Links 2/1/2022: GNU Alive 2.0.4 and FSF Membership Drive Runs Until January 20th

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Top 5 Best Linux Tablets Recommended For Privacy Lovers (2022) – DekiSoft

        Over time Linux has had a lot of popularity all due to the advantages that different distros bring to the table, the best among all is security and privacy. All thanks to them these OS are able to secure your data from malware and other attacks. We have picked the top 5 Linux tablets for privacy users. This includes choices for different people and has a variety of devices.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Applications

      • Pinta 2.0 Open-Source Paint Program Is Out Now as a Major Update, Ported to GTK 3 [Ed: Mono danger]

        Pinta 2.0 comes a little over a month after the release of the Pinta 1.7.1 update, and it’s here to finally port the paint program to the GTK+ 3 and .NET 6 application frameworks for a more modern look and new functionality.

        The GTK+ 3 and .NET 6 porting means that Pinta not only looks better and more moder, but it also offers improved support for HiDPI displays, support for platform-native file dialogs, as well as support for GTK+ 3 themes.

      • Pinta 2.0 Released, Completes Port to GTK3 & .NET 6

        With a new year starting you might be planning to indulge your creativity side this year — and if so, take a look at the latest stable release of open source image editing app Pinta.

        Pinta 2.0 is major new release that completes the app’s transition to GTK3 and .NET 6. It’s a big foundational uplift that results in some welcome improvements. Pinta 2.0 now looks better on the modern Linux desktop, with GTK dialogs, choosers, pickers, and widgets all looking how they should.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Finding all files with a certain extension in Linux? – Darryl Dias

        The example above is using the find command to search files in the tmp folder for Python files, that have the extension .py.

        To get a list of all the files with the same extension inside the current directory, for this example looking for all the Python extension files.

      • How To Install Vivaldi Browser on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Vivaldi Browser on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Vivaldi is a freeware, cross-platform web browser developed by Vivaldi Technologies. It had grown from the downfall of Opera with many disgruntled when it changed from the Presto layout engine to a Chromium-based browser. Although it, too, is based on Chromium, its minimalistic user interface and features such as tab stacking and tiling, built-in ad blocker and trackers, custom themes, quick commands, etc., give it an edge over the likes of Chrome, Edge, and Brave.

        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 Vivaldi Browser on a Fedora 35.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • MX Linux 21 Is The Best Linux Distribution Of 2021

          So overall, all of these reasons were what motivated us to choose MX Linux 21 as the best desktop Linux distribution of 2021. Combining hardware support, low resources consumption and huge number of utility apps and deep functionality options… It all creates a wonderful Linux distribution for the average user.

          Perhaps the only thing that the developers need to work on is the default UX and UI for their default apps and overall system, as it sounds too traditional and classical from the first while, comparing to distributions like elementaryOS 6 which feature more elegant user interfaces.

          But… That aside, MX Linux 21 is one of the best Linux distributions out there to try, and we recommend any new user thinking of switching to Linux from Windows to test it out.

          Congratulations to MX Linux developers, and everyone who has worked on creating this great distribution! It truly paid off.

        • Neptune 7 “Faye” released

          This version comes with a new Debian base (11 “Bullseye”) that offers newer and better hardware support as well as newer software and apps.
          KDE Plasma 5.20.5 ships with a new Neptune specific theme that embraces the Breeze widget style for maximum compatibility and introduces a new subtle but modern flat look and feel to Neptune. We also updated the Icon theme to our own variation of the Tela Icon theme to fit with the new look of the system. The default panel has been modernized to allow pinning more apps and tasks to it aswell as offering a new bigger easier look to the eyes.
          Besides that Linux Kernel 5.10 offers modern hardware support aswell as bugfixes.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS Linux 8 Reached End of Life, It’s Time to Migrate to an Alternative OS

          The time has come to say goodbye to the CentOS Linux 8 distribution as it reached end of life on the last day of 2021, December 31st. As of today, the distribution is no longer supported, which means that it will no longer receive software and security updates, making your installations vulnerable to attacks, in time.

          CentOS Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution built using and compatible with the sources of the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. CentOS Linux 8 was initially released only two years ago, on September 24th, 20219, and it was supposed to be maintained for 10 years, until the year 2029.

      • Debian Family and Similar

        • LiVES problems and more problems

          Easy 3.1.17 has LiVES 3.0.2, which seems to basically work.

        • rshift internationalized and fr updates

          esmourguit (forum name) is maintaining the French translations for EasyOS.

        • Sparky news 2021/12

          The 12th, and the last of 2021 year, monthly Sparky project and donate report:
          – Linux kernel updated up to 5.15.12 & 5.16-rc7
          – Added to repos: FinalCrypt, Firefox & Firefox ESR Mozilla builds
          – Sparky 2021.12 & 2021.12 Special Editions of the rolling line released
          – Lumina Desktop updated up to 1.6.2; debs built for amd64, i386, armhf & arm64

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Small EInk Phone

          Happy new year! Would you be interested in crowdfunding a small E Ink Open Phone? If yes, check out the specs and fill out the form below.

          If I get 1000 interested people, I’ll approach manufacturers. I plan to share the results publicly in either case. I will never share your information with manufacturers but contact you by email if this goes forward.

        • Neat little hobby kit: CircuitMess Ringo

          My son is a tinkerer and creator. He is still somewhat young and has expressed on multiple occasions that he dreams of building his own phones. Enter the CircuitMess Ringo. It is an educational DIY kit to build a mobile phone (that uses actual SIM cards). As soon as I saw this, I knew it was perfect for him and on Christmas morning, he was ecstatic when realizing what this was. Anyway, I will be guiding and assisting him with his project very soon and may share more details as we progress through it.

        • Cool the Shop with a Thermal Battery-Based System

          Having any kind of shop is pretty great, no matter how large it may be or where it’s located. If the shop is in an outbuilding, you get to make more noise. On the other hand, it will probably get pretty darn hot in the summer without some kind of cooling system, especially if you don’t have a window for a breeze (or a window A/C unit).

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Oracle OC4J – LinuxLinks

        Oracle is a computer technology corporation best known for its software products and services like Java.

        In 2020, Oracle was the second-largest software company in the world by revenue and market capitalization. They employ over 130,000 people, and sell cloud-engineering services and systems and database management systems.

        Oracle has a fairly prominent position with open source. They are a supporting member of the Linux Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, and the Java Community Process.

        Through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010, Oracle also became the steward of many other important and long-running open source projects such as the Java programming language and the MySQL relational database, introduced in 1995. The acquisition of Sleepycat Software, brought the open source Berkeley DB key/value store.

        The company co-develops the OpenJDK, an open source implementation of the Java Platform Standard Edition, and Btrfs, a B-tree file system. They also open source the Oracle Coherence Community Edition, NetBeans, and produce Oracle Linux which is a Linux distro compiled from Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code.

        While Oracle develops and distributes open source software, they have many different business models. The majority of their products are published under a proprietary license. This series looks at free and open source alternatives to Oracle’s products.

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Oracle’s Products – LinuxLinks

        Oracle is a computer technology corporation best known for its software products and services like Java.

        In 2020, Oracle was the second-largest software company in the world by revenue and market capitalization. They employ over 130,000 people, and sell cloud-engineering services and systems and database management systems.

        Oracle has a fairly prominent position with open source. They are a supporting member of the Linux Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, and the Java Community Process.

        Through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010, Oracle also became the steward of many other important and long-running open source projects such as the Java programming language and the MySQL relational database, introduced in 1995. The acquisition of Sleepycat Software, brought the open source Berkeley DB key/value store.

        The company co-develops the OpenJDK, an open source implementation of the Java Platform Standard Edition, and Btrfs, a B-tree file system. They also open source the Oracle Coherence Community Edition, NetBeans, and produce Oracle Linux which is a Linux distro compiled from Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code.

        While Oracle develops and distributes open source software, they have many different business models. The majority of their products are published under a proprietary license. This series looks at free and open source alternatives to Oracle’s products.

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Cisco’s Products – LinuxLinks

        Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology corporation that focuses on networking hardware and software. It has over 75,000 employees with its headquarters in San Jose, California.

        Cisco has been participating in open source development for almost 30 years including founding projects like OpenDaylight, FD.io, VPP, PNDA, SNAS, and OpenH264, and contributing to projects like OPNFV, Kubernetes, OpenStack, Ansible, Chef, Puppet, Maven, and many others.

        Cisco has also been a key contributor to the Linux kernel over the years, accounting for about 0.5% of total kernel commits, and is a Platinum Member of the Linux Foundation and Premium Sponsor of the Open Source Initiative.

        From a software perspective, Cisco’s main focus is developing proprietary programs. In this series we look at free and open source alternatives to their products.

      • FSF

        • Help keep the end-of-year momentum going: Membership drive extended to January 20th

          We’ve been inspired by seeing the 262 new associate members who have decided to help us ring in the new year by joining the Free Software Foundation (FSF). We’re sincerely grateful for the way they’ve answered the call by standing up for software freedom. We’re just as grateful for all of the donations and membership renewals we’ve had during our year-end drive. Since we’ve seen a strong show of support in the latter half of our appeal, we’re extending the date to join and still receive one of the special pins we’re offering to January 20th.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Alive 2.0.4 available
            release notes:
              Maintenance release.  Happy new year.
            README excerpt:
              GNU Alive is a keep-alive program for internet connections.
              It repeatedly pings a series of user-specified hosts, thereby
              encouraging (one hopes) the involved networks to not disappear.
            NEWS for 2.0.4 (2022-01-01):
              - .tar.xz no longer distributed
                If you have GNU tar, you can use "tar xf" and it will DTRT.
                If not, you can use "lzip -dc TARBALL | tar xf -" to unpack.
              - https in URLs
                GNU and GNUVOLA URLs now say ‘https’ instead of ‘http’.  This
                shows up in the docs, and in ‘--help’ / ‘--version’ output.
              - bootstrap/maintenance tools
                 GNU texinfo 6.8
                 GNU Automake 1.16.5
                 GNU Autoconf 2.71
                 GNU Guile 2.2.7
                 Guile-BAUX 20211208.0839.a5245e7
                 GNU gnulib 2021-12-10 21:54:54
                as before:
            tarball and detached signature:
            source code:
  • Leftovers

    • Attack Of The Eighty-Foot String Shooter | Hackaday

      String shooters are exciting because they adhere to the laws of physics in that peculiar way that makes us ask, “How?” and “Why?” After a bit of poking and prodding, maybe some light rope burn, we probably have a few ideas on how we’d make our own. [Nick Belsten] and [Joey Rain] saw some desktop models and thought, “Let’s make that puppy eighty feet long!” Video also embedded after the break.

      Instead of hobby motors, flashlight batteries, and toy car wheels, they choose a washing machine motor and bike tires, then plug into an extension cord. The three-minute video isn’t a how-to build because once you start welding this kind of hardware together, you are already flying by the seat of your pants. You will see a front yard with people delighting in the absurdity of launching rope continuously over the treetops. There’s plenty of room for observing a wave traveling along the cord or polishing your fingernails in a hurry.

    • Hardware

      • Ski Lift Design Does The Impossible | Hackaday

        Tis The Season, for those who are so inclined, to loft themselves to the top of a steep snow-covered hill and then go downhill, really fast. And if something gets in their way, turn. Whether they be on skis, a snowboard, or some other means, getting down usually involves using gravity. Getting up, on the other hand, usually involves a ski lift. And in the video by [kalsan15] after the break, we learn how technology has stepped in to make even the most inaccessible slopes just a lift ride away.

      • Virtual Eurorack Based CPU Computes To The Beat Of A Different Drum Module | Hackaday

        In Arthur C. Clarke’s 1972 story “Dial F for Frankenstein”, the worlds first global network of phone exchanges was created by satellite link, and events happened that caused the characters in the story to wonder if the interconnected mesh of machinery had somehow become sentient. And that’s what we wondered when we saw this latest virtual CPU construction built by GitHub user [katef] and made from a virtual analog synthesizer software called VCV Rack.

        Analogous to a Redstone computer in Minecraft, there’s no physical hardware involved. But instead of making crazy synth sounds for a music project, [katef] has built a functioning CPU complete with an Arithmetic Logic Unit, an adder, and other various things you’ll find in a real CPU such as registers and a clock.

      • Genius or Cursed, This USB-C Connector Is Flexible

        USB connectors have lent themselves to creative interpretations of their mechanical specifications ever since the first experimenter made a PCB fit into a USB-A socket. The USB-C standard with its smaller connector has so far mostly escaped this trend, though this might be about to change thanks to the work of [Sam Ettinger]. His own description of his USB-C connector using a flexible PCB and a BGA-packaged ATTiny84A microcontroller is “cursed”, but we can’t decide whether or not it should also be called “genius”.

        Key to this inspired piece of connector fabrication is the realization that the thickness of BGA and flex PCB together comes to the required 0.7 mm. The BGA provides the necessary stiffness, and though it’s a one-sided connector it fits the space perfectly. There are several demo boards as proofs-of-concept, and the whole lot can be found in a GitHub repository.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Blackberry Will Run Out of Juice on January 4th

          Happy New Year, though it may not be for Blackberry fans. The company that has so often had their products compared to a certain addictive substance recently announced that they are ending support for Blackberry OS and Blackberry 10 devices.

          What does this mean? While they won’t be bricking phones outright, they might as well be. On January 4th, Blackberry will be shutting off all the key services — data, SMS, phone calls, and 911 support. In official terms, they are ending network provisioning for these older devices, meaning that they won’t be able to join any cellular or WiFi networks.

        • Alexa Suggests Dangerous ‘Outlet Challenge’ to 10-Year-Old
        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facial Recognition for Covid-19 Tracking in Seoul

              The city of Bucheon, population 830,000, is a satellite city southwest of Seoul and part of the greater metropolitan area and the site of a pilot program to apply AI facial recognition and tracking technologies to aid Covid-19 epidemiological investigators. South Korea has been generally praised for its rapid response to coronavirus patient tracking since the beginning of the outbreak. People entering public facilities enter their information on a roster or scan a QR code. Epidemiologists tracking outbreaks use a variety of data available to them, including these logs, electronic transaction data, mobile phone location logs, CCTV footage, and interviews. But the workload can be overwhelming, and there are only a fixed number of workers with the required training available, despite efforts to hire more.

