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Links 31/12/2021: 7-Zip 21.07 and Goodbye to CentOS 8

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel HFI Code Revised For Improving Alder Lake’s Hybrid Support On Linux – Phoronix

        Back in late 2020 Intel’s programming manuals detailed the Enhanced Hardware Feedback Interface for the CPU to provide guidance to the kernel’s scheduler on optimal task placement of workloads. While marketed as Thread Director with the new 12th Gen Alder Lake processors, that hardware feedback interface support is getting squared away for the Linux kernel to improve the support for these newest processors.

        Microsoft Windows 11 already supports the Intel Hardware Feedback Interface as part of its Alder Lake / Thread Director optimizations while only recently has the Linux kernel support been in the works. In November there were some early “intel_hfi” patches published while right before Christmas Intel dropped a second version of the patches with many changes and improvements stemming from the early code review.

      • Linux 5.17 To Replace SHA1 With BLAKE2s For Faster & More Secure “Random” – Phoronix

        Queued today within the Linux’s random.git repository for the /dev/random and /dev/urandom code is support for using BLAKE2s rather than SHA1 when hashing the entropy pool. This in turn is a big performance speed-up in addition to being more secure.

        For Linux 5.17 there are some nice “random” improvements. Jason Donenfeld who is best known for his work on creating WireGuard is also the Linux kernel’s random maintainer. Queued today was the change to remove SHA1 usage from the random.c code and to instead use BLAKE2s.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install Guilded on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Guilded 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.

      • How To Install WildFly on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install WildFly on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, WildFly formerly known as JBoss is an application server written in Java and developed by Red Hat. WildFly is a flexible, lightweight, managed application runtime that helps you build amazing applications.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the WildFly (JBoss) on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • Update on Linux hibernation support when lockdown is enabled
      • How to listen to YouTube Music on Linux with Ytmdesktop

        We’ve covered how to listen to YouTube Music on the Linux desktop before using the unofficial YouTube Music app developed by Th-Ch. However, this program isn’t the only way to listen to the service on the Linux platform.

        If you’ve tried out Th-Ch’s unofficial YouTube Music app and found that it didn’t do what you wanted, a great alternative is Ytmdesktop. It has a very similar UI. However, Ytmdesktop integrates with Discord, Last.fm, and more. Here’s how to use it on your system.

      • How to Use Ubuntu Disk Utility for Better HDD/SSD Management

        When using Linux, there are times when you may need to manage hard drives, removable media such as USB drives and SD cards, and more. This is especially true if you plan on dual-booting Ubuntu with Windows or a second Linux installation.

        Therefore, it’s important to know how you can manage your drives and the partitions that are on them. Resizing a partition, reformatting your hard drive, or checking its health are some of the things that you can do with Ubuntu’s built-in disk management tool known as “Disks.”

      • How to Install Tripwire IDS on Debian 11 Bullseye – LinuxCapable

        Tripwire IDS is a reliable intrusion detection system that identifies changes made to specified files and directories. Tripwire IDS Detects intrusions by analyzing operating systems and applications, resource utilization, and other system activity.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Tripwire IDS on your Debian 11 Bullseye operating system.

      • How to Install PHP 8.1 on CentOS 9 Stream – LinuxCapable

        PHP 8.1 is a significant update of the PHP language that was “officially” released on November 25, 2021. As we advance from the existing PHP 8.0 release, this is a standard upgrade. The new PHP 8.1 brings enums, fibers, never return type, final class constants, intersection types, read-only properties, and a long list of new features and changes.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to import the REMI Module and install PHP 8.1 on CentOS 9 Stream.

      • How to Install Side-Scroller SuperTux 0.6.3 via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04/18.04/21.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        Many free open-source apps got new releases before new year 2022. The side-scrolling game SuperTux 0.6.3 is one of them!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Arc Menu Extension Adds a New Layout & Standalone Runner Mode – OMG! Ubuntu!

          I already think Arc Menu is one of the best GNOME extensions out there, and seeing the change-log for its latest release I’m reminded why.

          Arc Menu v20 is chock-full of enhancements that span the full gamut of development, from bug fixes and code refactoring through to brand menu layouts and even more customisation options.

          The star attraction in the latest release is the the new “A.Z.” menu layout.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Goodbye CentOS 8 and Thanks for Everything!

          The day has finally arrived! Today, December 31, 2021 CentOS Linux 8 reaches End-of-Life (EOL).

          For years, a lot of Linux system administrators have been using CentOS for their Linux servers. The majority of web and server hosting companies also offered CentOS as their default operating system. In other words, CentOS has been dominant on the Linux server field in recent years.

          Back in December 2020, Red Hat announced that it will be discontinuing CentOS based on RedHat releases. This was come as quite a shock for the CentOS community. And this is where history repeats itself. Let me remind you. Back in 2004, Red Hat did the same thing by EOL’ing all versions of Red Hat Linux and forced users to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

          Although the news was announced as early as December last year, many Linux system administrators and developers still feel at a loss. Of course, the system running CentOS 8 will not crash overnight, but security and other updates will no longer continue from the beginning of next year.

        • Red Hat donates $10,000 and the Flatpak package will be official [Ed: IBM uses deep pockets to push itself as the 'standard']

          OBS Studio is one of the most successful projects of the free software However, it carries an important but, and that is that for many years it has not offered symmetric support between the platforms it supports, so the version for Linux has fewer features than the Windows version. Added to that is the fact that Ubuntu and Linux Mint are the only officially supported distributions, which will thankfully change shortly thanks to Flatpak.

          There seems to be interest in improving OBS Studio support for Linux, especially when it comes to covering the spectrum that goes beyond Ubuntu, since Red hat has donated $10,000 to the project in charge of the development and maintenance of the popular video recording and streaming software, which is used not only by free software enthusiasts, but also by professionals who publish on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.

          In parallel with the Red Hat donation, the ground is being prepared for the Flatpak build of OBS Studio is official, something that should finish materializing with the release of version 27.2 of the application. What’s more, the beta version of OBS Studio 27.2 already ships the Flatpak version as an official build.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Mico – A USB microphone based on Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU – CNX Software

        Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller has found its way into Mico, a compact USB microphone with a PDM microphone providing better quality than cheap USB microphones going for one or two dollars or even 5 cents shipped for new Aliexpress users.

        The project started when Mahesh Venkitachalam (Elecronut Labs) was doing audio experiments with Machine Learning on the Raspberry Pi, and found out USB microphone dongles were extremely noisy with poor (distance) sensitivity, so he completed the project with a high-quality I2S microphone instead. He then had the idea of making his own USB microphone and found out Sandeep Mistry had already developed a Microphone Library for Pico, so he mostly had to work on the hardware that’s how Mico Raspberry Pi RP2040 USB microphone came to be.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • CD Player Powered 555 Piano Goes Accordion To Plan | Hackaday

          Acordeonador, an 555 accordion powered by a CD player based genrator
          Ah yes, the 555 piano project. Be it the Atari Punk Console, or some other 555 based synthesizer, Hackers just love to hear what the 555 can do when attached to a few passives and a speaker. It’s a sound to behold. But for [Berna], that wasn’t quite enough! Below the break, you can see his creation, called the Acordeonador.

