Links 22/02/2023: KDE Plasma 5.27.1 and New Fears Over Nukes

Posted in News Roundup at 9:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Unix MenRisks to Consider When Using Linux

      Linux is a free and open-source operating system that’s popular among developers, businesses, and individuals. The flexibility and customizability of Linux make it an excellent choice for those looking for more control over their computer systems. However, like any other operating system, using Linux comes with some risks. This article will discuss the risks associated with using Linux and how to create a Linux risk register for managing the risks you face when using Linux.

    • Server

      • Container JournalAgility Vs. Complexity in Cloud-Native Applications

        One of the main motivations for using cloud-native application methodologies is to simplify our applications and their infrastructures. Cloud-native methodologies are designed around creating larger and more sophisticated applications without unnecessarily increasing application complexity. And central to everything is agility.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Unicorn MediaTop Four Takaways From My Appearance on Doc Searls’ ‘FLOSS Weekly’ Podcast

        In case you don’t know, about a month ago I was on FLOSS Weekly, a weekly podcast hosted by Doc Searls, which was really a lot of fun. I’d never met Searls, virtually or otherwise, but it turns out that we have a scary number of things in common. The co-host for the show was Simon Phipps, who I’ve known virtually for a while.

        Neither Searls nor Phipps should need any introduction to followers of Linux and open-source. Among other things, Phipps is currently standards and policy director at Open Source Initiative, where he’s also served as president, and is also a board member at AlmaLinux.

    • Kernel Space

      • LWNLinux 6.1.13
        I'm announcing the release of the 6.1.13 kernel.
        All users of the 6.1 kernel series must upgrade.
        The updated 6.1.y git tree can be found at:
                git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-6.1.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        greg k-h
      • LWNLinux 5.15.95
      • LWNLinux 5.10.169
      • LWNLinux 5.4.232
      • LWNLinux 4.19.273
      • LWNLinux 4.14.306
      • CollaboraKernel 6.2: More Rust support for drivers

        With more SoC support, a new V4L2 driver and a new dma-buf locking convention among its contributions, Collabora was one of the most active employers for this latest kernel development cycle.

    • Applications

      • Linux LinksMachine Learning in Linux: Real-ESRGAN – image and video restoration software

        This series looks at highly promising machine learning and deep learning software for Linux. We’ll cover a wide range of applications of this technology. The first article in the series looked at GFPGAN, deep learning software for real-world face restoration. Real-ESRGAN and GFPGAN have been integrated with each other, but they are also individual projects from the same developer. Real-ESRGAN is a project that aims to create practical algorithms for general image/video restoration as opposed to face restoration.

      • 9to5LinuxDarktable 4.2.1 Brings Support for New Cameras, Better Support for Fujifilm’s RAF

        In darktable 4.2.1, the devs implemented a new way to identify JPEG images by using magic bytes instead of file extensions so that they won’t end up in files with unexpected extensions, a collapsible section to the sigmoid module so that unused controls in standard processing scenarios are hidden by default, and the ability to assign shortcuts to the “quick access” style and preset menus.

        This release also brings some minor updates to image overlays in the culling view so that they are less intrusive, properly honors the “hide histogram” setting when restarting the app, and ensures that wide pop-ups are correctly displayed on the same monitor as the associated widget.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • ID RootHow To Install MySQL on Fedora 37

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install MySQL on Fedora 37. For those of you who didn’t know, MySQL is a popular and widely-used open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that is used by many web-based applications …

      • UNIX CopHow to install KeeWeb Password Manager on Ubuntu

        KeeWeb is a password manager that can be used on any platform and is compatible with KeePass. It allows for safe storage of both online and offline passwords and can be synced with file storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox.

      • UNIX CopRESTful Tomcat Application

        Introduction Web services: Tomcat can also be used to host web services built using technologies such as SOAP or RESTful api. This allows developers to expose their web services to other applications and integrate them into larger systems.

      • UNIX CopHigh Availability Storage with Pacemaker

        Introduction High Availability Storage with Pacemaker is a solution for ensuring that critical data and applications remain available and accessible even in the event of hardware failures or other disruptions.

      • UNIX CopHow To Install Java and Java SE Development Kit on AlmaLinux 9

        Today, you will learn how To Install Java and Java SE Development Kit on AlmaLinux 9

      • FOSSLinuxIptables and logging: How to monitor network traffic

        In today’s digital age, monitoring network traffic has become increasingly crucial for businesses and individuals. With the rise of cyber threats and attacks, being able to keep an eye on your network traffic can help you detect potential security breaches before they become a major problem. In this article, we’ll discuss using iptables to monitor and log network traffic for analysis.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install 7-Zip on Manjaro Linux

        7-Zip is a free and open-source file archiver software developed by Igor Pavlov in 1999. It has gained popularity over the years as one of the best compression software due to its high compression ratio and support for a wide range of archive file formats.

      • Linux CapableHow to Upgrade Apache on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

        If you are currently running Ubuntu LTS, your version of Apache is probably not the latest stable release from the Apache Foundation.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Git on Rocky Linux EL9 or EL8

        Git is a free and open-source distributed version control system that tracks source code changes during software development.

      • Make Tech Easier8 Simple Ways to Securely Delete Files in Linux

        We have seen how to fully erase the contents of your hard disk, but what happens if all you want is to permanently delete one, two or a dozen files? This guide shows you some of the most popular solutions for complete file deletion in Linux.

    • Games

      • Boiling SteamHow to Upgrade Your 64GB Steam Deck’s Storage Capacity Now to 512GB for Just $60
      • Godot EngineRelease candidate: Godot 4.0 RC 3

        We’re almost ready to release Godot 4.0! Barring any last minute critical regression, this RC should reflect what the 4.0-stable release will be.

      • KifarunixUtilising FOSS in Video Game Development

        In recent years, the utilisation of Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) has gained significant popularity within the gaming industry.

      • HackadayLet Machine Learning Code An Infinite Variety Of Pong Games

        In a very real way, Pong started the video game revolution. You wouldn’t have thought so at the time, with its simple gameplay, rudimentary controls, some very low-end sounds, and a cannibalized TV for a display, but the legendarily stuffed coinboxes tell the tale. Fast forward 50 years or so, and Pong has been largely reduced to a programmer’s exercise to see how few lines of code can stand in for what [Ted Dabney] and [Allan Alcorn] accomplished. But now even that’s too much, as OpenAI Codex can generate a playable Pong from just a few prompts, at least most of the time.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • 9to5LinuxKDE Plasma 5.27.1 Improves Support for Wine Games in Plasma Wayland, Fixes Bugs

          KDE Plasma 5.27.1 comes just a week after the release of KDE Plasma 5.27 LTS to further improve your Plasma desktop experience, especially when playing video games through Wine on the Plasma Wayland session as the mouse cursor will no longer disappear when it touches the bottom or right screen edge when using a graphics card that does not support atomic mode-setting.

          This first KDE Plasma 5.27 point release also brings support for the latest NetworkManager 1.42 network connection management tool so that the Plasma-NM (NetworkManager) widget no longer displays the redundant loopback interface.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • OSI BlogHow OSI will renew its board of directors in 2023 [Ed: OSI will still work for Microsoft and promote proprietary software that violates the GPL. Nowadays the purpose of OSI seems to be bagging money from companies like Microsoft to help pay a salary or two; it's not protecting the brand or the mission.]

      The OSI board of directors will renew three of its seats with an open election process among its full individual members and affiliates.

    • Events

    • Programming/Development

      • Rlangxts_0.13.0 on CRAN

        An updated version of xts is now on CRAN.

      • DEV CommunityBilly Warren: A straight Guide to Salsa CI – A Debian Continuous Integration tool

        I won’t waste your time with introductions. The title says it all so let’s jump right in. I’ll give you as many links as possible so that this article stays as short as possible.

        So first, what is Salsa? Salsa is a name of a GitLab instance that is used by Debian teams to manage Debian packages and also collaborate on Development. If you have used GitLab before, the Salsa platform is not any different. To have a feel of it, it is available at https://salsa.debian.org. Still, want to know more? Find more information in the wiki. Intrigued to a point of getting started? Setup up your account by following this information

  • Leftovers

    • QuartzIt may be time to drop all your meetings
    • uni MichiganThe internet’s favorite stalker goes abroad

      Hello, you. I see you, scouring The Michigan Daily Arts section, looking for your new favorite TV show to watch. You probably saw this headline and a familiar face and let out a little gasp of excitement. “It can’t be,” you think. “Is he really back?” You better believe it. 

    • MIT Technology ReviewNo humans allowed

      The Z Center held its second annual dog swim in December just before draining the pool for maintenance.

    • Mint Press NewsAmid Rubble and Tears, a Glimmer of Hope: The Real Heroes in Syria and Türkiye

      Amidst the tragedy of the devastating earthquake in Syria and Türkiye, the heroism of those who save lives and offer support amid unimaginable odds serves as a reminder of the abundant humanity so often overlooked in the region.

    • HackadayYouTube As Infinite File Storage

      Anyone who was lucky enough to secure a Gmail invite back in early 2004 would have gasped in wonder at the storage on offer, a whole gigabyte! Nearly two decades later there’s more storage to be had for free from Google and its competitors, but it’s still relatively easy to hit the paid tier. Consider this though, how about YouTube as an infinite cloud storage medium?

    • Counter PunchTrue Champions of Humanity in Türkiye and Syria: We Thank You

      On February 7, a funeral was held in the northern Syrian town of Jinderis. It was one of numerous such funerals to be held on that day across Syria and Türkiye, following a devastating earthquake that killed and injured thousands.

      Each one of these funerals represented two seemingly opposite notions: collective grief and collective hope. The Jinderis funeral was a stark representation of this dichotomy.

    • Counter PunchAldo Leopold for Our Time

      One could tick off details about Aldo Leopold’s life—born January 11, 1887, in Burlington, Iowa; educated as a forester at Yale; worked for the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico and Arizona for roughly two decades; married Estella Bergere in October of 1912; accepted an appointment to the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1924; and, in 1935, came into possession of “the shack,” near Baraboo, along the Wisconsin River, a place that figures as a hub in A Sand County Almanac, and on which property he died, of an apparent heart attack, while fighting a grass fire on April 21, 1948. Leopold was 62 years old, famous and revered in some conservation circles, reviled in others. He was buried in Burlington.

      Curt Meine’s biography (Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work)—over 500 pages of text, not counting notes, bibliography, and index—is a slow-read page turner. It’s slow because it’s so packed with vivid information and insights. It’s a page turner for the same reasons—not only Leopold’s interesting life but also the multifaceted conservation movement in America from the late nineteenth-century until the time of his death.

    • Science

    • Education

      • Chronicle Of Higher EducationSlamming the Door on Scholarship

        War and politics could make on-the-ground study of China and Russia difficult, if not impossible.

    • Hardware

      • Hackaday3D Printing Antennas With Dielectric Resin

        [Machining and Microwaves] has long wanted to use a 3D printer to print RF components for antennas and microwave lenses. He heard that Rogers — the company known for making PCB substrates, among other things — had a dielectric resin available and asked them if he could try some. They agreed, with some stipulations, including that he had to visit their facility and show his designs in a video. Because of that, the video seems a little bit like a commercial, but we think he is genuinely excited about the possibility of the resin.

      • HackadayRetro Gadgets: Make Your Scope Dual Channel

        We live in a time when having an oscilloscope is only a minor luxury. But for many decades, a good scope was a major expense, and almost no hobbyist had a brand new one unless it was of very poor quality. Scopes were big and heavy and, at the price most people were willing to pay, only had a single channel. Granted, having one channel is better than having nothing. But if the relative benefit of having a single channel scope is 10 points, the benefit of having two channels is easily at least 100 points. So what was a poor hacker to do when a dual-trace or higher scope cost too much? Why, hack, of course. There were many designs that would convert a single trace scope into a poor-quality multichannel scope. Heathkit made several of these over the years like the ID-22, the ID-101, and the ID-4101. They called them “electronic switches.” The S-2 and S-3 were even earlier models, but the idea wasn’t unique to Heathkit and had been around for some time.

      • HackadayOpenStructures Is A Modular Building System For The RepRap Age

        Modular construction toys like LEGO and Meccano are great for prototyping, but they aren’t so great for large builds. OpenStructures promises to be a modular building system for projects large and small.

      • HackadayTravel The World Looking For Retro Tech, Virtually

        For those who have a passion for vintage hardware, whether it be a classic computer or a war-surplus ham radio rig, finding the things without resorting to paying shipping fees on eBay can sometimes be tricky. Your best bet is to find a local fair or swap event, but it always seems they’re the kind of thing you find out about the weekend after they were held.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

    • Proprietary

    • Security

      • Dark ReadingUS Military Emails Exposed via Cloud Account
      • Vice Media GroupHacker Breaches Activision Slack, Steals Call of Duty Info [Ed: Slack is adopted by companies that are failing on security. Slack itself suffers security breaches.]

        Screenshots show how a hacker tricked an Activision worker into providing a two-factor authentication token.

      • TechCrunchActivision did not notify employees of data breach for months

        On December 4, hackers successfully phished an employee at the games giant Activision, gaining access to some internal employee and game data.

        This data breach was not disclosed until last weekend, when cybersecurity and malware research group vx-underground posted on Twitter screenshots of the stolen data, as well as the hackers’ messages on Activision’s internal Slack channel.

        But the public weren’t the only ones caught off guard by news of the breach. Activision has yet to notify its own employees of the data breach, and whether their data was stolen, according to two current Activision employees who spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not allowed to talk to the press.

      • InfoQVersion 0.34.0 of Falco, an Open Source Runtime Security Tool was Recently Released

        Falco, an open-source runtime security tool recently announced their latest release version 0.34.0. Highlights of the latest release include support for older RHEL distros, the ability to download and update Falco rules at runtime, and the experimental release of a modern eBPF probe.

      • Security WeekVMware Plugs Critical Carbon Black App Control Flaw

        VMware issues a critical fix for a vulnerability that allows hacker to gain full access to the underlying server operating system.

      • Security WeekEnterprise Blind Spots and Obsolete Tools – Security Teams Must Evolve

        The conventional tools we rely on to defend corporate networks are creating gaps in network visibility and in our capabilities to secure them.

      • GizmodoA DNA Testing Company Forgot About 2.1 Million People’s Data. Then It Leaked.

        A prominent DNA testing firm has settled a pair of lawsuits with the attorney generals of Pennsylvania and Ohio after a 2021 episode that saw cybercriminals steal data on 2.1 million people, including the social security numbers of 45,000 customers from both states.

      • Silicon AngleNew ‘Stealc’ information-stealing malware grows in popularity on dark web
        Cybersecurity researchers today detailed recently discovered information-stealing malware that is rapidly growing in popularity on dark web marketplaces.

      • USCERTCISA Adds Three Known Exploited Vulnerabilities to Catalog

        CISA has added three new vulnerabilities to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog, based on evidence of active exploitation.

      • USCERTCISA Releases Two Industrial Control Systems Advisories

        CISA encourages users and administrators to review the newly released ICS advisories for technical details and mitigations:

      • Helsinki TimesWatch out for scams posing as the Kanta Services and My Kanta Pages!

        There are a lot of scam messages in circulation at the moment as criminals try to access Finnish personal data. The Kanta Services will never contact users by email or text message to ask for their information. The only way to log in securely to the My Kanta Pages is to go to www.kanta.fi

        At present there is an unusual number of scam messages in circulation claiming to be from the Kanta Services and trying to access people’s personal data.

      • CNASingapore data centre says no data loss discovered after report on hackers obtaining logins

        Data centre operator ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) has noticed no data loss or impact to its customer service portals following a hacking incident in 2021, it said on Tuesday (Feb 21).

        Through unspecified means, the hackers made away with login credentials – email addresses and passwords – for customer-support websites for STT GDC and Chinese data centre operator GDS, reported Bloomberg, citing a report by cybersecurity research firm Resecurity.

        Login credentials for more than 1,000 people at STT GDC were stolen, while GDS had information for more than 3,000 people, including its own employees and those of its customers, stolen, according to Bloomberg.

      • Ways and means committee demands investigation into 2021 taxpayer info leak

        Nineteen months after the confidential tax filings of American citizens were leaked, the House Committee on Ways and Means is seeking answers.

        In a letter to the Inspector General for Tax Administration, committee chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) relays his “expectations” regarding the “egregious and unprecedented” leak of this tax information, a duty which he affirms the IRS is tasked with keeping “confidential and secure.”

        “U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Yellen stated at the time that this was a ‘very serious situation’ and that the issue was referred to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). She also indicated that she would keep Congress updated on the matter. Yet, nineteen months after the outrageous leak, Congress and, more importantly, the American people have no idea how this betrayal of taxpayer confidentiality happened or whether anyone has been held accountable,” Smith writes.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Counter PunchWhat Time is It?

        Every January since 1947, the Board of the Doomsday Clock has announced the position of the hands on the Doomsday Clock.  It was set at 100 seconds to midnight in 2020, stayed there through 2021 and 2022, and then was reset to 90 seconds last month.   This is the closest to Doomsday we have ever been.

        From Google:   The Doomsday Clock is set anew every January by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 10 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to global catastrophe caused by manmade technologies.

