01.20.22

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 20/1/2022: McKinsey Openwashing and Stable Kernels

Posted in News Roundup at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • BSDNow 438: Toolchain Adventures

        FreeBSD Foundation reviews 2021 activities, DragonflyBSD 6.2.1 is here, Lumina Desktop 1.6.2 available, toolchain adventures, The OpenBSD BASED Challenge Day 7, Bastille Template: AdGuard Home, setting up ZSH on FreeBSD and more.

      • Interview in Destination Linux

        I was recently interviewed for episode 261 of Destination Linux, and it was a blast!

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.16.2
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.16.2 kernel.
        
        All users of the 5.16 kernel series must upgrade.
        
        The updated 5.16.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.16.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        
        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...
        
        thanks,
        
        greg k-h
        
      • Linux 5.15.16
      • Linux 5.10.93
      • Linux 5.4.173
      • Intel’s Unaccepted Memory Support Updated For Substantially Faster Booting Of TDX VMs – Phoronix

        Way back in August Intel posted a set of Linux kernel patches for supporting “unaccepted memory” by the Linux kernel in preparation for next-generation Xeon processors and speeding up the boot time for guest virtual machines making use of Intel’s Trust Domain Extensions (TDX) security feature. Unaccepted memory support hasn’t yet made it to the mainline kernel but now a second iteration of the patches have been posted.

        UEFI 2.9 introduces the concept of memory acceptance and unaccepted memory. This makes it so guests need to “accept” memory before it can be allocated/used within the guest’s environment while the actual acceptance handling is depending upon the VM hypervisor. This memory acceptance is important for Intel TDX and AMD SEV-SNP to avoid the expensive memory acceptance at boot time for new VMs and to instead make it on-demand / as-needed. It’s also possible to be a security benefit in its own right by keeping the memory unaccepted until it’s actually going to be used.

      • Linux 5.17 Making It Easier To Build A Kernel With All The Shiny Debug Features – Phoronix

        Over the years the Linux kernel has picked up many different sanitizers, memory leak detectors, and other features for helping to diagnose and address deficiencies in the kernel. However, all of these debugging-optimized features aren’t centrally located that can make it difficult for system administrators and developers to spot these numerous features when configuring a kernel build manually. Now with Linux 5.17 that is changing.

        What is being done for Linux 5.17 is introducing debug.config as a default kernel build configuration that is optimized for debugging. The debug.config will enable by default various features like the Kernel Address Sanitizer, Undefined Behavior Sanitizer, KMemLeak, and many other kernel features added over time meant to assist in debugging or tracking down of kernel problems. Thus with one command there is an officially recommended kernel configuration with the many different debugging features enabled.

      • AMD SMCA Updates Land In Linux 5.17 For Future CPUs – Phoronix

        Last week I noted about EDAC changes in Linux 5.17 for future AMD CPUs. The “Error Detection and Correction” work included AMD adding RDDR5 / LRDDR5 support to their driver and new CPU model IDs that appear to be for Zen 4. Also working on next-gen AMD processor support in Linux 5.17 are recent SMCA changes.

        Back in early December I wrote about AMD volleying new SMCA driver changes for a new generation of AMD processors. Those changes are interesting for their Scalable Machine Check Architecture as it introduces the notion of having possibly different bank type layouts depending upon the logical CPU core. Thus the preparations are being made — and now merged in Linux 5.17 — for where the machine check architecture bank types/layout are different depending upon the particular CPU. The patches don’t provide AMD’s reasoning for this change but it’s possible for hybrid core designs or other reasons.

      • Tracking Linux Stable kernels with UEK

        Oracle Linux’s kernel has been built from a Linux Stable or Long Term Stable (LTS) release since its inception, but in the last few years we’ve moved even closer to the LTS model for the continuous uptake and delivery of bug fixes. Closely tracking LTS brings various advantages to Oracle Linux customers including faster delivery of security patches and close integration with upstream Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install and Use Telnet on Linux Systems

        Remote access to other operating system environments on an active network is not just a thing of the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol. Telnet achieves the same functionality through TCP/IP protocol.

        With Telnet, you not only get to establish successful remote connections but also troubleshoot and test the system services that define the remote computing environment.

        For instance, we could check if a particular port is active/open/listening on the targeted remote system. It is worth noting that Telnet utilizes port 23 for its remote TCP connections.

      • Mount Google Drive Locally Using Rclone In Linux – OSTechNix

        This guide walks you through the steps to mount Google drive locally using Rclone and then backup files to google drive using Rclone in Linux operating systems. This guide has been officially tested on Manjaro Linux, but the steps are same for all Linux and Unix distributions.

        Before getting started, make sure you’ve installed Rclone on your Linux machine. The following link contains the Rclone installation steps for Linux and Unix operating systems.

      • How To Install Android Studio on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Android Studio on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Android Studio provides the fastest tools for building apps on every type of Android device and is currently the official Google Android IDE. Android Studio offers world-class code editing, performance tooling, debugging, a flexible build system, and an instant build/deployment of android applications thus helping accelerate the build process. It is available for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Chrome OS.

        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 Android Studio on a Fedora 35.

      • How to Upgrade MySQL on Ubuntu – ThisHosting.Rocks

        In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to upgrade/update MySQL to a newer version. This tutorial was written and tested for Ubuntu.

      • Grep Search in all Files and in all Directories

        The versatile grep command lets you perform search for a text in all the files and all the subdirectories of a directory. Here’s how to do that.

      • How to Install MySQL on CentOS (7, 8) – ThisHosting.Rocks

        In this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to install MySQL on CentOS. Step-by-step instructions on how to configure and install MySQL.

        Alternative recommended read: How to Install MySQL on Ubuntu.

      • Install the Cryostat Operator on Kubernetes from OperatorHub.io

        Cryostat is a container-native JVM application that provides a secure API for profiling and monitoring containers with JDK Flight Recorder (JFR). Among other features, Cryostat 2.0 introduced the Cryostat Operator, which is now available as part of the OperatorHub.io catalog. Using the Cryostat Operator is an easy way to install Cryostat in your existing Kubernetes environment. This article guides you through the installation procedure.

      • How to back your open source project’s stack | Opensource.com

        We’ve seen several cases in recent years where critical tools which are literally keeping the internet and the world of technology running are being maintained by a very small number of people, at times as a hobby rather than their full-time occupation. Sometimes this only comes to light when those people decide that enough is enough and either stop maintaining it or sell/transfer it to another organization to support.

        Tidelift recently reported that 46% of open source maintainers are not paid. Only 26% earn more than $1,000 from their maintenance work. The same survey also reported that around half felt demotivated, stressed, and undervalued because there was no recognition for the “thankless work” involved in maintaining these projects.

      • How to install Node Js on CentOS 8 Stream – NextGenTips

        In today’s guide, I am going to take you through the installation of node js on CentOS 8 Stream.

        Node.js is an open-source cross-platform, backend javascript runtime environment that runs on the V8 engine and executes javascript code outside of a web browser.

        A Node.js app runs in a single process, without creating a new thread for every request. It provides a set of asynchronous I/O primitives in its standard library that prevent javascript code from blocking and generally, libraries from node.js are written using non-blocking paradigms, making blocking behavior the exceptions rather than the norm.

      • How to install and Configure Kong API Gateway in Ubuntu 20.04

        In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to install and configure Kong API Gateway. Also, we are going to understand what Kong API gateway is, what is an API?, have a looked at Kong API gateway pricing, and lastly, how Kong API gateway works. So let’s dive in.

    • Games

      • A whole bunch of games just got Steam Deck Verified | GamingOnLinux

        Seems Valve has now properly started verifying games ahead of the Steam Deck launch, with a bunch of titles now verified ready to play so let’s take a look. The list can be seen on SteamDB.

      • Reverse Engineering The SEGA Mega Drive | Hackaday

        With the widespread adoption of emulators, almost anyone can start playing video games from bygone eras. Some systems are even capable of supporting homebrew games, with several having active communities that are still creating new games even decades later. This ease of programming for non-PC platforms wasn’t always so easy, though. If you wanted to develop games on a now-antique console when it was still relatively new, you had to jump through a lot of hoops. [Tore] shows us how it would have been done with his Sega Mega Drive development kit that he built from scratch.

      • Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is out on Steam and runs well on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Want to get into a new card game? Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel just released on Steam from Konami Digital Entertainment and the great news is that it works out of the box with Steam Play Proton Experimental on Linux.

        A good thing too of course, as the more new releases that work right away the better the chances of more people using Linux – and it’s always good news for the upcoming Steam Deck too. Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel has already proven to be massively popular, with it being #4 on Steam’s top games by player count (a peak count of 164,465 playing!). Konami claim this is the “definitive edition of the competitive card game that has been evolving for over 20 years”.

      • Get a fresh up close and personal look at the Steam Deck with Hellish Quart | GamingOnLinux

        Want a really close view on the Steam Deck in action? Hellish Quart developer Kubold recently had a Steam Deck devkit delivered so they took a video.

        Can’t say I had heard of Hellish Quart until seeing the video either. It’s a physics based, realistic, 3D sword duelling game set in the 17th century and you know what? It looks like a huge amount of fun actually! Not only that, it appears to now work just fine with Steam Play Proton. The developer mentioned they will be updating the game to have controller glyphs for the moves list, which it will need to get Verified properly and it’s something that should benefit all gamepad players.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE announces new distro for those who miss the old CentOS: Liberty Linux

          Official details remain scant, but SUSE Liberty Linux is a new member of the growing tribe of CentOS Linux replacements. The new distro is a SUSE rebuild of CentOS 8, aimed at near-perfect RHEL 8 compatibility.

          Since Red Hat killed off CentOS Linux and replaced it with CentOS Stream, there’s been renewed activity in the world of drop-in RHEL replacements. Now a new entrant has joined AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, as SUSE enters the fray with its own rebuild of Red Hat’s freely-available source code.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • 6 ways financial services leaders can enable innovation | The Enterprisers Project

          Innovation is key to any organization’s future success, but it’s especially true for financial services organizations. So why isn’t innovation happening faster? Is your firm at risk of being left behind?

          In the mid-2000s, I sat at a lunch-and-learn with an executive from a major social platform, who was asked about an up-and-coming competitor. The response was, in my opinion, short-sighted; it went something like this: “We aren’t concerned about them; it’s for college kids and people have profiles, photos, and big networks of friends on our site. They won’t want to start over somewhere else.”

          The executive was wrong about this – very, very wrong. The financial services industry is at a similar tipping point and technology-based innovation will lead the way.

          What advice would you give to business leaders in working with their technical leaders?
          What can you do about it? Ask yourself: Are your business leaders and technical leaders slowing you down? Is collaboration too hard? Is alignment out of sync? We often hear frustrations from Red Hat clients about just getting things done and hear statements such as “Why can’t IT just get me what I need?” or “The business team doesn’t listen.”