          A portmanteau of the Spanish words for “Accordion” and Generator”, the Acordeonador does what no project we’ve seen so far can do: It turns a CD drive into a generator for a 555 based synthesizer.

        • This gear turns only once every 346 quintillion years

          Mechanical advantage is the single most important principle in mechanical engineering. Archimedes is quoted as saying “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” We could say the same of gear reductions, but they have the added advantage of fitting into a very compact space. To prove that point, Sunday Robotics’ INFINITY GEARS has a final gear that will only make a single revolution once every 346 quintillion years.

          To put that time frame into perspective, consider that our universe is roughly 13.8 billion years old. You would have to exceed 25 billion similar spans of time before the final gear in this device made a full revolution. Thanks to the power of gear ratios, this device achieves that using only 41 individual spur gears (plus the motor’s input gear). The input motor spins at 250RPM and each stage has a gear ratio of 1:5. The final gear ratio, from input to output, is 1:5^41. Not only does that mean the output is spinning extremely slow, it also means that it has an incredible amount of torque — though friction losses keep it from reaching insane levels.

        • OpenBikeSensor: Build your own distance meter for cyclists – Market Research Telecast

          The road traffic regulations stipulate a minimum distance of 1.5 meters for drivers when overtaking cyclists, and out of town it is even 2 meters. With the OpenBikeSensor, every overtaking maneuver including the distance can be logged at specific GPS coordinates. With enough data, traffic planners have a concrete basis to identify potential accident black spots and perhaps even to eliminate them.

          The principle in short: If you are overtaken by a car, the handlebar display shows the distance to the left or right of overtaking vehicles. In addition, the sensor saves distances and associated GPS data permanently on the SD card. If you press the record button within five seconds, the sensor saves the information that this button was pressed for the data record; only such data sets are then currently used for the subsequent evaluation.

        • Remoticon 2021: Uri Shaked Reverses The ESP32 WiFi | Hackaday

          You know how when you’re working on a project, other side quests pop up left and right? You can choose to handle them briefly and summarily, or you can dive into them as projects in their own right. Well, Uri Shaked is the author of Wokwi, an online Arduino simulator that allows you to test our your code on emulated hardware. (It’s very, very cool.) Back in the day, Arduino meant AVR, and he put in some awesome effort on reverse engineering that chip in order to emulate it successfully. But then “Arduino” means so much more than just AVR these days, so Uri had to tackle the STM32 ARM chips and even the recent RP2040.

          Arduino runs on the ESP32, too, so Uri put on his reverse engineering hat (literally) and took aim at that chip as well. But the ESP32 is a ton more complicated than any of these other microcontrollers, being based not only on the slightly niche Xtensa chip, but also having onboard WiFi and its associated binary firmware. Reverse engineering the ESP32’s WiFi is the side-quest that Uri embarks on, totally crushes, and documents for us in this standout Remoticon 2021 talk.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • postmarketOS 21.12 improves Firefox UI and support – itsfoss.net

          Has recently appeared postmarketOS 21.12, which is based on Alpine Linux 3.15 and comes to expand the number of supported devices and with improvements to the user interface, the support of virtual consoles and the adaptation of Firefox.

          We have not dedicated an entry to postmarketOS for a long time, that Linux operating system that aims to greatly extend the useful life of smarpthones, a type of device that has ended up in a high percentage crushed by the aggressive policies of programmed obsolescence of the corporations .

          The first thing that stands out from postmarketOS 21.12 is the addition of support for new devices, among which are the PineBook Pro by PINE64, the tablets Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 and Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7, in addition to the smarpthone Xiaomi Pocophone F1. However, there is also one loss to be regretted, that of the Nokia N900, which has been dropped from the list of officially supported devices because most of the people who contribute to postmarketOS are focused on other newer devices.

          Regarding user interfaces, first of all we find Sxmo 1.6, the latest version of a simple graphical environment that works on mobiles with Linux. It offers sessions on Xorg and Wayland and it seems that since the last version was released it has received major improvements.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 7-Zip 21.07

        You can use 7-Zip on any computer, including a computer in a commercial organization. You don’t need to register or pay for 7-Zip.

      • 2021: A year in open source [Ed: Very corporate-leaning slant, full of junk, FUD, and deliberate revisionism]
      • Web Browsers

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • People of WordPress: Collins Agbonghama

          In this series, we share some of the inspiring stories of how WordPress and its global network of contributors can change people’s lives for the better. This month we feature a website builder from Nigeria, who uses the open source WordPress platform to support his family and to share learning with others in his home country and beyond.


          A friend at the school had a simple mobile phone which could browse the internet. Collins had his first introduction to the World Wide Web through access to this device. He became hooked by reading headlines on a sports site about a famous English Premier League Football Club, Chelsea, a soccer team which he has long supported.

          “Being a very inquisitive person, I wanted to learn how the web works as well as have my own website. I was able to buy a classic mobile phone through the menial jobs I did after school,” he said.

          His first website was a wapsite or Wireless Application Protocol site optimized for mobile devices.

      • FSF

        • A message from FSF president Geoff Knauth: Will you support user freedom by helping to reach our membership goal before December 31? — Free Software Foundation — Working together for free software

          Since its founding, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and thousands of volunteers have worked hard to make computing safe for users, liberating them to learn the best of the arts of computer science from each other and to share freely their creations, while protecting users from exploitative licenses and intrusions of governments and corporations that put their interests ahead of your computing freedom.

          In 2021, it became very clear that people in the free software community care deeply about the values enshrined in the FSF mission and the four freedoms. And this level of engagement requires improved governance from the Board of Directors in the form of visibility in our decision-making, and mechanisms that encourage members to discuss and advance candidates for selection to the board. The structure up to now has been too opaque. Consequently, the board has worked very hard this year with outside experts to bring FSF associate members more transparency and give them a voice in governance going forward. Besides what we’ve already announced, more details will be coming soon.


          As 2021 comes to a close, please also consider supporting the FSF, so that our hard-working and dedicated staff may continue the work they do behind the scenes to secure freedom-preserving infrastructure, develop and promote advocacy, and deliver services to you. Along with the developers of free software, our staff are often the unsung heroes. They are dedicated, smart, wise and considerate. I wish them a free and Happy New Year just as much as I do you.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • Do-It-Yourself Lexical Pragmas | Tom Wyant [blogs.perl.org]

            The phrase “Lexical Pragmas” is probably both redundant and ungrammatical (the correct plural of “pragma” being “pragmata”, I believe). But the use of “pragma” to mean “Perl module with an all-lower-case name” is fairly common, and I wanted to make clear that this was not what I was talking about. This blog entry is about writing Perl code whose configuration changes are limited to a lexical scope, just like built-in pragmata such as strict or warnings.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Literate Korn Shell

            This is the first draft of Literate Korn Shell, the unix shell ‘ksh’ written with all of its innards exposed and explained.

            The goal of Literate Programming is to compile source code into two objects—the executable program with which we are familiar and in additional a document presenting the source code in a format suitable for reading in order to, hopefully, understand it.

            One advantage in particular offered by literate programming is to break up and re-order the code so that its parts can be introduced to the reader in an order and manner which is focussed on the needs of a human reader who may be unfamiliar with the code without the need to bow to the esoteric demands of a compiler.

