user.

      • Booting helios4 or ClearFog from SPI – Dennis Gilmore

        Helios4 is a NAS device made by Kobol Innovations, it is a mvebu device and based on the same SoM(System on Module) from SolidRun as is used in their ClearFog devices. While some of the early ClearFog devices do not have SPI flash all recent ones and all Helios4 devices have an onboard SPI flash that can be used to boot from.

        Recently Fedora added SPI and UART u-boot images for the Kobol helios4 and SolidRun ClearFog. Getting your device to boot from SPI is fairly straightforward. There are two things that you need to do, put u-boot on the SPI flash and set the jumpers so the system will boot from SPI.

        [...]

        All the examples are using the helios4, the process works for all supported devices currently: ClearFog, helios4, and turris_omnia, for the ClearFog both the Base and Pro versions work. Please note that some early versions of the ClearFog did not have a SPI flash on the SOM and if you have one of those you will get an error trying to initialise the SPI flash as it does not exist, in that case, you have to boot from a sdcard.

      • Santiago Zarate: How to edit stuff that you’ve already commited to git? (And squash as a bonus)
      • using qemu-user emulation to reverse engineer binaries – Ariadne’s Space

        QEMU is primarily known as the software which provides full system emulation under Linux’s KVM. Also, it can be used without KVM to do full emulation of machines from the hardware level up. Finally, there is qemu-user, which allows for emulation of individual programs. That’s what this blog post is about.

        The main use case for qemu-user is actually not reverse-engineering, but simply running programs for one CPU architecture on another. For example, Alpine developers leverage qemu-user when they use dabuild(1) to cross-compile Alpine packages for other architectures: qemu-user is used to run the configure scripts, test suites and so on. For those purposes, qemu-user works quite well: we are even considering using it to build the entire riscv64 architecture in the 3.15 release.

        However, most people don’t realize that you can run a qemu-user emulator which targets the same architecture as the host. After all, that would be a little weird, right? Most also don’t know that you can control the emulator using gdb, which is possible and allows you to debug binaries which detect if they are being debugged.

      • How to Install and Setup Apache Spark on Ubuntu/Debian

        Apache Spark is an open-source distributed computational framework that is created to provide faster computational results. It is an in-memory computational engine, meaning the data will be processed in memory.

        Spark supports various APIs for streaming, graph processing, SQL, MLLib. It also supports Java, Python, Scala, and R as the preferred languages. Spark is mostly installed in Hadoop clusters but you can also install and configure spark in standalone mode.

        In this article, we will be seeing how to install Apache Spark in Debian and Ubuntu-based distributions.

      • How to Export and Import VirtualBox Virtual Machines

        Exporting and Importing feature is available in all the virtualization software you use. This feature will be very useful when you want to copy and launch a configured VM from one machine to another machine.

        This feature is very useful for me, as I have a lot of virtual machines running on VirtualBox for testing and writing articles, and for VM level protection I can take snapshots and protect my VM.

        But if my Host machine crashes then I have to configure all the VM from scratch. It is a tedious task for me. So once I fully configure any VM I export it and save a copy in my external disk so when I lose the image I can import the image into VirtualBox.

      • Adapting and localizing Tryton and other free, open source accounting software for your country

        I previously wrote a comparison of free, open source accounting software. Most of these applications only come with a generic Chart of Accounts and no support for tax reporting. This makes them suitable for personal finances and small volunteer groups. For many freelance workers, consultants and small businesses, it is now essential to have some basic tax reporting.

        Tryton is one of the few packages that is now addressing these needs. The Tryton modules directory includes five official localizations with a business-ready chart of accounts and tax codes. A discussion in the forum reveals more countries coming soon.

        I had a look at how to add more, starting with Switzerland and I’m sharing my observations here for anybody else who wants to try this. The procedure described here is valid for any accounting software but I give examples with Tryton.

      • How to install Teamspeak on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Teamspeak on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

        This tutorial will only work on Chromebooks with an Intel or AMD CPU (with Linux Apps Support) and not those with an ARM64 architecture CPU.

      • Uninstall or remove a package using the terminal on CentOS

        It is necessary to uninstall the extra software packages from the system because these packages take a lot of space and slow down the speed of your system. If specific software or related packages are not underused then it is the best way to remove or erase it from the system. To do so, It will also create a comfortable working environment. In this article, we will explore how to remove or uninstall packages from your system CentOS 8.0 using the terminal.

      • Guide to upgrade Ubuntu 18.04 / 20.04 to Ubuntu 21.04 – LinuxTechLab

        Though you will not be getting the latest version of GNOME or gtk4, but you can expect them in future releases. Now let’s proceed on the steps involved to upgrade Ubuntu 18.04 / 20.04 to Ubuntu 21.04.

      • Run FossaPup 9.5 in a container in EasyOS

        Running EasyOS, you can now run FossaPup in a container. Click on the “sfsget” icon on the desktop, choose the “puppy/ubuntu/focal” radiobutton, click on the FossaPup entry to select it, then click the “Download” button.

      • How to install Flowblade Video Editor on Deepin 20.2

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Flowblade Video Editor on Deepin 20.2.

      • Josef Strzibny: Passing SSL configuration to Hackney

        If you depend on Erlang’s Hackney library or an Elixir HTTP library built on Hackney, changes are your SSL configuration is wrong.

      • Steve Kemp: Password store plugin: env

        Like many I use pass for storing usernames and passwords. This gives me easy access to credentials in a secure manner.

        I don’t like the way that the metadata (i.e. filenames) are public, but that aside it is a robust tool I’ve been using for several years.

        The last time I talked about pass was when I talked about showing the age of my credentials, via the integrated git support.

    • Games

      • Humble Choice for May is up now with Metro Exodus, Hellpoint, Fury Unleashed + more

        Ready to grab another bundle of interesting games? Humble Choice for May is up now with Metro Exodus being the big headliner game this month.

        Humble Choice (previously Humble Monthly) gives a selection of games for subscribers to claim and keep each month, with it usually having a few big games plus a few smaller across different priced tiers to claim different amounts.

        [...]

        Not a big selection for Linux native titles but looks like a nicely varied selection overall. Some of the others will likely work in some form with Steam Play Proton.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Marcus Lundblad: Spring Maps

          Since it was a while since the release of GNOME 40, I thought it might be time again for a post.