              As contract tracing has been done to-date, it takes one investigator up to an hour to trace the movements of one patient. When the system goes online in January, it should be able to trace one patient in less than a minute, handling up to ten traces simultaneously. Project officials say there is no plan for this system to expand to the rest of Seoul, nor nationwide. But with the growing virus caseloads and continued difficulties hiring and training investigators, it’s not unexpected that officials will be turning to these technologies more and more to keep up with the increasing workload.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • FOSS Patents: Alternative app store with improved security filed antitrust lawsuit against Apple in Florida, simultaneously alleging infringement of patent on reverse lookup of phone numbers

          With Ericsson still not having announced (by the time I’m writing this) a renewal of its patent cross-license agreement with Apple, dozens of patent infringement complaints against Apple–in multiple jurisdictions–may be imminent as the license agreement is just about to expire. And other major standard-essential patent holders like Nokia and InterDigital haven’t announced a renewal with Apple in many years, so there may be even more infringement actions to come in 2022.

        • European Union: EPO Board Of Appeal Refuses Applications With Non-Human Inventor [Ed: EPO constantly violates the EPC, which it does not even care about, but this time it decided to pretend otherwise]

          Yesterday, 21 December 2021, the EPO’s Legal Board of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s appeal in respect of the two European patent applications that attempted to name a computer system as the sole inventor. This is the latest decision in the long-running and widespread attempts by Dr Stephen Thaler and his legal team to gain recognition for machines as inventors within the patent system. The full reasons for the Board’s decision will be published later, but a brief Press Communiqué has been issued by the EPO.

          It appears that the Board has substantively agreed with the decisions of the EPO’s Receiving Section (reported here) that, under the EPC, the inventor has to be a person with legal capacity and so the applicant’s main request, naming the computer system DABUS as the sole inventor, was not allowable.

In 2022 We Should Quit Calling it Google and Explain What It Has Really Become: Gulag (Goolag)

Posted in Google at 9:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related (Google-funded trolls in 2021): Professional Troll Matthew Garrett Spreads Libel, Defamation and Slander About the Free Software Community to Entertain Microsoft and Friends

Google Goolag or gulag

Summary: Considering how Google treats people in sites like YouTube, it has become clear that the company operates more like a forced ‘labour camp’ for “content” “creators” or “generators” or “users” (people who get used, and whose sole purpose is to help Alphabet profit from ads and spy on everybody, with a site that won’t even work without cookies and JavaScript)

Schools Are Not Vendor Certification Mills, They’re Meant to Teach Pupils/Students

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 7:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 13afb64f5bd01ca9289d8263f6ce0f73

Summary: Rather than teach students how to work with technology many schools are training them to become subjects of technology giants, sometimes from another country that has no respect for basic human rights

ALMOST 4 years ago the US passed a lawwithout any public debate! — that would formally turn GAFAM into corporate eyes of Five Eyes (which is now Six Eyes because Japan officially joined “the club”).

“We must protect not only the dignity of youngsters but also their families’; they never explicitly consented to such abuse.”Many people somehow think — or have managed to convince themselves — that it is perfectly normal to outsource schools/universities and their data to spy agencies. Thankfully, the likes of Dr. Andy Farnell stand in their way and persistently explain why this status quo should be rejected. Schools of all sorts should hire suitably trained people who know how to manage stuff such as E-mail (not sign some paperwork that sends it to spying companies) and can give students real skills, including the use of freedom-respecting software that does not harvest data (e.g. LaTeX/LyX/Kile and LibreOffice instead of Google and Microsoft stuff). We’ve long argued that schools should also teach GemText or similar, not HTML, as the Web is a monopolised and overly complicated platform with DRM. It’s not useful for education.

The video above adds some thoughts to Dr. Farnell’s article. I’ve attempted to merely add some things which merit a mention; there are ethical — not just financial — considerations. We must protect not only the dignity of youngsters but also their families’; they never explicitly consented to such abuse.

My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part VIII — Who Teaches the Teachers?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By Dr. Andy Farnell

Series parts:

  1. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part I — 2021 in Review
  2. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part II — Impact of a ‘COVID Year’
  3. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part III — Lost and Found; Losing the Mobile Phone (Cellphone)
  4. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part IV — Science or Scientism?
  5. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part V — Change in Societal Norms and Attitudes
  6. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part VI — The Right Words
  7. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part VII — Staying the Course and Fake It Till You Make It?
  8. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Who Teaches the Teachers?

Some teachers

Summary: Dr. Andy Farnell explains the oft-overlooked, oft-ignored, oft-forgotten problems associated with outsourcing schools to tech monopolies and, by doing so, giving unjust control to surveillance-centric firms (usually foreign if not hostile to one’s country) over children’s lives and their future

Taking back tech in education is a major challenge for everyone in digital rights.

Being a teacher, and also a parent, many of my battles for fair and ethical technology are within educational institutions. I’ve been raising awareness of digitally mediated abuse in schools and universities, such as invasive student monitoring and the degeneration of our schools’ privacy and integrity as Google and Microsoft “infrastructure” intrudes into places it does not belong.

“Parents have a vague idea that “technology is good” because we “don’t
want kids left behind”. Both ill-formed sentiments are pernicious.”
We all want the best for our students and our own kids. But when it comes to understanding whether educational technology (and the administrative technology we use) is good or bad for them I think we are clueless, and we ought to admit that.

Parents have a vague idea that “technology is good” because we “don’t want kids left behind”. Both ill-formed sentiments are pernicious. We should want our children to learn about technology, not be taught by it. And “being left behind” is not a warning, it’s a threat. Teachers think that all and any technology is unquestionably good. The myth of digital literacy uber alles, being an unqualified good for the economy, has remained unexamined since the 1980s. We conflate mere exposure to tech with understanding, and with life value.

Free but restricted entryI’ve pushed back a lot against the disgraceful scam that is “Turnitin”, first criticised by Dutch technology writer Hans de Zwart as the plagiarism monopolist, with onerous terms that demand a “royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license” to students’ works. Turnitin is the poster child for everything wrong with careless application of “algorithms” to human trust problems.

For one thing, plagiarism detectors are like “lie detectors”. Although the theory looks impressive, in reality they are merely intimidation devices, as Bayesian Analysis with first order Markov chaining produces a laughable avalanche of false positives. They are bad algorithms that effect a disproportionately negative impact on the lives of young people, almost always without their explicit consent.

“Digital Veganism is a family thing too.”Far from improving student behaviour we encourage an assignment cheating arms-race that feeds essay mills. I design assignments such that we don’t need to worry about plagiarism, make sure that, wherever possible, automatic submission is unchecked in Moodle systems, and explicitly warn my students where I think their rights are being violated.

I’ve written about the flexibility, equality and low-bandwidth ecological benefits of text based teaching methods – amidst which came the unexpected demise of Freenode.

Digital Veganism is a family thing too. This year a moment of great pride has been watching my daughter log onto her Unix system with her username and non-trivial password, then type on the command line to play her favourite music. She’s also been helping me teach some classes, and chastising adults pawing their smartphones for “not paying attention to their children”.

Careful technological parenting makes its demands. Every letter from the school about some new “Lunch monitor system” might require push-back and a little explaining to a teacher about “why that doesn’t work for us”. On the other hand, I’ve had overwhelming support from parents for kids “hacking classes” (where we actually teach Python), so much that they badger me in the street and home asking when the Covid subsides will I run them again? Demand for real technological teaching feels insatiable.

I think the sociological interplay around technology and education is fascinating. Most of us have no real idea what is good or dangerous technology for young people in our care, but we have to muddle through and pretend we do. Especially for teachers – why should they? Most will just uncritically use the tools they are told to 3.

The way that technically disenfranchised adults vicariously shrug their heteronomy via kids is astonishing. In some ways it’s heartwarming, in that we still believe they can build a better future and be more courageous than us. But it’s also pitiful. This happens when we say “Kids are whizzes, they know all about technology”, or “Don’t worry they will just figure it out”. This is dangerous romanticism and shrugging of responsibility. I wrote about this complex psychology in Digital Vegan, citing real examples from social work in which “role reversal” takes place and children are forced to “be the adult” in a world where the actual grown-ups have given up 4.

“Teaching children to take control of technology, to master it, use it to express their creative and intellectual energy, and to explore a library of carefully curated knowledge is what we can achieve.”Because of Covid again this year I was unable to attend ICICTE, the unbelievably cool Greek conference where freethinking teachers, sysadmins and researchers come to share ideas on using technology creatively for teaching. You’ll appreciate, I have a lot of amazing arguments there with people who disagree with me. And then we get drunk together until 4am. There’s a lot more work to do with advancing the idea of “Digital Self Defence” as an approach for kids as young as five.

Teaching children to take control of technology, to master it, use it to express their creative and intellectual energy, and to explore a library of carefully curated knowledge is what we can achieve.

Luring children into a lifetime of helpless dependency on expensive products that work as dark magic, over which they have no control, which expose them to hostile entities and damaging ideas, all while allowing corporate data vampires to juice their souls dry is what we have achieved. And it’s a deplorable tragedy we should be ashamed of.

“Luring children into a lifetime of helpless dependency on expensive products that work as dark magic, over which they have no control, which expose them to hostile entities and damaging ideas, all while allowing corporate data vampires to juice their souls dry is what we have achieved.”Parents nod mindlessly to the platitudes and empty “assurances” given by heads or school boards, yet no-one involved has the requisite technical knowledge to make or evaluate such assurances.

Administrators literally say stuff like; “I can assure you this software is absolutely safe.”

So ask them;

“Do you have any knowledge of cybersecurity?”


“Do you know who wrote the application?”


“Do you know if it uses a client or server-side model?”

“Err, No.”

“Do you know where data is stored?”

[embarrassing silence]

“Have you read the source code?”

[embarrassing silence]

“Have you any basis whatsoever to feel you can sincerely
offer me any assurances?”

[long embarrassing silence]… “No.”

Here’s a little problem;

Anyone who has opened a newspaper in the past twenty years should have a little enough knowledge of cybersecurity to know that applications written by convicted criminals store your child’s data outside the school and that nobody has ever seen the extremely-badly written source code, and so nobody can attest to its safety.

So, with respect, one must say:

“please don’t embarrass us both by claiming you can offer  assurances”.

Most-times though, the conversation is more like;

“I can give you assurances that this software is absolutely safe.”

“Oh, assurances, why didn’t you say so. You’re obviously some kind of expert. Please sell my kid’s life to corporate monsters”

By tacit conspiracy of avoidance we construct a “theatre of fake understanding”. It is a folly of overconfident negligence that puts our children at risk. I am staggered that, other than parents who work in IT or security, so few of the other parents at my child’s school are educated on the issues. They are aware of the issues, but that isn’t the same. Strange confusions of 5G virus or radiation risks are unhelpful.

All are made fools by the salesmen, Microsoft and Google lobbyists who want to exploit the lives of our children. I believe more and more that corporate edu-tech is utterly unfit for purpose, offers no substantial advantages, has no useful place in education up to university level.

I think that for school ages 0 – 17 (primary and secondary):

  • Government mandate open-source Libre software
  • Software used in schools meet the general approval of PTA board
  • Any Parent, Teacher or Child5 may audit the code and raise concerns
  • Parents unsatisfied with the security or ethics of any code or data handling have an unchallengable right to require an alternative be used or to abstain their child from a system.
  • Compatability regarding “employability” or “industry standards” should not be a concern below the age of 17.



3 Which I actually think is a problem. It’s telling that some sceptical teachers might refuse to participate in organising vaccinations (which is their – misguided in my opinion – prerogative), yet they would compliantly expose children to insecure Microsoft software that can damage a kid’s whole life.
4 For example; this happens when a child (who speaks English) of immigrant parents who do not speak English, intermediates with police, sometimes having to translate traumatising crime details like rape. This inappropriate pre-mature role is what is happening when we abdicate responsibility for technology so that kids have to manage their own digital self-defence.
5 Children learning that they have a stake and agency in the machinery that runs their lives is a cornerstone of Civic Cybersecurity. There is no age too early to start.

Links 1/1/2022: Slackel 7.5 and Septor 2022

Posted in News Roundup at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Here are 5 Stats About Linux that will make you Proud

      Cat command is used to read and print file content on a terminal screen. While tac command is similar to a cat command, but the difference is data will print in reverse order.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa’s RADV Driver Lands Workaround For Flickering Issue With F1 2021 – Phoronix

          For those wanting to enjoy the F1 2021 racing game on Linux via Valve’s Steam Play, it’s slowly getting into good shape. The latest enhancement is on the Radeon Vulkan driver side with Mesa’s RADV adding a workaround targeting the game.

          Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s Linux graphics driver team has landed a workaround in Mesa 22.0-devel Git (and also marked for back-porting to Mesa 21.3 stable) for fixing severe flickering issues exhibited by F1 2021 within the in-game menus.

    • Benchmarks

      • OpenBenchmarking.org In 2021 By The Numbers – Phoronix

        Since we are all about performance and numbers, here is a look at the 2021 statistics for OpenBenchmarking.org itself as the online complementary component to the Phoronix Test Suite.

        Here are some year-end stats on OpenBenchmarking.org for the health of open-source benchmarking, which in 2021 marked ten years since OpenBenchmarking.org went public alongside Phoronix Test Suite 3.0.

    • Applications

      • Best Free and Open Source Software – December 2021 Updates

        Here are the latest updates to our compilation of recommended software.

      • AviDemux 2.8.0 (64-bit)

        Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities. Avidemux is available for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows under the GNU GPL license.