      • RFERLForeign Ministers Say G7 Will Keep Up Economic Pressure Over Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

        The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations said on February 21 that their countries would continue to impose economic costs on Russia and urged the broader international community to reject what they described as Moscow’s “brutal expansionism.”

      • Helsinki TimesFinland makes it clear it won’t wait for Sweden to join Nato


        FINLAND and Sweden may be moving hand in hand toward Nato, but Finland is prepared, if necessary, to let go and enter the alliance without its western neighbour, confirm statements made last weekend in conjunction with the Munich Security Conference, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

        The Nordic countries submitted their bids to join the defence alliance in May 2022, a couple of months after Russia invaded Ukraine.

      • Helsinki TimesRussia protests US ambassador over arming of Ukraine amid Biden’s visit to Kiev

        On Tuesday, Russia issued a formal protest, known as a demarche, to US ambassador to Moscow Lynne Tracy over continued US efforts to arm Ukraine. The move came shortly after US President Joe Biden’s visit to Kiev on Monday, where he pledged another $500 million in military aid to Ukraine, including artillery ammunition, rockets, and anti-armor systems.

        Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was protesting “the growing involvement of the United States in hostilities on the side of the Kiev regime.”

      • Helsinki TimesPutin warns of widening Ukraine operation and suspends nuclear treaty with US

        Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning on Tuesday that if the West decides to supply Ukraine with longer-range advanced weapons, it will force Russia to push the threat further away from its borders. In his annual address to parliament, Putin accused the West of using Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia and a training ground. He stated that it is obvious that the longer the range of Western systems that arrive in Ukraine, the further Russia will be forced to push the threat away from its borders.

      • RFERLWADA Appeals ‘Wrong’ Exoneration Of Russian Teen Figure Skater Valieva

        The World Anti-Doping Agency announced on February 21 that it plans to appeal to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport against Russian anti-doping officials’ exoneration last month of a teen Russian Olympic gold medalist ice skater for a positive doping test.

      • Common Dreams‘Dangerous and Reckless’: Putin Halts Russia’s Participation in Nuclear Treaty With US

        Russian President Vladimir Putin announced during a national address Tuesday that he is suspending his country’s participation in the New START Treaty, Moscow’s lone nuclear arms control agreement with the United States.

      • GizmodoPutin Suspends Nuclear Arms Control Pact With The U.S.

        Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning to the Western World on Tuesday when he declared he will no longer participate in the New SMART nuclear treaty with the U.S. The withdrawal marks the last of the country’s nuclear arms control pact almost a year after it invaded Ukraine.

      • France24Russia to observe nuclear curbs despite Putin’s decision to suspend treaty

        Russia said Tuesday it will observe curbs imposed by the New START treaty, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced Moscow was suspending participation in the arms pact with the United States.

      • RFERLWest Warns Of Instability As Putin Suspends Russian Participation In Nuclear Treaty

        President Vladimir Putin says Russia is suspending its participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the last remaining nuclear arms accord with the United States, further raising concerns over global security during Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

      • RFAWorld leaders condemn North Korea’s latest missile launch

        Experts warn North likely has capability to fire missiles that could reach the US without ‘re-entry’ issues.

      • RFAMyanmar prison guards injure more than 80 inmates when argument turns violent

        Brutal punishment against political prisoners is typical in post-coup Myanmar, critics say.

      • RFERLBiden Offers ‘Strong Support’ To Moldova Amid Rising Russia Tensions

        U.S. President Joe Biden met with Moldova’s president in Poland on February 21 to offer support amid increasing bellicosity from Moscow as the former Soviet republic expresses fears it could be the next target in the Kremlin’s sights after Ukraine.

      • RFERLIMF Head Says New Lending To Ukraine Could Be ‘Sizable’

        Ukraine could secure “sizable support” from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a new, longer-term program, and its economy should see a gradual recovery over the course of this year, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on February 21.

      • Common DreamsMcCarthy Hands 41,000 Hours of Jan. 6 Footage to ‘Unrepentant Manipulator’ Tucker Carlson

        Watchdogs on Monday slammed Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to hand 41,000 hours of surveillance footage of the January 6 attack to far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has repeatedly used his massive platform to peddle disinformation, spew bigotry, and cast doubt on the severity of the 2021 insurrection.

      • TruthOutKevin McCarthy Gives Tucker Carlson Capitol Attack Surveillance Footage
      • The NationKevin McCarthy Hands the January 6 Video Over to a January 6 Riot Promoter

        In a shocking move that has so far been weirdly under-covered by the media, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy handed over roughly 44,000 hours of video footage of the January 6 insurrection to Fox News’s top sedition promoter, Tucker Carlson. Exclusively. Axios reported it Monday afternoon; Carlson confirmed it on his show Monday night.1

      • Michael West MediaAUKUS alliance ‘future’ for Australia’s security: PM

        Australia’s partnership with the US and UK has been placed at the centre of the country’s national security, as Anthony Albanese reveals the outlook for the defence force.

      • Common DreamsBarbara Lee Officially Announces Senate Run, Vowing to ‘Stand on the Side of Justice’

        Declaring that “Californians deserve a strong, progressive leader who has delivered real change,” Democratic California Congresswoman Barbara Lee on Tuesday officially announced her entry into the race for Dianne Feinstein’s U.S. Senate seat, a contest that’s expected to be one of the most closely watched—and expensive—of 2024.

      • JURISTRussia suspends participation in US-Russia nuclear arms treaty

        Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday announced Russia will suspend its participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

      • Common DreamsReport Details ‘Staggering Toll’ of Russian War on Ukrainian Healthcare, With 700+ Attacks

        Nearly a year into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, five groups on Tuesday released a report and interactive map documenting at least 707 attacks on healthcare facilities and workers in what the researchers argue are war crimes and potentially crimes against humanity.

      • Common DreamsWho’s Winning and Losing the Economic War Over Ukraine?

        With the Ukraine war now reaching its one-year mark on February 24, the Russians have not achieved a military victory but neither has the West achieved its goals on the economic front. When Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States and its European allies vowed to impose crippling sanctions that would bring Russia to its knees and force it to withdraw.

      • Counter PunchA Diplomatic Surge is Needed to Prevent Endless War

        As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine War, Russia appears to be undertaking a major offensive while Ukraine is planning a counter-offensive. Each side appears to think it can clinch a clear military victory, and force the other side to accept that it can’t win.

        But the reality is that a stalemate has been reached that is causing immense suffering on each side, with particularly brutal destruction by Russia of civilian targets in Ukraine, including energy facilities, apartment complexes, hospitals, and even schools. The momentum Ukraine saw up through the fall seems to have dissipated.

      • MeduzaRussia carries out deadly shelling attack on Kherson — Meduza

        Russian forces shelled Kherson on Tuesday, Kherson Regional Military Administration head Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

      • NYPostRussian ICBM test failed while Biden was in Ukraine: report

        The test of the nuclear-capable heavy SARMAT missile, dubbed Satan II by NATO, and classified as a “superweapon” by the head of Russia’s aerospace research agency, appears to have failed, according to the officials who spoke to CNN, who believe Russian President Vladimir Putin would have mentioned the test in his State of the Nation…

      • ReasonDid Biden Just Commit America to Another Forever War in Ukraine?

        Plus: the editors field a listener question on intellectual property.

      • France24Key battles in the Ukraine war: From Kyiv’s stand to the Kharkiv counterattack

        Russia expected it would quickly seize control of Ukraine at the outset of the invasion, as did many Western observers. But Ukraine fought back with remarkable tenacity and skill, boosted by Western weapons – and the front lines have shifted dramatically since Russian troops moved in on the northern, southern and eastern flanks. FRANCE 24 looks back on some of the decisive battles in the first year of Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II.

      • France24Fighter jets, quakes, NATO stakes: Are US-Turkish ties on a reset?

        US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Monday came in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that have rattled the Turkish leader’s projection of his country as a regional hegemon. With Turkey turning into a recipient of generous US humanitarian aid, will Ankara play the role of Washington’s friend rather than foe?

      • teleSUREurope Pays High Price for Russia-Ukraine Conflict

        One year into the Russia-Ukraine conflict, France and the rest of Europe are finding themselves in a delicate position, teetering under the impact of inflation, an energy crisis, and slowing economic growth.

      • MeduzaPutin suspends participation in New START Treaty, the US and Russia’s only nuclear arms control agreement — Meduza

        Putin announced in his Federal Assembly address on Tuesday that Russia is suspending its cooperation with the New START Treaty, the only remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia. He stressed that the suspension is not a full withdrawal.

      • MeduzaRussian journalist Yulia Starostina charged with ‘discrediting’ Russian army for saying ‘love and friendship are stronger than war’ — Meduza

        Moscow police have charged journalist Yulia Starostina with “discrediting” the Russian army for saying “love and friendship are stronger than war” in a news report for TV Rain, according to the independent Russian outlet Agentstvo. Starostina’s hearing is scheduled for February 28.

      • MeduzaRussian men accused of planning to damage military train sentenced to 3.5 years in first ‘sabotage’ case since war began — Meduza

        A Belgorod court has sentenced two local men to 3.5 years in prison for allegedly planning to damage a railroad used by Russian military trains, TASS reported on Tuesday, citing the FSB. The ruling marks the first time anybody has been sentenced under Russia’s law against sabotage since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine last year.

      • MeduzaUkraine defense intelligence: Russia is preparing to mobilize college students — Meduza

        Russia is preparing for a new round of mobilization, and this time the draft will tap into its student population, says Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate.

      • The NationIt’s Time to End the Outrageous Militarization of America’s Police Force

        In the wake of the cruel and unconscionable death of Tyre Nichols, all five Memphis police officers involved in the incident have been fired and charged with second-degree murder. Scorpion—the aggressive, specialized police unit they belonged to—has been disbanded.

      • Meduza‘The West is playing with marked cards’: Putin’s Federal Assembly address in a nutshell — Meduza

        This is a summary of the main points from Vladimir Putin’s address to the Russian government. The statements below are not direct quotations, but Meduza’s concise paraphrase of what Russia’s president said in his two-hour speech before the Federal Assembly.

      • MeduzaRussia’s Foreign Ministry blames Washington for nuclear treaty suspension, calls on U.S. for ‘good-faith effort’ to make agreement sustainable — Meduza

        Russia’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement in connection with Vladimir Putin’s decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the New START nuclear treaty — the sole nuclear accord between the U.S. and Russia.

      • MeduzaRussia insists U.S. is party to Ukraine conflict, demands withdrawal of ‘NATO troops and equipment’ from Ukraine — Meduza

        Russia’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy for a talk about the increasing U.S. involvement in the Ukraine war.

      • MeduzaThe past is gone: Putin has revoked the 2012 decree that stressed international cooperation, signaling deep changes in Russia’s foreign policy — Meduza

        Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that revokes an earlier law he himself had signed in May 2012, during his third presidential term in Russia. What has just been revoked is a vision of Russia’s foreign policy that contained specific instructions to the government on cultivating cooperative relations with foreign countries, based on respect for the neighbors’ sovereignty and the promise of cooperation with various world regions. The new decree, effective February 21, 2023, disposes with that framework, appealing to Russia’s “national interests” in connection with “deep changes taking place in international relations.” Here are just some of the foreign policy provisions that Putin’s new decree overturns.

      • Counter PunchCuba and Vietnam, What’s the Difference?

        During a visit to Mexico by Cuba’s president Miguel Díaz-Canel, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), announced that he was willing to lead an international effort to pressure the U.S. government into lifting its six-decade-old economic embargo against the Cuban people. AMLO stated, “As a sign of goodwill and that all the countries of the Americas are willing to join forces, I consider and express with respect that the US government should lift, as soon as possible, the unjust and inhumane blockade of the Cuban people.”

        AMLO raises a good point: Why does the U.S. government continue to wage economic war against the people of Cuba with its unjust and inhumane economic embargo? 

      • Counter PunchHitler@90.de

        Just over 90 years ago, as it is so often rather euphemistically perceived, “Hitler came to power”, on 30th of January 1933. Well, Hitler did not simply “come” to power. Nor was there, as it is also called, a “Machtergreifung” – the taking of power.

        In fact, between 1932-1933, Hitler’s popularity had started to weaken. His votes declined from 37.3% (July 1932) to 33.1%(November 1932). At no time, did the majority of Germans support Hitler in free elections.

      • Counter PunchAwaiting China’s Ukraine Peace Plan

        At the recently concluded Munich Security Conference, Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, proved the skunk at the party, interrupting the Western cheerleading for more and more war “for as as long as it takes” by announcing that on February 24, the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, China will announce a peace plan for Ukraine which will underscore the need to uphold the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the UN charter while also respecting Russia’s legitimate security interests.

        A peace plan based on these announced principles might include all or most of the following elements:

      • QuartzPutin says he will suspend nuclear arms treaty with US

        Russian president Vladimir Putin announced he would suspend Moscow’s participation in the New START nuclear arms control treaty during his annual State of the Nation address on Feb 21.

      • Federal News NetworkPutin raises tension on Ukraine, suspends START nuclear pact

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has suspended Moscow’s participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States. Putin announced the move Tuesday in a bitter state-of-the-nation speech where he made clear he would not change his strategy in the war in Ukraine. Putin emphasized, however, that Russia isn’t withdrawing from the pact yet. And hours after his address, the Foreign Ministry said Moscow would respect the treaty’s caps on nuclear weapons. It also said Russia will continue to exchange information about test launches of ballistic missiles per earlier agreements with the United States. In his speech, Putin cast both Russia and Ukraine as victims of Western double-dealing.

      • Federal News NetworkOpponents describe hideous conditions in Nicaraguan prisons

        Constant fear. Threats. Screams. Darkness. Cells measuring 6 feet by 9, with a hole in the floor for a toilet. Nicaraguan opposition prisoners have recounted the months, and sometimes years, they spent in the notorious prisons run by the regime of President Daniel Ortega. Water was in short supply, and what little food there was, was often rotten beans. Earlier this month, 222 opposition figures and journalists arrested by Ortega were flown to Washington. They began telling stories of the harsh conditions in prison, where visits were strictly limited.

      • Mexico News DailyUS jury convicts Mexico’s ex-security minister García Luna

        On their third day of deliberations, the jurors at a U.S. federal court in NY found García Luna guilty of colluding with the Sinaloa Cartel.

      • France24Former Mexican minister convicted in US of drug trafficking

        A former Mexican presidential cabinet member was convicted in the US on Tuesday of taking massive bribes to protect the violent drug cartels he was tasked with combating.

      • Modern DiplomacyThe French Senate and the Assyrian Genocide Resolution

        The world watched melancholy as the number of deaths from the massive earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria climbed to over 35,000. Efforts of recovering bodies or finding and helping survivors poured from around the world, specially for Turkey.

      • Modern DiplomacyWhen Africa Is Just Around the Corner

        On January 23, 2022, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, announced Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was embarking on a new tour of Africa. During the week, the high-ranking Russian delegation paid a visit to several countries on the continent: South Africa being the traditional “mainstay” of Russia’s foreign policy in Africa…

      • RFERLVisiting Italian PM Says Ukraine Surrender ‘Cannot Be Real Peace’ But Jets ‘Not On The Table’

        Any peace that entails the surrender of Ukraine to invading Russian forces “cannot be a real peace” but the supply of military planes to Ukraine “is not on the table,” Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on February 21 after talks in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

      • RFERLInvestigations By Denmark, Sweden, And Germany Into Nord Stream Blasts Are Ongoing

        Investigations into explosions that damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year are ongoing and it remains unclear when they will conclude, the Danish, Swedish, and German foreign ministries said on February 21 in a letter sent to the UN Security Council.

    • Environment

      • DeSmogHow the Electric Utilities Industry Created One of the ‘Largest’ Propaganda Campaigns in U.S. History

        Science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, authors of the classic 2010 book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, have released a new book placing that doubt machine into a longer arc of U.S. business and political history. 

        The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market explores an even more ambitious history dating from the dawn of the 20th century to the present day. 

      • DeSmogHope Amid Climate Chaos: A Conversation with Rebecca Solnit

        From throwing soup against paintings, to blocking roads, to striking for the climate, to stopping private jets from taking off, activists worldwide are pushing harder than ever for action to address global warming. And they are delivering a clear and consistent message: What has long been accepted as the status quo — expanding fossil fuels, investing in polluting industries, oil and gas propaganda, greenwashing, climate change denial, governmental delay in climate action — is simply not acceptable anymore. The climate movement is working incessantly to make this clear to everyone.

        When we talk about any movement, including the push for climate action, we’re talking about a “zeitgeist, a change in the air,” writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit writes in her essay-turned-book Hope in the Dark, which focuses on the intersection of activism, social change, and hope. It’s this last element, hope, that can become “an electrifying force in the present,” Solnit writes, “a sense that there might be a door at some point, some way out of the problems of the present moment even before it is found or followed.”  

      • TruthOutEcocide — Not Eco-Activism — Is a Crime Against Humanity, Says Steven Donziger
      • DeSmogAustrian Youth Take their Government to Court Over ‘Ineffective’ Climate Policy

        Austria is the latest country to be facing a lawsuit brought by some of its youngest citizens who say their government is failing to protect them from the worsening climate crisis.