          We asked former financial services IT pros who now work for Red Hat for tips on how business leaders in financial services can work better with IT leaders – and get their needs met more quickly.

        • 8 fundamental Linux file-management commands for new users | Enable Sysadmin

          I’m a believer in the basics, and as a former technical instructor, I have a soft spot for folks who are new to Linux (and other platforms). I’ve written articles on the fundamentals, and I thought it was time to cover some basic file-manipulation commands.

          This article looks at day-to-day tasks such as copying, moving, renaming, creating, and deleting files and directories. Here are eight commands to make managing files easier.

        • Building better businesses: Announcing our Red Hat EMEA Digital Leaders 2021

          Life moves fast. Innovation moves faster. We’re all in a rush to keep up. Every now and then, it’s important to hit the pause button and reflect on achievements. Reflection isn’t just good for the soul. The accomplishments of others can be the gateway to our own progress. By taking inspiration and learnings from others, we can overcome organizational groupthink, draw on a more diverse pool of ideas and experiences, and shortcut our way to solutions and success.

          This is the thinking behind the Red Hat EMEA Digital Leaders Awards—a new program in association with Intel and IDC celebrating the best open source projects using Red Hat technology and services

          We received so many strong stories, from so many different countries and industries. When businesses apply open source solutions and working principles to their transformation projects, every KPI—profitability, cost savings, customer satisfaction, employee productivity and market share—is improved.

          It has been inspiring, and humbling, to see how Red Hat is helping to build better businesses, and a better world.

        • Integrate ISO 20022 payments messaging with CI/CD

          The financial industry is increasingly embracing International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 20022-based standards (MX messaging) to exchange messages for both payments and securities. Key benefits of MX messaging include its ability to capture richer data, flexibility, and machine-readable format. However, the older SWIFT MT message set is still deeply entrenched in the core systems and processes of the financial sector. This situation has created a growing demand for MT-MX conversion.

          In this article, I will show you one way to achieve MT to MX mapping on Red Hat OpenShift using the message transformation platform from Trace Financial, a Red Hat Independent Software Vendor (ISV), and Red Hat Fuse.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Outreachy Project “Mote” progress update

          I had heard Outreachy internship from one of my seniors who was sharing her experience in my college when I was in my second year. I decided to give it a shot with utmost dedication and learning after understanding how Outreachy can be a great learning experience – needed to excel in the IT industry. Outreachy helps people from under-represented groups and is a life-changing experience for a contributor. I feel happy now that I am working with amazing mentors who guide and motivate me at every step. This opportunity wouldn’t be possible without the support of my parents, friends, and mentors.
          I always have shared my knowledge and experience with beginners, and this is a chance for me to prove myself capable and then help other people contribute to Open Source. I am excited for the next 3 months of knowing community members and helping with the project.

          I am currently in week 5 of my Outreachy Internship and I must say it’s going great. Every day is a new learning experience for me with lots of new implementations, goals, and tasks. This keeps me motivated and afresh with the project.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) Reached End of Life, Upgrade to Ubuntu 21.10 Now

          Dubbed by Canonical as the “Hirsute Hippo,” Ubuntu 21.04 was released nine months ago, on April 22nd, 2021. It was the first Ubuntu release to use the next-generation Wayland display server by default for its Ubuntu Desktop flavor, which uses a modified version of the GNOME desktop environment.

          Ubuntu 21.04 didn’t make the plunge into the GNOME 40 desktop environment series due to its redesigned Activities Overview, but it did ship with support for GNOME 40 apps while being built on top of the older GNOME 3.38 desktop environment series.

        • Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo Reached End Of Life | Itsubuntu.com

          Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) as the release has now reached the end of life. Ubuntu 21.04 was released nine months ago, on April 22nd, 2021. If you’re still using Ubuntu 21.04, it is highly recommended that you upgrade to the latest Ubuntu operating system as Canonical will stop offering updates for Ubuntu 21.04 users.

        • Accessible by design: How we are designing for accessibility at Canonical

          In this blog post, I will talk about some of the most important considerations when it comes to building UIs that are accessible by design and how we are approaching this challenge at Canonical to continuously improve the accessibility of Vanilla, our open source design system and CSS framework.

          [...]

          Hold on! Don’t leave the page yet, I promise this will get interesting.

          The boring part (at least for me) and the shallowest way of looking at compliance is legislation. Over the years, there have been different mandates or laws to enforce digital and non-digital accessibility, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act in the USA (1990) and in the European Union the European Accessibility Act, which will likely cause a stir. Starting in June 2025, a wide range of sectors, products and services must be accessible or companies will face legal repercussions from the European Commission. The good news is that up to now, regardless of the legislative body, the standard for compliance is always the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Webmin – A Web Based System Administration Tool for Linux

        Webmin is an open-source web-based system configuration tool for Linux system administration. With the help of this tool, we can manage internal system configuration such as setting up user accounts, disk quotas, services configuration like Apache, DNS, PHP, MySQL, file sharing, and much more.

        Webmin application is based on Perl module and it uses TCP port 10000 with OpenSSL library for communicating via browser.

      • ProtonMail Now Protects You From Email Tracking

        ProtonMail is an open-source email service that offers best-in-class privacy and security features. All of its client applications are open-source as well. You can use it for free and opt for premium upgrades if needed. Whether using it for free or with a subscription, ProtonMail has been an impressive option for privacy and open-source enthusiasts.

        In fact, we use it for our team. And, it has been a good service so far!

        Now, to make things better, ProtonMail announced a new feature that blocks hidden pixels in emails that often track your activity.

      • Workspace Organizer ‘Rambox 2.0′ Launches with a Revamped UI and New Features – It’s FOSS News

        The open-source workspace organizer, Rambox, has just received a fresh new update.

        If you’re not familiar with Rambox, it is basically an all-in-one app that combines numerous web apps and messaging services into one single application. In fact, we’ve previously reviewed its open-source community edition.

        The latest update has introduced significant changes to Rambox. Let’s take a look at all the new features that come packed with Rambox 2.0

      • Genode OS Planning For WireGuard, Mobile Usability With The PinePhone – Phoronix

        I’ve been writing about Genode OS for over a decade as one of the interesting original, open-source operating system frameworks that has taken novel approaches to many design elements and continues persevering with their efforts. For 2022 the project has yet more ambitious goals ahead.

        Over the course of 2021, Genode accomplished making use of more Linux driver code where possible, hardware-accelerated graphics are in better shape, and getting more code natively working on the platform such as the open-source Chromium web browser. Besides the Intel graphics in working shape, Genode OS also tackled web camera support, LTE data support, and other features in 2021.

      • Events

        • Linux App Summit 2022 will be held in Italy

          The Linux App Summit (LAS) of 2022 will be held in Rovereto, a picturesque city at the foot of the Italian Alps.

          Whether you are a company, journalist, developer, or user interested in the ever-growing Linux app ecosystem, LAS will have something for you. Scheduled for April, LAS 2022 will be a hybrid event, combining on-site and remote sessions, including talks, panels and Q&As.

          The call for papers will open soon, and the registrations shortly after.

          Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with Linux App Summit news.

        • Omicron Storm Cancels In-person ‘Spacewalk’ Event – Online Version Rescheduled

          With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreading across the country (and globe) like a fast moving storm, the folks at All Things Open have had to rethink their plans for presenting their free Spacewalk event as both an in-person and online hybrid event, and will now be offering the event online only.

          This led to some logistical difficulties for the event’s planners, since the original plan had been to livestream the event as it happened from the the Carolina Theater in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Long story short: the event originally scheduled for yesterday will now take place on Tuesday, January 25 at noon Eastern Time. Attendance is absolutely free, but a Zoom registration is required.

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • 3 Best Free and Open Source Swift Static Site Generators


          LinuxLinks, like most modern websites, is dynamic in that content is stored in a database and converted into presentation-ready HTML when readers access the site.

          While we employ built-in server caching which creates static versions of the site, we don’t generate a full, static HTML website based on raw data and a set of templates. However, sometimes a full, static HTML website is desirable. Because HTML pages are all prebuilt, they load extremely quickly in web browsers.

      • Education

        • Security engineering course

          Although our course is designed for masters students and fourth-year undergrads in Edinburgh, we’re making the lectures available to everyone. I’ll link the rest of the videos in followups here, and eventually on the book’s web page.

      • Programming/Development

        • C your data structures with rellic-headergen

          Have you ever wondered how a compiler sees your data structures? Compiler Explorer may help you understand the relation between the source code and machine code, but it doesn’t provide as much support when it comes to the layout of your data. You might have heard about padding, alignment, and “plain old data types.” Perhaps you’ve even dabbled in emulating inheritance in C by embedding one structure in another. But could you guess the exact memory layout of all these types, without looking at the ABI reference for your platform or the source for your standard library?

        • Perl/Raku

          • DocKnot 7.01

            Continuing to flush out bugs in the recent changes to my static web site generator.

            I had missed some Unicode implications for how output from external programs was handled, and also missed Unicode decoding of the output from Pod::Thread, since Pod::Simple always encodes its output even if that output is to a scalar. I also missed an implication for how symlinks were handled in Path::Iterator::Rule, causing docknot spin to fail to copy files into the output tree that were symlinks in the input tree. Both of those bugs are fixed in this release.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body”? Hardly

      By its very nature, the Senate, with two Senators from each state, gives more representation to the voters of sparsely populated rural states, clearly a lopsided minority representation, and I say this as a lifelong resident of rural Wisconsin.

      This vision of the Senate was bitterly debated by the framers of the Constitution, as only five of the original thirteen states supported a Senate so structured. And this was a time when the population ratio between the largest state and the smallest was 13 to 1. That ratio now stands at 68 to 1 and it is growing wider year by year.

    • Why the Volcanic Eruption in Tonga was so Violent

      The volcano is usually not much to look at. It consists of two small uninhabited islands, Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga, poking about 100m above sea level 65km north of Tonga’s capital Nuku‘alofa. But hiding below the waves is a massive volcano, around 1800m high and 20km wide.

    • I Am a Man
    • Major US airlines warn 5G expansion could cause ‘chaos’ for US flights

      The airlines warned the new C-Band 5G service set to begin on Wednesday could render a significant number of widebody aircraft unusable, “could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas” and cause “chaos” for U.S. flights.

    • AT&T begins 5G C-band rollout in limited number of metro areas

      Just one day before Verizon and AT&T’s scheduled 5G rollout on January 19th, major airlines warned against activating 5G towers for fear of “catastrophic disruption” to flights operating across the country. Air India, Emirates, Japan Airlines, and ANA canceled some of their flights in advance over concerns that the 5G expansion could interfere with radar altimeters that aircraft use to make low-visibility landings. Ahead of the rollout, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reached an agreement with both carriers to create 50 buffer zones where AT&T and Verizon will shut off transmitters for six months near airports with high traffic volume and frequent low-visibility conditions.