      • Pinta 2.0 Drawing App Comes Ported to GTK 3 and .NET 6 [Ed: This is helping Microsoft spread Mono. Not a good thing at all.]

        Now seemingly very stable, Pinta 2.0 is well on its way to becoming one of Linux’s favorite painting and editing applications out there.

        Pinta is a free cross-platform graphics editor, that means you can install it on Windows, macOS, or Linux. It is a hassle-free tool for all Linux users who do not want to struggle through documentation to master a more complicated graphics tool.

        The app is a perfect match for Viewers & Editors in the Design & Photo category. It puts all the common graphic editing and design tools at your disposal: paintbrush, paint can, cloning stamp, gradient, different selection types, etc.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install and configure Docker-CE on Ubuntu 20.04 – NextGenTips

        In this tutorial am going to show you how you can install Docker-CE on Ubuntu 20.04.

        Docker is a set of platform as a service product that uses OS-level virtualization to deliver software in packages called containers. Containers are usually isolated from one another and bundled their own software libraries and configuration files, they can communicate with each other through well-defined channels.

        Docker makes it possible to get more apps running on the same old servers and also makes it easy to package and ship programs.

      • PlaySMS Kannel SMS Gateway integration on NGINX+Debian

        PlaySMS is a free and open source SMS management software, a web interface for SMS gateways and bulk SMS services. In this article we will configure PlaySMS on Debian 10 with NGINX web server and MariaDB Database. We will need PHP to run PlaySMS web application and Kannel SMS Gateway. To install Kannel SMS Gateway please check this article.

      • How to install MyBB Forum on Ubuntu/Debian

        MyBB is a open-source forum application which comes with amazing unique features which gives your forum a completely unbelievable look. It comes with many pre-installed features and utilities to keep your forum completely managed and solid. Since, It’s open source, There are many themes developed by the community members for you to use it freely, also there are many plugins which gives you and your forum users more accessibility to the forum. Plugins like Social Login Integration, ShoutBox, Arcade Gamers etc. It’s one of the most reliable free forums software on the market. Many known communities uses MyBB to this day

      • PPLOG personal blog fixed

        PPLOG is a personal blog, a perl script, found in the menu under “Personal” category. I received an email that it doesn’t work.

      • pa-applet menu modified

        The right-click menu lists all possible outputs and allows changing the default; however, that is conflicting with Multiple Sound Card Wizard and upsetting pavucontrol.

      • What Is A Linux Shell?

        What comes to your mind when you hear about Linux? A hacker wearing a black hoodie and a Guy Fawkes mask, typing gibberish in the terminal on one screen, while the other screen flickers with code no one understands. What if we told you that you could do that too and “try” to look cool with your friends?

        All of that is done in a Shell program pre-installed in all Linux distributions. In this article, let’s look at what a Linux Shell is and its use in Linux.

      • How to use cat and tac command in Linux – TREND OCEANS

        Cat command is used to read and print file content on a terminal screen. If you bifurcate concatenation, you will get a cat in between, which means you can combine multiple files at once. The cat command is not limited to reading files, and it can do more, let me show you how to leverage cat.

      • How to Use WhatsApp on a Linux Desktop

        WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging service available for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. The unavailability of an official WhatsApp client for Linux has left users wondering whether or not they can use WhatsApp on a Linux desktop.

        The straightforward answer is yes. Although you have the choice to run WhatsApp on an Android emulator, there must be a better way, one not involving emulation. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how you can use WhatsApp on Linux.

      • How to Install MX Linux 21 Step by Step with Screenshots

        Debian, which is a hugely popular Linux distribution, has given rise to a wide selection of popular Debian flavors. Among the most celebrated and hugely popular Debian flavors is MX Linux, which takes the first position in Distrowatch at the time of penning down this tutorial.

        MX Linux project is made possible by the collaborative efforts of AntiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. It is a desktop-oriented Linux flavor that provides XFCE as the default desktop environment – although you can get it in KDE Plasma and Fluxbox.

        MX Linux is a middleweight Linux distribution that combines a colorful and efficient desktop with rock-solid stability and superb performance. The latest stable version of MX Linux is MX Linux 21, codenamed Wildflower. It is based on Debian 11 Bullseye and ships with all the latest software updates and goodness for an amazing and elegant desktop distribution.

        In this guide, we will show you how to install MX Linux 21 step-by-step.

      • Install LibreOffice 7 on Ubuntu from AppImage, DEB, Flatpak and Snap

        This tutorial explains how you can install LibreOffice version 7.0 and later on an Ubuntu computer with several choices of installation methods namely AppImage, DEB, PPA, Snap and Flatpak sorted by difficulty from beginner to advanced. Thanks to these choices, you who have computer with GNU/Linux distros other than Ubuntu can also practice this. Now let’s install it.

      • How to install OpenBox on minimal Debian 11 Bullseye – Linux Shout

        If you are using a minimal Debian 11 Bullseye server distro and want a lightweight Windows manager along with a low resource consuming display manager and desktop panel; then here is the tutorial to install OpenBox Window manager on minimal Debian 11 Linux distro using the command line.

      • How To Install Apache on CentOS 9 Stream – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Apache on CentOS 9 Stream. For those of you who didn’t know, Apache, also known as Apache HTTP server is a free, open-source, and cross-platform HTTP server, including powerful features, and can be extended by a wide variety of modules. It is part of the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) that powers much of the internet.

        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 the step-by-step installation of the Apache webserver on CentOS 9 Stream.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • My progress in porting Wine
      • Astounding Progress Made In Porting Wine To Haiku For Running Windows Software – Phoronix

        Haiku as the open-source operating system in development for two decades as the inspirational successor to BeOS is kicking off 2022 by…. beginning to be able to run Windows applications via Wine. There is great progress being made in porting Wine to running on Haiku.

        Developer “X512″ who has achieved a lot of other great Haiku development milestones from graphics driver porting to other work has been tackling Wine this week. He has been quickly making progress on being able to run Windows programs on the BeOS-inspired open-source operating system.

    • Games

      • 80% of Steam’s top 100 games now work on Linux – OSnews

        I have long stopped even checking ProtonDB to see if the games I’m interested in run well on Linux – I just assume that the games I’m into belong to the 80%, with the remaining 20% being the massive garbage pile that are abandoned indie games, anime nonsense, and porn that have infested Steam over the years.

        Proton, and all the work Wine, Valve, and open source developers have poured into it, is arguably one of the biggest contributions to desktop Linux in a long, long time, and with the Steam Deck on the horizon, it’s only going to get even better from here.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • LABWC 0.4 Stacking Wayland Compositor Brings Fullscreen Mode, Drag & Drop – Phoronix

        Early in 2021 there was the inaugural release of LABWC as a stacking Wayland compositor that promoted itself as an alternative to Openbox. In kicking off the new year, LABWC 0.4 is now available.

        The LABWC Wayland compositor is built off the wlroots library and takes inspiration from Openbox while being focused on simplicity and speed while still having some nice window management features.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Ends 2021 With More Plasma Wayland Fixes, Root File Operations For Dolphin – Phoronix

          KDE developers ended out 2021 with more Wayland session fixes coming for the Plasma 5.24 release. There was also nice user feature work like KIO-using applications such as Dolphin now properly dealing with non-user-owned locations.

          KDE developer Nate Graham this morning published his usual weekly development summary of all the interesting changes going on in the KDE space. Some of the KDE changes for the final week of 2021 included:

          - The Dolphin file manager can now be launched as root or other non-user-owned locations. This is thanks to PolKit support being merged in KIO. KDE applications making use of KIO can now create/move/copy/trash/delete files in non-user-owned locations as of KDE Frameworks 5.90.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Slackel 7.5 “Openbox”

          Slackel 7.5 Openbox has been released. Slackel is based on Slackware and use salixtools from Salix.

          Includes the Linux kernel 5.15.12 and latest updates from Slackware’s ‘Current’ tree.
          Wicd has been removed. NetworkManager is the default app for connecting to networks now.

          The new version is available in 64-bit and 32-bit builds.

          The 64-bit iso image support booting on UEFI systems.
          Iso images are isohybrid.
          Iso images can be used as installation media.

          It is good to read the Slackel Startup Guide before install Slackel.

        • Septor 2022

          Septor Linux is a operating system that provides users with a perfect computing environment for surfing the Internet anonymously. Septor providing users with a stable and reliable distribution that is based on Debian GNU/Linux and works on a wide range of computers. Distribution featuring a customised KDE Plasma desktop.

          Tor Browser, OnionShare (an anonymous file sharing utility) and qTox (an instant messaging client built on a “privacy goes first” agenda). Thunderbird, HexChat and QuiteRSS are all pre-configured to connect to the Internet via the Tor network. The distribution can be used in “live” mode or it can be installed to hard disk via the standard Debian installer.

      • Arch Family

        • 8 Things You Should Know Before Installing Arch Linux

          Arch Linux is no doubt one of the best distros for Linux power users. But there are some things you should know about Arch before installing it.

          When installing most Linux distros, you simply download the ISO, create a bootable media, and begin the installation process—no research required.

          But things are a little different with Arch Linux. If you jump right into the installation part without learning about the distro first, you’ll be dumbfounded by the complexity of the process. And that’s just the installation to speak of.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • A Brief History of Blender: The Invention and Evolution of the 3D Graphics Software

        Blender was originally a product of a Dutch animation studio by the name of NeoGeo. After blazing his way through continental Europe, co-founder Ton Roosendaal felt a need to raise the bar on the software that he and his team used to carry out their work.

        One of the things that helped Roosendaal find so much success at the helm of NeoGeo, even before Blender’s official inception was the proprietary 3D rendering and animation software that came before it, crafted for the company in-house under Roosendaal’s supervision.

        He was the catalyst force driving this new mission to totally revamp the platform that they were already using at the time. They got the ball rolling in 1995, but it took several years to accomplish what they had set out to do.

      • 2022 Outlook – Open source, OpenTelemetry, & emerging tech – JAXenter

        What does 2022 hold for open source and OpenTelemetry? Which cutting-edge technologies should you be paying attention to in 2022? We asked the experts about their predictions for the coming year. Stay ahead of the curve and learn how to plan strategically in the new year.


        With a focus on people from the UK Government we will see two things. Firstly, there will be a shift in education to embrace more on open source software, open hardware and open data, particularly around practical training. This will help the next generation of developers and other professionals enter the market with the right skills to participate in how companies today build their software and then manage it over time. This doesn’t just mean code, but all the jobs that exist around software development and that provide value to users.

        Secondly, there will be more focus on supporting home grown businesses in the tech space worldwide, which ultimately means those start-up and scale-up companies working around open technology.

        In the UK, this will manifest itself in increased investment from the Financial Services sector, the likes of Pension Funds which currently lag significantly behind those in the US in terms of investment in tech. There is increased understanding in that market around how to value companies and how they operate, which should support more companies in growing and being successful in the longer term.

      • Trust in HiveOS tarnished as open source miner developers come forward with accusations of skimming developer fee

        Open source developers of various open source cryptocurrency miners show what they say as proof that HiveOS modified code preventing compensation for vital development work. It was described that developers had previously implemented checks into a cryptocurrency miner to signal any modifications to the development address and to raise alarm. A private investigation was then performed which apparently shows proof that HiveOS is behind all of it.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • TikTok’s Live Studio app accused of violating OBS licensing terms

            Last week, TikTok quietly released a game-changing tool for gamers and live streamers in the form of a desktop-based streaming app called TikTok Live Studio. Turns out, TikTok’s app that will allow gamers and TikTokers to stream high-quality content from their PCs to their TikTok accounts appears to be based on OBS’s open-source software. Unfortunately, TikTok has already been accused of breaking OBS’s GPL, or General Public License, by not releasing its open source code for TikTok Live Studio.

            OBS’s business development manager Ben Torell told Protocol that OBS has “clear evidence” that TikTok’s Live Studio allegedly violated licensing terms. OBS has reached out to TikTok and is waiting to hear back.

      • Programming/Development

        • Java

          • [Older] Open source security leader Brian Behlendorf discusses the impact of Log4j

            For the last few weeks, the world of computer security has been turned upside down as teams struggled to understand if they needed to worry about the Log4j vulnerability. The relatively small Java library didn’t do anything flashy, but it was a well-built open source tool for tracking software events, and that made it popular with Java developers. That meant it often found its way into corners that people didn’t expect.

            While the security teams will continue to debate the nature of the flaw itself and search for similar problems, many are wondering how this might change the industry’s reliance on open source practices. Everyone enjoys the free tools until a problem like this appears. Is there a deeper issue with open source development that brought this about? Can society continue to rely upon the bounty of open source without changing its expectations and responsibilities?

            VentureBeat talked to Brian Behlendorf to understand the depth of the problem and also try to make sense of how software developers can prevent another flaw like this from getting such wide distribution. Behlendorf was one of the original developers of the Apache web servers, and he’s long been a leader of open source development. He’s been working with the Linux Foundation and the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) to find better practices and support them throughout the open source ecosystem.

          • 7 Reasons Java is Perfect for Enterprise Software – Business 2 Community

            Java is the fifth most used programming language worldwide in 2021, with a market share of 35.35%. Today, there are thousands of companies that use Java software development services for digital products and solutions. Among these, enterprise software is one of the most in-demand services for companies – and Java has been a primary part of the technology stack for developing these applications.

          • Java News Roundup: More Log4Shell Statements, Spring and Quarkus Updates, New Value Objects JEP

            This week’s Java roundup for December 20th, 2021, features news from OpenJDK with a new draft on value objects, JDK 18, JDK 19, Project Loom, additional statements from vendors on Log4Shell, numerous Spring and Quarkus updates, Hibernate ORM 6.0.0-M3, point releases from Apache Camel and Camel Quarkus, Apache Tika 2.2.1 and GraalVM Native Build Tools 0.9.9.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

    • Hardware

      • Out of the Box 3D Printer Tips for Beginners | Tom’s Hardware

        First, when we talk about “leveling the bed” understand that what we really mean is tramming the print surface. 3D printers have been tacked to the walls or flipped upside down and still work fine. Being level to a table has nothing to do with their ability to print.

