06.29.21

Links 29/6/2021: Nitrux 1.5, Microsoft Still Playing ‘Copyright Police’ Against Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Try Linux on any operating system with VirtualBox

      VirtualBox makes it easy for anyone to try Linux. You don’t even need experience with the command line to set up a simple virtual machine to tinker with Linux. I’m kind of a power user when it comes to virtual machines, but this article will show even novices how to virtualize a Linux system. In addition, it provides an overview of how to run and install a Linux system for testing purposes with the open source hypervisor VirtualBox.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • TUXEDO Stellaris 15: High-End Linux Gaming Laptop

        TUXEDO Stellaris 15 is a 4.9 pound notebook with up to a 2560 x 1440 pixel display featuring a high refresh rate.

        TUXEDO Computers is a hardware manufacturer from Germany that develops and manufactures pre-installed devices based on the Linux operating system. Computers, notebooks and PCs from TUXEDO Computers are not mass-produced or off-the-shelf devices. Each device is individually assembled, installed, configured and tested for customers. This process ensures consistent high quality, reliability, quietness and low noise.

    • Applications

      • The 6 Best Apps to Take Screenshots on Ubuntu

        When it comes to explaining complex topics, nothing beats using a screenshot as a helpful aid. As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words after all. Now, as an Ubuntu user, you have plenty of methods at your side to grab a good screenshot: keyboard shortcuts, terminal commands, and more.

        But if you are looking for something more than a simple screenshot, say, a screenshot with additional editing or different style effects, then these tools probably won’t suffice. Luckily, Ubuntu supports a slew of screenshot tools that can help you capture a screen on your terms.

      • BleachBit 4.4.0

        When your computer is getting full, BleachBit quickly frees disk space. When your information is only your business, BleachBit guards your privacy. With BleachBit you can free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn’t know was there.

        Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean thousands of applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Nice nginx features for operators

        Now wearing my “ops” hat, there are a few things that I wanted to cover – blocking bad clients, rate limiting, caching, and gradual rollout.

      • How to Fix Common Nginx Web Server Errors – LinuxBabe

        Nginx is a very popular web server these days. This article will show you some common errors when running an Nginx web server and possible solutions. This is not a complete list. If you still can’t fix the error after trying the advised solutions, please check your Nginx server logs under /var/log/nginx/ directory and search on Google to debug the problem.

      • How to check List users in Linux Complete Guide for Beginners 2021

        There are commands to create user in Linux, delete user, add a user to group, and see logged in user but Is there any command to list users in Linux?

        No, there is no command to list users in Linux.

        Now, what will you do if you want to see available users in your Linux system/server?

      • Integrate Red Hat Data Grid and Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform on Red Hat OpenShift | Red Hat Developer

        Red Hat Data Grid can be used as an external cache container for application-specific data such as HTTP sessions in Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBoss EAP). This lets us scale the data layer independently from the application. It also makes it possible for JBoss EAP clusters residing in various domains to access data from the same Data Grid cluster.

        This article offers quick instructions for getting Data Grid 8.1.1 working with JBoss EAP version 7.3.6 deployed on Red Hat OpenShift. For this integration, we will deploy Data Grid and JBoss EAP in the same project on OpenShift. We will use a Hot Rod store to externalize HTTP sessions to Data Grid.

        I recently explored this integration for a Red Hat customer, and figured it would be helpful to put together detailed instructions for replicating it.

      • 4 Examples To List all Drives (Mounted and Unmounted) on Linux

        In this article we are going to show you four ways to show all drives, mounted or unmounted, on a Linux operating system.

        A disk drive is a technology that enables the reading, writing, deleting and modifying of data on a computer storage disk. It is either a built-in or external component of a disk that manages the disk’s input/output (I/O) operations.

        A disk partition in a hard disk is also known as a disk drive, such as drive Sda1 and drive Sdb2, etc.

      • nbtscan and nmap “nbtstat -s” For SMB scanning complete Guide

        nbtscan and nbtstat are free to network scanning software it is finding out vulnerability after scanning network. it generates scanning files, contains the IP Address and other information on the NetBIOS block. it is amazing network scanning tools in kali Linux used for network security auditing and finding out vulnerability.

      • Learn Bash error handling by example | Enable Sysadmin

        In this article, I present a few tricks to handle error conditions—Some strictly don’t fall under the category of error handling (a reactive way to handle the unexpected) but also some techniques to avoid errors before they happen.

      • What is Curl in Linux, How to use curl command? Complete Guide

        In my previous post, I have told you how you can copy files to and from the server over ssh protocol. More details read

        But, how will you transfer files to or from the server, if ssh server is not running there? Some other service is active and working properly, for example, HTTP / https, ftp.

        Don’t hit a hammer on your head, Today I am going to solve your problem in this article. curl is a powerful command to transfer files to or from servers over 20+ protocols. Keep reading. I will cover what is curl in Linux and how to use curl and other lots of curl options including download single files, multiple files, and how to use proxy in curl. I will write a complete curl cheat sheet in this article.

        So what are you waiting for move to the next option.

    • Games

      • GTA III and Vice City reverse-engineered code is back up on GitHub [Ed: It was never supposed to be taken back in the first place, but short-sighted projects outsource to Microsoft proprietary software with censorship]

        After Take-Two put up a DMCA claim against the reverse-engineered source code for GTA III and Vice City, it’s now properly back up online on GitHub.

        This follows on from a developer of a fork putting in their own counter-claim back in May, which resulted in GitHub resorting their repository. Now though, the main repository from the GTAmodding team is also back online, as they also put in their own counter-claim. This doesn’t actually mean what they’re doing is legal however, just that Take-Two did not respond to the counter-claims and so GitHub put them back up.

      • Reverse-Engineered GTA Code Back Online After DMCA Counter-Notice

        The ReGTA team has successfully disputed Take-Two Interactive’s takedown of the “re3″ and “reVC” projects. Without a legal response from the game publisher, GitHub restored the reverse-engineered GTA III and Vice City code. According to the developers, their code helps to maintain cultural heritage and will actually lead to more sales, not less.

      • Insect Worlds is an upcoming open-world insect exploration game

        Love creepy-crawlies? Insect Worlds might be one for you to take a look at with a demo available on Steam. We missed this one during Steam Next Fest 2021 as the demo came a bit later, after they needed to sort out a few issues with incorrect downloads on Steam. Now though it works and it seems like it’s easily worth keeping an eye on.

        It’s a bit of a mixture of genres with exploration, mini-games, fighting, educational resources and more.

        “Immerse yourself in the world of insects. Explore fascinating forests and learn about their way of life. Complete quests and mini-games, fight or collect resources and cards. Admire the microcosm from a completely different perspective and learn new facts about plants and insects.”

      • The fantastic looking Death Trash gains a permanent demo | GamingOnLinux

        After a success of Steam Next Fest, the upcoming post-apocalyptic flesh-filled world of Death Trash is sticking around with the demo becoming permanent.

        Death Trash has now been in development for around six years, developer Crafting Legends has confirmed now that the demo that was released for Steam Next Fest 2021 shall be staying put and they’ve been rolling out lots of fixes over the last week to the game.

      • Blue June is an upcoming 2.5D story-driven adventure game | GamingOnLinux

        Blending together elements of 3D and 2D games, the upcoming story-driven adventure Blue June looks good. In development by Tiny Dodo, a solo one-girl team independent video game developer from Toronto, Canada. The developer, Bibi, is responsible for all parts of the game from programming to art and audio.

        “Blue June is a 2.5D story-driven adventure game with elements of exploration, puzzle solving, stealth and horror. Play as June, a student of the prestigious Rose Hill Academy, and uncover the truth that lies beneath her troubled mind. Explore the campus, go to class, make new friends, and investigate the terrors that haunt June.”

      • Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) rolls out to everyone and it works on Linux

        What’s the takeaway? Well, it works out of the box across multiple browsers on Linux. Works but not exactly playable in my testing and so not worth looking into yet until Microsoft sort out the input lag issues.

        [...]

        So we now have Stadia, GeForce NOW and Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) that all work without any tweaks needed on Linux. Amazon Luna is the next, which is currently in a much more limited Beta but last we checked it needed browser overrides otherwise it prevents playing on Linux. The future of cloud gaming is already looking busy, as (internet / country permitting), it’s another way to break down some barriers for those without powerful PCs.