            This draft of literate ksh has concentrated mostly on this feature, to order the code so that a narrative can be threaded from start to finish which, piece by piece, introduces all of the components which go towards making ksh work.

        • Java

  • Leftovers

    • Crimes Against Culture

      “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community.” Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Crimes against culture include the suppression of language, literature, humor, songs, cuisine, clothing styles, and social traditions. Colonialism, occupation, and alien domination suppress native cultures, denigrating local languages, arts, and habits. Proselytization disparages native creeds. The French steal the Wedding Feast at Cana, and the English take away the Rosetta Stone from Egypt and Kohi-Noor from the Mughals. After decades of delay, Yale University finally agrees to return the artifacts it has misappropriated from Machu Picchu. The Taliban destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Wars, decay, and poverty damage the monuments and structures that constitute world heritage. Minority cultures face suppression in majoritarian regimes. Even democracies apply legal pressure on minorities to speak the language of the majority and adopt the culture of the dominant population. English-only laws perpetuate cultural suppression requiring millions of Spanish-speaking citizens to favor English over their mother tongue in their ancestral lands taken through wars. Cultures are more durable than nationalities.

    • Remembering Harry Reid, 1939–2021

      The most awkward job interview I ever had was with Harry Reid.

    • Revenge of the Nerds

      Zafo Ypi was having the hardest day of his life, but the 30 laid-off Romani workers camped out on his lawn were having an even rougher one. They begged their boss to save their jobs, appealing to his conscience and his politics: “I told them you’re a man of the people.…  You won’t let these children go hungry,” one man pleaded with him. But they were barking up the wrong tree. There were new rules, and Mr. Ypi didn’t make them.

    • Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot

      It’s been a rough year for our community of tech policy advocates, with us losing two of our own, Sherwin Siy in July and then Elliot Harmon in October. We remembered Sherwin here, and the EFF wrote about Elliott over there.

    • In Botswana, heavy metal bands’ fame and fortune grow online in pandemic

      Mosaka and his band have helped organise an annual heavy metal concert in Ghanzi, a town in the west of Botswana, called the Overthrust Winter Metal Mania Charity Fest since 2010, with 40% of profits donated to local charities.

    • Science

      • Combination of tucatinib and neural stem cells secreting anti-HER2 antibody prolongs survival of mice with metastatic brain cancer

        Brain metastases are among the most severe complications of systemic breast cancer, and overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) in breast cancer cells increases the incidence of brain metastases in patients. In this study, we engineered the human-derived, tumor cell tropic neural stem cells LM-NSC008 (LM008) to continuously secrete antibodies against HER2. These anti-HER2 antibodies impaired tumor cell proliferation by inhibiting the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway in HER2+ breast cancer cells in vitro. Importantly, our results demonstrate that the therapeutic combinatorial regimen consisting of LM-NSC008 anti-HER2 antibody-secreting cells and the HER2 kinase inhibitor tucatinib provide therapeutic benefit and prolong survival in preclinical models of HER2+ breast cancer brain metastases.

    • Hardware

      • Taking A Close Look At Hawkeye’s Workbench | Hackaday

        We don’t have to tell you that the representation hackers and makers get in popular media is usually pretty poor. At this point, we’ve all come to accept that Hollywood is only interested in perpetuating negative stereotypes about hackers. But in scenes were there plot calls for a character to be working on an electronic device, it often seems like the prop department just sticks a soldering iron in the actor’s hand and calls it a day.

      • Electric Wheelchair Dump Truck Hack Really Hauls | Hackaday

        Have you ever looked at a derelict electric wheelchair and thought “I bet I could make something great with that!” Of course you have- this is Hackaday, after all! And so did [Made in Poland], who managed to get a hold of a broken down electric wheelchair and put the full utility of his well equipped metalworking shop to work. The results? Lets just say it hauls.

        What we really enjoyed about the build was that there wasn’t much that couldn’t be done by an average garage hacker with a drill press, angle grinder, and a stick welder. While it’s definitely nicer to have a lathe and a high quality welding table, plasma cutter, and everything in between, nothing that [Made in Poland] did in the video is such high precision that it would require those extensive tools. There may be some parts that would be a lot more difficult, or lower precision, but still functional.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Union Head Rejects CDC Covid Guidelines That Put ‘Corporate Interests’ Over Pilot Safety

        The head of North America’s largest pilots union said Thursday that its members would “follow the science” regarding Covid-19 safety precautions as opposed to new guidance released by the CDC earlier this week which critics say put the needs of corporate profits over worker safety.

        “We’ve followed the science throughout the pandemic and will not allow corporate interests to replace the good judgment pilots show daily in making decisions about whether they are healthy to fly,” said Capt. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents pilots at 38 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

      • A (very) close-knit circle Russia’s Circle of Kindness Foundation helps critically ill children by purchasing expensive drugs from providers with personal connections to top officials (including Putin himself)

        The Circle of Kindness Foundation, which helps children with rare illnesses, was created in early 2021 at Vladimir Putin’s own initiative. It’s funded by a two percent tax on the income of Russia’s wealthiest citizens. The organization pays for expensive medications — but competition is rare at the auctions where these drugs are procured. One of the foundation’s main suppliers is a company called Irvin — and it’s connected to both the foundation’s head and to the family of Alexey Dyumin, Putin’s former bodyguard. In addition, the husband of the woman responsible for purchasing medications on behalf of the Circle of Kindness works for the owner of the company that supplies the foundation with Zolgensma — the most expensive drug in the world. Meduza correspondents Svetlana Reiter and Maria Zholobova break down how the Circle of Kindness Foundation’s procurement system works and why its board of trustees (which includes well-known actors and philanthropists) believes it lacks transparency.

      • Pressure Grows on Biden to Shut Down Trump-Era Medicare Privatization Scheme

        Calls are mounting for President Joe Biden to terminate an under-the-radar Trump-era pilot program that—if allowed to run its course—could result in the complete privatization of traditional Medicare by the end of the decade.

        “The Biden administration is moving the DCE program forward, threatening the future of Medicare as we know it.”

      • Unwelcome changes Russia’s Health Ministry plans to overhaul its cancer care system. Despite criticism, the new regulations take effect in January.

        On December 20, 2021, Russia’s Health Ministry proposed a series of changes to adult cancer care practices. These new procedures will take effect in the new year. The previous plan to overhaul cancer treatment was received poorly by the medical community, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to order revisions. However, experts say that none of the Health Ministry’s proposed changes address physician’s most substantive criticisms.

      • FDA Expected to Authorize COVID Booster Shots for 12- to 15-Year-Olds
      • Opinion | Vaccine Apartheid Shows Global Injustice Is Very Bad for Public Health

        The reaction by governments in the Global North to the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in South Africa has provided further proof—as if any more were needed—of the deeply inequitable response to the coronavirus pandemic. The backlash against African countries was swift and severe, as if barring travelers from the region could somehow keep the rest of the world safe.

      • DeSantis Accused of Going ‘Missing in Action’ as Florida Faces Omicron Explosion

        Local officials and public health experts are accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of abdicating his leadership responsibilities as the state faces a record-shattering spike in coronavirus cases, an increase believed to be fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

        “As Covid surges in Florida again, our governor is absent.”