        When you level the bed on a 3D printer, you’re making sure that the nozzle is at the same height across the entire print surface. This allows the printer to lay down a perfect first layer and the foundation for a good print.

        If your printer didn’t come with a probe to auto level the bed for you, have no fear. It’s really not that hard.

        First, heat the nozzle and bed as if you’re setting up a print. Metal expands slightly when warm, so never calibrate a cold machine. Allow the printer to warm up for a few minutes.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • How a cancer survivor turned a bad diagnosis into life-changing work

        That dream started with cancer.


        Specialists soon provided a name. The then-43-year-old had multiple myeloma, a relatively rare form of blood cancer that typically strikes people in their 70s. Back then, few lived longer than two years.

        She spent the next six months in America undergoing tandem stem cell transplants using her own healthy cells, while family and friends rallied so Paul and the kids could stay in Mexico. He traveled back and forth to be with her when she was sickest. Then she moved back to Mexico and traveled periodically to Houston for treatments. After months of that, they moved back to the United States.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Is LastPass Password Manager Hacked? Users Reveal Possible Compromise, 3 Ways to Protect Your Password

            The free and popular password manager LastPass might be compromised. Its members reported multiple attempted logins by malicious actors who used the correct LastPass master password.

            Members are advised to enable two-factor authentication to secure their accounts.

            LastPass is popularly known as a reliable password manager and web browser extension. Its service also extends to smartphones via an app. Unfortunately, its good reputation is now being tested after members reported concerning issues about its interface.

          • Top 10 Open Source Cybersecurity Projects to Try In 2022

            Cybersecurity is one of the important elements in the existing computer systems of all organizations in Industry 4.0. The rise in innovations of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and machine learning has instigated organizations to adopt digital transformation to boost performance. But, this adoption can welcome a plethora of opportunities for cybercriminals to successfully achieve cyberattacks into the systems. Thus, aspiring techies, who want to join the cybersecurity field, have to try certain cybersecurity projects to gain sufficient knowledge of open source projects. There are innumerable open source projects on cybersecurity to gain confidence in this domain and earn a lucrative salary package per annum. Thus, let’s explore some of the top ten open source cybersecurity projects to try in 2022.


            GNU Radio is one of the top ten open source projects on cybersecurity and software development toolkits to provide signal processing blocks for implementing software radios. Organizations can use this with readily-available low-cost external RF hardware for software-defined radio.


            Google has launched the open-source cybersecurity project known as OpenTitan to secure chip design efficiently. This project will allow organizations to enhance the initial design and strengthen the security of the implementation of the chip. It can be used in data centres and infrastructures to build upon a trustworthy state.

          • T-Mobile hit with a data breach – NotebookCheck.net News

            T-Mobile has suffered a data breach according to The T-Mo Report. While this breach appears to be on a smaller scale, the mobile company was hit with another, much larger-scale attack in August.

            Documents show that bad actors targeted user accounts and engaged in ‘unauthorized activity’ in the form of SIM swapping or spying of the user’s customer proprietary network information (CPNI).

          • Getting the Most Out of Sandboxing

            Chris Palmer discusses the nature and particulars of the OS limitations we face, what security gap they leave us with, and what we are doing to make Chromium’s large codebase less memory-unsafe.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Iraqi Minister Sacks Babylon Police Chief after Deadly Operation | Asharq AL-awsat

        Iraq’s interior minister dismissed Babylon province’s police chief on Friday and several officers were called for questioning following an operation that reportedly led to the deaths of 20 members of the same family.

        The operation, details of which remain unclear, took place Thursday when rapid intervention units and intelligence forces sought to storm a house in the village of Al-Rashayed in the central Iraqi province.

    • Environment

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Man Killed in Apparent Shark Attack Off California, the Authorities Say

          A man who had been on a boogie board off the coast of central California died after he was apparently attacked by a shark near Morro Bay, the authorities said on Friday.

          The man, who the authorities did not identify, was found floating and unresponsive off Morro Strand State Beach at about 10:40 a.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement from California State Parks.


          There were 57 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2020 and 39 provoked attacks, resulting in 13 fatalities, according to the International Shark Attack File, another organization that tracks shark data, which is based at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

    • Finance

      • Messy NFT drop angers infosec pioneers with unauthorized portraits
      • What Military Budget Expansion Says About Our Broken Financial System

        The externalities of unfettered money printing are extremely overweight to the negative side of the spectrum. When the government has the ability to work in conjunction with central banks to print money ex-nihilo to fund an activity, those who are in control of managing that activity are incentivized to be extremely wasteful to justify their budgets funded by the money printer. There is no greater example of this than the US military, which currently boasts an annual budget of $768.2B for 2022.

      • The Richmond Observer – N.C.’s Apple deal named worst of 2021

        The $846 million subsidy deal that North Carolina struck with Apple just topped the “year’s worst” list of a nonpartisan economic think tank. The Center for Economic Accountability selected the 39-year agreement to put Apple’s campus in Research Triangle Park as the “Worst Economic Development Deal of the Year,” saying that its annual $21 million cost to the state led the list of reasons.

        “A billion dollars is a lot of money for North Carolina’s taxpayers and communities, because that’s $1 billion worth of public services not being funded,” said John Mozena, CEA president. “But for a company like Apple, which reported more than $1 billion a day in revenues this past year, it isn’t anywhere near enough money to move the needle on a major site selection decision.”

        CEA opposes economic development subsidies in general, as a nonpartisan watchdog group promoting government transparency and free-market principles. In their report, researchers pointed out that North Carolina’s anticipated $21 million in annual lost tax revenue is more than the state spends on work force building programs like community college distance education.


        Embracing Bitcoin is a bold move and a great chance for countries like El Salvador, but the end doesn’t justify the means. Bitcoiners are being played for President Nayib Bukele’s power fantasies of a new Bitcoin City, whose original plans were downloaded from the internet. Bitcoin is non-political, therefore Bitcoiners shouldn’t get too close to politics. Educational communities like Bitcoin Beach and Bitcoin City SV are far more likely to achieve sustainable Bitcoin adoption than airdrops and the coercion to use custodial wallets.

      • Strategic industries need government support [Ed: What they mean to say is that they want grifting at taxpayers' expense (e.g. national debt) for a patent cartel, or monopolies that hurt the public two-fold]

        The United States has lost two industries of critical strategic importance: semiconductors and communications-infrastructure equipment. Only about 9% of the world’s semiconductor devices are currently produced in the US and no significant telecom-equipment manufacturers remain in that country.

        Different reasons are responsible for these losses, but government support will be required in both cases if the United States is to keep its industrial competitiveness.

        Since these industries were largely pioneered in the US, we should examine how this happened, and ask further how valid are concerns about America’s apparent loss of technological leadership.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Big Tech’s Next Monopoly Game: Building the Car of the Future
      • Patents

        • European Union: Will The European Patent System Embrace Grace Periods? [Ed: Convinced corrupt firm Marks & Clerk does not want you to know about EPO corruption, which it is abetting]

          The European Patent Office is conducting a survey of European patent applicants, to assess the impact of the EPO’s strict novelty requirement on applicants’ disclosure and commercialisation strategies. In particular, the EPO wishes to assess what impact different grace period scenarios might have on the commercial behaviour of patent applicants. Other patent systems, notably that in the US, allow for grace periods, which proponents argue allow inventors to test their inventions in the marketplace before committing to the time and cost of filing patent applications. On the other hand, a strict novelty requirement for patentability can provide greater certainty to the patent granting process.

        • EPO consults on patent grace periods (again) [Ed: Instead of tackling its profound corruption, EPO management asks about “grace” periods”]

          The EPO has launched a user consultation on grace periods for patents, the results of which will be published in early 2022 (EPO press release). The EPC as it currently stands does not permit a grace period in which inventors may disclose their invention without prejudicing a future patent filing. Whilst this is not the first time the EPO has considered whether there would be any benefits to introducing a patent grace period, so far widespread support for introducing a grace period in Europe has always been lacking. EPO users are set-up for operating in a file-first, publish-after system, and few would welcome the legal uncertainty that a European grace period would introduce. Nonetheless, the EPO clearly believes that it is time once again time to take the temperature on their no-grace period approach.

          Legal Background: Grace Periods

          According to Article 54 EPC, the state of the art for determining novelty constitutes everything that was made available to the public before the priority date of the patent application, regardless of whether the applicant/inventor was responsible for the publication. By contrast, the US patent system retains a grace period for patent applications. In the US, disclosures made by an inventor (or someone who obtained the subject-matter from the inventor), up to 1 year from the priority date, do not constitute prior art for the patent (AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A)). If the inventor has disclosed their invention during the grace period, then further disclosures by third parties also don’t constitute prior art (AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(B)).

      • Copyrights

2021 Was a Fantastic Year for Gemini, 2022 Might be the Same

Posted in Site News at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 0ace1ff5c356d9e31fffcd3716e91e16

Summary: A look back at 12 months of Gemini (or gemini://), which brings us about half a million page requests each month

THE transport and presentation of pages in the Internet ought not be monopolised by the World Wide Web, i.e. HTTP/S and HTML (though the latter is nowadays mostly JavaScript frameworks, i.e. the ‘new Flash’ with DRM on top of it).

“Let’s see if this year Gemini can double or triple in terms of adoption. In recent months it enjoyed linear growth…”Gemini started less than 3 years ago and last year was a highly successful year for it. The number of working capsules grew sharply, many new services and capsules became available (without stretching the standard), and nowadays it’s possible to get all sorts of information without even opening a Web browser. I don’t use browsers all that much anymore (RSS readers, terminals, text editors and Gemini clients cover much ground already).

The video above presents some evidence of the growth and various use cases. We showed many use cases in the past. Searching Gemini space isn’t hard, it’s not monopolised (there are several potent options), and there’s plenty of code one can (re)use to convert an existing Web site into a Gemini capsule. Not much ought to be done from scratch and the learning curve/access barrier is low. Let’s see if this year Gemini can double or triple in terms of adoption. In recent months it enjoyed linear growth, so one can predict by extrapolation that there will be 2,000 working capsules before spring and maybe 3,000+ by the end of this year. We’ll try to keep track of the steady growth and point out new capsules of interest (especially when they offer something unique). Interpolation and extrapolation with statistics will help us assess the general ‘health’ of Geminispace. The good news is, this past year we see no corrupting corporate forces, neither in the specifications nor in Gemini space. It’s 100% genuine people; no spam, no advertising, no state/corporate propaganda. Unlike social control media, there’s no censorship and it’s likely that none is need.

Links 1/1/2022: Happy New Year 2022!

Posted in News Roundup at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Happy New Year, Folks — Let’s Fill it with Linux, Yeah?! – OMG! Ubuntu!

      This is a short (and yes, rather predictable) post to wish every single person reading this site a very merry—wait, we’ve already had that one—a happy new year.

      Yes, even those of you still sat in your pants (the British kind).

      It may feel like the world now exists in a dark timeline but there are things to be hopeful about, especially where Linux and open source software is concerned.

      After all, despite the environment, 2021 was a particularly buoyant year for Ubuntu on the desktop

      Ubuntu 21.04 and 21.10 both made their way out with new features, new kernels, and in the latter’s case, even a new desktop. Strong foundations laid ahead of April 2022 release of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

    • Linux Magazine

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Cockpit On Rocky Linux 8 Or Alma Linux 8 | Tips On UNIX

        Cockpit is a web-based server administration tool sponsored by Red Hat and by using this tool you can easily manage the server in a graphical way.

        From Fedora 21 and RHEL 8 onwards Cockpit loaded with default.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install cockpit on Rocky Linux 8 / Alma Linux 8.

      • How to Install and Use FFmpeg on CentOS 8.

        FFmpeg is a free and open-source software project consisting of a suite of libraries and programs for handling video, audio, and other multimedia files and streams. It contains a set of shared audio and video libraries such as libavcodec, libavformat, and libavutil. With FFmpeg, you can convert between various video and audio formats, set sample rates, capture streaming audio/video, and resize videos.

      • Install and Configure Virtualmin on Ubuntu 20.04

        So, Virtualmin is an open-source web hosting and cloud control panel. Virtualmin has the right features and controls over managing all the different domains at the same portal. It allows access to the server via an SSL-encrypted HTTP line. For example,. via a standard browser and provides a clear user interface.

      • Install Miniconda In Linux

        Miniconda is a minimal and stripped-down version of Anaconda distribution. As the name implies, Miniconda contains only Conda package manager, Python and a small number of useful packages such as pip, zlib including their dependencies.

        Miniconda is suitable for those who don’t mind to install each package individually. It saves you not only the disk space but also avoids dumping a lots of unnecessary applications that you don’t use often in your hard drive. For those wondering, Anaconda distribution automatically installs 1,500 packages that consumes around 3 GB disk space. If you use only a handful of applications, miniconda might be a good choice.

      • How to set, change and delete music tags with Mutagen

        Tagging music files is a way of keeping a music library well organized and let us search for songs on the base of Artists, albums, genre and other parameters. Many graphical and command line applications exist on Linux to manage tags for audio files, like Picard or Quodlibet. Most of those applications are written in Python and use the “mutagen” module at their core. In this tutorial we learn how to use it directly.

      • Top Five Chat Apps For Ubuntu Users

        Here are the top five chat apps for Ubuntu users. Having a decent chat application could help team members to collaborate in an effective way. Team members can collaborate effectively with a decent chat app. Although there are many applications available in the market, we will discuss only five of them which are Ubuntu compatible. Click here to refer to more similar topics.