        Backed by the Austrian chapter of the youth climate strike organization Fridays for Future, a group of 12 children and adolescents launched a landmark constitutional climate case against the Austrian government on Tuesday. The case specifically challenges a 2011 climate protection law, claiming it is ineffective and outdated, and therefore infringes upon children’s constitutional rights.

      • Counter PunchGeoengineering the Atlantic Ocean?

        A series of retractable gates out in the Atlantic Ocean between New Jersey and the Rockaways in New York City—for $119 billion. That’s among the projects that have and are being considered—“geoengineering” is their category—at enormous cost to try to protect the New York Metropolitan Area from intense storms, among the impacts of global warming.

        Just out in the current issue of Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management of the American Society of Civil Engineers is an article about the schemes—with a title as extensive as the proposed projects: “Coastal Defense Megaprojects in an Era of Sea-Level Rise: Politically Feasible Strategies or Army Corps Fantasies?”

      • Counter PunchWar is a Climate Killer

        War inevitably results in a huge amount of smoke and toxic emissions, increasing the release of greenhouse gases. (Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Wikimedia Commons)

        War brings death and destruction – not least to the environment and climate. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offers a depressing reminder of that fact, and further increases the military sector’s already enormous global CO₂ footprint. In addition, the eastern Ukrainian cities where fighting is taking place are home to fossil fuel infrastructure such as chemical factories, oil refineries, and coal mines, the bombing of which produces a cocktail of toxic substances that has devastating environmental impacts. Efforts to arm the two sides, moreover, are consuming materials and resources that could otherwise go towards tackling the climate crisis.

      • France24Rescuers in southeastern Brazil scramble to find survivors after floods

        Rescuers in southeastern Brazil searched frantically for survivors among dozens of people still missing Tuesday after record rainfalls caused flooding and mudslides that killed at least 44 people over the weekend.

      • Energy/Transportation

        • Federal News NetworkMan tied to Lyft driver slaying charged in separate case

          A man who police say was driving the car of a dead South Florida Lyft driver has been charged with murder and other counts in a separate case. Records show a Hardee County grand jury indicted Matthew Flores on Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge. The indictment relates to the Jan. 24 fatal shooting of 43-year-old Jose Carlos Martinez in Wauchula. Police were actively searching for Flores in that case by Jan. 30, when Lyft driver Gary Levin went missing after dropping off a customer in Okeechobee. Flores was later spotted driving Levin’s red 2022 Kia Stinger in North Carolina, and officials say Flores was arrested after a chase through three counties.

        • Mexico News DailyGovernment lithium reserve established in Sonora

          “Oil and lithium belong to the nation, to the people of Mexico,” said President López Obrador in his speech on Saturday in Sonora.

        • Modern DiplomacyDiscovery of Lithium Reserve in Kashmir: New Complications in resolution of disputed land

          One of the greatest lithium resources in the world, the 5.9 million tonne lithium reserve was found in the Reasi district by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

        • Modern DiplomacyElectric cars dangle the promise of earning money for their drivers

          By Helen Massy-Beresford While drivers considering an electric vehicle (EV) might imagine the main benefit being less air pollution from their own journeys, EV batteries could also make money for car owners – and help countries stabilise their power grids.

        • Silicon AngleCoinbase’s stock falls as user numbers and trading volume decline
          Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. beat projections as it delivered its fourth-quarter earnings and revenue today, but its user numbers fell short of estimates, sending its stock down in after-hours trading.

        • Atlantic CouncilThe power of renewables: Productive use appliances as climate change solutions in sub-Saharan Africa

          Productive use appliances can mitigate emissions while encouraging climate adaptation and resilience in sub-Saharan Africa. They can push households up the energy ladder and stimulate economic development, if managed correctly.

        • H2 ViewScotland and Singapore to partner on hydrogen projects

          A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Scotland and Singapore has been signed to build hydrogen trade and innovation opportunities between the two countries.

        • HRWAustralia Should Ban New Coal, Oil, and Gas Projects
        • teleSURUnion Pacific Train Loaded With Coal Derails in Nebraska

          Police, railroad workers and a hazardous materials’ response team were deployed to the scene.

        • Common DreamsGreen Groups, Indigenous Leaders Urge Court to Block ‘Illegally Approved’ Lithium Mine

          A coalition of conservation groups on Tuesday joined Native American tribes in launching legal challenges to a proposed lithium mine in northern Nevada that critics say was “illegally approved” and will “irreparably damage” the delicate desert ecosystem and land where Indigenous peoples are seeking federal historical recognition of a genocidal massacre perpetrated by U.S. colonizers.

        • Federal News NetworkNew emergency bid to appeal, block huge Nevada lithium mine

          Conservationists are seeking an emergency court order to block construction of a lithium mine near the Nevada-Oregon line. The new request filed Tuesday in federal court in Reno comes after a judge there directed the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to revisit part of its approval of the plans but allowed construction to go forward in the meantime. Four environmental groups are asking the judge to temporarily halt any work at Lithium Americas’ mine until they can appeal her Feb. 6 ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge in Reno ordered the government’s lawyers to respond on an expedited basis by the end of Wednesday.

        • Common DreamsBiden Implored to Avert ‘Carbon Bomb’ by Blocking Texas Gulf Oil Terminals

          The Biden administration’s plan to potentially allow four new oil terminals along the Texas Gulf Coast would unleash a “carbon bomb” potentially equivalent to three years of all U.S. emissions and belie President Joe Biden’s stated intent to “act boldly on climate,” according to an analysis published on Tuesday.

        • Counter PunchDecisions on a Nuclear Future are Guided by Myths

          Last month I rushed through the august halls of the British parliament in Westminster, on my way to a briefing on small modular reactors for Members of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

          Running late though I was, it was tempting to slow down and take in all the historic portraits and portals as I hurried down flagstoned hallways, through heavy oak doors and finally into the richly carpeted committee room. But the albeit fleeting impression all of this left was of a world completely isolated from the reality of the daily struggles most of us endure. The rarified air was almost suffocating.

        • Latvia‘Inter-ministerial committee’ to be created for Rail Baltica project

          On February 21, the Latvian Government approved the proposal of the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to establish a new bureaucratic body in an effort to speed up the Rail Baltica infrastructure project, which is estimated to be around four years behind its original schedue.

        • LatviaGovernment rejects Skulte LNG terminal developer’s requests

          The Latvian cabinet, on the basis of an analysis by the Ministry of Climate and Energy (KEM), rejected the terms of the project proposed by Skulte Liquefied Gas Terminal developer AS Skule LNG Terminal and its strategic investor, the Ministry said on February 21.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Counter PunchOverdevelopment Threatens Montana Quality of Life

          It’s becoming more clear every day that the endless push to develop Montana in every way possible is conflicting with and denigrating the very reason most Montanans live here – for our quality of life. Despite society’s delusions about “having it all” the simple truth is you can’t have it both ways.

    • Finance

      • teleSURUS Tax Law Likely To Cause Economic Disparities

        Though the U.S. tax code contains no provision targeting a racial group, the law can actually cause or increase economic disparities between African American households and Whites, CNN reported Monday, citing a recent study.

      • Common DreamsHunger Cliffs Loom in US With Extra Food Benefits Set to Expire

        Millions of Americans will find it harder to put enough food on the table starting in March 2023, after a Covid-19 pandemic-era boost to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits comes to an end. Congress mandated this change in budget legislation it passed in late December 2022.

      • Common DreamsDoes Being Balanced at the New York Times Mean Giving Right-Wingers Space to Lie?

        Guess so, since it gave Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, plenty of space to say things that are extremely deceptive, if not outright lies. The gist of Riedl’s piece is that it will not be possible to sustain Social Security and Medicare without tax increases on the middle class.

      • Counter PunchA Self-Tax for the Common Good
      • Counter PunchThe Future of Vehicle Prices

        On a lazy Friday afternoon, a person’s thoughts naturally turn to car price indexes. There actually is a reason that I became interested in this topic. I noticed that in the January Consumer Price Index, the new vehicle index rose 0.2 percent. The December measure was revised up due to new seasonal adjustment factors, so that what had been reported as a 0.1 percent decline last month, is now reported as a 0.6 percent increase.

        I was inclined to think this was an aberration, that we would see the downward trend that had previously been apparent in the data, reappear in another month or two. However, I noticed that the Manheim index for used vehicle prices showed a sharp uptick for January and the first half of February. This was after a full year in which declining prices were reversing much of the pandemic run-up. Perhaps my expectation that vehicle prices, both new and used, would soon look like they were back on their pre-pandemic path, was wrong.

      • Mexico News DailyUS senators urge action on “surge” of Mexican steel imports

        A group of U.S. senators want the U.S. Trade Representative to invoke a 2019 trade agreement that could mean the return of 25% steel tariffs.

      • Modern DiplomacyBengal Lights for the Belt and Road Initiative: Specifics of Bangladesh Policy

        Bangladesh has been boasting the highest economic growth rates among the countries of South Asia over the past 10 years. The nation’s GDP per capita has reached USD 2,500, a number that surpasses those of the neighboring India and Pakistan. Dhaka is keen on fostering relations with Beijing, New Delhi and Washington concurrently.

      • ReasonWhat the Madoff Series Left Out

        A Netflix documentary series blames the SEC for missing the Ponzi scheme and then calls for giving the SEC more power.

      • Hong Kong Free PressHong Kong Budget 2023: HK$5,000 consumption vouchers for all eligible residents

        Hongkongers are to receive another round of consumption vouchers totalling HK$5,000, Finance Secretary Paul Chan has announced.

      • Hong Kong Free PressHong Kong Budget 2023: Gov’t to spend HK$50m on promotional work as city outlines new local ‘happy’ campaign

        Hong Kong is set to inject HK$50 million to support its promotional work…

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • GizmodoRepublican Operatives Are Astroturfing Opposition to Solar Power

        Several grassroots groups opposed to solar projects in local areas may have one thing in common: a Virginia-based group with powerful GOP connections advising them on strategy.

      • GizmodoProject Veritas Founder James O’Keefe Ousted Over Alleged Spending on DJ Equipment

        Project Veritas, the far-right activist group aimed at holding journalists and progressives accountable through deleterious means, has cut off its nose to spite its face.

      • Press GazetteMagazine ABCs for 2022: Full breakdown of print and digital circulations

        Full breakdown of magazine ABC circulation data for 2022.

      • Danish ex-minister charged with revealing state secrets

        A former Danish defence minister said Tuesday he had been charged with leaking state secrets, in a case linked to a scandal regarding Denmark’s collaboration with US intelligence.

      • NPRNPR says it’s cutting jobs by 10% as ad revenue drops

        NPR’s chief executive announced the network would lay off roughly 10% of its current workforce – at least 100 people – and eliminate most vacant positions.

      • The NationPOP!
      • Telex (Hungary)Five strong sentences from Viktor Orbán’s annual State of the Nation speech
      • Common Dreams‘Embarrassed’ by ‘Racist’ Israeli Government, Sanders Threatens Bill to Withhold Aid

        Senator Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.) came on Face the Nation Sunday. In the course of the interview, Sanders lashed out at the new, extremist government in Israel, which includes a minister once convicted of incitement to racial violence and more than one figure belonging to Kahanist organizations of a sort that were at some points on the U.S. terrorism list.

      • Common DreamsFor First Time in 6 Years, US Allows UN Security Council to Denounce Israeli Settlements

        The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a formal statement expressing opposition to Israel’s ongoing expansion of illegal settlements on Occupied Palestinian Territory, the first time in more than six years the United States has permitted the body to rebuke its close ally.

      • MeduzaMoscow court dismisses posthumous case against prominent neo-Nazi Maxim Martsinkevich — Meduza

        A Moscow court has ended the posthumous criminal proceedings against neo-Nazi Maxim Martsinkevich, also known as “The Hatchet,” at his family’s request, Kommersant reported on Wednesday.

      • MeduzaAuthorities blame hackers after air raid sirens sound over radio in multiple Russian cities — Meduza

        The sound of air raid sirens played over radio stations in at least nine Russian cities on Wednesday, according to the Telegram channels Baza and Ostorozhno, Novosti.

      • Counter PunchTime to End the Sanctions on Syria…and Everywhere Else

        The horrific February 6 earthquake in Southern Turkey and northern Syria has shined a spotlight on the broad-based economic sanctions that the US has imposed on  countries with supposedly “hostile” governments. It is not a pretty picture.

        In Syria, the US has been promoting regime change for decades. Since 2012 it has spent $billions to arm opposition forces, often including Islamic militants who are otherwise the enemies of the US and its allies as well as the Syrian government. The US has imposed brutal economic sanctions on Syria, which have further immiserated a population which was already reeling from 10 years of proxy war imposed on the country. At the same time, the US military and its allies occupy broad swaths of Syrian territory in the east and south, denying Syrians access to crucial oil and wheat resources. Turkey and local Syrians who are now effectively Turkish mercenaries illegally occupy much of northern Syria. And Turkish troops protect a NW Syrian enclave in the province of Idlib which is ruled by Al-Qaeda and its allies.

      • TruthOutGOP-Controlled Statehouses Are Lurching Right Due to Unfettered Corporate Money
      • Counter PunchDemagogue Rising

        Rightwing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is overturning every liberal rock in his state of Florida because he’s running for president in a war against a woke America, aiming at books, institutions and sexual orientation he doesn’t like.

        And not only is no one stopping this renegade self-appointed censor of some of the cream of American literature and life – Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn? C’mon! – but most libraries are bowing before him as Mr. Fahrenheit 451 of the book burning world. (Paper burns at that temperature.)

      • Democracy NowChicago Mayoral Race: Policing, Housing, Education Are Key Issues for 9 Dem. Candidates on Feb. 28

        A pivotal Chicago mayoral race, just a week away, on February 28, is an off-cycle election, and voter turnout could be low, as nine Democratic candidates court their vote and face pressure to address public safety and crime. Candidates include incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Congressmember Chuy García, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and former Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools Paul Vallas, who is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police. This comes as Republican Governor Ron DeSantis spoke Monday in Chicago in support of police. We discuss the race with Democracy Now! co-host Juan González in Chicago, along with Chuy García supporter Luis Gutiérrez, a former Democratic congressmember for Illinois and former member of the Chicago City Council, and Brandon Johnson supporter Barbara Ransby, a professor of Black studies, gender and women’s studies and history at the University of Illinois Chicago.

      • Democracy NowPolice Murders of Fred Hampton to Laquan McDonald: Chicago Police Council Elections Are a First

        The police murder of Fred Hampton in Chicago in 1969 helped launch a movement more than 50 years ago for community-led police accountability. In a culmination of this campaign, Chicago voters next Tuesday will elect 22 local police councils tasked with community control of the police. Seven members of the councils will be part of a Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, a new model of police oversight. We speak with Frank Chapman, longtime activist and field organizer with the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, about the initiative and how it aims to empower Black and Brown working-class civilians.

      • The NationA Profession!

        The scene: a graduate seminar in literature sometime in the eerily becalmed days of the mid-1990s, when for an aspirant to an academic job, the future seemed poised to break in one of two directions—either the long-promised wave of retirements and a deluge of open positions, or a decisive sign that the hiring trend line was never going to reverse its downward course. Imagine not quite knowing what would happen—even if that is now, in fact, very hard to do. Imagine, with even greater difficulty, sitting in that seminar as a widely read, charismatic literary theorist stood explaining that our line of work was a profession—one that involved duties and allegiances that extended well beyond the separate institutions that would support our existence in the form of paid employment. The place where the person worked was not all that important; we would be judged—and rewarded—elsewhere.1

      • Counter PunchLetter from London: A Specious or Special Relationship?

        Those of you in the United States reading this right now may not be aware of the cold snap you have just sent over to us. More than numbing, it was like a meteorological kick in the teeth. No need for us to fall out, though. We have sent to you our own fair share of icy winds in the past, often those having come at us from across the Russian steppes. But it does get me thinking about the so-called special relationship. We are still thick as thieves, aren’t we? Even if the late Helmet Schmidt did once say that if you mention the UK’s special relationship in Washington, ‘no one knows what you are talking about’. Added to which, my New Yorker friend likes calling us a small island. ‘The UK is 35 percent of Texas,’ he teases: ‘Including Scotland.’

        Either way, it must have been one hell of an Atlantic crossing for all those chill winds. The second-largest ocean on earth, 150 million years old, takes no prisoners this time of year. In my childhood imagination — presumably from all those black and white movies on TV — it was always full of U-boats plus the odd Coleridge albatross as rendered by Gustave Dore also in black and white. With an average depth of 11,962 feet, none of us at school really knew what was going on down there except for giant cables and weird fish. In fact, just like a relationship, not just a special one, either, the deeper you went, the more interesting it became. I was amazed for example to learn the Puerto Rico Trench was an incredible 27,841 feet. From the air, the Atlantic was always a swirl of faraway greys, a glorious dull blob between two colourful entities. Skywards, I never saw balloons. Talking of which, we have just been told our RAF swing-role Typhoons remain on standby for such an invasion. Even though we are supposed to be on standby anyway. This whole balloon malarkey is more like Orson Welles and his adaptation on radio of HG Wells’s ‘The War of the Worlds,’ than it is anything real.