      • Zach-like puzzle game ComPressure is now technically free with the full demo

        ComPressure, a puzzle game about designing increasingly complex computation units powered by high pressure steam is now technically free, as the demo is the full game.

        This way more people can try the game, and keep playing as long as they want. If people like it enough, they can then buy it. Exactly what a demo is for and quite an interesting decision, and similar to what the developer of Rings of Saturn did (although they limited saving/loading).

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Nitrux 1.5 Is One of the First Distros to Support Linux Kernel 5.13, Ships with KDE Plasma 5.22

          The monthly release cycle continues, and Nitrux 1.5 is here as one of the first GNU/Linux distributions (at the moment of writing) to offer the just released Linux 5.13 kernel series on its software repository. I have to admit, the Nitrux devs were lightning fast to compile and package the new kernel, which brings lots of cool features.

          The Nitrux 1.5 release also comes with an up-to-date desktop environment, namely the latest and greatest KDE Plasma 5.22. The second point release is included by default, along with the KDE Gear 21.04.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.83 software suites.

      • BSD

        • Write an OpenBSD port with me: The TIC-80 fantasy game console

          Let’s write an OpenBSD port together. Earlier today, I became aware of the TIC-80 tiny computer/fantasy video game console. That sounds incredibly cool and I have been hoping for something like this ever since I learned about the PICO-8 fantasy console. Unfortunately, the PICO-8 is not open source but the TIC-80 is.

          Follow along with me as I write an OpenBSD port for the TIC-80. What appears to be a simple port ended up being a quite interesting challenge.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • brave browser updated to 1.26.67 » PCLinuxOS

          Brave is a new Chromium based browser that runs as good as it looks. Comes with additional security features such as ad blocking and more.

        • gnucash updated to 4.6 » PCLinuxOS

          GnuCash is a personal finance manager. A check-book like register GUI allows you to enter and track bank accounts, stocks, income and even currency trades. The interface is designed to be simple and easy to use, but is backed with double-entry accounting principles to ensure balanced books.

        • handbrake updated to 1.3.3 » PCLinuxOS

          HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform,multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 converter, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It is a video encoder that takes your movies and transfers them to a format that’s useful on your computers, media centers, and portable electronic devices.

        • vlc video media player updated to 3.0.16 » PCLinuxOS

          VLC (VideoLAN Client) is a media player that can play MPEG1, MPEG2 and MPEG4 (aka DivX) files, DVDs, VCDs, SVCDs, from a satellite card, from a stream sent by VLS (VideoLAN Server), from another VLC, or from a Web server.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Applying machine learning to GitOps

          Machine learning helps us make better decisions by learning from existing data models and applying good predictions to the next output. In this article, we will explore how to apply machine learning in each phase of the GitOps life cycle.

        • Fedora Community Outreach Revamp Update #6

          It has been almost a year since the Fedora Community Outreach Revamp started. Some pretty nice events have occurred since the last Revamp update. We retired the Trello board with the Revamp’s tasks and notes. Now all of the Revamp notes are publicly available on a HackMD file. Here is some of what the Revamp team has worked on in the last few months.

          With our experience from the community outreach survey in December 2020, we were asked to give our input on the Annual Contributor Survey. Now, the survey is public for the Fedora contributors to fill out and will be until June 30th 2021. Additionally, while having Marie Nordin help us out and support the Outreach Revamp, we gave our input on the organizational chart she prepared in order to visualize the Fedora Community’s organizational structure.

        • Vanguard CIO: How to help your organization think like a startup

          Vanguard is a global investment management firm with more than $7 trillion in assets under management and a history spanning more than four decades. The firm is best known for its low-cost mutual funds and ETFs, particularly those that track an index such as the S&P 500. Costs are one of the key variables within an investor’s control that determine whether or not one meets investment goals. Vanguard has been so successful in delivering on this insight that competitors in markets the firm operates also reduce their expenses – a phenomenon known as the “Vanguard Effect” – to the benefit of all investors.

          A few years ago, Vanguard set out to have a similar impact on the world of advice. Doing this would require that we set a bold vision, communicate it clearly, and move in an agile fashion – akin to a startup. Here’s how we made that happen.

          [...]

          A greenfield approach was taken with technology, building a cloud-native enterprise advice platform. The platform is composed of APIs, including a number that leverage AI/ML to provide personalized forecasts, and is now powering numerous advice offers across business lines and the globe. Through cross-functional teams working in new ways with shared goals and leveraging contemporary technology, the platform approach is enabling us to be disruptive.

        • 7 hybrid work best practices for IT leaders

          As IT leaders help their organizations move from a remote to a hybrid work environment, they will also be navigating these uncharted waters with their own IT teams. As a result, IT must quickly establish its own hybrid work culture and hybrid work best practices – both to maximize its own internal efficiency and to act as a testbed for other parts of the larger organization.

          Plenty of challenges await in the realms of fairness, communication norms, tools, and related matters.
          Plenty of challenges await in the realms of fairness, communication norms, tools, and related matters. Consider these seven best practices when establishing your IT organization’s near-term and long-term hybrid work policies and environment.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • ‘Open Source will be a key element to achieve Europe’s resilience and digital sovereignty’

        Open source gained increasing interest on the political level of digital policy discussions in recent months. Recently, the European Commission set up an Open Source Programme Office and expressed support for open source as a component to deliver on Europe’s digital decade.

        On 23 June, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market provided welcoming remarks at the Open Source Lisbon conference. In his speech, he highlighted the role of Open Source for a resilient, open, and innovative digital transformation.

        The Commissioner started his welcoming remarks by stating that Open Source is a public good bringing visible benefits to everyday life and a variety of sectors, starting with leisure and health to manufacturing and transportation. Open source communities are crucial for building the necessary infrastructure for digital transformation, comparable to bridges used for reaching our destinations – enabling innovation, growth and skills.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.5a17

            Tor Browser 10.5a17 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release instead.

      • FSFE

        • How Finland implemented Router Freedom: the regulator’s perspective

          In the context of the telecom reform in the EU, Finland has assured Router Freedom in the country. The FSFE acknowledges this as a major win for end-users’ rights. We interviewed Klaus Nieminen, a representative of the Finnish network regulator Traficom, to learn more about this decision.

          In the last decade, Finland became renowned for its digital transformation policies, which gave the country the status of having one of the most digitally-oriented populations. In particular, Finland has been praised for its efforts in implementing rules on a legislative level to ensure internet broadband connection for its entire population. The country’s internet policies focused on affordability of connection have resulted in Router Freedom. In 2014, Finland established Router Freedom in the country. The law stated that internet service providers (ISPs) should not prevent an end-user from connecting to a public communications network any radio or telecommunications terminal equipment that meets the legal requirements.

          In 2020, following the implementation of net neutrality in the country, Traficom, the Finnish national regulatory authority, confirmed Router Freedom. We consider this decision as a major achievement in protecting end-users’ rights.

          With other EU countries, however, there are still several issues to overcome. As the FSFE has been reporting, the reform of EU telecommunications law with the European Electronic Communications Code (the EECC) has the potential to negatively affect Router Freedom. The transposition of the EECC into national jurisdictions has been complex, imposing challenges for a harmonised approach. In this context, the FSFE asked Traficom how Router Freedom would be regulated after the reform in Finland. Traficom confirmed its commitment to Router Freedom, stating that it will not change the current framework for the ongoing telecom reform. This complies with the demands FSFE has been making to regulators across Europe.

      • Programming/Development

        • MIPS Assembly Programmming

          As I tell all of my tutoring students, if you’re majoring in CS or anything related I highly recommend you use Linux. It’s easier in every way to do dev work on Linux vs Windows or Mac. Many assignments require it, which often necessitates using a virtual machine (which is painful, especially on laptops) and/or ssh-ing into a school Linux server, which is also less than ideal. In general, you’ll have to learn how to use the unix terminal eventually and will probably use it to some extent in your career so it also makes sense to get used to it asap.

          [...]