        As a result of the pandemic, collaboration tools have become more important. Which utility to choose? So, It varies from user to user because sometimes the criteria are sharing data and other times secure and encrypted communication. A decent GUI, quick installation, and easy-to-use features are important. Here, after going through multiple utilities, we tried to opt top 05 tools. Hope they will be as per your need. Let’s start.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Finally root file operations in Dolphin – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          This week the last piece of a major project almost five years in the making was merged: PolKit support in KIO! This allows Dolphin and other KDE apps that use the KIO library to to create, move, copy, trash, and delete files in non-user-owned locations! It took a long time but we finally got it. Thanks very much to Jan Blackquill for pushing this over the finish line and Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan for starting it and getting it very far those years ago. Support will arrive in Frameworks 5.90 in a few weeks. Please test it out and file bugs on frameworks-kio if things don’t work right!

        • Highlights from 2021 – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          The coronavirus pandemic frustratingly continued to spread misery this year, but one silver lining to this cloud was that keeping people at home meant lots of contributions to KDE! As a result this was an enormous year for KDE and all who use its software. Like I did last year, I’d like to mention some of my favorite big features and improvements from the past 12 months. Also like last year, what’s written here is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg, probably not even a tenth of a percent, and also a very selective look at just some of the software I use and follow on a regular basis. There’s a whole lot more at https://planet.kde.org!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Best Ubuntu Themes In 2022

          Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux operating systems right now on the internet. It is often considered as the first choice for people using Linux for the first time.

          In this post, we will be discussing the best Ubuntu themes available on the internet. You can install various Ubuntu themes to make your distro more beautiful.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • New year, new Opensource.com community manager | Opensource.com

          I am privileged to be here at Opensource.com as the new community manager. I’m looking forward to working with existing correspondents and contributors, and also bringing in new contributors and increasing the diversity of thoughts and ideas shared here on Opensource.com.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • A Tidy Cyberdeck That You Could Take Anywhere. | Hackaday

          The cyberdeck trend has evolved to a relatively straightforward formula: take a desktop computer and strip it to its barest essentials of screen , PCB, and input device, before clothing it in a suitably post-apocalyptic or industrial exterior. Sometimes these can result in a stylish prop straight from a movie set, and happily for [Patrick De Angelis] his Raspberry Pi based cyberdeck (Italian, Google Translate link) fits this description, taking the well-worn path of putting a Raspberry Pi and screen into a ruggedised flight case. Its very unremarkability is the key to its success, using a carefully-selected wired keyboard and trackpad combo neatly dodges the usual slightly messy arrangements of microcontroller boards.

        • The No-MCU Fan Controller | Hackaday

          The default for any control project here in 2019 was to reach for a microcontroller. Such are their low cost and ubiquity that they can be used to replicate what might once have needed some extra circuitry, with the minimum of parts. But here we are at the end of 2021, and of course microcontrollers are hard to come by in a semiconductor shortage. [Hesam Moshiri] has a project that takes us back to a simpler time, a temperature controlled fan the way they used to be made, without a microcontroller in sight.

        • Customisable Micro-Coded Controller Helps With In-Circuit Debugging | Hackaday

          Over on Hackaday.io, [Zoltan Pekic] has been busy building a stack of tools for assisting with verifying and debugging retro computing applications. He presents his take on using Intel hex files for customised in-circuit testing, which is based upon simple microcoded sequencers, which are generated automatically from a high level description.

          The idea is that it is very useful to be able to use an FPGA development board to emulate the memory bus component of the CPU, allowing direct memory access for design validation purposes. This approach will also allow the production of a test rig to perform board level verification. The microcode compiler (MCC) generates all the VHDL, and support files needed to target a Xilinx FPGA based dev board, but is generic enough to enable targeting other platforms with a little adaptation.

        • 3D Printering: Adding A Web Interface Where There Was None Before | Hackaday

          [Renzo Mischianti] got himself a Chinese 3D printer, specifically a FlyingBear Ghost 5. (Cracking name, huh?) He was more than a little irritated with the fact that whilst the controller, an MKS Robin Nano, did have a integrated Wi-FI module, it provided no web-based interface for monitoring and control purposes. This seemed a bit short-sighted in this day and age, to say the least. Not being at all happy with that situation, [Renzo] proceeded to write dedicated Wi-Fi firmware using websockets, but not without fully documenting his journey in a detailed series of the blog posts.


          We’ve been covering 3D printer hacking since the dinosaurs were roaming. This is the oldest, and still one of the strangest, posts that we could find in a quick search. Anyone care to find something older?

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 metrics to measure sustainable open source investments. – Justin W. Flory’s blog

        How do we understand value when we talk about sustainability? What does investing in open source mean? The meaning is different for many people because of an implicit understanding of what open source means.

        This post is a reflection on the past year in my work with the UNICEF Venture Fund. We integrated new open source tools to capture metrics and data about open source repositories connected to UNICEF portfolio companies and created a shortlist of key metrics that map to business sustainability metrics. Now, we are better positioned to look back on past, current, and upcoming portfolio companies and mentor support programs.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Use basegfx to convert angle unit – EasyHack

          First, what is basegfx, how it is used for converting angle units, and why we should care?

          If you look at the list of LibreOffice modules in docs.libreoffice.org, you will see that basegfx is one of the LibreOffice modules. It contains the “algorithms and data types for graphics“, and it provides useful functions for LibreOffice graphics code. We care because using these functions helps us write cleaner code using well tested methods.

        • Happy New Year 2022!
      • Programming/Development

        • Header Guards C++

          A header guard in C++ is a component that proves to be your savior whenever you attempt and make a mistake while writing your code by defining a function more than once with the same name. Every programmer needs to know that it is never considered good practice to include the function definitions in the header files. However, at times, you need to do so. In that case, you must know how to properly use the header guards in C++. Therefore, this article discusses the need to use the header guards in C++, followed by some examples to teach you their usage on the Ubuntu 20.04 system.

          Why Do We Need to Use the Header Guards in C++?

          While writing your code, you define certain header files on your own, depending upon the functionality you require. After creating these header files, you can include them all in your .cpp file that contains your actual code. However, sometimes these header files depend upon each other. So, you have to include one header file into another. In that case, when you include both these header files into your .cpp file, the same functions of one header file might be defined twice. This leads to the generation of a compile-time error since C++ strictly prohibits the definition of the same function twice within the same code. Therefore, we use the header guards to protect your header files from malfunctioning to resolve this dependency issue.

          These header guards can be implemented using the four pre-processor directives: #ifndef, #define, #ifdef, and #endif. For example, whenever you enclose a piece of code within the “#ifndef” directive, the compiler always checks whether the following code has been previously defined or not. If not, then the statements following the “#define” directive are executed. Otherwise, these statements are simply ignored. This, in turn, ensures that your program always compiles successfully and the same functions are not defined more than once within the same code. The “#ifdef” directive works vice-versa. You will be able to understand all this in a better way after going through the following two examples.

  • Leftovers

    • Movement Music After the Movement Fades: Reflections on Phil Ochs

      Throughout Phil’s twenties — that is, throughout the 1960’s — social movement activity in the US (and much of the rest of the world, for lots of different reasons) grew.  It was a period of constant tumult and change of all sorts, and Phil’s style of music was probably more popular in the early Sixties than in the later part of the decade, with louder, more electric instruments being more dominant in the scene, and on the FM airwaves.  But regardless of various career ups and downs — and despite what was later demonstrated to be an organized campaign conducted by the FBI against a variety of musicians, including Phil — he continued to write, record, tour and perform throughout the United States and occasionally elsewhere, throughout the period.

      In the early 1970’s a lot of things were happening that were supposedly affecting the antiwar movement’s size and scope, such as the massacres of protesters at Kent and Jackson state universities, as well as the scaling back of the presence of ground troops in Vietnam, since so many of them were refusing to fight anyway, and fragging their officers instead.  (If you don’t happen to know what “fragging” means, please look it up, you’ll be glad you did.)

    • NYC Officials Denounced for Holding New Year’s Celebration Amid Omicron Surge

      Public health experts expressed shock Friday as New York City went ahead with its plans to hold a scaled-back—but still large—New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, with 15,000 people expected to pack the landmark to ring in 2022 as the city sets new records for Covid-19 cases.

      Outgoing Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the traditional New Year’s ball drop will go on, prompting epidemiologists to warn that the event will carry risks for attendees and the city’s already-strained healthcare facilities—as well as communities across the country, since many of the attendees are likely to be visiting from elsewhere.

    • Intrepid Trips, Indeed

      The next few years, as I dove deeper into the world of the counterculture I learned that that book’s author Tom Wolfe was a damn good observer, a pretty decent journalist if you liked this stuff they called the New Journalism, and anything but a hippie freak. I read that book every summer in high school, the style and the story imprinted in my brain. As the 1970s wore on, I watched as the world of the grey flannel suits fought against the world of blue jeans, long hair and marijuana. I knew which side I was on. It wasn’t the ones wearing suits (figuratively speaking). Unlike the political world of the time—which ultimately put “if there’s going to be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with” Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980—there were no clear cut victors in the cultural struggle. Capitalists in both realms figured out ways to sell the pieces of the counterculture that were salable. And the people bought it.

      As for me, I moved to the Bay Area, where the counterculture was still hanging on. I began meeting some of the people I had only read about. I played it cool, listening to their stories while hanging out drinking beer in People’s Park, crashing at the Hog Farm house, at concerts big and small, the White Panther squats and the parties I ended up at. The storytellers included acid manufacturers recently out of prison, Black Panthers tending bar, hippie women turned Christian, street hustlers who fought the cops in the Haight uprisings and then People’s Park, college professors, working musicians and burnt out rock musicians whose bands had left them behind. Every collection of freaks had their memories and every freak had their own version of what went down. Still, certain stories and storytellers were paramount. Like the book of Genesis or the creation stories of the Tlingit, those stories were origin stories. Those were the ones I wanted to hear, to collect and remember. This interest remained even as those who knew them left their earthly existence, taking their tales with.

    • A Prescription for Resistance to the Bully of Christmas: Make Art

      Given such evidence of where our public education has gone, before alluding to a story from the Christian bible which – for various reasons – may not be in every reader’s wheelhouse, I’ll briefly fill in the details, trusting I insult no one! Here goes:

      In Matthew’s version of the Christmas story, Herod the king feared the birth of a rival and so sent out his soldiers to murder all the male babies in Bethlehem. An angel warns Mary and Joseph, the new parents of baby Jesus, to flee in order to save the child. Importantly, the parents heeded the advice and got the hell out of town (the flight into Egypt). They did not, that is, declare the warning preposterous, did not protest but people don’t do that kind of thing to little children! At great personal expense, they exiled themselves, becoming refugees.

    • Macedonian Ramble: Hell’s Foundations at Galliopoli

      By my standards I splurged on my accommodation, the Hotel des Etrangers in Çanakkale, wanting to have a room that overlooked the Dardanelles so that from my window I could watch the passage of ocean-going ships on their stately procession to and from the Bosphorus and the Aegean.

      At Çanakkale the strait (which separates Europe from Asia) is only several kilometers wide, and in the course of a few hours by the seafront everything from container ships to destroyers passes before your eyes. Many ships are headed to Istanbul; the rest ply the Black Sea.

    • 2021 Latin America and the Caribbean in Review: The Pink Tide Rises Again

      Central has been the struggle of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) countries – particularly Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua – against the asphyxiating US blockade and other regime-change measures. Presidential candidate Biden pledged to review Trump’s policy of US sanctions against a third of humanity. The presumptive intention of the review was to ameliorate the human suffering caused by these unilateral coercive measures, considered illegal under international law. Following the review, Biden has instead tightened the screws, more effectively weaponizing the COVID crisis.

      Andean Nations

    • Opinion | Top 3 Pieces of Good News in 2021—Because Optimists Are the Problem Solvers

      News corporations think good news does not sell, which is why you see so little of it on television or on the front page of news websites. Executives at for-profit news believe their corporations benefit, just as do social media platforms, from provoking your fight or flight reflexes — making you angry or afraid — since the adrenaline rush keeps you reading and keeps you coming back for more. They think bad news is addictive. It is to the point that the editors and journalists seem to feel they have to cast President Biden in a bad light unfairly to keep their viewers.

    • Yes, There Were 10 Good Things About 2021

      It was, indeed, a disastrous year, but we do have some reasons to cheer:

      1. The U.S. survived its first major coup plot on January 6 and key right-wing groups are on the wane. With participants in the insurrection being charged and some facing significant jail time, new efforts to mobilize–including September’s “Justice for J6” rally–fizzled. As for Trump, let’s remember that in early 2021, he was impeached again, he lost his main mouthpiece, Twitter, and his attempt to build a rival social media service seems to have stalled. QAnon is in decline—its major hashtags have evaporated and Twitter shut down some 70,000 Q accounts. We may still see a resurgence (including another Trump attempt to take the White House), but so far the insurrection seems to have peaked and is being rolled back.

    • 2021 Year in Review: EFF Graphics

      All the graphics we create are original, and free to the public to use on a Creative Commons Attribution license. That means that if you are fighting to stop police misuse of surveillance technology in your community, promoting free expression online, or simply looking for a way to share your love for EFF and digital rights with the world, you are free to download our graphics and use them for your own purposes without permission. It’s our way of seeding the Commons!

      Below is a selection of graphics we produced this year. We hope you enjoy perusing them! To learn more about each project, go ahead and click the image. It will link you to a page where you can learn more.

    • Bright Green Lies Torpedoes Greens

      According to Bright Green Lies authors Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Max Wilbert: “We are writing this book because we want our environmental movement back.” As such, they charge ahead with daggers drawn, similar to Planet of the Humans (2019-20), nobody spared.

      As explained therein, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) brought on the environmental movement as well as establishment of the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. She did not call for “saving civilization,” which is the common rallying cry today (“Civilizations Last Chance” by Bill McKibben or Lester Brown, “The Race to Save Civilization”). Rachel Carson called for “saving nature.”

    • Looking Up From Don’t Look Up: Adam McKay and End Times
    • Who Will Guard the Guardians?