    • Science

      • The squares are kinda Fibonacci-like

        I got a cute little surprise today. I was thinking: suppose someone gives you a large square integer and asks you to find the next larger square. You can’t really do any better than to extract the square root, add 1, and square the result. But if someone gives you two consecutive square numbers, you can find the next one with much less work. Say the two squares are !!b = n^2!! and !!a = n^2+2n+1!!, where !!n!! is unknown. Then you want to find !!n^2+4n+4!!, which is simply !!2a-b+2!!. No square rooting is required.

      • 3D printing’s next act: big metal objects

        A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

        Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

    • Education

      • Feature | Estonia’s English-language podcasts, all in the one place

        Some of these might have so far slipped below the radar for many potentially interested listeners, however. To help solve that issue, ERR News has drawn together a dozen of the current crop of podcasts of all types, all together in the same article for ease of reference.

        For a podcast to be listed it needed to meet three criteria: Be in English, be about Estonia and have had multiple episodes posted online within the last year or so.

    • Hardware

      • Samsung edges out Intel to take top spot in 2021 semiconductor sales

        South Korean giant Samsung Electronics became the globe’s top vendor of semiconductors in 2021, overtaking Intel for the first time since 2018 with a 31.6% rise in revenue to US$75.9 billion (A$105.2 billion), the technology analyst firm Gartner says.

      • When A Single Bit Was Enough, Into The Sound Of The ZX Spectrum | Hackaday

        It’s normal for a computer in 2022 to come with a fully-featured sound card containing a complete synthesizer as well as high-quality PCM sound recording and playback. It’s referred to as a sound card after the way the hardware first appeared in the world of PCs, but in fact it’s now considered so essential as to be a built-in part of most mainboards. There was a time when computers boasted considerably less impressive sound hardware, and among the chorus of SIDs and AY chips of the perhaps the least well-featured was the original Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Its one-bit sound, a single line on an I/O port, is the subject of a thorough investigation from [Forgotten Computer]. It’s a long video which we’ve placed below the break, but for those with an interest in 8-bit music it should make a for a fascinating watch.

        For Sir Clive Sinclair the 1-bit audio must have been welcome as it removed the need for an expensive sound chip and kept the Spectrum to its low price point, but on the face of it there was little more it could do than create simple beeps using Sinclair BASIC’s built-in BEEP command. The video gives us an in-depth look at how interleaving and PWM could be used to create much more complex sounds such as the illusion of multiple voices and even sampled sounds. In particular his technique of comparing the audio output with its corresponding pin on the Sinclair ULA shows the effect of the machine’s simple low-pass filter, though the music was often so close to the edge of what the interface could do that aliasing sounds are often very obvious.

      • Printing Your Own Exoskeleton | Hackaday

        While not quite in a cave, the idea of making your own exoskeleton with limited tools does have a Tony Stark esque vibe. [Andrew Piccinno] is a mechanical engineer pursuing the dream of 3D printing a full-body exoskeleton called 3X0. It’s a project he’s been ruminating on since college, but the work really began in earnest about five months ago. Unfortunately, there are too many pictures to include here, but check out his Instagram or makeprojects for more photos.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • WHO Chief Says Pandemic Is “Nowhere Near Over,” Warning About Vaccine Inequity
      • Vaccine Apartheid Means Pandemic ‘Nowhere Near Over’: WHO Chief

        The head of the World Health Organization on Tuesday implored countries not to let their guards down even as Omicron waves appear to have reached their peaks in parts of the globe, a trend that some nations have cited as a reason to lift public safety measures.

        During his weekly media briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced hope that “the worst of this latest wave is done with” but stressed that “no country is out of the woods yet” as infection rates remain at record levels around the world.

      • Fact-Checking, COVID-19 Misinformation, and the British Medical Journal

        The increasing volume of misinformation and urgent calls for better moderation have made processes like fact-checking—the practice that aims to assess the accuracy of reporting—integral to the way social media companies deal with the dissemination of content. But, a valid question persists: who should check facts? This is particularly pertinent when one considers how such checks can shape perceptions, encourage biases, and undermine longstanding, authoritative voices. Social media fact-checks currently come in different shapes and sizes; for instance, Facebook outsources the role to third party organizations to label misinformation, while Twitter’s internal practices determine which post will be flagged as misleading, disputed, or unverified.

        That Facebook relies on external fact-checkers is not in and of itself a problem – there is something appealing about Facebook relying on outside experts and not being the sole arbiter of truth. But Facebook vests a lot of authority in its fact-checkers and then mostly steps out of the way of any disputes that may arise around their decisions. This raises concerns about Facebook fulfilling its obligation to provide its users with adequate notice and appeals procedures when their content is moderated by its fact-checkers.

        According to Facebook, its fact-checkers may assign one of four labels to a post: “False,” “Partly False,” Altered,” or “Missing Context.”  The label is accompanied by a link to the fact-checker and a more detailed explanation of that decision. Each label triggers a different action from Facebook. Content rated either “False” or “Altered” is subject to a dramatic reduction in distribution and gets the strongest warning labels. Content rated “Partly False” also gets reduced distribution, but to a lesser degree than “False” or “Altered.” Content rated “Missing Context” is not typically subject to distribution reduction; rather Facebook surfaces more information from its fact-checking partners. But under its current temporary policy, Facebook will reduce distribution of posts about COVID-19 or vaccines marked as “Missing Context” by its fact-checkers.

      • Kidney Failure, Emergency Rooms and Medical Debt. The Unseen Costs of Food Poisoning.

        On a cloudy day in November 2019, family and friends gathered in Austin, Texas, to mourn the passing of Lovey Jean Carter.

        Carter, who had heart trouble and other ailments, had died at 67.

      • Why Pay Less? The US Strategy for Vaccinating the World
      • BoJo “Big Dog” Johnson, Distemper in the Time of Pandemic

        BoJo, during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) that day, also apologized for the leaked video, and said he was launching an investigation into whether lockdown rules had been broken by the Christmas party in question.

        Subsequent revelations about several other lockdown-breaching parties, at Downing Street and a number of government ministries, show BoJo’s declaration and apology to be entirely hypocritical.

      • Catching Up With Progressives, Biden to Provide N95s Nationwide

        Eighteen months after Sen. Bernie Sanders first introduced legislation to ensure everyone in the U.S. would receive face masks to protect against Covid-19, the White House on Wednesday followed public health guidance by announcing it will make N95s available for free nationwide.

        “It’s starting to work. Demand more. Demand better.”

      • Beyond Fauci: When Physicians are Victims

        One of the most famous cases concerns Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer. He was persecuted by the Catholic Church because his concept of the universe was in disagreement with the theological thinking of the times. He was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

        So far, Anthony Fauci has been luckier than that. Despite repeated attacks by the former U.S. President and his Republican allies, Fauci continues to have the full support of President Joe Biden and of the American scientific community.

      • Bank Blocks Donations Supporting Cuban Effort to Vaccinate World

        Progressive International recently asked for contributions so they can send a delegation to Havana next week to promote Cuba’s effort to vaccinate the world against Covid-19.

        But in an apparent genuflection to the illegal U.S. embargo against the island, Dutch multinational bank ING has blocked all donations supporting the trip, the group said Tuesday.

      • Rand Paul Abandons His Hippocratic Oath to Play Politics During a Pandemic

        Rand Paul is a doctor who became a politician. That should have made the senator from Kentucky a valuable voice during a pandemic. Instead, the ophthalmologist has abandoned any pretense of upholding the physician’s pledge to “lead my life, and practice my art, in uprightness and honor.” While Paul still claims to respect the Hippocratic oath, the Republican has failed at every turn to demonstrate his commitment to “hold myself aloof from wrong and from corruption.”

      • Learning From Decades of Public Health Failure

        One glaring revelation of the Covid-19 crisis is how ill-prepared the United States turned out to be for an unexpected national medical emergency. There are deep historical reasons for why our welfare state proved incapable of dealing with the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic—reasons that predate the Trump administration’s mismanagement. Decades of economic decision-making that prioritized a market-driven system ignored the kind of welfare distribution necessary to deal with the potential challenges of a large-scale crisis like Covid-19.1

      • Iowa Judge Upholds Ag-Gag Charge Brought Against Animal Rights Activist Hours Before Dismissing The Case

        This article was funded by paid subscribers of The Dissenter, a project of Shadowproof. Become a paid subscriber and help us expand our work.

      • Iowa Judge Upholds Ag-Gag Charge Brought Against Animal Rights Activist Hours Before Dismissing The Case

        An Iowa judge upheld one of the state’s “ag-gag” laws in a case brought against an animal rights activist, hours before dismissing all charges.

        In Iowa, a person may be criminalized for “food operation trespass” if they enter or remain on the property of a factory farm “without the consent of a person who has real or apparent authority to allow the person to enter or remain on the property.”

      • Navigating the swamps of medical uncertainty, a personal anecdote

        I can’t find reliable data on this (and the irony of this is not lost on me), but somewhere between many dozens of thousands and many hundreds of thousands of meniscus surgeries are performed in the US alone every year. Millions are performed across the world.

        Yet the evidence seems to point towards these surgeries being ineffective, mildly harmful in the short run for markers like mobility and pain, significantly in the long run due to accelerating osteoarthrosis. In spite of this, orthopedic surgeons seem unaware and there are no guidelines recommending the avoidance of surgeries.

        In my limited reading of what guidelines I could find, all without exceptions recommend a treatment protocol for meniscus injury without citing any evidence about outcomes, let alone thinking about the chance of misdiagnosis or cases where I’d be wiser to wait for better technology or pursue less traditional methods.

        I for one am glad I had the scientific literacy, money, patience, and time to navigate the swamp of uncertainty and reach what I think could be a better outcome than the surgery. Alas, I am still far from certain the path I took was correct, but this is a story of navigating, not of setting anchor.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • IRS Will Soon Require Selfies for Online Access

          If you created an online account to manage your tax records with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), those login credentials will cease to work later this year. The agency says that by the summer of 2022, the only way to log in to irs.gov will be through ID.me, an online identity verification service that requires applicants to submit copies of bills and identity documents, as well as a live video feed of their faces via a mobile device.

        • Telework Here to Stay, But Devices Need Beefed Up Security

          The country has already been gripped by high-profile cyberattacks, including on software company SolarWinds, oil transport company Colonial Pipeline, and meat producer JBS USA.

        • Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

          It’s Microsoft’s largest ever acquisition, far topping the company’s $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016.

        • Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for $US 70b

          Microsoft made big news when it bought Minecraft and when it bought Bethesda, but today’s news is a deal 10 times that. Microsoft has now announced its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for an eye-watering $US 70 billion. It makes Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company.