      • After Years of Complaints, Florida Improves Pollution Monitoring Near Burning Sugar Cane Fields

        For the first time in nearly a decade, Florida regulators have upgraded their air-monitoring system in the state’s sugar-growing region, where farmers burn crops to harvest more than half the nation’s cane sugar.

        The move follows an investigation by The Palm Beach Post and ProPublica that found shortcomings in the way authorities police air pollution in Florida’s heartland, including their use of an air monitor that was unfit to enforce the Clean Air Act, the landmark law aimed at protecting the public from harmful pollutants.

      • Delta Cuts Paid Sick Leave for Workers With COVID After Lobbying for CDC Change
      • After CDC Change It Lobbied For, Delta Slashes Paid Sick Leave for Workers With Covid

        Just a day after the CDC delivered updated Covid-19 isolation guidelines that the company’s CEO lobbied for, Delta Air Lines moved to take advantage of the new recommendations by slashing paid sick leave for infected workers, prompting immediate backlash from union leaders and public health experts who warned of such an outcome.

        “Dear CEOs—your ‘business needs’ are not worth the life of a single worker.”

      • TikTok moderator sues over ‘psychological trauma’

        A former TikTok moderator is suing the company, claiming it failed to protect her mental health after “constant” exposure to traumatic video content.

        Candie Frazier says she reviewed videos that featured “extreme and graphic violence” for up to 12 hours a day.

      • More than a million Americans have died from overdoses during the opioid epidemic

        Deaths due to drug overdose have topped a million for the first time since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began collecting data on the problem more than two decades ago.

        A study released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the CDC, found that 932,364 people died in the U.S. from fatal overdoses from 1999 through 2020.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Shining a Light on Black Box Technology Used to Send People to Jail: 2021 Year in Review

          One of the most common forms of forensic programs is probabilistic genotyping software. It is used by the prosecution to examine DNA mixtures, where an analyst doesn’t know how many people contributed to the sample (such as a swab taken from a weapon). These programs are designed to make choices about how to interpret the data, what information to disregard as likely irrelevant, and compute statistics based on how often the different genes appear in different populations—and all of the different programs do it differently. These assumptions and processes are subject to challenge by the person accused of a crime. For that challenge to be meaningful, the defense team must have access to source code and other materials used in developing the software.

          The software vendors claim both that the software contains valuable secrets that must not be disclosed and that their methods are so well-vetted that there’s no point letting a defendant question them. Obviously, both can’t be true, and in fact it’s likely that neither is true.

          When a was finally able to access one of these programs, the Forensic Statistical Tool (FST), they discovered an undisclosed function and shoddy programming practices that could lead the software to implicate an innocent person. The makers of FST submitted sworn declarations about how they thought it worked, it had been subject to ‘validation’ studies where labs test some set of inputs to see if the results seem right, and so on. But any programmer knows that programs don’t always do what you think you programmed them to do, and so it was with FST: in trying to fix one bug, they unwittingly introduced another serious error.

        • Fortnite servers were down for five hours, but now the game is back online

          A follow-up tweet at 3:10PM ET from the team said they were “continuing to work on a fix that will bring Fortnite back online and appreciate everyone’s patience.” As of 6PM ET, we hadn’t heard anything since, but at around 6:30PM ET players reported the game was working again, which we have been able to confirm.

          The Fortnite Status Twitter eventually tweeted to confirm the game is back up, promising that next week (or, next year) there will be details on “what we’re doing to help you make up for lost time.” It also noted some people might see an extra in-game present to open, but said the team is working on that.

        • Security

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Recovering Conscience: A Conversation with Carole Sargent

        The following edited Zoom conversation took place on December 27, 2021.

        John Hawkins: I read your article recently, “Nuns Against Nuclear Weapons: Plowshares Protesters have Fought for Disarmament for Over 40 Years, Going to Prison for Peace.” It brought back memories of my Catholic youth in and around Boston in the ‘60s when Jesuits were turning activist and priests were getting excommunicated for leading public protests of outrageous government policies of day, especially against the Vietnam War, as well as opening up concept halfway houses and drop-in centers for drug addicts.

      • Why Trump May Face Criminal Charges

        Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., an avowed Never Trumper who is vice chair of the House committee investigating the siege of the icon of American freedom, first broached such a possibility publicly. The panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., confirmed it to The Washington Post.

        The committee, which The Guardian reported has evidence gathered from more than 30,000 records and interviews from more than 300 people, has homed in on how Trump spent his time on Jan. 6. It wants to know why it took three hours and seven minutes before he called off his mob charging the Capitol to halt the certification of Joe Biden as president-elect, as if Biden were the enemy.

      • Trump Sues January 6 House Committee Because It Might Find Trump Wrongdoing
      • Opinion | Humanity’s Final Arms Race: UN Fails to Agree on ‘Killer Robot’ Ban

        Autonomous weapon systems—commonly known as killer robots—may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

      • ‘Anti-Democratic and Cowardly’: US Building New Secret Courtroom at Guantánamo

        Human rights advocates and attorneys representing Guantánamo Bay detainees on Thursday decried a secret new courtroom reportedly being built by the Pentagon at the notorious offshore U.S. prison.

        “I’ve observed trials in Mongolia that were more transparent than this.”

      • Biden’s “Diplomacy Is Back” Falls Flat as 2021 Middle East Policy a Miserable Flop

        Despite President Joe Biden having claimed earlier this year that “diplomacy is back” and that he would end the war in Yemen, revive the Iran Nuclear Deal and settle several other issues, in reality his Middle East foreign policy has been just as detrimental to the region as was that of his predecessor.

      • The Real Meaning of January 6

        But even now, almost a year later, Americans remain confused and divided about the significance of what occurred. 

      • With fascism coming, America responds: LOL who cares? Let’s Netflix and chill

        In other ways, the Trump regime’s coup attempt was not so unusual. As in other places and times in history, Trump’s loyalists are continuing with their efforts, both through more or less legal means and otherwise. When a coup fails the first time, the second attempt is usually successful. All of this is happening in real time and in plain sight, with minimal attempt at deception. For the American people and their responsible leaders to ignore such threats is a willful choice.

        What warnings should we be heeding now? In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, retired U.S. Army generals Paul D. Eaton, Antonio M. Taguba and Steven M. Anderson are sounding the alarm about the possibility of a second civil war in the aftermath of a future presidential election, if Donald Trump or another Republican refuses to accept the results: [...]

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Encampment Near Biden’s Delaware Home Calls for Declaration of Climate Emergency
      • Chomsky: Rising Anti-Science Rhetoric Feeds the Pandemic and Climate Crisis
      • They Don’t Want Us Looking Up…

        It’s being lauded as a metaphor for how we’re dealing with climate change in the face of petrobillionaire- and corporate-funded disinformation campaigns, but it’s so much more than that:

        “Conservatives” on the Supreme Court don’t want Americans to look up at how they legalized political bribery with their 1970s Buckley and Bellotti and 2010 Citizens United decisions that have turned politicians into shills for the same billionaires and giant industries that spent millions putting them on the Court.

