Links 6/2/2022: NuTyX 22.02.4, GIMP Taught in Libraries

Posted in News Roundup at 9:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • A New Release of Slackware! Worth The Wait? – Invidious

        After six years, we finally have a new stable release of Slackware. Like many of you, I’ve been waiting for this release for awhile, and I’m looking forward to running through an installation and first look today! Let’s see if the wait was worth it!

      • Btop: The Final Form Of System Resource Monitors – Invidious

        I’ve looked at Bashtop, and Bpytop but now this project has a new form, that form is Btop, a system resource monitor written in C which works incredibly and finally adds in features I’ve been requesting since the start.

    • Applications

      • New tools to simplify wrapping your head around Kubernetes • The Register

        Engineer Nelson Elhage offers several reasons Kubernetes is so complex but this does at least mean that multiple companies offer tools to try to help you master it.

        The Google-backed container-management system is famously difficult, even to spell or pronounce. (It’s often called “k8s” for short: since “kubernetes” is 10 letters long, “k8s” signifies “k” + eight letters + “s”, and is pronounced “kates”.) The Mountain View mammoth even commissioned a comic to explain what it is. (It’s long, but quite good.)

        K8s is a set of tools for managing clusters – but not everyone has a spare cluster lying around that they can play with.

      • Repo Review: Xtreme Download Manager

        Xtreme Download Manager is an advanced and feature-full download manager that’s designed to accelerate your download speeds by using a dynamic file segmentation system. It provides integration for most popular web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, etc) through the installation of an addon. Xtreme Download Manager also supports downloading videos from YouTube and other streaming sites.

        Xtreme Download Manager’s interface has a very modern look, and is fairly easy and straightforward to use. On the left side are several categories to help you sort your downloads into their different file types. From the top-right corner, you can set the filters to show only complete, incomplete, or all downloads. From down in the lower-right corner, you can use a switch to enable and disable the web browser integration.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Use the Linux cut Command [Ed: It is GNU, not Linux [1, 2]]
      • How to change default kernel in Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04 LTS – Linux Shout

        Learn the steps to install the latest Linux kernel version on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal fossa or Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jelly Fish to change the default one using the command terminal.

        The kernel is the core program of any Linux -based operating system that offers meditation between software and hardware of the computer system. That implies on any hardware device running with some software. And when we wrap it with a layer of graphical user interface and other applications around the kernel, we have a full-fledged Linux operating system such as Ubuntu. Well, Kernel keeps work in the background and takes care that the operating system works and that hardware and software can be put into operation.

      • Inkscape Tutorial: Create A Text Portrait Effect

        I go to YouTube occasionally and watch graphics tutorials. A couple of my favorite posters are Logos by Nick and Davies Media Design. I saw one on Logos by Nick the other day that looked interesting so I thought I’d recreate it here. This might be a neat effect for a different artwork piece to give as a gift or something that might advertise your graphics skills.

        You want to start out deciding what photo you want to use, and what text you need. For this project, I’m going to use a photo I have, but I’m going to use the lorem ipsum generator in Inkscape.

        First, after opening Inkscape, import your image (my brother has the cutest dog!) I edited this one so the background was a single color.

      • Install NVIDIA 510.47.xx Drivers on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – LinuxCapable

        Most modern Linux Desktop systems such as Ubuntu have an NVIDIA driver pre-installed in the Nouveau open-source graphics device driver for Nvidia video cards. For the most part, this is acceptable; however, if you are using your Linux system for graphical design or gaming, you may get better drivers.

        Historically, the Nouveau drivers are slower than NVIDIA’s proprietary drivers, lacking the latest graphics card hardware’s latest features, software technology, and support.

        Currently, NVIDIA 510 Drivers are available to install, which bring many new features improvements to the very latest and existing supported graphic cards with better Linux Kernel support, ReBAR indicator, GBM API support, and much more.

      • How To Install KDE Plasma on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install KDE Plasma on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, KDE (K Desktop Environment) is one of the most customizable and fastest desktop environments out there that boasts a stunning appearance with polished icons and an amazing look-and-feel. The KDE Community has developed a ton of high-quality applications that fit users Desktop needs.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the KDE Plasma Desktop Environment on a Fedora 35.

      • How To Install Samba on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Samba on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Samba, a re-implementation of the popular SMB (server message block) protocol, is a stable and free application that allows sharing of files and print services across a network. Samba enables Linux/Unix machines to communicate with Windows machines in a network.

        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 Samba file sharing on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for CentOS and Rocky Linux.

      • How to Display Your Text Message in Ubuntu 21.10+ Lock Screen | UbuntuHandbook

        As you may know, Ubuntu supports for displaying custom text message in the default GDM login screen. There’s now an extension to do the job for the lock screen!

        Similar to Android lock screen owner info functionality, it allows you to add your message to the GNOME lock screen.

      • How to Use hashcat to Crack Hashes on Linux

        Are you a beginner in the domain of cybersecurity? Do you want to be on its offensive side? As a red teamer, you learn many techniques and tactics that help you perform the cyber kill chain activities. One such task is privilege escalation, where you get hold of password hashes.

        hashcat is a powerful and versatile tool that brute forces the stored credentials using known hashes by conducting various modes of attacks. The article covers this password cracking utility used by penetration testers, system administrators, spies, or hackers to find passwords.

      • How to get the latest version of vim on Ubuntu 20.04?

        VIM is a text editor in the terminal that is presented as an improved version of the mythical Vi. That is why many developers and sysadmin prefer to use it rather than nano or other.

        Ubuntu 20.04 is the latest LTS version of Ubuntu, but it is almost two years since it has been released and some programs are becoming obsolete. That is why many people prefer to take advantage of this moment, to update certain applications.

        One of those applications is VIM that although it has a slow development is continuous and every so often presents us with a new stable version loaded with important improvements.

      • Install NVIDIA Driver 510.47.03 On Ubuntu / Linux Mint Via PPA | Tips On UNIX

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install NVIDIA Driver 510.47.03 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Ubuntu 18.04, and Linux Mint.

        Nvidia released a new Production branch version 510.47.03 for the Unix systems which includes FreeBSD, Solaris, and Linux (Linux x86_64/AMD64/EM64T)

      • All you need to know about BTRFS | ArcoLinux

        Butterfs or btrfs is a filesystem. First read the Arch Linux wiki for more background information.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma continues improving to stop you breaking things

          Developer Nate Graham has highlighted more recent work for the KDE Plasma desktop environment (the one the Steam Deck will come with) and it’s all sounding great.

          Continuing their effort to prevent breakage, just like stopping the Discover software centre removing your desktop, Discover now cannot uninstall itself. That’s right, previously Discover was able to end up removing itself from your desktop! Now though, it won’t as there’s new checks in place.

        • Skrooge Revisited: Tips For Beginners

          As a New Year’s resolution, I am taking baby steps to learn KDE Plasma 5.23.5, after installing Tex’s Darkstar minimal ISO (2021.11) on our trusty Dell Latitude E4300 laptop. I also decided to use this chance to reacquaint myself with Skrooge, the KDE-based personal finance program.

          I previously used Skrooge (ver. 0.6.0) as a stopgap in 2010, while KMyMoney became a bit stagnant as its developers ported the KDE 3 version of KMM to KDE 4. Skrooge served me well but I stopped using it when I moved away from KDE. Enough time has elapsed that I have forgotten many of the program’s finer points.

          The current version of Skrooge is 2.26.1. Skrooge was launched in March 2008, so it has been actively developed for 13 years. Its main developer is Stéphane Mankowski, a French engineer / programmer who works as a manager at Airbus, the multinational aerospace corporation. Mankowski is assisted by Guillaume de Bure, a programmer and engineer who is also an Airbus employee.

          Skrooge’s unusual name was inspired by Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843). Some people might also catch the reference to Scrooge McDuck, the cartoon character created in 1947 for The Walt Disney Company.1 Ebenezer Scrooge, of course, needs no introduction in the English-speaking world, as the tale of his redemption by three spirits has become one of our most beloved Christmas stories. For non-comics readers, Scrooge McDuck (who happens to be Donald Duck’s uncle) is famous for his extreme thriftiness; he is reputed to own three cubic acres of cash which is stored in a skyscraper-sized Money Bin.

          Skrooge uses single-entry accounting (like HomeBank or Quicken) rather than double-entry principles (GnuCash or KMyMoney). The Skrooge Handbook clarifies that the program is not designed to manage taxes, nor does it have small-business functionality.2 However, Skrooge is robust and perfectly adequate for home / personal accounting.

          A complete tutorial is beyond the scope of this article; if you would like an in-depth presentation of Skrooge, please consult the “Additional Resources” section on the last page. Today I will limit myself to discussing some features not covered in the current documentation, or which I didn’t fully understand until I began experimenting with them.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Bastien Nocera: “Videos” de-clutter-ification

          Yesterday, I finally merged the work-in-progress branch porting totem to GStreamer’s GTK GL sink widget, undoing a lot of the work done in 2011 and 2014 to port the video widget and then to finally make use of its features.

          But GTK has been modernised (in GTK3 but in GTK4 even more so), GStreamer grew a collection of GL plugins, Wayland and VA-API matured and clutter (and its siblings clutter-gtk, and clutter-gst) didn’t get the resources they needed to follow.

    • Distributions

      • Dpup next-generation Puppy progressing

        Dima has created a section of the forum for “Vanilla Dpup” and has itemized how his new pup differs from traditional Puppy…

      • New Releases

        • NuTyX 22.02.4 available with cards 2.4.144

          The NuTyX team is happy to announce the new version of NuTyX 22.02.4 and cards 2.4.144.

          The xorg-server graphics server version 21.1.3, the Mesa 3D library in 21.3.5, Gtk4 4.6.0 and Qt 5.15.2.

          The python interpreters are en 3.10.2 et 2.7.18.

          The XFCE desktop environment is updated to version 4.16.0.

          The MATE desktop environment is a 1.26.0 version .

          The GNOME desktop environment is also updated to version 41.3

          The KDE desktop environment is available in Plasma 5.23.5, Framework 5.90.0 and applications in 21.12.2.

          Available browsers are: Firefox 96.0.3, Chromium 98.0.4758.80, Epiphany 41.3, etc

          Many desktop applications have been updated as well like Telegram-desktop 3.5.0, Thunderbird 91.5.1, Scribus 1.5.8, Libreoffice, Gimp 2.10.30, etc.

          Core NuTyX ships with Long Term Support (LTS) kernels: 4.9.299, 4.14.264, 4.19.227, 5.4.176 et 5.10.96 and 5.15.19

      • BSD

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Introduction & Testimonial From rlcopple

          Though I currently live in the Denver metro area, I’m originally from Texas. The longest that I’ve ever lived in a city was Marble Falls, TX for 18 years. (Growing up, we moved a lot!) At any rate, my “computer history” starts in the mid to late 70s, my Mom had an old Kaypro computer, with an old “distro” called “CP/M”. Anyone remember that one? I immediately became interested in it.

          My Mom must have noticed, because in the early 80s, she gave me a TI-994a console. It had cartridges that you could insert to play various games, mostly. If I’m recalling correctly, it boasted a 4KHz processor, along with a hefty 16K of memory. I used my TV as the monitor. I learned “Basic” programming on that computer. One of the first programs I ever wrote on it was a game: Yahtzee. I had a general idea of how to do it, and the crazy thing is, it actually worked! Though it did stress out the processor to go through the 5-nested loop to verify that it actually was a long straight, before awarding the points. Usually it took around 5 minutes — time enough to get a cup of coffee and go to the bathroom.

          From there I had my first IT experience at a gas measurement company, working on a Digital RS11 (if I remember that correctly) that had about 6-7 VT100 terminals connected to it. Though, as in most jobs I’ve had, that wasn’t my only duty, often, not even my primary one. (I was a bookkeeper from 1996 – 2011, mostly.) That’s despite the fact that all that I know comes from experience, not classes or any degree (my college degree was in Religion).

          Obviously, since I was a bookkeeper during those years, I was locked away into the Windows systems, since everyone I worked for used QuickBooks and that program could only run on Windows (as well as Macs, but I never used those much). That said, I did fiddle with Linux during those days. In 2001 or 2, I “attempted” an install of Debian from a stack of CDs I had ordered (that was back in the modem days, it would have taken a couple of days back then, tying up the phone lines, to even think of downloading 1 Gig, much less the 2-3+ of most ISOs now days). I failed to get it up and running, however, mainly because I was looking for starting up the X server, which I did. However, no graphical menu popped up! (Shows you how much I knew about Linux). Indeed, I did get it to boot up into the X environment, but I couldn’t do anything in it. Then, around 2006, I successfully installed Ubuntu onto my old laptop, played around with it for a while, but it was only a passing interest at that time. Around 2011, when my last client who used QuickBooks ended their professional relationship with me, I was free to think more about actually moving to Linux. I discovered dual-boot, so I did, installing Lubuntu alongside Windows. It took me around 2-3 months to figure out how to configure it to my liking, from shortcut keys to replacement programs. The hardest was a replacement for inventory as in Quickbooks. I never did find one, so I created a spreadsheet for it, which I’m in the middle of updating. That was also the time I first met Peter Patterson Mint Spider who I know resides on this forum. {waves} Hi Peter!

          At any rate, I’ve used several different distros since then, and reviewed several on my YouTube channel which I started in August of 2018. Then I came across BDLL, and the community there, and they have gratefully sucked me into their collective. Obviously, that is where I met Alie, or Aris. I mixed those two up as I didn’t realize they weren’t the same person until just yesterday. Hi! But if my memory serves me well (and frequently, it doesn’t) I believe it is Alie. Well, my introduction to PCLinuxOS was on that channel, where we recently, like 3 or 4 weeks ago, reviewed PCLinuxOS. Which has led me here, to this community.

          I currently have 8 computers (two of them my sons, and one of them the original computer I first installed Lubuntu on.) My “daily driver” computer is a fairly new Framework computer. I’ve installed PCLinuxOS BigDaddyTrinity on my son’s Lenovo Legion Gaming Desktop, out in our living room. More about that in Testimonials.

          So, I hope to be able to contribute here some, as well as learn some more about this distro. Thanks for inviting me to come here and post my questions, Peter.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS Dojo is over, hello FOSDEM! :: Pensées de Michel — Personal thoughts and musings

          The first CentOS Dojo of the year is, as usual, held as a FOSDEM Fringe event. It’s virtual – again – which is a blessing and a curse. It would be fun to travel and meet people in person again once the situation permits, then again, given my family situation that would have meant I would have to skip for the next year or two anyway.

          That being said, it was held on Hopin, which has a decent hallway track experience. Nothing much is changing on the platform front – linux.conf.au was on Venueless again, and FOSDEM is again using a bleeding edge Element web client at chat.fosdem.org. I like the Hopin and Element experience, though I admit to a bias – Element because I like decentralized platforms, and Hopin because I know more people among the attendees of events held there. And Hopin is still unpredictably buggy on Firefox!

        • As Kubernetes Matures, The Edge Needs Containment [Ed: Paid-for IBM puff piece; many self-described "journalists" are just lousy, reckless marketing people]

          In a relatively few short years, Kubernetes has become the de facto orchestration platform for managing software containers, besting a lineup that included such contenders as Docker Swarm and Mesosphere. Since spinning out of Google eight years ago, Kubernetes has developed at a rapid pace, with new releases coming out as often as four times a year.

          Kubernetes also has spawned a range of platforms from the likes of Red Hat (with OpenShift, a key driver of IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat in 2019, VMware (Tanzu), and SUSE (Rancher) and its now being offered as a service via top public cloud companies Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as others.

          That said, there are continuing signs of maturation and stabilization in Kubernetes, which is under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). For one, the torrid pace of the release cycle is beginning to ease, from four releases a year to about three. And now, there is talk among those within the Kubernetes project about possibly rolling out longer-term support releases, according to Brian Gracely, senior director of product strategy for OpenShift at Red Hat.

      • Debian Family

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in January 2022

          This month I accepted 342 and rejected 57 packages. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 366.

          Lately I was asked: Is it ftpmaster’s opinion and policy that there is no difference in NEW queue review process between bin and src?

        • StarlingX R6.0 is here!

          One of the core components of the platform is the Linux kernel. In light of the earlier CentOS announcements, the community decided to move over to Debian in an incremental process. In the 6.0 release, this means to upgrade to the 5.10 version of the kernel.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu: The next LTS release is prepping for launch

          Ubuntu Linux has been synonymous with user-friendly for a very long time. With each release, the desktop offers something new along with the usual reliability found in Canonical’s operating system. And when Jammy Jellyfish (22.04) is unleashed, users will find a mixture of old and new, something that is especially salient within the realm of GNOME.

          Let me explain.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The open-source world is more and more closed

        Another technique is for companies to extend R&D opportunities to young developers; then, when these creators present their innovations, the company cuts them loose and creates its own version. Google ATAP and X Labs, the R&D divisions of Google’s parent company Alphabet, have made this their speciality, but Facebook does it too.

        Why have copyleft licences such as the GPL failed to protect the open-source world from Big Tech predation? Partly because Google took them over and torpedoed them. Google built its domination by using the Linux kernel as the basis of the Android operating system for smartphones. But the public licence obliged Google to publish the source code of its modifications to this free software, so Google developed its own operating system, Fuchsia, which is not subject to a copyleft licence.

        The GPL has also suffered from the development of cloud computing: the storage and processing of data on remote servers rather than on users’ devices. Most copyleft licences, including the GPL, only guarantee access to, modification of, and redistribution of the source code of software if it is distributed to users — in other words, transferred and installed on their devices. But they do not apply when the software runs on Big Tech’s servers because the software is not downloaded, but used remotely.

        The FOSS world tried to create effective copyleft licences against ‘cloudification’ (with, for example, the Affero General Public Licence), but Google fought it tooth and nail. Had it been adopted by many players, this licence would have forced Google and others to share the source code of software running on their servers, even for users accessing the software remotely. As a result, Google has simply banned its use in its products.

      • 7 Hot Free and Open Source Application Servers for Python

        An application server is computer software which provides the business logic for an application program. It offers services such as management of large distributed systems, data services, load balancing, transaction support, and network security. The application server is one part of a three-tier application, consisting of a graphical interface server, an application (business logic) server, and a database / transaction server. Many application servers support the Java platform, but they can be found in other environments.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Milford Public Library Hosts Basic Image Editing with GIMP, the Free Image Editor February 10 at 7pm

            Milford Public Library is hosting a tutorial for the free image editing program, GIMP on Thursday, February 10.

            The GNU Image Manipulation Program is getting better with every release, even creeping up on Photoshop at this point! We will discuss how to read a histogram and apply that to make your images look better by using the tools, and menu options available. We will cover downloading and configuration, as well as cropping, color correction, contrast, sharpening, and the saving and exporting options available.

      • Programming/Development

        • Josef Strzibny: Reusing Rails test fixtures for db:seed

          There are several reasons I like Rails’ fixtures for testing. One such reason is that modeling a small world gives you instant data for seeding your database.

          If you always skip fixtures for factories when working with Rails, you are missing out!

        • The 5 Best Game Engines for Beginners in Video Game Development

          A game engine is a framework that facilitates game development, using a range of tools designed for game development. Some game engines may call these tools nodes, others may call them APIs, but they all work together to enhance your game development experience.

          The last decade has seen a massive increase in both video gamers and the amount of time spent playing video games. So, there’s undoubtedly a lively market for new and exciting video games. If you have a development background, a small budget, and a great game idea—but don’t know where to start—you’re in the right place.

        • Create an app with this Arnold Schwarzenegger-themed programming language | Opensource.com

          Have you ever wished programming were more like an action movie? If you answered yes, then I have the language for you.

          While wandering the internet to find the most obscure and fun open source languages, I came across ArnoldC. ArnoldC is an imperative programming language where the basic keywords are replaced with quotes from various Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.

          For this tutorial, I’ll be using a Debian-based operating system with Terminator and the Vim editor. While you follow this tutorial, I would highly recommend rewatching some older Schwarzenegger films just for fun!

        • As a coding language, C++ appeals to the ego, not the intellect | eFinancialCareers

          I notice that this site has a tendency to extol the virtues of C++ as a programming language. As someone who has worked with C++ and who has followed the debate around its use for a long time, I think it’s time to set the record straight.

          The truth is that C++ is one of the worst languages ever foisted on the industry. Far from being used in modern trading systems, C++ should now only be used for legacy projects. It is based around machine thinking, which is not programming thinking.

        • 11 Best Linux Distros For Programming And Development [2022 Edition]

          Major concerns of devs when choosing a Linux distro for programming are compatibility, power, and stability. Here are the top picks.

        • Java

          • Java News Roundup: Loom and Panama Updates, Groovy 4.0, GraalVM 22.0 CE, Jakarta EE RPC

            This week’s Java roundup for January 24th, 2021, features news from OpenJDK, JDK 18, JDK 19, Projects Loom and Panama, Jakarta EE, Groovy 4.0, Spring Framework updates, Micronaut 3.3.0, GraalVM 22.0 CE, Liberica NIK, MicroProfile Reactive Streams Operators 3.0-RC1, Hibernate updates, JHipster 7.6, IntelliJ IDEA 2021.3.2, JReleaser early-access, Apache Camel and Camel K, and Foojay.io at FOSDEM.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • The epic notability battle between pornstars and scientists | Stop at Zona-M

        Exactly ten years ago, a BIG Wikipedia fan complained about one occurrence of a general issue that is still present, and should always be well known by any user of the great online encyclopedia.

        Believe it or not, exactly ten years ago a self-described “BIG Wikipedia fan” complained because pornstars were more notable than scientists on Wikipedia):

        “Despite my affection for Wikipedia this week I am annoyed about what’s going on for me on Wikipedia. I [did my best to master] the complexities of contributing articles. At present however my contributions on Wikipedia regarding scientists and projects I know about have all been flagged, either for deletion or for “notability”.

    • Hardware

      • Multiple Ways Of Recovering A Failed Print | Hackaday

        It’s a special gut-dropping, grumbly moment that most who use 3d printers know all too well. When you check on your 13-hour print, only to see that it failed printing several hundred layers ago. [Stephan] from [CNC Kitchen] has a few clever tricks to resume failed prints.

        It starts when you discover your print has failed and whether the part is still attached to the bed. If it has detached, the best you can do is whip out your calipers to get a reasonably accurate measurement of how much has been printed. Then slice off the already printed section, print the remainder, and glue the two parts together. If your part is attached to your print bed and you haven’t shifted the plate (if it is removable), start by removing any blemishes on the top layer. That will make it smooth and predictable as it’s starting a new print, just on top of an existing one. Measuring the height that has been printed is tricky since you cannot remove it. Calipers of sufficient length can use their depth function, but you might also be able to do a visual inspection if the geometry is unique enough. After you load up your model in a G-Code viewer, go through it layer by layer until you find what matches what has already been printed.

      • How To Spot A Fake Op-Amp | Hackaday

        We’re all aware that there are plenty of fake components to be found if you’re prepared to look in the right places, and that perhaps too-good-to-be-true chip offers on auction sites might turn out to have markings which rub off to reveal something completely different underneath. [IMSAI Guy] saw a batch of OP-07 laser-trimmed op-amps at a bargain price, so picked them up for an investigation. You can take a look at the video below the break.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • From The Chief Editor’s Desk…

        The pandemic was hard on the kids’ original Cub Scout pack. Through the attrition caused by the pandemic, their pack was merged with another pack in town. So this year, Ryan is a Wolf Cub Scout, and Lexi is old enough to be an official Lion Cub Scout.

        Their cars this year didn’t fare as well as they did the previous time they participated in the Pinewood Derby. And dad learned a lesson, as well. Get the cars as close as possible to the five ounce (about 140 grams) weight limit without going over. I tried to keep it under the five ounce weight limit, just in case the official scale at the weigh-in was off from my scale at home (they are both digital scales, so there shouldn’t be that much variance). I undershot the weight limit by too large of a margin, which sacrificed speed.

        Of course, there’s a whole “science” to making the Pinewood Derby cars so they go as fast as possible. Just search on YouTube, and you’ll find a lot of videos devoted to just this very topic. Applying slight bends to the axles, using graphite lubricant on the axles, raising one wheel ever so slightly so there are only three wheels in contact with the race track, placing your weights just so, paying attention to the center of balance. The list could go on and on and on.


        My wife was in quarantine for a breakthrough COVID infection (that me and the kids, thankfully, never showed any symptoms of having).

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Admins urged to patch serious Samba vulnerability | IT World Canada News

            Network administrators and software developers with applications using the Samba suite of utilities are urged to install the latest patches after the discovery of a serious vulnerability.

            According to the U.S. CERT Co-ordination Center, the vulnerability (CVE-2021-44142) in the Samba vfs_fruit module allows out-of-bounds heap read and write via extended file attributes.

          • CISA Adds Eight Known Exploited Vulnerabilities to Catalog – HS Today

            CISA has added eight new vulnerabilities to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog, based on evidence that threat actors are actively exploiting the vulnerabilities listed in the table below. These types of vulnerabilities are a frequent attack vector for malicious cyber actors of all types and pose significant risk to the federal enterprise.

          • Apple, SonicWall, Internet Explorer vulnerabilities added to CISA list
          • Reproducible Builds: Reproducible Builds in January 2022

            Welcome to the January 2022 report from the Reproducible Builds project. In our reports, we try outline the most important things that have been happening in the past month. As ever, if you are interested in contributing to the project, please visit our Contribute page on our website.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Short Topix: Mapping How Facebook Tracks You

              Facebook tracks people. Facebook tracks EVERYONE. Even non-users. As it tracks you across the web, it vacuums up as much of your private personal data as it can, as fast as it can. Facebook … er, “Meta” … tracks your and my movement across the web by embedding small, invisible, 1×1 tracking pixels on web pages. When those pixels are loaded on a web page, they vacuum up all kinds of data that you probably don’t want shared, and that you have no idea may even be available.

              Well, a group of journalists from The Markup have teamed up with Mozilla researchers to try to map Facebook’s pixel-based tracking network. They want to try to gain an understanding of just what of your private personal data is being collected. The journalists from The Markup will use the anonymized data for an investigative report about the kinds of information Facebook, and where it collects it all from. The “study” runs until July 13, 2022.

              Facebook’s “privacy policy” (there’s an oxymoron) states that Facebook may collect information about you as you travel across the web, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. Now exactly how that’s legal is beyond me, since non-users (hello! … I’m over here!) never agreed to Facebook’s “privacy policy” or data collection mechanisms.

            • Brave Browser: False Privacy?

              “Three times faster than Chrome. Better privacy by default than Firefox. Uses 35% less battery on mobile.” This is how Brave Browser presents itself. But, is it really true?

              Brave browser was created as a derivative of Chromium, the open source version of Google Chrome Browser. It was released in 2016, and came with many promises: Privacy, speed, and rewards for users, BAT’s (Basic Attention Tokens), a form of cryptocurrency, which, according to the browser’s creators, rewards creators and users.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • A measurement strategy to address disparities across household energy burdens | Nature Communications

          Energy inequity is an issue of increasing urgency. Few policy-relevant datasets evaluate the energy burden of typical American households. Here, we develop a framework using Net Energy Analysis and household socioeconomic data to measure systematic energy inequity among critical groups that need policy attention. We find substantial instances of energy poverty in the United States – 16% of households experience energy poverty as presently defined as spending more than 6% of household income on energy expenditures. More than 5.2 million households above the Federal Poverty Line face energy poverty, disproportionately burdening Black, Hispanic, and Native American communities. For solar, wind, and energy efficiency to address socioeconomic mobility, programs must reduce energy expenditures by expanding eligibility requirements for support and access to improved conservation measures, efficiency upgrades, and distributed renewables. We recommend the United States develop a more inclusive federal energy poverty categorization that increases assistance for household energy costs.

    • Finance

      • US Savings Bonds are at a 25 year high. Are these a good alternative to stocks right now? – BaronHK’s Rants

        US Savings Bonds. If you were a kid in the 90s and you had parents that wanted to teach you about investing and interest rates, they probably took you down to the bank to buy some with your allowance or paper route money.

        Or maybe you got one when you won the spelling bee at school. You probably thought it was pretty lame back then. Instead of a Nintendo game, you had a bond that you had to hold onto to cash in at some point in the future. With interest, but kids, and many adults today, demand instant gratification. And compounding interest is a force of nature, but it accumulates over time.

        With the Federal Reserve Bank System keeping interest rates low, ostensibly to “stimulate” the economy, but really just continuing to “hit” a flatlined patient long after the doctors should have called the time, it’s time to consider income-based investments.

        The stock market is down. It’s still massively overvalued. We’re back to valuations we haven’t seen since the 90s, and it’s taking lots of inflation to keep this show apparently on the road. It’s like Japan’s Lost Decade.

      • Review of Jerry app for car insurance quotes. – BaronHK’s Rants

        I got an ad on Facebook for an app called Jerry, to compare car insurance quotes. I tried it out so you don’t have to.

        I’m currently with Metromile, and I doubt anyone will do much better.

        It turns out that the Jerry app doesn’t do much better.

        It claims it found you “savings”, but then when you look at the quotes, they’re actually for state minimum policies from questionable companies.

        At first, Jerry told me it could get me a policy for $27 a month with Mercury Insurance, based in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

        But when I told it to quote me with the level of coverage I had with Metromile, it would actually be $57 a month. $17 more, on an average month.

      • The millionth reason to NEVER buy “your” next car

        Operating costs, pollution, countless hours spent in traffic or hunting for parking spots, driving getting less glamourous every year… for hundreds of millions of people there are already LOTS of reason to stop owning a car, or to never do it if they are young. This year, another reason is getting closer: car companies hoping to make billions by charging monthly fees for add-on features like heated seats, that they could turn on or off remotely, depending on your payments:

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • [Old] Morocco: journalist Omar Radi sentenced to six years after unfair trial

        Responding to today’s sentencing of Moroccan journalist and government critic Omar Radi to six years in prison after a trial marred by blatant breaches of due process in relation to charges of espionage and rape, Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said:

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Digital Right to Repair Coalition Letter of Support – House
      • Digital Right to Repair Coalition Letter of Support – Senate

        On behalf of the Digital Right to Repair Coalition (“The Repair Association”), an organization representing over 400 member companies across a variety of industries, I’m writing to ask for your support of consumer choice and right to repair by advancing H.R.3664 – Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act. The Repair Association is centered around a simple principle: consumers should have the right to repair the products they own. We believe that competition is an essential component of any market, including automotive repairs, and is better for consumers. We are dedicated to fighting against anti-competitive practices that stifle innovation, restrict small businesses, and disadvantage consumers, regardless of industry.

        Right to repair is a growing, consumers-first movement that is expanding as more people recognize that the law should put consumers first. Growing momentum around repair restrictions for electronics and consumer appliances has spurred companies like Microsoft and Apple to commit to take action to expand their repair offerings. There’s much more work to be done. According to a new national survey from the CAR Coalition, an overwhelming majority (78%) of vehicle-owning voters support federal right to repair legislation that protects against design patent abuse in the automotive industry, such as the SMART Act, and makes vehicle data more readily available. The Repair Association believes the SMART Act is an essential step forward in answering consumers’ call for stronger right to repair protections in the automotive repair industry and would serve as an example to other industries.

      • This Week in Right to Repair

        Right to Repair legislation is clearing new milestones as never before. We are 4 for 4 in committee hearings so far this year. MA, NE, MN and WA are moving ahead in the legislative process with increasingly strong support.

        More legislation was officially filed this week as well. Georgia filed a comprehensive Right to Repair bill, Maryland did the same. Colorado filed a wheelchair right to repair measure and Michigan added their efforts for farmers. This brings the total number of states with active legislation to 21 – far ahead of our expectations in what is normally an “off” year.

        Also new this week are several new federal efforts that have been in the works for several months. Rep Mondaire Jones (D-NY) and Rep Victoria Spartz (R-IN) teamed up in a non-partisan effort intended to remove the last lingering copyright office limitations on repair and repair tools.

[Meme] Wrong People Given Too Much Power

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 7:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Convicted? In the EPO I'm immune

Patrick Bateman explaining: It's not what it looks like, I had to break the law to protect patent law

Summary: When the EPO lets a "Parcel of Rogues" run things for personal gain and/or occasional ego trips Europe as a whole (and scientific professions worldwide) will suffer profoundly

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXXII: A Parcel of Rogues?

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Law, Patents at 6:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal
  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…
  16. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper
  17. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVII: The Non-Monolithic Nordic Bloc
  18. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki’s Accord
  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States
  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group
  21. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”
  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League – North Macedonia and Albania
  23. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League – Bulgaria
  24. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League – Romania
  25. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXV: The Balkan League – Fresh Blood or Same Old, Same Old?
  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVI: A Trojan Horse on the Budget and Finance Committee
  27. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVII: Cypriot Complicity
  28. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVIII: Benoît and António’s Loyal “Habibi”
  29. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXXX: The EPOnian Micro-States – Monaco and Malta
  30. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXX: San Marino and the Perfidious Betrayal of Liberty
  31. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXI: The Abstentionists
  32. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXII: “Plucky Little Belgium”?
  33. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIII: Swedish Scepticism
  34. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIV: An “Extremely Dubious” Proposal
  35. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXV: Slovakian Scruples
  36. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVI: Serbian Sour Grapes
  37. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVII: Stubbornly Independent Slovenia
  38. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVIII: Ensnared in the Tentacles of the SAZAS Octopus
  39. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIX: On the Slippery Slope to Capture
  40. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXX: The Idiosyncratic Italians
  41. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXXI: Public Service or Self-Service?
  42. YOU ARE HERE ☞ A Parcel of Rogues?

Annual meeting of Visegrád IPOs
Group photo of the annual meeting of Visegrád IPOs and “friends” including Friedrich Rödler from Austria (front row, left) and Željko Topić from Croatia (front row, second from left). Location: Bled, Slovenia, October 2011.

Summary: Some convicted criminals serving on the EPO‘s Administrative Council have enabled Benoît Battistelli‘s abuses and not much has changed under António Campinos; they moreover misuse the EPO’s immunity

The overall impression of the Administrative Council during the Battistelli era is that of a body dominated by an ad hoc "crony network" of self-serving officials who managed to steer the organisation and its executive branch, the European Patent Office, into very perilous waters.

Rather than serving the common good, their main concern appears to have been to line their own pockets at public expense and in collusion with the other “compliant” members of their peer group.

Finland, the home of the “good brother” crony network, provides one of the most striking examples of such behaviour in the person of Martti Enäjärvi.

“Another example of an Administrative Council delegate with an inflated sense of self-entitlement was Friedrich Rödler, who served as Director-General of the Austrian Patent Office between 2005 and 2015.”Enäjärvi was the former head of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office who was forced to retire in June 2010 and was subsequently convicted on charges related to the misuse of his official credit card in December 2011.

Another example of an Administrative Council delegate with an inflated sense of self-entitlement was Friedrich Rödler, who served as Director-General of the Austrian Patent Office between 2005 and 2015.

In addition to his generous remuneration as Director-General, Rödler received an additional salary for a period of eight years between 2005 and 2013. He received this second salary in his capacity as the managing director of serv.ip, a partially autonomous unit of the Austrian Patent Office, under an arrangement whose illegality was confirmed by the Austrian Supreme Court in 2016. To this day it remains unclear whether or not the Austrian state managed to reclaim the public funds which Rödler misappropriated in this manner.

Rödler was more fortunate than his Finnish counterpart Enäjärvi because he managed to avoid the ignominy of a criminal sanction for his "double-dipping" behaviour.

Also worthy of mention here is the former head of the Danish delegation, Jesper Kongstad.

During his seven-year stint as Chairman of the EPO Administrative Council – between July 2010 and September 2017 – Kongstad was rumoured to have been in receipt of a tax-free “top-up” salary. According to reliable inside sources, Kongstad’s “second salary” was paid to him by the Human Resources Department of the EPO as part of a secret pact concluded with Battistelli in 2010.

In October 2016, it was reported that Kongstad had been reported to the national tax authorities in Denmark in connection with the “hush money” he was rumoured to receive from Team Battistelli.

Like Rödler, Kongstad was fortunate enough to avoid judicial sanction for the misconduct of which he was suspected. He was simply put out to grass as discreetly as possible by the Danish government in 2017.

EPO's most prominent double-dippers
Public service or self-service ? Some of the Administrative Council’s most prominent “double-dippers”.
From l. to r.: Martti Enäjärvi (FI), Friederich Rödler (AT) and Jesper Kongstad (DK).

In their home countries, the excesses of such individuals are usually curtailed by regulatory and corrective mechanisms – in other words the typical systems of checks and balances that exist in states where the rule of law is respected and enforced.

These mechanisms include independent statutory supervisory and audit procedures, along with parliamentary oversight and public scrutiny via the media.

“In their home countries, the excesses of such individuals are usually curtailed by regulatory and corrective mechanisms – in other words the typical systems of checks and balances that exist in states where the rule of law is respected and enforced.”As an ultima ratio, there are criminal law enforcement agencies and courts of law which can impose judicial sanctions in cases of proven misconduct.

Of course the corrective mechanisms that exist at a national level do not always work as intended. Indeed, they are often less rigorous and effective than one might hope at detecting and deterring such misconduct. This is particularly so in the case of states which lack mature rule-of-law traditions, such as those which emerged in Eastern European following the fall of the Soviet Union.

A good example of such regulatory failure is provided by the case of Željko Topić which will be familiar to readers of Techrights.

Topić originally hails from Banja Luka in the Bosnian Republika Srpska zone of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the early 1990s he moved to Zagreb in Croatia where he managed to carve out a career for himself as a purported "IP doyen" in the Balkan region.

Despite its “captured state” reputation, Croatia was permitted to join the EPO in 2008. It also managed to qualify for EU membership in July 2013 but since then it has been reported as “backsliding” on corruption.

During his tenure as director of the Croatian State Institute for Intellectual Property, Topić was accused of numerous abuses. However, due to the dysfunctional justice system in his home country, together with the political protection which he received from the Croatian President Ivo Josipović, Topić was never properly held to account for his alleged misdeeds.

Željko Topić and Friedrich Rödler
Željko Topić in Tallinn (March 2012) flanked by his “good brothers”, Miklos Bendzsel (l.) from Hungary and Friedrich Rödler (r.) from Austria.

As things were getting hot for Topić in Zagreb in 2012, he was rescued by Battistelli who personally sponsored his appointment as an EPO Vice-President. (warning: epo.org link)

According to EPO insiders, when some Council delegates had the temerity to question Topić’s suitability for the post during the selection procedure in March 2012, Battistelli threw a hissy-fit and threatened to resign if “his” candidate was not appointed.

“According to EPO insiders, when some Council delegates had the temerity to question Topić’s suitability for the post during the selection procedure in March 2012, Battistelli threw a hissy-fit and threatened to resign if “his” candidate was not appointed.”The majority of the Council delegates capitulated to Battistelli’s demands and the rest, as they say, is history.

Topić departed from the EPO in December 2018 and returned to Zagreb where he now masquerades as a “European Patent Attorney” despite never having acquired the necessary professional qualification.

Topić’s case is rather exceptional and it seems to be a result of the particular political circumstances that prevail in Croatia and other "captured states".

In more mature democratic polities where the rule of law is respected, the existing checks and balances normally function in a sufficiently effective manner to rein in the excesses of such “rogue” officials and prevent them from spiralling too far out of control.

As we shall see in the next part, things are significantly different in the legal no-man’s land where international organisations like the EPO operate.

10,000 LOCs

Posted in Site News at 11:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

10,000 LOCs

Summary: As shown above, based on our official page, today we crossed another noteworthy milestone; We’re (collectively, as Geminispace) also approaching 1,700 active capsules now, based on Lupa’s list and tally, which today says: “We successfully connected recently to 1681 of them.” There’s an announcement to be made quite soon regarding access to Gemini.

Links 5/2/2022: Qubes OS 4.1.0 and Ultimate Edition 7.5?

Posted in News Roundup at 9:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 refreshes Kudu Linux laptop with Ryzen 7 CPU and up to 64GB RAM

        System76 has been selling Linux-powered laptop and desktop computers for years, some of which are based on ODM designs, and some with original designs. Now the company has a brand new high-end workstation laptop ready for nearly everything you can throw at it, complete with full support for desktop Linux.

        System76 announced the new ‘Kudu’ laptop on Tuesday (via Ars Technica), which is definitely more of a desktop replacement workstation than an ultrabook. Measuring 14.21 × 10.16 × 1.14 inches (36.09 × 25.81 × 2.90 cm) and weighing in at 4.85 lbs (2.20 kg), it’s equipped with a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, a 15.6-inch 1080p 144Hz display, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, and a whole bunch of ports. System76 says the battery is user-replaceable, which is becoming increasingly rare on laptops.

    • Server

      • Steve Kemp: Removing my last server?

        In the past I used to run a number of virtual machines, or dedicated hosts. Currently I’m cut things down to only a single machine which I’m planning to remove.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • SuperTux Gnu/Noot! Noot!

        I’ve said for ages that I wanted to play SuperTux the platformer not SuperTux Kart the racer and that’s finally happening today, I have no idea how long the game is but I know it’s been in development for year.

      • Going Linux #418 · Keyboard Shortcuts

        Many Linux distributions provide keyboard shortcuts which, by pressing a combination of keys, help you do things that normally require a mouse, trackpad, or another input device. This episode provides a comparison of some of these keyboard shortcuts with those you might have used in your previous operating system.

    • Applications

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to SAS/GRAPH

        SASSAS/GRAPH is a data visualization tool that lets you create effective, attention-grabbing graphs. It consists of a collection of procedures that let you produce a variety of charts, plots, 3-D scatter/surface plots, contour plots, and maps with user-defined data.

        SAS is proprietary software. What are the best free and open source alternatives to SAS/GRAPH?

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Enabling Fedora 35 Virtualization on an Ampere based machine | Adam Young’s Web Log

        I have a fresh install of Fedora 35 on a lab machine. I want to run a virtual machine on it. I have ssh access to the root account and a public key copied over.

      • How to Install LAMP Server on Amazon Linux 2 – JumpCloud

        LAMP is a term used to describe a set of open source software that, when combined, are used to support high-performance web applications, and its arguably one of the most widely used stacks for this purpose. It’s an acronym for Linux, Apache, MariaDB/MySQL, and PHP. It comprises three components (the Apache web server, MariaDB or MySQL relational database, and the PHP scripting language) residing on an operating system (Linux).

      • Wallpaper buglet fixed

        When EasyOS is built in woofQ, the default wallpaper is named ‘default.jpg’ or ‘default.png’. At bootup, the script /root/.xinitrc, that starts the X desktop, runs /usr/sbin/background_reshape, that truncates the current wallpaper image, top and bottom, so that it will fit whatever is your widescreen proportions.

        This truncated image is saved in a sub-directory, in my case it is /usr/share/backgrounds/177/default.jpg

        Fine, except at a version update, /usr/share/backgrounds/default.jpg has changed, but the generated one in folder ’177′ is still that of the previous version of Easy. Hence, the old wallpaper displays on the screen.

      • Louis-Philippe Véronneau – Migrating from ledger to hledger

        I first started using ledger — the original plain-text accounting software — in 2017. Since then, I had been pretty happy with my accounting routine, but grew a little annoyed by the repetitive manual work I had to do to assign recurring transactions to the right account.

        To make things easier, I had a collection of bash scripts to parse and convert the CSV files from my bank’s website1 into ledger entries. They were of course ugly, unreadable piles of sed-grep-regex and did not let met achieve the automation complexity I longed for.

      • How to install FreeCAD on a Chromebook

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

    • Games

      • Beyond Mankind: The Awakening Old School Action RPG Is Out Now on Linux

        Beyond Mankind: The Awakening is an old-school role playing game (RPG) that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Developed by an independent team, the video game sports immersive RPG mechanics, a rich and dynamic world, tense combat, complex social interactions, as well as an intriguing and dark narrative.

        The video game also features unique character generation, real dilemmas, challenging survival mechanics, and 3D inventory management. Under the hood, it is written using the powerful and cross-platform Unity game engine developed by Unity Technologies.

      • Dying Light 2 Stay Human is out and works well on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Dying Light 2 will be easily one of the biggest releases this year and the good news is that it works on Linux without any messing around. Note: personal purchase.

        Tested with Steam Play Proton (specifically Proton Experimental), so far the experience has been pretty good, although with a caveat that I’ve yet to try co-op. At least as far as single-player goes, it works really well. Interestingly for a lot of players on Windows, the game just crashed trying to start the game – no such problem here on Linux.

        Showing the true power of Proton as a compatibility layer, having such a high-profile release working out of the box on day-1 is a really fantastic thing for Linux. The original Dying Light is also one of my favourite open-world Zombie-smashers, so it’s quite exciting to get to run through Dying Light 2 right away like this.

      • Steam Deck Verified and Playable Games Cross the 250 Titles Mark

        Yet another update as things keep accelerating. Steam Deck Verified and Playable games just reached a total of 251 titles during our last refresh.

      • GPD Win 3: The Tide-Me-Over for the Steam Deck?

        The GPD (Gamepad Digital) Win 3 is a handheld PC manufactured in (you guessed it) Shenzhen, China. Impatient me didn’t want to wait for the Steam Deck, so I got this in the meantime. Sure, the Deck starts shipping just a month from now, but I’m in the Q2 category, so for all I know I could be waiting until June.


        Suspend didn’t work under ChimeraOS. I either had to keep the device on or just shut it down completely.


        After borking my ChimeraOS install (by running sudo frzr-unlock to unlock the immutable file system, then sudo pacman -Syu to upgrade the packages. Pretty dumb of me to do that), I went on to try Arch. Installation was also pretty painless here, but I had to apply the same tweaks as before to get audio working. I also had to correct the screen orientation, as it was in portrait mode, and install the touchscreen driver in order to get it to work. Then I just installed steamos-compositor-plus so I could get that console-like experience.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Discover redesign has begun

          We have put the finishing touches on Plasma 5.24 and started to work on 5.25 stuff, with two big improvements already merged: keyboard navigation for Panels, and the start of Discover’s UI redesign! Check those out below…

    • Distributions

      • pupX fixed

        pupX is a GUI to set various properties of the X server. It is to be found in the “Desktop” menu category.

        One popular use is to set mouse acceleration; however, that is broken.

      • New Releases

        • Qubes OS 4.1.0 has been released! | Qubes OS

          At long last, the Qubes 4.1.0 stable release has arrived! The culmination of years of development, this release brings a host of new features, major improvements, and numerous bug fixes. Read on to find out what’s new, how to install or upgrade to the new release, and all the noteworthy changes it includes.

      • Gentoo Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • GeckoLinux Pantheon | Review from an openSUSE User – CubicleNate’s Techpad

          GeckoLinux is the easy button for openSUSE. They give you a fantastic package of openSUSE in whatever flavor you choose. I would actually prefer if they just used the openSUSE branding but I understand why this is not included by default. Thankfully, it’s easy to just plug those things in as you see fit to give you the openSUSE joy you may want.

          I really like what GeckoLinux is doing. I have but only two simple recommendations to make it a better out-of-box experience: Adding GNOME Software and the elementary-sideload packages. Having those installed by default would be a vast improvement on the user experience.

          There is something unique and compelling about selecting your desktop environment in a simple, single ISO download. I chose Pantheon because it is the GTK based desktop that seems to have its own unique special sauce that you just don’t get from other DEs. Although it is not my cup of tea, it is the fancy “pinky out” as you sip sort which makes it fun to try out from time to time. GeckoLinux makes it easy to take a tour of an openSUSE Flavored Pantheon, and that alone is a compelling prospect.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Pixel testing update — Cockpit Project

          Since May last year, the Cockpit integration tests contain “pixel tests”, as described here. Let’s have a look at what has happened since then.


          Right now, we have 52 pixel tests in Cockpit itself, 20 in Cockpit-machines, and 5 in Cockpit-podman. Each pixel test has a reference image for three layouts, so we have 231 of them, totalling about 10 MiB. The Git repository with all their history is about 22 MiB, for nine months of pixel testing. (The main Cockpit repository is about 110 MiB, for about nine years of hacking.)

          Pixel tests are kind of slow, up to a few seconds per image comparison. They might increase the running time of our tests by a couple of minutes. We will have to measure this more carefully.

        • Copr: Highlights
        • Fedora Community Blog: Friday’s Fedora Facts: 2022-05

          Here’s your weekly Fedora report. Read what happened this week and what’s coming up. Your contributions are welcome (see the end of the post)!


          The table below lists proposed Changes. See the ChangeSet page or Bugzilla for information on approved Changes.

        • Impacts from a new reality drive the need for an enhanced digital identity framework

          Since digital payments are becoming increasingly popular, users are perhaps more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks than ever before. The answer to this increased risk? A self-sovereign identity (SSI)—especially for the financial services sector.

        • Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus Adds Data Foundation
      • Debian Family

        • Debian on an x86_64 tablet

          Recently I got an older Intel tablet, specifically the mpman Converter 102. It is one of the devices that have a 64-bit processor but a 32-bit UEFI. This makes booting normal linux distribution images impossible. This device had another limitation, it didn’t have a menu to boot from USB.

        • Meet Una, a Full-Featured MPR (AUR Fork) Helper for Debian and Ubuntu-Based Distros

          If you’re not familiar with MPR, let me tell you that it’s a fork of Arch Linux‘s AUR (Arch User Repository) designed to work on Debian GNU/Linux and derivatives like Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Pop!_OS Linux. Just like AUR, the MPR packages use the classic PKGBUILD shell script to provide build information required to build the packages.

          In other words, MPR, which was launched a few months ago, will help you install third-party packages (or newer versions of packages) that aren’t available in the software repositories of your Debian or Ubuntu-based distribution.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ultimate Edition 7.5?

          Software is in works of doing my job for me, seems to be doing it “almost” flawlessly & quickly. A picture they say says 1,000 words. Let me write you a book.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Programming/Development

        • Beginner’s guide to R: Syntax quirks you’ll want to know

          R syntax can seem a bit quirky, especially if your frame of reference is, well, pretty much any other programming language. Here are some unusual traits of the language you may find useful to understand as you embark on your journey to learn R.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: corels 0.0.4 on CRAN: M1 Update

          An updated version of the corels package is now on CRAN! The ‘Certifiably Optimal RulE ListS (Corels)’ learner provides interpretable decision rules with an optimality guarantee.

          The change is (just like the previous one) chiefly an update to configure.ac in order to ensure R on M1 macOS finds the locally-added GNU GMP. Our thanks to the infatiguable Brian Ripley for the heads-up even containing the two needed assignments to LD and CPPFLAGS..

        • Python

          • CadQuery Comes Of Age | Hackaday

            Now, we know what some of you are going to say — “Oh man, not another programmatic CAD tool, what’s wrong with OpenSCAD?” — and you may be right, but maybe hold on a bit and take a look at this one, because we think that it’s now pretty awesome! OpenSCAD is great, we use it all the time round these parts, but it is a bit, you know, weird in places. Then along comes CadQuery, and blows it out of the water ease-of-use and functionality wise. Now, we’ve seen a few mentions of CadQuery over the years, and finally it’s become a full-blown toolset in its own right, complete with a graphical frontend/editor, CQ-editor. No odd dependencies on FreeCAD to be seen! That said, installing FreeCAD is not a bad thing either.

  • Leftovers

    • Dispatch from Belize

      Meanwhile Belize provides no escape from the news cycle. As investigation into the roots of the Big Lie of a rigged U.S. presidential election deepens, a completely different Big Lie continues to muddle global superpower conflicts: the Lie that enough military force can ensure security.

      The nuclear superpowers, confronted with how to respond to each other at points of tension like Ukraine and Taiwan, are certain that readiness for mass nuclear murder will deter rivals and help them get their way.

    • California’s Red Counties
    • Thomas Mann’s Sexual Politics Revisited

      Mann is back in the news now because of his fascinating connections and disconnections to Germany and the US, as well as his books, including Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man, originally published during World War I and republished by the New York Review in 2021. Mann must have meant the title to be ironic. Politics was in his bloodt. Now, also there’s a new novel about Mann titled The Magician, by Colm Tóibín, a professor at Columbia and the author of a novel titled The Master about Henry James.

      The bourgeois, anti-fascist Thomas Mann is worth reading or rereading today. His books will likely distract you, entertain you and make you more conscious of the human condition.

    • Inside ProPublica’s Article Layout Framework

      Editorial design is a many-splendored thing. Cliché as it may be to say a picture is worth a thousand words, there’s no denying that even the most skillful and vivid deployment of the written word can benefit from a thoughtful visual presentation. Photography, illustration and video can humanize a story’s characters. Charts, graphs and other data visualizations clarify complicated concepts. Typography and color set an emotional tone. And bringing cohesive form to it all is perhaps the most invisible and least understood aspect of editorial design: layout.

    • 3D Printing Goes Near Infrared | Hackaday

      Researchers at the University of Texas have been experimenting with optical 3D printing using near infrared (NIR) light instead of the more traditional ultraviolet. They claim to have a proof of concept and, apparently, using NIR has many advantages. The actual paper is paywalled, but there are several good summaries, including one from [3D Printing Industry].

      UV light degrades certain materials and easily scatters in some media. However, decreasing the wavelength of light used in 3D printing has its own problems, notably less resolution and slower curing speed. To combat this, the researchers used an NIR-absorbant cyanine dye that exhibits rapid photocuring. The team reports times of 60 seconds per layer and resolution as high as 300 micrometers. Nanoparticles in the resin allow tuning of the part’s appearance and properties.

    • Why Rubber is Such a Problem for Retro Computing Enthusiasts

      Many retro computing enthusiasts have to deal with the headaches of decayed rubber and plastics. Here’s some advice from museum professionals and lab members.


      I would’ve loved to claim I was targeted by Big Rubber while working on this piece; alas, it was nothing more than a chemical process. It all started with an attempt to restore an early-1990s Macintosh, during which I discovered that many of those Macs came with hard drives which turn faulty due to a degrading rubber dampener. A bit later, the rubberized sides of my vintage HP iPAQ handheld were discovered to be cracked. Newer devices were prone to degradation, too: this Christmas, I have inadvertently gifted a Nixon watch with a soft-touch coating which turned oily and sticky. With rubber decay being so widespread, is there some advice which museum professionals and people in academia can share? Let’s find out.

    • Science

      • Retrotechtacular: Understanding The Strength Of Structural Shapes | Hackaday

        Strength. Rigidity. Dependability. The ability to bear weight without buckling. These are all things that we look for when we build a mechanical structure. And in today’s Retrotechtacular we take a closer look at the answer to a question: “What’s in A Shape?”

        As it turns out, quite a lot. In a wonderful film by the prolific Jam Handy Organization in the 1940’s, we take a scientific look at how shape affects the load bearing capacity of a beam. A single sided piece of metal, angle iron, C-channel, and boxed tubing all made of the same thickness metal are compared to see not just just how much load they can take, but also how they fail.

        The concepts are then given practical application in things that we still deal with on a daily basis: Bridges, cars, aircraft, and buildings. Aircraft spars, bridge beams, car frames, and building girders all benefit from the engineering discussed in this time capsule of film.

      • New Study Reveals How Octopuses May Have Been Extraterrestrial Organisms From Space

        For years, scientists have speculated that a passing comet may have given the fundamental seeds of life to Earth, but a startling new idea posits that far greater forms of life may have arrived from space. According to one scientific belief, octopuses are extraterrestrial organisms developed on another planet.

    • Education

      • Economists Say Raise Pay to Solve Public School Staffing Crisis

        A new report out Thursday documents growing staffing shortages in public K-12 schools throughout the U.S. and makes clear that the crisis cannot be solved without raising pay and investing in the education workforce—starting by using unspent federal Covid-19 relief funds as a “down payment.”

        According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which first presented its research last week to a task force of the American Federation of Teachers, employment in public elementary and secondary schools decreased by nearly 5% overall from fall 2019 to fall 2021. The number of people employed as teachers fell by 6.8%, bus drivers by 14.6%, and custodians by 6%.

      • Biden Education Dept. Reverses on Student Debt Case After Reporting Stirred Outrage

        In a boon for both student borrowers and investigative reporting, the U.S. Department of Education on Friday announced a reversal related to student loan court challenge just two days after The Daily Poster revealed the Biden administration was trying to “bolster a legal precedent against millions of debtors being crushed by bankruptcy laws.”

        A Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the administration will now withdraw a notice of appeal filed last month after a federal judge in Delaware ruled in favor of providing 35-year-old Ryan Wolfson, an epileptic man who struggled to find full-time employment, with nearly $100,000 in student loan relief.

    • Hardware

      • Automakers continue to see chip-supply carnage • The Register

        Jaguar Land Rover, the custodian of those iconic British car brands owned by India’s Tata Motors, this week announced lost £9m in the final quarter of 2021 in part down to the global semiconductor shortage which followed the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

        JLR said retail sales fell nearly 38 per cent on a year earlier, although revenue was up by 22 per cent to £4.7bn.

        The company said passenger car production in most markets had been hit by the continuing supply shortage of semiconductors. The shortages were likely to continue throughout 2022, it added.

      • Modular Synth Pairs Perfectly With The Apple II | Hackaday

        We have a soft spot for synthesizers – seriously, who doesn’t? So when [Joshua Coleman] combined his retro-looking DIY modular synth with the equally retro Apple II computer, we just had to share it with you.

        The two machines are paired using a vintage digital-to-analog logic controller pack. This DAC was originally used to control model trains using your Apple II – something that we now desperately need to see in action. The pack can output voltages between 0 and 2.55 V at 8-bit resolution (or 256 steps), which is plenty for a retro synth.

        With the card installed in Slot 7 of the Apple II and the DAC wired through to the synth’s CV/gate, it’s then a trivial matter of writing POKE statements in Applesoft BASIC to control the synth. The video after the break demonstrates playing a simple melody, as well as how one might use the Apple II keyboard to ‘play’ the synth in real time.

      • Conveyor Belt Printer Mod Is Nearly All Printed | Hackaday

        [Call Me Swal] wanted to experiment with large 3D prints. So he took a Hornet 3D printer and designed a lot of 3D parts to convert it into an “infinite” conveyor belt printer. It looks like — as you can see in the video below — that all the parts are 3D printed but you will still need to buy material for the actual belt.

        Of course, you may not have a Hornet, but the idea would be applicable to just about any similar printer. You’d have to, of course, adapt or redesign the parts.

        If you haven’t encountered belt printers before, you might think it is as simple as putting a conveyor belt in place of the heated bed. Some early belt printers worked that way, and they were mainly meant for printing normal parts and then dumping them into a bin so you could print again without operator intervention.

      • Adafruit Hack Chat Helps You Copy That Floppy | Hackaday

        Now here comes the tricky part: unless you happen to have a 1990s vintage computer laying around, getting these drives hooked up is decidedly non-trivial. Which is why Adafruit have been researching how to interface the drives with modern microcontrollers. This includes the Adafruit_Floppy project, which aims to port the well known Greaseweazle and FluxEngine firmwares to affordable MCUs like the Raspberry Pi Pico. There’s also been promising developments with bringing native floppy support to CircuitPython, which would make reading these disks as easy as writing a few lines of code.

      • 3D Printed Radiation Shields Get Put To The Test | Hackaday

        Don’t get too excited, a 3D printed radiation shield won’t keep you from getting irradiated during WWIII. But until the Doomsday Clock starts clanging its midnight bell, you can use one to improve the accuracy of your homebrew weather monitoring station by keeping the sun from heating up your temperature sensor. But how much does it help, and what material should you load up in your extruder to make one? Those questions, and more, are the topic of a fascinating whitepaper included in the upcoming volume of HardwareX.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Clean Water? It’s Too Demanding and Expensive

        As a recent editorial penned by Bozeman Chronicle Editorial Board pointed out, Senate Bill 358, passed earlier this year, requires the state move from objective, “numeric” standards for determining water quality to amorphous, subjective “narrative” standards for that determination — essentially from measurable objective standards to something more ambiguous.

        These water quality standards are important, because they regulate the flow of nutrients into rivers — things like nitrogen and phosphorus, pollutants that promote the growth of algae and other plant life that degrade water quality and fish habitat.

      • The Pandemic Showed the Necessity of National Health Care

        One the one hand, the federal government has been actively intervening to help people avoid COVID-19 or recover from it. On the other, it’s standing by as Americans struggle with other ailments, exposing the vast fissures of a broken system.

        The government’s pandemic response has been imperfect but successful in many respects. Are there lessons for how we treat other diseases?

      • Mom sues social media giants for allegedly driving her 11-year-old daughter to suicide

        Amid the ongoing debate over the effects social media has on teens and children, a Connecticut mother filed a lawsuit last month against Meta and Snap for allegedly causing the tragic death of her 11-year-old daughter.

        In the lawsuit, mom Tammy Rodriguez claims that the “defective design, negligence and unreasonable dangerous features” of Meta and Snap’s products led her daughter, Selena Rodriguez, to die by suicide last July.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • A Change by Apple Is Tormenting Internet Companies, Especially Meta

          Meta’s warning and its cratering stock price were reminders that even among tech giants, Apple holds extraordinary sway because of its control of the iPhone. And the tech industry received a clear notice that a long-planned shift in how people’s information may be used online was having a dramatic impact on Madison Avenue and [Internet] companies that have spent years building businesses around selling ads.

        • A Guide to Audio Damage’s VST Plugins and How to Use Them

          Each Audio Damage VST is a little different and has its own look, style, and workflow. They’re all available in VST or AU format for macOS, Windows, and Ubuntu/Linux. The demo versions are fully functional for 20 minutes at a time and do not save presets.

        • Update takes down Microsoft 365 Admin Portal • The Register

          Microsoft’s legendary approach to quality was demonstrated this morning as the Microsoft 365 Admin Portal fell over.

          Without a hint of irony, the company posted: “We’ve identified a recent service update designed to improve user experience is causing impact.”

          The impact in question was an inability to access the admin portal, something unlikely to affect an end user pootling around in Excel, but a huge headache for an administrator trying to manage their tenant.

        • Security

          • Vulnerabilities that aren’t. ETag headers | Pen Test Partners

            This time we’re looking at the ETag (Entity Tag) header. I take some of the blame for this one as I first added a dissector of the header to Nikto’s headers plugin back in 2008, then other scanners added it.


            This is a vulnerability that can reveal what could be deemed to be confidential information in very rare circumstances but is mostly “meh”.

            This isn’t to say you shouldn’t worry about it, but this is where the rest of the environment comes into consideration.

            If it is on an Internet facing web server then there is no real risk. However, if the web server is internal and has other legacy services (such as NFS running) then maybe think about altering that FileETag directive so the header doesn’t export ETags.

          • Suspected Chinese spies break into cloud accounts of News Corp journalists

            Online work accounts of News Corporation journalists were broken into by snoops seemingly with ties to China, it was claimed today.

            Rupert Murdoch’s empire announced the security breach on Friday, describing it as a “persistent cyber-attack,” and saying it had hired Mandiant to figure out what happened. It is believed the intruders were seeking messages, files and other internal information for Beijing’s spymasters.

            The intrusion was discovered on January 20, the corporation’s flagship British newspaper The Times reported this afternoon. The cyber-attack “included the targeting of emails and documents of some employees, including journalists,” wrote defense editor Larisa Brown.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Iowa Republican Authors Bill Demanding Cameras in Every Classroom in State
            • Opinion | Senators Have Re-Introduced the Highly Unpopular EARN IT Bill That Would Scan All Online Messages

              People don’t want outsiders reading their private messages—not their physical mail, not their texts, not their DMs, nothing. It’s a clear and obvious point, but one place it doesn’t seem to have reached is the U.S. Senate.

            • Google’s Surveillance Advertising Model under Attack on Both Sides of the Atlantic for Its Deep Privacy Problems

              Previous posts on PIA blog have mentioned that there were attempts to bring in a DSA ban for all micro-targeted advertising based on surveillance. That has failed, but the European Parliament does want some limitations on the kind of data that can be used for ad targeting. Sensitive information relating to a person’s political and religious beliefs, as well as their sexual orientation would be excluded. In addition, the MEPs voted to impose a complete ban on using surveillance advertising to target young people online. There are other important requirements in this area:

            • Effort Underway To Have Chile Add Access To Knowledge, Digital Sovereignty, And Privacy To Chilean Constitution

              Chile is in the middle of creating a new constitution — a process that seems fraught with both huge potential and tremendous risks, especially trying to do it amidst domestic social upheaval (though, I guess that’s when most constitutions tend to be written). A process is in place and 155 people are apparently been tasked with creating this new constitution. Apparently, part of the process is open to an element of crowdsourcing, in that people can submit and vote on certain proposals, meaning that a set of three proposals regarding the internet have been put forth:

            • Facebook is staring down a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges that will define its future

              Still, the decline in Facebook users says a lot about the power of choice and hints at the fallibility of a social media platform that has been ubiquitous in internet culture for nearly two decades.

            • Facebook users drop, while metaverse runs up a tab

              Why it matters: The numbers reinforce the sense, inside and outside the company, that the Facebook social network is now a legacy product for Meta, where the focus has shifted to newer realms like messaging, Instagram video and the metaverse.

            • 6 Reasons Meta Is in Trouble

              Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, suffered its biggest one-day wipeout ever on Thursday as its stock plummeted 26 percent and its market value plunged by more than $230 billion.

              Its crash followed a dismal earnings report on Wednesday, when Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, laid out how the company was navigating a tricky transition from social networking toward the so-called virtual world of the metaverse. On Thursday, a company spokesman reiterated statements from its earnings announcement and declined to comment further.

              Here are six reasons that Meta is in a difficult spot.

            • Certain risks of drones were wildly exhagerated

              That’s why we have already flocked to doorbell cameras for the police, that expose bad parenting, with the same defects of social media.

              And that’s why we are now going to adopt spying streetlights.

              All stuff that does the same surveillance as drones, just much more cheaply and discreetly. Smart cities, these are not.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Another Banner Year for the Military-Industrial Complex

        Twenty twenty-one was another banner year for the military-industrial complex, as Congress signed off on a near-record $778 billion in spending for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy. That was $25 billion more than the Pentagon had even asked for.

      • Ex-Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke Freed Early over Murdering Laquan McDonald; Activists Seek Fed Charges

        We go to Chicago, where protests erupted Thursday over the early release of the white ex-police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of killing a Black 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald in 2014. Van Dyke — who was the first police officer in the United States to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting — was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison but was freed early for “good behavior” after only serving a little over three years of his sentence. He was only convicted of murder a year after the shooting, when community activists pushed the Chicago police to release video footage of the incident showing Van Dyke shooting McDonald in the back 16 times as the teen was walking away from the scene. We speak with community organizer Will Calloway, who pushed for the video’s release, and activist Justin Blake, uncle of police shooting victim Jacob Blake, who supports calls for Attorney General Merrick Garland to bring federal civil rights charges against Van Dyke. The two were both arrested and federally charged after joining the protests on Thursday.

      • RNC Censures Cheney, Kinzinger, Calls Jan. 6 “Legitimate Political Discourse”
      • Biden vs Cuba After Havana Syndrome

        While campaigning for President, Biden promised to undo Trump’s fresh mountain of sanctions while implying that the softer, Obama-era approach would be re-started.

        But Biden’s Cuba pledges evaporated like many other campaign promises. Not only has he continued Trump’s warlike approach to Cuba, Biden has taken additional actions that have led to widespread suffering for the average Cuban in a time of social crisis triggered by Covid.

      • GOP Declares Deadly Capitol Attack ‘Legitimate Political Discourse’

        Progressives expressed outrage Friday after the Republican National Committee formally declared the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election “legitimate political discourse.” 

        “Mark this day for future reference.” 

      • Close the Bases, Reduce US Wars Abroad

        Vine’s more recent book, titled The United States of War A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State, examines the role Pentagon bases around the world play in how and where the United States decides to go to war. In addiiton to providing a history of US wars, it is Vine’s well-supported contention that the plethora and the placement of these bases has not only made war more likely, they have made it easier for those who manage US wars. Furthermore, as Vine’s history makes clear, the placement of bases near potential profit-making resources provides a clear warning to other nations to leave those resources alone unless they want war.

        Vine begins his history of the US warfare state before the US nation’s inception. In other words, he accurately defines what some historians euphemistically call the westward expansion as the beginning of US colonialism. Picking up from where the European settlers left off when the US war for independence ended, the US military began its own march westward, killing the indigenous folks they couldn’t chase off and stealing the land they lived on. Sometimes it was the military that came first, but more often it was the military that followed so-called settlers into those lands to fight off the people the settlers had displaced. Either way, the process ensured and enabled the ongoing theft of indigenous lands all the way to the Pacific Coast. That land which wasn’t stolen by US settlers was either taken by force or bought from another colonizer what had no right to sell it (Louisiana Purchase comes to mind).

      • Opinion | Senator Menendez Is Sabotaging Diplomacy and Escalating Iran Warpath

        Sen. Bob Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, finally broke his relative silence Tuesday over the Biden administration’s ongoing negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal struck under the Obama administration. In so doing, the senator took up his role from 2015 as chief Democratic saboteur of the Iran nuclear negotiations right as U.S. and Iranian diplomats are claiming that the talks in Vienna are reaching their final stages. 

      • Western Lies and False Narratives About Ethiopia

        In all conflicts mainstream media plays a crucial role, often inflammatory, feeding the discord through a particular narrative. Western media claims it is independent, but this is fallacious; corporate owned or State sponsored, it is conditioned by a particular world-view, ideologically/politically, nationalistically, historically.

        After war erupted in Ethiopia in November 2020 western media have played a major role in spreading mis-/disinformation and, occasionally, outright lies. Together with foreign powers led by the United States, international human rights groups and elements within United Nations Agencies, they attacked and undermined the Ethiopian government.

      • Chomsky: US Approach to Ukraine Has “Left the Domain of Rational Discourse”
      • MintPress Study: NY Times, Washington Post Driving US to War with Russia Over Ukraine

        WASHINGTON – Amid tough talk from European and American leaders, a new MintPress study of our nation’s most influential media outlets reveals that it is the press that is driving the charge towards war with Russia over Ukraine. Ninety percent of recent opinion articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have taken a hawkish view on conflict, with anti-war voices few and far between. Opinion columns have overwhelmingly expressed support for sending U.S. weapons and troops to the region. Russia has universally been presented as the aggressor in this dispute, with media glossing over NATO’s role in amping tensions while barely mentioning the U.S. collaboration with Neo-Nazi elements within the Ukrainian ruling coalition. 

      • Defiant Pentagon Hides Poor Testing Results Behind Phony Firewall

        This effectively squashes debate and oversight of their programs. The costs come in the form of more expense, additional delays, and underperforming weapons in the hands of our military, which has and will cost lives.

        Nickolas H. Guertin, the Defense Department’s newly installed Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), wasted no time undermining his own office by going along with a scheme egged on by the military services to bury information about how the weapons they buy with taxpayer money are actually performing. Mr. Guertin endorsed his office’s new FY 2021 Annual Report, required by law, with wholesale deletions of presumably relevant material deemed not classified, but “Controlled Unclassified Information” (CUI), a category created during the Obama administration but not so dramatically exploited in these reports until now.

      • Special Privileges: Charlotte Bellis, Fortress New Zealand and the Taliban

        In theory, New Zealanders should have more claim to a right of return than their Trans-Tasman cousins. Australia lacks a charter or bill of rights that protects such entitlements; New Zealand does not. Article 18 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 outlines provisions on the freedom of movement, including the right for all New Zealand citizens to enter and leave the country.

        Australians can only rely on the mutable constructs of common law and weak judicial observations. At best, international law, fortified by Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, offer mild protections that have done little to make governments in Australia and New Zealand more tolerant of their returning citizens during these pandemic times.

      • What a Waste! $778 Billion for the Pentagon and Still Counting

        It can’t be emphasized enough just how many taxpayer dollars are now being showered on the Pentagon. That department’s astronomical budget adds up, for instance, to more than four times the cost of the most recent version of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which sparked such horrified opposition from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and other alleged fiscal conservatives. Naturally, they didn’t blink when it came to lavishing ever more taxpayer dollars on the military-industrial complex.

        Opposing Build Back Better while throwing so much more money at the Pentagon marks the ultimate in budgetary and national-security hypocrisy. The Congressional Budget Office has determined that, if current trends continue, the Pentagon could receive a monumental $7.3 trillion-plus over the next decade, more than was spent during the peak decade of the Afghan and Iraq wars, when there were up to 190,000 American troops in those two countries alone. Sadly, but all too predictably, President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops and contractors from Afghanistan hasn’t generated even the slightest peace dividend. Instead, any savings from that war are already being plowed into programs to counter China, official Washington’s budget-justifying threat of choice (even if outshone for the moment by the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine). And all of this despite the fact that the United States already spends three times as much as China on its military.

      • As Afghans Suffer, 44 Dems Join GOP to Block Assessment of US Sanctions

        A majority of House lawmakers on Thursday rejected a measure put forth by Rep. Pramila Jayapal that would have required an assessment of the humanitarian impact of the Biden administration’s economic sanctions on Afghanistan and the U.S. freezing nearly $10 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank.

        “This amendment is critical to ensure that our government doesn’t cause starvation and suffering abroad,” Jayapal (D-Wash.) said earlier Thursday.

      • Opinion | US Sanctions on Afghanistan Could Be Deadlier Than 20 Years of War

        Economic sanctions have, in recent years, become one of the most important tools of US foreign policy. There are currently more than 20 countries subjected to various sanctions from the US government.

      • “I Remember WMDs in Iraq”: Reporter Grills US Official on Russian Intel Claims
      • ‘I Remember WMDs in Iraq’: Reporter Calls Out US Official on Russian Intel Claims

        Veteran Associated Press reporter Matt Lee grilled a State Department spokesperson Thursday over the U.S. government’s refusal to provide direct evidence for its claim that Russia is planning to fabricate a mass casualty event as a pretext to invade Ukraine, an allegation that the Pentagon said is backed up by intelligence.

        During a press briefing, Lee asked the State Department’s Ned Price—a former CIA official—to furnish concrete proof of the government’s accusation, which suggests Russia is plotting an elaborate false flag attack involving a graphic “propaganda video… depicting corpses, crisis actors pretending to be mourners, and images of destroyed locations or military equipment.”

      • Suicide Bomber Who Killed U.S. Troops and Afghans “Likely” Used Unguarded Route to Kabul Airport Gate

        Days before the final withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, thousands of desperate Americans and Afghan allies seeking to flee the country were using unguarded routes across open fields and through narrow alleys to reach one of the only gates providing access to the Kabul airfield.

        Despite intelligence warning of terrorist attacks, U.S. military commanders encouraged use of the routes. Some U.S. officials even provided maps to evacuees trying to bypass Taliban fighters stationed at a checkpoint outside the airport.

      • Coups in Africa

        Coups in Africa had been declining for much of the past two decades. In the 10 years before 2021, there had been on average less than one successful coup per year, according to U.S. researchers Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne at the University of Central Florida and the University of Kentucky, respectively, who consolidated their findings on their Arrested Dictatorship website.

        The latest power grabs in Africa have raised concerns that the region could be backsliding from its progress toward greater democracy.

      • Jalisco cartel adopts Islamic militants’ tactics in its battle in Michoacán

        The mines used by the CJNG – generally considered Mexico’s most powerful criminal organization – are similar to those deployed by Iraqi insurgents and organizations such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in wars against the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades, although not as powerful, the newspaper Milenio reported.

      • Pence, defending his actions on Jan. 6, rebukes Trump as ‘wrong’

        “There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress that I possessed unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes. And I heard this week that former President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election,’” Pence said in a speech Friday to a local chapter of the Federalist Society in Florida.

        “President Trump is wrong. … I had no right to overturn the election,” he said. “The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. And frankly there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”

        “Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election. And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024,” Pence continued.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Library sorry as student Twitter saga turns out to be tall tale

        The tweets were widely shared and liked, but later the library tweeted that it had deleted the thread because, “although it drew on our genuine experiences of talking to students throughout the pandemic, it was an imagined scenario and we’re sorry that this wasn’t clear”.

    • Environment

      • Eden Trashed
      • GOP Suggests Biden’s Fed Pick Shouldn’t Be Confirmed Due to Climate Views
      • GOP Grill Fed Nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin over Climate Views; Her Husband Rep. Jamie Raskin Responds

        We speak with Rep. Jamie Raskin about his wife Sarah Bloom Raskin’s grilling by a Senate panel Thursday over her qualifications to be President Biden’s nominee for the top bank regulator, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Republicans argue her past comments on climate change show she could use her position to discourage banks from lending to fossil fuel companies. Raskin said if she was confirmed, she would not be able to take such actions. “What they’re attacking is the idea there can be citizens who are fully aware of climate change and take it seriously, who can serve honorably and lawfully in other capacities,” says Rep. Raskin. “It is just an outrageous attack on her qualifications.” We’re also joined by “Love & the Constitution” director Madeleine Carter, whose film premieres Sunday.

      • More Than Two Dozen Major Lawsuits Are Putting a Price Tag on the Climate Damage Caused by Fossil Fuel Companies

        As it turns out, they overestimated the time span—and underestimated the price tag.

        At the end of December, the Marshall Fire devastated Boulder County, laying waste to more than 6,000 acres and incinerating more than 1,000 homes and seven commercial buildings at a projected cost of $1 billion, making it Colorado’s most destructive fire in terms of property loss.

      • Opinion | The US Military Is Poisoning Hawaii. President Biden, Shut Down Red Hill

        I would be remiss in my civic duty as a resident of Hawaii—and, for those who are not, my responsibility to every community impacted by the U.S. military—if I did not address the water crisis at Kapūkakī, otherwise known as Red Hill, Oʻahu.

      • The Pope, Children and Furry Companions

        Presumably the Pope was aware of the controversy to which his words would give rise. Because what does society think about this issue? According to surveys conducted among Western European citizens between 18 and 40 years of age, the majority prefer pets, and the prevailing reasons for not having children are, above all, of an economic and ecological nature. These people argue that our overpopulated planet does not need more inhabitants: population growth is one of the causes of both global warming and the loss of biodiversity. Moreover, the vast majority of salaries do not allow for decent housing, either to buy or to rent. Having two or three children is a huge expense that not everyone can afford. Likewise, raising children well requires dedication and time, neither of which is in abundance thanks to today’s busy work schedules.

        It is surprising that the Pope, a strong advocate of preserving the environment and making adoption measures more flexible, who never misses an opportunity to condemn inequality and consumerism, does not take into account the opinions of these potential fathers and mothers, who, like him, are aware of their responsibility towards the environment. He should also pay more attention to women around the world who are demanding the right to contraception and abortion.

      • Energy

        • House Dem Fumes Over Louis DeJoy’s Failure to Electrify USPS Truck Fleet
        • How the PR Industry Has Helped Big Oil Transform the Way We Think About the Environment

          Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a new column, Gaslit, which will navigate society’s dysfunctional relationship with fossil fuel disinformation. Have a tip or idea? Get in touch.

          Since 2008, the American Petroleum Institute (API), which is the U.S.’s largest oil and gas trade group, has paid the world’s largest PR firm, Edelman, $439.7 million. API isn’t the only group in the oil and gas sector to have paid a PR firm for its services. And Edelman isn’t the only PR firm to have received money from the oil and gas sector. 

        • Pipeline Safety Advocates Say Government ‘Has Failed’ the Public in the Wake of a Coastal Louisiana Oil Spill

          A nonprofit advocacy group focused on improving oil and gas pipeline safety is raising concerns about public accountability and transparency in the wake of a major diesel spill in coastal Louisiana after it went unreported to the public for weeks, despite contaminating or killing thousands of fish and dozens of alligators, birds, and other wildlife. The absence of news about the spill prompted the Pipeline Safety Trust to issue a press release on January 11, noting that the spill resulted from a severely corroded pipeline awaiting repair which federal regulators had flagged more than a year earlier.

          “I would like the public to know that the system has failed them in this case,” Bill Caram, the trust’s executive director, said by email.On December 27, 2021, the pipeline, owned by Collins Pipeline Co., ruptured and spilled about 315,000 gallons of diesel fuel into wetlands and ponds a few miles southeast of New Orleans. Just a week earlier, Louisiana state regulators approved a preliminary air permit for a proposed renewable diesel unit at a refinery run by the pipeline firm’s parent company, PBF Energy. 

        • Federal Court Deals Blow to ‘Noxious Fracked Gas’ Mountain Valley Pipeline

          Climate campaigners celebrated Thursday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit delivered yet another blow to a controversial gas project spanning over 300 miles in Virginia and West Virginia.

          “This decision again reinforces the truth that this destructive project must not be allowed to continue.”

        • Groups Give Biden 10 Executive Actions to Put ‘People Over Fossil Fuels’

          A coalition of progressive advocacy groups on Thursday released a checklist of 10 executive actions that U.S. President Joe Biden can take to put “people over fossil fuels.”

          “Biden should… take out his presidential pen and deliver on his climate promises.”

        • Why Is Matt Damon Shilling for [Cryptocurrency]?

          For many, the ad may simply be baffling. Most people remain fuzzy about what cryptocurrency is and may never have heard of Crypto.com. Launched under the name Monaco in 2016, the Singapore-based company claims to have 10 million users and projects that the number will boom to 100 million by 2023; Kris Marszalek, its chief executive, told The Financial Times in November that the company had seen “20-times revenue growth this year.” In a making-of video released in tandem with the new commercial, Marszalek outlines a messianic vision. “ ‘Fortune favors the brave’ is deeply personal,” he says. “It’s how we live. It’s what we believe in. This decade belongs to crypto.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Warriors for Whitebark Pine: Fighting for an Imperiled Forest

          My heart broke as healthy forests throughout the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem turned into an ocean of red dying trees in the blink of an eye, the result of a novel outbreak of native mountain pine beetles during the 2000s. Subsequent investigations have confirmed that whitebark pine has collapsed throughout North America due to the ravages of a nonnative fungal pathogen and an unprecedented outbreak of beetles unleashed by warming temperatures.

          In response, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed during 2020 to protect whitebark pine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A final decision is expected this spring.

        • Protect This Place: The Fragile and Enchanting Costa dos Corais
        • A butterfly conservatory is shutting down due to right-wing harassment

          The National Butterfly Center filed a lawsuit in 2017 after the Trump administration allegedly began construction of a wall, using chainsaws to destroy trees and other plant life, on center-owned property without permission. The 100-acre property is home to lush gardens and endangered plant life, as well as numerous nature trails that are the natural habitats of the more than 200 species of butterflies that live there.

    • Finance

      • Progressive Lawmakers Back Union Push by Hill Staffers

        Progressives in Congress offered their full-throated support to Capitol Hill staffers as they launched a unionization effort on Friday, with several lawmakers acknowledging that low pay and poor treatment are common in many congressional offices.

        “I’m proud to pay my staff a living wage and offer the most generous benefits Congress has to offer,” tweeted Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.). “But that’s the exception. That’s why we need to allow congressional staff to unionize.”

      • Maida Springer Kemp Championed Workers’ Rights on a Global Scale

        The American labor movement was built by Black workers, organizers, and activists, from the Rev. Addie L. Wyatt to Lucy Parsons to the washerwomen of Jackson, Miss., who formed the state’s first labor union in 1866 to the warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., fighting to unionize Amazon. Maida Springer Kemp, a union organizer who worked to connect the US and African trade movements, is just one of the incredible Black women whose determination and vision has shaped the history of labor in this country. During the height of Jim Crow, this daughter of Caribbean immigrants and former garment worker strode onto the world stage and took the struggle global.

      • January Sees Strong Job Growth as Omicron Leads to Cuts in Hours, Not Jobs
      • Steven Rosenfeld on Arizona ‘Audit,’ Sohale Mortazavi on Cryptocurrency
      • Back from the Brink: Argentina and the IMF Negotiate a Better Agreement

        The current government of President Alberto Fernández is facing harsh adversities from the enormous debt and other constraints inherited from the 2018 IMF agreementmade by the prior Mauricio Macri government. It is also dealing with the scourge of COVID-19. But the country had managed a near 10 percent growth rate last year, when economists had predicted a much more tepid recovery. With a growing economy, they managed to reduce the primary budget deficit by 3.5 percent of GDP in 2021. Argentina simply wanted the ability to continue its recovery, without the harmful conditionalities that had so often been included in past IMF programs.

        Most economists recognize the importance for governments to provide fiscal support for economies that are slowing today, in the midst of the pandemic and its economic and health impacts. That’s what both the Trump and the Biden administrations have done in the United States. That’s all that Argentina had been asking for itself — within the confines of its own resources. It had managed to achieve a trade balance. Argentina wasn’t asking for a new inflow of funds; the government just needed to avoid conditions that would stifle economic recovery, or harm poor and working people.

      • Poor People’s Campaign to Manchin: ‘We Do Not Quit Until We Win’

        Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin may have proclaimed the Build Back Better Act “dead” and attempted to bury it for good, but members of the Poor People’s Campaign made clear Thursday that they don’t have the luxury of giving up on legislation that would slash poverty, combat the climate crisis, and lower sky-high child care and medicine costs.

        “We do not quit until we win,” Jean Evansmore, chair of the West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign, said during a press conference in Manchin’s home state.

      • Putting Technology (and Billionaires) in Its Place

        As anyone who has followed my work will know, globalization is of particular interest to me: for more than 40 years I’ve been studying its impacts on different cultures and societies around the world. From Ladakh and Bhutan to Sweden and Australia, a clear pattern has emerged: as people are pushed into deepening dependence on large-scale, technological systems, ecological and social crises escalate.

        I’m not the only one to have seen this. In the International Forum on Globalization – a network I co-founded in 1992 – I worked with forty writers, journalists, academics and social and environmental leaders from around the world to inform the public about the ways in which “free-trade” treaties, the principal drivers of globalization, have eroded democracy, destroyed livelihoods, and accelerated resource extraction. In countries as disparate as Sweden and India, I have seen how globalization intensifies competition for jobs and resources, leading to dramatic social breakdown – including not only ethnic and religious conflict, but also depression, alcoholism and suicide.

      • Exploitation and Platform Capitalism

        Exploitation also becomes a seemingly tricky subject under platform capitalism. Traditionally, Marxist exploitation focuses on productive labor working for a wage over a set period of time. Ultimately, all forms of capitalism depend on working time as a key measure.

        Platform capitalism creates what became known as prosumers. These are individuals who are at the same time – consumers and producers “working” for corporate surplus value, i.e. profits. Prosumers are typical under platform capitalism. They produce content such as, for example, software, audiovisuals, texts, data, etc.

      • Failure to Pass Pro Act Makes Amazon Union Vote in Alabama Even Harder, Says Sanders

        As the National Labor Relations Board began sending out union election ballots to Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama on Friday—less than a year after the workers lost an initial election and the board accused the company of illegal interference—Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass proposed legislation that would strengthen unionization efforts.

        “We’re seeing efforts around the country for people to become unionized and we’re seeing corporations responding in sometimes absolutely illegal ways.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Coup ’22
      • AOC Headed to Texas Rally for Progressives Casar and Cisneros

        Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed Friday that she is heading to Texas later this month for a rally with a pair of progressive Democrats running to join her in the U.S. House of Representatives.

        “We are 10 days away from voting in Texas, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

      • Facilitating Civic and Political Energies for the Common Good

        New billionaires are proliferating in numbers reflecting the record stock market surges. Some are enlightened and worried enough to gather with citizen group leaders to review the Plan, the strategy, timetable, and required budget. Those who count themselves in, and want to back the Plan, would pledge to contribute the total pledges of $10 billion for the ten-year effort. After the funding is secured, (possibly augmented with internet crowdfunding), the Plan commences in several coterminous stages.

        The First Stage is to get through Congress, vetoproof if necessary, the long overdue necessities for half of the U.S. population, which is poor, with collateral benefits for the entire country.

      • A Practical Radical Politics

        We also need to maintain a relentlessly radical analysis, to highlight the failures of systems and structures of power, aware that policies we might enact today won’t resolve existing crises or stave off collapse.

        Both things are true, and both things are relevant to the choices we make.

      • Political Corruption Sweepstakes: Casino Capitalism on Capitol Hill

        Just over a month ago, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi bought options worth millions in technology stocks. This was after her December 16 remarks that the U.S. is a “free market economy,” and law-makers should be allowed to participate in the stock market (translation: “I’m busy making a killing, so shut up about ethics”). The next day and on till December 21, she bought options worth millions for stocks in CRM, Walt Disney, Google and Roblox. To say that there was something unseemly about this would win you a prize for understatement.

        But Pelosi’s financial adventures are by no means the most shocking. For those with memories longer than the latest news cycle, there was the senatorial stock scandal of January 2020, when Americans received an unambiguous demonstration of why lawmakers should be blocked from trading individual stocks. That was when then GOP Georgia senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, two eminences who are, not to put too fine a point on it, absolutely loaded, found themselves in the midst of an insider trading hullaballoo.

      • Give Putin What He Wants

        Now, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is requesting a guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO.  The US should agree.

      • The Russians Are Coming: Are Beijing and Moscow at the Cusp of a Formal Alliance?

        The above is not an arbitrary statement. It is supported with facts. According to a survey conducted by China’s Global Times newspaper, the majority of the Chinese people value their country’s relations with Russia more than that of the EU and certainly more than that of the United States. The newspaper reported that such a finding makes it “the first time in 15 years that China-US ties did not top the list of the important bilateral relations in the Global Times annual survey.”

        In fact, some kind of an alliance is already forming between China and Russia. The fact that the Chinese people are taking note of this and are supporting their government’s drive towards greater integration – political, economic and geostrategic – between Beijing and Moscow, indicates that the informal and potentially formal alliance is a long-term strategy for both nations.

      • Must Try Harder: Grading President Biden’s First Year

        With a mobilized progressive movement at his back, Joe Biden launched a clear break with the conservative consensus that has dominated our politics since Ronald Reagan. However, while this career centrist politician embraced what he called his “Roosevelt moment,” he enjoyed nothing like FDR’s majority in Congress or his connection with voters. The fate of Biden’s presidency will likely depend not just on whether he can produce—but on whether the progressive movement that helped bring him into office will be roused once more.

      • Roaming Charges: Ain’t No Use to Sit and Wonder Why, Babe

        At the time, the late Ed Herman had convinced me to start writing for LOOT (Lies of Our Times) and I said to Alex, what the hell am I supposed to do? The whole purpose of LOOT was to closely read each NYT story and expose their biases, lies and omissions. Cockburn said, “You’ll never get them all, Jeffrey. Pointing a few lies out, makes the rest of the falsities the ‘paper of record’ prints seem legit.”

        A decade later, we started a new campaign on CounterPunch to have people boycott the NYT until they fired their Pulitzer Prize winning fiction writers (sorry, reporters) Judith Miller, Thomas Friedman & a few others. We even had buttons printed up. In these prickly days this campaign would be denounced as an assault on free speech, an example of far-left intolerance.

      • “Love & the Constitution”: Rep. Jamie Raskin on Son’s Death, Trump’s Coup Plot & Protecting the Vote

        As more details emerge about Donald Trump’s role in the deadly January 6 insurrection, we’re joined by Congressmember Jamie Raskin, who serves on the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack and was the lead manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial. Raskin writes about the insurrection in a new memoir titled “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” and is featured in the new MSNBC documentary “Love & the Constitution,” which follows Raskin during Trump’s years in office leading up to the January 6 insurrection and the tragic death of Raskin’s son. “We knew that Trump was doing everything in his power to try to overturn the election,” says Raskin. “We had prepared for everything except for a violent insurrection overrunning the House and the Senate.” We’re also joined by “Love & the Constitution” director Madeleine Carter, whose film premieres Sunday.

      • New Tlaib, Jones Measure Could Slash US Child Poverty by Two-Thirds: Analysis

        As millions of poor and working-class Americans families endure increased hardship due to the recent lapse of the federal child tax credit, a pair of progressive U.S. lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill that, if passed, would replace the expired lifeline with more generous benefits. 

        “In the wealthiest nation on Earth, no child should be living in poverty. But today, due to decades of policy failure, far too many children in America are.”

      • The cost of ripping and replacing Chinese cellular equipment has ballooned by billions

        The program was designed to “reimburse providers of advanced communications services for costs reasonably incurred for removing, replacing, and disposing of communications equipment and services” from ZTE and Huawei. After surveying networks that had the Chinese equipment in 2020, the FCC reported that it would cost over $1.8 billion to “remove and replace,” and estimated that around $1.6 billion would qualify for reimbursement.

      • Church of Scientology Seeks to Undo ‘Sweeping’ Ruling in Danny Masterson Case

        The California Court of Appeal ruled on Jan. 20 that church members cannot be bound to a perpetual agreement to resolve disputes before a religious arbitration panel after the members have left the faith.

      • Chinese Dissident Ai Voices Criticism as Winter Games Open

        Ai Weiwei, possibly China’s best-known dissident, aired criticism of Beijing’s human rights record and response to the pandemic, in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, in which he also took aim at World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Ai also accused governments of showing too much deference to China for business or political interests.

      • Empty chair for Twitter, which skips EU hate speech meeting, citing COVID

        Social media and online platforms face a raft of legislative proposals on both sides of the Atlantic that will require them to do more to counter online hate speech and disinformation.

        In the EU, the Digital Services Act https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eu-parliament-agrees-proposal-new-rules-aimed-us-tech-giants-2022-01-20 would force tech giants to do more to tackle illegal content on their platforms, with fines of up to 6% of global turnover for non-compliance. Another planned law, the Digital Markets Act, would set out other rules for companies.

      • Facebook parent Meta loses $332 billion in one day

        Facebook’s parent company Meta experienced it’s biggest one-day loss in trading since it debuted on Wall St in 2012. The company saw a whopping 26% slump, taking $332 billion $US 237 billion) off its market value. Zuckerberg saw a $40 billion loss.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Neil Young’s Stand Against Misinformation on Spotify Draws Curious Responses

        It’s no secret that the company, which is the world’s largest music streaming service provider with over 381 million monthly active users, doesn’t pay artists nearly enough to support themselves. This has compelled a number of famous musicians to criticize Spotify and remove their catalogues from it for a limited time. I don’t know of any journalist or popular commentator who has made a sensible case in support of Spotify’s unfair artist compensation practices. It also makes sense that musicians, rather than social media influencers, should be the primary subject matter experts on the topic, as they are the ones who are most affected by similar streaming services.

        Young’s statement, however, popularized an entirely new issue concerning false information on the platform as it relates to Joe Rogan’s podcast, which Spotify acquired through a licensing deal that cost them “more than $100 million.” Given the topic of the controversy, many writers in the U.S. voiced their opinions through various organizations, platforms, and social media feeds. Since quick responses to current trends generate the most engagement on social media, it was no surprise that articles against Neil Young’s decision were already being published and promoted before any additional statements and reporting had come out.

      • Episodes of Joe Rogan’s show are disappearing from Spotify

        All of that is why it’s just a bit weird that a bunch of episodes have gone missing with seemingly no explanation. (To be clear, the term “a bunch” is relative — the show has over 1,700 numbered episodes.) A spot check done by The Verge on the data from JRE Missing showed that the episodes were indeed no longer on Spotify, even though they had been available to subscribers as recently as last year.

        Spotify didn’t immediately reply to The Verge’s request for comment on why the episodes were removed, and most of the explanations that immediately jump to mind don’t seem to hold water. The episodes removed on Friday aren’t new — the most recent one featured Gad Saad and aired in 2018, and the oldest was episode four of the show from 2010. Given that the episodes were released years before the pandemic, they’re unlikely to contain any of the COVID misinformation that’s caused the recent controversy.

      • Spotify boss defends Joe Rogan deal as stock plunges

        The head of embattled streaming service Spotify has told staff that Joe Rogan is vital to the company, but that he doesn’t agree with the controversial podcaster.

        The comments were published Thursday as the firm’s stock went into freefall.

        Spotify has found itself stuck between its $100 million flagship talent and a popular backlash over Covid-19 misinformation on his shows.

      • About 19% of Spotify Users Say They’ve Canceled or Plan to Cancel Over Joe Rogan Controversy, Poll Finds. But Will That Exodus Really Happen?

        Among Spotify users, 19% said they have already canceled their service — or plan to — over the Rogan uproar, according to a Feb. 1 consumer poll conducted by Forrester Research.

        The study also found that 54% of those who use Spotify have no intention of canceling their subscription, while 18.5% said they would considering canceling only if more artists who they like pull their music from the platform. About 8.5% said they thought about canceling their subscription but that Spotify’s features were too important to them.

      • Why Did These ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ Episodes Get Yanked From Spotify?

        It’s unclear why the episodes in question were pulled, and representatives for Rogan and Spotify did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s requests for comments. However, eagle-eyed fans of the controversial podcast on Reddit observed that many of the deleted episodes contained racial slurs, ableist language and other content that could be deemed insensitive. Users noted episodes featuring Tom Segura and Greg Fitzsimmons were likely removed for usage of the n-word. (The repeated usage of racially charged language on the Joe Rogan Experience led singer-songwriter India Arie to pull her music from Spotify earlier this week.)

        Still, Reddit posters said, some of the removed episodes featured guests known for being particularly tame — such as documentarian Louis Theroux and comedian Pete Holmes — or lacked noticeable offensive content.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Banned Books Should Be Required Reading

        Decisions like these shortchange kids in every community.

        Authors like Spiegelman didn’t just write (or illustrate) their books for a Jewish audience. They wrote for a wider audience of people who don’t know how horrific the Holocaust was, what caused it, or that the Holocaust didn’t kill only Jews.

      • Tenth Circuit Tells College Administrator That Ordering A Student To Stop Talking About An Instructor Clearly Violates The First Amendment

        The First Amendment applies to school students. This is something courts seem to have particular difficulty drilling into the heads of school officials and administrators. Yes, their rights are somewhat limited due to their age and/or time and place restrictions, but they are closer to “fully respected” than “nonexistent” — the latter of which appears to be the default assumption for far too many educational entities.

      • House Votes For COMPETES Act, Even With Its Problems, Almost Entirely On Party Lines

        Congress is trying to overload anyone who supports an open internet with terrible bill after terrible bill. Last week, they brought out the “COMPETES Act” (renamed from Endless Frontiers which had already been renamed as “USICA” and then became COMPETES). The underlying concept of the bill actually is important — reviving American innovation. The Senate version of the bill was mostly good and had broad bipartisan support. However, for reasons I don’t understand, Nancy Pelosi allowed the bill to be loaded up with a bunch of items on the Democrats’ wish list, including the ridiculously dangerous SHOP SAFE Act.

      • How The EARN IT Act Is Significantly More Dangerous Than FOSTA

        I’ve already explained the dangers of the EARN IT Act, which is supported by 19 Senators, who are misleading people with a “fact” sheet that is mostly full of myths. As Senator Wyden has explained, EARN IT will undoubtedly make the problem of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) worse, not better.

      • GilvaSunner YouTube Channel Shuts Down Due To Copyright Strikes From Nintendo; Pokemon Releases Music

        The Nintendo vs. GilvaSunner YouTube channel saga has come to an end. It had become sort of an annual thing for Nintendo to copyright strike large numbers of videos on that channel, which mostly has “videos” consisting of beloved video game music from Nintendo titles. Over 100 videos were struck in 2019. Then another swath of videos were struck in 2020. After taking 2021 off, Nintendo struck over 1,300 of GilvaSunner’s uploads a few weeks ago. Now, while we’ve taking pains to point out that Nintendo can do this, as it owns that IP, it certainly didn’t have to go this route. There were plenty of other alternatives, including offering this music on any relevant streaming platform itself, which it has always declined to do.

      • Nintendo Hates You: More DMCA Takedowns Of YouTube Videos Of Game Music Despite No Legit Alternative

        I guess this is nearly an annual thing now. In 2019, we talked about how one YouTuber, GilvaSunner, had over one hundred YouTube videos blocked by Nintendo over copyright claims. GilvaSunner’s channel is dedicated to video game music, mostly from Nintendo games. Those videos consist of nothing but that music, as in no footage of video game gameplay. Nintendo, which certainly can take this sort of action from an IP standpoint, also doesn’t offer any legit alternative for fans to enjoy this music on any streaming service or the like. Then, in 2020, GilvaSunner had another whole swath of videos consisting of game music blocked by Nintendo over copyright claims. Still no legit alternative for those looking to enjoy music from Nintendo’s celebrated catalogue of games.

      • YouTube blocks channels belonging to the Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’

        YouTube has blocked several channels run by the de facto authorities in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR). All of the accounts were “terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.” 

      • ‘TikTok, Boom.’ Review: A Documentary Looks at How TikTok Is Changing the World

        There’s a let-it-rip, if-it-feels-good-record-it aspect to the TikTok experience; the app basically turns the whole planet into your bedroom mirror. Yet as “TikTok, Boom.” reveals, that spirit is belied by how much of the content is regulated. Douyin, the original Chinese version of TikTok (it was launched in 2016), has strict provisions that don’t even allow people to appear with tattoos or dyed hair. And though TikTok itself is obviously much looser, the film explores the phenomenon of “shadowbanning,” in which certain videos, due to algorithmic judgments that happen off the radar, are basically banned by not being allowed to pile up any views or likes. At one point it was discovered that anything with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter or #GeorgeFloyd had been shadowbanned, a shocking suppression that the company tried to explain away as a “technical glitch.”

      • America is free, but China has begun censoring our films

        China’s impact on major American films is strong, but subtle — so subtle that it would go unnoticed by the public if it weren’t for eagle-eyed viewers. This influence is predicated on the omission or subtle alteration of information, rather than a clear, unequivocal message. One such instance occurred in mid-2021, when the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 film “Top Gun” — titled “Top Gun: Maverick” — sparked outrage in the United States when it was revealed in the trailer that the bomber jacket Tom Cruise wore was the same jacket he wore in the 1986 film, but with the flags of Japan and Taiwan removed and replaced with random symbols.

        This would not be significant if the jacket were not otherwise identical to that in the first film, but the fact that these two nations’ flags were replaced is an unmistakable demonstration of Chinese coercion. This conclusion is especially convincing considering the conflicts that China has with Japan and Taiwan.

      • Facebook bans me for three more days for criticizing the Minneapolis Police Department’s botched “no-knock warrant”
    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • How the “Moral Panic” of Critical Race Theory Morphed Into a Book-Banning Frenzy

        What nobody is talking about, though, is the why of this particular issue at this particular time.  As a result, we’re mistaking the tool for the goal.

        Moral panics, when driven by politicians, are usually just tools. This CRT moral panic is a tool being used by a coalition of interests to achieve their own goals, none of which have anything to do with teaching or not-teaching the history of race in America.

      • Divided We Fall

        One of the debates that is percolating (or should I say boiling over) throughout the country revolves around the teaching of slavery in public school history classes, with Critical Race Theory being identified as the leading culprit. Critics of Critical Race Theory (which is a theory developed by legal scholars that valorizes the plight of the victims of slavery and Jim Crow that animates various disciplinary perspectives in universities) argue that it is a threat to the American way of life. Clearly, what we need to ask these critics includes the question: Is there something about the American way of life that you wish to hide? What is it exactly that you wish to put under wraps? Do you consider the American way of life to be so fragile that those who are living it cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny of certain formative events in the past and how those past events have created serious problems and challenges to disenfranchised subaltern groups in the present? The objections against Critical Race Theory crumble at any serious introspection yet are so self-evident that they are impossible to ignore.

        In fact, let’s hope that Critical Race Theory does challenge the American way of life. But it appears that any challenges to the U.S. that emerge from the shadows of its official history are instantly decried in knee-jerk fashion as the demonic voices of socialists, Marxists or communists who wish to unburden our students of their patriotism and turn them into Manchurian candidates. A state Senate committee in Florida recently put forward legislation to block public schools and private businesses from making people feel “discomfort” when they’re taught about race. Similar legislation has been proposed and/or passed in dozens of red states. Such legislation, if passed, is destined to alter the very fabric of the teaching about history and other subjects in the curriculum. It will do nothing short of making a mockery of the important reasons why history should be included as an instrumental part of the school curriculum. The truths of America’s past that were born from internal conflicts and national and international disputes that need to be studied with some urgency today are often uncomfortable truths. They should not be taught in order to make students winch or squirm (although that can easily happen and in some cases should happen) but neither should they be smothered out of existence. A pedagogy of critical patriotism offers a glimpse into a past populated not only by historical racialized atrocities but also by American heroes who fought and risked their lives to end such atrocities, such as Martin Luther King.

      • South Dakota Governor Signs ‘Cruel and Dangerous’ Trans Sports Ban

        LGBTQ+ rights advocates on Thursday condemned a new South Dakota law banning transgender students from playing on sports teams matching their gender identity. 

        “This legislation isn’t solving an actual problem that South Dakota was facing: It is discrimination, plain and simple. Shame on Gov. Noem.”

      • Congressional Staffers Announce That They Are Unionizing
      • What Art Spiegelman’s Maus Means to the Children of Survivors

        Maus is the book that changed my life, that turned my vision of the world from black and white to color. Maus showed me it was possible to tell an honest and complex story about a parent who was a Holocaust survivor. Maus helped me figure out how to understand and explain my own family’s history. Maus made it possible for me reach for the words I needed and the anger I needed to talk about what had happened to my family before they were able to flee Germany. It is impossible for me to imagine what my life would have been like, or who I would be, if I had not read Maus.

      • Protests in Kazakhstan Rattle Russia and China

        Among the five -istans (Persian for “places”) that formed the Central Asian region of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan is the largest. Spread over 1 million square miles, it covers as much space as the 10 Western European countries combined. Located between two world powers—China and Russia—it provides a vital link to Europe for China’s colossal Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in 2013 to resurrect the ancient Silk Road and maritime trade routes, as well as develop new links, and to enhance economic and political cooperation between participating countries and regions.

      • Democrats Demand Biden Close ICE Jail Accused of Abusing Black Immigrants
      • Biden Administration Says It’s Keeping Pandemic Policy to Expel Asylum Seekers
      • How 18th-Century Quakers Led a Boycott of Sugar to Protest Against Slavery

        Quaker Benjamin Lay, a former sailor who had settled in Philadelphia in 1731 after living in the British sugar colony of Barbados, is known to have smashed his wife’s china in 1742 during the annual gathering of Quakers in the city. Although Lay’s actions were described by one newspaper as a “publick Testimony against the Vanity of Tea-drinking,” Lay also protested the consumption of slave-grown sugar, which was produced under horrific conditions in sugar colonies like Barbados.

        In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, only a few Quakers protested African slavery. Indeed, individual Quakers who did protest, like Lay, were often disowned for their actions because their activism disrupted the unity of the Quaker community. Beginning in the 1750s, Quakers’ support for slavery and the products of slave labor started to erode, as reformers like Quaker John Woolman urged their co-religionists in the North American Colonies and England to bring about change.

      • Opinion | After Six Amazon Employees Were Killed, Workers Are Demanding Safer Working Conditions

        The fight for justice and accountability continues for six Amazon employees who were killed when a warehouse roof collapsed during a tornado in December.

      • ‘Unnecessary and Irresponsible’: Biden Slammed for Continuation of Trump-Era Deportation Policy

        Immigrant rights defenders redoubled their calls to end a Trump-era deportation policy known as Title 42 after the CDC confirmed Thursday that the measure will remain in place despite long-standing criticism.

        “We need a humane, functioning asylum system. Not Title 42,” tweeted the National Immigration Forum.

      • The Fed is About to Shaft American Workers – For No Good Reason

        This line of reasoning is totally wrong.

      • HRW Report Reveals ‘Huge Toll’ of US Border Policy on 20,000+ Children

        More than 20,000 asylum-seeking children have been placed at risk of “serious harm” by the U.S. and Mexican governments as a result of the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols continued under the Biden administration, according to Human Rights Watch analysis published Friday.

        “The Biden administration has left vulnerable asylum-seekers stranded and should reverse course immediately.”

      • NYPD Was Supposed To Replace Hundreds Of Cops Working Administrative Jobs With Civilians. It Never Did.

        There’s apparently nothing the New York Police Department won’t lie about. When it comes to being overseen, the NYPD seems to feel it has no obligation to provide data, answer questions honestly, or cooperate with any accountability efforts.