          There are a few references that you should bookmark (or download) before you get started. The first is the MIPS Greensheet. It’s likely you already have a physical copy of this as it’s actually the tearout from the Patterson and Hennessey textbook Computer Architecture and Design that is commonly used in college courses.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.26 R3

            Alexey Melezhik has returned to the Raku Realm with a new tool, called R3 (the Rakudo Releases Readiness Tool). The idea being that bug reports should have an easy way to check whether the bug still exists or not, using a one-liner. Alexey explains in a blog post: Baking Rakudo Releases With R3 (/r/rakulang comments). Yours truly hasn’t had the time yet to really try it, but it looks like it’s going to be a great helper for the core developers!

  • Leftovers

    • Deadly Collapse of Illusions in Miami

      An engineering professor at Florida International University has used satellite data on ground elevation (a measurement technique used since at least the late 1970s) to write about the steady sinking of land in Miami, including the site of the condo, since 1990. There is a lot of beachside construction in Florida on landfill. This condo was actually built on sturdier ground (I’m guessing an ancient barrier island), but landfill is right next to it on the west side, where other similar buildings are located (and thus a bit further from the shoreline).

    • Yes, It Can Happen Here
    • BuzzFeed Closes In on Deal to Go Public

      BuzzFeed soon became one of the fastest-growing digital publishers, eventually raising $500 million at a valuation of $1.7 billion, and was hailed as the future of news media. But in recent years it has missed ambitious revenue targets, and some of its investors have agitated for a sale.

      After a series of layoffs in 2019, BuzzFeed started to diversify its business, selling branded cookware and ramping up its product recommendation section, garnering a commission on each sale through affiliate agreements with Amazon and other companies. “Our model evolved,” Mr. Peretti said in an interview last year.

    • Mate Selection for Modernity

      Together, these conditions have created pronounced imbalances in the modern sexual marketplace. Put plainly, an increasing cohort of successful women are chasing a shrinking number of high-value, commitment-averse men.

      At a cursory level, much of this can be explained by sex ratios and partner availability. However, the underlying structure of modern mate selection is fundamentally mathematical. For us to truly understand the causes and consequences of the modern sexual marketplace, a bit of math is required.

    • Science

      • Stewardship of global collective behavior

        Human collective dynamics are critical to the wellbeing of people and ecosystems in the present and will set the stage for how we face global challenges with impacts that will last centuries (14, 15, 64). There is no reason to suppose natural selection will have endowed us with dynamics that are intrinsically conducive to human wellbeing or sustainability. The same is true of communication technology, which has largely been developed to solve the needs of individuals or single organizations. Such technology, combined with human population growth, has created a global social network that is larger, denser, and able to transmit higher-fidelity information at greater speed. With the rise of the digital age, this social network is increasingly coupled to algorithms that create unprecedented feedback effects.

    • Education

      • Sorrow, Shame and Rage: the Wretched Legacy of Canada’s Residential Schools

        On June 21, two Roman Catholic Churches (Sacred Heart and St. Gregory’s) were burnt down at about the same time on the land of the Osoyoos Indian band in BC’s Okanagan Valley. A bewildered image of Ottawa-Cornwall Archbishop Marcel Damphousse, who confessed at first to knowing little about residential school abuses, filters through the smoky ruins of these churches. How can he not know? He has since offered a formal apology, but many angry Native peoples want to hear an apology from Pope Francis. That they won’t get. These days a priest dare not speak of the forms of “good work” and “spiritual illumination” provided by missionaries to indigenous peoples through the centuries of good and rough times.

        A Globe and Mail photograph (June 19th) of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, shows a statue of Sir John A. wearing a long cape with a rope wrapped around his shoulders. He looks like he is being prepared to be hanged on the gallows. In the background workers are getting him ready for removal from a park in Kingston, his birthplace in 1815. Eventually he will be relocated in the nearby Cataraqui Cemetery where he is buried. Over the last year or so, others have toppled Macdonald statues. Why do some people want to have him toppled, perhaps even erased from historical memory? Simply this: he is blamed for the Canadian government’s ill-fated establishment of residential schools. The social justice vigilantes have also toppled Egerton Ryerson’s statue in front of Ryerson University in Toronto, spattered with red paint and headless. The Methodist founder of the Ontario public school system has also been blamed for pushing separate schooling for indigenous peoples. Some members of the Ryerson University faculty have gone so far as to advocate changing the name of their university. Topple the statue and erase his memory from Canadian consciousness.

      • Conservative Education Critics Need Not Worry: Our School Curriculum & Textbooks Pose No Threat to the Status Quo

        Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican presidential hopeful, says teachers are “not trying to educate; they’re trying to indoctrinate,” and pledges “We’re not going to let that come to Florida.”

        But Trump, DeSantis, and their supporters can rest easy.  While public school textbooks and curriculum do throw some sops to us leftist teacher-indoctrinators, they’re filled with all that’s necessary to perpetuate the status quo. These materials don’t lie, exactly, but they distort and omit. The problem often is not what they tell students, but what they don’t tell them.

      • Held Back: Inside a Lost School Year

        Ashlee Thompson turned on her camera.

        At the other end of the screen one morning last September was a third grader she’d never taught. To assess his reading, Thompson showed the boy a string of letters.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Links From the Brink: Pipelines, Pesticides and Shrunken Brains
      • As Delta Variant Spreads, WHO Urges Masks and Social Distancing
      • Ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

        I must admit that I approached this topic initially with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. The reason is quite simple: Been there, done that. The topic is ivermectin, the new-old wonder drug to treat COVID-19 that evidence can’t seem to kill, and I’m definitely getting flashbacks to a year ago when the first “miracle drug” for COVID-19 was being widely touted, used, and studied. That drug was hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin is basically the new hydroxychloroquine.

      • Magnets in iPhone® series 12 can interfere with some implanted cardiac devices

        People who have a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator should be aware that the magnets used in the wireless charging technology for the series 12 models of the Apple iPhone can affect how the cardiac devices work if the phones are stored or used in close proximity to the implanted cardiac device, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.

        In a small study, researchers found when the phone was held directly over the skin near the implantable cardiac devices or directly over the still-packaged cardiac device, the magnetic technology in the iPhone 12 Pro Max® caused interference in nearly 80% (11 of 14) of the pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators evaluated.

      • Mexico top court decriminalizes recreational marijuana use

        The landmark bill was approved by the lower house in March but still needs final approval by the upper house, the Senate.

      • White House says bipartisan deal will get rid of all of the country’s lead pipes

        The bipartisan infrastructure agreement reached last week will get rid of all of the country’s lead pines and service lines, according to a new White House memo, but it’s not clear how long it will take.

        The memo, from National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and senior adviser Anita Dunn, says the bipartisan framework “will replace 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines.”

      • Clarence Thomas says federal laws against marijuana may no longer be necessary

        The Department of Justice has instructed the nation’s federal prosecutors not to pursue cases against marijuana businesses that follow state law. And since 2015, Congress has prohibited the Justice Department from spending federal money to prevent states from carrying out their own laws.

        But the IRS continues to enforce its own rules against growers and dealers.

      • Clarence Thomas says federal marijuana laws ‘may no longer be necessary’

        Thomas, one of the most conservative justices on the bench, opined on the country’s federal marijuana laws in the court’s denial of a petition to hear an appeal from a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary that was not given federal tax breaks that other businesses were provided, according to NBC News.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Using Zoom on a Chromebook is much better with a new PWA (Update: now available)

          On Tuesday, June 29, the Google Play Store will have a new Zoom app available. According to a blog post on Zoom’s site, this will be a new Progressive Web App, or PWA, bringing a much better experience to use Zoom on a Chromebook. Android Police first reported this news.

        • SoftBank has reportedly halted production of its Pepper robot

          SoftBank plans to lay off 330 staff members based in France, the original home of SoftBank’s robotics efforts, and apparently half of the division’s sales team in the UK and the US, Reuters writes. Production of Pepper robots was reportedly halted last year and would be costly to restart, Reuters’ sources claim. We’ve reached out to SoftBank to confirm the details of the report.

        • Security

          • WD My Book NAS devices are being remotely wiped clean worldwide

            Western Digital My Book Live NAS owners worldwide found that their devices have been mysteriously factory reset and all of their files deleted.