      • Look Up, Down and Everywhere

        The many de rigueur comparisons to Kubrick’s masterpiece Dr. Strangelove are just criminal! Not even close. The Ron Perlman character is a pathetic attempt at mimicking a composite Gen. Buck Turgidson, Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper and Maj. T.J. “King” Kong!

        My main takeaway – now we need something similar with a clearly Democratic President and a Democratic Party pimping endless growth with all the same lies, etc. I think making Meryl Streep’s president an obvious Trumpist narcissist (with Jackson’s and Nixon’s Portraits on the Oval Office wall and her own Donald “Uday” Trump, Jr., son, as Chief of Staff, no less) gives smug Pius-driving liberals the chance to, well, be smug and ignore the message just as much as the 90% stupid people the film seems to think is the ignore ratio. I guarantee there will be little in the way of the film instigating lifestyle corrections from the film’s loudest liberal supporters. They’ll be (and are) jetting around the planet spewing carbon, as usual. (Uday, however, does utter some of the film’s best lines.)

      • “Don’t Look Up” at that Movie;  At Least Not to Fight Climate Change!

        As an angry, anti-war, combat veteran of Vietnam, I quit teaching at MIT’s business school in 1982 to work full-time in the movement for peace and social justice. Over the last 40 years, I have helped found, fund ($30 million worth) and lead local, state and national organizations, mostly pretty radical. We have had some successes, among them, helpng 13,000 people get arrested to stop US nuclear weapons testing, making all state elections in AZ publicly funded and getting my new home County outside DC to declare the first climate emergency in the world.

        Over those years, like many others, I have come to believe that reversing the already awful climate catastrophe—or making any other significant social change–will require at least four things:

      • Near President’s Delaware Home, Encampment Calls on Biden to ‘Declare a Climate Emergency’

        A small group of climate activists has established an encampment near President Joe Biden’s private home in Delaware where they are demanding he declare a national climate emergency and immediately order the end to fossil fuel development in the United States.

        Establishing the camp on Christmas Day and sleeping overnight in tents or cars on a roadside area not far from the family’s Wilmington residence, the campaigners operating under the “Occupy Biden” banner say if the president truly recognizes that the world is in a “code red” situation when it comes to soaring global temperatures then he must act accordingly.

      • Within Decade, Planet’s Natural World Facing Largest Mass Extinction Event Since Dinosaurs

        Increasingly dire ecological damage and severe impacts of the climate crisis are pushing the natural world towards a mass extinction event unparalleled since the age of the dinosaurs, conservationists in Germany warned this week, with humanity possibly facing self-annihilation if behaviors do not change.

        Releasing its annual “Winners and Losers” list on Wednesday, the World Wildlife Fund’s German branch said 40,000 of the 142,500 species listed on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are “threatened with extinction.”

      • Energy

        • ‘A mix of schadenfreude and fear’ The arrest of one of Russia’s richest men following a deadly mine explosion has pleased locals but raised worries about regional stability

          In mid-December, Siberian Business Union (SDS) head Mikhail Fedyayev, one of the richest people in Russia, was arrested. After the Listvyazhnaya mine disaster in November resulted in 51 deaths, Fedyaev was charged with abusing his authority and violating safety standards. Before his arrest, however, Fedyaev enjoyed near-limitless power in the Kemerovo region: the government is full of his former employees, his holding company received state contracts worth millions of dollars, and presidents and federal ministers routinely paid visits to the SDS headquarters. Now, the prospect of Fedyayev’s property going to a new owner has Kemerovo residents worried, although many are pleased that the region’s “shadow governor” has finally been arrested. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev tells the story of one of Russia’s last regional businessmen whose influence went all the way to the top.

        • Optimising public transport: A data-driven bike-sharing study in Marburg

          Imagine you are running late for your bus and decide to grab a bike-sharing bike to get there in time. More often than not I found myself standing at an empty station only to miss my bus. Here, I present you my data-driven approach to avoid walking to empty bike-sharing stations.

          I started collecting Nextbike data in Marburg many months back in order to solve my personal issue of facing empty Nextbike stations in Marburg. After collecting more than 1,000,000 data points, I turned towards the analysis to figure out which stations in Marburg to avoid when desperately needing a bike.

          After finding the data-driven solution to that question, I expanded my study to not only answer questions for Nextbike users but also from the perspective of the city council to make the lives of all of us easier, healthier and eco-friendlier. After those statistical statements, I conclude my study with a more precise machine-learning based prediction of parked bikes to motivate data-driven optimisations in public transport.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Crocodiles turn on humans amid Iran water crisis

          The attacks have come at a time when Iran has been suffering acute water shortages and, consequentially, fast-shrinking natural habitats have seen the gandos’ food supplies dry up. The starving animals treat humans approaching their territory either as prey or a menace to their evaporating resources.

    • Finance

      • The Cruel Failure of Welfare Reform in the Southwest

        As the 1960s came to their tumultuous end, California Gov. Ronald Reagan convened a summit on the topic of welfare. He was hoping to try out one of his new ideas: that poor single mothers were, in the wake of the civil rights movement, increasingly living idly and defrauding government assistance programs.

        George Miller, then the welfare director in neighboring Nevada, volunteered to do a dry run for Reagan, proposing to purge his smaller state’s welfare rolls of alleged welfare cheats. It would be the first effort of its kind in the nation, he said.

      • ‘That’s Just Wrong’: Sanders Slams Buffett for Refusing to Side With Striking Steelworkers

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday slammed billionaire Warren Buffett for refusing to intervene on the side of West Virginia steelworkers who are striking to demand better pay and benefits from Precision Castparts, a company owned by Buffett’s multinational holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.

        “When you have an extremely profitable, well-financed corporation owned by one of the wealthiest guys in the world, you know what? You should not be demanding wage cuts from your workers and cuts in their healthcare benefits,” Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter. “That’s just wrong.”

      • A Perfect Storm Has Elon Musk Paying $11 Billion in Tax
      • Opinion | Elon Musk Only Paid $11 Billion in Taxes Because He Had No Other Rational Choice

        Elon Musk has had a field day trolling advocates for a fairer tax system on Twitter. They’ve been attacking him for not paying much at all in taxes over recent years. But Musk knew what they didn’t: that in 2021 he was going to be paying plenty in taxes.

      • Join a Union—but Also Join a DAO

        In late November 2021, the writer and venture capital investor Li Jin tweeted, “DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) represent the next step forward in the labor movement.” In her 20-tweet thread, Jin gave a brief history of the American labor movement, including issues with declining membership, bureaucracy, and bloat, before pivoting to DAOs as a new paradigm for worker ownership: “Versus unions, transparency of DAOs’ governance and on-chain flows of capital lessens risk of embezzlement and corruption, since there is visibility into how funds are flowing into & out of the treasury. And open rules for member admission mitigate institutional discrimination.” The response from many leftists on Twitter was swift and negative, reacting to the perceived implication that technology—cryptocurrency especially—could be a substitute for political and social change.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Bette Midler’s Contempt Fuels Right-Wing Populism

        Last week, Bette Midler tweeted that the people of West Virginia are “poor, illiterate and strung out.” Donald Trump should send her a thank-you note.