      • Hong Kong Free PressHong Kong court adjourns case against 4 fugitive protesters and man who allegedly helped hide them to April

        A Hong Kong court has adjourned the case against four fugitive Hong Kong protesters who allegedly hid in safehouses for two years and a man who is suspected of helping them to April.

      • Hong Kong Free PressU-turn as Hong Kong revokes visa of Chinese scientist jailed over gene editing

        Authorities in Hong Kong said late Tuesday they had cancelled the work visa of a Chinese biophysicist who was jailed for creating the world’s first gene-edited babies, throwing cold water on his plans to relocate his research to the city.

      • JURISTUN urges Israel to pause judicial reform plans over human rights concerns

        In response to the proposed reform of Israel’s judicial system, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk Tuesday urged the country to halt its plans to overhaul the legal and judicial system over concerns of potential human rights violations.

      • JURISTUN Security Council denounces Israel West Bank settlements

        The UN Security Council (UNSC) Monday adopted a presidential statement expressing its “deep concern and dismay” over Israel’s recent approval of further construction and expansion in the West Bank.

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

        • Counter PunchStill Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

          The local paper’s Business section headlined (2/16/23): “Study shows ‘striking’ number who believe news misinforms.”  Clutching my pearls, I read—— “Half of Americans in a recent survey indicated they believe national news organizations intend to mislead, misinform, or persuade the public to adopt a particular point of view through their reporting.”

          The task of turning what began as an agrarian republic into a globe-straddling Imperial Power bent on international “force-projection” takes time. Over many decades it has required the ceaseless toil of political and cultural managers, barrels of ink, thousands of teleprompter-dependent “personalities,” and trillions of propaganda pixels.

        • RFAMyanmar junta’s switch to electronic voting won’t bode well for voters, analysts say

          The fear the military regime will manipulate ballots in its favor.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Kent StaterSDS rallies to protect affirmative action

        Students for a Democratic Society protested against challenges to affirmative action brought to the Supreme Court Tuesday. SDS members said affirmative action is an important policy to promote diversity.

      • HRWHaiti: FIFA Failing Sex Abuse Survivors
      • RFERLJailed Azerbaijani Activist’s Health Said To Be Critical Due To Hunger Strike

        Jailed Azerbaijani activist Baxtiyar Haciyev’s health has dramatically worsened due to his hunger strike and he could fall into a coma if he is not provided with urgent medical assistance, his lawyer Rovsana Rahimli told RFE/RL on February 21.

      • RFERLProsecutors Allege Murder, Torture As Hague War-Crimes Trial Opens Of Former Kosovo Fighter

        Prosecutors accused former Kosovo Liberation Army fighter Pjeter Shala of the murder of one person and the illegal captivity and torture of nearly 20 others during Kosovo’s war of independence from Serbia, as his war crimes trial began in The Hague on February 21.

      • RFAINTERVIEW: ‘Young people today are still speaking out’

        Former Xiamen University professor You Shengdong says dissent and political opposition are alive and well in China.

      • Helsinki TimesTransport strike will end – Posti’s deliveries to return to normal quickly, parcels to arrive in upcoming days

        Finnish Transport Workers’ Union AKT’s strike will end on Tuesday, February 21, at 12 pm as previously announced. The Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU’s support measures that begun on February 16 will end at the same time.

        “AKT’s strike and PAU’s support measures have unfortunately caused delays and disturbances to our customers’ deliveries.

      • RFERLLawyer Of Iranian Protester Sentenced To Death Says State’s Case Lacked Evidence And Witnesses

        The lawyer of Iranian protester Javad Ruhi, who has been handed three death sentences after being charged with “corruption on Earth,” says the cases against his client lacked evidence and witnesses.

      • teleSURUS Sanctions Add to Afghans’ Pain, Poverty During Cold Winter

        “The United States has frozen Afghanistan money. Yes, it is such sanctions that have caused price hikes and poverty,” said a local Afghan resident, who complained of U.S. sanctions against Afghanistan.

      • Vice Media GroupCompanies Can’t Ask You to Shut up to Receive Severance, NLRB Rules

        The board reverses two previous decisions that held that such severance agreements were lawful. Limits on free speech have become increasingly common aspect of many severance agreements.

      • Telex (Hungary)The latest from Arte Weekly: As aids are coming late, the natural disaster could turn into a humanitarian one in Turkey and Syria
      • Counter PunchMcCarthyism, Then and Now

        Can there be any question that we’re in a mad — and loud — new age of McCarthyism? Thank you, Kevin! And don’t forget the wildly over-the-top members of the so-called Freedom Caucus and their Republican associates, including that charmer, lyin’ George Santos, Jewish-space-laser-and-white-balloon-carrying Marjorie Taylor Greene, and — once again running for president — the man who never lost, Donald Trump-em-all.

        I’d like to say it couldn’t get crazier. Still, despite watching Greene shout “Liar!” and other Republicans yell “Bullshit!” during President Biden’s State of the Union Address, I suspect it could get much worse (and more dangerous) in Washington in the months to come. And believe me, that’s leaving Hunter Biden’s penis aside. When it comes to this era’s McCarthyism, don’t for a moment think that the debt ceiling is the only ceiling that could end up in the dust of history.

      • QuartzWhat can you do when your company reverses on remote work?

        If your employer says you have to return to the office, do you have any leverage?

      • Common DreamsMcCarthyism, Then and Now

        Can there be any question that we’re in a mad — and loud — new age of McCarthyism? Thank you, Kevin! And don’t forget the wildly over-the-top members of the so-called Freedom Caucus and their Republican associates, including that charmer, lyin’ George Santos, Jewish-space-laser-and-white-balloon-carrying Marjorie Taylor Greene, and — once again running for president — the man who never lost, Donald Trump-em-all.

      • Common DreamsAfter Four-Day Workweek Trial, 91% of Companies Opt to Continue Schedule

        Sixty-one companies in the United Kingdom joined a pilot program in June 2022 in which they reduced their employees’ workweek to four days—with no reduction in salary—and eight months later, 91% of them say they have no plans to go back to a five-day week.

      • TruthOutAngela Davis Discusses Malcolm X’s Legacy and Her Removal From AP Black Studies
      • Democracy NowAngela Davis on Assassination & Legacy of Malcolm X, Her Exclusion from AP Black Studies and More

        We speak with renowned scholar and activist Angela Davis on the 58th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X. Davis is delivering a keynote address Tuesday at the Shabazz Center in New York, formerly the Audubon Ballroom, where the iconic Black leader was killed on February 21, 1965. Davis says Malcolm is still vital to understanding racism, power and justice in the United States and beyond. “Malcolm always placed these issues in a larger context, and I think that we can learn a great deal from that legacy today,” says Davis. She also responds to recent moves by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and others to restrict the teaching of African American history, calling it an effort to “turn the clock back” on racial progress.

      • TruthOutPrison Deaths Increased by 50 Percent in the First Year of the COVID Pandemic
      • The NationLetters From the March 6/13, 2023, Issue

        Re “Why the Kennedy School Rejected Ken Roth,” by Michael Massing [Jan. 23/30]: The decision by Kennedy dean Douglas Elmendorf to deny Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth a fellow’s appointment reflects the toadying to Washington and to major donors that’s been going on at the Kennedy School for decades. In 1981, when I was a research fellow at what is now the Belfer Center, then-dean Graham Allison and much of the faculty hastened to retain political standing after Reagan’s election by moving to change the institution’s name to the Harvard School of Government. Learning of this attempt, the outraged mayor of Cambridge renamed Boylston Street, on which the school fronts, to John F. Kennedy Street. Seven years later, Derek Bok, the university’s president who had been upset by the scheme, finally pressured Mr. Allison to step down after the wheeling-dealing political science professor approved a draft agreement to make a rich Texas couple officers of the school in return for a $500,000 gift.2

      • The NationBlack History vs. Black Resistance: A Quandary

        Carter G. Woodson, the Black intellectual now remembered as the father of Black History Month, laid out the case for a national campaign of remembrance for Black history in a 1926 essay announcing the institution of “Negro History Week.” “If a race has no history, if it has no worth-while tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” Woodson wrote.

      • The NationAsylum Seekers’ Arduous Journey Doesn’t End Once They Are in the United States

        Over the past several months, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has sent thousands of asylum seekers to New York. While finding shelter may be the migrants’ initial worry, it certainly won’t be their only concern.

      • MeduzaBelarus moves to legalize capital punishment for treason in government office and military — Meduza

        The lower chamber of the Belarus parliament has passed a law authorizing capital punishment for treason, if committed by a government official or a member of the Belarus military.

      • Counter PunchA Return to Child Labor?
      • TechdirtTechdirt Podcast Episode 344: The DoNotPay Story, With Kathryn Tewson

        If you’ve been reading Techdirt recently, you probably know all about supposed “AI Lawyer” service DoNotPay and the tireless investigation of the company undertaken by Kathryn Tewson, who has written a couple of Techdirt posts about the saga. This week, Kathryn joins us on the podcast for a long and entertaining discussion about the entire story (so far).

      • Federal News NetworkSeattle becomes first U.S. city to ban caste discrimination

        The Seattle City Council has added caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws, becoming the first U.S. city to specifically ban caste discrimination. Calls to outlaw discrimination based on caste, a division of people based on birth or descent, have grown louder among South Asian diaspora communities in the United States. The movement is getting pushback from some Hindu Americans who argue that such legislation maligns a specific community. Proponents of the ordinance approved Tuesday say caste discrimination crosses national and religious boundaries and that without such laws, those facing caste discrimination in the U.S. will have no protections. Groups opposing the measure say it will malign a community that is already the target of prejudice.

      • ReasonCan a Federal Court Vacate a Regulation Without First Concluding It Was Unlawful?

        A Ninth Circuit opinion concludes that when a federal agency seeks a voluntary remand of a contested rule, that is not enough to vacate the regulation.

      • Digital Music NewsFederal Lawmakers Call on Google CEO to Protect Striking Employees’ Rights: ‘Recognize the Invaluable Contributions YouTube Music Workers Bring to Your Company’

        Earlier this month, about 40 (previously remote) YouTube Music employees went on strike after being ordered to show up for work at the office. Now, in a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, lawmakers in the House and the Senate are expressing their “serious concern” over the “alleged retaliation” that the striking staffers have faced.

      • JURISTUN subcommittee cancels visit to Australia after being denied access to detention and mental health facilities

        The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) Monday canceled its visit to Australia after it was denied access to detention centers and mental health facilities.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

      • Copyrights

        • Creative CommonsThis Is Not a Bicycle: Human Creativity and Generative AI

          The rapid development of this technology has caught the attention of many, offering the promise of revolutionizing how we create art, conduct work, and even live our daily lives. At the same time, these impressive new tools have also raised questions about the nature of art and creativity and what role law and policy should play in both fostering the development of AI and protecting individuals from possible harms that can come from AI.

        • Creative CommonsFélix Nartey — Open Culture VOICES, Season 2 Episode 3

          Open Culture VOICES is a series of short videos that highlight the benefits and barriers of open culture as well as inspiration and advice on the subject of opening up cultural heritage.  Felix is a Senior Program Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation and also volunteers with Creative Commons and Mozilla to promote the Commons and Open Access.

        • Torrent FreakBrazil Shuts Major Anime Piracy Sites – It Might Be Hiding Something Bigger

          Brazil’s Ministry of Justice says that an operation to protect Japanese anime content has shut down two of the largest anime piracy sites in the country. The names of the sites appear to be a secret, so inevitably that makes them much more interesting. What we found may be bigger than naming two sites. More sites are also offline – big ones too.

        • Torrent FreakBungie Requests $6.7 Million Default Judgment Against LaviCheats

          Game developer Bungie continues its legal crusade against cheat sellers. The company has requested a $6.7m default judgment against the alleged operator of LaviCheats, who failed to show up in court. LaviCheats removed Destiny 2 cheats from its website but then began promoting other potentially-related sites.

        • TechdirtSports Illustrated Sure Looks Like It’s Trading Human Journalists for AI

          Karl just wrote about CNET, a once-vaunted resource for tech journalism, absolutely stepping on every rake it could find by using AI-generated content that was absolutely laughable: the content tended to be inaccurate, plagiarized, or otherwise so full of mistakes that an army of editors had to rework the content, largely wiping away any cost savings the site was hoping to achieve. Good times all around.

        • GizmodoFlood of AI-Generated Stories Prompts Sci-Fi Magazine to Shut Down Submissions

          The Hugo award-winning Science Fiction-focused Clarkesworld Magazine can receive over 12,000 submissions in just one year.

        • Vice Media GroupLegendary Sci-Fi Magazine Halts Submissions Amid Deluge of AI-Written Stories

          “We don’t have a solution for the problem. We have some ideas for minimizing it, but the problem isn’t going away,” the editor of Clarkesworld said.

        • Public Domain ReviewDool-Hoff: A Dutch Maze with New Jerusalem at its Centre (1705)

          This 1705 maze instructs Christians on the possible pathways to New Jerusalem (and dead-ends to be avoided).

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • needing cozyness, an entrance into the Smol Pub

        ::removes hat, shakes it vigorously as my eyes glance across the pub with anticipation::

        Wow, there’s a dumpster on fire outside, everybody be careful if/when you have to go out there again!

        It’s dark out, so the blaze lights the surroundings well, but it is raining, so things will tamper down soon.

        If the Midnight ~bartender is on staff this evening, I’ll have an espresso. If The Midnight and Smol Pub do not share staff, I’ll just help myself to what I have in my thermos.

        I’m still here, around on the Smol Web, as it has been “a place” for me since 2018. A great many of us seem to be migrating to these parts, it seems, but nary a few will truly appreciate the *ideals* and *concepts* behind WHY the Smol Web is. But it (the Smol Web) is welcoming, so anyone can come about, be themselves, and things will work out :)

      • Adapting the game

        The simplest changes, mechanically, would be to change the list of talents. Pick a theme, decide upon careers, imagine the rolls you want to make. Don’t focus on the activities: only the activities where you want randomized outcomes are important.

        For a science fiction game like Dune… People like Sardaukar and Fremen need Fighting talents: Swords, Knives, Bolters, Unarmed. Is the use of Shields or Battledress something to roll for? Are there characters that don’t know how to use shields? Perhaps it’s better to just assume that without Shields you’re a soft target and bolters deal 5d6 damage.

      • Star Gazing 2023-02-21 Evening (Fairbanks, AK, US)

        God gave me an unexpected opening in the clouds last night, which I had not forseen from the NWS data or forecasts. There were thin, scattered clouds, but it was clear enough that I decided to head down to the boat launch, at about 8pm AKST. From the GOES images, it looked like clouds might roll in any minute, so I decided not to waste time loading up and setting up my telescope, but instead I just brought the binoculars, as well as an old hunting scope I found.

      • 🔤SpellBinding: DEHORTX Wordo: OHHHH
    • Politics

      • Roast – Colombia & Tanzania

        a repeat of the colombia from last time and a new tanzania. my last roast of the kenya was way underdone so my goal for these roasts was to slow down the rate-of-rise descent and use a lighter touch on the power to not stall. it seems to have worked great and i got good looking and smelling roasts from both! learning!!

    • Technical

      • Searching!

        Note: This article covers http and gemini.

        Up to 2000, I used a variety of search engines: AskJeeves (later, Ask.com), HotBot, Lycos, Yahoo, and others whose names I can no longer recall. I vaguely remember using Archie on dial-up text browsing, but cannot remember much about it beyond that it was used for FTP searches, and later Veronica for searching Gopher sites.

        I used Google regularly starting about 2000. It helped me the summer I was a fact checker for a weekly paper in Philadelphia. Over time I became more concerned with the surveillance aspects of Google products. When I learned about DuckDuckGo in 2010 or 2011 I started trying it out. For a few years, I jumped back and forth between search engines but by about 2013 or 2014 I started using DDG only.

      • We need to talk about your Github addiction

        Listen my fellow geeks in code, we need to have a serious conversation about Github.

        At first, Github was only a convenient way to host a git repository and to collaborate with others. But, as always with monopolies, once you are trapped by convenience and the network effect, the shitification process starts to try to get as much money and data from you.

        First of all, let’s remember that Github is a fully proprietary service. Using it to host the development of a free software makes no sense if you value freedom. It is not like we don’t have many alternatives available (sourcehut, codeberg, gitlab, etc). It should be noted that those alternatives usually offer a better workflow and a better git integration than Github. They usually make more sense but, I agree, it might be hard to change ten years of suboptimal habits imposed by the github workflow.

      • Privacy Needs Anonymity

        When you send a message to a friend on Facebook, Google, or other big messaging services, the company running the service often claims not to be able to read the contents of your messages. For the most part, I actually believe that to be true. But these days, they don’t need to.

      • Injection

        Rumor has it that full-size Edge ads are being injected by They Who Shall Not Be Named on the Chrome website; I say rumor as I have no direct experience of this. Some languages have observationals and evidentials for this sort of hearsay, while in English we must typically use elaborations.