            WD My Book is a network-attached storage device that looks like a small vertical book that you can stand on your desk. The WD My Book Live app allows owners to access their files and manage their devices remotely, even if the NAS is behind a firewall or router.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Tracking-free audience statistics

              Even those aware of all this leaking may rationalise it as the price to pay for getting the things we need. But it turns out you can get a lot of what you need without snitching on your audience to random servers on the Internet.

            • Hey Signal! Great Encryption Needs Great Authentication

              But, securing communication requires more than encryption. The sender also needs to make sure the public keys that they intend to use are the right keys for the intended recipients. This check is called authentication. If the sender uses the wrong public key then either the recipient won’t be able to read the message, or worse, an active attacker could intercept the message, and reencrypt it on the fly so that the connection appears to be secure when in fact someone is eavesdropping.

              Attacking the authentication layer is not science fiction. In 2018, the UK government proposed Ghost. Ghost is supposed to be a compromise that would enable law enforcement to intercept messages without weakening encryption. The basic idea is that secure messengers like Signal would build a backdoor into the authentication layer so that law enforcement can add recipients to encrypted conversations without the participants noticing, and without compromising the encryption, which they say, is what people care about. Of course, this compromises message confidentiality, which is what people actually care about.

            • WhatsApp appoints Manesh Mahatme as Head of Payments in India

              WhatsApp appoints Manesh Mahatme as Head of Payments in IndiaNew Delhi: WhatsApp on Monday said it has appointed former Amazon executive Manesh Mahatme as a director to lead the growth of its payments business in India. As Director WhatsApp Payments – India, Mahatme will focus on enhancing the payments experience for users, scaling the service offering and work towards contributing to WhatsApp’s vision of digital and financial inclusion in India, a statement said.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • GOP Congressional Candidate Used Campaign Funds to Take Part in Capitol Breach
      • Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Sentenced To Twenty-Two Years For Killing George Floyd

        The police officer who set off months of anti-police violence protests has been sentenced to more than 22 years in prison. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly ten minutes… and for more than two minutes after another officer said he couldn’t detect a pulse.

      • Words Alone will not End Anti-Muslim Terror in Canada

        “This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities,” Trudeau told Parliament, two days after a Canadian terrorist, Nathaniel Veltman, deliberately struck a Canadian Muslim family at an intersection in London, Ontario. Only a young boy survived the attack which killed his parents, sister and grandmother. The 9-year-old boy remains in critical condition.

        The Prime Minister, whose brand of friendly and progressive liberal facade is often juxtaposed with the rise of conservative, populist politics in much of the Western hemisphere, went on speaking as if an activist advocating human rights and equality for all. “If anyone thinks racism and hatred don’t exist in this country, I want to say this: How do we explain such violence to a child in a hospital? How can we look families in the eye and say ‘Islamophobia isn’t real’?”, Trudeau said.

      • Here comes Donald Trump’s Final Massacre

        “The Delta variant is in the Ozarks,” tweeted Steve Edwards, CEO of hospital chain Cox Health in Missouri.  “We have been interviewed by NPR, CBS News, MSNBC, AP, Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, NYTimes but not @FoxNews.”

        This is a crisis now for Missouri because the Delta variant of the Covid virus is not only far more contagious than previous strains, but also more deadly. As Heather Hollingsworth writing for the AP notes, vaccination rates are very, very low in that state with one county clocking in at 13% and most counties “well short of 40%.”

      • Origin Stories

        The publication of the 1619 Project by The New York Times in 2019 pushed many Americans to reconsider what they assumed they knew about African American and, more generally, US history. The project, whose title refers to the importation of the first enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony in 1619, sought to show how, in the introductory words of its special issue, “no aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed.”

      • US Media Give New Respect to Lab Leak Theory—Though Evidence Is as Lacking as Ever

        While many Western media outlets (e.g., NBC, 5/4/20; BBC, 4/26/20) reported on the evidence-free speculations surrounding a potential lab leak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China’s Hubei province last year (FAIR.org, 4/17/20), it has never enjoyed as much mainstream credibility as it has in recent months.

      • Netanyahu Is Out But Nothing Has Changed for Palestinians

        One month after the end of the last hostilities between Israel and Hamas, events on the ground demonstrate that little has changed. And once again the US media is ignoring Israel’s creeping annexation of Palestinian lands and their brutally aggressive behaviors toward the Palestinian people. 

      • Giuliani Repeatedly & Wrongly Told Trump That Pence Could Overturn the Election
      • Mike Gravel, the Maverick from Alaska
      • Mike Gravel Told Americans What Was Being Done in Their Name but Without Their Consent

        Mike Gravel was a two-term United States senator from Alaska who refused to play by the rules of the club, a two-time presidential contender who refused to accept the narrow limits of his Democratic Party’s debate, and a champion of the public’s right to know who refused to be intimidated by lawless commanders in chief.

      • Mike Gravel (RIP)
      • Mike Gravel RIP: Watch the Senator’s Stunning 2007 Speech on How He Made the Pentagon Papers Public

        Mike Gravel, former presidential candidate and Democratic U.S. senator from Alaska, has died at the age of 91. We look at how, in the 1970s, Gravel was fiercely opposed to the Vietnam War and the draft and played a seminal role in the release of the Pentagon Papers, the 7,000 pages of top-secret documents outlining the secret history of the U.S. War in Vietnam. While the papers were leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post, Gravel spearheaded a one-man push on June 29, 1971, to read some 4,100 pages of the document into the Congressional Record, so that it would become public record and then anyone could read it and publish it. We feature an extended speech by Gravel in 2007 describing in detail how he received the Pentagon Papers from journalist Ben Bagdikian, who in turn had gotten them from Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Gravel told the extended story during an event moderated by Amy Goodman at the 2007 Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly.

      • When It Comes to War, Americans Remain Willfully and Incorrigibly Ignorant

        “I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”— Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

      • The Deep State and The Fourth Estate: Spies in Our Media, with Alan MacLeod
      • How a U.S. Congressman Took on the U.S. Blockade Against Venezuela

        These sanctions killed more than 40,000 people from 2017 to 2018 alone and put at least 300,000 others at risk of dying because they could not access essential medicines for over a year for treatable conditions such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, and kidney disease. In 2018, the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation reported 85 percent shortages of medicine (compared to 55 percent in 2014). During the pandemic, the situation has only become more dire despite the country’s robust measures to break the chain of infection.

        As activists pointed out in meetings and rallies at Rep. McGovern’s office, it is widely recognized that U.S. sanctions are a violation of the standards of the Geneva Convention (1949) and a crime against humanity as defined by the United Nations International Law Commission (1947).

      • Why some biologists and ecologists think social media is a risk to humanity

        There’s a misperception that we’re saying, “Exposure to ads is bad — that’s causing the harm.” That’s not what we’re saying. Exposure to ads may or may not be bad. What we’re concerned about is the fact that this information ecosystem has developed to optimize something orthogonal to things that we think are extremely important, like being concerned about the veracity of information or the effect of information on human well-being, on democracy, on health, on the ecosystem.

        Those issues are just being left to sort themselves out, without a whole lot of thought or guidance around them.

        That puts it in this crisis discipline space. It’s like climate science where you don’t have time to sit down and work out everything definitively. This paper is essentially saying something quite similar — that we don’t have time to wait. We need to start addressing these problems now.

      • In just one year, Beijing enveloped Hong Kong in a massive national security complex

        “Once they created this apparatus…it’s inevitable that they will keep expanding the activities, because it’s the logic of bureaucracy: once you have a bureaucracy, the bureaucracy has to do things to justify its own existence,” said Ho-fung Hung, professor of political economy at Johns Hopkins University. The national security complex, he added, will target an endless list of enemies and ultimately “devour itself.”

      • Iran says it will never hand over images of nuclear sites to UN nuclear watchdog

        “The agreement has expired … any of the information recorded will never be given to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the data and images will remain in the possession of Iran,” said Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.

        The announcement could further complicate talks between Iran and six major powers on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal. Three years ago then U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact and reimposed crippling sanctions on Tehran; Iran reacted by violating many of the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear programme.