        • EXPLAINER: Microsoft’s Activision buy could shake up gaming

          Microsoft stunned the gaming industry when it announced this week it would buy game publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a deal that would immediately make it a larger video-game company than Nintendo.

          Microsoft, maker of the Xbox gaming system, said the deal would be good for gamers and advance its ambitions for the metaverse — a vision for creating immersive virtual worlds for both work and play.

          But what does the deal really mean for the millions of people who play video games, either on consoles or their phones? And will it actually happen at a time of increased government scrutiny over giant mergers in the U.S. and elsewhere?

        • The video-game industry has metaverse ambitions, too

          The second prong of Epic’s strategy, besides “Fortnite” itself, is to sell pickaxes in a gold rush. Here it is in competition with Unity, a firm founded in Denmark in 2004 and which went public last year. Both firms sell sophisticated software “engines” that were originally designed to power video-games. Now they are touting them as pieces of general-purpose simulation software that they hope will become a common language in which 3D worlds are built, in the same way HTML underpins websites.

          They are already partway there. Games engines are finding uses outside the gaming business. Architectural firms, for instance, use them to build virtual versions of buildings to dazzle clients before construction. Some use them to help manage the build itself. A collaboration between Epic and Cesium, a startup that maps cities and landscapes, allows virtual copies of real cities such as Melbourne or Detroit to be dropped into Unreal, the engine that powers “Fortnite”.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The ‘core’ of data science: McKinsey donates Kedro to Linux

                Scottish-sounding management consultancy McKinsey has donated Kedro to the Linux Foundation.

                Build back in 2019, McKinsey launched Kedro as an open source software tool on GitHub for data scientists and data engineers.

                In terms of form and function, this technology is a library of code that can be used to create data and Machine Learning pipelines.

              • McKinsey donates open-source tool Kedro to the Linux Foundation
              • McKinsey donates machine learning pipeline tool Kedro to the Linux Foundation [Ed: “Donates” is the wrong word. Openwashing services aren’t charitable.]

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit consortium that provides a vendor-neutral hub for open source projects. today announced that McKinsey’s QuantumBlack will donate Kedro, a machine learning pipeline tool, to the open source community. The Linux Foundation will maintain Kedro under Linux Foundation AI & Data (LF AI & Data), an umbrella organization founded in 2018 to bolster innovation in AI by supporting technical projects, developer communities, and companies.

                “We’re excited to welcome the Kedro project into LF AI & Data. It addresses the many challenges that exist in creating machine learning products today and it is a fantastic complement to our portfolio of hosted technical projects,” Ibrahim Haddad, executive director of LF AI & Data, said. “We look forward to working with the community to grow the project’s footprint and to create new collaboration opportunities with our members, hosted projects and the larger open-source community.”

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The UK Has A Voyeuristic New Propaganda Campaign Against Encryption

              Over the weekend, Rolling Stone reported on a new propaganda campaign the United Kingdom’s government is rolling out to try to turn public opinion against end-to-end encryption (E2EE). It’s the latest salvo in the UK’s decades-long war against encryption, which in the past has relied on censorious statements from the Home Office and legislation such as the Snooper’s Charter rather than ad campaigns. According to the report, the plans for the PR blitz (which is funded by UK taxpayers’ money) include “a striking stunt — placing an adult and child (both actors) in a glass box, with the adult looking ‘knowingly’ at the child as the glass fades to black.”

            • Athlete surveillance warnings cloud China’s Winter Olympics

              A growing number of Western nations and cybersecurity groups have issued digital surveillance warnings for next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, with some advising foreign athletes to leave personal phones and laptops at home.

            • Using Digital Data in Criminal Investigations: Where and How to Draw the Line?

              Even if such data can help solve crimes, should it be made available for that purpose? Though public safety is an important goal, how much of a modern citizen’s “digital footprint” should be available for criminal or other investigations? Should it matter whether citizens are aware their phone or car is monitoring them? What if they don’t have the freedom to opt out and stop the data collection, which would certainly be difficult if the technology was embedded in their bodies? When does access to that data begin to look less like police searching through someone’s belongings and more like forcing them to testify against themselves, something the Constitution provides specific protection against?

              The answers to these futuristic-sounding questions could have long-reaching effects—potentially creating disincentives for some capabilities to be built into new technologies or pushing criminals to use tools with built-in legal protection from police access. The answers won’t just affect the balance between individual rights and public safety. They will echo in the decisions people make about what technologies to use and influence inventive companies’ decisions about what new devices and features to create.

            • San Francisco Police Illegally Spying on Protesters

              Last summer, the San Francisco police illegally used surveillance cameras at the George Floyd protests.

              [...]

              Tech billionaire Chris Larsen is on the side of the police. He thinks that the surveillance is a good thing, and wrote an op-ed defending it.

              I wouldn’t be writing about this at all except that Chris is a board member of EPIC, and used his EPIC affiliation in the op-ed to bolster his own credentials. (Bizarrely, he linked to an EPIC page that directly contradicts his position.) In his op-ed, he mischaracterized the EFF’s actions and the facts of the lawsuit. It’s a mess.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Anti-War Veterans Group Issues Its Own ‘Nuclear Posture Review’

        “What we need now is a ‘nuclear posture’ that enables us to reduce the real risk of nuclear confrontation through accidental launch or miscalculated escalation, and to accelerate a global reduction and rapid elimination of nuclear weapons.”

        “The U.S. nuclear posture is too important to be left to the cold warriors at the Pentagon.”

      • Jayapal, Lee Resolution Promotes More Peaceful US Foreign Policy

        Peace campaigners on Wednesday cheered a resolution introduced by progressive U.S. congresswomen Pramila Jayapal and Barbara Lee calling for a new American foreign policy that centers nonviolent solutions and eschews militarism and bloated Pentagon spending.

        “It’s time to put diplomacy and peace over militarism and war.”

      • Oath Keepers Stored 30 Days of Supplies for January 6, Bracing for “Civil War”
      • Opinion | After a Year of Biden, Why Do We Still Have Trump’s Foreign Policy?

        President Biden and the Democrats were highly critical of President Trump’s foreign policy, so it was reasonable to expect that Biden would quickly remedy its worst impacts. As a senior member of the Obama administration, Biden surely needed no schooling on Obama’s diplomatic agreements with Cuba and Iran, both of which began to resolve long-standing foreign policy problems and provided models for the renewed emphasis on diplomacy that Biden was promising.

      • 14-Year-Old Indigenous Land Defender Killed in Colombia

        Outrage and demands for justice are growing after 14-year-old Breiner David Cucuñame was shot dead last Friday while on patrol with the Indigenous Guard, an unarmed collective that aims to protect their lands in Colombia, known globally for frequent murders of environmentalists.

        Fridays for Future MAPA—youth climate activists from the most affected people and areas—responded to the teenager’s death on Wednesday by tweeting the common phrase: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”

      • How Do We Confront White Christian Nationalism?

        “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      • Berlin-Kreuzberg: Social Democrats want to set up police station in left-wing scene district

        Against the opposition of their own party, the Berlin SPD interior senate wants to station police permanently at Berlin’s „Kotti“. However, the senate fears a „partly anti-police scene“. Therefore, the new building will be protected by permanent patrols and more video surveillance.

      • Opinion | Beware the Hawkish Pundits Pushing for War Over Ukraine

        With the United States and Russia in a standoff over NATO expansion and Russian troop deployments along the Ukrainian border, US corporate media outlets are demanding that Washington escalate the risk of a broader war while misleading their audiences about important aspects of the conflict.

      • ‘Allied Resolve’ begins Troops spotted near the border with Ukraine as Russian forces arrive in Belarus for joint military drills

        The “Allied Resolve” joint military exercises between Russia and Belarus are underway. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed on Wednesday, January 19, that Russian forces have begun to arrive in Belarus for the first phase of the maneuvers, which will last until February 9. The second phase will run from February 10–20. According to open-source reports, Russian troops and hardware have already been spotted within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Belarusian border with Ukraine. Taking place against the backdrop of a flurry of diplomatic talks, the military exercises have further stoked international fears that Moscow is planning to launch an attack on Ukraine. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov insisted on Wednesday that the drills are not cause for concern.

      • Hong Kong democracy activist Edward Leung is released from prison

        Hong Kong activist Edward Leung, 30, who first used one of the most popular protest chants of the 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations, was released from prison on Wednesday.

        Leung first used “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our times” as a campaign slogan for a 2016 legislative election he was later banned from running in, due to his past advocacy for independence from China.

      • Chinese ambassador to France: Beijing has ‘not ruled out use of force’ against Taiwan

        FRANCE 24 spoke to Lu Shaye, the Chinese ambassador to France. He insisted Beijing was prioritising “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, but said the Chinese authorities had “not ruled out the use of force” – not with the intention of targeting “the people of Taiwan”, but rather to dissuade “separatists in Taiwan” and certain “foreign forces”. The Chinese diplomat also said he was “sure” there would be no mass surge in Covid-19 cases during the Winter Olympics, which open in Beijing on February 4.

      • Newly Declassified Video Shows Botched U.S. Drone Strike That Killed 10 Afghan Civilians

        The strike was carried out as the military sought to take out ISIS-K, the extremist group that claimed responsibility for an Aug. 26 attack that killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans outside the Kabul airport. President Biden vowed to take action against those responsible. “We will not forgive. We will not forget,” the president said. “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

      • Newly Declassified Video Shows U.S. Killing of 10 Civilians in Drone Strike

        Newly declassified surveillance footage provides additional insights about the final minutes and aftermath of a botched U.S. drone strike last year in Kabul, Afghanistan, showing how the military made a life-or-death decision based on imagery that was fuzzy, hard to interpret in real time and prone to confirmation bias.

        The strike on Aug. 29 killed 10 innocent people — including seven children — in a tragic blunder that punctuated the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

        The disclosure of the videos was a rare step by the U.S. military in any case of an airstrike that caused civilian casualties, and is the first time any footage from the Kabul strike has been seen publicly. The videos encompass about 25 minutes of silent footage from two drones — a military official said both were MQ-9 Reapers — showing the minutes before, during and after the strike.

      • Piracy drops to 18 year low

        “Vigorous action” by authorities is cited as one reason for last year seeing the lowest recorded level of piracy and armed robbery at sea in 18 years.

        Notwithstanding, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) urges seafarers to continue exercising caution and vigilance to ensure long term protection.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Telling Lies on an International Scale

        The mainstream media have been replete with stories of a new Tory “red meat” initiative of right wing policies. “Government sources” briefed the media that Liz Truss and Priti Patel were in talks with their counterparts in Ghana and Rwanda about setting up internment camps to receive asylum seekers deported from the UK.