          Since the 40.0 release there’s just been a bug fix release (40.1) where, among other things, a bug where toggling a place as a favorite and then “unfavoring” it again, made it impossible to select that place again until restarting Maps.

          And in master, leading towards 41 there’s also been some goings-on.

    • Distributions

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • KDE Plasma desktop updated to 5.21.5

          Use Plasma to surf the web; keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family; manage your files, enjoy music and videos; and get creative and productive at work. Do it all in a beautiful environment that adapts to your needs, and with the safety, privacy-protection and peace of mind that the best Free Open Source Software has to offer.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Trying out Phosh shell on PinePhone and openSUSE Tumbleweed – FOSS adventures

          During my time with Phosh on PinePhone and openSUSE Tumbleweed, I have stumbled on a couple of issues that made clear that the experience still needed some polish. This is not a critic against the Phosh or the GNOME project. I don’t envy the developers that need to ensure that their app works across many form factors.

          However, I can see that the additional time that the KDE project has spend on polishing their experience has paid off. In this article, I will describe the issues that I encountered and how you can fix them. I like everyone to try out this GNOME based mobile experience. It’s awesome to see FOSS beyond the PC / Laptop.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint’s Warpinator app ported to Android (transfer files on a local network)

          Warpinator is a free and open source application designed to make it easy to transfer files between devices connected to the same network. Developed by the Linux Mint team and initially released as part of Linux Mint 20 last year, the application has since been made available as a FlatHub app for other Linux distributions.

          Now a third-party developer has created an unofficial Warpinator app for Android, allowing you to quickly and easily transfer files between Android and Linux phones, tablets, PCs, and other devices.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Imago “VisionAI” Smart AI Camera supports Tensorflow Lite & AutoML Vision Edge – CNX Software

        The VisionAI camera runs a Debian-based Linux OS, and is programmable to meet the application needs through a Linux SDK with a VisionBox Interface C++ Library, an FG camera library, and support for TensorFlow Lite or AutoML Vision Edge. Imago also provides example programs and a video training course. The Linux distribution is most like the same Debian-based Mendel Linux distribution developed by Google for Coral boards and also supporting TensorFlow Lite and AutoML Vision Edge.

      • [Old] Install Jitsi Meet on Raspberry Pi

        This step by step tutorial explains how to install and configure the free and open source video conference software Jitsi Meet on Raspberry Pi with 64-bit Ubuntu Server 20.04. Although the Jitsi Meet installation is simple, the network configuration is not.

        This tutorial is only for 64-bit Raspberry Pi models and versions, for example Raspberry Pi 4 or 3. It is recommended to use Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB or more. Please note that Raspberry Pi 0, 2 and other older versions are 32-bit and this tutorial is NOT suitable for them.

      • Five takes on Raspberry Pi 400
      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • AutoStrummer is a DIY device that strums your guitar for you | Arduino Blog

          When playing the guitar, working the fretboard is only half of the equation. The other half is plucking or strumming the strings. But some people, particularly those with disabilities, may find it difficult to do both. To help with the strumming part of the equation, Jacob Stambaugh designed this DIY AutoStrummer device.

          Stambaugh’s AutoStrummer fits into the sound hole of an acoustic guitar, so that it sits over the strings. A guitar pick, attached to an arm actuated by a stepper motor, swings back and forth to strum the desired strings. An Arduino board controls the movement of the stepper motor through a DRV8825 stepper motor driver chip.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Veteran Linux developer releases research on FOSS foundations

        Veteran Debian developer Martin Michlmayr has released two reports on foundations that support free and open source software, a primer that covers non-technical aspects and a research report that looks at the challenges that such foundations face.

        Asked why he had decided to carry out research on this topic, Michlmayr, a former leader of the Debian GNU/Linux project told iTWire that since funding was available, he thought it would be interesting to look at the role that such foundations played in bolstering open source projects.

        “The background is that the Ford Foundation and Sloan Foundation were funding research projects related to the sustainability of what they call ‘critical digital infrastructure’ (i.e. a lot of the Internet and other technologies rely on open source and it’s not clear who maintains it and ensures that it will stay around),” he said.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Implementing Private Fields For JavaScript

            When implementing a language feature for JavaScript, an implementer must make decisions about how the language in the specification maps to the implementation. Sometimes this is fairly simple, where the specification and implementation can share much of the same terminology and algorithms. Other times, pressures in the implementation make it more challenging, requiring or pressuring the implementation strategy diverge to diverge from the language specification.

            Private fields is an example of where the specification language and implementation reality diverge, at least in SpiderMonkey– the JavaScript engine which powers Firefox. To understand more, I’ll explain what private fields are, a couple of models for thinking about them, and explain why our implementation diverges from the specification language.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Annual Report: LibreOffice Conference 2020

          Normally the conference takes place at a different venue each year, to reflect the international and diverse LibreOffice community. For instance, in 2019 we were in Almeria; in 2018 in Tirana; and in 2017 in Rome. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, though, we decided to move the conference online in 2020. This wasn’t an easy decision, as face-to-face meetups are important for free and open source software projects, but we focused on making it work.

          We did so with the help of openSUSE, a GNU/Linux distribution project, which also has yearly conferences. There’s a lot of overlap between the openSUSE and LibreOffice projects – both produce free software for end users, and many people are active in both communities – so we decided to join forces and bring as many people together as possible.

          The conference took place from 15 – 17 October, with sessions usually running from 10:00 to 21:00 (UTC). We created multiple Jitsi “rooms” for the various talks and presentations, along with extra rooms for social interaction and general chit-chat.

      • CMS

        • 10 Best Automated Backup Plugins for WordPress in 2021

          As an online business owner and/or site administrator it is important that you are always ahead of probable data damage by having a data contingency plan. On WordPress, this process has been simplified for all levels of users in the form of backup plugins that can enable you to automate full or partial backups which you can easily restore from later on.

        • The Month in WordPress: April 2021

          That was Josepha Haden Chomphosy on the “Your Opinion is Our Opportunity” episode of the WP Briefing Podcast, speaking about the importance of co-development and testing for the continued growth and maintenance of WordPress. This month’s updates align closely with these ideas. Read on and see for yourself.

        • 6 Best WordPress Malware and Vulnerability Scanners

          To keep yourself and your site safe from all such happenings, you must regularly scan your WordPress site for malware and follow other sanitization practices. Preventing the occurrence of such issues will keep you away from unwanted problems and long-term damage to your WordPress site.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • April GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 16 new GNU releases!