      • Michigan’s Nonpartisan-Drawn Maps Give Dems Chance to Win State Legislature
      • Greene Suggests Blue State Residents Moving to Red Ones Shouldn’t Get to Vote
      • On Foreign Policy, Biden Should Have Taken Golf Lessons

        The  biggest issue for both was the 20-year US war in Afghanistan, for which Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had negotiated a long-overdue US surrender.

        Would Biden fulfill the US end of the Afghanistan peace agreement by completing the withdrawal of US troops? We hoped, but doubted, as he hemmed, hawed, and violated the agreed deadline despite ample time to meet it.

      • A Thorn in Biden’s Side: the Revolving Door Project

        The revolving door may not have been closed over the last year, but it’s spinning much less quickly than it was. Roles that once would have gone almost exclusively to Wall Street bankers and corporate defense attorneys are now in the hands of committed public servants. Those revolvers who have secured roles must now contend with a previously unimaginable level of scrutiny. Figures from White House coronavirus response coordinator, Jeffrey Zients, to Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner, Willie Phillips, can expect to have their every move that benefits corporate America at the expense of the public interest pilloried. Perversely, this certain backlash has led some within the Biden administration to try to hide their revolving door hires. RDP, however, has consistently foiled these efforts, making not only the appointees but also the astounding lack of transparency the subject of significant public anger.

        RDP has also been unyielding in its efforts to push this administration to contend with Trump’s enduring influence throughout the executive branch. Almost as soon as Biden was elected, RDP called on his administration to commit to removing all Trump holdovers whom it was legally empowered to fire. Over a year later, only a small handful remain and critical roles like the Director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Commissioner for the Social Security Administration, and the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board are in the hands of officials committed to advancing this administration’s priorities. But RDP is not letting up anytime soon; it continues to push for the remaining political holdovers to be fired and to uncover additional evidence of Trump’s lasting influence over executive branch personnel. It is also calling out those Biden administration officials, most notably within the Department of Justice, who are keeping Trump’s horrifying legacy alive by defending the previous administration’s policies in court.

      • Cop Out
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Booked Up: Ban These Books, Please (the Writers Need the Money)

        Flummoxed, I stammered, “Uh. Uh.”

        “Out with it, Jeffrey. Choose somebody, at least.”

      • Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation

        Congress has been holding lots of “but think of the children online!” hearings over the past couple of months, and one prominent topic that comes up over and over again is the fact that people can find “drug” information online. Fears about kids and drugs goes back decades, but politicians love it, because it always works. And, of course, the media loves to run these overhyped stories. A quick search finds dozens of stories like the following in just the last month or so: Teens have easier access to drugs as illegal trade booms on social mediaInstagram pushes drug content to teensSocial media platforms becoming sites of illegal fentanyl drug sales targeting teens, L.A. officials warnWARNING: Dealers tempt kids with edible drugs via social mediaRecord number of drug overdose deaths brings new scrutiny to social media appsInstagram offers ‘drug pipeline’ to kids, tech advocacy group claims There are many more such stories, but you get the idea. The Instagram stories, in particular, were targeted by the recent Senate hearing which was focused on allowing Senators to grandstand on how bad Instagram supposedly is for kids. Instagram responded to the report by pointing out that it’s doing a ton of stuff to try to block such content:

      • Palestinians raise alarm over Facebook content ‘suppression’

        Allegations of pro-Israeli bias at Facebook have simmered for years and were renewed in October when Human Rights Watch, a vocal Israel critic, said the platform had “suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine”.

        Palestinian reporters have cited multiple incidents they describe as censorship.

        One popular online news outlet, Maydan Quds News, may even have to fire reporters after its main Facebook page with 1.2 million followers was deleted, a source who requested anonymity told AFP.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Politics of Syntax and Poetry Beyond the Border

        “Some men are women too / the way a mountain is land and a harbor is land and a parking lot,”Ari Banias writes in “Oracle,” the opening poem in his new collection, A Symmetry. In Banias’s poems, binary oppositions—of men and women, land and sea, us and them—buckle, as the very idea of borders is made porous. Attending to the entanglements between the material and the metaphorical, Banias interrogates the terms of relation mapped by dominant systems and structures that underpin global capitalist orders. “What is the ‘we’ whiteness requires?” Banias’s poems encourage us to ask. What does “elsewhere” mean when immigration severs the material “here” of daily life from the imaginative “here” of home? How might transness point us toward other ways of being?1

      • Biden Administration Seeks to Overturn Trump-Era “Remain in Mexico” Policy
      • Sanders Pushes Workers to Organize as Advocates Celebrate “Year of the Worker”
      • DC Metro PD’s Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back

        After bad cops do bad things, other cops will rush to the defense of the agency employing them, claiming most cops are good and these officers are outliers. These assertions might be more believable if law enforcement agencies (and their unions) didn’t regularly cover for bad officers or, in the case of police unions, work tirelessly to ensure bad cops get their jobs back.

      • Noam Chomsky on Rising Fascism in U.S., Class Warfare & the Climate Emergency

        Noam Chomsky warns the Republican Party is “marching” the world to destruction by ignoring the climate emergency while embracing proto-fascism at home. Chomsky talks about the January 6 insurrection, how neoliberalism is a form of class warfare and how President Biden’s climate plans fall short of what is needed.

      • Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers

        Missouri Governor Mike Parson is nothing if not consistent in his desire to stifle free speech. As you’ll recall, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discovered that the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website was programming in such an incompetent fashion that it would reveal, to anyone who knew where to look, the social security numbers of every teacher and administrator in the system (including those no longer employed there). The reporting on the vulnerability was done exactly following ethical disclosure best practices — getting just enough evidence of the vulnerability, alerting the state to the problem and not publishing anything until the vulnerability was fixed. The FBI told Missouri officials early on “that this incident is not an actual network intrusion” and DESE initially wrote up a press release thanking the journalists for alerting them to this.

      • Opinion | Desmond Tutu, Rest in Power

        Archbishop Desmond Tutu died the day after Christmas at the age of 90. The Nobel Peace laureate was a leader in the movement to overthrow apartheid, South Africa’s brutal system of racial segregation. After that historic victory and the election of Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s first Black president in 1994, Tutu led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, pursuing restorative justice rather than retribution. After that, Tutu continued demonstrating and speaking out around the world for justice, peace, women’s equality, gay rights, in solidarity with Palestinians, and more.

      • Desmond Tutu Spoke Truth in the Face of Oppression

        I first met Archbishop Desmond Tutu when I was a seminarian at Duke University in the 1980s, and I will never forget the question he asked us when he preached in the chapel that day: “Will you join God?” Bishop Tutu knew the power of God to bring justice in this world, but he also knew that we must choose to join God in that work. Neutrality in the face of evil, he always insisted, is a choice to stand against God’s love and justice.

      • New Documents Prove Tennessee County Disproportionately Jails Black Children, and It’s Getting Worse

        Tennessee’s Rutherford County, which has been widely criticized for its juvenile justice system, has been jailing Black children at a disproportionately high rate, according to newly obtained data. And, in a departure from national trends, the county’s racial disparity is getting worse, not better.