    • Environment

      • Why Words Matter in the Fight Against Climate Change

        By Tara Lohan, The Revelator. This story originally appeared in The Revelator and is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

        Do we generate energy from windmills or wind turbines? Your answer could say a lot about your views on climate change, explains Genevieve Guenther.

      • 360+ Climate Groups to Biden: Phase Out Fossil Fuels on Public Lands

        More than 360 climate and rights groups filed a legal petition Thursday that calls on the Biden administration to utilize its executive authority to phase out federal oil and gas production on public lands and oceans.

        The groups say the petition offers a lifeline to the planet amid the climate crisis and a direct pathway to reverse President Joe Biden’s “catastrophic failure of climate leadership.”

      • 450+ Climate Scientists Demand PR Industry Drop Fossil Fuel Clients

        In a new letter stressing the need for an “immediate and rapid transition” away from planet-heating fuels, a group of over 450 scientists on Wednesday called on public relations and advertising agencies to no longer work with fossil fuel clients.

        “Greenwashing is a primary tactic in what I call the ‘New War’ on climate action and it must be called out for what it is—denial under another name.”

      • Energy

        • Why I Divested My Bank Account and You Should Too

          Why did I break up with BoA? It wasn’t the customer service or any inconvenience. If anything, I found that BoA went out of its way to offer consistent customer service, and to be maximally convenient. But as a young person demanding climate action, I couldn’t accept doing business any longer with what I learned is one of the world’s greatest financiers of fossil fuels and, by extension, climate and community destruction.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Population

        • Tracking Humans as a Migratory Species

          Throughout evolution, humans have been a migratory species plodding the earth. Human migration is rarely recreational; it is mainly necessity-driven. As such, human migration is no different from animal migration. Billions of animals engage in annual migration. Animals in search of food, better climate, mates, or in search of safety from predation, disease, and competition move away from their original habitats. Humans migrate for economic, physical, and religious survival for the most part. Modern migration acquires a more complicated motivation, including pursuing a higher standard of living, professional satisfaction, even existential adventure.

          Human migration is a permanent change of residence. It is not the same as nomadism or tourism, which humans also do as expressions of migratory genes. This study does not discuss migrant workers who migrate across borders for remunerated work.

    • Finance

      • The Peoples’ Money: Transitioning to a Steady State Economy

        A significant cause of the unjust inequalities of wealth found in our society is a simple mechanism which keeps it all going: the state-chartered monopoly power held by private banks to create money as debt, and to profit from it through the interest charged on their loans. Their ability to set interest rates (coordinated through central banks like the Fed) is a form of monopoly pricing; in this case, the pricing of money. The banking system–through its power to charge interest–is able to control the credit markets to its own benefit.

        Since the banking system has the power not just to set but to vary the interest rate, it has the power to adjust the value of money to maximize the return it gets from borrowers. HIgher rates make money scarcer and more valuable; lower rates make it more common and less valuable. Dollars which can be loaned out at a real 6% per year, for instance, are twice as valuable as dollars which can be loaned out at only a real 3% per year.

      • Serving More Than Food: Restaurant Co-Ops Put Economic Justice on the Table
      • Polling Finds 67 Percent of Voters Support Banning Congress From Stock Trading
      • Top 10 US Billionaires Got $1 Billion Richer Every Day of Pandemic

        The 10 wealthiest billionaires in the U.S. have added roughly $1 billion to their collective fortune every day—or around $12,600 per second—since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed millions of people across the globe and thrown countless lives into chaos.

        “The pandemic has been very good to American billionaires, especially the top 10.”

      • Welcome to Colorado: the Land of Oil Giants and Lilliputian Regulators

        Remember the old quip – Eternity is two people and a ham?  People in Colorado learned a new definition the eternity late last November:  Eternity is the dull, incessant drone of Governor Polis’s new million-dollar Commission taking public comment at a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, COGCC, rulemaking.  With the intensity one might expect of a two-year-old learning to ride a tricycle, the Commission dissected the meaning of the term ‘economic risk’ as it applies to the state’s oil industry.

        Who knew the term has such fluidity of meaning?  In the end, after days of back and forth, these highly paid, breathlessly bumbling amateur lexicographers turned the term into something as useless as campaign promises.

      • 100+ Ultra-Rich People Warn Fellow Elites: ‘It’s Taxes or Pitchforks’

        A group of more than 100 millionaires and billionaires on Wednesday presented fellow members of the global economic elite with a stark choice: “It’s taxes or pitchforks.”

        In an open letter published amid the corporate-dominated virtual Davos summit, 102 rich individuals—including such prominent figures as Disney heiress Abigail Disney and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer—warned that “history paints a pretty bleak picture of what the endgame of extremely unequal societies looks like.”

      • America’s New Class War

        Organized workers, often defying their timid union leadership, are on the march across the United States. Over four million workers, about 3% of the work force, mostly from accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, transportation, housing, and utilities have walked away from jobs, rejecting poor pay along with punishing and risky working conditions. There is a growing consensus – 68 % in a recent Gallup poll with that number climbing to 77 % of those between the ages of 18 and 34 – that the only way left to alter the balance of power and force concessions from the ruling capitalist class is to mobilize and strike, although only 9 % of the U.S. work force is unionized. Forget the woke Democrats. This is a class war.

        The question, Karl Popper reminded us, is not how we get good people to rule. Most of those attracted to power, figures such as Joe Biden, are at best mediocre and many, such as Dick Cheney, Donald Trump, or Mike Pompeo, are venal. The question is, rather, how do we organize institutions to prevent incompetent or bad leaders from inflicting too much damage. How do we pit power against power?

      • Rentier Capitalism and Class Warfare in Kazakhstan

        The recent protests in oil-rich Kazakhstan have highlighted the devastating effects of rent extraction. The country’s largest sellers of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), including KazMunaiGas, Kazgermunai, CNPC-AktobeMunaiGas and Kazakhoil, have been accused by the government of increasing fuel prices by abusing their oligopoly power. When the state lifted its price cap on LPG at the start of 2022, the market price doubled within a couple of days. The impact was immediately felt by poor and vulnerable sections of Kazakhstani society, which relied on the commodity for heating and vehicles.

      • Is Europe’s Inflation Joe Biden’s Fault?

        We got some interesting news on inflation elsewhere today in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) release of data on import prices. It turns out that the price of imports has been rising even faster than domestic prices, with inflation of 10.4 percent over the last year.

        A big part of this increase is higher energy prices, but the data do allow for an important comparison. BLS has a category for imports of manufactured goods from industrialized countries. This would be a wide range of items like cars, car parts, electronics, and other things we would import from Europe, Japan, Canada, and other wealthy countries. In other words, this is a cross-section of goods from countries we think of as similar to the United States.

      • Critics Warn Puerto Rico Debt Plan Will Lead to More Austerity

        Progressives and anti-austerity campaigners on Wednesday were wary of a federal judge’s ruling which wiped out 80% of Puerto Rico’s debt—the product of four years of negotiations between the U.S. territory’s government, creditors, and a fiscal control board that Puerto Ricans derisively call “la junta.”

        “Some believe the debt should’ve been cut down further… Others say the debt shouldn’t be paid by the Puerto Rican people without auditing it and holding those responsible accountable.”

      • Judge Approves Puerto Rico Debt Restructuring, But Unelected “Junta” Could Remain for Years Longer

        In a major development, a federal judge on Tuesday approved a plan to restructure Puerto Rico’s massive debt. The proposal was presented by the territory’s U.S.-imposed Fiscal Control Board, and it reduces the biggest portion of the island’s debt, about $33 billion, by some 80%. Last year, union leaders pressured the board to remove cuts to pension plans from the current version of the debt restructuring deal. Opponents of the agreement say it will only worsen Puerto Rico’s economic struggles. “In terms of whether it really resolves the financial crisis of Puerto Rico going forward, that remains to be seen,” says Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, a close observer of Puerto Rican history and politics, who warns the unelected fiscal board could remain in charge of the island’s finances for years to come. “There’s some positives in this, but there’s a lot of uncertainty still to go.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Parents Sue Virginia Governor Over Executive Order Banning Local Mask Mandates
      • South Dakota Voters Sue Over Right-Wing Attack on Ballot Measures

        In an effort to protect South Dakota’s ballot measure process from a Republican-led assault, state residents on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against a proposed amendment they argue is a “classic example of logrolling” that violates the state constitution and imperils direct democracy.

        At issue is Amendment C, a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would require a three-fifths supermajority to approve ballot measures—whether introduced through citizen initiative or by state lawmakers—that increase taxes or appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years of implementation.

      • Biden’s Wing of the Democratic Party Is Sinking His Presidency
      • Opinion | Voting Rights Fight Must Be Won to Conquer GOP ‘Big Lie’

        The moment of truth on voting rights has arrived.

      • Trump Revealed His New Electoral Strategy in Arizona, and It Is Horrifying
      • January 6 Committee Subpoenas Giuliani, Obtains Eric Trump’s Phone Records
      • Eric Trump Invoked 5th Amendment 500 Times During 6-Hour Deposition

        Former President Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 500 times over the course of a six-hour deposition to avoid answering questions as part of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ ongoing civil probe of the Trump Organization.

        “No one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them.”

      • Supreme Court Denies Trump Bid to Conceal Records From Jan. 6 Panel

        The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday denied former President Donald Trump’s attempt to block the release of White House records to a House of Representatives panel investigating last year’s deadly Capitol attack.

        The high court’s 8-1 decision—Justice Clarence Thomas dissented—clears the way for the National Archives to share over 700 documents with the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

      • Opinion | The Filibuster Is a Tool for Obstruction—Not Debate

        The website of the US Senate notes that the Senate has been a forum for free debate and the protection of political minorities. Here, the words has been is a key point.

      • Senate Dems Push to Bring Back “Talking Filibuster” in Pursuit of Voting Rights
      • Biden-Cheney or Trump-Greenwald?

        The above quote is lifted from a Thomas Friedman column in The New York Times which called for Joe Biden and Liz Cheney to unify together on a single Presidential ticket. The column also took a giant unrelated shit on Palestinians struggling for their basic right to exist.

        I don’t mind the idea of Biden and Cheney joining up. What’s the difference between them anyway? The question is on which side of the aisle? Friedman and the rest of the corporate press claims to hate fascism but they are ready to concede one of the political parties to it. If they are serious about defeating Trumpism they would be advocating for the Republicans to absorb Biden, not for the Democrats to absorb non-Trumpian Republicans, which leaves fascists with full control of one corporate party and completely alienates the voters in the other corporate party who never signed up for Biden, let alone Cheney.

      • Ted Cruz’s Pro-Corruption Case Gets Supreme Court Review

        The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case brought by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas that’s been described as “the latest attempt to dismantle federal campaign finance rules.”