            16 new GNU releases in the last month (as of May 01, 2021):
            dico-2.11
            gcc-11.1.0
            gcide-0.53
            gdb-10.2
            gnunet-0.14.1
            gnupg-2.3.1
            guile-3.0.6
            less-581
            libmicrohttpd-0.9.73
            libredwg-0.12.4
            linux-libre-5.12
            mtools-4.0.27
            nano-5.7
            parallel-20210422
            poke-1.2
            rush-2.1.90

          • Pokology: a community-driven website about GNU poke

            We are happy to announce the availability of a new website, https://pokology.org.

            Pokology is a community-driven live repository of knowledge relative to GNU poke, maintained by the poke developers, users and friends.

      • Programming/Development

        • Enrique Ocaña González: GStreamer WebKit debugging by instrumenting source code (2/3)

          In this post I show some more useful debugging tricks.

        • Junichi Uekawa: Wrote a pomodoro timer in elisp.

          Wrote a pomodoro timer in elisp. Why? Because I try to keep my workflow simple, and to keep the simplicity I sometimes need to re-implement stuff. No this is a lame excuse. I have been living in emacs for the past week and felt like it. However writing elisp has been challenging, maybe because I haven’t done it for a while. I noticed there’s lexical-binding, but I didn’t quite get it, my lambda isn’t getting the function parameter in scope.

        • Python

          • K-Means Clustering

            K-Means clustering is an unsupervised machine learning algorithm. If we compare the K-Means unsupervised clustering algorithm with the supervised algorithm, it is not required to train the model with the labeled data. K-Means algorithm is used to classify or group different objects based on their attributes or features into a K number of groups. Here, K is an integer number. The K-Means calculates the distance (using the distance formula) and then finds the minimum distance between the data points and the centroid cluster to classify the data.

            Let’s understand the K-Means using the small example using the 4 objects, and each object has 2 attributes.

  • Leftovers

    • The Broken Bell

      I like, winter nights, to find in a heat lamp That beats and fumes, old memories Rising in the banging Of church bells through snow spray.

      Blessed be the bell of liberty That, ancient, keeps trying to ring, Tossing out his faithful cry Like an old soldier in his bunker

    • A Farewell to “Great Men”

      Apparently, Mike Spies, senior writer for the anti-gun online journal, The Trace, was trying to show LaPierre what it’s like to be taken down by a boom-gun. Spies, the bush sniper, hits point-blank, right between LaPierre’s running lights. Like the elephant in the piece, who wasn’t looking for trouble, LaPierre goes down in a heap. BOOM: By Spies account, the head of the NRA is an incompetent boob, a fumble-thumbs with guns, who misses the kill spot repeatedly at close range; even the old bull seems to look up with one dying eye in wonder. BOOM: Good heavens! the comfortably middle class New Yorker seems to opine, you drove  your organization into bankruptcy!  Of course, had LaPierre not missed his mark (or had he discovered he was being secretly filmed and executed the cameraman on the spot), we never would have seen the snuff film or read the hit piece.

      You come away feeling that New Yorker, using Spies Trace blog entry wholesale for the piece, has an agenda: Gun control pressure is in the air; Biden’s feeling it like a prostate problem.  Guns on the loose in America now number in excess of 400,000,000, so that concern is understandable. But the piece got me thinking. Recently, I finished watching the three-part, six-hour PBS mini-series Hemingway, a Ken Burns and Lynn Novick production.  And I’ll tell you, suddenly I felt like Joan Baez in that old song “Diamonds and Rust” where she answers the phone and she’ll be damned, there comes that voice of Dylan again from “a couple of light years ago.”  (For the record, it didn;t seem to faze Dylan; he hooked up with his old lover shortly thereafter for the Rolling Thunder Revue Tour — the ever-relevant Woody Guthrie number, “Deportee,” a highlight of their mike-sharing.) Except this time, it’s me not Baez, and I find myself considering Hemingway again for the first time in ‘a light year.’

    • A Solitary Trade

      The protagonist of Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies,” the title story in her 1999 debut short story collection, is a multilingual tour guide named Mr. Kapasi who speaks, to varying degrees, English, French, Russian, Portuguese, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati, and Italian. One day, he drives a young Indian American couple and their children to visit a temple on the coast of the Bay of Bengal devoted to the Hindu sun god Surya. On the long drive there, he tells them about his other job as an interpreter in a doctor’s office. The wife, Mrs. Das, becomes fascinated by this, telling him she finds the idea of translating for sick and frightened patients “romantic.” Mr. Kapasi revels in this attention and starts seducing Mrs. Das with stories about “the young woman who had complained of a sensation of raindrops in her spine” and “the gentleman whose birthmark had begun to sprout hairs.” He is thrilled by the notion of a love affair with her, and his head spins with hope: It is a feeling “he used to experience long ago when, after months of translating with the aid of a dictionary, he would finally read a passage from a French novel, or an Italian sonnet, and understand the words, one after another, unencumbered.”

      That Lahiri would compare the sensation of falling in love to feeling at ease in a language should have signaled then that all was not well. The daughter of Bengali immigrants who settled in Rhode Island, Lahiri saw firsthand the way her parents’ accented English was held against them in America. Though she later achieved success as a writer in the language herself, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Interpreter of Maladies, the heavy burden that English imposed on her family remained a source of resentment. “For practically my whole life,” she would later write, “English has represented a consuming struggle, a wrenching conflict, a continuous sense of failure that is the source of almost all my anxiety. It has represented a culture that had to be mastered, interpreted…. English denotes a heavy, burdensome aspect of my past. I’m tired of it.” Yet Bengali, the primary language of her early childhood, created nearly as much uneasiness for her. Like many other heritage speakers, Lahiri is not entirely fluent in her first language. “I don’t know Bengali perfectly,” she has said. “I don’t know how to read it or even write it. As a result, I consider my mother tongue, paradoxically, a foreign language, too.”

    • A Cold Heaven

      Evelyn Waugh liked to tease Graham Greene by remarking that it was a good thing God exists, because otherwise Greene would be a Laurel without Hardy. It is a mark in Greene’s favor that he recounts the jibe in a tribute to Waugh written shortly after his friend’s death in 1966. Throughout his life, the fabulously successful Greene was ever ready to pull his own leg, such as when, in 1949, he entered a New Statesman competition by submitting three parodies of his own writing under pseudonyms. One of the entries was judged good enough to merit a guinea of the six-guinea prize. Greene then wrote a letter to the editor owning up to the prank and regretting that he had not won the contest outright, especially as the money would be tax-free—always an important consideration with Greene.