      • Binary wrist watch

        Interestingly, while telling the time was somewhat cumbersome at first, it is rapidly getting easier. I have realised that I am starting to simply memorise quite a few positions, so that I can often read the time at a glance. I have also begun to notice patterns I had not really thought about or considered before wearing a watch like this. For example, any time you have a combination and it moves one place to the left it is (obviously) doubling. Since 000011 is 3, 000110 is therefore 6 and 001100 is 12. That means that as you learn basic patterns (when combining smaller numbers), you can use them to quickly understand bigger combinations that look the same.

      • Exciting news! & cool watches

        I am accepted into a masters program on Byzantine music theory! I’m very excited about it. The program is only about a year and a half, which is nice. Probably I’ll find some part-time work too, like being a barista or something.

      • Alternative OS’s

        i’m thinking i might delve back into the fun and joys that are weird alternative os things.
        every few years i like to wander off the beaten path, and try things like haiku, redux, amigaOS. just weird but fun things.

      • Internet/Gemini

        • Replacing Duckling with Stargate, a new Gemini-to-HTTP gateway

          A few months back, I quietly added a “raw mode” to NewsWaffle. Normally, NewsWaffle takes the HTML of a news article and uses a port of the Readability library to extract the news article. It then runs the article HTML through a custom HTML-to-gemtext converter that I have tuned on the HTML and structure typically present in news websites. Sometimes Readability fails to find an article, or fully extract it, so I added in “raw mode” as a kind of backup which would convert all of the HTML. The output wasn’t as clean as the optimized article view, but at least this meant that users could see the content.

          But this also meant that users could use NewsWaffle in raw mode to view any HTML page over HTTP! It was in essense a super hacky general Gemini-to-HTTP gateway.

          Over the next month or so I would find myself taking especially bad, slow, or gross website URLs and pasting them into NewWaffle’s “Enter your own favorite news site” feature and then view them in raw mode. It was an OK way to clean up the content and make it readable.

      • Programming

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

António Campinos is Unable to Recruit Patent Examiners, Europe’s Largest Patent Office in State of Crisis

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Just as EPO staff has warned for years, the EPO is not capable of fulfilling its mission and instead it’s just granting low-quality patents that even prolific recipients aren’t happy about

HAVING just published some infographics about the EPO‘s inability to recruit — an ongoing crisis that started under Benoît Battistelli and persists under António Campinos — let’s look at a new publication from EPO staff. It’s dated 5 days ago.

“The predictions are becoming reality and true observations (or facts) aren’t possible to cover up.”Not only are examiners being pressured to allow European software patents; they’re pressured to help fake “production” in general. As a result, the presumed validity of European Patents suffers and Europe as a whole will suffer.

Here’s the full publication as HTML/plain text/GemText:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel


Depletion of the Workforce

Failure to recruit under the current administration

Dear Colleagues,

Despite it only being February, we are already facing a surge of the ever-present production pressure. The message from above is that we are behind target, and must all dig deep to make up the deficit. Many colleagues are having the urgency pressed upon them from their line managers, with the message that we just aren’t individually doing enough.

But what is the root cause of this problem? Is it that we are all idle workers with free time in the work day where we can pick up the pace? Or is there another reason? This paper looks at how the workforce numbers have developed over recent years, and further visualises the Offices plans for future recruitment. The findings unfortunately do not bring comfort – we are far from experiencing the worst of the production pressure.

The dwindling examiner workforce
The graph below shows how the patent applications have risen since 2012, and further shows the prediction of the Office for the coming years. In stark contrast to this trend is the decrease in the number of examiners, since the peak in 2017. The plan of the Office for future recruitment of examiners is also indicated, illustrating that not only do they currently see no issue with these opposing trends, but that they intend to continue in this direction. This means only one thing for the examiners that remain – more pressure to produce, and less time to dedicate to each file. This has also not gone unnoticed outside of the Office. The IPQC has sent a letter to the EPO highlighting their concerns regarding the lack of time allotted to examiners for search and examination and the deteriorating quality.

Examiners plan

Comparing the figures in the graph for 2022 with 2012, it can be seen that the number of examiners is practically equivalent, but the number of incoming patent applications has risen by 30%. The Office often touts the improvements in the IT tools as a driving factor of the increase in “efficiency”. However, from the perspective of the users, the replacement IT tools are experienced as merely a new user interface that we must become familiar with immediately, with similar functionality as the old ones. They certainly do not enable us to think quicker so that we can read and analyse documentation any faster than before.

No better for formality officers
The graph below shows the evolution of the number of formality officers from 2018 (prior data is not comparable due to a reorganisation). The situation is certainly no better for these colleagues. In fact, there has been no recruitment at all of formality officers since 2019. In this area, the numbers have fallen rapidly, around 12% since 2018, just 4 years. The plan for 2023 is also for zero recruitment, with some potential for recruitment thereafter. However, the planning still foresees a reduction in formality officers for every single year until 2027.

EPO FO plan

Low recruitment – choice or consequence?
It is not clear whether the stark lack of recruitment is solely due to a choice of the current management, or whether it is also impacted by the difficulty to recruit considering the changes to our employment conditions, particularly the 2018 introduction of fixed-term contracts for all new staff. This job insecurity, which is imposed upon recruits for 10 long years for a role that is a lifetime commitment, undoubtedly impairs the EPOs ability to recruit highly qualified scientists and engineers.

The Office do hint at the difficulties they are facing, in that they have turned to headhunting in response to the current highly competitive job market. Halting recruitment completely for more than two years, and then hiring fewer examiners than leavers for a prolonged period raises questions as to whether the administrations’ description of it being a “cautious planning approach” and a “prudent recruitment policy” are really appropriate. This decision to completely freeze recruitment in more favourable times brings to mind the idiom “make hay while the sun shines”, but it seems we’ve waited until it’s raining. The situation of the aging population at the Office, in that the average age of staff has risen from 45 in 2015 to almost 50 in 2021, raises even more concerns about the recruitment policy. Because of our unbalanced age pyramid, the number of expected retirements rise rapidly year on year, yet we depend upon experienced colleagues to train the new recruits.

What should we do about it?
What should we do when faced with mounting pressure from our line managers to do more? One thing we certainly should not do is to work any more hours than contracted, a possibility that becomes all the more possible with the blurring of the physical boundaries between work and home. This is not a short-term issue that can be overcome in a few weeks or months of toil. This is a conscious decision of the administration to test the limits of the workforce by pushing towards a skeleton crew, and working under high pressure conditions for prolonged periods of time can lead to chronic stress. By (over-)achieving the goals set for us we simply push the bar higher. There must be a limit, and we have reached it, and should show that with our actions.

There is one simple answer to the Office being behind target and not managing to deal with incoming workload, and that is something that is not within our ability to fix – more recruitment. We should keep in mind the idea that “failure to prepare on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”. It is not our job to fill the void that management planned for. But it is our job to collectively set boundaries of how much of our time, effort, and energy we are willing to give to the unsatiable requesters.

The Central Staff Committee

Credit is due; the staff union has warned about this for years. The predictions are becoming reality and true observations (or facts) aren’t possible to cover up. Even some of the largest stakeholders complain.

The EPO’s Human Resources (HR) Crisis Visualised

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Examiner Recruitment and Patent Applications

Formality Officer Recruitment and Patent Applications

Summary: Human Resources (HR) at the EPO has repeatedly failed the institution for over a decade; this was easily demonstrable based on a number of yardsticks and the persons responsible for this calamity have since then been rewarded for it with a promotion and pay increase/bonuses; it’s not clear if the EPO has a future, except as a kangaroo court’s rubber-stamping minion

Private Letter From Some of the EPO’s Biggest Applicants, Complaining That Quality of European Patents is Plunging

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The original:

EPO quality letter page 1

EPO quality letter page 2

Summary: Following the recent debates about EPO patent quality going down the drain (quantity, not quality, as per leaked communications from management) it is reassuring to see very large companies taking note and lashing out

EPO Central Staff Committee Says António Campinos Became Like Benoît Battistelli After 4 Years at the Office (‘Lost From Sight’)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Quite likely Europe’s most corrupt institution, which openly and flagrantly promotes unconstitutional, plaintiff-friendly patent courts based on illegal misinterpretations of conventions and laws

Campinos at JUVE
Credit/source: JUVE

Summary: The latest pair of meetings of the General Consultative Committee (GCC) saw António Campinos absent, just like Benoît Battistelli back in the old days; there’s no social dialogue, only oppression and corruption

THE Central Staff Committee at the EPO has shared a report about two recent meetings, the latter of which going two weeks back. “Two meetings of the General Consultative Committee (GCC) took place around the turn of the year,” it said. Here’s the full text of the report, including the two annexes:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel


Report on the GCC meetings of 16 December 2022 and 8 February 2023

Dear Colleagues,

Two meetings of the General Consultative Committee (GCC) took place around the turn of the year.

Déjà-vu: President lost from sight
The President of the Office chaired personally the meeting on 16 December 2022. He had already delegated chairmanship twice to VP 5 (Vice-President DG 5, Legal / International Affairs) in the past. In January 2023, he informed us that he would be delegating it again “until further notice.” Accordingly, VP 5 chaired the meeting on 8 February 2023.

When President Battistelli introduced “Social Democracy” in 2014, he stressed that the President would normally chair the meetings of the GCC as the “highest consultative body” at the EPO. At least that was how he sold it to the Administrative Council1. However, after some time, he obviously lost interest in “consulting” at the highest level with the staff representation and delegated chairmanship to VP 4 until the end of his term of office. We deeply regret that the current President seems to be adopting the practice of the former President.

We also called for a return to normality, where such important meetings should preferably take place in person. In vain: both meetings took place by videoconference.

The meeting on 16 December 2022
In the meeting, we discussed the following two items:
• Circular 356 (Resources and facilities to be granted to the Staff Committee; GCC/DOC 33/2022) – for consultation

The changes discussed in the GCC meeting were limited to provisions necessary to implement ILOAT Judgment No.4550, which ruled that restricting appointments of members of the internal Appeals Committees to elected Staff Committee members was unlawful. The Circular came into force on 1 January 2023. In the meantime, the CSC has appointed four colleagues to the Appeals Committees, so that they can start working again.

1 See document CA/4/14.

We consider that the circular plays an important role in making the work on the staff committee more attractive and effective. In our opinion, many further changes to the framework of “Social Democracy” are necessary and they must be implemented before the election of the next staff committees, who will take place soon, in spring 2023.

We have drafted a (quite positive) opinion on the limited changes, which is annexed to the present report.

• GCC Rules of Procedure (GCC/DOC 34/2022) – for information

The changes proposed by the administration are rather technical and limited in scope. We pleaded in the meeting for more profound changes. The document will be submitted again for consultation in the upcoming GCC meeting of 28 February.

The meeting on 8 February 2023

In the meeting, we discussed the following item:

• Adjustments to the Organisational Structure (GCC/DOC 01/2023) – for information

This item is actually a continuation of the adjustments presented in document GCC/DOC 32/2022, on which we have already written an opinion annexed to our report on the GCC meeting of 22 November 2022.

We have drafted an opinion on the latest changes, which is annexed to the present report.

The Central Staff Committee

• Opinion on GCC/DOC 33/2022 (Circular 356)
• Opinion on GCC/DOC 01/2023 (Adjustments to the Organisational Structure)


Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 33/2022:

Circular No. 356
Resources and facilities to be granted to the Staff Committee

The CSC members of the GCC give the following opinion on the revised Circular No. 356 on the resources and facilities to be granted to the Staff Committee as proposed in GCC/DOC 33/2022. The opinion relates solely to the amendments which concern the regulations on the Appeals Committee and the comments in the introduction. In particular, with regard to Articles 2(2), 3, 4, 6(2), 9, 11 and 13 of Circular No. 356, which were not the subject of the discussions on the Appeals Committee reform, there is a need for further discussion and, in the view of the CSC members of the GCC, a need for further changes.

The CSC members of the GCC appreciate that the meetings of the Joint Working Group Appeals Committee reform took place in an open and constructive atmosphere. Efforts in the social dialog to achieve change in the Appeals Committee go back several years. It is encouraging that discussions have now come to a common conclusion.

The ILO-AT Judgments Nos. 3694, 3785 and recently 4550 emphasised that considering the quasi-judicial functions of the Appeals Committee, its composition is fundamental. The balance sought to be achieved by the composition of this body, which includes members appointed by the Administration and by the CSC, is a fundamental guarantee of its impartiality. The Social Report for the year 2015 (CA/55/16) showed a questionable trend with only 2% of appeals allowed in 2014 and even only 0.5% in 2015.

This is why the CSC has repeatedly called for the Appeals Committee to be made functional again in such a way that staff regain confidence in it. The need to resolve disputes between the Organisation and the employees of the European Patent Office in due time and in a reliable and neutral manner is important. Having legal peace is a tremendous asset.

For the CSC appointees to the Appeals Committee, the CSC members of the GCC hence consider three points essential. Firstly, their protection is necessary so that they can freely express their opinion. Secondly, their career shall not be affected in any way by the activity. Thirdly, they shall have sufficient time resources to form a thoroughly informed opinion on the appeal cases.

The CSC members of the GCC are of the opinion that the above points are reached by the proposed amendments to Articles 6 and 7 of Circular No. 356 and further confirmed in the introduction. Positive note is also taken of the remarks in the introduction that two further items will fall within the remit of the Appeals Committee and its Secretariat: (1) the Rules of Procedure of the Appeals Committee should allow for new CSC appointees to join as observer in cases before participating as a member, and (2) the Appeals Committee should send its planning to the Appeals Committee appointees in advance of each year.

The CSC members of the GCC consider it important that a joint assessment and possible amendment to the newly introduced framework will take place in one year’s time, based on the input of all stakeholders and appreciate that an agreement in this regard could be reached.

Finally, the CSC members of the GCC would like to point to four key elements that characterised the preparatory discussions.

• Meetings took place in an open and constructive atmosphere, in which the social partners were both able to change their original view.
• Reflective thought, rather than haste, characterised the proceedings. The exchange of arguments took place both orally and in writing.
• In addition to their statements and claims, the needs of the social partners were carefully analysed and taken into account.
• The reports of the meetings were neutral and to the facts.

It is the sincere hope of the CSC members of the GCC that under the amended regulations the Appeals Committee will function and take up its duties as soon as the CSC appointees are found. May the spirit of the Joint Working Group Appeals Committee reform also spread to other areas of the social dialogue.

The CSC members of the GCC

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 1/2023:

Adjustments to the Organisational Structure


As was the case for previous documents of this kind, also for GCC/DOC 1/2023, the CSC members of the GCC are of the opinion that, in view of the impact of the proposed organisational changes on staff, the document should have been presented to the GCC “for consultation”.

In addition, the CSC members of the GCC make the following comments on the organisational changes as set out in GCC/DOC 1/2023.

General observations

Comments and questions which we raised during the discussion on GCC/DOC 32/2022 in the GCC meeting of 22 November 2022 have not yet been addressed and we are looking forward to a later exchange on those. During the GCC meeting, it was explained that implementing the organisational changes followed a top-down approach, i.e. the senior manager positions are first announced and filled, only then will the teams and units be (re-)organised. For other colleagues, this means that they still have to wait until the final structure of their units is known. This uncertainty creates stress and it is perceived that until the final setup is known, many decisions are put on hold, which paralyses teams in their work.

Within DG 0

PD 0.2 Communication
The document sets out that with the reform the management intends to “… dispel the notion of difference in importance between internal and external events, breaks down any perceived silos …”. The new structure would comprise only two teams “Event management” and “Event planning and implementation”. The fear remains that the new structure would continue to have the same partition under different terms, thus resulting in keeping perceived silos, namely those of the brain and the legs: one team responsible the strategic thinking while the other team for implementation.

PD 0.8 Employment Law and Social Dialogue Advice
From one directorate in the recent past, Employment Law has evolved into a principal directorate with two directorates and a further unit, emphasising its importance. Considering that management forecasts that the litigations are going down in numbers and despite the fact that social dialogue was added to the portfolio of this PD, we are not convinced of the “strong business case” for this upgrade. Still we support and further encourage the envisaged shift of focus from litigation to social dialogue. We will monitor whether the new structure can contribute to this shift.

Within DG 1

We appreciate that classification is finally being dealt with at high level and reporting directly to the COO. However, we wonder whether the transfer to DG 5 of the high-level activities in classification such as CPC implementation at national levels, or CPC training (general, advanced and field-

specific) as presented in the document is the right step. We received confirmation in the meeting from both VP 5 and the COO that the collaboration between DG 1 and DG 5 would continue successfully.

Within DG 4

We learnt from the document that external consultants conducted a future readiness study, a copy of which is not available to us. As a result, an additional directorate is now being planned to prioritise the planning and work for other directorates within PD 4.4. VP 4 seems to be convinced that a directorate in charge of financial control (whilst not calling it controlling) is important in view of the huge budget involved in the building projects. She had already installed a similar control layer in BIT. We are of the opinion that independent control of such expenses outside the respective PD and DG would be more adequate. The trend in the past was in fact to reduce units for each area (controlling, training, etc.) for which there are central entities. We propose to strengthen again an internal audit unit.