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Juvenalis, Satires) — who will guard over the guardians ? — when the mainstream media no longer performs the function of the watchdog, no longer alerts us to endemic — and punctual — governmental abuses but act more like echo-chambers of the interests of certain “elites” and transnational corporations…  who will blow the whistle on governmental and private-sector scams?  How can we defend our rights when our elected officials, those who have the obligation to uphold the law, are actually in the service of other, more powerful and lucrative interests?  What can we do when the executive, legislative and judiciary are progressively corrupted, when institutions like the ICC discontinue investigations into gross criminality by powerful states while prosecuting the little fish, when the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons tampers with the evidence of inspectors and suppresses crucial facts (Douma “report” on Syria), when the OAS is complicit in a coup d’état against an OAS member state (Bolivia), when other supposedly objective organizations systematically dis-inform the public, disseminate evidence-free news, suppress dissent?

      Only we can be the guardians — by reclaiming democracy and our right to effective participation in public affairs, as stipulated in article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We must condemn the politicization and “weaponization” of human rights, especially when human entitlements are instrumentalized to obliterate others.

    • Bells Tolling for Russian Memory

      Similar is the story of former prisoner Susanna Pechuro, who as a teenager with her boyfriend tried to safeguard revolutionary values from what they both considered the ideological deviation of Stalin’s government. After their arrest, the boyfriend was shot while Susanna was sentenced to decades in the gulag. When, after Stalin’s death, Khrushchev declared amnesty, Susanna became a history teacher and later one of the founders of the Memorial, institution fostered by Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika. Her dress with the white schoolgirl’s collar in which she was arrested and which she wore in prison was deposited at the Memorial.

      In the Memorial I also found books, which in the gulag represented the most treasured possession, although generally forbidden and therefore scarce. Books were the salvation because reading made one forget the wretchedness of the camp and provided the prisoners with thoughts to occupy their minds while they worked up to fourteen hours a day, not counting the long marches to the place of work. In the reading, the prisoners found surprising insights and unusual beauty, which helped them to retain their dignity as human beings. Many people who spent years or decades in the gulag deposited in the Memorial those objects that had helped them most to develop resilience.

    • Who Owns the Clouds? The Adventures of the Chinese and Me in Changing the Weather

      An article in the Guardian on December 3 was about climate change and it described the ways China is now trying to increase rainfall to cope with present and future water shortages. What really caught my eye was the scope of China’s undertaking, which is immense. It also caught my attention for personal reasons. The main method the Chinese are using is of course cloud seeding and that is something I have been involved in.

      The article featured a photo of Chinese soldiers firing a cannon aimed at the sky—which is certainly in keeping with numerous articles about what is now described as China’s aggressive behavior. If you only looked at the headline and the photo you might think that now the Chinese are attacking even the clouds. The Chinese were firing rockets filled with either silver iodide or liquid nitrogen into clouds. Either substance will cause the cloud’s moisture to form water droplets. As it happens I was involved in this same activity years ago, although I did not use a cannon.

    • Happy New Year, It’s Sure Been Weird

      Whether the pandemic that’s swept the world started from a bat or not, as 2021 ends, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all far battier than we were when it began.

    • Harry Reid Understood Power

      Former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid died Tuesday at 82. Effective, ruthless, and understated, Reid used his position as head of the Senate’s Democratic caucus from the end of the Bush years through the Obama presidency to advance Democratic legislation and protect programs like Social Security.

    • Brazil, Amazon, World: Sociopathy vs Democracy

      Although it’s a monstrous form of conscious social engineering aimed at concentrating wealth and power, neoliberalism tends to be presented as a kind of evenly spread biological law governed by a “market” that panders to individuals turned into consumers whose democratic choices are mainly limited to competitive buying and selling. Those who can’t enter the competition drop or are dropped by the wayside. When this sociopathic system appears, full-blown, in a person who commits or encourages these crimes, its malignity for all living things is unmasked.

      Take one of Bolsonaro’s more recent demonstrations of this. After weeks of heavy rain in Brazil’s north-eastern state of Bahia, the Igua dam on the Verruga River near the city of Vitoria da Conquista collapsed on 25 December, and a second dam, the main source of potable water in Jussiape, 100 kilometres to the north, burst on 26th. Twenty people have died as a result of the heavy rains and flooding, more than 430,000 people have been affected, 36,000 are homeless and thousands have been evacuated from at least 72 towns facing emergency situations, many of them without electricity. In the state capital, Salvador, the December rainfall has been six times higher than the average.

    • New Year’s Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path

      As long term readers of Techdirt know, each year since 2008 my final post of the year has been a kind of reflection on optimism. This tradition started after I had a few people ask how come it seemed that I was so optimistic when I seemed to spend all my time writing about scary threats to innovation, the internet, and civil liberties. And there is an odd contradiction in there, but it’s one that shows up among many innovation optimists. I’m reminded of Cory Doctorow’s eloquent response to those who called internet dreamers like John Perry Barlow “techno utopians.”

    • Science

      • Biden administration will continue ISS cooperation through 2030

        The ISS’s future was called into question in 2018, when a draft budget proposal from President Donald Trump’s administration had scheduled ending support for the space station in 2025. More recently, escalating tensions between the US and Russia have threatened the cooperation required to work together on the ISS. In November, Russia blew up a satellite, creating a dangerous debris cloud in Earth’s orbit.

    • Education

      • The Tutor

        For Josephus, Pilate was an unreasonable tyrant.

        During my thirty-five years at Cal., ninety-five percent of my students were suburban whites. Long before Andrew Hacker* and Charles Murray,** I learned that “a tangle of pathologies” was occurring in the suburbs, while Hollywood, Television, and Think Tank intellectuals and columnists were profiting by blaming social problems on Black personal behavior. I’m not surprised that life expectancy among whites is diminishing because of Opioid addiction. Heroin epidemics were occurring in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the late nineties; the epidemics were hidden in the back pages. They didn’t want to embarrass those who supported their advertisers. While the press divided races between powder cocaine and crack cocaine users, the typical crack addict was white. Jonathan Capehart says he just found that out. I wrote about white crack addiction ten years ago.* Even as the drug crisis among white Americans is spreading, the media represents the distribution of drugs and their consumption as Black.

      • Teacher faces probe for organizing mixed-gender forest walk for students

        The administration of a prestigious high school in İstanbul has launched an investigation into a teacher for organizing a walk in the woods with the participation of both male and female students, the Gerçek Gündem news website reported.

        Gülay Hacısalihoğlu, the principal of the Beyoğlu Anatolian High School, initiated the investigation into teacher Engin Ulus for organizing a mixed-gender walk in the Bentler Nature Park in İstanbul on Oct. 23, Gerçek Gündem said.

      • Conservative Muslims pressure liberals in Berlin schools: study

        Berlin schools in the multicultural Neukölln district face growing religious intolerance. Conservative Muslims pressure liberal students and teachers to adapt their behavior to stricter interpretations of Islam, according to a survey conducted by the Association for Democracy and Diversity in Schools established by the federal government.

        The research, supported by the Ministry for Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth at the request of the Neukölln district office, focused mainly on confrontational manifestations of religion and lasted three months.

    • Hardware

      • Threaded Wires Save Phone Numbers | Hackaday

        If you thought programming your 1990s VCR was rough, wait until you see this Russian telephone autodialer that [Mike] took apart over on the mikeselectricalstuff YouTube channel (video below the break). [Mike] got this 1980s Soviet-era machine a few years ago, and finally got around to breaking into it to learning what makes it tick. The autodialer plugs into the phone line, much like an old-school answering machine. It provides the user with 40 pre-set telephone numbers, arranged in two banks of 20, and a speaker to monitor the connection process. It uses pulse dialing — no touch tones. What’s surprising is how you program the numbers. Given that this was build in the 1980s Soviet Union, he wasn’t expecting a microcontroller. But he wasn’t expecting transformer core “rope” memory, either.


        Mike tries to decipher the schematics and pokes around enough to get the gist of how it works. This design is an interesting solution to the problem of building an autodialer in that era. If you want to learn more about core memory, here’s an article we wrote about deciphering an Apollo rope memory module, perhaps one of the most well-known examples of this technology. We also covered a couple of projects using rope memory techniques but on a small scale, here and here.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Ending a Global Pandemic Should Not Rely on “Individual Responsibility”
      • Why Leftists are Joining Hands With the Right in Opposing Vaccine Mandates

        Most telling, archconservatives hated the mandates. That’s always a good sign that you are on the side of the angels.

        But while many on the far right oppose the mandates for idiotic reasons (whacky conspiracy theories, quack science) and a few have gone so far as to plot the assassination of a German governor, more and more people on the far left are objecting to vaccine mandates out of ideological concerns, i.e., how far government power can be exercised.

      • On Manhood and Vaccines

        Beyond misinformation, the real reason for opposing the vaccinations is simple defiance to the wishes of people and institutions that anti-vaxxers don’t like.  It is intransigence based on an intuitive version of Napoleon’s Maxim XVI: “never do what the enemy wishes you to do for this reason alone, that he desires it.”2  In this petty, internalized form, it is also related to the resentful slave morality outlined by Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morals and the idea of not giving others the satisfaction of complying with their desires, even when they are right.  In psychology, the doubling-down on being wrong in this way is known as cognitive dissonance.3  Those who still do not realize that they are wrong are the victims of a mass propaganda-driven cult-like phenomenon. The fact that so many people would accept Internet rumors over medical science is shocking but not surprising.

        But the implied justification for resisting vaccination is moral staunchness and physical toughness, and when manifested in a man, it harkens back to older notions of manhood and manliness.  To those of us who accept vaccines as safe and effective products of modern science, the anti-vaccine mindset appears to be a widespread instance of noisy and occasionally violent yahooism, and a kind of physical and moral cowardice—the opposite of manliness.  It is the virtues of honorable manhood honored in the breach.  It is dumb braggadocio. Courage must have a higher purpose than just courting personal risk and the anti-vaxxers mistake recklessness for valor. And their external bluster appears to mask squeamishness about needles and well-tested medicine.

      • Ideological Struggle: Language in the Era of COVID-19

        The abundant use of military metaphors is clearly demonstrated by phrases such as “increasing our armamentarium of weapons to combat COVID-19,” or such as when Vice President Harris announced that “the virus hit our shores” and when President Biden announced plans to deploy 1,000 military medical professionals to “support overburdened hospitals” in US cities. A particularly vile instance was a recent NY Daily News headline which announced that “kids enter COVID-19 crosshairs”. These announcements, and the words chosen to make them, should prompt, among other things, increased recognition of the adverse impact the use of military metaphors, related terms and the frames they evoke, and of the strategic value of their avoidance or minimization. Both with respect to COVID-19 and more generally, the strategic value of utilizing metaphors and frames that better reflect progressive goals of equitable public health, community, solidarity and peace cannot be understated.

        Progressive struggle requires action through a range of domains, including the ideological. A key component of ideological struggle is the choice of words used to promote and support important positions–a strategy regressive extremist forces have recognized and effectively exploit. For example, Republican strategist Frank Luntz emphasized that Republicans should never speak of a “public health care option”, “oil drilling” or an “estate tax”, but should instead only refer to a “government mandate”, to “energy exploration” or to a “death tax”; while promoting reactionary, neoliberal positions, he has nonetheless correctly stressed the strategic importance of using word choices that make use of the conscious or subconscious emotional content of words.

      • Campaign Urges Biden Admin to Mail ‘Continuous’ Supply of Masks, Tests to All US Households

        A new campaign led by public health experts and grassroots activists—including the daughter of a Covid-19 victim—is calling on the Biden administration to deliver rapid tests and high-quality masks to every household in the United States as the nation faces a tsunami of new infections.

        “We are asking you to mail an ample and continuous supply of free rapid at-home tests and N95-quality masks to every household in America twice a month through May 2022, with additional supplies sent to first responders, healthcare workers, and public centers in our most impacted communities,” reads campaigners’ open letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator.

      • My APA Resignation

        I’ve been a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) for years, and a fellow for the past six or seven years. I sat on their Council of Representatives, which theoretically sets policy for the APA, for three years. I am just ending my term as president of the APA’s Society for Media and Technology, where I have met many wonderful colleagues. Yet, at the end of 2021, I decided to resign my membership in the APA. My concern is that the APA no longer functions as an organization dedicated to science and good clinical practice. As a professional guild, perhaps it never did, but I believe it is now advancing causes that are actively harmful and I can no longer be a part of it.

      • Inside psychogenic death, the phenomenon of “thinking” yourself to death

        Yet until recently the idea that our beliefs, or our fears, could kill us was not taken seriously in Western medicinal circles, due to the lack of a mechanical explanation for how something as ephemeral as the mind could extinguish something as tangible as the body. Now, thanks to the work of a British psychologist and researcher named John Leach, that may change, as he has mapped out at least one road to this unfortunate end.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • 2021 in review: ‘Right to Repair’ campaigners claim iPhone victory

          Manufacturers, including Apple, are still introducing new features that appear intended only to make repairs more difficult, says Kevin Purdy at iFixit, a company that sells spare parts and offers free how-to guides. Components that are glued together or require proprietary tools to remove are common and can often be overcome using third-party kits from such services, but a growing trend is for companies to add software-coded serial numbers to components, which alert the device to any unauthorised repairs.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • O Lenderking, the Lies You Bring: a Look at Biden’s Special Envoy for Yemen

        In the same speech, Biden announced, not without fanfare, the appointment of “career foreign policy officer” Tim Lenderking as special envoy to Yemen.  Lenderking is attempting to forge peace between Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition which is at war with the Houthis.

        On December 16, Lenderking appeared on public radio’s The World.  Lenderking told World host Carol Hills, presumably with a straight face, that one of the Biden Administration’s “first principles” for ending the war “is to get outside actors out of the conflict.”