      • Iraq Says Bombings Ordered by Biden a ‘Blatant and Unacceptable Violation’ of Sovereignty

        Echoing criticism from across the globe on Monday, the Iraqi government slammed the Biden administration for overnight U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria at facilities the Pentagon says were used by Iran-backed militias.

        “We condemn the U.S. air attack that targeted a site last night on the Iraqi-Syrian border, which represents a blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security in accordance with all international conventions,” said a spokesperson for the commander in chief of Iraq’s armed forces, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

      • Fresh Demands for Immediate US Withdrawal as Biden Administration Bombs Iraq, Syria

        The U.S. military’s latest bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria on Sunday was met with fresh demands for the immediate withdrawal of American forces from both Middle East countries, as the Biden administration attempted to justify the airstrikes as “defensive” in nature.

        “This constant cycle of violence and retribution is a failed policy and will not make any of us safer.”—Rep. Ilhan Omar

      • Taliban Forces More Afghan Soldiers To Flee Into Tajikistan

        Another group of Afghan government soldiers has fled across the border into Tajikistan as Taliban militants press an offensive across swaths of northern Afghanistan.

        Tajikistan’s border service said that 17 Afghan soldiers fled into the country on June 27 after Taliban militants attacked a border checkpoint located in the town of Chukchuk, in the Kaldor district in Balkh Province, Tajikistan’s state media reported.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Key Witness in US Case Against Julian Assange Admits to Lying to Get Immunity
      • Attorney: U.S. Case Against Julian Assange Falls Apart, as Key Witness Says He Lied to Get Immunity

        One of the main witnesses in Julian Assange’s extradition case has admitted he made false claims against Assange i n exchange for immunity from prosecution, a bombshell revelation that could have a major impact on the WikiLeaks founder’s fate. Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if brought to the U.S., where he was indicted for violations of the Espionage Act related to the publication of classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes. According to a new article in the Icelandic newspaper Stundin, the convicted hacker Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson falsely claimed he was a prominent WikiLeaks representative instructed by Assange to carry out hacking attacks, but he was in fact only tangentially involved with the organization. The article suggests the U.S. Justice Department collaborated with Thordarson to generate the indictment for Assange that was submitted to the British courts. “This is just the latest revelation to demonstrate why the U.S. case should be dropped,” says Jennifer Robinson, a human rights attorney who has been advising Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010. “The factual basis for this case has completely fallen apart.”

      • Key witness against Assange admits to lying in exchange for US immunity

        The revelation, contained in an extensive article by Stundin, a well-known Icelandic biweekly, is dramatic confirmation that the US attempt to prosecute Assange is a criminal enterprise.

        It again demonstrates that the American Espionage Act charges against Assange, and the proceedings for his extradition from Britain to the US, are a pseudo-legal cover for an extraordinary rendition. In this operation, the US Justice Department has collaborated with individuals whom it knows to be criminals, in the concoction of a fabricated indictment that was then submitted to the British courts.

    • Environment

      • ‘Can You Hear Us, Joe?’ Sunrise Youth Barricade White House to Denounce Climate Compromise

        Hundreds of activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement marched through the streets of Washington, D.C. and converged on the White House Monday to make clear they have no intention of dropping their call for an infrastructure package that includes robust investments in green energy and public works, particularly a New Deal-inspired Civilian Climate Corps.

        “What a lot of folks here in D.C. don’t understand is that while this may be the hottest summer of their lives, it’s going to be one of the coolest summers of our lives.”—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

      • We Don’t Need a New Report to Know It’s Time to Act Urgently on the Climate Crisis

        The record-breaking heat and intensifying drought engulfing the western U.S. right now are a stark reminder of how climate change is loading the weather dice against us. It’s making heatwaves hotter and longer, and droughts stronger. Yet, what we see today is just a fraction of what’s anticipated unless serious and immediate actions are taken to reduce carbon emissions.

      • Northwestern Heatwave Sparks Calls for Transformative Climate Action

        As the Pacific Northwest and southwestern Canada bake under what’s being described as a “once-in-a-millennium” heat dome, green groups on Monday reiterated the need for transformational change to address the climate emergency, while progressive U.S. lawmakers underscored the imperative for any infrastructure legislation to center climate action.

        “Extreme heat in Portland is literally melting our critical infrastructure. It’s yet another striking example of why our infrastructure package must center climate action.”—Rep. Earl Blumenauer

      • Sunrise Activists Arrested Over ‘No Climate, No Deal’ Blockade of White House

        Dozens of youth activists with the Sunrise Movement were arrested by Secret Service agents on Monday while blockading all 10 entrances of the White House to demand that President Joe Biden and federal lawmakers deliver an infrastructure package that invests in job creation and combats the climate emergency.

        The demonstrators had three core demands: stop negotiating with Republican politicians who don’t care about climate action; meet with Sunrise executive director Varshini Prakash and other youth organizers who handed Democrats control of the White House and Congress; and pass a bold jobs and climate package that includes a fully funded Civilian Climate Corps (CCC).

      • Bowman Joins Protesters Urging Biden Not to Forsake Climate and Racial Justice
      • Intel sponsors report on tech’s role in decarbonisation and the irony isn’t lost on us [Ed: Corrupt Intel (many examples of crimes) is greenwashing now. Then again, what polluting giant isn't doing it these days?]
      • Legal Action Against High Emitters Failing to Use Latest Climate Science, Study Finds

        Attempts to sue polluting companies and governments over their responsibility for climate change would have a greater chance of success if they made better use of the latest science, according to a study by Oxford University researchers.

        The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, finds that the growing ability of scientists to link emissions with specific damages caused by climate change, known as attribution science, could provide further evidence in lawsuits against the world’s biggest emitters.

      • Nuclear legacy is a costly headache for the future

        How do you safely store spent nuclear waste? No-one knows. It’ll be a costly headache for our descendants.

      • Lethal Heat Hits the Planet

        If this one report does not turn heads and create a sense of panic to get off fossil fuels, as soon as yesterday, then nothing will ever move the needle to fix the planet’s broken climate system. (Source: Norman G. Loeb, et al, Satellite and Ocean Data Reveal Marked Increase in Earth’s Heating Rate, Geophysical Research Letters – Advanced Earth and Space Science, June 15, 2021)

        Scientists have been warning about the consequences of human-generated greenhouse gases ever since James Hansen testified before a Congressional committee 33 years ago: “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”

      • GOP Fights Climate Proposals as the Northwest Roasts Under Record Temperatures
      • Explosive Growth of Toxic Algae Threatens Water Supplies Across US
      • Energy

        • Green Groups’ Petition Urges Social Media Platforms to Ban Big Oil Ads

          A coalition of climate and social justice advocacy groups on Monday published a petition urging the CEOs of leading social media companies to stop publishing fossil fuel advertising on their platforms.

          “Social media platforms have become the top purveyors of fossil fuel industry misinformation.”—Duncan Meisel, Clean Creatives

        • Coal Miners Strike in Alabama: ‘Warrior Met Coal Ain’t Got No Soul!’

          On June 22, Alabama coal miners represented by the United Mine Workers of America picketed BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, and Renaissance Technologies—the investment firms who finance and reap the profits from their employer, Warrior Met Coal.

        • The Insurgency Against Big Oil

          Royal Dutch Shell was the first giant humbled by a Dutch court ruling that it was required to reduce total emissions by net 45% of 2019 levels by 2030.  “The reduction obligation relates to the Shell group’s entire energy portfolio and to the aggregate volume of all emissions (Scope 1 through to 3).”  The case had been brought by a number of environmental groups, including Milieudefensie, claiming that RDS had “an obligation … to contribute to the prevention of dangerous climate change through the corporate policy it determines for the Shell Group.”  To not do so would result in a breach of human rights.

          The company submitted the rather amoral rationale that not selling its products would simply mean that others would do the same thing.  A vain effort was also made to convince Judge Larisa Alwain that RDS was sufficiently doing its bit to deal with climate change by reducing its Net Carbon Footprint comprising direct, indirect carbon emissions and customer emissions for products sold “by 20% in 2035 and by 50% in 2050.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Toxic Corporations are Destroying the Planet’s Soil

          The study is discussed by two of the report’s authors, Nathan Donley and Tari Gunstone, in a recent article appearing on the Scientific American website. The authors state that the findings should bring about immediate changes in how regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess the risks posed by the nearly 850 pesticide ingredients approved for use in the USA.

          Conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and the University of Maryland, the research looked at almost 400 published studies that together had carried out more than 2800 experiments on how pesticides affect soil organisms. The review encompassed 275 unique species or types of soil organisms and 284 different pesticides or pesticide mixtures.

        • As Key Suspect Tried, Encampment Demands Justice for Berta Cáceres

          After five long years, social movements in Honduras are finally getting closer to bringing some justice to the assassination of beloved social movement leader Berta Cáceres. Today, David Castillo sits on trial as a key perpetrator of her murder.

        • Biden EPA Lining Up With Chemical Industry Against Push to Curb Microplastics: Greenpeace

          “As much of the world works to take action to address the impacts of the plastic pollution crisis, the U.S. government should be stepping forward to lead, not echoing the world’s worst polluters.”—John Hocevar, Greenpeace USA 

    • Finance

      • In Blow to GOP Narrative, Missouri Cut to Jobless Benefits Not Boosting Hiring

        The Republican narrative that enhanced unemployment benefits are dissuading people from returning to work—and that cutting off the aid is necessary to boost hiring—is running up against reality in the GOP-led state of Missouri, where officials have yet to see any significant increase in job applicants since the governor cut off pandemic-related federal programs last month.

        “There may be areas where some employers are struggling to staff positions, but the likely obstacle is not overly generous UI benefits—instead it is wage offerings that are too low to make these jobs attractive.”—David Cooper, Economic Policy Institute

      • Turning Memes into Money in El Salvador

        Elected in 2019, Bukele frames himself as an opponent of the traditional Salvadoran elite. He maintains an approval rating of roughly 90 percent, in large part by attributing a recent drop in the homicide rate (which began before he took office) to his harsh anti-crime policies. Another key to his popularity is his highly active presence on Twitter. Bukele, who previously worked at his father’s public relations firm, uses his Twitter profile to share news, memes, and posts supportive of his leadership with his 2.7 million followers — one of the largest Twitter followings of any national head of state when weighted by population.

        Bukele’s carefully crafted public image, bolstered by paid trolls and lobbyists defending him, allows him to obscure the ways in which his rule has been similar to the corrupt Salvadoran elites he claims to oppose. In 2020, when the legislature objected to his proposal for a loan that would fund further police militarization, he sent soldiers to Congress to intimidate the lawmakers. This May, immediately after his party won a supermajority of the legislature’s seats, he replaced the attorney general and five judges on the Supreme Court in a move that the court itself declared unconstitutional. Most have recognized the move as a power grab; Bukele has termed it a “house cleaning.” While he claims these moves are necessary for fighting entrenched corruption, the US State Department has accused a number of Bukele’s close associates of being corrupt.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Low Turnout Embarrasses Hard-Liners in Iran

        The outcome of the stage-managed Iranian elections on May 19 must have pleased its architects. Hard-liners captured the presidency, and all the major side elections, including key city council races, went more or less according to plan.

      • ‘No Reconciliation Bill, No Deal’: Sanders Says Progressive Package Must Come With Bipartisan Plan

        Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said Sunday that he will not support the bipartisan infrastructure plan that the Biden White House endorsed last week if it is not paired with a broader legislative package containing major investments in climate action and other progressive priorities.

        “Let me be clear: There will not be a bipartisan infrastructure deal without a reconciliation bill that substantially improves the lives of working families and combats the existential threat of climate change,” Sanders tweeted. “No reconciliation bill, no deal. We need transformative change NOW.”

      • International Affairs

        “We know a lesser life does not seem lesser to the person who leads one,” wrote the novelist and critic Diane Johnson in 1972. “His life is very real to him; he is not a minor figure in it.” This wise and witty insight appears in The True History of the First Mrs. Meredith and Other Lesser Lives, Johnson’s monograph on Mary Ellen Peacock Meredith. The adulterous wife of the celebrated Victorian writer George Meredith, the spirited Mary Ellen is one of many “lesser” figures, all too frequently female, who have been more or less excised from the historical record. Johnson’s masterful biography paints an evocative portrait of a woman with grand intellectual ambitions—and thereby dignifies a figure first vilified and then forgotten by most chroniclers of the period.

      • The Political Revolution Comes to… Buffalo?

        Buffalo, N.Y.—In her victory speech, India Walton—the community organizer and first-time candidate who’d just beaten four-term incumbent Byron Brown in the city’s June 22 Democratic primary for mayor—referred lovingly to her 500 or so campaign volunteers as her “band of revolutionaries.”

      • Buffalo’s Next Mayor is Putting Electeds on Notice

        I met India for the first time several years ago, when she and her neighbors were starting the first community land trust in Buffalo, a non-profit designed to give residents of their historically Black community some control over that land.

        Not long after, I took a camera crew to Buffalo to interview Walton and produce a half-hour documentary about a city whose activists were transforming not only city policy, but also city politics, which were keenly on their minds at that time.

      • Nina Turner Is Running to Join the Squad

        Before there was the Squad, or even the glimmer of a movement by insurgent progressives to challenge incumbent congressional Democrats, a progressive Black woman legislator in Cleveland contemplated what to many Democrats was unthinkable at the time: challenging a respected Black congresswoman from the left in a primary, in this case Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio, in 2012.1

      • Marco Rubio Jumps To The Head Of The Line Of Ignorant Fools Pushing Dumb Social Media Regulation Bills

        It seems like we can’t have even a peaceful week go by without yet another grandstanding fool in Congress introducing yet another terrible bill to destroy the internet. The latest comes from Senator Marco Rubio, who, last week, excitedly released a ridiculous bill that he claims will “crackdown on big tech algorithms and protect free speech.” Of course, cracking down on algorithms is, itself, an attack on free speech. And the rest of his bill is nothing but an attack on free speech.

      • Joe Biden and the Age of Blaxhaustion

        Black people delivered the presidency to Joe Biden. His campaign was an embarrassing structure fire until Black voters in South Carolina showed up to save it. In primary after primary, they rejected fresh media darling Pete Buttigieg, pushed back against openly progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, kicked Mayor Stop-and-Frisk to the curb, and couldn’t even be moved by other candidates of color like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, and Andrew Yang. They understood—correctly, it turns out, and over the objection of many younger Black pundits like me—that this is a deeply racist country and that a majority of white people would vote for a Republican, as a majority of them have in every presidential election since Nixon honed the Southern strategy. They saw Biden as the candidate best situated to appeal to the minority of white voters who could abide Donald Trump’s bigotry but couldn’t stand his incompetence. And, with a major assist from Kamala Harris to shore up the underrepresented communities who were sick of racism and patriarchy, Biden was able to defeat Trump.

      • Nina Turner Leads Ohio Race, But Corporate Democrats Want to Stop Her
      • Cori Bush Introduces Bill to Move Away From Policing for Public Safety
      • Cori Bush Proposal Aims to Keep Mental Health Crises From Ending in Police Violence

        As a United Nations report on Monday underscored the need for “immediate, transformative action” to address systemic racism worldwide, particularly in policing, U.S. Rep. Cori Bush unveiled a bill that aims to promote “an inclusive, holistic, and health-centered approach to public safety.”

        “The People’s Response Act will transform public safety into a system of care rather than criminalization, healing rather than incarceration, and prevention rather than policing.”—Rep. Cori Bush

      • Sanders Says He’ll Reject Bipartisan Deal If It Excludes Progressive Priorities
      • Billionaire Tycoons Are Turning French Radio Into a Copy of Fox News

        For decades, Europe 1 has been one of France’s most respected radio networks — but under pressure from its new billionaire owners, it’s being merged into the Fox-style CNEWS. Last week, journalists took strike action, trying to stop a French broadcasting icon from becoming yet another far-right echo chamber.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Got the same name as a serial killer? Google might think you’re the same person.

        The actual Wikipedia article surfaced in Georgiev’s results didn’t include his headshot, and if you read carefully, you would quickly learn that the eponymous serial killer died by firing squad decades ago. Still, Google’s automated systems had made Georgiev, a software engineer based in Switzerland, appear to be someone he wasn’t. The company’s algorithms had plopped the information into one of its “knowledge panels,” the little boxes that appear on the top of search engine’s results and are supposed to offer a quick, authoritative answer to search queries so you don’t have to click through on results. But since Google debuted these panels in 2012, they have repeatedly promoted misinformation.

      • Twitter removes distorted India map after users protest

        In November last year, the government had issued a notice to Twitter for showing Leh as part of Jammu & Kashmir, instead of the union territory of Ladakh.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Florida Steps Up To Defend Its Unconstitutional Social Media Law And It’s Every Bit As Terrible As You’d Imagine

        About a month ago, the governor of Florida signed a showboating bill into law — one that made it illegal to deplatform people running for office. Well, mostly. It exempted “theme park-associated” websites from the bill to appease the state’s Disney overlords, but subjected every other site accessible in Florida to First Amendment violations in the form of compelled speech.

      • Conservatives Are the Ones Attacking Free Speech at Universities

        The Australian right’s strategy is almost identical to that of its counterparts in Britain. Having overseen years of disastrous cuts to higher education, the Coalition is now waging a war on academic freedom. Their goal is to clamp down on left-wing speech and activism, marginalize progressive academics, and push university education to the right.

      • Beijing’s national security law takes a toll in Hong Kong

        Why it matters: By asserting total political control over one of the world’s top financial hubs, the Chinese Communist Party is trying to demonstrate that its model of authoritarianism can preserve the wealth of those who agree to toe the party line.

        What’s happening: In one year, the effects of the national security law and other measures have rippled through politics, industry, art and other facets of life on the island.

      • China’s ruling party censors its past as centenary nears

        Ignored are the major tumults of the 20th century that historians reckon killed millions: The “Great Leap Forward” famine of 1958 to 1960, the decade of chaos in the “Cultural Revolution” from 1966 and the crackdown that killed hundreds or even thousands of people in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

        “There’s a lot of its history (the party) needs to forget,” said Robert Bickers, a historian of the party at Britain’s University of Bristol. “It has devoted a great deal of effort throughout the course of its 100 years ensuring that there is an agreed text of a history that needs to be celebrated.”

      • Censorship and curation in children’s books

        Contextualising the dodgy bits within Seuss’s overall body of work is worth doing. This is a writer who reminded us that “a person’s a person no matter how small” (Horton Hears a Who?). Parkinson-Bennett cites stories such as The Sneetches, an allegory about racial discrimination, as closer to Seuss’s overall sense of himself as “very progressive and subversive – which in the context of the times, he was. But he was also a product of his times.” Withdrawing certain titles may be a way of respecting, rather than undermining, a legacy.

        There is, of course, a danger in this hyper-aware, hyper-critical culture: of literary culture becoming so anodyne and sanitised it dies out entirely – the kind of scenario Ray Bradbury posits in Fahrenheit 451. “Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did.”

        YA author Brian Conaghan, whose gritty social realism has won prizes and been challenged in equal measure (who knew Glaswegian teenagers sometimes swear? Disgraceful!), is all too aware that considering all the potential interpretations of your work before you begin would be paralysing. “I wouldn’t have been able to progress another sentence. The whole point of creativity is about challenging the society, challenging the establishment, challenging the social norms.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Capitol [insurrectionist] accused of encouraging assault of NYT photographer arrested

        According to charging papers obtained by The Washington Post, Sandra Weyer has been charged with obstructing Congress and the certification of the 2020 presidential election. She has also reportedly been charged with four misdemeanor counts of trespassing and disorderly and disruptive conduct.

        Authorities said in the charging papers that Weyer was identified in part by social media photos that matched footage from inside the Capitol on the day of the attack. In one video, Weyer is allegedly seen encouraging others to assault of a photographer for the New York Times.

      • CPJ joins call for US to investigate Egypt’s alleged role in Khashoggi murder

        The joint statement notes that, earlier this year, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on members of the Egyptian intelligence team allegedly connected to Khashoggi’s killing. This week, U.S. intelligence officials and policymakers are scheduled to meet with Abbas Kamel, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, in Washington, D.C., according to the joint statement.

      • Human Rights Organizations Urge Transparency and Accountability for Egypt’s Alleged Role in Khashoggi’s Murder

        “Biden has pledged to put human rights at the forefront of US foreign policy. That has to include exposing human rights abusers and holding them to account regardless of their relationship to the United States. The last thing Egypt’s intelligence service needs from the US is a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Andrea Prasow said.

        “It is imperative that President Biden keep his verbal commitment to defend press freedom. The administration must ensure that this new information is fully investigated, and all those found to have been involved in Khashoggi’s murder are held accountable. Anything less will send a message that this behavior is acceptable and leave already endangered journalists around the world at greater risk,” said Michael De Dora from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Hue and Cry: Racial Erasure and the Unbearable “Tonnage” of Color

        Meanwhile, in the real world,[2] the lives of people of color, particularly those of darker hue, are erased.

        Black lives matter, especially, it seems, when they are transmogrified into white ones – or light ones. This has meant that the opportunity to tell stories, both historical and fictional, focused on black lives has been squandered in a quest, as Quixotic as it is contradictory, to convince ourselves that color doesn’t matter, and that issues of race and racism can be engaged without confronting them honestly and directly.

      • Ploughshares
      • UN Calls on Nations to End ‘Untenable’ Status Quo of Systemic Racism

        In a report that was commissioned following the police killing of George Floyd and released Monday, United Nations human rights officials said the “impunity” of police officers all over the world has led to persistent discrimination against Black people in the criminal justice system—noting that policymakers must confront “the interconnected areas that drive racism and lead to repeated, wholly avoidable tragedies.”

        “We need a transformative approach,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. “I am calling on all states to stop denying, and start dismantling, racism.”

      • “Setback for Unions”: Farmworkers Fought to Allow Unions Access During Breaks. Supreme Court Says No.

        The Supreme Court has ruled 6 to 3 that a California labor law violated the constitutional rights of property owners by giving union organizers access to workers on privately owned farms during their work breaks. The union-busting decision strikes down a crucial part of a landmark 1975 labor law that was the United States’ first to recognize agricultural workers’ rights to collective bargaining and grew out of efforts by the United Farm Workers to demand better pay and working conditions for California’s agricultural workers. “This ruling is a setback for unions, for workers’ rights,” says Camila Chávez, executive director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

      • Should Justice Breyer Retire? Adam Cohen Says 82-Year-Old Can Prevent 7-2 Conservative Majority

        We speak with legal writer and author Adam Cohen about the growing question of whether liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer should step down so that he can be replaced while there is a Democratic president and Senate. Justice Breyer is 82 and the oldest member of the high court. “If Breyer doesn’t step down now, there’s a very real chance that Republicans will eventually fill that seat and maybe turn a 6-3 conservative majority, which has already been terrible, into a 7-2 conservative majority,” Cohen says.

      • Supreme Court Says You Can’t Sue the Corporation that Wrongly Marked You A Terrorist

        Earlier this year, we filed an amicus brief, with our co-counsel at Hausfeld LLP, asking the Court to let all of the victims of corporate data abuses have their day in court.

        TransUnion wrongly and negligently labelled approximately 8,000 people as potential terrorists in its databases. It also made that dangerous information available to businesses across the nation for purposes of making credit, employment, and other decisions. TransUnion then failed to provide the required statutory notice of the mistake. The Supreme Court held this was not a sufficiently “concrete” injury to allow these people to sue TransUnion in federal court for violating their privacy rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Instead, the Court granted standing only to the approximately 1,800 of these people whose information was actually transmitted to third parties.

        The majority opinion, written by Justice Kavanaugh, fails to grapple with how consumer data is collected, analyzed, and used in modern society. It likened the gross negligence resulting in a database marking these people as terrorists to “a letter in a drawer that is never sent.” But the ongoing technological revolution is not at all like a single letter. It involves large and often interconnected set of corporate databases that collect and hold a huge amount of our personal information—both by us and about us. Those information stores are then used to create inferences and analysis that carry tremendous and often new risks for us that can be difficult to even understand, much less trace. For example, consumers who are denied a mortgage, a job, or another life-altering opportunity based upon bad records in a database or inferences based upon those records will often be unable to track the harm back to the wrongdoing data broker. In fact, figuring out how decisions were made, much less finding the wrongdoer, has become increasingly difficult as an opaque archipelago of databases are linked and used to build and deploy machine learning systems that judge us and limit our opportunities.