        At issue in the case—Federal Election Commission (FEC) v. Ted Cruz for Senate—is the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold Act, and a $260,000 loan Cruz made to his Senate reelection campaign just ahead of the 2018 election.

      • The Myth of Bi-Partisan Necessity
      • Bipartisan Biden Builds Back Bupkis: Reflections on Biden’s Inauguration Anniversary

        Bipartisan Biden’s political strategy has been as reality-challenged as Trump’s 30,000 lies in office. It is not surprising that as Biden approached the January 20th anniversary of his inauguration a Quinnipiac Poll showed that Biden’s job approval is 33% and a 58% to 37% majority of Americans believe our democracy is in danger of collapsing.

        Progressive Democrats have been reality-challenged as well. Joe Biden, a lifelong neoliberal hawk, was always part of the corporate wing of the Democratic Party that has more votes in Congress than the progressive wing. But that did not stop Bernie Sanders from saying during the campaign that Biden would be the “most progressive president since FDR,” although the smart money on Wall Street didn’t buy that fantasy. Sanders co-opted progressive Democrats on to Sanders-Biden Unity Working Groups to develop Biden’s platform during the campaign, where Sanders’ progressive agenda began to be watered down.

      • Communist Party submits draft resolution to State Duma on raising issue of Russia recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’

        Russian lawmakers from the Communist Party (KPRF) have submitted to the State Duma for consideration a draft resolution that proposes sending a formal appeal to President Vladimir Putin “on the need to recognize the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.”

      • First lady of Kuzbass Anna Tsivilyova is not only married to a regional governor. She’s also related to Putin and owns a major stake in one of Russia’s biggest coal companies.

        Anna Tsivilyova, the wife of the governor of Russia’s Kemerovo region, happens to be the daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cousin, according to a new report from the investigative outlet Agentstvo. What’s more, according to the journalists’ findings, she and her husband acquired a major stake in one of Russia’s biggest coal companies thanks to the generosity of one of Putin’s oldest friends — billionaire Gennady Timchenko. Though the coal company, Kolmar, had financial troubles in the past, it has since been propped up by the Russian government. 

      • Ready for Another Game of Russian Roulette?

        In June of 1961, just three months after the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was defeated,  the United States began the deployment of fifteen Jupiter nuclear missiles to Turkey, which shared a border with the Soviet Union. Each missile, armed with a W49 1.4 megaton thermonuclear warhead, was equivalent to 175 Hiroshima bombs. With their fifteen-hundred-mile range, the missiles were capable of annihilating Moscow, Leningrad, and every major city and base in the Russian heartland. Each missile could incinerate Moscow in just sixteen minutes from launch, thus wildly raising the possibility of thermonuclear war caused by technological accident, human error, miscommunication, or preemptive attack.

        We didn’t hear about the Jupiter missiles and of course we didn’t hear anything about Operation Mongoose, the top-secret plan launched on November 1, 1961, to overthrow the government of Cuba through a systematic campaign of sabotage, coastal raids, assassinations, subversion leading to CIA-sponsored guerrilla warfare, and an eventual invasion by the U.S. military. The armed raids and sabotage succeeded in killing many Cubans and damaging the economy, which was hit much harder by the economic embargo announced in February. However, the assassination plots were foiled, and all attempts to develop an internal opposition failed. Many of the CIA agents and Cuban exiles who infiltrated the island by sea and air were captured, and quite a few of them talked, even on Cuban radio, about the plans for a new U.S. invasion, which was planned for October. Cuba requested military help from the Soviet Union, which by July was sending troops, air defense missiles, battlefield nuclear weapons, and medium-range ballistic missiles equivalent to the U.S. Jupiter missiles in Turkey.

      • RNC Renounces Broken Debate System It Helped Create

        The New York Times (1/13/21) broke the news that the Republican National Committee intends to require future GOP candidates for president to “sign a pledge not to not participate in any debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.”

      • Regards interactive computer services and social media censorship

        (A) “Censor” means any action taken to edit, alter, block, ban, delete, remove, deplatform, demonetize, de-boost, regulate, restrict, inhibit the publication or reproduction of, deny equal access or visibility to, suspend a right to post, or otherwise discriminate against expression. “Censor” includes the action of deplatforming a person. It also includes an action taken to inhibit or restrict an interactive computer service or a social media platform user’s ability to be viewed by or interact with another user of the platform.

      • Google, Apple list harmful consequences of anti-tech bills

        While the American Choice and Innovation Online Act would prevent platforms like Amazon, Apple, and Google from using their dominance to hamper other companies and competitors that use their platforms, the Open App Markets Act aims to promote competition on app stores.

      • Technical Perfection and Irrelevance

        “Every technology becomes technically perfect at the precise moment when it becomes irrelevant. – Marc Andreessen (h/t Elad Gil)”

        For a real life example, look no further than the history of sailing ships. In the decades after the steam ship was invented, there were more improvements to sailing ships than they had in the previous 300 years.

      • A severed cable almost brought down the British Empire

        Last year, cables linking underwater sensors capable of detecting submarines off the coast of northern Norway were cut. Now, an 800-mile long undersea fiber-optic line between Norway and the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean has been severed. Although Russia has both the means and the motive, diplomats have been coy about openly assigning blame to avoid escalating the crisis.

        In peacetime, the cutting of undersea cables might be a nuisance, but the threat is real. Submarine cables enable the vast majority of [Internet] and telephonic communication. As of a decade ago, such cables carried 97 percent of all intercontinental data. Even in the age of satellites (which adversaries also have the ability to neutralize), chaos would ensue if communications suddenly went down.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Claiming the mantle of “reasonableness” by attacking even worse cranks

        This post started out by being just about Joe Mercola, which is amusing to me because I just wrote about Mercola the other day, specifically his brilliant grift in making all the content on his own website “ephemeral” (disappearing after 48 hours) and then moving it over to his Substack, where he charges his marks to access his “Censored Library.” On Monday, he apparently had decided that he wanted to seem “reasonable.” The way he went about it was hilarious in the extreme. In brief, Mercola made a big show of “conceding” that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, actually exists, contrasting his “reasonable” and “scientific” take with some of the cranks and quacks who, in addition to denying germ theory, deny outright that this coronavirus even exists, attributing COVID-19 to other things. (Mercola’s article might well be gone by not long after this posts; so I’ll quote liberally.) Then, late last night, I saw a post by someone who is not antivaccine but over the course of the pandemic has been rapidly descending into the realm of being a crank himself, Dr. Vinay Prasad, that very much did the same thing. (As evidence of this, three months ago I noted Dr. Prasad going full Godwin over pandemic public health interventions, likening them to incipient fascism.) I had to do a bit of last minute…surgery…to this post, expanding it to take a look at the parallel.

      • What Sweden can teach us about fighting fake news

        Sweden was already conducting important counter-disinformation work as part of its general effort to increase national resilience, building on a highly sophisticated Cold War system known as total defence that involved the armed forces, the wider government, the private sector and civilian volunteer organisations seamlessly working together to protect the country’s national security. The Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB, where psychological defence was located until the end of last year, monitored disinformation directed against Sweden and trained government agencies in how to handle it. In 2018, the MSB published the “If Crisis or War Comes” leaflet, which was sent to every household in the country and, among other things, instructed the public on how to find reliable information.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • DirecTV Finally Dumps OAN, Limiting The Conspiracy And Propaganda Channel’s Reach

        Back in October, reports emerged indicating that AT&T had not only funded much of the creation of the popular conspiracy and fantasy channel OAN, AT&T executives had actually come up with the original idea. The channel, which routinely traffics in false election fraud, COVID, and other right-wing conspiracy theories, had seen most of its reach come courtesy of a partnership with DirecTV. As of last week, DirecTV executives informed OAN it wouldn’t be having its contract renewed:

      • “Historic trial” in London of man accused of plotting to kill exiled Pakistani blogger

        In this trial, which could set an international precedent in the fight against impunity for crimes of violence against journalists living in exile, Muhammad Gohir Khan, a British citizen of Pakistani origin, is charged with “conspiring together with persons unknown” to murder Ahmad Waqass Goraya, a Pakistani journalist and blogger resident in the Netherlands.

        Goraya has been in hiding ever since the Dutch police warned him on 12 February 2021 of a serious threat to his life – a warning that came after Goraya had himself already told RSF that he was in danger. Khan is accused of taking a train from London to Amsterdam at that time, and renting a car in order to spy on Goraya’s home in Rotterdam, allegedly with the intent of murdering him.

      • Internet disruptions observed in Burkina Faso amid coup plot arrests

        Network data from NetBlocks and third-party traffic data confirm significant disruptions to [Internet] service in Burkina Faso from the afternoon of Monday 10 January 2022. The incident comes as authorities are reported to have made arrests related to an alleged coup plot.

      • Finland, EU condemn Pakistan for sentencing man to death on blasphemy charges

        Notably, on January 6 this year Bhatti was sentenced to death under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code although the convicted claims that he is innocent.

        Finland and EU Parliament both condemned the death sentence and said that they are concerned whether the sentence is justified and fair after the convict has already spent 10 years in jail.

        The letter questioned the Pakistani government if it allows the implementation of the death penalty even if the evidence is debatable.

      • Christian man jailed for blasphemy has life in prison commuted to the death penalty

        In 2017 he was sentenced to life in prison under the infamous article 295 C of the Pakistani Penal Code, for the “Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet” as well as insulting the Prophet’s mother.

      • Pakistani Christian jailed for life for blasphemy is given death sentence

        The advocacy group Release International says that, in 2012, Mr Bhatti was gathering evidence about Christian persecution when he was accused of sending the defamatory texts. He has always said that the texts were sent from a phone that was not registered in his name.

      • NBC commentary teams to cover Beijing Olympics from US

        NBC has held the US broadcasting rights to the Olympics since 1988.

        In 2014, the broadcaster paid a mammoth $7.75 billion to the International Olympic Committee to extend its rights deal through the 2032 Olympics.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Local media editor is third journalist killed by Myanmar’s junta in less than a month

        Local news website editor Pu Tuidim became the third journalist to be killed in Myanmar in just over three weeks when he was abducted and murdered by government soldiers in the northwest of the country last weekend. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this barbaric murder of a reporter who tried to inform his fellow citizens about the fighting between armed rebels and the military junta.

      • Julian Assange — a thousand days in Belmarsh

        Alison Mason of the Julian Assange Defence Committee (JADC) reiterated those observations long made about the imprisonment at a gathering outside the Australian High Commission in London on that day. The WikiLeaks founder was wrongfully confined “for publishing the war crimes of the U.S. military leaked to him by whistleblower Chelsea Manning”.