      It is not insignificant that Waugh’s squib does not work the other way round, even though Waugh was far more firmly, if not indeed fanatically, committed to his faith than Greene ever was; in the course of a private audience at the Vatican, Pope John XXIII is said to have interrupted a tirade by Waugh against the reformist spirit sweeping through the church by observing gently, “But Mr. Waugh, I too am a Catholic.” Ironically, while Greene was known universally, and to his irritation, as the world’s preeminent “Catholic novelist,” Waugh was what Greene wished to be accepted as: a novelist who happened to be a Catholic.

    • Heaven

      Apricots woolly by the hospital bed, a meal of light. The light falls on my mother’s hands. So much sunlight falls and does not get up but its hands pick up the dark and go on. Things are heavy because we try to carry them. My mother said, “in this lifetime, learn to be alone.” I cut my hair in the mirror, attempt poems about the breakfast table with cereal and figs. Good enough. I pour milk, falling through a shitty apartment, a brief depression. I fall in love, mirrored in satsumas, perfumes and midnight. Not enough. I turn the page but I’m still reading the novel my mother wrote me. The room with the view. The wide sargasso sea. A pair of hands tends me. Loneliness is an imaginary thing, but so is the entire country. You try. There are ceilings you hold up like heavens.

    • Movie Sequel
    • An America Neglected Coming from Behind

      Biden, in a contrast of behavior between him and his predecessor as stark as day and night, rapidly got the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of Americans while proposing a series of programs from rescue to infrastructure-jobs to families totaling $6 trillion. He insisted in a 65-minute speech on the eve of his 100th day in office, “We can do this together.”

      But togetherness depends on cooperation from Senate Republicans. Their view of infrastructure, for example, harks back 50 years.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • As Rich Countries Hoard Vaccines, India and Other Developing Nations Face Uncontrolled Covid Spread

        “I think we haven’t seen the worst of it yet. It is beyond horror, what is happening… Yet, this is not yet the worst.”

      • Opinion | None of Us Are Safe From Covid-19 Until the Global Population Has Access to the Vaccine

        I and many other Mainers have relatives and friends in countries around the world, and we can’t disconnect from those people. But when it comes to this pandemic, we’re all connected—and not just by our common humanity. None of us are safe until we’ve reached a worldwide critical mass of vaccination.

      • About that Salk Institute paper on the “deadly” COVID-19 spike protein

        Those of us who routinely counter antivaccine disinformation on social media have noticed a new antivax trope popping up again and again and again. It’s the claim that the spike protein produced by the mRNA in the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (and now the adenovirus-based AztraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines) is highly toxic in and of itself outside of its association with the coronavirus infection itself. The intent is obvious: To portray COVID-19 vaccines as more dangerous than the infection. This new narrative by antivaxxers has led to their pointing to cherry picked studies with exaggerated findings, such as a study purporting to show that spike protein might cause pulmonary hypertension in the future or fantastical claim based on no science that those vaccinated with these vaccines “shed” spike protein, which then, miasma-like, poisons surrounding people to make them sick and, if they are women, screw up their menstrual cycles and even cause miscarriages.

      • How India Has Creatively Turned Social Media Into a COVID-19 Helpline to Battle the Pandemic

        For many families, who have been left to their own devices, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are now being used to search for hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and medications for loved ones. These platforms have become the “COVID-19 helplines” for most Indians. Ironically, instead of helping its citizens in their hour of need, the BJP-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is busy trying “to control the narrative” on social media sites like Twitter by asking the company to take down tweets that are critical of its handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

        Even as the crisis continues to engulf the country, the government had distanced itself from any blame for allowing this surge in cases resulting from allowing religious congregations like Kumbh Mela and holding political rallies.

      • Democrats Bankrolled by Big Pharma Are Refusing to Back Covid Vaccine Patent Waiver

        The top Democratic recipients of Big Pharma cash in Congress are echoing industry talking points in opposition to a push to suspend key intellectual property protections.

      • Democrats Funded by Big Pharma Refuse to Back COVID Vaccine Patent Waiver
      • Forgetting Citizenship: Australia Suspends Flights from India

        Not happy with banning flights from India, the Morrison government promises to be savage in punishing returnees who find ways to circumvent the ban (for instance, by travelling via a third country).  Citizens who breach the travel ban can face up to five years’ imprisonment and fines up to AU$66,000.  “We have taken drastic action to keep Australians safe,” explained the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.  The situation in India was “serious”; the decision had only been reached after considering the medical advice.

        According to a statement from Health Minister Greg Hunt, it was “critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected and the number of COVID-19 cases in quarantine is reduced to a manageable level.”

      • As Big Pharma Fights Off Patent Waiver, Pfizer Reports Hundreds of Millions in Profits From Covid Vaccine

        Of the 2.5 billion vaccine doses that Pfizer plans to produce this year, the company has pledged to send less than 2% of its doses to developing countries.

      • A Crisis of Undiagnosed Cancers Is Emerging in the Pandemic’s Second Year

        Teresa Ruvalcaba lay on a bed in the emergency room of Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital, her right breast swollen to nearly twice the size of her left, the skin so thick and dimpled that the doctor examining her would note that it resembled an orange peel.

        Ojalá que sólo sea una infección, she thought, as she struggled to catch her breath, not knowing she had a partially collapsed lung. I hope it’s just an infection.

      • Opinion | Covid-19 Vaccinations: A Shot in the Arm for Universal Healthcare?

        The national vaccination program has all the features of a single-payer health care system including no copays, no premiums, no insurance company blocking payment, and universal, affordable healthcare for all.

      • Medicaid Expansion Is a Better Deal Than Ever. But Republicans Still Won’t Do It.

        As a stage 4 cancer survivor, I know a thing or two about being sick. But if Republican legislators and governors refuse to take free federal money that pays for health care to their poorest constituents, it’s their ideology that is truly sick.

      • Sanders Op-Ed Pushes Medicare Expansions, Says Big Pharma Is “Ripping Off” Govt.
      • Local Indian executives rally to send badly needed medical equipment to COVID-ravaged country

        As a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections began to hit India, Dr. Naresh Ramarajan knew what the country would need: portable oxygen concentrators.