Within DG5

PD Patent Intelligence
As set out in the general observations above, the final organisational changes for the directorates within PD 5.4 are yet to be seen. Many colleagues in current PD 5.4 enjoy to work with colleagues from other directorates and other sites within and outside their PD. Not knowing how their units will be reorganised, who their directors will be, and which transfers will take place between units and directorates, they are kept in an uncertain state that causes stress and unrest. In this context, we appreciate that VP 5 clarified during the meeting that the PD and two of the directors of future PD 5.4 will be based in Vienna. One of the issues the administration still needs to address is the provision of sufficient resources for PD 5.4 to fulfil their current and future tasks at the high quality level which their tasks require.

Final remarks

The conclusions drawn in our earlier opinion on document GCC/DOC 32/2022 remain valid. More
particularly, the low staffing levels and the difficulties in coping with the workload in many areas has
become apparent in the recent staff survey among staff in all DGs. This is not addressed by the
planned reorganisations.

Constant reorganisations should be avoided and phases of consolidation are needed to reduce the stress level for our colleagues. Therefore, a “cautious approach” and proper consultation in advance should be guiding principles.

Furthermore, it appears that the goal of leaner management structures has been strictly pursued in only one DG, namely DG 1, where one single director is now responsible for up to 450 examiners, while in all other DGs many directorates have just a handful of staff. We understand the reasoning that some directors have a more specialised and heterogenous portfolio of responsibilities to manage, but the discrepancy between the directorates in DG 1 and the other DGs is glaring and the situation still seems unbalanced. Some of the core tasks of directors, such as reporting and supervising their staff, become impossible above a certain number of staff. In addition, the message sent to staff in DG 1 is that they do not deserve as much attention as staff in other DGs.

To those who have spent decades serving this patent office it must be mortifying to see how quickly the employer deteriorates.

“To those who have spent decades serving this patent office it must be mortifying to see how quickly the employer deteriorates.”Based on some of the latest comments that SUEPO highlights with these links, the office is risking complete implosion because since 2010 it wasn’t run by suitable people and instead milked to death by special interest groups.

We’ll soon show that recruitment of examiners too is in a state of crisis.

Microsoft Infiltrators Still Sabotage Linux (From the Inside)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Southern California Linux Expo

Summary: Microsoft is ‘planting’ its staff or embedding its moles not only inside the media; today we talk about the Southern California Linux Expo and linux.com as notably recent examples

THE majority of GNU/Linux users are either unaware or have become irritably nonchalant about what Microsoft is doing. Figures and organisations of authority reaffirm this bogus, phony idea that Microsoft has changed. Those figures and organisations are often paid by Microsoft to say that (or to seem apathetic about Microsoft). We’re not talking about obvious sellouts and defectors or even blatant Microsoft boosters who occupy the media. Not even ‘Miguel and Lennart’, who undermine software freedom from the inside. The everyday, casual sabotage comes in other forms.

We used to write a lot more extensively about events such as FOSDEM selling out to Microsoft. It wasn’t just FOSDEM, either. Also, as a matter of fact, the latest SCALE (a “Linux” conference in Southern California) has not one but several speakers from Microsoft (not counting Microsoft MVPs and ‘former’ Microsoft), including a keynote speaker. This is not appropriate given the company’s behaviour. Microsoft’s TPM and Pluton garbage is being pushed into Linux by the usual suspect this month/week (yes, it’s Garrett, whom Microsoft is trying to hire to work directly) and Phoronix is full of Microsoft stuff from top to bottom (in between the many advertisements).

“We’re not talking about obvious sellouts and defectors or even blatant Microsoft boosters who occupy the media.”Linux is under attack from Microsofters, and moreover it’s not hard to see all that. It’s a matter of observation, so don’t believe those who call it “hate”. Many people know and can see what’s really going on. The company’s ongoing attacks on Linux are too many to exhaustively name. In the case of SCALE, it’s not exactly a new problem; Microsoft was there last year, they allowed Microsoft sponsorship 2 years ago, Microsoft sponsorship 3 years ago (also Microsoft speakers). The year beforehand they had quite a few Microsofters as speakers [1, 2, 3] in addition to money from Microsoft (Microsoft sponsorship goes back to 14x).

It’s not just smaller event organisers; the largest organiser is implicated too.

One very concerning example is the Linux Foundation. Since 2016 it has been anti-community and pro-Microsoft, right about the same time it took money from the “Microsoft loves Linux” liars.

Since then the Linux Foundation has killed linux.com. This is what happens when we let anti-Linux companies run things; and sure, they’ll pay the Foundation for it. For them, burying Linux and harming the brand is an actual objective.

“Since then the Linux Foundation has killed linux.com.”Judging by this month’s posts, linux.com is effectively dead. It’s basically run by a bot now. The linux.com bot says something like “LF Platinum Member Content”; this basically means it’s running syndication in exchange for money, notably for IBM.

The Foundation itself was eerily quiet this month and most of last month. If the site linux.com cannot be brought back to life, they should free up the DNS space and let someone else run such an important domain. If they’re unwilling or incapable of doing so themselves, they should pass this authoritative domain to someone who actually uses Linux. “Linux.com should hand it over to non-Microsoft community,” an associate said this morning.

But linux.com is part of a broader trend here; this is what happened to “the news” in general, impacting news cycles news on the web, news sites’ ownership and so on. It seems to be an unexplored or barely-explored problem — a problem that has little to do with the “advertising industry” or ad blocking etc.

“In the case of Linux conferences and sites, what we see is enemies of Linux taking control.”Recently, the subject has come up again in the US, partly because of Senator Sanders. This will worsen over time because if they fail to fund the media (no federal assistance) the nation’s oligarchs will control the narrative all across the board. Sometimes foreign oligarchs will do the same.

In the case of Linux conferences and sites, what we see is enemies of Linux taking control. There’s a lot more money (salaries) in attacking GNU/Linux than in advocating/promoting it.

Links 22/02/2023: Distros Rebel Against Flatpak

Posted in News Roundup at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Jan Piet MensNotes to self: Ansible, SSH, and a password

        Using a pipe lookup, the password can be read directly from a password manager API program which emits a single-line password to stdout. Not super elegant, but workable to the point of being usable directly in an inventory file, and the variable is not visible in the play.

      • University of TorontoGrafana Loki doesn’t compact log chunks and what this means for you

        Many of these streams of log messages are low volume and infrequent because some parts of their labels are uncommon. Some systemd units only emit a few messages a day; systems may not log kernel messages for weeks; ‘warning’ level syslog messages (especially for specific units) are uncommon, and so on. Certainly you’ll have some frequent, high volume log streams, but you’ll also have many that only emit at most a few messages a day. These low volume streams are where your problems are in a default Loki configuration.

      • Terence EdenHow to password protect a static HTML page with no JS

        I recently saw Robin Moisson’s method of password protecting a statically served HTML page. It’s quite neat! But it does rely on JavaScript. That got me wondering if there was a way to encrypt a static page only using CSS?

        And… I think I’ve done it!

        I’ll warn you now, this is a deeply stupid way to solve the problem.

      • Felix CruxHow I organize my digital music collection

        Unfortunately, the hard drive space required to store my collection in a lossless format was far out of reach for me at the time, so I resigned myself to keeping everything as lossy low-bitrate MP3s. Later, a new free/open-source and patent-unencumbered format called Ogg Vorbis turned up on the scene, and my enthusiasm for it overpowered my horror at re-encoding from one lossy format to another, so I gritted my teeth at the quality degradation and converted everything.

        Now in the present, Vorbis has been surpassed by Opus, FLAC exists, hard drives are cheap, and it’s time to start over.

        My objective is to end up with a high-quality lossless “archival” version of all my physical and digital album purchases on my home storage server, comprehensively tagged with a full set of accurate metadata. Along with that, I want at least two sets of derived Ogg Opus re-encodings with differing levels of compression/quality: a lower-quality one for keeping on my cellphone, and a better one for desktop and laptop personal computer use.

      • Linux HandbookUse Rocky Linux ISO as a Local Repository

        There are various cases when you may want to utilize the local repository such as on a temporary basis, the internet connection is not allowed and you want to install a specific package.

    • Games

      • GamingOnLinux1980s mystery adventure Unusual Findings added Linux support

        Here’s one from late last year that I missed, 1980s mystery adventure Unusual Findings gained a Native Linux version. The new support was announced for Linux and macOS back in November 2022 where the developer mentioned they “worked day and night to polish and release versions of Unusual Findings for macOS and Linux”.

      • GamingOnLinuxRead Only Memories: NEURODIVER new trailer and release window announced

        Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER, a cyberpunk point and click adventure from developer MidBoss, LLC. has a new trailer and it’s releasing this Summer. A sequel to 2064: Read Only Memories, which they said had more than 2.35 million downloads.

      • GamingOnLinuxSteam Mystery Fest live until February 27th

        Another good chance to discover some new games is the Steam Mystery Fest, live now until February 27th with lots of discounts.

      • GamingOnLinuxEnvironmental strategy game Terra Nil releases March 28th

        A game idea I absolutely love and the early demos were impressive, the environmental strategy game Terra Nil releases on March 28th. In this game you’re transforming a ruined wasteland, to bring it back to life and get it green. Purify the soil, clean up the oceans, get rivers flowing, plant some trees and make it right.

      • GamingOnLinuxWreckfest is a smashing good time on Steam Deck

        Got the need for speed? You should check out Wreckfest! It’s a lot of fun and it works amazingly well on Steam Deck.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • BSD

      • Dan LangilleTransferring a jail from one host to another

        In this post, I’ll be copying over a lot of data while the jails are running. This is to get the bulk of the data over and in place. Later, when moving each jail individually, I will stop the jail, run another syncoid, then start the new jail. That second sync of the data will catch any changes since the initial copy.

      • UndeadlyTheo de Raadt on pinsyscall(2)

        Theo de Raadt (deraadt@) posted to tech@ a message entitled pinsyscall, execve, and rop pivots, etc. It explains pinsyscall(2), OpenBSD’s latest security innovation.

        We reproduce the posting below with added links: [...]

    • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • OMG! LinuxopenSUSE Leap 15.5 Beta Available to Download

        opeSUSE Leap 15.5 is due to be released on June 7, 2023 and will be the final release in the Leap 15 series, which made its debut back in May of 2018.

        But before that stable release can arrive there’s a beta build for folks to tussle with.

      • Ubuntu Pit openSUSE Leap 15.5 Reaches Beta Phase for Testing

        Exciting news! Luboš Kocman, the release manager for openSUSE Leap, will soon make an announcement about the Beta phase of Leap 15.5. It is already syncing on mirrors worldwide so that users can download and experience it firsthand.

        By testing the beta versions, users can uncover any bugs prior to its official launch date of June 1st, according to the openSUSE Leap Release Cycle roadmap. This is a chance given to users to get a jump start on identifying potential issues before everyone else!

        This version of the distribution will present some upgraded versions, although this release is not a feature-rich upgrade.

    • Fedora Family / IBM

      • DebugPointFedora 38: Overview of Its Features and Enhancements

        Fedora (backed/financed by RedHat) has recently become popular for many Linux users. Usually, Ubuntu and Fedora are the two main “go-to” distributions for any workload. Due to several Ubuntu policies in the recent past and “over-friendliness” with Microsoft, a good number of long-term Linux users started adopting Fedora workstations for their desktops.

        In addition, Fedora is backed by Red Hat, a leading open-source company, and it always pioneers adopting new technologies before any mainstream Linux distributions. Last year, Fedora was the first distro to offer the modern Wayland, Pipewire as default in its workstation flavour and a few performance-related improvements such as out-of-memory handling (OOM). All of these are eventually adopted by others later on.

        The upcoming release – Fedora 38, also plans for some interesting new features and improvements, which make it an attractive option for developers, Linux users and system administrators.

      • Red Hat OfficialThe State of Customer and Partner Experience at Red Hat 2022: How your feedback improves your experience

        Each year, Red Hat works to improve our products, services and the overall customer and partner experience based on the feedback that we receive. This past year was no different, and we not only drove enhancements and improvements across the company based on that feedback, we also worked to improve the way we listened to our customers and partners.

        This blog post is part one of our three-part annual State of Customer and Partner Experience summary. Here, we will recap how the Customer and Partner Experience (CPX) team listened to customers and partners in the past year and how we worked with teams across Red Hat to act on the feedback we received. 

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

      • OMG UbuntuUbuntu Flavors Agree to Stop Using Flatpak

        In a surprise move, Ubuntu developers have agreed to stop shipping Flatpak, preinstalled Flatpak apps, and any plugins needed to install Flatpak apps through a GUI software tool in the default package across all eight of Ubuntu’s official flavors, starting with the upcoming Ubuntu 23.04 release.

        Ubuntu says the decision will ‘improve the out-of-the-box Ubuntu experience’ for new users by making it clearer about what the “Ubuntu experience” is.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Monitoring an Aquarium with InfluxDB and Grafana

        I’ve been setting up a new tropical fish tank and wanted to add some monitoring and alerting because, well, why not?

      • Bob AlexanderConverting KiCad Schematics to Verilog

        I wrote a KiCad plugin to generate Verilog code from a schematic.

      • AdafruitHow to detect the difference between a Pico and a Pico W #RaspberryPiPico #RaspberryPi @Raspberry_pi

        Hardware-wise, both boards are nearly identical. But there are a couple subtle differences. And the onboard LED is connected differently.

      • ArduinoThis little robot helps fight fires

        This robot, which is a mid-sized rover, can operate via manual control or in an autonomous mode. In both cases, its job is to explore buildings, either during a fire or after a disaster, to map the interior and find hazards. Its camera system allows for visual detection, but it also has a host of integrated sensors for detecting elevated temperatures, gas pockets, and more. With that information, firefighters can then enter the building and rescue anyone trapped inside while avoiding hazardous areas or bringing the equipment necessary to deal with them.

      • Jeff GeerlingTesting Raspberry Pi’s new Debug Probe

        The Debug Probe is powered by an RP2040, and lets you connect from USB to UART (serial) or SWD (Serial Wire Debug), perfect for debugging most embedded devices.

        UART is useful to connect to a device’s console when you don’t have a display or other means of controlling it, and you can find UART/serial/console ports on almost any device with a processor or microcontroller.

      • Raspberry PiRaspberry Pi Debug Probe

        The Raspberry Pi Debug Probe is a kit comprising the Debug Probe hardware in its own plastic case together with a USB cable and three types of debug cable, covering the vast majority of debug use cases. It is designed to make it easy to debug and program Raspberry Pi Pico and RP2040 with a range of host platforms including Windows, Mac, and typical Linux computers, where you don’t have a GPIO header to connect directly to the Pico’s serial UART or SWD port.

        While designed for use with Raspberry Pi products, the Debug Probe provides standard UART and CMSIS-DAP interfaces over USB, so it can also be used to debug any Arm-based microcontroller that provides an SWD port with 3V3 I/O, or even just as a USB-to-UART cable. It works with OpenOCD and other tools that support CMSIS-DAP.

      • PurismDeveloping for Mobile Linux with Phosh – Part 0: Running Nested

        Mobile Linux is gaining in popularity. What is a simple way to develop for it?

        This upcoming series of posts will help with that using Phosh and related technologies. We’ll start out really simple and move into more complicated topics step by step.

        For many bits you won’t even need to modify your phone (or even need to have one). A desktop or laptop running Linux with a graphical Wayland session is sufficient.

      • Raspberry PiHow to build a super-slim smart

        While a smart mirror isn’t exactly a beginner-friendly build, it is a bit of a rite of passage for makers. Being able to put together and code a smart mirror suggests that your skills have reached a certain level, and ending up with something big and impressive like this at the end of the process underlines your achievement. It’s also something you can look at and use every day — a satisfying reminder of your accomplishment.

      • Ken ShirriffReverse-engineering the interrupt circuitry in the Intel 8086 processor

        I’ve been reverse-engineering the 8086 starting with the silicon die. The die photo below shows the chip under a microscope. The metal layer on top of the chip is visible, with the silicon and polysilicon mostly hidden underneath. Around the edges of the die, bond wires connect pads to the chip’s 40 external pins; relevant pins are marked in yellow. I’ve labeled the key functional blocks; the ones that are important to this discussion are darker and will be discussed in detail below. Architecturally, the chip is partitioned into a Bus Interface Unit (BIU) at the top and an Execution Unit (EU) below. The BIU handles bus activity, while the Execution Unit (EU) executes instructions and microcode. Both parts are extensively involved in interrupt handling.

    • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Web Browsers/Web Servers

      • Mozilla

        • MozillaHow to use Pocket with Tunde Oyeneyin

          Fitness instructor Tunde Oyeneyin, a favorite among Peloton riders, makes it a habit to stay intentional of what she consumes online. 

    • Education

      • Fernando BorrettiBuilding a DIY Clozemaster

        A friend introduced me to Clozemaster, which is a very simple concept: you get two sentences, one in English, another in French, and one of the words is a Cloze deletion. You have to figure out what goes in the blank. You’re testing vocabulary, grammar, and, since the blank can appear in either sentence, you’re testing in both directions. But Clozemaster has an absolutely demonic UX: the font is this ridiculous, unserious, 8 bit font literally from Super Mario Bros.; pasted over some tired Bootstrap theme. And the free version is limited to 30 sentences a day.