      • British Colonialism and How India and Pakistan Lost Freedom

        Do nations and civilizations grow out of the moral mire of military conquests, killings of innocent people, political cruelty and subjugation by imperialism? For more than 800 years, India as a Moghul Empire was an economically well integrated and politically viable entity and west European had strong trade and political relationships. After intrigued conspiracies and planned division, British invaded India in 1857, committing cold blooded massacres of two millions people mostly Muslims opposing the military invasion described just as a “Mutiny” in the British chronicle. Bahadur Shah Zafar – the last Moghul emperor was deposed over night in Delhi, his youngest son head was chopped-off and put on a breakfast plate to strangle the Shah and make him surrender unconditionally. Shah was hurriedly taken to Rangoon (Burma) and imprisoned in a garage and later on died and buried only to write poems in loss of his freedom and beloved country. Did the British overtake India to be a free country for democracy or to support the Hindu domination of futuristic India? British robbed Moghul India and became it became Great Britain and imagined India as an absolute entity of the British Empire.

        Leaders like Gandhi and Nehru, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Khan though educated in British intellectual traditions but articulated new mission and visions for national freedom as a revulsion against the British colonial political traditions and continuity of British Raj in India. Was this violent and ruthless indoctrination part of the British heritage or history-making efforts to besiege India forever? Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy made sure that Indians will remain loyal and committed subservient to the futuristic blending of so called celebrated national freedom after the 1947 partition into India and Pakistan. British failed to deliver the truth of national freedom to both nations in a universal spirit of political responsibility. Both nations continued to engage in military warfare, ethnic conflicts and hegemonic control to dominate each other by undermining their own future.

      • Opinion | The Real Lesson of Jan. 6 Is That Trump-World’s Coup Effort Is Far From Over

        January 6 will be remembered as one of the most shameful days in American history. On that date in 2021, the United States Capitol was attacked by thousands of armed loyalists to Donald Trump, some intent on killing members of Congress. Roughly 140 officers were injured in the attack. Five people died that day.

      • Pentagon Projected to Hand $407 Billion to Private Military Contractors This Fiscal Year

        President Joe Biden signed a record-shattering military budget earlier this week, and a new analysis published Thursday predicted that if recent contracting trends continue, the Pentagon will funnel $407 billion worth of public funds to private weapons makers this fiscal year—more than the federal government spent when sending $1,400 relief checks to most Americans in 2021.

        Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, found that “from fiscal year (FY) 2002 to FY2021, 55% of all Pentagon spending went to private sector military contractors.”

      • Pentagon Fails Audit (Again!)

        Instead, the story, which broke on November 17, was largely ignored or buried. The nation’s two main newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, have simply ignored it. Other news organizations stenographically quoted Pentagon officials as admitting that they “failed again” but saw “progress,” and as promising that they would achieve a “clean” audit by… get this … 2027.

        The Pentagon, with some $3 trillion (give or take a trillion but who’s counting?) in assets and a record current 2021 budget of $738 billion, has for the third year in a row failed its audit. An army of 1400 auditors hired by us taxpayers for $230 million and borrowed from some of the biggest auditing firms in the country, spent the past year poring through the books and visiting hundreds of operations of the government’s largest and geographically vastest single agency, and came back with word that they couldn’t give it a pass.

      • Even as Crime Declines, Gun Violence Is Rising
      • JFK Revisited: Oliver Stone and the New JFK Fact Pattern

        Stone is the dogged veteran of a culture war that has been going on for thirty years since the release of his 1991 Oscar-winning feature film, JFK, a struggle to define American history that ripples through the culture with every new development in the ever-evolving JFK story. He is also a Vietnam veteran who did a dangerous tour of combat duty, as depicted his 1987 film Platoon. The man risked his life for his country, I thought, a sacrifice that few of his harshest critics have ever made.

        When I shared that thought with Stone in a telephone interview, he demurred. “Serving as a soldier doesn’t give me any better political insights than someone who did not,” he insisted, with the modesty that has recurred in our occasional conversations over the years. As film critic Ann Hornaday observed in a recent Washington Post piece that was actually fair to the Oscar-winning director. “To spend time with Oliver Stone is to enter a different kind of looking glass,” Hornaday wrote, “A man often caricatured as wild-eyed provocateur is thoughtful, easygoing and generous even at his most contrarian.”

      • One Year in, Biden’s Nuclear Policies Look a Lot Like Trump’s
      • UN Demands ‘Urgent Protection’ of Children in Conflict Zones in 2022

        As a year in which millions of youth were caught up in armed conflicts around the world came to a close Friday, the United Nations Children’s Fund warned that “grave violations against children” are on the rise and called on all offending parties to work for a more peaceful 2022.

        “Year after year, parties to conflict continue to demonstrate a dreadful disregard for the rights and wellbeing of children.”

      • How CIA Plots Undermined African De-Colonization

        The latest and most noxious of these colonial iterations is the U.S. military’s AFRICOM, although a French oligarch “controls 16 West African ports through bribery and influence peddling,” as Margaret Kimberley recounted in Black Agenda Report, December 1. “Canadian companies control gold mining in Burkina Faso, Mali and D.R.C.…British soldiers are still stationed in Kenya.” So the west never stopped strangling African nations. In this effort, the vile 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba was key. Needless to say, the CIA was involved up to its eyeballs.

        As Congo’s first freely elected leader after the Belgian rout, Lumumba made the honest mistake of trusting western democratic ideals.  Then, when he discovered they were phony, he tilted – very slightly – toward the Soviets. That sealed his fate. “President Eisenhower authorized the assassination of Lumumba,” writes Susan Williams in her newly published book, White Malice: the CIA and the Covert Recolonization of Africa. The consequences were ghastly. After Lumumba’s murder and dismemberment, for well over three decades, “the Congo was ruled with an iron fist by Mobutu – a dictator chosen by the U.S. government and installed by the CIA.”

      • Using and abusing Djibouti: How the US transformed a tiny African state into a hub of imperial aggression
      • Beijing’s Movie War Propaganda—and Washington’s

        To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party, the powerful Chinese Central Propaganda Department commissioned a blockbuster film that depicts a US defeat in the Korean War.

      • Daniel Pipes: The Challenge to Islam It Has Never Faced

        You may have noticed much less news about violent jihad in the United States. Two reasons explain this. First, counterterrorism has become far more effective, rendering a 9/11-style attack almost out of the question. Second, what I call the 6Ps – police, politicians, press, priests, professors and prosecutors – have made it harder to find out about jihad. When Islamist attacks take place, they tend to be portrayed as mere violent episodes without motive. Exceptions exist, such as Boston Marathon and Fort Hood attacks, but most of what appear to be jihadi attacks that are simply not reported, although these seem to take place every few months.

      • Sweden, Gang Violence and a New Prime Minister

        Sweden has the highest number of fatal shootings per million inhabitants in Europe according to the latest report by Brå on shooting, released in May. Sweden, furthermore, is the only country in Europe in which fatal shootings have increased since the year 2005.

        “The main underlying reason for the development with shootings and explosions is the situation that prevails in vulnerable [sic] areas, where residents feel threatened by criminals, where there is open drug trafficking and where criminals in some places have created parallel social structures”, Swedish police wrote in a recent press release.

      • French-Syrian man arrested in France over chemical weapons parts in Syria

        A French-Syrian man has been detained by French police on suspicion of supplying components for the manufacture of chemical weapons in Syria through his shipping company, sources briefed on the case told AFP Sunday.

      • 70,000 New Arabic Teachers Hired To Teach Quran In Punjab Schools

        Earlier this year, the SED issued official guidance requiring district education authorities to visit all schools in their respective areas, including public and private schools, as well as madrassahs, to ensure that the Holy Quran was being taught as its own subject. Following this directive, three school principals in Nankana Sahib were recommended for disciplinary action for improperly teaching the Holy Quran.

    • Environment

      • Roaming Charges: When the Old Anomaly Became the New Normal–2021, the Year in Climate

        + Through the first 10 months of 2020 there were no regions on the planet which experienced near record cold. When it came to heat, however…

        + This satellite image, taken back on 9 September 2020, shows some of the wildfires over Oregon, including the fire that drove us from our house. The view on the right utilizes SWIR bands to penetrate the smoke.

      • Seasonal insomniacs in Times of Climate Chaos

        Because of the human-wrought climate crisis, it rained on Christmas Eve.

        This is a fierce and fragile region, rugged and imperiled all at once. Deserts endure an existence one step closer to death’s scythe than other regions. Their inhabitants are wily survivors. The toads wear dragon’s spines. The cacti guard their precious water with miniature swords. The junipers twist upon themselves, the size of small children despite being centuries old.

      • Opinion | Seasonal Insomniacs in Times of Climate Chaos

        It snowed, finally. We’ve been waiting for months, restless and agitated. Have you ever seen your child settle more deeply into slumber after you tuck them under the blanket? That’s how it feels here. I live in the high-altitude desert of Northern New Mexico. Deserts often invoke images of Saharan sands, but this desert sprawls atop black, volcanic basalt. Perched at 7,000 feet, it snows here in the winter. Or, it used to.

      • ‘We Are in a Climate Emergency’: Late-December Wildfires Ravage Colorado

        Tens of thousands of Coloradans were forced to flee their homes Thursday as two fast-moving wildfires—whipped up by wind gusts reaching 110 mph—tore through communities just outside of Denver, engulfing entire neighborhoods in flames and destroying hundreds of buildings.

        Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has declared a state of emergency to help aid the disaster response as officials characterized the late-December fire event as among the worst in the state’s history.

      • Energy

        • Trump-Appointed Judge Sides With Cops Who Brutalized DAPL Protesters

          Five years after police brutalized activists opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has dismissed a lawsuit accusing North Dakota law enforcement officers of excessive use of force—a decision that critics have characterized as a tacit endorsement of the violent repression of climate justice advocates.

          Several peaceful protesters who gathered at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to struggle against the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure were assaulted by law enforcement officers on November 20, 2016. Police sprayed demonstrators with water cannons amid sub-freezing temperatures that night, and according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, they also used tear gas and fired rubber bullets and exploding munitions “indiscriminately into the crowd.”

        • Germany One Step Closer to Nuclear-Free Future as Three of Six Power Plants Go Offline

          Green groups on Friday celebrated as Germany prepared to shut down three of its six remaining nuclear power plants, part of that country’s ambitious goal of transitioning to mostly renewable energy by the end of the decade.

          “Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower are forms of energy that protect the environment and climate, are safe, and affordable. The future lies in their use.”

        • The US Still Doesn’t Know How and Where It Will Store Its Growing Nuclear Waste
        • Plans to capture CO2 from coal plants wasted federal dollars, watchdog says

          About $1.1 billion has flowed from the Department of Energy to carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects since 2009. Had they panned out, nine coal plants and industrial facilities would have been outfitted with devices that scrub most of the CO2 out of their emissions. Once captured, the CO2 can be sent via pipelines to underground storage in geologic formations.

          That’s not what happened. The DOE doled out $684 million to coal six coal plants, but only one of them actually got built and started operating before shuttering in 2020. Of the three separate industrial facilities that received $438 million, just two got off the ground. Without more accountability, “DOE may risk expending significant taxpayer funds on CCS demonstrations that have little likelihood of success,” the GAO says.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • 15 Things Biodiversity Protectors Are Watching Out for in 2022
        • Climate Crisis Fuels Late-December Wildfires Ravaging Colorado
        • Behold, the Deepest-Dwelling Squid Known to Science | Hakai Magazine

          When a team of subsea explorers completed the deepest ever dive to a shipwreck earlier this year, the news was broadcast around the world. A team from Caladan Oceanic found the USS Johnston, which sank during an intense naval battle in 1944, to be astoundingly well-preserved, its guns still pointing in the direction of the enemy. A few days before making their record-setting trip, however, the explorers had carried out another descent to the seafloor, a dive that ended up being a few kilometers off the mark.

          Though they failed to find the wreck that day, they did find something else.

          Once footage from the excursion came in, Alan Jamieson, a deep-sea researcher from the University of Western Australia, sat in his office aboard the expedition ship scrolling through frame after uneventful frame, searching for anything that might be of interest.

    • Finance

      • Opinion | ‘Historic Victory’: Garment Workers Organize to End Wage Theft

        Daisy Gonzalez’s mother emigrated to California from Guatemala in the ’80s and landed a job as a garment worker. “My mother was a trimmer and an ironer. I learned how difficult this work was for her body from her experience,” Gonzalez says. Beyond the difficult conditions, the pay was equally abysmal. She recounts her mother once working for a week, and the employer paying her just $30. Her mother’s struggles opened Gonzalez’s eyes to the trenchant problem of “wage theft,” a phenomenon she says is built into the very fabric of the garment industry and its global supply chain. 

      • How A Boy Called Christmas Converted Me to the Politics of Greed

        Worse, as my daughter had grown older, the content of the lie had become more obviously poisonous – and not only because a childhood spent venerating Father Christmas likely serves as one of the pillars of the continuing patriarchy.

        The degree to which to the Christmas story reinforces our understanding of how society should be organised – and at a time before we can think critically – was driven home to me by a new Netflix and Sky joint film production I watched with my family on Christmas Day.

      • Starbucks Workers in Chicago and Colorado File Union Petitions With NLRB

        Capping off what organizers and other labor rights advocates have dubbed “the year of the worker,” employees at two more Starbucks stores are seeking to unionize.

        Workers at a pair of Starbucks locations in Broomfield, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois filed union petitions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a Twitter account associated with organizing efforts at the coffee giant announced Thursday.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • A Shuffling of the Cards in Germany

        Pious or not, they were faced by the old truism, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd!” The SPD still calls itself “left” and tries somehow to appeal to workers, or at least union leaders. The Greens, once the party of rebelliousness, still stand for women`s rights, gay rights in all variations, opposing neo-Nazis and far-right xenophobia. But they have grown tamer and tamer. While still playing their basic environment-ecology card they often cozy up to monopolies who like to talk green but always think first of their bank accounts.  In southern Baden-Württemberg, the Greens’ one and only state governor gets along fine with Daimler-Benz, the giant which is centered there. In Hesse, as junior coalition partners of the Christian Democrats (CDU),  they have had no known run-ins with the bank interests centered there in Frankfurt/Main. All the same, the media still classifies those two as “left” – or at least “center-left”.