        Ramarajan, an emergency room physician and health-tech entrepreneur in Cambridge, saw firsthand how the equipment — which increases the oxygen level in room air and feeds it to patients through tubes attached to their nostrils — saved lives during the second wave in Los Angeles, where he trained and has on occasion returned to help. The concentrators, which can be used at home, allow hospitals to free up beds for the sickest patients.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • NSW Labor takes a hit from Windows Avaddon ransomware

          The NSW branch of the Labor Party appears to have suffered a Windows ransomware attack, with the Avaddon strain having been used to attack the party’s network.

        • Alaska court system forced offline by cyberattack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The Alaska Court System (ACS) was forced to temporarily disconnect its online servers this week due to a cyberattack that installed malware on their systems, disrupting virtual court hearings.

        • Unidentified cyberattackers force Alaska Court System to disconnect from internet [iophk: Windows TCO]

          A cyberattack has caused the Alaska Court System to disconnect most of its operations from the internet, an act expected to block electronic court filings, disrupt online payments and prevent hearings from taking place by videoconference for several days.

          The Courtview system used to look up court records has been taken offline, as has the court system’s website.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • University of Minnesota researchers issue apology letter to the Linux community [Ed: Older but overlooked at the time]

                The University of Minnesota (UMN) researchers – Kangjie Lu, the Assistant Professor, and Qiushi Wu, Aditya Pakki, the Ph.D. students – have on Saturday issued an open apology letter seeking to bury the hatchet with the Linux community for the things which had led to the events that took place a few days back.

                One of the lead Linux kernel developers and maintainers, Greg Kroah-Hartman put the ban-hammer on the UMN for intentionally putting forward buggy patches into the Linux kernel. The researchers from the UMN were conducting a study related to the security vulnerability of Open-source software, which in this case, is Linux. However, Greg K-H was very unhappy as the researchers seemed to proceed without really seeking permission before doing so, nor before running questionable patches on the Linux kernel even after the research paper was apparently completed.

        • Security

          • The Wages of Password Re-use: Your Money or Your Life – Krebs on Security
          • 21 vulnerabilities in Exim mail server leave web, cloud operations exposed

            Researchers Tuesday released a study that found 21 unique vulnerabilities in the Exim mail server, some of which can be chained together to obtain full remote unauthenticated code execution and gain root privileges.

            In a blog post, the Qualys Research Team said that these vulnerabilities affect numerous organizations because an estimated 60% of internet servers run on Exim. A Shodan search executed by the research found that nearly 4 million Exim servers are exposed to the internet.

            Security pros should also take note that Exim servers hosted in the cloud can be exploited, said Parag Bajaria, vice president of cloud and container security solutions at Qualys.

            “There are many exploits that an attacker can run in the cloud once they have gained root privileges on the VM hosting Exim server,” Bajaria said. “Depending on where the Exim server is located there’s a further possibility of lateral movement. And if the virtual machine that hosts an Exim server has IAM permissions attached to it, then those permissions can be further exploited for data exfiltration and IAM privilege escalation.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Signal Trolls Facebook by Showing How Data Is Collected for Targeted Advertising

              “You got this ad because you’re a newlywed pilates instructor and you’re cartoon crazy.”

            • Apple hires ex-Google AI scientist Samy Bengio who resigned after colleagues’ firings

              Bengio is expected to lead a new AI research unit at Apple under John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, two people familiar with the matter said. Giannandrea joined Apple in 2018 after spending about eight years at Google.

              Apple declined to comment on Bengio’s role. Bengio did not respond to a request for comment.

            • Algorithm Agility?

              I’m working on a zero-knowledge proof where there are two or more different public posts with different nonces, the same public key, and signatures. The private key is discarded after the nonces are signed and the posts are generated, and keypairs aren’t allowed to be re-used. In this particular case it’s really hard to imagine a scenario where I’d feel a need to switch algorithms.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Epic New Documentary Series Exposes Brutality of European Colonialism Worldwide
      • Progressives in Congress Should Unite to Slash Biden’s Military Budget
      • The Right-Wing Outrage Cycle

        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!

      • Execs at Top Pentagon Contractors Raked in $276.5 Million Last Year, Analysis Finds

        “Congress and the administration should take a closer look at these costs,” says report lead author William D. Hartung, “with an eye towards reducing them and freeing up funds for other needed purposes.”

      • Government Report Documents US Responsibility for Venezuela’s Humanitarian Dilemma

        The US government blames the crisis on the mismanagement and corruption of the Venezuelan government headed by Nicolás Maduro. The Venezuelan government faults the US and its allies for imposing sanctions, unilateral coercive measures illegal under international law.

        An official US Congressional Research Service report issued April 28, Venezuela: Background and US Relations, suggests the Venezuelan government has valid arguments that it is being strangulated by US sanctions. According to the report:

      • Britain Risks Cementing in Power a Corrupt and Incompetent Government in Undeserved Gratitude for the Vaccine
      • Between the Lines: Congressional Report Finds US Sanctions to Blame for Venezuela Crisis

        Venezuela was once one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America. The popular classes enjoyed major advances from the Bolivarian Revolution initiated by Hugo Chávez. Today Venezuela is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis with severe humanitarian consequences.

      • Biden’s Foreign Policy and Nuclear Weapons: a Dialogue

        Of course, it makes perfect political sense for Biden to tackle these domestic challenges first, and avoid distractions that would arise if the government were to pursue international policies that agitated pro-military Republicans and even so-called moderate Democrats. To get his emergency programs past legislative obstacles in a robust form required mustering as much unity across the political spectrum as possible, yet even with this acknowledgement I feel uncomfortable about what Biden has so far done with respect to foreign policy.  I am worried by the Biden stress on restoring the alliance/deterrence approach to global security as if the Cold War never ended. In slightly veiled language that conveys a militarist spirit Biden expresses these sentiments in a cover letter to his March 2021 Interim National Security Strategy Guidance official document, advancing as “..a core strategic proposition: the United States must renew its enduring advantages so that we can meet today’s challenges from a position of strength.”

        Apparently without forethought Biden called Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, ‘a killer,’ and lacking ‘a soul,’ then followed up by rejecting Moscow’s temperate call for a diplomatic meeting between the leaders to address disagreements between the two countries. Biden’s Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and his National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan have followed suit with interactions in their Alaska meetings with Russian counterparts that were calculated to raise tensions. Such postures are all about projecting American strength and conveying to others a dangerous geopolitical disposition that refuses to back down in crisis situations that are certain to arise, and for these important public figures, it means encounters with China and Russia.