      • Exclusive: Whistleblower Craig Murray Speaks Out After Being Imprisoned Over Blog Posts

        Murray had been called to testify in the ongoing Spanish criminal prosecution against former Undercover Global CEO David Morales. Morales allegedly oversaw the illegal spying of Assange’s private and privileged legal and other conversations, on behalf of the CIA, while he was in the Ecuador embassy. But he was unable to submit testimony because he was in prison.

        “I was being videotaped, and I presume I’d be giving some testimony as to the nature of my conversations with Julian, which we’re not legally privileged, but were still entirely private and under Spanish law and not entitled to be spied upon,” Murray explained. It is unclear if he will have another opportunity to testify in Spain.

        In addition to his work on whistleblowing and national security reporting, Murray intends to return to writing his biography of Lord George Murray, a general of the last Jacobite rebellion, as well as his blogging and social commentary more broadly.

      • Julian Assange: A Thousand Days In Belmarsh – OpEd

        The continued detention of Assange in Belmarsh remains a scandal of kaleidoscopic cruelty. It continues to imperil his frail health, further impaired by a stroke suffered in October last year and the ongoing risks associated with COVID-19. It maintains a state of indefinite incarceration without bail, deputising the United Kingdom as committed gaolers for US interests. “Julian,” stated his fiancée Stella Moris, “is simply held at the request of the US government while they continue to abuse the US-UK extradition treaty for political ends.”

        A report drawn from unannounced visits to Belmarsh by the Chief Inspector of Prisons last July and August did not shine glorious light upon the institution. “The prison has not paid sufficient attention to the growing levels of self-harm and there was not enough oversight or care taken of prisoners of risk of suicide. Urgent action needed to be taken in this area to make sure that these prisoners were kept safe.”

      • Sixteen organisations reiterate their support for Carole Cadwalladr as she faces SLAPP trial

        The undersigned organisations reiterate their support for award-winning journalist and author, Carole Cadwalladr, who is facing a week-long defamation trial in London this week. Cadwalladr, who works for the Guardian Media Group in the UK, is being sued as an individual by millionaire businessman and political donor Arron Banks, best known for his role as co-founder of the 2016 Brexit campaign Leave.EU.

        Banks originally filed four claims against Cadwalladr in July 2019, two of which he dropped in January 2020 after the judge found them to be “far-fetched and divorced from the specific context in which those words were used”. The remaining claims relate to Cadwalladr’s 2019 TED Talk, “Facebook’s Role in Brexit – and the Threat to Democracy”, and a Twitter post linking to the TED Talk.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | America’s Class War: Organized Labor Is the Best Tool to Push Back Against the Rich

        There is one last hope for the United States. It does not lie in the ballot box. It lies in the union organizing and strikes by workers at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, Lyft, John Deere, Kellogg, the Special Metals plant in Huntington, West Virginia, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the Northwest Carpenters Union, Kroger, teachers in Chicago, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, fast-food workers, hundreds of nurses in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

      • Black Americans Mostly Left Behind by Progress Since Dr. King’s Death

        Back then, over a half century ago, the wholesale racial integration required by the 1964 Civil Rights Act was just beginning to chip away at discrimination in education, jobs and public facilities. Black voters had only obtained legal protectionstwo years earlier, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act was about to become law.

        African-Americans were only beginning to move into neighborhoods, colleges and careers once reserved for whites only.

      • Lyft Makes Largest Donation in Massachusetts History to Keep Drivers Down

        As Massachusetts becomes the latest battleground state in the fight for gig worker rights, advocates on Wednesday accused Lyft of attempting to purchase a law by giving over $14 million to a committee pushing a ballot initiative to prevent app-based drivers from being classified as employees.

        “Remember when gig corporations bought a law in California for $200 million? They’re at it again––this time, in Massachusetts.”

      • Blaming the Victims—Not the System—for Bronx Fire Deaths

        Was it the space heater on the third floor? The open door on the 15th floor? The faulty fire alarms that went off frequently? The nonexistent sprinkler system? Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the library?

      • The Hydra of Our Day

        To begin with pizza is to begin with the Hydra of our day.  In 2011 the comrades of Tahrir Square sent the comrades of Zuccotti Park not only a slice or two, but a whole pie.  Cairo and New York, great cities with vast proletarian resources, joined at last.  Signifying the world to come.  Long the bread basket in the world that’s passed, its grains now making the dough rising and spinning in nourishing outreach across seas and oceans.  Grains from the Nile, tomatoes from the Americas, fighting proletarians laughing with each other in the creative joy that surprises amidst the grief and misery of neoliberalism.

        Yet the ideas and the inspiration of protesters in Tahrir Square had arrived before the pizza, by various means and circuits, from Cairo to New York.  Occupiers in Zuccotti Park held signs that read “We are all Khaled Said,” whose brutal murder at the hands of police had fired the movement from below in Cairo.  More solidarity arrived in late October 2011 in the persons and voices of Egyptian activists Asmaa Mahfouz and Ahmed Maher, who led a protest march down the streets of lower Manhattan in which the occupiers chanted “Al shaab yurid isqat Wall Street.”

      • Florida Bill Would Ban History Lessons That Cause White Students “Discomfort”
      • Race Relations and the Natures of Our Beasts

        We will once again remember everything that MLK stood for — his dream of world domination by peace, brothers in arms linked to arms — and forget that the FBI once tried to torment him into suicide, and that, whatever he stood for on that Memphis balcony that fateful night, loads of salty crackers had a hoedown in the backwoods, way back where the still waters run deep. There’ll be no talk of Malcolm. No talk of the white devil at the crossroads who goes by the name of Pred Lending.

        And on Washington’s Birthday — now known as President’s Day — an apt change in recognition of the homogeneity and pasteurization of the vanilla milkshake handed out every four years — nicknamed the Lesser of Two Evils — you’re forced to drink, if white, and forced away from drinking by whites, if you’re Black, as if you were trying to imbibe the transubstantial blood and bread without confession or even conversion, jumpin’ like a Calaveras County leapfrog to the head of the line, all because you suffered longer. Boo-fuckin-hoo, they seem to cry, before they be-bop you blue again, fascist men in tights wearing George Floyd tees — beat you over the head with redacted copies of Huckleberry Finn.

      • Faith Leaders, Rights Groups to Biden: End Immigration Detention

        In a letter delivered to the White House on Wednesday, a coalition of 900 faith leaders and dozens of immigrant rights groups denounced President Joe Biden for expanding the use of immigrant detention and urged his administration to immediately invest in community-based alternatives and improve access to asylum.

        “We know effective community-based alternatives to detention exist.”

      • The Decline of Unions and the Ongoing Struggle for Workers’ Rights

        Even so, William Scheuerman argues in this new, groundbreaking book, U.S. unions are in deep trouble and, acting alone, they “cannot deliver a resurgent labor movement.”

        Scheuerman is well-qualified to deal with labor issues for, in addition to his academic credentials as professor emeritus of political science at SUNY/Oswego, he served as president of United University Professions (the largest higher education union in the United States) for 14 years and as president of the AFL-CIO’s National Labor College for another two.

      • In South Africa as in Palestine: Why We Must Protect the Legacy of Desmond Tutu

        Like other freedom and justice icons, Tutu did not merely coin the kind of language that helped many around the world rise in solidarity with the oppressed people of South Africa, who fought a most inspiring and costly war against colonialism, racism and apartheid. He was a leader, a fighter and a true engaged intellectual.

        It is quite convenient for many in corporate media to forget all of this about Tutu, the same way they deliberately rewrote the story of Nelson Mandela, as if the leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement was a pacifist, not a true warrior, in word and deed. Tutu is also depicted by some in the media as if he was merely a quotable man who helped in the ‘healing’ of the nation after the formal end of apartheid.

      • Angela Davis on Reissue of Her 1974 Autobiography, Her Editor Toni Morrison, Internationalism & More

        Activist and scholar Angela Davis has released a new edition of her 1974 autobiography, first published and edited by Toni Morrison nearly 50 years ago. The book details Davis’s remarkable early life, from growing up in a section of Birmingham, Alabama, known as Dynamite Hill due to the frequency of bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, to her work with the Black Panther Party and the U.S. Communist Party. It also follows her 16-month incarceration, during which she faced the death penalty and was eventually acquitted on all charges, which influenced Davis’s focus thereafter on transforming the criminal justice system and building a movement for abolition. The edition includes a new introduction, which links the racial justice uprisings and events of the past decade to her lifelong learnings and work. “What struck me was how much has changed,” says Davis, on her process of publishing the new edition. “Both how much has changed and how little has changed.”

      • Scholars Angela Davis, Gina Dent & Beth Richie on Why the World Needs “Abolition. Feminism. Now.”

        Abolitionist scholars Angela Davis, Beth Richie and Gina Dent discuss their new book, published Tuesday, titled “Abolition. Feminism. Now.” As abolition becomes increasingly mainstream following the racial justice uprisings of 2020, they argue feminism is at the root of the politics and practice of abolition, which they define as the elimination of carceral and interpersonal gender-based violence paired with social investments in more “opportunities for freedom” and safety within communities. The book, which was also co-authored by scholar and activist Erica Meiners, highlights feminist histories — particularly from queer, grassroots and women of color — that have been erased but are central to the movement. “We want to be able to imagine a world in which that violence has been reduced and eventually eradicated,” says Davis. “Abolition feminism is the perspective that allows us to move in that direction.”

      • Women barred from front seat of trucks in Ugandan city

        A traders association in northern Uganda has banned women from riding up front in trucks after deciding that short skirts and bare thighs could be distracting drivers and causing accidents.

        The order handed down in Lira city prohibits drivers from permitting “even their wives” in the front cabin of lorries.

        An association representing local traders and vendors said the decision banning female passengers was made in the name of safety.

      • Three Police Officers Charged in Fatal Shooting of Child Outside Football Game

        Three Pennsylvania police officers have been charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl outside a high school football game in August during which they fired a barrage of bullets after two teenagers began shooting, the authorities said.

      • The CEO who fired 900 employees over Zoom is coming back

        The CEO of Better.com, best known for firing 900 employees over Zoom just before Christmas, is coming back to work.

        Vishal Garg is returning to his “full-time duties” as CEO, according to a letter sent to employees Tuesday from the company’s board of directors. The letter noted that Garg used a leave of absence to “reflect on his leadership, reconnect with the values that make Better great and work closely with an executive coach.”

      • Linktree Is Kicking Many Sex Workers Off Its Site

        Multiple sex workers are reporting on social media that Linktree has banned them from the platform overnight.

        Linktree is a service that allows users to organize links to all of their social media accounts and platforms in one place. There are a lot of sites that offer the same service, but Linktree is one of the most popular.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Senegal must keep the internet accessible during elections

        Senegal safeguarded access to free, open, and secure internet and digital platforms during the country’s 2019 presidential elections, and today, the #KeepItOn coalition is urging authorities to uphold this legacy, and keep the population connected throughout local elections on January 23.