        In an earlier story, ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio chronicled a case in Rutherford County in which 11 Black children were arrested for a crime that does not exist. Four of the children were booked into the county’s juvenile jail.

      • Russia designates Pussy Riot activists, Holod Media chief editor, and others as ‘foreign agents’

        The Russian Justice Ministry made yet another round of additions to its “foreign-agent media” registry on Thursday, December 30, blacklisting a number of cultural figures, including two Pussy Riot activists and three journalists.

      • ACLU Files Suit to Block ‘Brazen’ Effort in Georgia to Thwart Black Voters

        Alleging that Georgia’s new GOP-drawn General Assembly district maps violate the Voting Rights Act and attempt to disenfranchise Black voters, civil rights groups on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the Republican secretary of state in a bid to block the maps. 

        “Politicians don’t get to choose their voters—voters get to choose their politicians.”

      • Metaverse is unsafe for women already! Reports of groping, harassment rising in VR games

        The world’s largest tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Apple and others — are hurtling headlong into creating the metaverse, a virtual reality world where people can have their avatars do everything from play video games and attend gym classes to participate in meetings. In October, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, said he believed so much in the metaverse that he would invest billions in the effort. He also renamed his company Meta.

        Yet even as tech giants bet big on the concept, questions about the metaverse’s safety have surfaced. Harassment, assaults, bullying and hate speech already run rampant in virtual reality games, which are part of the metaverse, and there are few mechanisms to easily report the misbehavior, researchers said. In one popular virtual reality game, VRChat, a violating incident occurs about once every seven minutes, according to the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate.

      • Iran secretly executing dozens of children: Rights group | Arab News

        The Iranian regime is secretly executing dozens of children every year in violation of international law, according to a rights group.

        More than 85 people are currently on death row for crimes they are accused of having committed as children, according to Human Rights Activists of Iran.

        In its annual report, it found that 299 citizens were known to have been executed in the year to Oct. 9.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Dish’s Hyped 5G Network (And ‘Fix’ For T-Mobile/Sprint Merger) Is Looking Rather Skimpy

        Two years ago the Trump DOJ and FCC rubber stamped the Sprint T-Mobile merger without heeding experts warnings that the merger would likely erode competition, raise rates, and kill jobs. Then, working closely with T-Mobile and Dish, the FCC and DOJ unveiled what they claimed was a “fix” for the problematic nature of the deal: they’d try to cobble together a fourth major replacement wireless carrier in Dish Network.

      • Every State Has a Chance to Deliver a “Fiber for All” Broadband Future: 2021 in Review

        Now it’s up to elected officials in states, from governors to state legislators, to work to ensure the federal infrastructure program delivers 21st-century ready infrastructure to all people. Some states are ahead of the curve. In 2021, California embraced a fiber infrastructure for all effort with the legislature unanimously passing a historic investment in public fiber. State Senator Lena Gonzalez led this effort by introducing the first fiber broadband-for-all bill; EFF was a proud sponsor of this bill in Sacramento.

        Other states are behind the curve by overly restricting the ability for local governments and utilities to plug the gaps that private internet service providers (ISPs) have left for sixteen years and counting. (2005 was when private fiber-to-the home deployment really kicked off.) Maintaining those barriers, even as federal dollars are finally released, guarantees those states’ failures to deliver universal fiber; the federal law, while important, isn’t sufficient on its own.  Success requires maximum input from local efforts to make the most of this funding.

        Understanding what progress we’ve made this year—and what still needs to be done—requires understanding the IIJA itself. The basic structure of the law is a collaboration between the federal government’s National Telecommunication Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the states and territories. Congress appropriated $65 billion in total. That includes $45 billion for construction funds and $20 billion for efforts promoting affordability and digital inclusion. This money can be paired with state money, which will be essential in many states facing significant broadband gaps.

    • Monopolies

      • AT&T Gets “Favorable” IRS Ruling on Discovery-WarnerMedia Merger

        AT&T has received a “favorable” IRS ruling on the planned tax-free mega-merger of its entertainment unit WarnerMedia with Discovery Inc., the telecom giant disclosed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

        The companies unveiled the big combination in May, saying it would use a rare multi-step structure known as a Reverse Morris Trust, which is designed to ensure deals are tax-free. In the transaction, AT&T will separate WarnerMedia, via one of two ways (a decision on which will be reached at a later stage), into the so-called “SpinCo,” followed by the merger with Discovery.

      • Patents

        • Yle News’ 15 most-read stories of 2021

          3. Yle News’ third-most viewed story was about a Turku firm that patented a [COVID] drug, in the form of a nasal spray, that delivers low, safe doses of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and aprotinin.

        • Germany sees significant rise in patent applications for air taxis [Ed: Patents for killing this planet, the only planet we have, a lot faster than otherwise, by burning up orders of magnitude more fuel for the same travel]

          The number of patents granted in Germany for inventions related to urban air mobility increased significantly in 2020, the country’s Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) said.

          Including filings with the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), 583 patents were published for air taxis in Germany, 29 per cent more than in 2019, Xinhua news agency quoted the DPMA as saying.

          “A few years ago, air taxis were not taken very seriously by many,” DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schaeffer said, adding that the considerable amount of venture capital pumped into this segment and the rapid pace of innovation showed that this was an “important future market”.

          In the past five years, more than 40 per cent of urban air mobility patents registered in Germany came from US companies.

        • Turkey: COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Discussions [Ed: No, Özge Özdemir. COVID-19 vaccines do not have "intellectual property rights", they have patents, and those need to be abolished. They're not property and not rights; it's the plunder from researchers funded by taxpayers, to rob the taxpayers two-fold]

          Discussions of world leaders about the abolishing of intellectual property rights of covid-19 vaccines have brought along differences of opinion on this issue. The world is currently debating whether removing vaccine patent rights will actually work in the fight against the corona pandemic or hinder the development and production of vaccines that are vital to humanity.

          While America and Russia are in favor of abolishing these rights, Europe argues that the problem of the unequal distribution of vaccines all over the world cannot be solved by abolishing the patent right of vaccines.

        • Noam Chomsky: Corporate Patents & Rising Anti-Science Rhetoric Will Prolong Pandemic

          Today, a special broadcast: an hour with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, who just turned 93 years old. Chomsky spoke to Democracy Now! prior to the discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variant, but he predicted new variants would emerge. “If you let the virus run rampant in poor countries, everyone understands that mutation is likely, the kind of mutation that led to the Delta variant, now the Delta Plus variant in India, and who knows what will develop,” Chomsky said.

        • Texas Team Applauded for Giving What Big Pharma Refuses: A Patent-Free Vaccine to the World

          A small team of Texas researchers is being hailed for developing an unpatented Covid-19 vaccine to share with the world without personal profit, with some advocates asking, if they can do it, why can’t Big Pharma?

          “If we had even a fraction of the support that Moderna had, who knows, maybe the world would be vaccinated by now.”

      • Copyrights

        • India Expands Piracy Blocklist to Tackle ‘Hydra Headed Rogue Websites’

          Pirate site blocking is a common practice in many countries and India is no exception. The language used in Indian courts tends to be more colorful though. This is exemplified by a blocking extension several major Hollywood studios requested recently. According to the High Court in Delhi, it targets an alphanumeric variation of a hydra-headed rogue website.