      • How the US gov’t cultivated environmental and Indigenous groups to defeat Ecuador’s leftist Correísta movement
      • Yemen: Houthi Advances and Secret Saudi-Iran Talks Prompt Conciliatory Tone from MBS

        Amin Jayyash, a laborer at Yemen’s Sana’a International Airport, is celebrating Labor Day (May Day) as an unemployed man. But, unlike many workers the world over, he did not lose his job due to Covid-19, but because Saudi Arabia has effectively put his employer out of business by restricting nearly all flights to it as part of a six-plus year campaign of total war on Yemen. Amin is among over 5 million Yemeni workers — 65% of the overall workforce — who have lost their jobs as a result of the ongoing war and blockade on the country, according to newly released data from the General Federation of Trade Unions of Yemen.

      • Israeli Man Trying to Take Over Palestinian Home Says ‘If I Don’t Steal It, Someone Else’ Will

        The house is located in an occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood where Palestinian residents have been ordered to vacate by an Israeli court. 

      • “Exterminate All the Brutes”: Filmmaker Raoul Peck Explores Colonialism & Origins of White Supremacy

        A new four-part documentary series, “Exterminate All the Brutes,” delves deeply into the legacy of European colonialism from the Americas to Africa. It has been described as an unflinching narrative of genocide and exploitation, beginning with the colonizing of Indigenous land that is now called the United States. The documentary series seeks to counter “the type of lies, the type of propaganda, the type of abuse, that we have been subject to all of these years,” says director and Haitian-born filmmaker Raoul Peck. “We have the means to tell the real story, and that’s exactly what I decided to do,” Peck says. “Everything is on the table, has been on the table for a long time, except that it was in little bits everywhere. … We lost the wider perspective.”

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Tax Dodgers Owe US Over $7 Trillion, Says Janet Yellen
      • Biden Picks Warren Ally to Oversee Student Aid, Signaling Shift on Student Debt
      • Opinion | Biden Is Flirting With a Better Economic Paradigm. Young People Need Him to Commit.

        If Biden genuinely wants to serve as a “bridge” to a new “generation of leaders”—as he stated repeatedly during his campaign–then he must leave behind outmoded deficit politics and embrace the THRIVE Act.

      • Tim Cook, Apple, and Runaway Limitless Corporate Greed

        Gelles reports that Boeing, after its criminal negligence brought down two 737 MAX planes and killed 346 people, went into a corporate tailspin. The company laid off 30,000 workers and its sales and stocks plummeted as it reported a $12 billion loss. No matter, the new Boeing boss, David Calhoun, managed to pay himself about $10,500 an hour, forty hours a week, plus benefits and perks.

        “Executives are minting fortunes, while laid-off workers line up at food banks,” writes Gelles. Carefully chosen Boards of Directors rubberstamp lavish compensation packages, as they haul in big money themselves for attending a few Board meetings.

      • In ‘Major Win for Progressives,’ Former CFPB Chief Richard Cordray Tapped to Oversee Federal Student Loans

        “This shows that the administration ready to take bold action and be a true partner to address the student debt crisis,” said Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers. 

      • Diminishing Returns

        The 2008 financial crisis is widely credited with reviving the American left, from the tent cities of Occupy Wall Street to the proliferating chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America. Yet it is not just street protesters and millennial Marxists who have put capitalism under scrutiny: Liberal pundits and policy-makers have also become analysts of capitalism’s ailments. Since Thomas Piketty’s 2013 breakout hit, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the publishing industry has churned out new books on capitalism, inequality, and economics at a furious pace. The past two years alone have seen the publication of Piketty’s follow-up, Capital and Ideology; Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez’s The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay; Heather Boushey’s Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It; and Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, to name just a few. Even capitalism’s erstwhile champions now find themselves on the back foot: None other than globalization’s manic hype man Thomas Friedman has turned to mea culpa, admitting that “we broke the world” by letting capitalism run too rampant. (“We”?)

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Facebook Will Announce Tomorrow Whether Trump and His Fascist Posts Can Return
      • Oversight Board Tells Facebook It Needs To Shape Up And Be More Careful About Silencing Minorities Seeking To Criticize The Powerful

        Tomorrow, the Oversight Board is set to reveal its opinion on whether Facebook made the right decision in banning former President Trump. And that will get tons of attention. But the Board came out with an interesting decision last week regarding a content takedown in India, that got almost no attention at all.

      • The Washington Post Thought It Might Be Nice To Provide Free Book Marketing To Insurrectionist Josh Hawley

        Let’s be clear about something. The U.S. doesn’t really do “accountability” particularly well. It’s a major reason why we often repeat the same mistakes over and over again without learning much from history or experience. That’s been made particularly clear by a U.S. press that continues to not only platform the insurrectionists who spread election fraud lies leading to the violent events of January 6, but treats these lies as valid and meaningful opinions. That, understandably, has led to concerns that it’s going to happen again. But worse.

      • Former Ethics Head Blasts “Openly Corrupt” Ted Cruz for “Selling Access”
      • Expand the US House of Representatives

        With every decennial Census for the past century, the United States has become less of a representative democracy. And, if we don’t intervene quickly, it will happen again.

      • Squad & Co: Unite as a Block to Downsize Biden’s Military Budget

        Now that would be a show stopper, particularly if they added, “So we have decided to stand united, arm in arm, as a block of NO votes on any federal budget resolution that fails to reduce military spending by 10-30 percent. We stand united against a federal budget resolution that includes upwards of $30 billion for new nuclear weapons slated to ultimately cost nearly $2 trillion. We stand united in demanding the $50 billion earmarked to maintain all 800 overseas bases, including the new one under construction in Henoko, Okinawa, be reduced by a third because it’s time we scaled back on plans for global domination.”

        “Ditto,” they say, “for the billions the President wants for the arms-escalating US Space Force, one of Trump’s worst ideas, right up there with hydroxychloroquine to cure COVID-19, and, no, we don’t want to escalate our troop deployments for a military confrontation with China in the South China Sea. It’s time to ‘right-size’ the military budget and demilitarize our foreign policy.”