        “Senegal has shown the region how the internet can promote democracy and encourage civic participation during elections,” said Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner and #KeepItOn Lead at Access Now. “As the country heads to vote on January 23, we know authorities will prioritize freedom of expression, access to information, and avenues for communication through secure, accessible internet.”

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • John Deere Hit With Class Action Lawsuit for Alleged Tractor Repair Monopoly

        A class action lawsuit filed in Chicago has accused John Deere of running an illegal repair monopoly. The lawsuit alleged that John Deere has used software locks and restricted access to repair documentation and tools, making it very difficult for farmers to fix their own agricultural equipment, a problem that Motherboard has documented for years and that lawmakers, the FTC, and even the Biden administration have acknowledged.

    • Monopolies

      • States’ 3rd Amended Antitrust Complaint Against Google Looks A Lot More Damning

        There are lots of different antitrust actions currently ongoing against Facebook and Google, with varying degrees of quality. From the beginning, the strongest one has been the lawsuit a bunch of states — lead by Texas — filed against Google. When it was filed, I noted that there were sections that were heavily redacted which had the potential to be pretty damning, but the redactions made it hard to tell. I also found some of the non-redacted bits questionable, as they suggested a complete misunderstanding of some aspects of the technology. Last Friday, Texas filed its third attempt at a complaint and it reveals a lot more about the stuff that was redacted in the earlier filings — and I’ll now say that this is the most serious, and the most damning, of all the antitrust lawsuits out there. How Google responds to the lawsuit will be extremely interesting and worth watching. Given the errors in the original filing, it’s possible that there are errors here too, but if what Texas is alleging in this latest version of the lawsuit are accurate, then Google should be in trouble.

      • What’s Really Behind the Microsoft-Activision Deal

        The problem holding back the metaverse right now is that tech giants haven’t been able to create a virtual space that is preferable to the real world to a critical mass of people . Despite the “opportunity” Covid and quarantines have created, most people are choosing to remain their real selves rather than digital representations. Most people want to go back out in public to a concert or show or bar, not experience one virtually while alone at home. Facebook (or Meta or Russian Troll Farm Simulator or whatever they’re calling themselves these days) is stuck merely talking about the metaverse, instead of profiting off it, because it has yet to devise a way to entice grandmas to create and maintain digital avatars just so they can share photos of the grandkids and spread vaccine misinformation.

        But Activision-Blizzard has already cracked the code on getting people to care about how they appear in online virtual spaces. Video games can provide the structured virtual activity that people do want to sit at home and experience while “interacting” with their friends. A company can bootstrap all sorts of metaverse-style transactions around the shared virtual experience of an online video game.

      • Microsoft muscles in on first wave of the metaverse

        US tech giant Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of Activision this week rocked the video game sector, but the deal may come to be remembered as the moment the metaverse went mainstream.

        The metaverse is theoretically the future of the [Internet], a 3D virtual world where people will be able to interact using sensors, lenses and other gadgets.

        But the metaverse does not yet exist and Microsoft’s use of the term to help explain the splurge did not go unquestioned.

      • Copyrights

        • The Holkham Bible Picture Book (ca. 1330) – The Public Domain Review

          This “Bible” selectively illustrates the Old and New Testaments, taking us from Genesis to Revelation in a series of 231 beautifully executed miniatures.

        • In the Internet Age, Copyright Law Does Far More Than Antitrust to Shape Competition

          There has been a notable, and long overdue flurry, of antitrust actions targeting Big Tech, launched by users, entrepreneurs, and governments alike. And in the US and abroad, policymakers are working to revamp our antitrust laws so they can be more effective at promoting user choice.

          These are positive developments, but this renewed focus on antitrust risks losing sight of another powerful legal lever: copyright. Because there’s copyrighted software in every digital device and online service we use, and because the internet is essentially a giant machine for copying digital data, copyright law is a major force that shapes technology and how we use it. That gives copyright law an enormous role in enabling or impeding competition.

          The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a case in point. It contains two main sections that have been controversial since they went into effect in 2000. The “anti-circumvention” provisions (sections 1201 et seq. of the Copyright Act) bar circumvention of access controls and technical protection measures. The “safe harbor” provisions (section 512) protect service providers who meet certain conditions from monetary damages for the infringing activities of their users and other third parties on the net.

        • 10 Years Ago the Feds Shut Down Megaupload

          A decade has passed since Megaupload’s servers were raided on behalf of the U.S. Government. On the same day, helicopters and police swarmed the estate of founder Kim Dotcom. The criminal enforcement action was supposed to put the larger-than-life Internet entrepreneur in the shadows, but the opposite happened.

        • OpenSubtitles Hacked, 7 Million Subscribers’ Details Leaked Online

          OpenSubtitles, one of the largest repositories of subtitle files on the internet, has been hacked. Founded in 2006, the site was reportedly hacked in August 2021 with the attacker obtaining the personal data of nearly seven million subscribers including email and IP addresses, usernames and passwords. The site alerted users yesterday after the hacker leaked the database online.

        • Demanding Progress: From Aaron Swartz To SOPA And Beyond

          It’s a great irony — and an awkward thing to admit — that I’m not sure if the organization of which I’m executive director, Demand Progress, would exist but for SOPA and PIPA (or really their progenitor, COICA).

        • SOPA Didn’t Die. It’s Just Lying In Wait.

          It would be nice if the public interest community and internet advocates won the SOPA fight because we had the best arguments. Instead, the bill died because of an overwhelming display of popular opposition. Americans from all walks of life urged Congress to reject the bill—and legislators listened.

        • PUBG Corp. At It Again: Sues Garena, Apple, And Google For Copyright Infringement Over ‘Free Fire’ App

          It’s funny sometimes how quickly a company can go from being known for making a great product to being known for being a litigious intellectual property bully. And if that doesn’t accurately describe the heel-turn pulled off by the folks behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, then I don’t know what does. To be clear, PUBG, as it’s lovingly referred to, was a groundbreaking video game. While the game didn’t invent the battle royale concept, it certainly ushered that genre into an era. And just like any breakthrough genres suddenly having success, that means others are going to start trying their own hands at the genre. While plenty of other entrants have gotten into the battle royale game, PUBG has fought battles with several of them, most notably Epic’s Fortnite title.

        • Join Our Game Jam In An Hour With The Help Of Story Synth

          Gaming Like It’s 1926: The Public Domain Game Jam

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  5. [Meme] Monopoly Tony

    The gentlest, kindest president the EPO ever had



  6. It Took Campinos Three or More Years to Undo Illegal Battistelli Actions on Boards of Appeal and Strike Regulations (Only After Losing at ILO-AT!), But He Does Not Mention That

    Let’s all remember that as the EPO‘s so-called ‘President’ António Campinos (Monopoly Tony) vigorously defended completely unlawful actions of Benoît Battistelli until courts compelled him to stop doing that (Strike Regulations); notice how, in the video above — a portion of this full clip from several months ago — he did not bother mentioning that for 3.5 years that he had “led” the Office the Boards of Appeal were in exile, in direct violation of the EPC, yet nobody is being held accountable for it



  7. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 21, 2022



  8. Links 22/05/2022: Free Software Developments in Bratislava

    Links for the day



  9. Gemini is the Direction the Paginated Internet Should Have Taken (Not Bloated Web With JavaScript and DRM)

    An update on Gemini and why you might wish to explore it (if you aren't using it already)



  10. EPO.org Now Openly Brags About Making Illegal Patents a Welcomed Part of the Examination Guidelines

    The EPO persists in illegal, unlawful agenda; it's even finding the audacity to advertise this in the official Web site



  11. Links 21/05/2022: Security Blunders and Microsoft Posturing

    Links for the day



  12. Links 21/05/2022: GitLab at Fedora and Pipewire in Next Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  13. Links 21/05/2022: HP Teams up with System76

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, May 20, 2022



  15. Links 20/05/2022: Thunderbird Revenue Rising

    Links for the day



  16. Outsourcing Sites to Social Control Media is an Outdated Mindset in 2022

    Centralised or federated censorship/filtering platforms (also known as "social [control] media" [sic]) aren't the way forward; we're therefore a little surprised that Linux Weekly News (LWN) bothers with that languishing bandwagon all of a sudden



  17. Links 20/05/2022: Plasma's Latest Beta in Kubuntu 22.04, Kapow 1.6.0 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Turkey's Migration to Pardus Linux and LibreOffice Explained 2 Months Ago in LibrePlanet

    This talk by Hüseyin GÜÇ was uploaded under the title “Real world GNU/Linux story from Istanbul”



  19. In Turkey, Windows Market Share is Down to Almost Nothing, 'Linux' is About Two Thirds of the Connected Devices

    Watch this graph of Windows going down from around 99.5% to just 11.55% this month



  20. The Lies and Delusions of António Campinos

    Monopolies and American corporations (and their lawyers) are a priority for today's EPO, Europe's second-largest institution



  21. Links 20/05/2022: Fedora BIOS Boot SIG

    Links for the day



  22. Links 20/05/2022: Oracle Linux 8.6 and VMware Security Crisis

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 19, 2022



  24. Links 19/05/2022: Rust 1.61.0 and Lots of Security FUD

    Links for the day



  25. EPO Eating Its Own (and Robbing Its Own)

    António Campinos is lying to his staff and losing his temper when challenged about it; Like Benoît Battistelli, who ‘fixed’ this job for his banker buddy (despite a clear lack of qualifications and relevant experience), he’s just robbing the EPO’s staff (even pensioners!) and scrubbing the EPC for ill-gotten money, which is in turn illegally funneled into financialization schemes



  26. [Meme] EPO Budget Tanking?

    While the EPO‘s António Campinos incites people (and politicians) to break the law he’s also attacking, robbing, and lying to his own staff; thankfully, his staff isn’t gullible enough and some MEPs are sympathetic; soon to follow is a video and publication about the EPO’s systematic plunder (ETA midnight GMT)



  27. EPO.org (Official EPO Site) Continues to Promote Illegal Agenda and Exploit Ukraine for PR Stunts That Help Unaccountable Crooks

    epo.org has been turned into a non-stop propaganda machine of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos because the EPO routinely breaks the law; it’s rather tasteless that while Ukrainians are dying the EPO’s mob exploits Ukraine for PR purposes



  28. [Meme] EPO Applicants Unwittingly Fund the War on Ukraine

    As we’ve just shown, António Campinos is desperately trying to hide a massive EPO scandal



  29. EPO Virtue-Signalling on the Ukrainian Front

    António Campinos persists in attention-shifting dross and photo ops; none of that can change the verifiable facts about the EPO’s connections to Lukashenko’s 'science park' in Minsk



  30. Links 19/05/2022: PostgreSQL 15 Beta 1 and Plasma 5.25 Beta

    Links for the day


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