      • Photojournalist Ian Willms detained while covering police in Toronto

        Police entered Willms’ information into their system and then released him, but did not give him any documentation regarding his arrest or tell him whether he had been formally charged, he told CPJ. He said officers warned him that he would face penalties if he returned to report on the park.

        “Canadian police should not detain or obstruct journalists who are doing their jobs and trying to report on matters of public interest,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. “Officers should not have detained photographer Ian Willms in the first place, and should refrain from filing any charges in his case.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Creating State Action Via Antitrust Law And Making The People Who’ve Been Wrong About The Constitutionality Of Content Moderation Suddenly Right

        The challenge of a 24+ hour legislative session covering multiple bills is that it’s hard to keep track of everything that happens. In my last post I wrote about a few impressions and examples that I happened to catch. This post is about another.

      • Supreme Court Won’t Stop Antitrust Trial for Comcast

        Viamedia is suing Comcast for monopolizing local TV ad sales. The plaintiff alleges that Comcast is using its control of “interconnects” — local cooperatives serving pay-TV providers — to pressure ad clients from being represented by Viamedia.

        The five-year-old case was revived in Feb. 2020 by the 7th Circuit.

        The key legal issue in this antitrust case has become when exactly it’s actionable for an entity to refuse to deal with a rival.

      • Court dismisses FTC, state antitrust cases against Facebook

        The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will have an opportunity to file an amended complaint, but the challenge from a coalition of state attorneys general led by New York’s Letitia James (D) has been dismissed entirely.

      • Federal court dismisses FTC’s bid to unwind Instagram from Facebook

        Boasberg also dismissed the claims against Facebook’s interoperability restrictions, finding that the policies were implemented too long ago to be subject to FTC action.

      • Facebook Scores Big Win With Antitrust Dismissal

        The original lawsuit, which was filed in December, sought to break up Facebook and would have required the company to divest Instagram and WhatsApp. The court found the FTC’s complaint lacked sufficient proof that Facebook was operating as a monopoly. Because the court only dismissed the complaint and not the entire case, though, the FTC could very well present an amended complaint.

      • US antitrust cases against Facebook tossed by judge

        The federal lawsuit “failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element… that Facebook has monopoly power in the market for personal social networking services,” the judge said in a 53-page opinion, while allowing authorities the opportunity to refile the case.

        In lawsuits filed in December that were consolidated in federal court, US and state officials called for the divestment of Instagram and WhatsApp, arguing that Facebook had acted to “entrench and maintain its monopoly to deny consumers the benefits of competition.”

        The judge issued a separate opinion dismissing the case by the states, saying attorneys general had waited too long to bring the case for the acquisition of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.

      • Federal Judge Tosses FTC’s Antitrust Case Against Facebook

        “Although the Court does not agree with all of Facebook’s contentions here, it ultimately concurs that the agency’s Complain is legally insufficient and must therefore be dismissed,” Boasberg said.

      • Facebook hits $1 trillion value after judge rejects antitrust complaints

        A bright spot for the FTC in the opinion was the judge’s saying that the agency was “on firmer ground in scrutinizing the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, as the court rejects Facebook’s argument that the FTC lacks authority to seek injunctive relief against those purchases.”

        The FTC and a big group of states filed separate lawsuits last year that accused Facebook of breaking antitrust law to keep smaller competitors at bay by snapping up rivals, such as Instagram for $1 billion and WhatsApp for $19 billion.

      • Microsoft has talked up antitrust actions against Big Tech, and the other companies are tired of it

        For more than a year, Microsoft Corp. avoided Congress’ antitrust scrutiny with a deft strategy, but the software giant now finds itself ensnared in a debate for its finger-pointing tactics.

        Much to the exasperation of rivals Apple Inc. AAPL and Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOGL GOOG, Microsoft MSFT and its president, Brad Smith, has publicly supported antitrust actions against to gain a competitive advantage, sources close to both companies told MarketWatch. This prompted Apple’s vocal criticism of Microsoft during the Epic Games Inc.’s antitrust trial against the iPhone maker. Now, increasingly, insiders at Google, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +1.25%, and Facebook Inc. FB, +4.18% claim Microsoft has hypocritically presented itself as the White Knight of tech, unsullied by the anti-competitive behavior of Big Tech.

        All four companies under federal investigation — Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook — declined to speak on the record. But representatives from all four emphatically made it clear to MarketWatch that Microsoft is overplaying the antitrust card to make up ground in key technology areas such as mobile and gaming where Microsoft has lagged behind its rivals.

        The strategy has worked swimmingly: Microsoft topped $2 trillion in market value last week, joining Apple in the exclusive club while generally dodging the attention of antitrust investigations, a new package of Congressional bills, and lawsuits.

      • Patents

        • EPO Annual Review 2020 reflects organisation’s rapid transformation [Ed: EPO management breaks the law and calls its cries "transformation"]

          The EPO published its Annual Review 2020 today. The publication, accompanied by a video, highlights a year of rapid transformation to adapt to the multiple challenges of the pandemic. As the Office continued to implement its Strategic Plan 2023, the successful switch to a largely digital workspace required greatly accelerated digitalisation and a more flexible approach at every level of the organisation. These two factors were crucial to many of the main achievements and activities of 2020, which are outlined in the review under each of the Strategic Plan’s five clear goals. In addition to key operational results, there are also detailed reports on specific areas such as quality, environmental sustainability, social aspects, staff engagement, IT, data protection and communication.

        • “These formulations will be valuable tool for grower who wants to apply biological control” [Ed: Yet more EPO patents or European Patents covering life and nature; it's not about invention anymore, just monopoly control]

          Futureco Bioscience has obtained, as officially communicated in the Bulletin 20121/16 of the European Patent Office, the European Patent No. EP3607048, with the title “A strain of Pseudomonas putida and its use in the control of diseases caused by bacteria and fungi in plants”.

        • The Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) share price is soaring 7%

          Possible European patent

          Noxopharm announced it’s received a notice of allowance on a key patent for its first pipeline drug candidate Veyonda.

          According to Noxopharm, it’s a positive sign the European Patient Office will likely grant the patent.

          Currently, Veyonda is in phase 2 of clinical trialling. Noxopharm hopes Veyonda will prove to be a useful cancer treatment.

      • Trademarks

        • Ringo Starr Drops Trademark Challenge Against ‘Ring O’ Sex Toy

          First, an apology. I tend to cover much of our trademark beat here at Techdirt. And regular readers here will know that my sense of humor trends towards the juvenile and vulgar. It is with a solemn and heartfelt apology, therefore, that I must report to you all that I somehow missed that there was a trademark fight between famed drummer Ringo Starr and Pacific Coast Holdings IP, LLC, makers of a Ring O — wait for it — sex toy. I really should have caught this, but missed it.

      • Copyrights

        • Big Tech Is Killing Movies

          Amazon’s buyout of MGM is the latest example of the culture industry’s transformation into a Big Tech monopoly. Artists, workers, and the film-watching public suffer the consequences.

        • Twitter Suspends India’s Minister of Communications After Sony DMCA Notice

          Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, has fired off a broadside against Twitter after it suspended his account for alleged copyright infringement. After first accusing Twitter of stifling free speech, it now appears that Sony filed a DMCA notice that targeted a 2017 tweet linking to unlicensed music.

        • 2nd Circuit Upholds Non-Monetary Sanctions Against Copyright Troll Richard Liebowitz

          Here’s a quick update on infamous copyright troll Richard Liebowitz. As you may recall, after tons of stories about Liebowitz’s horrendously bad activities in and out of court, federal district court Judge Jesse Furman finally threw the book at Liebowitz in an incredible ruling that literally catalogued dozens upon dozens of examples of Liebowitz lying to his and other courts. Furman issued both monetary and non-monetary sanctions. Among the non-monetary sanctions was a requirement that Liebowitz file a copy of this particular benchslap in basically every court where he is representing a client.

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