        So I looked for ways to build my own language learning flashcards for use with Mochi. I found some French frequency lists, and thought to use that to learn vocabulary, but vocabulary alone is not useful. Then I found a list of English-French sentence pairs, ranked by frequency; but the corpus is OpenSubtitles, so the vocabulary is very skewed to movie dialogue. And then I found Tatoeba: an open-source database of sentences and their translations.

        The rest of this post is a walkthrough of the Python code I wrote to generate Cloze flashcards from Tatoeba sentence pairs.

      • RlangShiny in Production 2023: Workshops

        Shiny in Production is returning to the Catalyst this October! Our workshop lineup has now been finalised, and our first two speakers are confirmed. If you want to read more about the speakers, or register for the conference, head over to the website. Early bird tickets are now on sale!

        For the workshops this year, we see the return of the extremely popular Introduction to Posit (formerly RStudio) Connect, as well as a two new shiny-centered topics.

    • Programming/Development

      • [Old] Sigfrid LundbergSex, death and sonnets: Musings of a software developer

        If there are any sonnets, do they rhyme and what are they about?

        I have since many years been a great fan of the tutorial Unix™ for Poets by Kenneth Ward Church. This note is an investigation of what can be done with a corpus of literary text with very simple tools similar to the ones described by Church in his tutorial. I do not claim that there is anything novel or even significant in this text. Being a scientist, I think like a scientist and don’t expect any deep literary theory here.

      • [Old] uni StanfordUnix for Poets [PDF]

        What can we do with it all?

        • It is better to do something simple, than nothing at all.

        • You can do the simple things yourself (DIY is more satisfying than begging for ‘‘help’’ from a computer officer.)

      • Matt RickardWhy DSLs Fail

        Domain-specific languages seem like an attractive solution when templating becomes too cumbersome for a set of problems. The proposition: fit the programming model space to the problem space. Just enough control flow, macros, and functions to solve a specific set of problems (infrastructure configuration, build systems, scripting, etc.)

      • OpenSource.comMapping the program counter back to the function name in your code

        Compilers are commonly used to convert human-readable source code into a series of instructions that are directly executed by the computer. A common question is “How do the debuggers and error handlers report the place in the source code where the processor is currently at?” There are various methods to map instructions back to locations in the source code. With the compiler optimizing the code, there are also some complications in mapping the instructions back to the source code. This first article in the series describes how tools map the program counter (also known as the instruction pointer) back to the function name. Subsequent articles in this series will cover mapping the program counter back to the specific line in a source file. It also provides a backtrace describing the series of calls that resulted in the processor being in the current function.

      • OpenSource.comHow I do automated accessibility testing for my website

        This article covers adding accessibility tests to your site using Pa11y (pa11y-ci with axe) and Cypress (with cypress-axe) in GitLab CI/CD. I use a Jekyll website as an example, but any website technology that runs in CI/CD can leverage this setup.

  • Leftovers

    • NDTVSupreme Court Tests Live Transcription Of Its Hearings – A First

      This will be on an experimental basis for a day or two to iron out creases in transcription before becoming a norm.

      During the hearing, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud explained the new experiment to the lawyers and said, “it will help especially those in law schools to know how the case was argued”.

    • The ConversationFive emerging trends that could change our lives online

      The way we live our lives online is rapidly changing. Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality and innovations such as blockchain – a kind of digital record for transactions — are set to transform the online world, affecting everything from social media to how people and businesses make money from their creativity.

      If you’re feeling confused by the pace of change, here’s what you need to know about five trends on the cusp of making a major impact.

    • [Old] Explained from First PrinciplesThe Internet

      Let’s get right into it: What is a protocol?

    • Science

      • Mark DominusConstruing cube faces as pairs of something or other

        I provided a different approach, and OP declared themselves satisfied, but I kept thinking about it. My approach did provide a combinatorial description of the cube that related its various parts to the square’s corresponding parts. But it didn’t produce the requested map from pairs of objects (the !!\binom 42!! part) to the six faces.

    • Education

      • Terence EdenPage numbers aren’t the answer

        Firstly, page numbers aren’t stable. If you’ve got the large-print version of a paper, it will have a different page numbers than the regular print edition. Paperbacks and hardbacks have different numbers. The paper copy might be formatted differently from the digital copy.

        Secondly, most modern documents simply don’t have pages. Anything published as HTML / ePub won’t have a page number. Page numbers are a skeuomorph in those contexts.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • [Old] Johan HalseThe Devil’s glass

        Being into video games today, though, in the year of our lord 2023? It entails clicking a colorful icon and then having soulless A/B-tested dopamine shot directly into your fucking eyeballs by billionaire warlords and their minions. Your time with these monstrosities is wasted rather than spent. I still play video games ‒ my drug of choice is Rocket League, where I’ve racked up 500 hours since 2016 (ranked Diamond 2, by the way, and pretty happy with that) which works out to about an hour and a half each week. That’s a healthy amount, I think.

      • ArduinoThis original video game console features a VFD

        VFDs (vacuum fluorescent displays) were common a few decades ago and have a nice, distinct glow that many find appealing. But like Nixie tubes and CRTs, VFDs have are outdated and almost obsolete at this point. They can’t come close to matching the price or functionality of modern LCD and OLED screens, but they still have a lot of charm. Simon Boak harnessed that charm when he built this custom video game console that features a VFD.

      • Eesti RahvusringhäälingResearch: New smart ring detects whether a drink has been spiked

        Drink spiking means that sedatives (mostly GHB drugs) are secretly added to the drinker’s beverage without their knowledge.

        The resulting mixture is also known as the rape drug, as it is easy to take advantage of the sedated person. Researchers at the University of Tartu have created a smart ring that could aid in safeguarding against such threats.

      • FAIR‘Punitive Enforcement Does Not Save Lives, or Reduce Drug Supply’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Drug Policy Alliance’s Maritza Perez Medina about fentanyl for the February 17, 2023, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

    • Proprietary

      • Security WeekHardBit Ransomware Offers to Set Ransom Based on Victim’s Cyberinsurance

        The ransom note dropped on compromised systems does not specify how much the victim has to pay to recover its files. Instead, the targeted company is instructed to contact the hackers through email or the Tox instant messaging platform.

        However, the note does contain some important information about paying the ransom, specifically for victims that have a cyberinsurance policy covering ransomware attacks.

      • IT Wire2022 a breakthrough year in the development of malware targeting critical infrastructure: Report [iophk: Windows TCO]

        As in previous years, the ICS/OT community have managed a growing number of vulnerabilities, many without the right mitigations needed to reduce risk and maintain operations. Meanwhile electric grids, oil and gas pipelines, water systems, and manufacturing plants continued to struggle with more complex regulatory environments that demand marked progress in shoring up defences.

        The sixth edition of Dragos’s report, which provides an ‘on-the-ground’ understanding of what is happening in the industrial space contains the latest threat intelligence on adversary activity targeting operational technology (OT) and recent ICS-specific malware discoveries, data to inform vulnerability management practices, and cybersecurity benchmarks for industries.

      • WentinDon’t Sell Your Indie Business to Digital Ocean!

        The sad part of the story is that most of what happened can’t be traced easily. Domain redirect can be set up with a few clicks of a button, and soon enough, most people forget these indie blogs ever existed and what happened to them. I want to write down what I saw so that there is a record of what Digital Ocean has done or has not done.


        What triggers me to write down these words above as “record” is that Digital Ocean bought CSS Tricks — another beloved tech blog — about a year ago, and recently they laid off the only editor of CSS Tricks. It is entirely possible that one day we will lose access to CSS Tricks content like “A Complete Guide to Flexbox” — a front-end “staple food,” a link that always shows up in purple in search results; and instead, we get to enjoy losing 3 seconds of our life being redirected and then bounce.

    • Security

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • GizmodoA DNA Testing Company Forgot About 2.1 Million People’s Data. Then It Leaked.

          The Register reports that the stolen data was part of a “legacy database” that DDC had amassed years ago and then apparently forgot that it had. In 2012, DDC had purchased another forensics firm, Orchid Cellmark, accumulating the firm’s databases along with the sale. DDC has subsequently claimed that it was unaware that the data was even in its systems, alleging that a prior inventory of its digital vaults turned up no sign of the information of millions of people that was later boosted by the hacker.

          Not long after news of the data breach emerged, Ohio and Pennsylvania sued the company.

        • NL TimesDutch gov’t ordered to stop collecting, processing plane passengers’ data

          The Ministry of Justice and Security must immediately stop the large-scale collection and processing of airline passenger travel details, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) said on Tuesday. The data is meant to gain insight into terrorists and criminals’ movements, but the Ministry collects, processes, and stores all airline passengers’ data. “This is not permitted and must stop,” the AP said.

        • IT WireNokia and Bosch team up to develop 5G precision positioning technology

          The two companies say they have deployed the proof of concept in a Bosch production plant in Germany, where extensive tests under realistic manufacturing conditions have shown “an accuracy within 50 cm in 90 percent of the factory footprint”.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • AlerNetCognitive neuroscientist explains why stupidity is an existential threat to America

        It is less surprising that politicians who regularly exhibit the Dunning-Kruger effect are being elected to office when one realizes that they are being voted in by people who also display the Dunning-Kruger effect. A 2008 study by the political scientist Ian Anson surveyed over 2000 Americans in an attempt to see whether or not the effect was playing a role in one’s ability to overestimate their political knowledge. The results clearly showed that the people who scored lowest on political knowledge were the very same people who were the most likely to overestimate their performance. While this is shocking, it also makes perfect sense: the less we know about something, the less of an ability we have to assess how much we don’t know. It is only when we try to become an expert on some complex topic that we truly realize how complicated it is, and how much more there is to learn about it.

      • ScheerpostMurdoch Propaganda Readies Australia for War With China

        Anyone who’s paying attention knows the behavior of the U.S. war machine is as relevant to Australians as it is to Americans, writes Caitlin Johnstone.

      • ScheerpostBiden Makes Surprise Visit to Ukraine

        The president says the purpose of the trip was to reaffirm ‘unwavering and unflagging’ support for Ukraine.

      • ScheerpostPatrick Lawrence: Totalized Censorship

        Content warning, canceling, de-platforming, denying access: The fate of Sy Hersh’s Democracy Now! interview on YouTube is the latest indication of how much rougher press suppression is in this new media era.

      • The DissenterMarch To War In Iraq, 20 Years Later: February 21, 2003
      • Common DreamsIf You Don’t Like Rules: Y’all’s Racism Is Showing

        On the anniversary of the murder of Malcolm X – “Culture is an indispensable weapon (to) forge the future with the past” – we salute Rep. Justin Pearson, a young black man who wore a dashiki – “This dress is resistance” – to mark his first fiery day as Tennessee’s newest lawmaker. America on a GOP, stubbornly stuck on the wrong side of history, freaking out that Pearson failed to follow (fictional) “rules” of decorum: “Masters’ boys still thinking they in charge of events.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Omicron Limited‘Transparency for thee, not for me’: Study shows SEC mounting secrecy about whistleblower program

        The whistleblower program encourages people to share information about financial malfeasance with the SEC by offering monetary payments for tips that lead to successful SEC enforcement actions. The program has recently come under fire for its excessive secrecy, which some fear has tilted the playing field in favor of well-connected repeat players. Last summer, one member of the commission cited Platt’s earlier study of the program in a speech calling for increasing transparency surrounding the program.

        But rather than expanding transparency, the SEC has done precisely the opposite, according to Platt. As he shows in his new study, which was featured on the Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog, the SEC’s Fiscal Year 2022 report on the whistleblower program omitted a wide range of significant information that had been included in every prior annual report.

      • BBCSpain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels

        Two top Spanish transport officials have resigned over a botched order for new commuter trains that cost nearly €260m ($275m; £230m).

        The trains could not fit into non-standard tunnels in the northern regions of Asturias and Cantabria.

      • Deutsche WelleSpain train chief quits over order of too wide trains

        The resignations of Isaias Taboas, who has headed Renfe since June 2018, and Isabel Pardo brings the total number of people to lose their jobs over the scandal to four.

        The resignations were announced shortly before the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sanchez, met on Monday with the presidents of the northern regions of Asturias and Cantabria to explain how the errors in the measurements occurred.

        The error will cause a delay in the manufacturing process of two years.

      • TechdirtUS Military Continues To Violate The Law By Limiting Access To Court Records

        Court transparency and equitable access to court documents are ongoing struggles. The federal court system’s malicious compliance with congressional directives has given us exorbitant fees and a clunky, counterintuitive platform for online access to court documents.

      • Project CensoredFrom Russiagate with Love: Corporate Media Spin and Revisionist Reporting on Russia’s Alleged Meddling in the 2016 Election Continue – Censored Notebook

        A January 2023 publication from the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) spawned the latest round of spin and shifting baselines from Russiagate apologists. Russiagate refers to the claims that Russia meddled in and influenced the outcome of the U.S. election in 2016, had direct connections to Donald Trump and his associates, and worked to help defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidency. A recent article from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, written by investigative reporter Jeff Gerth, utilized exiting media reports, and “dozens of people at the center of the story—editors and reporters, Trump himself, and others in his orbit,” to conclude that the legacy news media inaccurately covered the connection between Russia and Donald J. Trump during his Presidency. While this may be news to some diehard Democrats and their allies in the “liberal” press, the media’s reporting failures on the matter were not missed by all.

    • Environment

      • GizmodoThe Train Derailment in Ohio Was a Disaster Waiting to Happen

        When crews are stretched thin, Mikulka said, accidents and derailments are just waiting to happen. He said calls from workers for increased safety measures have gone unheard. “There are so many different points in this process where we look at how we can make it safer, and the rail company says ‘Yeah, but we don’t want to pay for that.’”

        At a press conference last week Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said the train that went through East Palestine was not marked as hazardous, despite the chemicals on board. He called it “absurd” and is asking Congress to investigate how hazardous materials are handled.

      • Energy/Transportation

        • Truthdig[Cryptocurrency] Mining Regulation in the Pacific Northwest

          In a county of just over 100,000 residents, sitting directly below the Grand Coulee Dam, 13 [cryptocurrency] mining operations—think warehouses stacked with networked computers continuously working on complex math equations to earn bitcoin—might seem like a lot. But the combined 27 megawatts of electricity those miners use today comprise only a fraction of the requests the Grant County Public Utility District has fielded since 2017, when bitcoin surged in value to nearly $20,000.

        • Spiegel“Russia Is Good at Cheating”

          Vlasiuk: Never believe a word of what Russian authorities are saying. They stopped publishing many statistics that were published before – for good reasons. Russia is struggling to get hold of fresh money and is running a record-high deficit. Lots of Russia’s assets are frozen, less and less technology is available. The European Union’s ban on Russian oil products alone has cost the Russian economy a market of 30 to 40 billion euros. At the end of 2022, Russia was forced to impose an additional 600 billion rubles in new taxes on the biggest companies, including Gazprom. Russia now spends 20 percent less on drugs for hospitals. Expenditures for road construction were cut in half. They are losing whole industries – their car industry, for example. So, it would be absurd to assume that the sanctions don’t have a significant impact. They do, only Russia is trying to hide it, by lying with their statistics.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • MWLComparing Kickstarters

        I intended to use the Devotion and Corrosion campaign to compare “Kickstarter with Twitter” to “Kickstarter without Twitter.” That seemed sensible, right? The videos are comparable, the campaigns are comparable. The story for the orcs is stronger, because “Orcs in Prohibition” is a solid hook, but still, it’d do something, right?

      • Pro PublicaGetting Settlement Money to Former Kushner Tenants May Prove Difficult

        A decade ago, Jasmine Cox was living with her young son in the Cove Village rental complex in Essex, Maryland, just east of Baltimore, when she started experiencing a plague of problems. The bedroom ceiling started leaking one day, then maggots started coming out of the living room carpet, and then raw sewage started flowing out of the kitchen sink, she said. She stopped cooking to keep food away from the sink. With so much black mold around, her son started needing an inhaler. When she moved out soon afterward, the landlord, Westminster Management, sent her a $600 invoice for a new carpet and other repairs.

        The experience haunted her for years. So she was hit with a welter of emotions when she recently received a letter at her new home from the Maryland attorney general, alerting her that she could apply for restitution from Westminster, the property management arm of Kushner Companies, the family real estate company of Jared Kushner, former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a former senior adviser to the president. She has started going through old SD cards and photo-storage apps to find pictures of the apartment woes to submit with the claims form that accompanied the letter. “We were living in a biohazard,” she said. “I’m just glad something has come about to compensate people, to clear things up.”

      • ScheerpostInvestigation Shows Rail Giant Donated to Ohio Governor a Month Before Toxic Crash

        If Norfolk Southern “can pay for lobbyists and politicians, they can pay to clean up the mess they made in our community,” said one local group.

      • ScheerpostRalph Nader: Letter to Tim Cook, Other Ultra-Rich CEOs and Hedge Fund Titans

        The victims of the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria need your help now. The surviving families and children and those rescued alive from the rubble are in serious danger in affected wintertime impoverished regions. Refugees in other places fleeing their war-torn homelands are also suffering.

      • FAIRDistortion of Breakfast Price Hikes Leaves WSJ With Egg on Face

        The Wall Street Journal (2/14/23) gave a crash course on the true meaning of freedom under capitalism with its piece “To Save Money, Maybe You Should Skip Breakfast.” Ironically, the article sat behind a paywall. So instead of skipping breakfast to cut costs, maybe Journal readers should cancel their subscriptions.