      • Conspiracy Theorist Hired by GOP to Lead Arizona Recount Cost Taxpayers $150,000
      • Russian lawmakers seek to ban people who worked for ‘extremist organizations’ from running for parliament

        A group of Russian lawmakers have submitted a draft law to the State Duma on banning people connected to outlawed “extremist organizations” from running for parliament. 

      • Biden’s First 100 Days and the GOP’s First 100 Days Without Trump

        Two thirds of Americans support Biden’s $1.9 stimulus plan, already enacted. His infrastructure and family plans, which he outlined last Wednesday night at a joint session of Congress, also have broad backing. The $6 trillion price tag for all this would make it the largest expansion of the federal government since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. But for most Americans, it doesn’t feel radical.

      • Our Humanity; Our Identity

        The United States of America is that one country where identity politics has become more prominent in recent times. Significant elements within the majority community feel that their power has been eroded not only by the alleged assertiveness of the African-American minority (Barack Obama was president of the USA for 8 years from 2008 to 2016) but also by the growing educational and economic clout of the Asian-American communities. Besides, there is the increasing presence of the Hispanic minority and its demographic implications for the country as a whole. Fear of these changes has been exaggerated and distorted to mobilise White supremacist sentiment.

        A parallel development of sorts has been occurring in parts of Europe. Segments of the White majority have become antagonistic towards minorities many of whom profess Islam. Cultural differences aside, the flow of migrants from West Asia and parts of the African continent— a huge chuck struggling to survive — has intensified resentment and anger on the part of the majority. If anything, heightened unemployment in some of the host societies has exacerbated the situation. The newly arrived migrant often becomes the target of racist attacks.

      • Ranked-Choice Voting Is Already Changing Politics for the Better

        If you’ve been following New York City’s mayoral race, you might have noticed an unusual trend. Candidates have openly discussed their personal second choices. Activist groups have issued joint endorsements of competing candidates. Some of these competing candidates have even appeared together at shared promotional events.

      • Kangana Ranaut’s Twitter account ‘permanently suspended’ after incendiary tweets violating ‘Hateful Conduct’ policy

        Actor Kangana Ranaut’s Twitter account was ‘permanently suspended’ on Tuesday, after she posted a series of tweets in reaction to the recent West Bengal assembly election results.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Trump Shows Why He Doesn’t Need Twitter Or Facebook, As He Launches His Own Twitter-Like Microblog

        In a few hours, the Oversight Board will announce its decision regarding Facebook’s decision to ban Donald Trump from its platform. As we noted back when Trump was removed from Twitter and Facebook, Trump does not lack in ways to be heard. Indeed, we suggested that he could very, very easily set up his own website with tweet-like statements, and it was likely that those would be shared widely.

      • Free Speech Under Threat: The Real Consequences of Steven Guilbeault’s Battle with the Web Giants

        When looking at the shift in the government’s approach, I recently lamented that it has become the most anti-Internet government in Canadian history. That may have once been a badge of honour for Guilbeault, but after the Bill C-10 backlash and the public re-assertion of the importance of free speech online, there may be a significant political cost to being at odds with the views of millions of Canadian Internet users.

      • Riot Shuts Down LoL Fan Server After Getting All Wiseguy With Its Developers

        Way back in 2016, we discussed how Blizzard was very busy shutting down fan-made and hosted World of Warcraft servers, pretending like intellectual property forced it to do so. At the time, these fan servers were hosting WoW’s vanilla experience, mimicking what the game looked like upon first release, rather than then current iteration of the ever-evolving MMORPG. While Blizzard has since come out with a vanilla experience product of its own, at the time, these fan servers were filling a market desire for a product that didn’t exist. Rather than figuring out a way to work with these fans, Blizzard just shut them down.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Opinion | World Press Freedom During the US Tech Boom

        Free Press believes that creating a diverse and thriving news sector in the United States can be achieved by imposing a tax on online-advertising revenues that fuel the platforms and the attention economy.

      • ‘A chronicle of repression’ Journalist Ilya Azar shares a timeline of last month’s crackdown across Russia

        In a post on Facebook, journalist and municipal deputy Ilya Azar compiled last month’s headlines from Mediazona about pressure on activists and journalists across Russia, along with news of new prohibitions the authorities had introduced. “This is a chronicle of repression for just one month and it’s really impressive,” Azar wrote, commenting on what turned out to be a very long list. It included news about repressions from almost every day of the last month, with most days including more than one notable event. Meduza shares an edited translation of Azar’s timeline, expanded to include relevant context. You can read the original list of headlines in Russian here.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | Will America’s Forever Offshore Prison Ever Be Closed?

        Can Guantánamo ever be shut down?

      • Olympics Committee Accused of Racism for “Black Lives Matter” Ban at Tokyo Games
      • Lawsuit: Cops Trashed An Attorney’s Home In Retaliation For Successfully Defending A Suspect Against Murder Charges

        An attorney in Virginia found out what happens when you make cops angry. According to Cathy Reynolds’ lawsuit, the Roanoke PD targeted her for some extra attention after she successfully defended her stepson from murder charges.

      • Russian lawmakers propose legislation strengthening punishments for involvement in ‘undesirable organizations’

        Russian lawmakers have submitted a bill to parliament on strengthening criminal penalties for leading or being involved in a foreign NGO that’s included in Russia’s list of “undesirable organizations.”

      • World Leaders Join Human Rights Defenders in Condemning Colombia’s Deadly Crackdown on Protesters

        “President Iván Duque’s administration is acting as if it has a license to kill. When the people take to the streets amid a pandemic, it is because their government is more dangerous than a deadly virus.”

      • Women’s Rights in Nicaragua Under Attack From an Unlikely Source

        Extraordinary, then, that Belli has attacked Nicaragua’s National Assembly, because it is proposing to strengthen the laws requiring female representation in politics. Essentially, the law (which is subject to consultation) would require 50% of electoral posts to be held by women. In fact, it is an extension of laws which already exist, requiring (for example) half of the councillors in local municipalities to be female. At national level, more than half of government ministries are headed by women, including key positions such as the interior minister and the education and health ministers, who are all women. Perhaps not surprisingly, over half of public health and education workers are women, but more unusually the police force is over one-third female and has twice been headed by a woman, probably a ‘first’ among Latin American countries.