        • LaLiga Wins Dynamic Court Injunction to Block 40 Pirate IPTV Platforms

          Spanish football league LaLiga and telecoms company Telefónica have obtained a court judgment allowing them to block more than 40 pirate IPTV and card sharing platforms. The country’s leading ISPs are required to implement the blocks while accepting weekly updates designed to frustrate services that attempt to circumvent the measures.

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. 3.5 Years Later Gemini Protocol and Geminispace Are Still 100% Community-Controlled

    Community-centric alternatives to the World Wide Web have gained traction; one of them, Gemini Protocol, continues to grow in 2023 and we're pleased to report progress and expansion

  2. Windows Falls to 16% Market Share in India (It was 97% in 2009), Microsoft Layoffs Reach India Too

    This month’s picture from the world’s most populous nation does not look good for Microsoft (it looks good for GNU/Linux); anonymous rumour mills online say that Microsoft isn’t moving to India but is actually firing staff based in India, so it’s a case of shrinking, not offshoring. When even low-paid (much lower salaries) staff is discarded it means things are very gloomy.

  3. Links 22/03/2023: GNOME 44 “Kuala Lumpur”

    Links for the day

  4. Microsoft Has Also Infiltrated the OSI's Board of Directors After Rigged Elections

    Weeks ago we warned that this would happen and for the third or fourth time in 2 years the OSI’s election process broke down; today the Open Source Initiative (OSI) writes: “The polls just closed, the results are in. Congratulations to the returning directors Aeva Black…” (Microsoft employee)

  5. Links 22/03/2023: Official Thunderbird Podcast Starts

    Links for the day

  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 21, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 21, 2023

  7. Many More Microsoft Layoffs Later Today

    Yesterday we shared rumours about Microsoft layoffs being planned for later today (there were 3 waves of layoffs so far this year). There are several more people here who say the same. How much noise will Microsoft make in the “media” in order to distract? Will the chaffbot "ChatGPT" help create enough chaff?

  8. Links 21/03/2023: JDK 20 and GNOME 43.5

    Links for the day

  9. Germany's Lobbyists-Infested Government Sponsors the War on Ukraine via the European Patent Office (EPO)

    The chief UPC ‘judge’ is basically seeking to break the law (and violate constitutions, conventions etc.) to start a kangaroo court while dodging real courts, just like Vladimir Putin does

  10. [Meme] The Meme That Team UPC (the Collusion to Break the European Laws, for Profit) Threats to Sue Us For

    António Campinos and Team UPC are intimidating people who simply point out that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is illegal and Klaus Grabinksi, shown above, strives to head a de facto kangaroo court in violation of constitutions and conventions (the UK does not and cannot ratify; Ireland hasn’t even held a referendum on the matter)

  11. Microsoft is Sacking People Every Month This Year, Even Managers (While Sponsored Media Produces Endless Chatbot Chaff)

    Lots of Microsoft layoffs lately and so-called ‘journalists’ aren’t reporting these; they’re too busy running sponsored puff pieces for Microsoft, usually fluff along the “hey hi” (AI) theme

  12. 3 Months Late Sirius 'Open Source' Finally Deletes Us From the Fraudulent 'Meet the Team' Page (But Still Lists Many People Who Left Years Ago!)

    Amid fraud investigations the management of Sirius ‘Open Source’ finally removed our names from its “Meet the Team” page (months late); but it left in the page about half a dozen people who left the company years ago, so it’s just lying to its clients about the current situation

  13. Amid Fraud at Sirius 'Open Source' CEO Deletes His Recent (This Month) Past With the Company

    Not only did the Sirius ‘Open Source’ CEO purge all mentions of Sirius from his Microsoft LinkedIn account; he’s racing against the clock as crimes quickly become a legal liability

  14. Web Survey Shows Microsoft Falling Below 15% Market Share in Africa, Only One Minuscule African Nation Has Windows Majority

    A Web survey that measured Microsoft Windows at 97% in Africa (back in 2010) says that Windows has become rather small and insignificant; the Microsoft-sponsored mainstream media seems to be ignoring this completely, quite likely by intention...

  15. Rumours of More Microsoft Layoffs Tomorrow (Including Managers!), Probably Azure Again (Many Azure Layoffs Every Year Since 2020)

    Amazon is laying off AWS staff and Microsoft has been laying off Azure staff for 3 years already, including this year, so it seems like the “clown computing” bubble is finally bursting

  16. [Meme] EPO's Management Brainstorm

    The story behind a misleading slogan told above

  17. The Photo Ops Festival of the Funky President António Campinos and Revolt From the Patent Examiners Whom He Perpetually Oppresses

    European Patents are being granted for no reason other than application and renewal fees, awarding European monopolies to companies that aren't even European (only about a third are actually European); staff of the EPO is fed up as it regards or views all this as an extreme departure from the EPO's mission (and it's also outright illegal)

  18. Links 21/03/2023: Trisquel GNU/Linux 11.0 LTS

    Links for the day

  19. Back Doors Proponent Microsoft Infiltrates Panels That Write the Security Regulations, Press Fails to Point Out the Obvious

    Cult tactics and classic entryism serve Microsoft again, stacking the panels and basically writing policy (CISA). As an associate explained it, citing this new example, Stanford “neglects to point out the obvious fact that Microsoft is writing its own regulations.”

  20. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 20, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, March 20, 2023

  21. Links 20/03/2023: Curl 8.0.0/1 and CloudStack LTS

    Links for the day

  22. Standard Life (Phoenix Group Holdings): Three Weeks to Merely Start Investigating Pension Fraud (and Only After Repeated Reminders From the Fraud's Victims)

    As the phonecall above hopefully shows (or further elucidates), Standard Life leaves customers in a Kafkaesque situation, bouncing them from one person to another person without actually progressing on a fraud investigation

  23. Standard Life Paper Mills in Edinburgh

    Standard Life is issuing official-looking financial papers for companies that then use that paperwork to embezzle staff

  24. Pension Fraud Investigation Not a High Priority in Standard Life (Phoenix Group Holdings)

    The 'Open Source' company where I worked for nearly 12 years embezzled its staff; despite knowing that employees were subjected to fraud in Standard Life's name, it doesn't seem like Standard Life has bothered to investigate (it has been a fortnight already; no progress is reported by management at Standard Life)

  25. Links 20/03/2023: Tails 5.11 and EasyOS 5.1.1

    Links for the day

  26. Links 20/03/2023: Amazon Linux 2023 and Linux Kernel 6.3 RC3

    Links for the day

  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 19, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, March 19, 2023

  28. An Update on Sirius 'Open Source' Pensiongate: It's Looking Worse Than Ever

    It's starting to look more and more like pension providers in the UK, including some very major and large ones, are aiding criminals who steal money from their workers under the guise of "pensions"

  29. Services and Users TRApped in Telescreen-Running Apps

    TRApp, term that lends its name to this article, is short for "Telescreen-Running App". It sounds just like "trap". Any similarity is not purely coincidental.

  30. Links 19/03/2023: Release of Libreboot 20230319 and NATO Expanding

    Links for the day

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