        But that third Free Democratic Party (FDP) is unabashedly right-wing pro-capitalist, at least in all economic matters. Despite the  fewest popular votes of the three its good-looking, well-spoken one-man boss, Christian Lindner, has a loud voice, and it is he who grabbed the powerful job of Finance Minister and has taken a no-compromise stand against raising taxes on the super-rich (using the same leak-down arguments as in the USA since Reagan). While SPD and Greens have ties with the monopolies, they occasionally move them to limited concessions, like raising minimum wages, some aid to children and a few more euros to the jobless. But Lindner and his FDP belong  outright to the biggies. Whether the pandemic wanes or worsens, working people, the jobless, the elderly, and several millions with precarious, temp, gig, part-time and unprotected jobs will have to exert strong pressure “from below”  to hinder further stagnation or worse.

      • Biden Congratulates Leftist Chilean President-Elect Gabriel Boric

        In a departure from previous administrations’ responses to left-wing victories in Latin America, President Joe Biden on Thursday congratulated Chilean President-elect Gabriel Boric, who beat his right-wing opponent earlier this week after running on a social-democratic platform.

        Biden called the 35-year-old president-elect, who will be sworn in as the country’s youngest leader in March, to say his victory has set a “powerful example to the region and the world,” according to a White House statement.

      • Democracy with United States Characteristics

        The USA should be described as a democracy with United States characteristics.

        The U.S. government often expresses the idea that its system is so desirable that leaders of other countries should model their country after it.

      • The True Problem With the GOP’s Patricia Morgan

        Some very good Black writers at websites like The Root and The Grio have already dissected the racism of this strange missive and I cannot commend those readings enough.

        Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there are two issues that are important to put emphasis upon as we move into the midterm elections, particularly because of the manifest ineptitude and flaccidity of the Democratic electoral strategy.

      • J. Edgar Hoover’s Legacy: Spying On Democracy

        The FBI has been conducting domestic surveillance operations since its inception in the 1920s, marking nearly a hundred years of violating the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Very few of these operations involved the investigation and gathering of evidence of a serious crime, the only justification for FBI surveillance.  J. Edgar Hoover, appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation in1924, amassed illegal powers of surveillance that enabled him to conduct extra-legal tracking of activists, collect compromising information, and even to threaten and intimidate sitting presidents.

        Hoover created the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) in the 1950s to counter the activities of the Communist Party in the United States, but it morphed into a program of covert and illegal activities to disrupt numerous political organizations, particularly the anti-Vietnam war and civil rights organizations of the 1960s and 1970s.  He exaggerated the threat of communism to ensure financial and public support for the FBI.  (The Pentagon similarly exaggerates the Russian and Chinese threats to elicit greater defense spending, such as the record-setting budget that President Biden signed on Monday.)  When Supreme Court decisions made it more difficult to prosecute individuals for their political opinions, Hoover formalized a covert “dirty tricks” program that included illegal wiretaps, forged documents, and burglaries.

      • Want an answer to Trumpism? Rewatch “It’s a Wonderful Life”

        When I first saw the movie in the late 1960s, I thought it pure hokum. America was coming apart over Vietnam and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and I remember thinking the movie could have been produced by some propaganda bureau of the government that had been told to create a white-washed (and white) version of the United States.

      • In ‘Victory for Democracy’ and ‘Blow to Trumpism,’ FDIC Chair Resigns

        What has been described as both “open lawlessness” and a “partisan brawl” came to an end Friday when Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Jelena McWilliams—an appointee of former President Donald Trump—revealed she is resigning, which will give Democrats control of the agency.

        In a letter to President Joe Biden published on the FDIC’s website, McWilliams said she intends to step down effective February 4, 2022. Politico pointed out that her resignation “means that FDIC board member Martin Gruenberg will become acting chair, his third stint atop at the 88-year-old agency, which insures trillions of dollars in deposits at the nation’s banks.”

      • Best of CounterSpin 2021
    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Palestinian COVID conspiracy theories do matter

        If one isolated lunatic wrote those words, there would be no reason to take him seriously. But the publication of that conspiracy theory in the official P.A. newspaper means that it reflects the views of the P.A. leadership. And it means that this is what the P.A. wants the Palestinian Arab public to believe.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Belgium refuses extradition of fugitive Spanish rapper

        Beltran was sentenced for lyrics in songs published online in 2012 and 2013 at a time when he was a little-known rapper in the Balearic Islands.

        These included: “Let them be as frightened as a police officer in the Basque Country” and “the king has a rendezvous at the village square, with a noose around his neck.”

      • Afghanistan: Taliban ‘sentences TV To Death,’ Destroys Scores Of Musical Instruments

        In the chilling video, the Taliban that has enforced strict sharia law for governance after the political takeover is seen forcing a man to take an oath that he would never watch TV again. This is purportedly due to the belief among the Islamist extremists that it is not permissible in sharia (Islamic law) to watch TV. The Taliban men are seen smashing a television set and destroying scores of musical instruments including harmonium as it is “haram” [forbidden] in Islam. Pakistani journalist Hamza Azhar Salam who first shared the footage appeared to normalise the behaviour as he stressed that “things can change in future.”

      • Prominent vaccine scientist banned from Twitter for spreading anti-vaxx content

        Dr Robert Malone has amassed over 500,000 followers but the scientist was removed from the platform after sharing a video about supposed harmful effects of the Pfizer vaccine.

        Twitter has not commented on the decison and it’s unclear whether the banning was automated or actioned by a human.

      • Who is Robert Malone? Twitter Suspends Account of Virologist Who Warns Covid-19 Vaccine is ‘NOT SAFE’ for Children

        However, it is unclear if the suspension was automatic or Twitter deliberately suspended his account due to violation as the platform did not make any comment regarding the same.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Democracy Now! at 25: Celebrating a Quarter-Century of Independent News on the Frontlines

        Democracy Now! first aired on nine community radio stations on February 19, 1996, on the eve of the New Hampshire presidential primary. In the 25 years since that initial broadcast, the program has greatly expanded, airing today on more than 1,500 television and radio stations around the globe and reaching millions of people online. We celebrate 25 years of The War and Peace Report with an hour-long retrospective, including highlights from the show’s early years, some of the most controversial interviews, and groundbreaking reports from East Timor, Standing Rock, Western Sahara and more.

      • Dr. Oz and wife thought they’d hung up — got caught raging against “f**king girl reporter”

        Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa were overheard by a journalist describing her as a “fucking girl reporter” after they failed to hang up successfully while trying to duck her phone calls.

        New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi traveled to Pennsylvania to profile Oz’s Republican Senate campaign but had difficulty tracking down the celebrity doctor or any signs of an actual campaign. After contact with the campaign “proved elusive,” she wrote, she showed up at Oz’s empty campaign office and asked a nearby business owner to connect her with Oz’s family. She was ultimately able to reach Lisa Oz, who hung up on her. When Nuzzi tried again, Lisa Oz presumably intended to hang up again, but connected her phone to her car’s sound system instead, allowing Nuzzi to hear her conversation with her husband.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Creativity in Nonviolent Resistance

        We humans have studied war for perhaps 11,000 years or more. We have colleges and massive industries devoted to that destructive ability of our species.

        What about the opposite, the creative ability, the constructive conflict?

      • In 2021, the Police Took a Page Out of the NSA’s Playbook: 2021 in Review

        While dragnet searches were once thought to be just the province of the NSA, they are now easier than ever for domestic law enforcement to conduct as well. This is because of the massive amounts of digital information we share—knowingly or not—with companies and third parties. This data, including information on where we’ve been, what we’ve searched for, and even our genetic makeup, is stored in vast databases of consumer-generated information, and law enforcement has ready access to it—frequently without any legal process. All of this consumer data allows police to, essentially, pluck a suspect out of thin air.

        EFF has been challenging unconstitutional dragnet searches for years, and we’re now seeing greater awareness and pushback from other organizations, judges, legislators, and even some companies. This post will summarize developments in 2021 on one type of dragnet suspicionless search—reverse location data searches. 

        Reverse location searches allow the police to identify every device in a given geographic area during a specific period of time in the past as well as to track people’s paths of travel. Geographic areas can include city blocks full of people unconnected to the crime, including those living in private residences and driving on busy streets. 

      • Opinion | Tutu’s Courage on Israeli Apartheid Is Played Down in American Media

        The Guardian has published an important eulogy to the late Desmond Tutu by Chris McGreal, saying what so many in the Palestinian solidarity community are saying: After fighting apartheid in South Africa, Tutu used his stature to call out apartheid in Israel and Palestine, and he paid a large price for doing so.

      • Remembering My Time With Bishop Tutu

        The following took place more than a quarter of a century ago before the widespread use of the Internet, and my memory may be a bit faulty regarding some details. Be that as it may, to the best of my recollection, after the worst excesses of apartheid had been defeated and Nelson Mandela had been elected South Africa’s President, Tutu flew to Hawaii circa 1995. In Downtown, Honolulu the Anglican Bishop made a speech at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, which was commissioned in the 19th century by a Hawaiian monarch before a white settler- and U.S.-backed coup overthrew the independent Polynesian kingdom.

        Prior to his talk, the anti-apartheid leader agreed to do an interview with me, I believe for the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and/or its overseas service, Radio Australia. The RA is the main source of news for and about the Pacific Islands, and I had been reporting as a stringer for this broadcast outlet since the assassination of the President of the Republic of Palau in 1985, where I’d lived at the time. My interview with the much-in-demand, extremely busy Bishop took place in a room that was part of the rather large cathedral complex, where there were a number of aides sitting with him (none interfered with the Q&A, although it’s possible one staffer may have informed us my allotted time was up).

      • Remembering the Real Desmond Tutu, 1931–2021

        “It’s realpolitik, this forgiveness thing,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu to me in 1996 with characteristically blunt eloquence, about the job he had to do as chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). “It’s not just something in the realm of religion or the spiritual. If justice is your last word, you’ve had it. You’ve got to go beyond it.”

      • The Russian Supreme Court Moves to Shut Down a Prominent Human Rights Group

        On December 10, my father Dmitry Muratov, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate, proclaimed when he received his award: “Memorial is not ‘an enemy of the people,’ Memorial is a friend of the people.” Russian-based human rights groups Memorial Human Rights Center and Memorial International have worked for decades to rehabilitate over a million victims of Stalinist repression. On December 28, 18 days after Muratov’s speech, the Russian Supreme Court ruled to shut down the organization.

      • As Many as 1 in 3 Afghan Refugee Women at U.S. Bases are Pregnant

        When thousands of Afghans first arrived at the military base in rural Wisconsin, local residents in Sparta, the “Bicycling Capital of America”, a small city of less than 10,000, began warning that the Afghans being housed at Fort McCoy were putting a significant strain on their infrastructure and their medical services. I was told that there were as many as 800 pregnant refugees at the base. The number seemed wildly implausible, but now the official number is out.

        According to military officials, there have been 500 pregnant Afghans at Fort McCoy and, according to a local news report, “the numbers keep growing”.

      • No Trips For Afghan Women Unless Escorted By Male Relative: Taliban

        Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities said Sunday that women seeking to travel anything other than short distances should not be offered transport unless they are accompanied by a close male relative.

        The guidance, issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, also called on all vehicle owners to offer rides only to those women wearing Islamic hijabs.

      • Sexual crimes against children rampant in Turkey – reports

        “This is the tip of the iceberg,” Aksay told BirGün. “These numbers are from one hospital, and cases that made it to the criminal unit.”

      • Wiesenthal Center puts BBC 3rd – after only Iran, Hamas – on antisemitism list

        “People might assume we would put neo-Nazi groups on our list,” Hier told the paper, “but the BBC is there because when a globally recognized organization allows antisemitism to creep into its reporting, it makes it all the more insidious and dangerous.”

        The full list is to be released on Tuesday.

      • Women Protesters Injured In Stampede After Taliban Militants Fire In The Air

        Participants told RFE/RL that up to 130 women attended the protest in Kabul, and shots fired in the air by Taliban militants trying to disperse the demonstration prompted fleeing protesters to fall and trample one another. Several women sustained injuries in the stampede, witnesses said.

        It was not immediately clear how many women were injured in the incident.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • A new coronavirus vaccine heading to India was developed by a small team in Texas. It expects nothing in return.

          Unlike the vaccines of big-name manufacturers such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the Texas Children’s Hospital vaccine, which is called Corbevax, is being shared patent-free. The Texas Children’s Hospital team is also working with manufacturers like Biological E. to ensure they have the know-how to make doses.

          The ambition is to create a low-cost, open-source alternative to expensive and limited-supply mRNA vaccines for developing and under-vaccinated countries. And it won’t stop at India: Hotez and Bottazzi are talking to other manufacturers around the world and have consulted with the World Health Organization to see how they can share the vaccine globally.

      • Copyrights

IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 31, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:14 am by Needs Sunlight

Also available via the Gemini protocol at:

Over HTTP:

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmS3xPqAgetT8s7Csf1d5zCRmNsAmJW7v8nJw9f6P8BEeU IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmR4VM5B7PSynNHTGEeGjpvf547eq8HZCp7nHZeUcaHx6f IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmYBwZ3QrLfD7fvP82saqdsHnVcEAnGFypSVVTmK42nJaS IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmQrfTYuSW2JTxXpPdeQ8YfSLN1pYimTgA68ENQF7q5v61 IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmRuffzhKassW2FfaH47P2py3SMMVnwhHGnLpyP8z1yc2r IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmTBp1BLfDiBNdXDvFiWWScxnPhUX7SiWdZGs1Xi2s1Lug IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmZxkSSANAbYCz1eHaXmY7WXL3THCBVSVGrt7Y6JvRteyW IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmSQLCgaf4W9LW5uj7tom9hvypEkbhUx1TiFqMxysbEbtw IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmVgY18p35Thp6aWh7cRUuoocqLYGYFW2QnLEJhuqn69Kw

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts