Don’t Outsource Schools and Universities to Pentagon-Subsidised Agents of Oppression

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 9:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 8332488ce16dcd0395e8d9097324b2bb
Outsourcing of Schools
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Technology has turned from a tool of enablement and emancipation into a facilitator of oppression and subjugation over those “using” it (or being used, remotely, by the real owners)

AS we’ve just noted, today's main article was a guest article about education centres being outsourced and further complicated for no real purpose other than graft.

There is an asymmetric relationship in today’s computers/computing systems; the people who sit in front of the computers (e.g. “smart” phones) barely control them. They’re mostly being controlled, but they’re under the impression that’s not the case. Richard Stallman has been warning about this for a very long time and we’re meant to ignore him, based on a campaign of defamation.

Either way, the video above goes through today’s long article (in Gemini) and adds more personal thoughts. We hope to be covering those sorts of issues a lot more often in the future.

Pushing Back Against Software Patents and More

Posted in Patents at 8:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 4a837f4fdd9b270ad5f1fd531ad2388c
Patent-Related Advocacy by Techrights
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Techrights has been working behind the scenes to curtail software patenting; more information will come out soon

THE Techrights Web site (and Gemini capsule) has been less busy than usual lately. But there was a lot going on behind the scenes.

Aside from Daily Links containing more links like this one, we’ve collected a number of relevant papers as “a review of two or three of the key papers reminding us that software patents harm innovation would be of use in several ways,” to quote an associate.

“…there was a lot going on behind the scenes.”We’re sitting on a lot of material at the moment — material that will sooner or later get published, a lot of it next year. Copyrights and patents will be of particular focus because there are articles such as this one trending; “that is the RIAA making similar arguments as the FOSS community has made against Microsoft GitHub’s Co-pilot which steals code,” our associate notes.

TechDirt has just said “that Copilot strikes me as a tool that replaces googling for stack overflow answers.”

This is false because “stack overflow” is NOT copyleft.

“We sadly lack the time to cover as many topics as we’d like.”Either way, we have a ton of material about Copilot on the way and we’re also in touch with politicians regarding software patents. Some time around Christmas we plan to publish all the letters we received from a copyright troll (assuming we’ve been left alone permanently).

So, in summary, expect a lot more about copyrights, GitHub scandals, software patents, and the EPO. There’s no complete timeline just yet. It’s very much priority-based.

Another topic we wish to cover soon is Microsoft’s collapse in Windows revenue, set aside the layoffs. There are serious implications. We sadly lack the time to cover as many topics as we’d like.

The next (and final) video will be about today's main article.

The R Foundation and R Consortium Aren’t the Same; One is a Front Group for Corporations Like Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum d8faef1cbc12562068aa25530a2b0d23
Who R They?
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (run partly by Microsoft) helps Microsoft attack R, e.g. by taking on the R Foundation

IF one was to say that corporations don’t belong in public interest groups, it would be deemed “offensive” by some. After all, “corporations are people,” right?

There are two organisations that claim to front for R, the R Foundation and R Consortium. “Microsoft and Linux Foundation are in one to compete with the other; i.e. one is legitimate,” an associate told us.

Remember that the Linux Foundation is fronting for companies like Microsoft and is working against the Linux community. That’s the de facto (or unofficial) purpose of the Linux Foundation.

Our associate asked: “What’s up with Microsoft and Linux Foundation trying to compete against, and thus hinder, the R Foundation?”

“Remember that the Linux Foundation is fronting for companies like Microsoft and is working against the Linux community.”Well, Microsoft’s attack on R is not new. The acquisitions and the infiltration attempts aren’t new. In fact, it goes back to around half a decade ago when they bought some R-centric company, seeing R as a gateway to students/academia.

“It’s not new but it is ongoing,” our associate added. “The Linux Foundation is helping Microsoft carry out those attacks and is sponsoring events. I think most of the R community is aware of Microsoft though there is a push to undermine development there as well by pushing a Windows agenda sometimes.”

It’s Naive to Believe Foreign For-Profit Corporations Will Guard Democracy Online

Posted in Deception at 8:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 34d781ff4a8c551013d9f137a37aa53f
Controlling People en Masse
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Any nation’s democracy is at risk from social control media giants that are for-profit corporations and not communication tools (meddling and interference is their main business model, if any viable business model exists at all)

THIS week we’ve seen the following headline that says “U-M experts tackle interaction of social media, democracy”. I personally quit all social [sic] media [sic] for a plethora of reasons, including — as I demonstrated at the time — grotesque political intervention (also pro-war bias). Here’s the page from related press:

U-M experts tackle interaction of social media, democracy

The video above speaks about the topic in brief and urges people to leave all social control media giants. Well, social control media in general, be it big or small, is unproductive and poor use of time.

Political Bias is a Distraction From Google’s Abuse of Power Over E-mail

Posted in Deception, Google at 7:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 649075c605903b8625d94f16c8093b26
Google as E-mail Cop
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: It’s easy to get distracted by the media and think that Google’s manipulation of E-mail traffic is a political rather than a corporate issue

THE E-mail system as a decentralised system is under attack. Life is getting a lot more difficult for those wishing to use E-mail without outsourcing to companies like Microsoft and Google.

To put things in perspective, Microsoft isn’t even commanding the market anymore (Hotmail is a fossil and Outlook/Exchange are systems for losing mail and getting cracked). Here’s one recent graph (biased by demography):

Email Client Market Share

When we last checked (about a year ago), Microsoft only had about 2% market share in E-mail, so let’s focus on Google instead.

The video above explains how the media frames it, but the real issue is not that “Google’s spam filter is blocking spam,” to quote an associate. “That is a red herring. The more serious problem is that Google’s spam filter is blocking nearly all independently operated mail servers.”

“Here is one case study” (and another).

With further complications being added older E-mail clients cannot keep up and sometimes they’re shunned completely. The centralisation of E-mail is bad for a whole bunch of reasons. “Oversight, surveillance, and (in the case of employers) micromanagement,” an associate noted, adding that: “With the advent of Microsoft Outlook, it’s not only insecure but also highly unreliable and 10% – 20% of messages for Outlook/Exchange go missing.”

“When we last checked (about a year ago), Microsoft only had about 2% market share in E-mail, so let’s focus on Google instead.”The thing not to get distracted by is stuff like this or that, framing it in the context of political parties and orientations.

More needs to be said about — and against — the E-mail consolidation or monopolies/oligopolies because several institutions outsource their E-mail, even some governments. Our associate speaks of “the Appeal To Novelty (argumentum ad novitatem) that the drones in purchasing and the suits in the C-suite evaluate software based on very few other criteria other than version number. Recall in the NT vs Netware days they jump the versions up to have a higher number than the competition. Then renamed it to “2000″.”

This is a separate but related issues that’ll be addressed in today’s fifth video (the above is the first of five).

Links 26/10/2022: AlmaLinux 8.7 Beta and SparkyLinux 2022.10 Rolling ISOs

Posted in News Roundup at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Unix MenHow Linux Users Can Protect Their Business

      If your business uses Linux as an operating system, it is important that you know the best ways to protect your operations. Cybercrime is a major and growing threat that all business owners face no matter what system they use – but how you protect your digital assets can vary slightly depending on the system.

      This is why it is helpful to be aware of a few cybersecurity tips for Linux users so that you can improve your protection and have peace of mind knowing that you are better protected against the latest threats. With that in mind, here are a few of the best ways for Linux users to protect their companies.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Tux Digital36: LUREing the AUR – Linux Out Loud – TuxDigital

        This week, Linux Out Loud chats about luring the AUR to other distros.

        Welcome to episode 36 of Linux Out Loud. We fired up our mics, connected those headphones as we searched the community for themes to expound upon. We kept the banter friendly, the conversation somewhat on topic, and had fun doing it.

      • VideoGNOME versus KDE Which Is Better – Invidious

        One of the most frequently asked questions from new Linux users is: “GNOME or KDE…which should I choose?” Well, there’s quite a number of things to consider when making this choice, so let’s discuss!

      • Tux Digital299: Gurus of Sudo and Kinetic Kudus – Destination Linux – TuxDigital

        This week’s episode of Destination Linux, we discuss advertising or promoting products in your distro, is it okay or the start of something terrible? Then we will be taking a look at the latest version of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 22.10. Plus, we have our tips/tricks and software picks. All this and more coming up right now on Destination Linux to keep those penguins marching!

    • Kernel Space

      • Tom’s HardwareLinux Kernel May Drop i486 Support as Torvalds Backs Pentium Plan

        The 486 CPU is somewhat of a relic these days, but its legacy in the Linux kernel has lived on. The i486 has been the de facto minimum for decades. Even Linux, that long-term supporter of outdated architectures, is considering giving up on the chip and removing support for the 486 processors, just like it did for the 386 back in 2012.

      • It’s FOSSLinus Torvalds Says it is Time to Get Rid of i486 CPU Support

        After dropping support for the ancient i386 line of CPUs, over a decade back, the Linux Kernel is gearing up to possibly drop the i486 line of CPUs.

        The i486 series of CPUs was launched back in 1989, and very few Linux distros, such as Gentoo, Slackware, and KNOPPIX support it nowadays.

      • Linux MagazineLinus Torvalds Considers Dropping i486 Support – Linux Magazine

        In a message to the Linux kernel mailing list, creator Linus Torvalds indicates that it’s time to jettison support for i486 machines in with Linux kernel.

        For anyone who still depends on aging hardware for Linux use, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. Linus Torvalds has announced that he is considering dropping support for aging i486 hardware in the kernel.

        On this issue, Torvalds says, “We got rid of i386 support back in 2012. Maybe it’s time to get rid of i486 support in 2022?”

        The good news is, i486 hardware is pretty irrelevant at this point and anyone still depending on such hardware is on borrowed time anyway. In fact, i486 hardware is pretty much considered a relic of days gone by. However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely vanished from sight.

      • The Register UKSystemd supremo proposes tightening up Linux boot process • The Register [Ed: An attack on Linux freedom]

        Lennart Poettering’s latest blog post proposes moving the Linux boot process into a “Brave New Trusted Boot World” of cryptographically signed Unified Kernel Images.

        Agent Poettering offers a mechanism for tightening up the security of the system startup process on Linux machines, using TPM 2.0 hardware. In brief, what he sees as the problem is that on hardware with Secure Boot enabled, while the boot process up to and including the kernel is signed, the next step, loading the initrd, is not. That’s what he wants to fix.

    • Applications

      • Linux LinksEssential System Tools: kmon – manage Linux kernel modules – LinuxLinks

        This series highlights essential system tools. These are small utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For details of all tools in this series, please check the table in the summary section.

        kmon is a text-based tool to help you manage the Linux kernel modules and monitor the kernel activities. With this tool, you can load, unload, and blacklist modules, as well as show a module’s information.

        kmon is written in Rust and uses the tui-rs and termion libraries for its text-based user interface.

      • Daniel Stenberg7.86.0 with WebSocket

        Welcome to another curl release. You know the drill…


        Starting at 08:00 UTC (10:00 CEST) on October 26, 2022 on twitch, there will be a live video presentation of all the news in this release. After that, this paragraph will be replaced with a link to the video recording.

      • cURL 7.86 Released

        The most recent stable version is 7.86.0, released on 26th of October 2022. Currently, 7 of the listed downloads are of the latest version.

      • MedevelDoodledrop: Open-source Social Media for Doodle Painting

        Doodledrop is a free open-source self-hosted doodle creation and sharing platform for artists.

      • UbuntuVMware alternatives: discover open source
      • OpenSource.comDoing 64-bit math on a 16-bit system

        A few years ago, I wrote a command-line math program for FreeDOS called VMATH. It was capable of performing only extremely simple mathematical operations on very small unsigned integers. With some recent interest in basic math in the FreeDOS community, I improved VMATH to provide basic math support on signed 64-bit integers.

        The process of manipulating big numbers using only 16-bit 8086 compatible assembly instructions is not straightforward. I would like to share some samples of the techniques used by VMATH. Some of the methods used are fairly easy to grasp. Meanwhile, others can seem a little strange. You may even learn an entirely new way of performing some basic math.

        The techniques explained here to add, subtract, multiply, and divide 64-bit integers are not limited to just 64-bits. With a little basic understanding of assembly, these functions could be scaled to do math on integers of any bit size.

        Before digging into those math functions, I want to cover some basics of numbers from the computer’s perspective. 

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • H2S MediaHow to install FireFox browser in Alpine Linux – Linux Shout

        Learn the commands to install the Mozilla FireFox browser in Alpine Linux to start browsing websites or web apps accessible via the Local networks or the Internet.

        Alpine Linux is popular for its lightweight, security, and performance. That’s the reason it has been used widely to run virtual machines or containers such as Docker. However, if you are using a Graphical user interface on Alpine Linux and want to access an Internet website then there would not be a browser application by default.

        Well, to make Alpine Linux lightweight it comes out of the box with a command-line interface. However, if you want then we can install a graphical user interface on Alpine to use it as a normal Dekstop operating system. Here is the tutorial on how to install the XFCE Linux desktop environment on Alpine.

      • Make Use OfHow to Use Your Android Phone as a Speaker for Your Windows, Mac, or Linux Computer

        Most computer monitors feature a built-in speaker. If you use a laptop, it is likely to have a built-in speaker as well. While the audio output quality is debatable, these built-in audio devices help in the absence of an external audio setup.

        However, what if your computer speaker or the external audio setup stops working, and you don’t have time to troubleshoot? If you have a working Android phone, you can use it as an external speaker for your computer. Here we show you the two ways to turn your Android phone into a PC speaker with the help of an app.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Yet another Yogurt ‘yay’ on Manjaro Linux

        Tutorial on how to install the Bitcoin Core in Ubuntu 22.04, what Bitcoins are, and how you can use the Bitcoin Core to create and manage your Bitcoin wallet.

      • Linux HintHow to Install Bitcoin Core in Ubuntu 22.04

        Cryptocurrencies are becoming the norm, and Bitcoin has its place as the most popular and the first cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has massive volatility, and the best part is that you can manage your Bitcoins from your Bitcoin wallet where you can easily buy and sell to anyone anonymously. Bitcoin works on nodes connected to the blockchain to verify each transaction to the digital ledger.

        You can validate your blockchain and wallet using Bitcoin Core which offers “full-node” software to aid with that. This guide covers what Bitcoin Core is and how to install it in Ubuntu 22.04.

      • OSTechNixHow To Monitor File Changes Using fswatch In Linux – OSTechNix

        Fswatch is a free, open source multi-platform file change monitor utility that notifies us when the contents of the specified files or directories are modified or changed. Using fswatch, we can easily monitor the changes being made in files and/or directories. It supports all operating systems, including GNU/Linux, *BSDs, Mac OS X, Solaris, and Microsoft Windows etc. In this brief guide, let me show you how to monitor file changes using fswatch in Linux and Unix-like operating systems.

      • Red Hat OfficialDrop the Linux cat command for bat | Enable Sysadmin

        Bat, known as “a cat clone with wings,” functions similarly to cat, more, sed, and awk, but it does it with a lot more style.

      • Linux HintArch Linux Docker Tutorial

        Docker is a containerization platform that supports the building, running, and easy managing of applications. The Docker container bundles its configuration files, software, and libraries, such that each container is isolated from other containers. The good thing about containers is that they can share resources despite being isolated, making them a better alternative than virtualization. Moreover, one host system can run multiple Docker containers.

        This guide focuses on understanding how to get started with Docker on Arch Linux. We will discuss how to install Docker and configure it for Arch-based Linux Distributions.

      • Linux HintDebian Package Managers: dpkg, apt and Aptitude Explained

        This tutorial explains how to install, remove, search and list packages using dpkg, apt and aptitude Debian Linux package managers.

        After reading this tutorial, the reader will be able to make a variety of package related operations. This article is valid for all Debian based Linux distributions including Ubuntu.

        All given examples contain screenshots, making it easy for every Linux user to understand how package managers commands are applied.

        The content is optimized both for users looking for fast implementation and users looking for understanding on how package managers work.

      • Make Use OfHow to Check the Maximum RAM Capacity of a Computer

        Use the dmidecode command line utility to get information about your RAM on a Linux machine. The utility is available on all major Linux distros.

        If you do not have dmidecode, you can install it using snapd or any other package manager. The advantage of snap is that it is distro agnostic.

      • UNIX CopHow to install GRV (Git Repository Viewer) on Ubuntu 22.04

        Hello, friends. In this post, you will learn how to install GRV (Git Repository Viewer) on Ubuntu 22.04 This terminal tool can be an ideal complement to the use of GIT If you are a developer, you will like this application.

      • OpenSource.comTips for using the Linux test command

        The [ command, often called a “test,” is a command from the GNU Core Utils package, and initiates a conditional statement in Bash. Its function is exactly the same as the test command. When you want to execute a command only when something is either true or false, use the [ or the test command. However, there’s a significant difference between [ or test and [[, and there’s a technical difference between those commands and your shell’s versions of them.

      • uni TorontoFilesystems and progressive deletion of things

        There are two conjoined problems for filesystems when deleting things. First, in order to really delete things from a filesystem, you need to know what they are. So to delete a file, the filesystem needs to know specifically what disk blocks the file uses so the filesystem can go mark them as free in the data structures it uses to do this. This information about what disk blocks are used is not necessarily in memory; in fact, very little about the file may be in memory. This means that in order to delete the file, the filesystem may need to read a bunch of data about it off of the disks and then process it. For large files, there are several levels of this data in a tree structure of indirect blocks. This isn’t necessarily a fast process, especially if the system uses HDDs and is under IO pressure already.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Progressives Have But One Option on Election Day: Vote to Defeat the Neofascist GOP

        Six months ago, people on the left in France faced a crucial choice. None of their candidates had gotten enough votes to make it into the presidential runoff election. On the upcoming ballot were the neoliberal president Emmanuel Macron and the neofascist challenger Marine Le Pen, who had trailed the incumbent in the first round by less than five percentage points. What to do?

      • TruthOutDemocratic Party Leaders Are Shunning Some Progressives in Tight Midterm Races
      • Jeff GeerlingBatch transcode a folder of videos with Handbrake’s CLI

        But Handbrake’s achilles heel, as a GUI-first application, is in a lack of easy batch operation. You can queue videos up one at a time, which is nice, but more recently, as I’ve ripped more TV seasons onto my NAS, I’ve wanted to transcode 5, 10, or 20 files at a time.

      • Manuel MatuzovicDay 22: the ::backdrop pseudo-element

        It’s time to get me up to speed with modern CSS. There’s so much new in CSS that I know too little about. To change that I’ve started #100DaysOfMoreOrLessModernCSS. Why more or less modern CSS? Because some topics will be about cutting-edge features, while other stuff has been around for quite a while already, but I just have little to no experience with it.

      • Robert HeatonHow to date a recording using background electrical noise

        When the mains hum produced by AC oscillations is picked up on a recording, its frequency fluctuations are picked up too. If we isolate and analyse the hum in a clip, we can measure these tiny variations in ENF. Because the variations are random, patterns don’t (or at least rarely) repeat. This means that the way in which the ENF varies during a recording can be used as a fingerprint that uniquely (ish) identifies the time at which the recording was made. We can timestamp a clip by comparing its ENF series to a database of past ENF values, and find the time at which the recording’s ENF most closely matches history. Second-by-second databases of past ENFs are widely available for many grids, sometimes published by grid operators themselves (for example, Britain’s National Grid), and sometimes by other organisations or individuals (for example, power-grid-frequency.org).

      • Unix SheikhUnderstanding Unix filesystem timestamps

        A lot of information on the Internet about filesystem timestamps are either outdated or simply misunderstood. Some people also tend to generalize a specific option’s pros and cons across all setups, not knowing when the option is actually appropriate. For example, I might think that setting atime to on is unconditionally bad because it will have a detrimental effect on the performance of the filesystem without knowing that atime is required by some applications in order to function properly.

      • DebugPointPython 3.11 is out now. Here’s how to install in Ubuntu

        Python 3.11 was released on Oct 25, 2022, and claims to be 10-60% faster than the prior Python 3.10 version.

        As always, the feature and improvement list are significantly high in 3.11. Here’s a brief.

        1. Error tracebacks are not more definite, which gives you an exact statement that causes the error.
        2. Introduction of exception groups and new except* syntax
        3. You can add custom text in the base expression for better error handling in your code.
        4. Introduction of Variadic generic to allow array-like structure in numerical Python libraries )such as NumPy)
        5. Dictionary type TypedDict gets improvement where you can now specify whether individual dictionary items are mandatory or optional.
        6. Introduction of Self annotation, which allows classes to return their own type instance.

        And finally, here’s how you can install this latest version in Ubuntu.

    • Games

      • GamingOnLinuxThe Long Dark: Tales from the Far Territory announced with a teaser

        The Long Dark: Tales from the Far Territory is the first paid expansion to the chilly survival game from Hinterland. It was announced just recently and a teaser trailer is up.

      • GamingOnLinuxReturn to Monkey Island gets an official Native Linux version

        After a short Beta period, Return to Monkey Island from Terrible Toybox and Devolver Digital now has a Native Linux port available. Sounds like the game is doing well, as said in the announcement: “Thanks to you, loyal customers, Return to Monkey Island is now the fastest-selling Monkey Island game EVER! At least, I think so. My sales data is a little “fuzzy.” But let’s go with it!”.

      • GamingOnLinuxSteam Scream Fest 2022 is live now with lots of discounts

        Here’s the next big sale! Steam Scream Fest 2022 is live now, lots of games discounted and there’s demos and more. Live now until November 1st at 5PM UTC. I don’t think this type of event needs a lot of explaining does it? The focus is naturally on all sorts of scary and slightly spooky games and everything possible in between that developers could sneak into the sale.

      • TechdirtAnother Person Is Archiving Every English PS2 Game Manual

        A couple of years ago, we discussed the work being done, essentially by one enterprising individual going by the handle “Peebs,” to archive a bunch of retro video game manuals for the sake of preservation. Earlier this year, we updated you all with the fairly impressive news that every SNES game manual had been digitized by Peebs. As we said in those posts, there were two major takeaways I had when learning about these efforts. First, it’s a good thing that fair use allows for this sort of non-commercial archiving to even take place. That’s important because of the second takeaway I had, which is that it sucks that these preservation efforts have been left for hobbyists or other individuals, rather than being an effort led by any of the content creators themselves.

      • Boiling SteamNew Steam Games with Native Linux Clients – 2022-10-26 Edition – Boiling Steam

        Between 2022-10-19 and 2022-10-26 there were 33 New Steam games released with Native Linux clients. For reference, during the same time, there were 306 games released for Windows on Steam, so the Linux versions represent about 10.8 % of total released titles.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • 9to5LinuxKDE Plasma 5.26.2 Disables Animated Wallpaper Feature on X11 Due to Severe Memory Leak

          KDE Plasma 5.26.2 is here a week after KDE Plasma 5.26’s first point release to address more bugs and critical security issues, including a severe memory leak when using the xcb_glx integration for the new animated wallpaper feature on X11. As such, the animated wallpaper feature has been disabled on X11, for now.

          Moreover, KDE Plasma 5.26.2 implements a fallback mechanism so that Plasma can switch to the default wallpaper when the image URL is empty, fixes an issue that could cause input to not be detected when using the new mouse button rebinding feature, and fixes a crash in Plasma Vault’s listing callback.

        • KDEKDE Plasma 5.26.2, Bugfix Release for October

          Tuesday, 25 October 2022. Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.26.2.

          Plasma 5.26 was released in October 2022 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

        • David RevoyDiscuss with the Dragon

          SO, after the previous “Confront the Dragon”, I continue my research.

          This time, I wanted to study a more cinematographic shot, with depth of field and again, multiple light sources (obviously a contrast of a cold and warm one).

          I think I improve a bit in the way I’m letting more and more expressive brush stroke visible but in place where they are not an issue for reading the picture. Firm edges and sharpening are ok, but I need to find a better solution because I used here the “clipping mask” workaround in Krita, and it was really unbearable how many layers where necessary and buttons to press to just shade a shape and then merge back. I start to really wish if Krita had real clipping mask.


          my desk and setup: Intuos Pro Large, Fedora KDE Linux 36, Philipps 245E monitor

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • The Register UKRolling Rhino reboots into Rhino Linux • The Register

      Rolling Rhino, a project that turned Ubuntu into a rolling-release distribution, is restarting development under a new name: Rhino Linux.

      We wrote about Rolling Rhino last spring. Yes, it’s another Ubuntu remix, but with a different goal. Most Ubuntu remixes just replace the desktop, bundle a different set of apps, or make other relatively cosmetic surface changes. But Rolling Rhino changes the entire release model, switching the package sources to Ubuntu’s in-progress development branches and turning the distro into a continuously-changing rolling release.

    • rolling forward
    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • BSD

    • Fedora Family / IBM

      • AlmaLinux OfficialAlmaLinux 8.7 Beta – Now Available – AlmaLinux OS Blog

        Hello Community! AlmaLinux OS is excited to present AlmaLinux 8.7 Beta “Stone Smilodon” for x86_64, aarch64, ppc64le and s390x architectures.

        Installation ISOs are available on mirrors now.

        As usual, a simple reminder, this is a BETA release. It should not be used for production installations. The provided upgrade instructions should not be used on production machines unless you don’t mind if something breaks. Now if you wanna test this to see how things will work in 8.7 stable, you’re on the right track.

        Also stay tuned to for some AlmaLinux 8.7 Beta Cloud and Containers options to test.

      • Rakuten Symphony and CIQ bring back open source and open community to Open RAN deployments with CentOS Successor, Rocky Linux

        Rakuten Symphony, Inc. and CIQ, Inc. today announced the availability and support of the Rocky Linux operating system for handling demanding radio signal processing software workloads.

        “Open source communities encourage innovation through collaboration. Without them, many of the technologies we take for granted today would never have developed, or would be locked away behind patent law. Deployment of Rocky Linux represents a return to true open-source principles, powered by open communities,” said Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony.

      • CentOSCPE Quarterly Update Q3 2022

        This is a summary of the work done on initiatives by the CPE Team. Each quarter CPE Team together with CentOS and Fedora community representatives chooses initiatives that will be worked on in this quarter. The CPE Team is then split into multiple smaller sub-teams that will work on chosen initiatives + day to day work that needs to be done.

      • Red Hat OfficialMaximizing the value of the technology you have

        It’s easy for businesses to go into survival mode right now. Supply chains are reeling from inflationary and workforce pressures; consumer demand is bracing itself for the full impacts of the cost of living crisis; and climate change is no longer something happening elsewhere, all while the machinations of geopolitics are spooking markets on an almost daily basis. We live in uncertain and unpredictable times.

      • Enterprisers ProjectEdge and cloud: 4 reasons to adopt both
      • F40 proposal: Porting Fedora to Modern C (System-Wide Change proposal)

        Back in 1999, a new revision of the C standard removed several backwards compatibility features. However, GCC still accepts these obsolete constructs by default. Support for these constructs is confusing to programmers and potentially affect GCC’s ability to implement features from future C standards.

    • Debian Family

      • 9to5LinuxDebian-Based SparkyLinux 2022.10 Rolling ISOs Updated with Linux Kernel 6.0 by Default

        SparkyLinux 2022.10 was released earlier this month on October 6th and shipped with Linux kernel 5.19.11 by default. Due to the end of life of the Linux 5.19 kernel series, the developers decided to respun the ISO images and upgrade the kernel to the latest and greatest Linux 6.0 series.

        Linux kernel 6.0.3 is included by default in the new SparkyLinux 2022.10 rolling images, which are offered with the KDE Plasma, Xfce, MATE, LXQt, and Openbox graphical environments. On top of that, the new ISOs ship with various other updates from the upstream Debian GNU/Linux 12 “Bookworm” repositories.

      • Sparky 2022.10-1 – SparkyLinux

        This is an additional, extra update of Sparky’s October’s rolling iso images which features Linux kernel 6.0.3 of the latest 6.0 line, and other updated packages from Debian and Sparky testing repos.

        Make sure, applications which uses pkexec (Synaptic, Sparky Installer (Calamares), Gufw, etc.) to be launched in live session, with superuser privileges need password to type in now.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

      • [Old] People and processes behind “Ubuntu certified” devices

        While searching for your next GNU/Linux enabled computer, you may have found that some vendors such as Dell, HP and Lenovo sell a selection of desktops and laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed. In fact, Ubuntu is certified on an ever-growing list of hardware. But what does it mean exactly for such a device to be “Ubuntu certified”, and how does this happen? Let’s find out.

      • TechRepublicVanilla OS is a brilliant take on the Linux desktop | TechRepublic

        I’ve tried just about every concept behind every Linux desktop on the market. Some of those concepts are nothing more than a change in the UI, whereas others become so complex as to make the distribution nearly impossible to use, especially for those who aren’t familiar with Linux.

      • It’s FOSSVanilla OS: More Than Just Vanilla GNOME With Ubuntu

        That was precisely my thought when I first came across Vanilla OS.

        When Mirko Brombin, the creator of Bottles, announced it on Twitter, that had me interested in it 😎

        I joined their Discord channel and hopped in to become a tester. While I did not point out anything new that other testers already did, keeping an eye on the project development is fun.

        Back to the vital question: What is Vanilla OS?

        Vanilla OS aims to offer a clean vanilla GNOME experience with on-demand immutability.

        Sounds interesting? Let me tell you a few details about it while I give its first open beta build a try.

        Vanilla OS plans to have a stable release in November.

        It will follow Ubuntu point releases. So, you can expect two releases per year. For example, you can upgrade from Ubuntu 22.04 to Ubuntu 22.10 and further.

      • TuxPhonesVanilla OS offers an innovative, modernized “post-Debian” experience

        Ubuntu has been traditionally considered the most popular and user-friendly distro, and its core principles inspired a stream of derivate distributions in the past years. Although many users are happy with the general architecture, Ubuntu owner Canonical has sometimes been criticized for some technical choices, such as pushing most parts of the runtime into snap runtimes, moving even essential apps to the container format, or shipping “patched” version of software and desktops, or more including (harmless) ads in their desktop or even inside the terminal.

        With some known flaws, but excellent community and adoption, some projects are trying to provide a compromise to make Ubuntu suitable also for the most die-hard Linux fans, while falling back in the pure Debian paradigm. And, truth be told, most of these projects work, but tend to be quite boring from a technical perspective – for instance, shipping different repositories of “purified” software, or removing every proprietary bit as in Purism’s (Debian based) PureOS.
        The reason why Vanilla OS in particular deserves a mentioned is that it looks like a considerably better developed idea than most, and represents in some ways a modernized experience compared to Debian and Ubuntu.

      • 9to5LinuxUbuntu 22.10 Gets First Kernel Security Update to Address Recent Wi-Fi Stack Vulnerabilities

        Ubuntu 22.10 arrived last week on October 20th and it ships with Linux kernel 5.19 by default. The first kernel security patch arrived today to address a total of six security vulnerabilities discovered by various security researchers in the upstream kernel packages.

        This first kernel security update for Ubuntu 22.10 patches the recently discovered Wi-Fi Stack security vulnerabilities that Canonical already patched in its other supported Ubuntu releases last week, namely Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

      • DebugPointUbuntu Unity 22.10 Review: A Promising “Official” Start

        For the fans of Unity desktop, it’s a piece of good news. Ubuntu Unity 22.10 Kinetic Kudu became the official Ubuntu flavour featuring Unity desktop after Canonical officially abandoned it on April 2018. You can now enjoy the officially supported Unity desktop with an Ubuntu base.

        That means you get the usual security and package updates following the Ubuntu release schedule.

        I did a hands-on on the official Ubuntu Unity desktop, and here’s what I found.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Parking at Munich Airport: An Awful Experience

        The parking experience at Munich Airport is awful. It is too easy to do something wrong, which can only be remedied by calling support. The bad user experience is caused by a bad system architecture. The pieces for a better architecture are already in place. Improving the interaction between these pieces improves the architecture and a fortiori the user experience. I can at least dream of a better parking experience in the future, although I can’t change the current one.

      • CNX SoftwareBrume 2 – OpenWrt “security gateway” with MediaTek MT7981B SoC supports WireGuard VPN

        GL.inet Brume 2 is an OpenWrt router, or rather a “security gateway” as the company calls it, powered by a MediaTek MT7981B (Filogic 820) dual-core Cortex-A53 processor, and equipped with a 2.5GbE WAN port and a Gigabit Ethernet LAN port.

        The device also comes with a USB 3.0 port for storage and a USB Type-C port for power. It is offered with either a plastic enclosure (GL-MT2500 model) or an aluminum allow case (GL-MT2500A model), and with WireGuard and OpenVPN, is suitable to host a VPN server and “monitor, manage, and configure SD-WAN settings”.

      • CNX SoftwareuConsole is a modular Arm or RISC-V handheld computer with optional 4G connectivity – CNX Software

        Clockwork’s uConsole is a modular handheld computer with a 5-inch display, a built-in keyboard, and based on a carrier board supporting various Arm or RISC-V modules compatible with the Raspberry Pi CM3 or CM4 form factors.

        The device is offered with a system-on-module with up to 4GB RAM, a WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless module, features micro HDMI video output, USB ports, and an audio jack, plus expansion connectors for more advanced users, and takes two 18650 batteries for power. The company also offers a 4G LTE module for cellular connectivity.

      • Linux GizmosOKdo launches Radxa Rock CM3 at ~$68

        OKdo launched yesterday the Radxa ROCK 3 Compute Module (CM3) which is based on the Rockchip RK3566 System-on-Chip. The CM3 is currently offered with 2GB RAM/32GB eMMC, one GbE Ethernet PHY, dual displays, dual SATA ports and many other peripherals.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Raspberry PiVoodoo2: 3dfx’s final dedicated 3d gaming card | Custom PC #231

        While it’s difficult to think of this as high resolution in an age where people are sincerely discussing gaming at 7,680 x 4,320, back in 1998 most people were using 14-15in CRT screens, some of which couldn’t even go above 800 x 600 in non-interlaced mode. The idea that you could actually run 3D-accelerated games at 1,024 x 768 (786,432 pixels), when the first Voodoo cards could only run at 640 x 480 (307,200 pixels), seemed astonishing.

      • Raspberry PiRecreate the Victorian Fairy Lantern stage trick with Pico LiPo

        The Pepper’s ghost illusion is actually much older than you might expect, and was first described in the 1500s. Although it’s not a true hologram, the eerie effect that it creates often gets called as such, and is occasionally seen as an advertising gimmick at trade shows and conferences. The illusion uses an artfully positioned pane of glass or plastic to reflect a concealed object or screen in such a way that the image appears to be floating, semi-transparent, in mid-air. The technique is also the basis of how an autocue works: since the illusion is only visible from a certain position, it’s possible for a public speaker to look directly at the text of an announcement without the text being visible to those people behind the transparent screen.

      • Raspberry PiBuilding a maths curriculum for a world shaped by computing [Ed: They prebundled malware for him in the OS]

        In the penultimate seminar in our series on cross-disciplinary computing, we were delighted to host Conrad Wolfram (European co-founder/CEO of Wolfram Research).

    • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Web Browsers/Web Servers

      • Mozilla

        • TorNew Release: Tor Browser 11.5.5 (Android, Windows, macOS, Linux)

          Tor Browser 11.5.5 backports the following security updates from Firefox ESR 102.4 to to Firefox ESR 91.13 on Windows, macOS and Linux:

        • MozillaA Mozilla product manager on his career path and what creating safe spaces online means to him

          As a staff product manager for Mozilla’s security and privacy team, Tony Amaral-Cinotto thinks a lot about how you can protect your personal information, including, most recently, your phone number.

          Firefox Relay has been protecting email addresses from spammers since 2020. Tony’s team just released a new feature applying the same idea to your phone number: You get a uniquely generated number mask so you don’t have to enter your true number on website forms, or in other places like restaurants when making reservations and online marketplaces when putting up items for sale.

    • Education

      • Hosting Malaysia’s Largest Annual R Conference

        Poo Kuan Hoong of the Malaysia R User Group (Also on Facebook) recently talked to the R-Consortium. He discussed the group’s rather smooth transition to regular online events. The group has also shifted its annual R Conference online, with speakers from around the globe.

    • FSF

      • Libre Arts – Weekly-ish recap — 26 October 2022

        GIMP is getting text strokes

        This has been a very long time in the making. The patch adding text stroke support was originally created by Massimo Valentini in 2011 to handle a feature request filed in 2003 (retribution is inevitable).


        I recently retired from GIMP. The sole reason I became active in the project years ago was because it wasn’t great at communication with users. The GIMP team are now active in the social media, they show what they do, and they write good release notes without my intervention. And while there are other things I could do, my job is pretty much done. I am confident that they will carry on doing great work on all fronts.

      • GCCGCC 13.0.0 Status Report (2022-10-20), Stage 1 ends Nov 13th
        The GCC development branch which will become GCC 13 is open for
        general development (Stage 1).  Stage 1 will end at the end of
        November 13th after which we will accept no new features that
        have not yet been submitted.  Starting with Novemer 14th we
        are in a two month general bugfixing period (Stage 3).
        I have gone over the set of unpriorized regression bugs that are in
        confirmed state, please help updating regressions that are still
        UNCONFIRMED and consider fixing bugs that are in your area of
        interest.  Please make sure to finish and submit features you
        want to see included into GCC 13 timely and actively look for
    • FSFE

      • FSFEIf enforced, EU chat control will limit Free Software – FSFE

        Surely you have already heard about the controversial EU draft law on mandatory chat control with the supposed aim to effectively tackle child sexual abuse. This law implies the monitoring and scanning of the communications of citizens – even the securely encrypted end-to-end one.

      • FSFEFSFE wins the transparency challenge of the EU Datathon 2022

        The sixth edition of EU Datathon, the EU’s open data competition, came to a close last week with the awards ceremony. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) won the first prize in the challenge ‘transparency in public procurement’ with a program that helps analyse how public administrations in the European Union spend their money.

    • Licensing / Legal

      • Internet SocietyThe EU’s Proposed Cyber Resilience Act Will Damage the Open Source Ecosystem

        I believe the European Commission’s Cyber Resilience Act proposal needs an important amendment to avoid damage to the open source software ecosystem. The regulation should be modified to make it clear that software produced under an open source license and distributed on not-for-profit basis is out of scope for the regulation, in line with previously stated objectives of the European Commission.

        The Cyber Resilience Act

        On 15 September 2022 the European Commission released a proposal for a regulation on horizontal cybersecurity requirements for products with digital elements, in short, the Cyber Resilience Act.

      • RlangR, its license and my take on it

        Yes, you can write proprietary code using R. Microsoft has done so, for example their {RevoUtilsMath} package is, as far as I know, proprietary, and I’m sure that it includes some R code. I’m pretty sure it would also be possible to even build a proprietary program that would require the R interpreter to be bundled to run. As long as the developers of this tool would: [...]

      • JoinupStudies on country-of-origin for free software / open source

        As governments put more effort into working with free software / open source development communities, some might be interested to know how much involvement each country has. Two interesting studies have recently been published on this. The larger of the two treats Europe as a single geographic location and shows a global context. The second study focusses on Europe and breaks everything down to the level of member states and even regions within member states.

        Both studies use a “best guess” approach for assigning a geographic location based on email addresses, names, timezone data, etc. The researches acknowledge the limitations of these pieces of information, noting that Europe and Africa share timezones and that today the name “Eric, derived from Old Norse, is more popular in Ghana than it is in France or in the UK”. Previous studies have used questionnaires, which give greater accuracy but greatly limit the number of responses and also introduces its own set of response biases.

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Open Access/Content

        • Bjoern BrembsOpen Access And The Incentives For Embezzlement

          So let’s look at the current publication practice of researchers. Due to the traditional reward structure, researchers aim to publish in the most prestigious journals, in order to benefit from that prestige in tenure, hiring and promotion decisions. In subscription times, in which we still partially live, this practice does not come with immediate changes in the cost/pricing structure. However, this picture changes dramatically when Open Access publications are considered, where the journals demand payment of an article processing charge (APC). It has been documented exhaustively over several studies that these APCs scale with journal prestige. This situations provides incentives for authors to choose the most expensive publication option and there are two studies that have found such effects already: [...]

    • Programming/Development

      • Barry KaulerPulseaudio startup script moved to /etc/init.d

        The saga of getting pulseaudio working in EasyOS was summarized in November 2021:


        The startup script was placed in /root/Startup, script ‘pulseaudio’, as wanted it to run after X has started. I did it this way, as that is how Slackware does it — or at least how they did it back then.

      • QtThe Road to Qt Location

        The Qt Location module in Qt 5 provides functionality for geocoding and routing, for rendering maps and routes in a Qt Quick UI, and for accessing information about points of interests. Applications can use Qt Location to render maps, can add items on top of the map to highlight certain geographical areas, and the Qt Quick UI allows applications and users to pan, zoom, and tilt the map. Such applications will typically use the Qt Positioning module to be aware of the user’s location. Qt Positioning has been available in Qt 6 since the Qt 6.2 release, and over the last months we have been working with customers, partners, and Open Source contributors to make the most important Qt Location functionality available in Qt 6 as well.

      • QtQt Creator 9 Beta2 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 9 Beta2!

      • UndeadlyGame of Trees 0.77 released

        Version 0.77 of Game of Trees has been released (and the port updated): [...]

      • Game of Trees -portable 0.77 released October 24, 2022

        This file details portable-specific changes to make things work on systems other than OpenBSD.

      • Can We Use Trunk-Based Development for Legacy Software?

        Not right away! Trunk-Based Development requires that the software builds and passes enough tests, before we integrate our changes into the main branch (a.k.a., trunk). We have enough tests, if breaking the software is highly unlikely. By definition, legacy code has no or not enough tests. Hence, we cannot apply trunk-based development right way, but should evolve our development process towards it.

      • Jan SchaumannTime is an illusion, Unix time doubly so…

        That’s right, the original Unix epoch was 1971-01-01T00:00:00. What timezone, you ask? Well, it sure wasn’t “UTC”, because that didn’t replace GMT as the standard time until 1972. Secondly, note that time was measured in 1/60ths of a second, not in seconds. Why would that be?

      • RlangEditing metadata in trail camera images using R, magick and exiftool

        I have a new hobby: camera traps, also known as trail cameras. Strapped to trees in my local bushland they sit in wait, firing automatically when triggered by a passing animal. Once in a while, something quite magical happens.

        The camera model I chose is the Campark T85 which for me, had the right combination of features and price point. One useful feature is the ability to transfer images and video to a phone wirelessly (albeit through a rather clunky phone app). Unfortunately, images retrieved in this way have one major flaw: an almost-complete absence of metadata. There is no GPS in the camera of course, but the EXIF data does not include the date/time of the image, nor the camera make.

        With a little research, I found a way to add this information to the images later using R and some additional software named exiftool. Here’s how I did it.

      • Medevelcobalt Is An Open-source Free Social Media Downloader App

        The cobalt project is released under the AGPL-3.0 License.

      • MedevelSocialify Is A Great Tool for Open Source Developers

        Socialify is a free open source tool that aids open source project developer showcase their projects by generating catchy beautiful images.

      • Dirk EddelbuettelDirk Eddelbuettel: RQuantLib 0.4.17 on CRAN: Maintenance

        A new release 0.4.17 of RQuantLib arrived at CRAN earlier today, and has been uploaded to Debian as well.

        QuantLib is a very comprehensice free/open-source library for quantitative finance; RQuantLib connects it to the R environment and language.

        The release of RQuantLib comes five months after the previous maintenance, and brings a somewhat humurous upgrade from a default C++ standard of C++11 to C++14. We waited so long for C++11 to become available for R (which happened “eventually” when g++ 4.9 was no longer the default on Windows) and now it has become a constraint!! QuantLib 1.28, released today actually switched to C++14 as a minimum required. R also supports this as the default, but we still had C++11 hardwired so this quick maintenance release does away with that.

      • Perl / Raku

      • Python

        • Python SpeedWhen should you upgrade to Python 3.11?

          Python 3.11 is out now–but should you switch to it immediately? And if you shouldn’t upgrade just yet, when should you?

          The short answer is that, no, you probably don’t want to switch immediately; quite possibly you can’t switch immediately. To understand why, we need to consider Python packaging, the software development process, and take a look at the history of past releases.

          We can then make a guess about when Python 3.11 will actually be usable.

        • The Register UKPython team wraps version 3.11.0 • The Register

          Python 3.11.0, the latest iteration of the exceedingly popular programming language, debuted on Monday, to the delight of software developers who care about such things.

          “In the CPython release team, we have put a lot of effort into making 3.11 the best version of Python possible,” said Pablo Galindo Salgado, a Python steering council member, via Twitter. “Better tracebacks, faster Python, exception groups and except*, typing improvements and much more.”

          The marquee feature of v3.11.0 is pure speed, something Python has historically (sometimes unjustly) accused of lacking.

          “Python 3.11 is up to 10-60 percent faster than Python 3.10,” said Salgado, and fellow release team members Ned Deily and Steve Dower, in the release announcement. “On average, we measured a 1.22x speedup on the standard benchmark suite.”

        • Built InPython Optical Character Recognition (OCR): A Tutorial | Built In

          Optical character recognition (OCR) is a technology that recognizes text in images, such as scanned documents and photos. Perhaps you’ve taken a photo of a text just because you didn’t want to take notes or because taking a photo is faster than typing it. Fortunately, thanks to smartphones today, we can apply OCR so that we can copy the picture of text we took before without having to retype it.

      • JS

      • Rust

        • GCCRust frontend patches v3
          This is the fixed version of our previous patch set for gccrs - We've adressed
          the comments raised in our previous emails.
          This patch set does not contain any work that was not previously included, such
          as closure support, the constant evaluator port, or the better implementation
          of target hooks by Iain Buclaw. They will follow up in subsequent patch sets.
          Thanks again to Open Source Security, inc and Embecosm who have accompanied us
          for this work.
          Many thanks to all of the contributors and our community, who made this
    • Standards/Consortia

      • Riccardo MoriEU mandates USB-C as standard for charging ports. Good.

        In other words, I think charging isn’t exactly a fast-moving aspect of technology that warrants being immune from standardisation attempts. If it were for the Silicon Valley types, people would have to change their power plugs and outlets every 5 years or so because ‘innovation’.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Tom’s HardwareBest 3D Printers 2022: FDM, Resin and Sub-$250 Models

        There’s never been a better time to join the world of 3D printing or, for experienced makers, to upgrade. With the right printer, you can make models, toys, hooks, stands, replacement parts for electronics or a new case for your Raspberry Pi. You can get one of the best 3D printers and plenty of material for well under $300 in 2022, so consider what you’ll be making with it and read on to learn more.

        The two most common types of home 3D printers are resin MSLA (Masked Stereolithography) and filament FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). The best 3D printers for beginners or those with children, FDM printers use reels full of plastic filament that is fed into a hot nozzle and extruded out layer-by-layer to form a solid model. MSLA printers use a UV-cured resin material to form a model layer-by-layer as it rises from a vat of liquid that requires very careful handling.

        There are several factors to consider before buying the best 3D printer for you, so be sure to consider the questions before making a choice.

      • HackadayThe $300,000 3D Printed Car

        We’ve noticed an uptick in cars–especially pricey ones–using 3D-printed parts. However, these are usually small and nonstructural parts with a few exceptions. This isn’t the case with the 2024 Cadillac Celestiq. The $300,000 luxury electric vehicle boasts 115 3D-printed parts, according to a post on [TheDrive].

      • HackadayLess Is More When It Comes To Sensor Power

        It used to be the cost of a microcontroller was a big inhibitor to putting brains in everything, but those days are long gone. Even 32-bit CPUs are now cheap enough that you can throw them into anything. The biggest factor now is probably power. Do you really want to charge your electric toilet seat or change batteries every few weeks? A company called Everactive wants you to ditch your battery using their sensor platform they claim harvests energy from a variety of sources and they are about to deliver their first developer’s kit.

      • Linux GizmosBox PC based on Tiger Lake-U processors features docking connector

        Distec recently launched a fanless BOX PC compatible with Tiger Lake-U processors from Intel. The Box PC Pro NPA-2009 is equipped with a docking connector via V-by-one or DP to control external TFT displays. Other key features include dual GbE ports, one M.2 2280 slot, one M.2 2230 slot, one M.2 2242 and up to 64GB DDR4.

      • HackadayBuild Your Own Concrete 3D Printer

        We didn’t notice [Nikita]’s post about building a concrete 3D printer, a few months ago, but the idea seems sound: build a basic CNC XY axis and then add a mortar pump and hose to deposit concrete. The video, below, shows the machine in operation.

      • TediumPC Expansion Slot History: When the Clone-Makers Fought Back

        In the his
        tory of the IBM-compatible personal computer, we know who the winners and losers all are. The biggest winner was most assuredly Microsoft, followed by the many clone makers that crept up on Iowa farms, in dorm rooms, and inside the pages of Computer Shopper. The biggest loser was possibly IBM, whose architecture became the de facto standard, but whose exclusivity fell through its fingers as the off-the-shelf hardware easily emerged with other companies. In the late 1980s, IBM wanted to reassert control. Its strategy for doing so involved a lot less off-the-shelf—and a lot more proprietary. But all those clone-makers weren’t ready to fall over quite so quickly. Today’s Tedium talks internal slots.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • VOA NewsEurope’s Bees Stung by Climate, Pesticides and Parasites

        Neonicotinoids, chemically similar to nicotine, are systemic pesticides.

        Unlike contact pesticides, which remain on the surface of the treated leaves, systemic pesticides are taken up by the plant and transported to its leaves, flowers, roots and stems, as well as to its pollen and nectar.

        These toxic substances can remain in the soil for between five and 30 years, Bonmatin said.

      • NBCAmerica’s cars and trucks are getting bigger, and so are their front blind zones. Children are paying the price.

        Briley was one of an estimated 64 children who died that year after being hit by a forward-moving vehicle off of public roads, according to an NBC News analysis of federal crash data. More than twice as many children have died from such crashes when vehicles were moving forward than backward in recent years. An estimated 744 children were killed that way from 2016 to 2020, mostly in driveways and parking lots. In the majority of deaths, the child was hit by an SUV or a pickup truck.

        Those numbers rose sharply in 2020, and advocates worry they will continue to rise, as Americans increasingly buy large vehicles with big front blind zones, instead of smaller cars with greater visibility.

      • The NationThe Hidden Politics of Smell

        When I was diagnosed with Covid-19 in December of 2020, scent was the first thing to go. I was quarantined in my bedroom, and the world without smells was sterile and lifeless. Their absence made me keenly aware of the ways in which scent enables us to understand our surroundings. Without smell, food—sweet, savory, rotten—lost meaning. The smell of water drying on skin after a shower—cleanliness—was completely gone. The smell of pine needles on the breeze from an open window—the outdoors—did not signify a season, only the cold. We lack many words to describe scent, resorting instead to concepts and comparisons, but perhaps that’s a result of the visceral connection scent offers to how we feel, our sense of place, the nuances that round out the objects we see, touch, or perceive.

      • The NationCan These Farmers Decolonize the Wine Industry?

        And yet, as land in the state becomes dryer and fires burn hotter, activists across the country are challenging California’s glittering self-conception. Despite its status as a luxury good, they argue, wine is an agricultural product. It is not exempt from the conversations about food justice, soil health, and climate change that have permeated other agricultural sectors. “All of the impact that we have lies in the step before putting it into the bottle,” says community organizer and wine educator Jahdé Marley. (Kate Buenconsejo for The Nation)

      • Pro PublicaLawsuits Say OxyChem Exposed Neighborhood to Asbestos

        The diagnosis puzzled them. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of the vicious cancer, which kills most people who get it within a few years. Because cases often involve occupational exposure in industries like shipbuilding and construction — and because it can take decades for the cancer to develop — mesothelioma is sometimes thought of as an old man’s disease. Theresa was just 53 and held a master’s in public administration. She had been a congressional aide, she’d managed a nonprofit, she’d worked in marketing. Never with asbestos.

      • Common DreamsCancer Alley Activists Hold DC Funeral March Asking Biden to Declare Climate Emergency

        “President Biden, you are drinking clean water, and we are not. You can plant a garden over here; we cannot, the soil is destroyed.”

    • Proprietary

      • Hollywood ReporterYouTube Sees Ad Revenue Drop Slightly to $7.07B During Third Quarter

        YouTube’s ad revenue dropped down to $7.07 billion during the third quarter, marking a 1.9 percent decrease compared to the previous year, parent company Alphabet reported on Tuesday.

      • PC WorldMalware-ridden Chrome extension infects over a million PCs

        So reports security researcher Guardio Labs (via BleepingComputer), which spotted the latest batch of extensions that hijack search results to inject advertising into otherwise benign pages. The so-called “Dormant Colors” adware is spread across an impressive thirty different individual extensions in both the Chrome Web Store and Microsoft’s Edge Add-ons repository. (The latest version of Edge is based on Chromium case, and can run Chrome-based extensions without modification.) The extensions have also been spotted on spammy video download sites.

      • NVISO LabsThe dangers of trust policies in AWS

        Trust policies are very useful to temporarily grant specific access to a user or a resource. They add a layer of protection on the roles to avoid misuse by an adversary. Trust policies are most commonly used in either of following four cases: [...]

      • Riccardo MoriMy next Mac might be the last

        I’m aware that the title of this article could be viewed as clickbait. Sorry about that. It is, however, a very sincere snapshot of how I’m currently feeling about the Mac and Mac OS platform.

        Ever since the misguided visual redesign of Mac OS when it transitioned from 10.15 Catalina to 11 Big Sur, and the questionable UI choices embedded in such redesign, I’ve been disheartened to see my favourite environment for work and leisure enter a downward spiral. And while engineering-minded folks like Howard Oakley have been praising certain security-related underpinnings of the latest three versions of Mac OS, I simply feel they’re over-engineered solutions that make things needlessly more intricate for the end user. I’m not going into details here not because I don’t know what I’m talking about, but because, more pragmatically, the list of examples would constitute an article on its own, and would definitely exceed the scope and focus of this piece.

        Before you think I’m going to say things like Apple can’t innovate any more, again, no. It’s not that. I actually quite like most of what Apple is doing with the Mac, hardware-wise. The problem is I just can’t stand the software anymore. The problem is that I feel there is a troubling ungluing going on between Mac hardware and Mac OS, a substantial difference in quality between the two components, that doesn’t make me feel what I used to feel in previous versions of Mac OS X: seamless integration.

      • India TimesApple rolls out macOS Ventura: Key new features for Mac users
      • Make Tech EasierLinkedIn Cracking Down on Its Many Fake Accounts

        LinkedIn said in its Community Report that it’s been working on the problem, noting that for a six-month period last year, that it stopped 96 percent of faked accounts.

      • IT WireMicrosoft profits fall 14% in 1Q 2023, Windows OEM sales most affected

        Microsoft has seen its profits drop 14% year-on-year in the first quarter of financial year 2023 as PC sales were affected by the slowing economy.

        Another factor that affected the company’s revenue was sluggish growth of its cloud services.

        The company recorded US$50.1 billion (A$77.85 billion) in revenue during the quarter, an increase of 11%, but its profits fell to US$17.6 billion.

      • Heimdal SecurityMore and More Companies Are Getting Hit with Ransomware [2021-2022] [iophk: Windows TCO]

        According to a study conducted by Cloudwards, in 2021, 37% of all businesses and organizations were hit by ransomware and out of all, 32% paid the ransom but recovered only 65% of their data.

        A few months ago, we also published an article about a study showing that in the first five months of 2021 more than 290 companies have become victims of six ransomware groups, but let’s see what the current situation is.

      • The Register UKAlert: This ransomware preys on healthcare orgs via weak-ass VPN servers

        The Daixin Team acquired the VPN credentials through a phishing email that included a malicious attachment. Once in the VPN server, the cybercriminals move laterally through the network via Secure Shell (SSH) and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and have tried to get privileged account access through credential dumping and pass-the-hash tactics.

        The privileged accounts allowed the attackers to get into VMware vCenter Servers to reset account passwords for ESXi servers and then deploy ransomware on them, according to the agencies.

        They noted that third-party reports link Daixin Team’s ransomware with source code of the Babuk Locker malware that was leaked last year.

      • TechCrunchHive ransomware gang leaks data stolen during Tata Power cyberattack [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The listing of stolen data suggests any negotiations to pay a ransom failed. This data, reviewed by TechCrunch, includes sensitive employee information, such as Aadhaar national identity card numbers, tax account numbers, salary information, home addresses and phone numbers. The leaked data, which was posted to Hive’s dark web leak site on October 24, also includes engineering drawings, financial and banking records, client records and some private keys.

      • Hive Ransomware Continues to Attack Healthcare Providers [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Recent data breaches continue to show the growing prevalence of Hive ransomware and other [cracking] groups as they continue to infiltrate the networks of US healthcare providers.

        High-profile cyberattacks continue to put health systems and patient data in jeopardy, but smaller breaches can be equally detrimental. Without the resources to combat and recover from a ransomware attack, smaller clinics have become easy targets for malicious [attackers]. Meanwhile, unauthorized access to patient information continues to be a problem for other organizations.

    • Security

      • Trail Of BitsStranger Strings: An exploitable flaw in SQLite

        Trail of Bits is publicly disclosing CVE-2022-35737, which affects applications that use the SQLite library API. CVE-2022-35737 was introduced in SQLite version 1.0.12 (released on October 17, 2000) and fixed in release 3.39.2 (released on July 21, 2022). CVE-2022-35737 is exploitable on 64-bit systems, and exploitability depends on how the program is compiled; arbitrary code execution is confirmed when the library is compiled without stack canaries, but unconfirmed when stack canaries are present, and denial-of-service is confirmed in all cases.

      • Hacker NewsVMware Releases Patch for Critical RCE Flaw in Cloud Foundation Platform

        In light of the severity of the flaw and its relatively low bar for exploitation, the Palo Alto-based virtualization services provider has also made available a patch for end-of-life products.

      • Hacker NewsHackers Actively Exploiting Cisco AnyConnect and GIGABYTE Drivers Vulnerabilities

        Tracked as CVE-2020-3153 (CVSS score: 6.5) and CVE-2020-3433 (CVSS score: 7.8), the vulnerabilities could enable local authenticated attackers to perform DLL hijacking and copy arbitrary files to system directories with elevated privileges.

      • Hacker NewsVice Society Hackers Are Behind Several Ransomware Attacks Against Education Sector [Ed: Windows TCO; "The Microsoft Security Threat Intelligence" is a joke; Microsoft back-doors things for the NSA, it doesn't care about real security; posturing at best]

        Vice Society actors have also been spotted leveraging Cobalt Strike for lateral movement, in addition to creating scheduled tasks for persistence and abusing vulnerabilities in Windows Print Spooler (aka PrintNightmare) and Common Log File System (CVE-2022-24521) to escalate privileges.

      • ABCOptus and Medibank hacks prompt government to increase fines for massive data breaches to a minimum of $50 million – ABC News

        The current penalty is $2.2 million and the federal government believes that is insufficient given massive cyber-attacks on Optus and Medibank Private in recent weeks.


        The federal opposition has already called for tougher penalties in response to major cyber incidents.

        Last month, shadow home affairs minister Karen Andrews also proposed new offences for cyber extortion that would carry a maximum 10 years imprisonment.

        Earlier this week, Medibank admitted the personal data of some of its customers – including names, addresses, Medicare numbers and phone numbers – had been stolen in a cyber-attack.

      • Bruce SchneierAustralia Increases Fines for Massive Data Breaches – Schneier on Security

        After suffering two large, and embarrassing, data breaches in recent weeks, the Australian government increased the fine for serious data breaches from $2.2 million to a minimum of $50 million. (That’s $50 million AUD, or $32 million USD.)

      • ABCAll Medibank customers’ personal data was compromised in the cyber attack. Who is at risk and what should customers do? – ABC News

        Millions of Medibank customers may have had their information stolen, with the company revealing hackers accessed the personal data of all customers across its Medibank, ahm and OSHC brands.

        Here is what we know and what Medibank has said to do if you are a customer.

      • Hacker NewsU.S. Charges Ukrainian Hacker Over Role in Raccoon Stealer Malware Service [Ed: Instead of banning Windows they try to arrest those who take advantage of the holes (and are not the US government)]

        A 26-year-old Ukrainian national has been charged in the U.S. for his alleged role in the Raccoon Stealer malware-as-a-service (MaaS) operation.

      • Help Net SecurityIncoming OpenSSL critical fix: Organizations, users, get ready! [Ed: The language of FUD/fear-mongering from Editor-in-Chief]

        The OpenSSL Project team has announced that, on November 1, 2022, they will release OpenSSL version 3.0.7, which will fix a critical vulnerability in the popular open-source cryptographic library (but does not affect OpenSSL versions before 3.0).

      • USCERTSamba Releases Security Updates

        The Samba Team has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in multiple versions of Samba. A remote attacker could exploit one of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.

      • LWNSecurity updates for Wednesday [LWN.net]

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (tomcat9), Oracle (389-ds-base, device-mapper-multipath, firefox, git-lfs, gnutls, kernel, kernel-container, libksba, pki-core, samba, sqlite, and zlib), Red Hat (device-mapper-multipath, kernel, kpatch-patch, libksba, and thunderbird), Slackware (expat and samba), SUSE (bind, buildah, curl, firefox, golang-github-prometheus-node_exporter, grafana, icinga2, python-paramiko, python-waitress, SUSE Manager Client Tools, telnet, and xen), and Ubuntu (glibc, jinja2, libksba, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-ibm, linux-kvm, linux-lowlatency, linux-oracle, linux-raspi, and openvswitch).

      • Hacker NewsUnknown Actors are Deploying RomCom RAT to Target Ukrainian Military

        The development marks a shift in the attacker’s modus operandi, which has been previously attributed to spoofing legitimate apps like Advanced IP Scanner and pdfFiller to drop backdoors on compromised systems.

      • Hacker NewsKimsuky Hackers Spotted Using 3 New Android Malware to Target South Koreans

        This past August, Kaspersky unearthed a previously undocumented infection chain dubbed GoldDragon to deploy a Windows backdoor capable of stealing information from the victim such as file lists, user keystrokes, and stored web browser login credentials.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • ZimbabweIt’s not your phone or your network provider, WhatsApp is down worldwide

          In two consecutive Octobers, WhatsApp has seen outages and for a service that has become more than just a ‘stay in touch with 3rd cousins’ service, this has many worried. What kind of maintenance work do they do in October? Last time around it was because of some configuration changes to Meta routers.

        • Digital Music NewsTikTok Used to “Monitor Physical Location of Specific Americans,” Forbes Reports – TikTok Responds

          The report says the monitoring project is led by ByteDance’s Internal Audit and Risk Control department. It’s a team that was formed to investigate misconduct by current and former ByteDance employees. But Forbes says the team also planned to collect TikTok data about the location of specific Americans–even those who had no employment relationship with the company.

        • TechdirtByteDance Spying Scandal Isn’t So Much About TikTok, But About The US’s Failure To Pass A Comprehensive Privacy Law

          Emily Baker-White has quite the story over at Forbes, revealing how ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, apparently planned to have its “Internal Audit and Risk Control” department spy on the location of some American citizens:

        • HackadayUsing Google Calendar For Machines To Keep Track Of Human Days

          Daily triggers for automation are simple in theory, unless it needs to keep track of the calendar that humans actually live by. Seasonal changes, shifting public holidays, or just being on vacation are all exceptions you may need to account for. [Jeremy Rode] likes using Google Calendar to stay on top of events, so he created CalendarScraper, a simple script to make his machines use it too.

        • PIAHow We Made the Best Split Tunneling for Our VPN | PIA Blog

          Imagine being able to stream your local Netflix library while rerouting the rest of your traffic through a server halfway across the world. Most VPNs force you to route everything through the network, making it impossible to access anything using your local IP address. But not Private Internet Access. Take a look and see your dream in action: unique split tunneling options for Linux, Windows, and even for our browser extensions.

          And the VPNs that are able to maintain simultaneous connections can’t match PIA’s advanced split tunneling options. Let me show you how split tunneling with Private Internet Access takes your online security and privacy to another level.

        • TechdirtRight Wingers ‘Fight’ AT&T By Embracing ‘Anti-Woke’ Cell Carrier…That’s Just Rebranded AT&T

          You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a company that leans more right wing than AT&T. The company was a big ally to President Trump and drove most of his telecom policy (which was basically to give AT&T everything it wants). AT&T has a long, long record of supporting politicians who oppose civil rights and supported the January 6 insurrection. They even funded and helped create OAN.

        • AddictiveTipsHow to block ads in Chrome without an extension
    • Defence/Aggression

      • France24Jihadist raids spark new exodus in Mozambique

        The family’s terrifying experience underscores how Mozambique’s jihadist nightmare remains very far from over, despite military gains last year.

      • MedforthFrance: In the crowded Rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux, he shouts out his support for the Islamic State Daech and calls to kill infidels

        His clamour frightened passers-by. At around 6.30pm on Saturday October 22, a young man began shouting threatening phrases in the main shopping street in the centre of Bordeaux, Rue Sainte-Catherine, which was still crowded a few minutes before closing time. He shouted: “Join the Islamic State!” and “The infidels must have their throats cut!”.

      • BBCNorway arrests man accused of being Russian spy

        Officials believe the suspect was working in Norway as part of Russia’s so-called “illegals” programme.

        First operated by the KGB during the Cold War, and revived in recent years by President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s intelligence agencies craft fake identities, or “legends”, for spies before deploying them to foreign countries.

        “Typically illegal agents are talent scouts recruiting agents for later, and preparing the ground for other spies to do traditional intelligence work,” Ms Moe said. “It is a long-term project to have an illegal agent. It costs a lot of money. Major state actors only use them and it is known Russia has used them in the past.”

      • FAIRWho Is This “Haiti” That’s Appealing for Intervention?

        And the East Coast establishment media—which have on occasion remembered that Haiti is a near neighbor and has been ravaged by anti-government demonstrations, a failing economy and gang violence—seem to be breathing a sigh of relief.

      • Counter PunchOld Soldiers Never Die, They Just Go to Work for Saudi Arabia

        Retired US military can work for foreign governments if they receive permission from the State Department and their branch of the armed forces.  While these relationships are not illegal, they ought to be.  Middle East Eyecommented that “The revelations add to concerns about the extent to which foreign countries, including many with authoritarian governments, have expanded their influence over US institutions.”

      • Counter PunchWhat U.S. Africa Command Doesn’t Want You to Know

        I knew I had a story when U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) failed to answer basic questions honestly. And the command’s reaction to the article told me that I also had a new beat.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | What US Africa Command Doesn’t Want You to Know

        What’s the U.S. military doing in Africa? It’s an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, straight-jacketed in secrecy, and hogtied by red tape. Or at least it would be if it were up to the Pentagon.

      • Counter PunchWriting on War

        It was a solitary life, broken by periodic visits to a small antique bookstore in the neighborhood that had a copy of the 1910-1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the last edition published for scholars. I couldn’t afford it, but the owner generously let me read entries from those 29 volumes written by the likes of Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Muir, T.H. Huxley, and Bertrand Russell. The entry for Catullus, several of whose poems I could recite from memory in Latin, read: “The greatest lyric poet of Rome.” I loved the certainty of that judgment — one that scholars today would not, I suspect, make, much less print.

      • Counter PunchBiden’s Obsession With China

        Military spending accounts for more than half of discretionary federal spending, and the NSS doesn’t suggest that the Biden administration will change the U.S. approach to the global environment in order to reduce spending.  Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the United States has relied on increased military power to advance its international interests, spending more than $6 trillion in fighting counterterrorism wars.  We have more people working in military grocery stores or marching in military bands than we have diplomats.  Biden’s NSS presents no alternatives for curbing our military deployment in more than 100 countries or for returning arms control and disarmament to the national security dialogue.

      • Meduza‘A pretext for escalation’: What you need to know about Moscow’s claims that Ukraine is building a ‘dirty bomb’ — Meduza

        Russia continues to insist that Ukraine is preparing to use a “dirty bomb.” On the morning of October 23, the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti published an article claiming that “credible sources in various countries” had said Ukraine was planning to detonate a “dirty bomb,” or radiological dispersal device, on its own territory and blame the explosion on Russia. That same day, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu called his counterparts from France, Great Britain, Turkey, and the U.S. to warn them about the allegedly upcoming “false flag” operation.

      • MeduzaRussian Transport Ministry to allow non-original spare parts for plane repairs — Meduza

        The Russian Transport Ministry will begin recommending that foreign-made planes be repaired with non-original spare parts, according to a new draft resolution on the ministry’s website, Interfax reported on Tuesday. The parts must be manufactured “in accordance with procedures” of certain countries that are “leaders in the global aviation community,” the document says.

      • MeduzaRussian Interior Ministry reports more passports issued this year than in any nine-month period since 2018 — Meduza

        According to the Russian Interior Ministry, almost 3.9 million foreign passports were issued between January and September 2022, TASS reported on Monday. That’s the largest number of foreign passports issued in three subsequent quarters since 2018.

      • TruthOutFormer U.S. Attorney: DOJ Should Charge Trump With Manslaughter Over Jan. 6
      • TruthOutAdvocacy Groups File Lawsuit Against Vigilantes Intimidating Arizona Voters
      • Common DreamsOpinion | Why I Pray This Is My Last Book on the Subject of War

        As this century began, I was writing War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, my reflections on two decades as a war correspondent, 15 of them with the New York Times, in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, Bosnia, and Kosovo. I worked in a small, sparsely furnished studio apartment on First Avenue in New York City. The room had a desk, chair, futon, and a couple of bookshelves — not enough to accommodate my extensive library, leaving piles of books stacked against the wall. The single window overlooked a back alley.

      • Common Dreams‘We Don’t Have to Live This Way’: St. Louis School Gunman Armed With AR-15, 600+ Rounds

        “Republicans will tell you the solution is some more guns. On November 8, you need to tell them they’re full of shit.”

      • Counter PunchInfrastructure Wars

        The damaged table and the story of the V-2 strike also left me with a strong fellow feeling for people bit by rocket fire, most recently in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa and other Ukrainian cities. A difference from my parents’ experience is, of course, that many of those whose houses have been hit were at home at the time.

      • MeduzaMore than 40 Chechen fighters killed in Ukrainian offensive near Kherson — Meduza

        More than 40 Chechen fighters were killed, and about 200 wounded, as a result of the October 24 Ukrainian attack on the Chechen “oil regiment” base in the Kherson region. This was reported by Sergey Khlan, the head of Ukraine’s military administration in Kherson.

      • MeduzaUkraine urges its refugees not to come home until spring — Meduza

        Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk advised Ukrainians who left the country because of the war not to come home this winter:

      • MeduzaKherson occupation official vows to punish residents who refuse to accept rubles as payment — Meduza

        Kherson occupation administration deputy head Kirill Stremousov said Tuesday that there have been reports of shop workers in Kherson to refuse to accept Russian rubles as payment for groceries.

      • MeduzaKadyrov calls military’s response to shelling on Russian territory ‘weak’ and says ‘special military operation’ has become ‘war’ — Meduza

        In a Telegram audio message Tuesday, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov expressed frustration at Russia’s “weak response” to the shelling of Russian territory:

      • MeduzaFired RT employee who called for Ukrainian children to be ‘drowned’ posts apology video — Meduza

        Anton Krasovsky, the now-former broadcasting director for the Russian-language branch of the Russian state propaganda network RT who was fired Monday after calling for Ukrainian children to be “drowned” and “burned,” posted a new apology video on his Telegram channel.

      • ScheerpostDemocrats: Don’t Give Peace a Chance

        Katherine Gypson reports progressive Democratic lawmakers urged U.S. President Joe Biden to shift the U.S. approach to the war in Ukraine.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Michael GeistThe Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 143: Canada’s Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard on Why Government Needs a Culture of Providing Information Instead of Hiding It

        Canadians using the Access to Information Act system frequently find that it is simply does not work as the legislation prescribes, with most facing long delays and widespread redactions. Canada’s Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard is trying to do something to fix that. She has been calling for legislative reforms, more resources, and leadership within government departments to prioritize providing information instead of hiding it. Commissioner Maynard joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the current system, how exceptions are often used too aggressively to limit public access, and what can be done to fix these problems.

      • TechdirtMissouri Attorney General Appears To Be Using Open Records Requests To Intimidate His Critics

        Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is involved in some questionable use of the state’s public records laws. Following the AG’s dubious decision to sue schools over what he called “illegal” mask mandates, he raised his controversy level considerably earlier this year. He continued this assault on his own credibility by suing schools and educational non-profits that had denied his public records requests seeking documents about mask mandates and one parent-teachers’ organization that had requested the federal government open criminal investigations into parents who threatened violence against teachers and schools over the same mask mandates that AG Schmitt claims are illegal.

    • Environment

      • NPRRecycling plastic is practically impossible — and the problem is getting worse

        The report cites separate data published this May which revealed that the amount of plastic actually turned into new things has fallen to new lows of around 5%. That number is expected to drop further as more plastic is produced.

        Greenpeace found that no plastic — not even soda bottles, one of the most prolific items thrown into recycling bins — meets the threshold to be called “recyclable” according to standards set by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastic Economy Initiative. Plastic must have a recycling rate of 30% to reach that standard; no plastic has ever been recycled and reused close to that rate.

      • NBC‘Our horses are ready’: Native Americans and white farmers form an unlikely alliance to oppose a pipeline in the Dakotas

        “There isn’t really enough experience with these pipelines to be able to say they’ll be safe going forward for five years, or 10 years or 15 years,” said Dennis Wamsted, an energy analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Given the potential for an accident along the route, “you have to train the first responders in all the little towns,” he added.

        Wamsted also questions the need for the massive project, citing the rising popularity of electric vehicles that could eventually eliminate the demand for biofuel. “We are moving to a situation where we’re not going to have internal combustion engines in the long-term future, and we’re better off preparing for that now, instead of building a $4.5 billion pipeline,” he said.

      • Counter PunchPresident Biden: Climate is the Enemy

        So, President Biden, the choice was easy for me. Trump was dangerous and you said things I wanted to hear, that you trusted science, that climate change was real, and that we had to change our ways to fight it.

      • The NationJournalism Turns a Corner on Climate Change

        This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration cofounded by Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation strengthening coverage of the climate story.

      • Counter PunchWorld’s Premier Marine Ecosystem at Risk

        Indeed, the Southern Ocean is key to sustaining life on the planet. It deserves special focus and must be protected to stop irreparable damage to a powerful yet fragile ecosystem.

      • Common DreamsGOP Threatens to Hold Economy Hostage to Slash Climate Investments

        The Washington Post reported Tuesday that “while some Republicans do favor brinkmanship over Medicare and Social Security… some aides and analysts think the GOP may be more likely to demand changes to other Democratic priorities.”

      • Common Dreams‘Not a Single Global Indicator Is on Track’ to Reverse Deforestation by 2030: Analysis

        “Funding for forests will need to increase by up to 200 times to meet 2030 goals.”

      • TruthOutCOP26 Pledge to Reverse Deforestration Is Not on Track to Be Met, Analysis Finds
      • Common Dreams2 Billion Kids to Face Extreme Heatwave Threat by 2050, Warns UNICEF

        “The climate shocks of 2022 provided a strong wake-up call about the increasing danger hurtling towards us.”

      • Energy

        • Common DreamsOpinion | An Open Letter to Biden: People Are Dying From Petrochemical Plants
        • David RosenthalNon-Fungible Token Bubble Lasted 10 Months

          Although the first Non-Fungible Token was minted in 2014, it wasn’t until Cryptokitties bought the Ethereum blockchain to its knees in December 2017 that NFTs attracted attention. But then they were swiftly hailed as the revolutionary technology that would usher in Web 3, the Holy Grail of VCs, speculators and the major content industries because it would be a completely financialized Web. Approaching 5 years later, it is time to ask “how’s it going?”

          Below the fold I look at the details, but the TL;DR is “not so great”; NFTs as the basis for a financialized Web have six main problems: [...]

        • Sydney Morning HeraldNSW professor wins world’s best technology prize

          Professor Martin Green, a softly spoken professor from the University of New South Wales, has been awarded the world’s most prestigious technology prize for his lifetime of work refining and improving the solar cell.

        • RTLSix hours of daily commute in such a small country is a disgrace

          Autofestival.lu says it all: “We see a public transit that is not serving the people.” No-one is expecting a door to door service. I would already be stoked about a fast bus connecting Ettelbruck or Diekirch directly with Kirchberg. One direct bus line would solve a big chunk of my problem. Not sure why no one has thought of it when coming up with the new planning, since Ettelbruck and Diekirch are considered such an important part in making the North more attractive.

          But the main joke in my opinion is that the ‘Nordstrooss’, the ‘Northern Street’ highway doesn’t even make it all the way up to the North. The highway stops very much in central Luxembourg. But a tram was needed in the City. Which in hindsight, I am a big fan of, but not in the cost of ignoring the needs of half your country.

        • DeSmogNew Study Warns That Argentina Is Stuck in an ‘Oil and Gas Trap’

          Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale formation, stretching across a huge expanse in the northern Patagonian desert, is thought to hold 308 trillion cubic feet of fossil gas and 16 billion barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Geologically speaking, the Vaca Muerta is roughly comparable to the Eagle Ford shale, a prolific oil and gas-producing region in South Texas.

        • DeSmogOregon Regulator Rejects Some of Utility’s Attempts to Bill Customers for Lobbying and Advertising Costs

          Late last year, NW Natural, a gas utility that serves roughly 2.5 million customers in Oregon and southwest Washington, filed a request with state regulators that sought to hike rates for residential customers by 12 percent to cover the cost of infrastructure upgrades, as well as the costs for advertising, executive bonuses, anti-climate lobbying, and even for gas-friendly activity books for elementary school children. DeSmog covered this rate request in May when a coalition of community and environmental groups formally opposed many of NW Natural’s justifications for passing on higher costs to customers.    

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Counter PunchThe Problems of One-Party Rule
      • Pro PublicaGreg Abbott Has Built Power Like No Other Texas Governor

        “Our number-one priority as public servants is to follow the law,” Abbott, who served as Texas attorney general before he was elected, told staffers, according to his autobiography. Adhering to the law was “a way to ignore the pressure of politics, polls, money and lobbying.”

      • Counter PunchThe Tory Party’s Endless Gyrations

        When Liz Truss was chosen as party leader, this committee chose an appallingly long procedure in which a contender needed to receive 18 nominations from their fellow MPs in order to qualify for the vote.

      • Counter PunchHow Secretaries of State Can Undermine Elections

        Studies have shown both state Democratic and Republican chief election officials oversee elections with similar partisan outcomes, turnout rates and administrative policies. And despite the fact that most of these officers are selected through explicitly partisan processes, the majority of them behaved in a nonpartisan manner to ensure fair and secure elections.

      • IT WireiTWire – Budget bits and pieces: did we really need this stage-managed exercise?

        The Labor Party promised, prior to the election in May, that it would bring down power bills by $275 yearly by 2025. That last bit is important: by 2025.

        There are plenty of journalists — or perhaps one should call them stenographers — repeating that line ad infinitum, only conveniently leaving out the time factor: by 2025.

        There are two classes who write for the mainstream and even smaller media: Labor supporters and Coalition supporters. It’s easy to guess which class leaves out that time element.

        Any wonder then that journalists in Australia are trusted as much as second-hand car salesmen or real-estate salesmen are?

      • IT WireiTWire – AUKUS deal guided by Americans with conflict of interest: WaPO

        Australia’s decision to buy nuclear submarines, the so-called AUKUS initiative, has been guided mostly by ex-US Navy admirals who have potential conflicts of interest, the Washington Post has revealed in a detailed investigaton.

        Former senior Defence executive Mike Scrafton asked, in a piece for Pearls and Irritations, a blog run by ex-Australian public service veteran John Menadue: “What confidence can Australians have in the soundness of this opaque, over-priced, strategically unjustifiable, and massively under-specified project?”

        Unsurprisingly, Menadue’s blog was the lone Australian outlet to report the Post’s investigation, as the mainstream media tend to generally sing from the government’s songsheet.

        Headlined “Former US Navy leaders profited from overlapping interests on sub deal”, the Post’s detailed story said two retired US admirals and three ex-Navy civilian leaders were filling critical but secretive roles as paid Australian Government advisers during the AUKUS negotiations.

      • New Zealand HeraldTopher Richwhite and Bridget Thackwray, NZ social media influencers, missing in Iran for four months, now safe and well

        Asked why MFAT requested media not publish details of the couple’s situation, Ardern said there were several examples of when foreign nationals had come under difficult circumstances in Iran and that the Government and MFAT had worked hard to take on the “best possible advice” to prioritise the safety of the pair.

      • Suff NZKiwi influencers who disappeared in protest-stricken Iran for four months ‘safe and well’ after being detained

        The couple, who have documented a round-the-world roadtrip for more than 300,000 followers on their Expedition Earth Instagram page, entered Iran during the first week of July. They had not been heard from publicly since, but are now understood to have left the country and are “safe and well”.

        The Government had been negotiating for their release, and media organisations including Stuff previously agreed not to publish details of the couple’s plight as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) insisted it would jeopardise their safety.

      • DagHammarskjöldLeadership is a service, not command and control

        In my 30 years of field experience [and] of those 10 years with the Indian police, I have gradually come to understand leadership as a service. I believe that if we take that approach, we are much better in our own humble way to lead wherever we are supposed or asked to lead. I become a much better leader and advisor to the UN, if I understand the requirements. What are the needs of UN funds and programmes? How can development and humanitarian actors work together? ‘How can I strengthen the collaborative nature of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) and the Department of Peace Operations (DPO)?’

      • Stacey on IoTWe’re getting a consumer IoT security label next year!

        Attendees at the Wednesday event heard from four organizations, each with their own plans for IoT security: CyLab, the security and privacy research institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); the ioXt Alliance; the Connectivity Standards Alliance (home of the Matter standard); and the Consumer Technology Association, or CTA, which puts on the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The goal was to create a cybersecurity label for consumer devices as called for by an executive order issued in May 2021 by President Biden.

      • Jerusalem PostHow did a radical Islamist fool the West? – analysis

        According to a report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Qaradawi’s story is a cautionary tale about how a radical Islamist can easily fool much of the West for an extended period of time by mixing in some reformist and modern-sounding views with his otherwise hateful rhetoric to obscure his darker side.

        The report stated that by the 1960s, Qaradawi had moved the center of his activities to Qatar. There he established “a network of global Islamic organizations, including the Coalition of Good (I’tilaf al-Khayr), an economic wing of charity organizations that funneled funds from the entire world, including Europe, to the terrorist Hamas movement. “

        Simultaneously, from 2004-2018, he ran the radical Islamic organization World Association of Muslim Scholars.

      • Telex (Hungary)Orbán wishes to strengthen Hungarian-British relations after Sunak’s appointment
      • Craig MurrayThe Primrose Path

        Rishi Sunak’s career reminds me of another spoiled child of fortune who became UK Prime Minister without having to fight an election, Archibald Primrose, the only previous PM almost as rich as Rishi.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | The Many Things Rishi Sunak Doesn’t Want You to Know

        Prime minister Rishi Sunak—reportedly the richest MP in Parliament—will be a boon for the financial lobby, tax justice campaigners have warned.

      • Counter PunchWhat the Failure of Liz Truss’s Economic Agenda in the UK Can Teach the U.S.

        A central idea favored by Thatcherites—one that may sound familiar to Americans—is that when ordinary people are struggling, leaders must ensure the rich get richer so that the crumbs of their excesses will trickle down to the poor. Going hand in hand with this is the aggressive deregulation of industries to free them from the fetters of any protective measures that could impact profit margins.

      • Telex (Hungary)State of danger can now be extended by up to 180 days, as many times as deemed necessary
      • Telex (Hungary)Orbán: Hungarian society is much more pluralistic, free and peaceful than German society
      • The NationDemocrats Have Helped Working-Class Americans. They Need to Say So Loudly.

        As of last week, Americans can now walk into a pharmacy and purchase hearing aids over the counter. This amazing development is just one of many benefits that Democrats have handed working-class Americans over the past two years—and that they should spend the final weeks before the midterm elections loudly reminding voters about.

      • The NationIs Gen X a Bunch of Trumpers? Maybe That’s the Wrong Question.

        Last week, The New York Times surfaced a poorly done poll that purported to show “independent” (white) women breaking for Republicans in the midterms. This, predictably, led to a left-of-center freakout, because if there is one thing that binds mainstream Democrats together, it is their collective ability to be perpetually surprised by the fact that about half of white women voters will support the patriarchy.

      • The NationDonald Trump Cursed the GOP With a Clown Car of Senate Candidates

        In the Republican wave year of 2010, when the GOP grabbed control of Congress and statehouses across the country, Democrats kept control of the Senate. It wasn’t easy or pretty. Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who personally faced the prospect of defeat in his home state of Nevada, had to contend with a number of races where Democratic candidates were struggling to keep in the running. Many of them lost. But a sufficient number hung on that the party maintained a 51-49 majority, which was critical to giving President Barack Obama the ability to advance key elements of his agenda during the latter half of his first term.

      • Counter PunchLetter From London

        While fresh news the next day from the States spoke of Trump’s hotels having charged the Secret Service ‘exorbitant’ high rates, here in Blighty yet more public dismantling of Trussonomics was taking place. I spent the evening in the fine company of a Brit in commodities and Canadian in aviation. Both spent time in the States and Caribbean and I was fascinated to hear their take on things. The Brit spoke instantly of Johnson’s rumoured return as potentially relegating Britain to what he called ‘Upper Volta tier’. The Canadian explained the importance of leverage in all things political, citing his time as a businessman in Moscow. We were at the restaurant Rules on Maiden Lane in Covent Garden and all agreed over fresh Caesar salads there was too much of an appetite out there for political hot potatoes. Was no one, we wondered, capable of meritable discussion? Why did so many insist on two opposing sides to everything? Examining a plaque on the wall, the Canadian noted how old Rules was — it was opened in 1798 — and how stability counted for nothing these days. I didn’t have the heart to say the original owner Thomas Rule killed his wife and daughter. I also forgot to mention that both Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh included Rules in their novels, or that it featured in the 2015 Bond movie ‘Spectre’. Maybe I was too busy thinking that someone might very well throw a brick through the windows of an establishment like this if someone else doesn’t sort out the economy.

      • TruthOutSecret Service Waited an Hour to Send Info on Threat Against Schumer on Jan. 6
      • Robert ReichThe One Thing to Know Before You Vote
      • Common DreamsSanders Warns GOP Midterm Win Would Pull US ‘Far, Far, Far to the Right’

        “This is the most important midterm election of the modern history of our country because we are taking on a political party, the Republicans, who literally are trying to undermine American democracy,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a video posted to social media late Monday as voters across the country took part in early voting amid mounting fears of right-wing intimidation ploys.

      • Counter PunchYour Brain on Elections

        Now, as we are deluged with election-season news, our political identities not only are triggered but also affect our behaviors even beyond politics. As Stanford political scientist Shanto Iyengar found, we’re less likely to hire someone from the other party, definitely don’t want our children marrying across the political divide, and all of this is worsening because we don’t have norms to control negative political speech. In democratic terms, we’re losing opportunities for conversations to understand others’ ideas about the problems we share.

      • Counter PunchThe King is Dead…Long live The King

        Medicare and Medicaid were as close as we ever got to universal healthcare in this backward, barbaric land and then only because of  social movements in those “turbulent” 1960s which all-too-briefly struck fear into the wizened heart of the Washington establishment.

      • Counter PunchWhat’s at Stake in Brazil’s Elections

        The right’s victories go to show that Bolsonaro was not an outlier or his election in 2018 was not an isolated event. He proved in this 2022 election. His broad political and social support demonstrates strategy, calculation, and an insightful reading of recent changes in the Brazilian society.

      • Common DreamsAs Lula Leads Bolsonaro, Activists Warn of ‘Blatant Disinformation’ Online Before Brazil’s Runoff

        “Disinformation and hate speech online have taken over Brazilian politics, jeopardizing the integrity of the elections.”

      • Counter PunchWant to Save the Republic? Voting for a Veteran May Not Be Best Way to Do It

        As the 2022 election cycle reaches its final stage, it’s time for a reality check on this fanciful account of how former soldiers, with first-hand experience of war, tend to function in national politics. Wearing a uniform and swearing allegiance to the Constitution in the past is no guarantee of a politician’s current commitment to democracy. In fact, some of the best-known “Trump sycophants” running for office this fall are former military officers now marching under the MAGA flag, with heavy Republican spending on their behalf.

      • Counter PunchWhat Could Donald Trump Be Thinking About the Democratic Party?

        “Tell us more,” urged the two advisers.

      • Counter PunchAn Open Letter to the Progressive Caucus in Congress

        By pulling back from the thoughts in your letter, you have exhibited that your party, with it’s leadership in the pockets of the war industry, the generals and the warmongers, is more important than any principles your letter may have expressed. I would say shame on you, but I’m not so naive as to believe those elected to Washington have a concept of shame.

      • Common DreamsCongressional Progressive Caucus Withdraws Letter That Tepidly Called for Diplomacy in Ukraine

        “The shrill response to this utterly moderate letter exposes that war proponents are scared of an open debate.”

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Kevin McCarthy Will Last Longer Than A Lettuce (But May Not Smell As Nice)

        It’s doubtful that Liz Truss was responsible for the demise of Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who died just two days after the new prime minister kissed her hand, but just about everything else that could go wrong during Truss’s lightning-round premiership in fact did.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | These Supreme Court Cases Could Spell Final Doom for US Democracy

        In recent years, the United States Supreme Court has dutifully laboured to erode the protections guaranteed under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a civil rights era milestone that aimed to safeguard minority voters from racial discrimination. Now, six decades after the law’s passage, the country’s highest judicial body will decide whether to drop some of the few pretences to justice and equality in US electoral democracy that remain.

      • Project CensoredTHE PROJECT CENSORED NEWSLETTER October 2022 – Censored Notebook, Newsletters

        On September 26, Project Censored director Mickey Huff hosted Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges at an event in Berkeley. Sponsored by KPFA, the conversation between Hedges and Huff focused on the topic of Hedges’ most recent book, The Greatest Evil is War (Seven Stories, 2022). Huff noted, “It was wonderful to be back in-person with the buzz of a huge hall with nearly 200 people, all there for the evening’s talk and esteemed guest. It was Berkeley as I remember it.”

      • ScheerpostChris Hedges: Writing on War and Living in a World from Hell

        Chris Hedges reflects in a deeply personal way on two decades as a war correspondent. Read his book, “The Greatest Evil is War”, today.

      • TruthOutClarence Thomas Blocks Georgia Subpoena Order for Lindsey Graham
      • TruthOutXi Jingping Wins Third Term Amid Deteriorating US-China Relations
      • Democracy NowChina Under Xi Jinping: From Human Rights Concerns to “Inter-Capitalist Competition” with U.S.

        Chinese President Xi Jinping has begun a historic third term, cementing his place as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. The Chinese Communist Party confirmed Xi’s third five-year term at a party congress in Beijing this week, elevating more Xi allies to top roles and demoting some who were seen as potential rivals. Under Xi, China has taken a much stronger role in economic management, as well as a “zero COVID” policy that has imposed severe restrictions in an effort to control outbreaks during the pandemic. He has also overseen a growing surveillance state to silence dissent and target ethnic minorities including Uyghurs. “In the past 10 years since Xi came to power, the horrendous human rights violations Xi Jinping committed was just striking. And now he’s going to have another five years at least,” says Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. We also speak with Johns Hopkins University professor Ho-fung Hung, who says characterizing the U.S.-China rivalry as a “new Cold War” is misleading, saying the countries are instead engaged in an “inter-capitalist competition” over economic dominance within China and elsewhere in the world.

      • The NationYoung Socialists Are Sick of the 2-Party System

        During the 2020 election, young voters were an integral part of President Biden’s winning coalition, initially supporting him more than any other age group. But in April, a Gallup poll showed President Biden’s approval rating at its lowest level among Generation Z, down to only 39 percent. After almost two years, many feel they have not seen the changes they were promised. In response and mindful of the midterm elections, Biden has recently proposed reforms favored by young activists, including targeted student loan forgiveness, clemency for marijuana convictions, and the inclusion of climate provisions into the Inflation Reduction Act.

      • The Nation(Q)ari Lake
      • MeduzaTwo ‘undercover Russian secret service agents’ arrested and charged with treason in Mykolaiv — Meduza

        The Security Service of Ukraine reports having arrested two “undercover Russian secret service agents.” The two men were paid to report on the results of air strikes on Mykolaiv to the Russian side. They also gathered information about Ukrainian military units in areas adjacent to the front. In addition, they presented themselves as bloggers, creating “on-spec content for the Kremlin media” and calling for the Russian capture of Mykolaiv and the murder of the city’s leadership. The Ukrainian side is now investigating the two men for treason.

      • Democracy NowRalph Nader Throws Support to Democrats Ahead of Midterms But Warns the Party’s Message Is Failing

        With U.S. midterm elections less than two weeks away, Democrats hoping to keep control of Congress and make gains in state governments are facing significant political headwinds — even in supposedly safe blue states like New York, where the race for governor has tightened ahead of the November 8 vote. For more, we speak with political organizer Mark Green and four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, co-authors of a new report titled “Crushing the GOP, 2022.” They argue Democrats have the better policies but are not conveying them to a public that is eager to vote for a party that will protect democracy and their pocket books. ​​”This party doesn’t know how to win,” Nader says of Democrats.

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • SalonRalph Fiennes slams criticism of J.K. Rowling as “verbal abuse” and cancel culture lacking “nuance”

        “I can’t understand the vitriol directed at her,” he said at the time. “I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational. I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing.”

      • New York TimesRalph Fiennes, Master of Monsters

        Mr. Fiennes bristles at the kerfuffle over J.K. Rowling.

        “J.K. Rowling has written these great books about empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings. It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centered human being,” he said. “The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling. I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women. But it’s not some obscene, über-right-wing fascist. It’s just a woman saying, ‘I’m a woman and I feel I’m a woman and I want to be able to say that I’m a woman.’ And I understand where she’s coming from. Even though I’m not a woman.”

      • BBCChina accused of illegal police stations in Netherlands

        According to the organisation, the public security bureaus from two Chinese provinces had established 54 “overseas police service centres” across five continents and 21 countries. Most of them are in Europe, including nine in Spain and four in Italy. In the UK, it found two in London and one in Glasgow.

        The units were ostensibly created to tackle transnational crime and conduct administrative duties, such as the renewal of Chinese drivers’ licences. But, according to Safeguard Defenders, in reality they carry out “persuasion operations”, aimed at coercing those suspected of speaking out against the Chinese regime to return home.

      • NetblocksInternet disrupted in Sudan on anniversary of military coup

        Network data from NetBlocks confirm a significant disruption to internet service in Sudan from the morning of Tuesday 25 October 2022 affecting cellular and some fixed-line connectivity on multiple providers. The incident comes ahead of planned pro-democracy protests to mark the first anniversary of the 2021 Sudanese military coup, when [Internet] shutdowns were imposed to silence public dissent.

      • Manuel MatuzovicI broke the rules.

        I can assure you I tweeted nothing related to any of these things. Also, I didn’t spam, I didn’t try to manipulate elections, I didn’t impersonate anyone, I didn’t share synthetic or manipulated media, and I did not violate others’ intellectual [sic] property [sic] rights [sic].

        So, what happened? I have absolutely no idea! Here’s a rough outline of the events: [...]

      • TechdirtTechdirt Podcast Episode 345: Can An Oversight Board Solve Infrastructure Moderation Questions?

        We’ve often talked about the importance of distinguishing content moderation at the infrastructure layer of the internet stack from that which happens on platforms at the edge, and this issue was brought to the forefront recently when Cloudflare took down Kiwi Farms. This week, we’re joined by internet policy expert Konstantinos Komaitis to discuss an interesting, if admittedly imperfect, idea for approaching these tough questions: would infrastructure providers benefit from a third-party oversight board that handles content moderation decisions?

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Stop writing Twitter threads!

        There is the aberration of the amount of data transferred, too. Just unfolding the thread about the cold-proof housing downloads 7.20 MB of data according to Firefox devtools (including 5.30 MB of Javascript alone)… and it’s not even the whole thread, since there is a part 2 and a part 3! All in all, I had to download 22.26 MB of data. I actually heard about this thread thanks to Tristan Nitot’s article about it, where he stitched all the tweets together into an actual article. By comparison, his blog page downloads 28.94 KB of data (the full text is actually 16,093 bytes). I downloaded almost 800 times more data from Twitter to get the exact same information. Height hundred times more data, people!

      • VOA NewsMexico’s Female Journalists Winning Small Victories Against Threats

        Zeta, her celebrated investigative news magazine, had just published an article on alleged illicit business dealings by high-level officials in Mexico’s Baja California state.

        A journalist asked Amador Rodriguez Lozano, the state’s then secretary-general of government, about the allegations surrounding members of his administration at a town hall meeting. But instead of addressing them, he sought to discredit Navarro and her publication.

      • TechdirtSaudi Arabia Imprisons An American Citizen For 16 Years Over Critical Tweets

        The Saudi government, led by crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, doesn’t care to be criticized. It routinely punishes its own citizens for insulting the nation’s ruler. It occasionally murders and dismembers critics for refusing to be silenced. And now it’s prosecuting and imprisoning US citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights.

      • ShadowproofThe Parts Of Chelsea Manning’s Book Censored By The US Government

        However, the US government used the publication review system to block her from highlighting any of the documents from the Afghanistan War Logs, Iraq War Logs, or US Embassy cables that garnered widespread news headlines.

      • ShadowproofChelsea Manning’s Book Further Complicates US Government’s Case Against Julian Assange

        Prosecutors highlight several alleged exchanges between Manning and a username, or handle, associated with Assange. Yet they have never been able to definitively prove that Manning was chatting with Assange, and Manning’s new book, README.txt, further complicates their case.

      • Counter PunchA Political Solution for Assange

        Robinson’s address noted those blackening statements from media organisations and governments that Assange was paranoid and could leave the Ecuadorian embassy, his abode for seven years, at his own leisure.  Many were subsequently “surprised when Julian was served with a US extradition request.”  But this was exactly what WikiLeaks had been warning about for some ten years.

      • ScheerpostWhat if Journalism Disappeared?

        By examining how journalism is missing from many Americans’ lives, we can identify false paths and promising routes to its reinvention

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • NBC‘He’s just mutilated’: Parents of San Antonio teen shot in McDonald’s parking lot say every day is a struggle

        Brennand opened fire five times as the car reversed, the video showed. He fired five more shots as Cantu drove away. Cantu was found about a block away suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He remains in the hospital on life support.

        “Erik is not our Erik,” his father said, adding that Cantu underwent a tracheotomy and is on heavy medication. “As the doctors try to wean him off these things in the last few days, it doesn’t seem to counteract as the way we anticipated. Therefore, those little steps we see daily, we just keep going back.”

        Cantu’s parents said they believe he was shot four times. His mother said all of the bullets have been removed except one that remains lodged near his heart.

      • VOA NewsIranian Anti-Government Demonstrators Indicted

        Ali Salehi, the public prosecutor of Tehran, issued indictments for 315 people on charges of gathering and colluding with the intention of acting against the security of the country, propaganda against the system and disturbance of public order.

        Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called some of the arrested protesters agents of the enemy and said that in their cases, judicial and security officials must do their duty.

      • SpiegelThe Regime’s Trail of Blood

        Human rights organizations and activists are striving to document the victims of the protests – to put a face to their names. It is difficult to verify the information independently. IranWire, for example, a news site run by exiled journalists with good contacts in Iran, has collected the names of about 100 victims and verified the cause and date of death, as well as the age of many of them. The victims include: [...]

      • Sahara ReportersIslamic Police, Hisbah Impounds 5800 Bottles Of Beer In Kano State

        “Kano State Hisbah Board is working assiduously to ensure full compliance and strict adherence to laws and regulations, Islamic teachings, good morals, and peaceful coexistence between different ethnic and religious groups.

      • The Times Of IsraelExiled Afghan women’s cycling champ to ride for Israeli team

        An Israeli cycling team announced Monday it has recruited exiled Afghan athlete Fariba Hashimi, a day after she won her national championship — held in Switzerland since the women’s sports event has been banned by the ruling Taliban.

      • TheNewArabAndrew Tate: ‘Misogynist’ influencer ‘converts to Islam’, seen ‘praying in UAE mosque’

        He has since been widely called a misogynist for his comments about women which has seen him banned from most major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch.

        Before his ban, Tate’s videos had racked up millions of views online.

      • The Nation21,000 Supporters Urge Alvin Bragg to Free Tracy McCarter

        On a drizzly Monday morning, approximately 60 people rallied in New York City’s Foley Square. Amid chants of “Drop her charges,” “Free them all,” and “Black Lives Matter,” they were demanding that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg drop all charges against Tracy McCarter, who has been facing murder charges in the death of her estranged husband, Jim Murray.

      • The NationDo We Really Have to Care About Miserable White People?

        It’s like the proverbial car crash you can’t look away from (although, for the record, I never look at car crashes). Endless stories about the white voters who elected Donald Trump dying “deaths of despair,” lately dying disproportionately from Covid, and, on Monday in The New York Times, being the sad sacks who drove the House Republicans’ election denial caucus.

      • Counter PunchDobbs as White Supremacy: The Troubling Parallels Between U.S., French, and Romanian Rightwing Extremism

        Women are, evidently, second-class citizens in the United States of America. Women’s second-class citizenship should be understood, however, not as a singular issue, or simply as a Republican-led effort to trample women’s rights. Against the backdrop of white supremacist masculinity, revoking female bodily autonomy is only part of a web of interconnected, racist, xenophobic, and ableist views, where women’s bodies are the sites of political control intended to foster the white ethnic project of the “Alt-Right.” As I sketch out in this essay, histories from Romania and France can help us understand how control over women’s bodies is the key to controlling populations.

      • Common DreamsHRW Condemns Qatar Over Arrests, Abuse of LGBTQ+ People Ahead of World Cup

        “The Qatari government should call an immediate halt to this abuse and FIFA should push the Qatari government to ensure long-term reform that protects LGBT people from discrimination and violence.”

      • Common DreamsAmnesty Says ICC Israel Probe Should Include ‘Crime Against Humanity of Apartheid’

        “As well as investigating war crimes committed in Gaza, the ICC should consider the crime against humanity of apartheid within its current investigation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

      • TruthOutAmnesty Says Israel War Crimes Investigation Should Include Apartheid Policies
      • Common DreamsNew Progressive Voter Guides Score Midterm Candidates on Climate, Abortion Rights

        “Just like climate change, the inevitable compulsory pregnancy that results from losing access to abortion poses an existential threat to Americans.”

      • TruthOutStarbucks Walks Out of Union Contract Negotiations After Months of Delays
      • TruthOutAOC, Pressley Slam Biden for Using Title 42 to Expel Venezuelan Asylum Seekers
      • MeduzaWomen’s basketball star Brittney Griner soon to be transferred to Russian penal colony — Meduza

        The Moscow regional court has upheld an earlier district court decision that sentenced the American basketball player Brittney Griner to nine years in prison on drug charges. On the prosecution’s request, the court has recalculated Griner’s prison term, counting each day of her pre-trial detention as 1.5 days in a penal colony.

      • ScheerpostUS Private Prison Industry: Profiting From Exploitation and Suffering

        Eugene Puryear of BreakThrough News talks about the high rates of incarceration in the US and the role of the private prison sector in intensifying the crisis.

      • ScheerpostBeing Pregnant in Prison Is a Nightmare That Won’t Be Ended by One Bill Alone

        Even for future people who are pregnant behind bars, legislation doesn’t necessarily ensure that prison or jail officials will follow the new measures.

      • MeduzaDoxa ex-editor Alla Gutnikova speaks of sexual coercion at age 19 — Meduza

        Alla Gutnikova, one of the four former editors of Doxa, an independent Russian online student magazine, has posted two Instagram videos detailing her experience of sexual coercion at age 19. Gutnikova, prosecuted in Russia on charges of involving teenagers in political protests, accuses Andrey Grechko, the founder of “Lyudi” (“People”), a test-prep company, of “sexual coercion without penetration.”

      • The NationRoss Gay on the Labor of “Inciting Joy”

        Ross Gay is a poet, essayist, professor, and avid gardener and orchardist based in Bloomington, Ind. His 2015 Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. The Book of Delights (2019) became a New York Times Best Seller. His latest book, Inciting Joy (Algonquin), is an exploration of joy as a critical emotion that “gets us to love, as a practice for survival.” Gay and I spoke in September about learning to negotiate caring for one another in space, the “utility of school,” the uses of gardening for the “acutely bereaved,” and why so many are resistant to seeing grief and sorrow as the inherent twins of joy. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

      • The NationMike Davis: 1946–2022

        Mike Davis, author and activist, radical hero and family man, died October 25 after a long struggle with esophageal cancer; he was 76. He’s best known for his 1990 book about Los Angeles, City of Quartz. Marshall Berman, reviewing it for The Nation, said it combined “the radical citizen who wants to grasp the totality of his city’s life, and the urban guerrilla aching to see the whole damned thing blow.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AccessNowCSOs urge the UN to demand serious improvements to Vietnam’s human rights record – Access Now

        Access Now signed this public letter and joins Article 19, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations calling on the UN Resident Coordinator and UN Agencies to pro-actively demand serious improvements to the government of Vietnam’s atrocious human rights record and to start holding it to account.

      • Public KnowledgePublic Knowledge Urges Sen. Schumer To Confirm Consumer Champion Gigi Sohn to FCC – Public Knowledge

        Today marks the one-year anniversary since President Biden nominated consumer champion Gigi Sohn to serve as a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. The agency has not had a full five-member commission for the entire Biden administration, which has effectively stalled key consumer protection priorities as well as our nation’s work to provide high-speed broadband to those on the wrong side of the digital divide. Public Knowledge urges Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to call the vote confirming Gigi Sohn to the FCC to get the nation’s broadband agenda back on track.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Hollywood ReporterSpotify Takes Aim At Apple Over Audiobooks Launch on App Store

        Spotify is ramping up its fight with Apple over app store regulations it says have impacted the launch of its new audiobooks business.

        The streaming giant says that Apple will not allow Spotify to explain to users where and how to buy an audiobook or list the cost of the book and will not let the company send emails directing users to purchase the book. Spotify launched its audiobooks business in late September.

      • Hollywood ReporterSpotify Hits 195 Million Paid Subscribers, Exceeds Monthly Active Users Expectations

        The company now says it has 4.7 million podcasts. At the end of June, Spotify had 4.4 million podcasts on the platform, up from 4.0 million at the end of March. New additions this quarter included the launch of Meghan Markle’s podcast, Archetypes.

        Total revenue came in at €3.04 billion compared to a forecast of €3.0 billion.

      • SecurepairsGovernor Hochul: Tear Down That Wall To Repair!

        It has been more than four months since the New York legislature passed the Digital Fair Repair Act with a veto proof majority in the Senate and a near unanimous vote (145-2) in the New York Assembly. It’s time the governor signed it into law.

        Because manufacturers routinely refuse to sell spare parts or provide access to repair manuals, it’s difficult or impossible to fix everything personal electronics like cell phones. When a manufacturer refuses to share the tools and information you need to fix a cracked smartphone screen or malfunctioning home printer, they get to charge whatever they want to repair it, or refuse to repair it altogether, pushing you to replace it, instead.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • [Old] uni MichiganThe Myth of the Sole Inventor

          The theory of patent law is based on the idea that a lone genius can solve problems that stump the experts, and that the lone genius will do so only if properly incented. But the canonical story of the lone genius inventor is largely a myth. Surveys of hundreds of significant new technologies show that almost all of them are invented simultaneously or nearly simultaneously by two or more teams working independently of each other. Invention appears in significant part to be a social, not an individual, phenomenon. The result is a real problem for classic theories of patent law. Our dominant theory of patent law doesn’t seem to explain the way we actually implement that law. Maybe the problem is not with our current patent law, but with our current patent theory. But the dominant alternative theories of patent law don’t do much better. Prospect theory-under which we give a patent early to one company so it can control research and development-makes little sense in a world in which ideas are in the air and are likely to be happened upon by numerous inventors at about the same time. And commercialization theory, which hypothesizes that we grant patents in order to encourage not invention but product development, seems to founder on a related historical fact: most first inventors turn out to be lousy commercializers who end up delaying implementation of the invention by exercising their rights. If patent law in its current form can be saved, we need an alternative justification for granting patents in circumstances of near-simultaneous invention. I offer another possibility: patent rights encourage patent races, and that might actually be a good thing. Patent racing cannot alone justify a patent system, but it may do more than any existing theory to explain how patents work in practice.

      • Software Patents

        • [Old] A Generation of Software Patents

          This report examines changes in the patenting behavior of the software industry since the 1990s. It finds that most software firms still do not patent, most software patents are obtained by a few large firms in the software industry or in other industries, and the risk of litigation from software patents continues to increase dramatically. Given these findings, it is hard to conclude that software patents have provided a net social benefit in the software industry.

        • [Old] SSRNPatents and the Regress of Useful Arts

          Patent systems are often justified by an assumption that innovation will be spurred by the prospect of patent protection, leading to the accrual of greater societal benefits than would be possible under non-patent systems. However, little empirical evidence exists to support this assumption. One way to test the hypothesis that a patent system promotes innovation is experimentally to simulate the behavior of inventors and competitors under conditions approximating patent and non-patent systems. Employing a multi-user interactive simulation of patent and non-patent (commons and open source) systems (“The Patent Game”), this study compares rates of innovation, productivity, and societal utility. The Patent Game uses an abstracted and cumulative model of potential innovations, a database of potential innovations, an interactive interface that allows users to invent, make, and sell these innovations, and a network over which users may interact with one another to license, assign, infringe, and enforce patents. Initial data generated using The Patent Game suggest that a system combining patent and open source protection for inventions (that is, similar to modern patent systems) generates significantly lower rates of innovation (p<0.05), productivity (p<0.001), and societal utility (p<0.002) than does a commons system. These data also indicate that there is no statistical difference in innovation, productivity, or societal utility between a pure patent system and a system combining patent and open source protection.

        • A Solution to the OpenSky Problem – Patent Progress

          I have written several times about the $2.2 billion verdict in the VLSI v. Intel case. The case is extraordinary not just because of the size of the verdict, but because Intel was blocked from challenging the patents by the Fintiv policy—and the patents are clearly invalid.

          The specification for the main patent discloses the insight that in an integrated circuit “the processor may be able to operate at a lower voltage than is possible for the memory.” That is, “in many embodiments, the memory has a higher minimum operating voltage than the processor.”

          Armed with this insight, the patent claims the invention of giving the processor a lower “regulated voltage” if it can operate at a lower voltage than the memory. In other words, give each component only the power that it needs.

      • Copyrights

        • FuturismRecord Labels Terrified by Rise of AI Music Generators

          In response to the Office of the US Trade Representative’s request for comment, the RIAA issued a statement, condoning the use of AI music generators.

          Online services that use AI to “extract, or rather, copy, the vocals, instrumentals, or some portion of the instrumentals (a music stem) from a sound recording” to “generate, master or remix a recording to be very similar to or almost as good as reference tracks by select, well known sound recording artists” are infringing on its members’ “rights by making unauthorized copies of our members works,” the RIAA wrote in a new statement to the Office of the US Trade Representative.

        • TechdirtIf GitHub Copilot Is A Copyright Problem, Perhaps The Problem Is Copyright

          The GitHub Copilot investigation site’s arguments build on previous work by Butterick, as well as thoughtful analysis by Bradley M. Kuhn at the Software Freedom Conservancy. I find the arguments contained in these pieces convincing in some places and not as convincing in others, so I’m writing this post in the hopes that it helps me begin to sort it all out.

          At this point, Copilot strikes me as a tool that replaces googling for stack overflow answers. That seems like something that could be useful. It also seems plausible that training such a tool on open public software repositories (including open source repositories) could be allowed under US copyright law. That may change if or when Copilot evolves, which makes this discussion a fruitful one to be having right now.

          Both Butterick and Kuhn combine legal and social/cultural arguments in their pieces. This blog post starts with the social/cultural arguments because they are more interesting right now, and may impact the legal analysis as facts evolve in the future. Butterick and Kuhn make related arguments, so I’ll do my best to be clear which specific version of a point I’m engaging with at any given time. As will probably become clear, I generally find Kuhn’s approach and framing more insightful (which isn’t to say that Butterick’s lacks insight!).

        • Torrent FreakRecord Labels Object to ‘Inflammatory’ Evidence from ‘Pro-Piracy’ Site Boing Boing

          A post from the popular weblog Boing Boing is at the center of a new dispute in the piracy trial between several major record labels and ISP Grande. The dated article contains allegations of extortion-like business practices by piracy-tracking outfit Rightscorp. The music companies label the blog as an unreliable “pro-piracy” source. Grande, meanwhile, notes that the article was valuable enough to be documented by Warner’s anti-piracy expert.

        • Torrent FreakPolice Piracy Blacklist: UK Govt. Wants to Know Who’s Still Funding Pirate Sites

          The Infringing Website List (IWL) has carried the domain names of thousands of pirate sites since its launch in 2014. Operated by the police, the tool informs advertisers which sites to avoid, thereby starving site operators of cash and forcing them to shut down. The UK government is seeking a partner to explain how more than 1,500 listed sites are still in business.

        • Creative CommonsA Better Internet for Better Sharing: Join the Movement for a Better Internet

          As part of Creative Commons’ key strategic goal of Better Sharing, today we have joined six other organizations spanning the globe to launch the Movement for a Better Internet, a diverse community of advocates, activists, academics, and civil society groups working together to promote policies that create a better internet for people everywhere. The movement is a collaborative effort seeking to drive policy change based on a public interest vision for an internet that benefits us all.

        • Public Domain Review“Spontaneous Revolutions”: Darwin’s Diagrams of Plant Movement – The Public Domain Review

          One day in 1863, during a long, hot summer, Charles Darwin wrote a letter to his close friend, the botanist Joseph Hooker. He related: “I am getting very much amused by my tendrils— it is just the sort of niggling work that suits me”.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • 🔤SpellBinding: CEILMOP Wordo: MAKES
      • Instead Seething Pits of Chaos

        Since November is, as they say in the old lands, *just around the leering hulk of the mutant termite mound*, I’ve begin to prepare initial ideas of tracks for the so-called *Noisevember*. Noise! Everyone likes noise. Noise is the ever present fluid that allows us to swim through life. Those who take time to sculpt it to be their own are exquisite or damned. One of the two or something lurking within the infinite in-between. Actually, one idea, currently titled *Mollusk Pantheon* is mostly done. It blossomed on its own from a *noisy* beat into a jazz infused masterpiece or dull, plodding funérarium anthem. One of the two or something lurking within the infinite in-between.

      • Improving Sleep Feng Shui Style

        For the past few months I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping. Even in the height of the summer (which admittedly was quite cold this year) I’ve woken up cold, especially my feet have been quite chilled.

        I’m a pretty tall dude and it’s not uncommon that my feet stick out a bit from under the duvet, especially if it’s chilly enough that I pull the duvet up a bit during the night. The problem has been a bit of a catch 22 however, because if I’ve dressed warmer or put on an extra blanket for the night I’ve been sweating instead.

      • alpha pv frame
      • Extreme shopping carts, Brevard, NC edition

        It was a quite day today. We got up late, stopped by WallyWorld [1] for some incidentals, had some food [2] then back to The Bromfield Inn [3] to rest.

    • Politics

    • Technical

      • A new handheld – ClockworkPi uConsole

        Just as i’m writing a little german article about permacomputing and my 50c about it, ClockworkPi announced their newest handheld “console”. This is/looks like the ideal handheld computer for me. And so i need to rethink some parts of this writing ;D

      • October update 2022 – 2600.madrid Alicante

        Hola! Happy Hacking to all hackers, DIY, Creators and tinkers out there.
        Well well well, so I almost skipped October update, I had finally time to sit back 10m to write this, and I am glad there are some new updates to talk about.

        The 2600 meeting in Madrid was a success!, we were 6 people, Krispis, TTT, Alberto Quian, Orestes, Bl0ckW0rm and myself, we had fun, folks got to meet eachother in person, and talk about hacking, politics and everything in general that bothers us, then after that we went out to celebrate!

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

How Digital Systems Fail Our Institutions

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 8:16 am by Guest Editorial Team

By Dr. Andy Farnell


Average Joe “just wants stuff to
work”. He goes along with whatever technology is placed in
front of him. For Joe, geeks fighting religious battles over
technology are a curious spectacle. As a dispassionate
pragmatist, he mistakes fervour for pedantry. He cannot see the
serious ideological fault-lines within technology which will
determine how we live, work and build societies together.

Joe is happy to be dubbed “a user”, a term otherwise applied
to drug addicts and insincere friends, despite actually being
the person who is getting used. For him, “algorithms in the
cloud” and other nonsensical tropes stand in for meaningful
explanations of how his life is run by invisible others.

Joe once thought that things are run by the government he
voted for, based on reliable facts he read in the press,
carefully weighed in his clear mind, itself the product of an
unbiased education. He believes in these
institutions, whose function underwrite his

But Joe’s life is now determined by “digital infrastructure”
increasingly concentrated in giant data-centres, under the
control of unelected, profit-seeking organisations. Joe is a
victim of what we will simply refer to as “systems”.

A “system” can be defined as cybernetic, ecological,
biological, social, political or operational. But, to use words
as ordinary people mean them, a system is “increased work and
stress I won’t have any choice about, and won’t get paid for”.
Systems are ever-expanding, hostile impositions. Systems are a
failure of engaged, humanistic, liberal democratic life

Systems turn bad

The words “New System” strike dread into the heart of any
employee. Big organisations make ideal testing grounds for
inhumane systems. For example, the scandal associated with
Cambridge Analyticawas really no more than a failed
research project in data science, whose implications and ethics
scared the crap out of the public. It was possible only because
of a system, the “walled garden” called Facebook, fleecing 50
million people of their data. Since then nothing has changed
and the commodification of surveillance data for influence has
been normalised.

“Each September in
universities, untested systems go live as administrators and
students return to do battle over workflows and control of
At a more mundane, everyday level,
institutions hold a captive audience of guinea-pigs. In
academia it is students and staff, on whom we can run
algorithms and experiments by decree of “policy”, thus avoiding
messy ethics and scrutiny real researchers would endure.

Each September in universities, untested systems go live as
administrators and students return to do battle over workflows
and control of resources. As timetables shift and slip into
place, students scour campus corridors for elusive lecture
rooms. Many hours of teaching will be lost as access systems,
attendance registers, login portals, classroom AV, and
assessment tools grumble and grind, then fail. Everyone will be
beaten into compliance, under veiled threats alluding to
“necessary regulation”, “best security practices” and “higher
powers” and so on. It is the will, not of any identifiable
tyrant, but of “the system”.

No door remains unprotected by card access, no classroom or
corridor free of motion detection, face-recognition, CCTV, and
no computer accessible except through a tedium of slow,
draconian, security processes. Arbitrarily, at any time and
without warning, centralised IT are free to alter systems and
“policies” that underwrite them. They can move web pages,
change login processes, block emails, remove services, target
groups or individuals within a panopticon and labyrinth that
would be the envy of B. F. Skinner, famed tormentor of

We live with this because we have been conditioned to it, as
rats who have forgotten life before the maze. Fifty years of
believing computers are “necessary” has etched its mark. Of
course systems are there “to help us”. They offer
“convenience”. And foremost, they provide “security”, that
elusive quality we are constantly told we need, but somehow
never feel we have. During thirty years of teaching, I’ve seen
many systems introduced. The chilling effect on the engagement,
openness and curious spirit of students has been palpable.
Systems inhibit. Systems disable.

However, this is all fascinating for me, as a computer
scientist and systems theorist, because I’ve had a perfect
environment to study the damaging effects of encroaching
systems on real people trying to do simple, timeless activities
like teach and learn.

The unsurprising CHAOS report of 2018

tells us “most information systems fail”. They deliver
less certainty, less reliably and less accessibly. Five minutes
using any major search engine should convince you, the game is
no longer to deliver information on request, but to extract it
fromyou. Search is just one example of how many
technologies today are distorted and broken, operating with
perverse incentives and hidden agendas counter to the wellbeing
of their “users”.

But even the systems we pay for work against us. The
unintended consequence of the machinery to deliver cheap, fast,
efficient, uniform, accountable, secure education leads in
totality, to catastrophic cost for university students and

It doesn’t have to be this way of course. The promise of the
“information age” envisioned by optimistic pioneers of the 60s
and 70s, still lurks beneath the surface of society, frustrated
and itching to emerge.
Techrightshas been holding a torch to abusive technology
for decades. Today it is joined by new projects like
The Center for Humane Technology

and hundreds of prominent thinkers trying to reform
technology against the big-money interests of Microsoft, Google
and the like.

How did we get so lost in counterproductive technology? It
is perplexing because we have cheaper and more powerful
computers than ever. Software is for the most-part, less buggy.
Yet each year our every-day experience of technology worsens.
We wait longer, feel more frustrated, more scrutinised and
bullied by tech, and are less productive. A new paper by Pablo
Azar of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

notes how “computer saturation” lies at the heart of
productivity slowdown. We have too many computers for our own
good now. We’re at “peak tech”.

“To my surprise, my
experiment with teaching computer science using nothing but the
benign technologies of a whiteboard pen and £25 Raspberry Pi is
an astounding success, loved by all the students.”
As a
computer scientist I’m horrified by what I see in educational
tech. Our helpless dependency perfectly tracks de-skilling and
outsourcing to unaccountable cloud providers and “algorithms”.
As a teacher of technology, technology is now the reason I want
to leave teaching. A karmic reckoning perhaps. Each semester I
watch it harm our students’ learning experience and feel less
able to be the humane, generous, engaging mentor I’d like to
be. To my surprise, my experiment with teaching computer
science using nothing but the benign technologies of a
whiteboard pen and £25 Raspberry Pi is an astounding success,
loved by all the students. It seems ever clearer that the
university, other than as a physical meeting space, has nothing
to offer.

Browbeaten by systematic, institutional technology I’ve
witnessed students in tears because opaque “systems” have
miscalculated grades, wrongly accused them of plagiarism,
overcharged them, cut-off their internet, evicted them from
accommodation, confused them with other students, lost

Most corrosive is the sense of helplessness. Regardless of
how willing, attuned, tactful, or experienced a professor may
be, having to say “there’s nothing I can do, the system won’t
let me”, is galling.

Obstructive as broken systems may be, it is the fervour of
their apologists that saddens me more. Edu-tech zealots simply
cannot hear that students “just want engaging in-person
teaching”. For them, ever more centralised learning systems,
omniscient portals, blended fusion centres, and AI augmented VR
technologies are the only way forward. They are enchanted.

It’s said that people don’t leave bad jobs they leave bad
bosses. I think
people leave bad systems. You can argue with a bad boss,
but not a bad system. A perfect system retains the calm tone
and unblinking red eye of Arthur C. Clarke’s HAL computer, even
as it destroys itself and those around it. It is the Microsoft
system that defiantly against your will, updates itself to a
“better” Windows version, and then crashes to a halt
complaining your computer is not powerful enough. Nobody
deserves any person or thing so chaotic and insolent in their
life, and are wise to separate.

I firmly believe the precarious mental health of students is
directly attributable to the brutality of systems they face
daily. We’ve driven out humiliation and the cane from schools
only to create new forms of technological violence under the
pompous auspice of “preparing them for reality” – a
technological reality that for Jon Askonas writing in the New
Atlantic is “just a game now”.


Why we persist with bad systems

“Over-systemisation” is not news. John Gall’s “Systemantics”

describes man’s struggle against himself through the
folly of systems. They are, “solidified resistance to change”
and, in Nietzsche’s words, the “will to a lack of integrity”.
And so we must ask – since universities are about changing
minds and seeking a better world through truth and integrity -
what place do rigid, opaque and self-interestedly dishonest
systems have in our institutions? How did they get here, and
why do we keep building them?

“As technologists
we retain a naive view of systems as tools to help
One of the reasons is ideology. In no small way we
believein systems. For a warning about the future we
might look to history. Despite many political and economic
theories, the sudden fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 remains
mysterious. Misery came as much from technocratic worship of
centralised bureaucracy as communist ideology. Yet it is seldom
noted how collapse was hastened by the introduction of
computers in 1990. Could it be that the demise of
anyideology is accelerated once augmented with AI,
algorithms and automation?

We know that bureaucracies of Max Weber’s kind exhibit
compound growth of about five percent, but forget that under
Moore’s Law digital systems have grown in complexity a million

What was banal but beneficent has been catapulted way
beyond Neil Postman’s Technocracy or even Kafka’s ludicrous
nightmares – by which I mean the imposition of other people’s
values by oblique means. Bad systems create work, push-down
responsibility and suck-up power.

As technologists we retain a naive view of systems as tools
to help us. In the words of Steve Jobs they are “bicycles for
our minds”. But few minds, even riding Jobs’ bicycle, can
contemplate the distance between Apple’s 1984 Superbowl advert
and Edward Snowden’s 2013 message. It is the same distance
between Kraftwerk’s “It’s more fun to compute” and “If you’ve
nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear”. It is no less than the
transition from computers as tools we use, into tools used to
control us.

We’ve come to think of software as Heideggerian technology;
bare utilities to amplify the whims of our mind-body. In a
competitive culture like ours, they soon become weapons ranged
against each other, primed for ideological battle and
information warfare rather than cooperation.

This bleak ‘totalising’ technology of Heidegger is all
around us today, as instrumental systems that act upon us, and
lenses through which we are forced to see the whole world. In
that digital world they are the implementation of policy set
out by power as a means of determining the behaviour of others.
Ceding control of our tools to others lets them limit our

“I think that what
we teach by way of computer science, software engineering,
project management, data and AI technologies, adds up to a
fantasy still rooted in the 1980s, that sees the developer and
“user” as agents creating an “experience”, not as the subjects
of systems that now control them.”
So are we
misunderstanding “systems”? Are we teaching the wrong things
about organisation, structure and planning? My duty as a
sceptical professor is to deeply question the ethics and
purpose of what I teach, lest my graduates only contribute to
world problems.

I think that what we teach by way of computer science,
software engineering, project management, data and AI
technologies, adds up to a fantasy still rooted in the 1980s,
that sees the developer and “user” as agents creating an
“experience”, not as the subjects of systems that now control

That’s why I’ll be assigning the lesser-known writings of
systems theorists Norbert Weiner

and Donella Meadows

in a class on computing systems this semester. We’ll ask
things like:

  • What technologies could we get rid of?
  • Which systems have, on balance, been a mistake?
  • If digital mass communication is leading to less truth
    and happiness, how do we gracefully switch it off?
  • What will count as “information” once AI begins to
    generate ceaseless tides of plausible but fake sound, images
    and prose?
  • As research students how can we be brutally sceptical not
    only of sources, but the systems we are asked to use?
  • How do we deal with the proliferation of untrustworthy
    systems designed to confuse and betray us for profit?

Questioning our worship of systems permits entrenched
ideologies to be rooted-out. Why do we even have such an
obsession with systems?

One fault is that we confuse systems with solutions. Systems
are substitutes for solutions. Solutions may be ways out of
systems, but systems always beget more systems, create more
problems, needing maintenance and more resources.

Building new systems is profitable. We talk about a “digital
tech industry” worth trillions of dollars. In addition, the
gadgets and services that flood our planet, while fun, are
addictive, ephemeral and ultimately unsatisfying. Despite a
million-fold increase in speed, no technology is ever fast
enough. Despite dizzying advances in materials science, no
modern gadget is durable beyond several months.

A finite gamut of human activities like checking bus times
or weather, writing a letter, or drawing a picture, hasn’t
changed since the 1970s. The low-hanging “killer apps” of
electronic mail, spreadsheets and databases are long behind us.
What is touted as “new” is rehashed technology with a new spin
on extracting profit. As markets get more crowded the means of
extraction get ever more brutal and invasive.

“Systems impose
another insidious effect, being totalitarian.”
One branch
of now problematic thinking grew out of the 1970s project of
automation and
systems analysis. Coupled with the logic of efficiency,
no human action or decision may exist where a machine could
conceivably replace it.

In some sense, systems represent our unrequited desire for
finality, and a note of Fascism lies therein, as Heidegger
noted (and some claim celebrated). One does not proclaim a
Thousand Year Reich or Grand New Order as a “work in progress”
or stop-gap project subject to review. Systems promise
certainty and reliability in an uncertain world. As well as
appealing to the authoritarian mind they temporarily assuage
the anxious and insecure that their needs will be met.

But static structures are a poor response to a dynamic
world. Cybernetic governance and algorithmic societies are a
pale substitute for leadership and statesmanship reflecting a
loss of faith in the human mind. Systems are fleeting models of
a world as we wish it to be, and so all systems are permanently
under attack from outside reality and internally from their own
ceaseless transformation.

Add to this mix the need for economic growth and these
factors add up to systems that are ephemeral yet expansive.
Constantly in a state of turmoil, they reach out to every
corner of life, into our shops, children’s toys, cars and
kitchen appliances, as an always shifting ambivalent force
whose presence and absence we fear equally.

Systems impose another insidious effect, being totalitarian.
The desire to create uniform, accessible services seems
laudable. But that is the function of standards. Systems
enforce the lowest common denominator of the parochial
implementation, flattening intellectual life, oppressing
difference, diversity and innovation. They represent problems
which once systemised are universalised and preserved. Systems
slow down actual progress.

A judge was once asked, “So, what is the best justice
system?”, and replied “There is no best. Only the least worst.
Ideally we would not have any system”. That does not mean we
would have no justice. Only a fool confuses the tool with its
purpose. In political science it is noted that the “The English
have a system, which is no system. It’s also a system, only

Systems of the future (The English

It is time we re-imagine digital technology as utility
separate from the conceit of “systems”. So, how can we do

It turns out we already looked at this. It happened in the
field of operating systems. These are the programs that make
computers themselves do useful work. Operating systems
underwent a series of radical evolutions in a twenty year
period between 1960 and 1980.

Learning from the failure of many large monolithic systems
we arrived at the “Unix Philosophy”, which connects principles
of clean software engineering, devolved responsibility, peer
relations, and natural distribution.

This returns us to an earlier, more general and benign
definition of a system, as “interacting but interdependent
assemblage of elements organised toward common purposes”. Note
the plurality invoked.

“Their response was
to wind back the clock, to shut it down by replacing user-owned
systems by old fashioned monolithic systems of command and
Such a philosophy tends toward small,
reconfigurable, standardised, freely exchangeable and
transparent micro-systems. Emerging in the 1980s, principles of
Free Software – that the system is owned, and is directly
changeable by its users – completed a broader philosophy which
sparked the “dot-com” boom, and the entirety of the Internet,
Web and Silicon Valley as we see it today.

A confluence of military budgets, brilliant academic minds
and opportunity for growth in West coast America circa 1980,
parallels the unlikely conditions precipitating the industrial
revolution in 1750s England. Mirroring the latter’s descent
into Dark Satanic Mills, our own revolution has fallen from

Like capitalism itself, a system able to create so much
wealth became dangerous to those first to amass wealth and
power as its fruits. Their response was to wind back the clock,
to shut it down by replacing user-owned systems by old
fashioned monolithic systems of command and control. Through
“cloud” technologies we have regressed to the Mainframes of the
1960s. These exist today in the guise of “Big Tech” companies
like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook. Ironically, these
have colonised the academic institutions that gave birth to the
very conditions of their growth, stifling the source of fresh


“De-clouding”, “on prem repatriation”, “de-googling”, “own
clouds”, “low tech”, “digital veganism” … there are many
emerging takes on the countervailing trends, back toward more
humane and people-controlled technology.

I have written extensively, in the Times Higher and
elsewhere, on what I see as the dangers of Big Tech encroaching
into education.

The function of Higher Education is not to pander to
industry as delegated, state-subsidised training schools, but
to challenge and redefine industry, sacrificing its sacred cows
for progress.

“No good university
should impose inflexible one-size-fits-all products from
companies like Microsoft with it’s Office365, or Google’s
Orwellian spyware.”
One project I would love to see is
the “zero centralised IT” school or university. It would take
extraordinary courage to create, but is a place I would send my
children in a heartbeat. My time as a computer expert has
taught me there’s much less to be learned
throughtechnology than we are led to think, although it
is important to learn
abouttechnology. Can we create learning academies where
the rules are:

  • Technology is for teachers and researchers to
  • They can build any internal systems they like, hardware
    or software, to meet teaching and research needs, but it will
    be ephemeral. No grand schemes, empires or impositions on
  • We will employ well paid, skilled support staff. However,
    the role of “IT” is strictly subservient to the core
    activities of teaching and research. It’s there to support
    and serve.
  • Interoperability and choice are paramount, particularly
    the choice
    notto partake in any technology or system.

Any such college will excel and set a lasting trend. It will
attract staff that are confident in their digital literacy and
able to work with others on a peer footing, through standards
and mutuality.

For those that value the principles of education and
research, freedom of enquiry, intellectual self-determination,
disputation, and the dialectic between alternative views, the
mission now is to push back at Big Tech and get it out of
education. No good university should impose inflexible
one-size-fits-all products from companies like Microsoft with
it’s Office365, or Google’s Orwellian spyware.

The systems we use, and allow to be
used on us, set the limits of our world. Allowing
Big-Tech systems into our universities creates a deflationary
spiral. They are not just the water in which we swim but the
glass of the invisible fish-tank that contains us. Where
technology is concerned let the English rules apply – the best
system is no system … which is not the same as “no
technology”, but better.


Thanks to Edward Nevard, Daniel James and
Techrightsreaders for helpful comments, corrections
and suggestions.








Pablo Azar, “Computer Saturation and the
Productivity Slowdown,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Liberty Street Economics, October 6, 2022







Conservatively 1,048,576 times, being
twenty powers of two in forty years.





IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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