        While the struggle for women’s equality is far from won, Nicaragua’s achievements have been recognised in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gap Index, which placed it fifth, after Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Currently in 2021 the same index says Nicaragua has the best performance in Latin America. Many commentators qualify this achievement by pointing out that it also has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the region, a lamentable product of culture and poverty. Femicide and domestic violence also remain significant issues, although at lower levels than in neighbouring countries and much lower than the ‘northern triangle’ countries. Critics point out that abortion, made illegal under the presidency of Enrique Bolaños in 2006, remains illegal, as it is in most of Latin America. However, never have Nicaraguan women or doctors been prosecuted as happens in adjoining El Salvador, and abortion remains available for any woman whose life is in danger.

      • Derek Chauvin asks for new trial

        Chauvin’s legal team specifically cited the court’s rejection of its request to change the hearing’s venue outside Minneapolis.

      • Appeal For Defence Funds

        On Friday I shall be sentenced, very possibly to prison, for contempt of court by “jigsaw identification”. While I do not believe anybody has ever been imprisoned for “jigsaw identification” before, my entire prosecution has been so perverse that I cannot imagine why they have done it unless that is the intention.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Salesforce Asks Appeals Court To Say It’s Protected Under 230; After Its Own CEO Said We Should Get Rid Of 230

        We were quite perplexed in late 2019 when Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff (never one to shy away from expressing his opinions on anything at all) announced that Section 230 should be abolished. It seemed like an extremely poorly thought-out statement from a CEO who was wholly unfamiliar with the issues, but who has sort of relished tweaking the noses of the big consumer internet companies over the past few years (after spending the first decade or so of Software.com’s existence tweaking the noses of enterprise software companies). As we wrote at the time, Benioff didn’t seem to understand 230 at all, and seemed just angry at Facebook.

      • Verizon’s UltraFast 5G Can Only Be Accessed 0.8% Of The Time

        We’ve noted repeatedly how fifth-generation wireless (5G) was painfully over-hyped. To spike lagging smartphone and network hardware sales, carriers, equipment makers, and the lawmakers paid to love them spent years insisting that 5G would change the world, ushering forth amazing new cancer cures and the revolutionary smart cities of tomorrow. But while 5G is an important evolutionary step toward faster, more resilient networks, it’s more of an evolution than a revolution, particularly here in the US, and most of the loftier claims have proven to be a bit hollow.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • [Old] BBC Corrupted

        Today the BBC made it official — they have been corrupted by Microsoft. With today’s launch of the iPlayer, the BBC Trust has failed in its most basic of duties and handed over to Microsoft sole control of the on-line distribution of BBC programming. From today, you will need to own a Microsoft operating system to view BBC programming on the web. This is akin to saying you must own a Sony TV set to watch BBC TV. And you must accept the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) that the iPlayer imposes. You simply cannot be allowed to be in control of your computer according to the BBC.

    • Monopolies

      • Apple may win a court battle but lose a regulatory war

        The devilish details of antitrust law aside, this is the main question before a judge in California in a trial that started on May 3rd. It will be a battle royal between Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, a popular online video game, and Apple, the world’s most valuable tech firm. Epic accuses Apple of having abused its dominance when it kicked Fortnite off the app store last year after Epic tried to offer a separate payment system. Apple counters that Epic is just trying to avoid paying its commission rate of up to 30% and free ride on the tech giant’s inventions.

        An Epic win would up-end the economics of smartphone apps. Epic, and others, would probably be allowed to use their own payment systems in iPhone apps and perhaps even offer alternative app stores. Both would put pressure on the profitability of Apple’s services business, of which the app store is a large part—estimates put its margins at well above 70%.

      • After $53 Billion in European Sales Last Year, Amazon Paid $0 in Corporate Taxes

        “These figures are mind-blowing, even for Amazon. We are seeing exponentially accelerated market domination across the globe on the back of income that continues to be largely untaxed.”

      • Amazon Q1 2021

        Amazon announced their financial results for the January to March quarter last Thursday. I was reading them when an email popped up asking if I wanted to talk about them on CNBC Squawk, which I did. In preparation, I re-read the report and pulled together a few talking points; here they are.

      • Gaming Executive Sweeney Fumbles with Nintendo Switch at Trial

        Epic has to prove that the App Store is a monopoly that limits choices users have to play games across devices, including billions of iOS devices, to win its antitrust suit. Epic’s lawyers brought in an iPhone and a Nintendo Switch video game console to show it’s easier to play games on smartphones while a user is on-the-go.

      • Patents

        • This Is Biden’s Chance to Vaccinate the World

          On Wednesday, Biden faces a critical juncture. That day, May 5, governments from around the globe will gather at the World Trade Organization. They will ask America to waive the rules that are blocking them from making enough vaccines to protect their people. The rules in question are governed by TRIPS—the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual [sic] Property [sic] Rights [sic]. TRIPS requires governments to guarantee corporations’ patents and other intellectual [sic] property [sic] rights [sic], including monopoly control over the production of vaccines and other medicines.

          Because of these restrictions, not enough doses of the vaccine are being manufactured, despite the incredible industrial capacity of countries like India. This pharma-created shortage will result in the deaths of millions more people from Covid-19. A waiver would loosen corporations’ grip and allow countries and companies around the world to increase supply of the vaccine and treatments. A waiver would save lives.

        • To ‘Crush the Virus,’ Majority of House Dems Urge Biden to Back Vaccine Patent Waiver

          “We need to make public policy choices, both in the U.S. and at the WTO, that put lives first.”

      • Copyrights

        • PIJIP at American University to Steward the Open COVID Pledge

          Last year, Creative Commons joined forces with an international group of volunteer researchers, scientists, academics, and lawyers who sought to spur innovation that could be used in the fight against COVID-19. The result was the OCP, a project that offers simple, public licenses that anyone can use to make their patents and copyrights available to the public to be utilized in the global health crisis.

        • EU Study: Movie Pirates Chat on Reddit and Music Pirates Prefer Twitter

          New research published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office shows that social media networks are regularly used by pirates. An analysis of millions of conversations estimates that 35% of all digital content discussions “could be possibly related to piracy.” Interestingly, not all content niches prefer the same social media platforms.

        • Triller Offers Amnesty to Pirates, Claims VPN Users Aren’t Protected

          Last week Triller filed a $100m lawsuit hoping to make several sites pay for illegally streaming the Jake Paul vs Ben Askren fight. Triller believes that up to two million people viewed the fight illegally so is now inviting people to enter into a $49.99 settlement agreement. VPN services, it is being claimed, will offer no protection to those who used them to pirate the event.

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