      • The NationCan New York Make Deadbeat Dolan Stop Freeloading at Madison Square Garden?

        Out of all the preening, egomaniacal billionaires in New York, James Dolan may be unmatched. The owner of the famed Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Knicks, and the New York Rangers, Dolan has long been a uniquely powerful figure in America’s largest city, a mogul who always seems to get his way. Of late, he’s been in the news for wielding facial recognition technology to wantonly ban from his properties anyone who offends him. Attorneys who work at firms engaged with litigation against Dolan’s company have found themselves turned away from Knicks games and shows at Radio City.

      • DaemonFC (Ryan Farmer)Walmart’s Statement on Inflation Undermines Biden Narrative As Many Americans Flee The Country. (Government Stops Reporting Numbers.)

        American consumers would have to go back to the 1970s to find something worse than what is unfolding now.

        The cause, of course, is endless government money printing to prop up the stock market and keep mortgages impossibly cheap, while they invade and run the rest of the world. They don’t have to print as much money to do this, but it’s easier to inflict an inflation tax on Americans than to demand that people like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Tim Cook, and Elon Musk pay more while they’re playing “See who can die with the most hundreds of billions of dollars.”

        In a ludicrous display of toxic masculinity gone wrong, Musk marched into Twitter in November, promising to turn things around, and the company is still hemorrhaging cash despite losing over 85% of its employees. They just had another layoff last Friday, which went mostly unreported.

        But while Elon Musk is busy losing his fortune and trying to get a consolation prize of using a reverse shadow ban to multiply the number of people who see his tweets by 1,000, most Americans are facing a 9% increase in the price of cat food since last month.

        I’m certainly glad I got a “cat food mountain” back when they had rebates on it. I still grab a bag now and then when there’s a rebate and stick it in the pile, sorted by the date of expiration.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The HillPentagon warning US military to avoid poppy seeds, citing effects on drug testing

        According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, poppy seeds can absorb opium extract when being harvested. This can then sometimes cause morphine and codeine — which are pain relief drugs in the opioid family — to be detected in urine up to 48 hours after poppy seeds are ingested, which can then cause false positives in drug testing.

      • BW Businessworld Media Pvt LtdTwitter May Open Source Its Algorithm Next Week

        In a subsequent tweet, Musk said people could find the algorithm disappointing when it’s made open source next week but emphasised that it would improve.

      • India TimesTamil Nadu to revisit policy on cyber security: IT Minister

        The Tamil Nadu Information Technology Department was working in upgrading its policy on cyber security and was holding discussions with various stake-holders in this connection, Minister T Mano Thangaraj said here on Tuesday. The Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services appealed to the industry experts to ensure adoption of technology by various government departments.

      • Modern DiplomacyDiscovery of Lithium Reserve in Kashmir: New Complications in resolution of disputed land

        This has increased the importance of Kashmir for India which can be understood as statement; that lower Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir need to be properly explored, according to Jugal Kishore Sharma, a senior Democratic Azad Party (DAP) politician and former minister. The growing concern would be India will speed up her approach towards Kashmir by increasing military troops , more will intensify its plans to change the demographic composition of Jammu and Kashmir and convert the Muslim majority into a minority and also will swiftly work on merging Kashmir in India as own state. And will create lobby to zero flex over issue on international forums. This can also can be understood that the Geology & Mining Department of Jammu and Kashmir is now putting two significant mineral blocks of limestone up for e-auction in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, close to Reasi. The process of determining the availability of lithium and e-auctioning the output in a time-bound way, according to officials, has already begun.

      • AppleInsiderHouse Judiciary subpoenas Tim Cook & rest of big tech about alleged collusion

        The subpoenas require Sundar Pichai, Andy Jassy, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckberg, and Satya Nadella to turn over all requested documents and communications by March 23, 2023. According to The Wall Street Journal, it’s a probe to determine if the companies censored viewpoints on issues such as COVID-19 policy that disagreed with White House policy.

      • TechdirtTikTok’s DC Lobbying Charm Offensive Unsurprisingly Isn’t Going So Hot

        To fend off a ban in the U.S., TikTok lobbyists have attempted to put on a doomed charm offensive in DC, spending a record $5.4 million on U.S. lawmaker influence last year. The effort has even involved opening “transparency centers” in DC designed to “educate” lawmakers on content moderation and the steps TikTok is apparently taking to assuage privacy and security concerns.

      • TechdirtTwitter Is Correct To Move Away From SMS Two Factor Authentication, Though, There Are Much Better Ways To Do It

        A lot of people freaked out on Friday after the news came out that Twitter was going to make SMS two-factor authentication (2FA) only available to paid Twitter Blue subscribers. The news was first broken, like so much Twitter news these days, by Platformer reporter Zoe Schiffer.

      • TechdirtMeta Following Elon Down The Road Of Making Verification An Upsell Is A Terrible Idea

        And here I was thinking that the last few months of Twitter shenanigans with Elon Musk at the helm had done something nearly impossible: made Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership of Meta (Facebook/Instagram) look thoughtful and balanced in comparison. But then, on Sunday, Zuckberg announced that Meta is following Musk down the dubious road of making “verification” an upsell product people can buy. This is a mistake for many reasons, just as it was a mistake when Musk did it.

      • ScheerpostUS Anti-Socialism Resolution Demeans US Allies

        The anti-socialism resolution passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month sent a chilling message not only to socialists in the United States but to many U.S. friends and allies around the world. By backing a resolution that “denounces socialism in all its forms,” policymakers condemned a broad range…

      • The NationThe Absurd Specter of “Woke Communism”

        Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and perhaps the next president of the United States, is waging war against something he and many others on the right identify as “woke communism.” DeSantis even persuaded the Florida legislature to pass a “Victims of Communism” law, mandating that every November 7 (the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia), all public schools in the state must devote 45 minutes of instruction to the evils of the red menace.

      • NPRSupreme Court showdown for Google, Twitter and the social media world

        At the center of two cases to be argued over two days is Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, passed by Congress when internet platforms were just beginning. In just 26 words, Section 230 draws a distinction between interactive computer service providers and other purveyors of information. Whereas newspapers and broadcasters can be sued for defamation and other wrongful conduct, Section 230 says that websites are not publishers or speakers and cannot be sued for material that appears on those sites. Essentially, the law treats web platforms the same way that it treats the telephone. And just like phone companies, websites that are host to speakers cannot be sued for what the speakers say or do.

      • The HillFive things to know about the Supreme Court case that could change the [Internet]

        As Congress is largely at a stalemate on how to proceed with rules regulating content moderation, all eyes are on how the justices respond in the first Section 230 case to hit the highest court.

        “There is a potential, for the first time really, to very significantly change the way that Section 230, which is one of the pillars of internet law, has been interpreted going forward,” said Ashley Johnson, a senior policy analyst at the think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

        Here are five things to know heading into Tuesday’s oral argument: [...]

      • ABCSupreme Court wrestles with immunity for social media companies

        For the first time Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the scope of a landmark federal law that’s given sweeping legal immunity to [Internet] and social media companies for more than 25 years.

        Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — known in the tech world as the “26 words that created the modern internet” — protects the companies from liability for content posted by individual users, no matter how discriminatory, defamatory or even dangerous the information may be.

      • India TimesWhat is Section 230, the rule that made the modern internet?

        The outcomes of these cases could reshape the [Internet] as we know it. Section 230 won’t be easily dismantled. But if it is, online speech could be drastically transformed.

      • India TimesAT&T seeks to shed cybersecurity division

        AT&T Inc, the second-biggest U.S. wireless carrier, is exploring a sale of its cybersecurity division, potentially undoing an acquisition it completed five years ago, according to people familiar with the matter.

        The sale of the cybersecurity business would add to a string of divestments AT&T has turned to in order to pay down debt following its $108.7 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc in 2018, a deal it has since also unwound.

      • Computer WorldSection 230 liability protections on trial in Google Supreme Court case

        Whether Google can be held liable for recommending harmful content on YouTube is at the heart of a watershed case that could shape the future of the [Internet].

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

        • GizmodoRepublican Operatives Are Astroturfing Opposition to Solar Power

          And it looks like Ralston was being paid well by parties with a vested interest in not seeing renewable energy projects succeed. According to NPR, her consulting firm, SBR Enterprises Inc, received almost $300,000 between 2018 and 2020 from the Paul E. Singer Foundation, the charitable giving outlet of wealthy venture capitalist Paul Singer. Singer’s investment firm is the largest shareholder of coal company Peabody Energy; Singer has also funneled money towards prominent climate denier Bjorn Lomborg’s think tank. (In 2019, Ralston said Citizens for Responsible Solar had raised no money from fossil fuel interests; Ralston would not identify the group’s current funders for NPR and Floodlight.)

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Salon“Censoring dissent”: Florida GOP wants to make it easier for officials like DeSantis to sue critics

        Filed by Florida state Rep. Alex Andrade (R-2), H.B. 951 laments that the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in New York Times v. Sullivan has “foreclosed many meritorious defamation claims to the detriment of citizens of all walks of life” by placing such claims under the purview of the federal government and establishing a high standard of proof.

      • The NationLet Kids Read Roald Dahl’s Books the Way He Wrote Them

        In the late 17th century, Nahum Tate rewrote King Lear with a happy ending. In the early 19th century, Henrietta and Thomas Bowdler made Shakespeare safe for women and children by taking out all the sexy bits. History has not been kind to either project. It is my dearest hope that the Inclusivity Ambassadors will meet a similar fate.

      • The Vintage NewsRoald Dahl’s Books Being Rewritten Sparked Backlash On Censorship

        Roald Dahl was a British novelist whose children’s books became classics all over the world. However, Dahl was a controversial figure when he was alive, and his works were often called antisocial and anti-feminist. Despite the controversy, several of his books were adapted into films for even wider-spread consumption. Recently, his estate worked with his book publisher to edit words and phrases that could be considered inappropriate. The changes stirred an immediate backlash from other authors in the industry, who described the venture as unnecessary censorship.

      • Teen VogueAfter DeSantis Criticized, Florida Teacher Fired Over Video of Empty Library Shelves

        Brian Covey started working as a full-time substitute teacher for Duval County public schools in Florida in October 2022, as he told multiple outlets. The role was helping to address what a working paper from Brown University last year called out as the highest number of teacher vacancies in the country. This past week, following backlash from governor Ron DeSantis, Covey was fired for posting a video to social media demonstrating the impact of DeSantis’s restrictive policies on education, as reported by the Washington Post and elsewhere.

      • VOA NewsIran Sentences Detained US-Based Opposition Figure to Death

        A senior member of a U.S.-based Iranian opposition group held by Iran and accused of orchestrating a deadly 2008 mosque bombing has been sentenced to death, authorities said Tuesday.

        Iran says Jamshid Sharmahd, a 67-year-old Iranian-German national and U.S. resident, is the leader of the armed wing of a group advocating the restoration of the monarchy that was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

      • QuilletteLeft or Right, Politicians Shouldn’t Be Telling Academics What They’re Allowed to Teach

        Rufo’s desire to oppose the “ignorance and fanaticism” of woke fundamentalists is understandable—commendable, even. It’s an impulse I share. But principled opposition and top-down suppression are two very different things. With the words, “We’re in charge now,” Rufo is signalling to us either that he’s willing to ignore the moral distinction between the two; or, less charitably, that he simply never cared about this distinction to begin with.

      • NDTV“Rushdie Now No More Than Living Dead”: Iran Foundation Rewards Attacker

        “We sincerely thank the brave action of the young American who made Muslims happy by blinding one of Rushdie’s eyes and disabling one of his hands,” said Mohammad Esmail Zarei, secretary of the Foundation to Implement Imam Khomeini’s Fatwas.

      • The VergeThe Supreme Court battle for Section 230 has begun

        The first shots have been fired in a Supreme Court showdown over web platforms, terrorism, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Gonzales v. Google — one of two lawsuits that are likely to shape the future of the internet.

        Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh are a pair of lawsuits blaming platforms for facilitating Islamic State attacks. The court’s final ruling on these cases will determine web services’ liability for hosting illegal activity, particularly if they promote it with algorithmic recommendations.

      • NPRNo ideological splits, only worried justices as High Court hears Google case

        “How do I draw a line between an algorithm and active collusion?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked.

      • Pro PublicaSchool District Pays Legal Fees After Banning Mothers From Reading Sexually Graphic Passages at Meetings

        A group of conservative Georgia mothers on a quest to ban library books has won a key victory against a school district that sought to limit their ability to recite graphic passages from those books at school board meetings.

        Forsyth County Schools agreed this month to pay $107,500 in legal fees to the group, called the Mama Bears. Like many conservatives nationwide, the Mama Bears have taken to trying to get books removed from school libraries by reading sexually explicit passages aloud at school board meetings.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • NBCFarsi-language TV channel in U.K. moving to U.S. after warnings of potential threat from Iranian agents

        Iran International television said Saturday it had “reluctantly closed its London studios” due to mounting threats against its journalists and on the advice of London’s Metropolitan Police.

        “I cannot believe it has come to this. A foreign state has caused such a significant threat to the British public on British soil that we have to move,” Mahmood Enayat, the station’s general manager, said in a statement from the broadcaster.

        “We refuse to be silenced by these cowardly threats,” he said. “We will continue to broadcast. We are undeterred.

      • VOA NewsUN Experts Demand Reinstatement of Cambodian News Outlet

        U.N. experts have demanded the reinstatement of Voice of Democracy after the online Khmer- and English-language broadcaster, one of Cambodia’s last independent media outlets, was stripped of its license.

        Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this month ordered VOD’s license revoked over what he said was an erroneous report about his eldest son.

      • MeduzaChechen opposition blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov reappears after going missing in early December

        On Tuesday, Abdurakhmanov posted his first YouTube video in almost three months. In it, he confirmed that he’s alive and healthy, but didn’t provide further details about his situation.

      • RFERLAnother Belarusian Journalist Gets Prison Term Amid Crackdown
      • CPJNewly released from Turkish prison, Kurdish journalist Nedim Türfent reflects on sham prosecution

        Though Türfent’s prosecution was openly retaliatory and all 13 of the state’s initial witnesses recanted their testimony against him, he told CPJ that his case received comparatively limited attention in Turkey because he’s Kurdish. Türfent was born on the Turkey’s southeastern edge bordering Iran and Iraq, a predominantly Kurdish area and a stronghold for armed groups seeking autonomous rule. He began reporting on rights violations in local conflict zones for the now-shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA) to help victims whose stories never made it beyond the region. Instead, he became one of those stories.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • TechdirtNew York Legislators Once Again Trying To Curb Law Enforcement Access To Military Gear

        For years, law enforcement agencies converted themselves into quasi-military agencies with the assistance of the Defense Department. Whatever the military no longer needed, cops could have for cheap or free, as long as they remembered to say things about “national security” when filling out their 1033 program requisitions.

        Unsurprisingly, the acquisition of warrior gear (camouflage uniforms, assault rifles, mine resistant vehicles) made cops feel more like warriors, rather than protectors. Violence increased as cops began to look less and less like cops. Ever since law enforcement rolled into anti-police violence protests following the killing of Michael Brown looking for all the world like an occupying force, the 1033 program has faced increased scrutiny.

      • France24‘I never wear a headscarf anymore’: Iranian women continue to defy Islamic regime

        However, Iranian women still face pressure from the regime to continue wearing the veil, in the form of threats, restrictions and acts of violence.

        Hossein Jalali, an Iranian MP, told Iranian media on December 20,2022 that “the restrictions regarding the hijab are very much in place, it’s just the way they are enforced that has changed.”

      • Foreign PolicyCan Buses Drive Change for Jordanian Women?

        Nodznaya had taken public transportation in the Jordanian capital before. Counterintuitively, what is called “public transit” in Amman has long been a private, for-profit enterprise of taxis, buses, and shared taxis known as “services”—essentially, a network of all vehicles that are not personal cars. Until the BRT, government-run transit did not exist.

    • Monopolies

      • India TimesMicrosoft’s president to push Activision deal at EU hearing; Google, Nvidia also present

        Smith will lead a delegation of 18 senior executives, including Microsoft Gaming Chief Executive Officer Phil Spencer, while Activision will be represented by its CEO Robert Kotick according to a European Commission document seen by Reuters.

      • EFFPodcast Episode: The Right to Imagine Your Own Future

        That idea guides Deji Bryce Olukotun’s work both as a critically acclaimed author and as a tech company’s social impact chief. Instead of just envisioning the oligarch-dominated dystopia we fear, he believes speculative fiction can paint a picture of healthy, open societies in which all share in technology’s economic bounty. It can also help to free people’s imaginations to envision more competitive, level playing fields. Then we can use those diverse visions to guide policy solutions, from antitrust enforcement to knocking down the laws that stymie innovation. 

        Olukotun speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about rejecting the inevitability of the tech future that profit-driven corporate figureheads describe, and choosing instead to exercise the right to imagine our own future and leverage that vision into action. 

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

Links 22/02/2023: GDB 13.1, Istio 1.15.6 and 1.16.3

Posted in News Roundup at 3:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

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