      • The “American Experiment” is a Savage Nightmare

        In announcing his retirement from the absurdly powerful U.S. Supreme Court during a press event at the White House, the gabby octogenarian Stephen Breyer recently held up his pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution and waxed sentimental on the greatness of the nation he loves. Breyer said that the USA was a great democratic “experiment” – “an experiment” that is “still going on…My grandchildren and their children, they’ll determine whether the experiment still works. And of course, I am an optimist, and I’m pretty sure it will,” Breyer said.

        “Revolting Barbarity and Shameless Hypocrisy”

      • Opinion | Instead of Freeing Palestinian Prisoners, New Scheme Aims at Punishing Their Families

        A scheme is underway to withhold or to reduce payments made by the Palestinian Authority to the families of Palestinian prisoners. According to Israeli media, the Biden Administration has requested that the PA entirely overhauls its support system of Palestinian prisoners. The Palestinian leadership had already expressed willingness to engage the US in a ‘discussion.’

      • Can Israel Stop the World from Saying ‘Apartheid’? Concealing the Suffering in Palestine

        Weissbrod relayed Tel Aviv’s instructions regarding the report prepared by a UNHRC-appointed committee to the Israeli diplomats through this telegram: “The main goal [for Israel] is to delegitimize the committee, its members and products” and “To prevent or delay further decisions.”

        After a four year investigation, on February 1, 2022, Amnesty International released a 280-page report with a sharp headline, “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians.” Amnesty “concluded that Israel has perpetrated the international wrong of apartheid, as a human rights violation and a violation of public international law wherever it imposes this system. It has assessed that almost all of Israel’s civilian administration and military authorities, as well as governmental and quasigovernmental institutions, are involved in the enforcement of the system of apartheid against Palestinians across Israel and the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territory] and against Palestinian refugees and their descendants outside the territory.” Amnesty further said that these acts “amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid under both the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute.” Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid retaliated by accusing Amnesty of quoting “lies shared by terrorist organizations.” As if on cue, Israel’s government accused Amnesty of anti-Semitism. The Amnesty report will provide key material for the UNHRC investigation.

      • Small Alabama Town’s Overzealous Traffic Cops Also Monitored Internet Traffic To Threaten Critics Of The Corrupt PD

        Welcome back to Brookside, Alabama, home of the surprisingly expensive traffic ticket. Home to one (1) Dollar General, nine (9) police officers, two (2) drug dogs (one named “K9 Cash” just in case you had any doubts about the PD’s intentions), and one (1) Lt. Governor-ordered state audit. Brookside (pop. 1,253) made national headlines for soaking every passing driver officers could find with excessive fines, fees, vehicle seizures, and inconvenient court dates.

      • The sidestepping spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s comment on ‘blood feuds’ shows that he needs to take another look at Russia’s Criminal Code

        Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has been sidestepping questions about the Chechen authorities’ threats against the Yangulbayev family all week. On Friday, February 4, journalists — referring to a “blood feud” threat made by Russian lawmaker Adam Delimkhanov — asked Peskov about the issue of blood feuds in Chechnya. 

      • Congressional Workers Union Announce Union Drive, With Speaker Pelosi’s Blessing

        Via its Twitter account, the Congressional Workers Union (CWU) announced “staff efforts to unionize the offices and committees of the United States Congress.” Citing a January survey by the Congressional Progressive Staff Association that found 91% of staffers want more workplace protections, and “more than a year of organizing as a volunteer group of congressional staff,” the group pledged its intention to unionize “in solidarity with our fellow workers across the United States and the world.”

      • Remembering the winter of protests Ten years ago, a real political struggle played out on the streets of Moscow. Here’s what it looked like.

        Ten years have passed since Russia’s winter protests of 2012. They began as demonstrations opposing voter fraud in the 2011 State Duma elections, and segued into rallies against the now-infamous “castling” that returned Vladimir Putin to the presidency. Indeed, large-scale opposition protests formed the backdrop of Putin’s 2012 presidential campaign. Looking back, it seems as though this was the last time that both the Russian authorities and their opponents were equally and seriously engaged in politics on the streets of Moscow. On the tenth anniversary of the protests, Meduza looks back at how this political struggle played out.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Senate Commerce Committee is Letting Big Telecom Hamstring the FCC

        Why allow a wildly unpopular industry to stall a pro-consumer nominee when Americans can’t wait another moment for fast, modern internet? Why continue a status quo that requires children to do their homework in parking lots to use the WiFi from fast food restaurants, or allows black neighborhoods to be digitally redlined by incumbent ISPs? Restoring net neutrality is overwhelmingly supported by the public; 76% of the public believes broadband is as critical to their daily lives as water and electricity. These things can be addressed by a fully staffed FCC. It’s easy to see why the industry is trying to stall Sohn’s confirmation. But their stall tactics are only successful if Senate Commerce leadership cooperates.

        Gigi Sohn has more than 30 years of work in promoting consumer focused policies as a public advocate in Washington, D.C. Her nomination has broad support, with more than 200 organizations, business trade groups, and state legislators endorsing her confirmation. It comes as no surprise that the industry incumbents she challenged as a consumer advocate, from the copyright industries to Comcast and AT&T, oppose her confirmation.

        What is surprising is that the minority party’s constant calls for delay are being allowed to stall the nomination process.  Chair Cantwell has let this bad-faith obstructionism continue for too long.  By comparison, President Trump’s nomination and confirmation of his last FCC Commissioner, Nate Simington, took approximately three months.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Python Web Proxy Convinces Sonos To Stream YouTube | Hackaday

        [Maurice-Michel Didelot] owns a Sonos smart speaker, and was lamenting the devices inability (or plain unwillingness) to stream music from online sources without using a subscription service. YouTube Music will work, but being a subscription product there is a monthly fee, which sucks since you can listen to plenty of content on YouTube for free. [Maurice] decided that the way forward was to dig into how the Sonos firmware accesses ‘web radio’ sources, and see if that could be leveraged to stream audio from YouTube via some kind of on-the-fly stream conversion process.


        After a little digging, it was determined that Sonos supports AAC encoding (which is how MP4 encodes audio) but needs it wrapped in an ADTS (Audio Data Transport Stream) container. By building a reverse web-proxy application, in python using Flask, it was straightforward enough to grab the YouTube video ID from the web radio request, forward a request to YouTube using a modified version of pytube tweaked to not download the video, but stream it. Pytube enabled [Maurice] to extract the AAC audio ‘atoms’ from the MP4 container, and then wrap them up with ADTS and forward them onto the Sonos device, which happily thinks it’s just a plain old MP3 radio stream, even if it isn’t.

    • Monopolies

      • EFF to Appeals: Apple’s Monopoly Doesn’t Make Users Safer

        Users may not know or understand that Apple’s rules for the App Store can get in the way, by driving up app costs and limiting availability. Apple uses layers of digital locks to channel all app purchases and downloads through its App Store. Apple also requires that all in-app payments run through its own system, and siphons off a 30% cut. Users have no way of knowing, when they purchase a phone, how these policies can affect their current or future app experiences, including whether Apple will decide to kick an app out of the App Store altogether.

        Yet, in the antitrust case Epic Games v. Apple, in which the maker of Fortnite alleges that Apple has an illegal monopoly in iOS app distribution, a court ruled that since customers supposedly understand Apple’s policies and buy iPhones anyway when they could choose an Android phone, there’s competition in the market for distributing apps, and Apple’s ability to wield monopoly power is checked by competition from Android.

        The court got it wrong. That’s why EFF, along with attorneys from Constantine Cannon, filed an amicus brief siding with Epic Games in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, explaining that the trial court’s decision was contrary to law and defied the reality of mobile software distribution. The decision incorrectly presumed that, if customers are aware of the restrictions when purchasing a device, then competition in that market is sufficient to rein in Apple’s anticompetitive conduct and users are not locked into the App Store.

      • Patents

        • Apple, Broadcom undo $1bn Wi-Fi patent payout to Caltech • The Register

          Apple and Broadcom won a new trial to recalculate damages arising from a six-year-old legal battle over Wi-Fi patents developed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

          The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday upheld the 2020 verdict that Apple and Broadcom infringed two Caltech patents. But it vacated an infringement finding for a third patent, which will be retried, and also vacated $1.1bn in damages levied against the two companies.

          In 2016, Caltech sued Apple and Broadcom, which made Wi-Fi chips used in Apple iPhones at the time. The university accused the two companies of infringing three US patents (7,116,710, 7,421,032 and 7,916,781).

          Apple tried to have the patents invalidated but failed. The company was unable to convince the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that Caltech’s technology – techniques for Wi-Fi error correction – was unpatentable and obvious.

        • ‘Major Breakthrough’: South African Scientists Replicate Moderna Vaccine

          South African scientists have created a close replica of Moderna’s mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine without any assistance from the U.S. pharmaceutical giant, a development that could have massive implications for the fight against global vaccine apartheid.

          “We were not intimidated, because mRNA synthesis is a fairly generic procedure.”

        • We Need a 92 Percent Tax on Pandemic Profiteers

          Even before the Covid pandemic supercharged economic inequality, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced as a 2020 presidential candidate that “billionaires should not exist.” That was a perfectly reasonable argument from a contender to lead a country that in the 1950s maintained a top marginal tax rate of 92 percent. But, as with so many of the senator’s proposals, the notion of taxing the rich down to size proved to be a bit too bold for both parties—and for the pundit class that polices the political discourse to ensure that things don’t get too interesting.

      • Copyrights

        • U.S. Seeks 5-Year Prison Sentence for Nintendo ‘Hacker’ Gary Bowser

          The U.S. Government is seeking a five-year prison sentence for Gary Bowser, a member of the infamous Nintendo modding group Team-Xecuter. The prosecution argues that a tough sentence is needed to send a clear message to other criminals. Bowser’s attorneys disagree and note that their client was used by other group members who, unlike him, probably made millions.

        • European Football Leagues Slam “Notice-and-Stay-Up” Provision in DSA

          Powerful football leagues are calling on EU legislators to fix a provision in the Digital Services Act that would allow pirated content to stay online following a takedown notice, until complaints can be verified. Any delay in the removal of pirated live streams would damage the interests of the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A plus dozens of other leagues, they argue.

Abandoning the EPC in Order to Promote Corporations-Led EPO With Kangaroo Courts (UPC) is Simply Illegal

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 6:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 7859814cfeea5c42084204256b2fa961

EPC Abandoned
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The EPO has gone off the rails and nobody wants to stop that train, certainly not the member states (MSs) which enabled the abolition of the European Patent Convention (EPC)

THE thing many people haven’t yet noticed is dissent not only from inside the EPO but also a prominent former Director or Vice-President. There seems to be growing concern over the attack on judges, as well as on courts, constitutions, the laws of member states (MSs), and the EPC. Remember that without the EPC there’s no EPO. Similarly, without a UPCA being legally valid (it’s not, for a plethora of different reasons) there cannot ever be a UPC. We expect a shakedown in courts later this year, but that’s a whole different matter.

“They’re deep in the pockets of the ‘coup plotter’ and they’re very conscious of their loss of honesty, integrity and so on (they constantly try to suck up to us, hoping it would stop us criticising them).”Now that a tribunal in Geneva keeps hammering down “troublesome” decisions for EPO management, having long broken its own laws and the laws of MSs, there seem to be a darker shadow looming over the future of the EPO, with only a year left until the EPC turns 50. Has the EPO become a private, for-profit enterprise? If so, the EPO lost its legitimacy and it needs to be rebooted. Of course the media funded by EPO management (like Joff Wild and his fellow propagandists) will not say it. They’re deep in the pockets of the ‘coup plotter’ and they’re very conscious of their loss of honesty, integrity and so on (they constantly try to suck up to us, hoping it would stop us criticising them).

The video above speaks of the resumption of the series, which will also cover Judgment 4482. We’ll be publishing on a daily basis. As a side note, for those without a Gemini client we’ll soon have a live HTTPS proxy that’s controlled fully by us.

[Meme] EPC Calling

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPC was not just some 'advice'

Summary: There’s growing realisation that the EPC has long been abandoned, rendering the legitimacy of the EPO’s present operations (or management style) dubious to say the least

Comment by Daniel X. Thomas (former EPO Director) last week:

No surprise for a French lawyer wanting to concentrate the Central Division in one and the same location that is Paris. In view of the fierce battle which has ended up with the Central (?) Division being in cut in three parts, I would rather think that this no more than wishful thinking. Germany would like it too.

I doubt that the two contenders for the allocation of the duties devoted to London, IT and NL, will accept a “provisional” allocation to either Paris and/or Munich of files in IPC classes A and C. I have not yet seen one convincing or compelling legal basis for such a “provisional” allocation. It is also far from sure that the distribution in Annex II of the UPCA will remain as it is. I could well see that FR and DE will haggle again and should a third location come, both countries would like to keep files in IPC classes A and C and transfer to the third location other IPC classes.

One can even have doubts that the UPC is in conformity with union law and Art 6(1) ECHR. Beside the legality of the provisional transfer of duties, a further reason is that a UPC judge can be removed from its post by his peers, but no means of redress are offered to him! See Art 10 of the Statute of the court, Annex I.

It is the first time that I see concerns expressed about the position of the SMEs in the UP/UPC system. Up to now SMEs have been used as a fig leaf by the big internationally active industry and big international active litigation lawyers firms, to hide the fact that they were primarily interested in the UP/UPC system. Only those two groups are sure to profit from the UP/UPC system. An impact of EPLA on the SMEs seems to have been carried out, but not for the UP/UPC. In all meetings in which SMEs were informed about the UP/UPC system, they clearly expressed their fears. The level of fees being the strongest deterrent to start with.

One very important aspect is that 70% of patents are held by proprietors not residing in a UPC contracting state. The UPC opens those extra-European proprietors a single point of attack for European industry in general and European SMEs in particular. Is this really helping European patent holders? I have some serious doubts. When one further sees that the average number of validations of granted European patents is between 3 and 5, the necessity of a complicated system like the UPC is not manifest. To my knowledge no study about the economic necessity of the UPC has ever been carried out.

Claiming that the UPC will bring about a movement of harmonization of European Patent Law is anything but sure. Both the UPC and the BA can decide upon the validity of a granted patent. The EPO for a shorter length of time, the UPC for a longer one. As a UP is a patent granted by the EPO, divisions of first instance of the EPO and BA are bound by decisions of the EBA. There is not even a cooperation mechanism foreseen between the two courts. This is however the case for the EFTA Court and the CJEU. The problem is compounded in that the UP/UPC is first not covering the whole of the EU, and I am not sure that the remaining member states of the EPC will accept case law from an institution they have no influence on it.

I do not expect that the number of oppositions at the EPO will diminish. First there is a big difference in fees and the EPO has streamlined the opposition procedure and the BA are making great efforts to lower their backlog. One should also not forget that the backlog has risen due to the blocking of any recruitment at the BA for many years. One wonders if this was not a deliberate attempt to discreetly favour the UPC.

Last but not least, the costs for simultaneous interpretation are borne by the EPO, whereas at the UPC, they will be costs of the proceedings to be borne by the losing party. That the costs or damages can have ceilings does not fundamentally change the issue.

Independently from the high basis fees at the UPC and in view of the costs for simultaneous interpretation been borne by the losing party, it is clear that the UP/UPC is for contenders having deep pockets.

Having practised European integration during my whole active life I am certainly for it, but I am neither convinced nor compelled to think that the UP/UPC system is the right way in matters of IP. There are other, much cheaper, ways to bring about a harmonisation in IP matters.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 04, 2022

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:21 am by Needs Sunlight

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