New Talk: Richard Stallman Explains His Problem With Rust (Trademark Restrictions), Openwashing (Including Linux Kernel), Machine Learning, and the JavaScript Trap

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Site News, Videos at 9:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 750dda35e5a1c938a6b961483896da2b
RMS Pre-LibrePlanet Talk (Richard Stallman Gave a Talk Hours Ago)
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Richard Stallman’s talk is now available above (skip to 18:20 to get to the talk; the volume was improved over time, corrected at the sender’s end)

The video above is a recording of the talk Richard M. Stallman (RMS) gave some hours ago. It was a live stream, broadcast by the Free Software Foundation. He founded it many years ago (the GNU Project turns 40 later this year and he turned 70 yesterday). The talk itself starts about 20 minutes into the video above; I had started recording about 15 minutes before the scheduled time of the talk.

At the start, Dr. Stallman notes that he cannot comment much about technical aspects of Rust, but he remains concerned (for a year already) about the trademark aspects. He is still receiving no clarification or assurances on the matter. Previously he suggested forking it and calling it something like “crust” (in a talk or a session he did with several Brazilian hackers).

“Openwashing” is not alluded to by that name. But he explains why Linux (the kernel) is non-free. He then comments on Debian including blobs in the installer (as of months ago). He mentions “Respect(s) Your Freedom” and alludes to various peripherals with code inside them. He suggests not being too judgemental of such microprocessors. Cameras, keyboards, and memory sticks, he says, typically have some small computers in them. “Our ultimate goal is that all those should contain free software also,” he stresses. To quote: “We hope to hope that in the future we’ll be able to [...] replace the non-free programs at a lower level of the products.”

He asks for a distinction between software coming inside a piece of hardware and stuff the user adds to it later. These are growing challenges.

He speaks of Machine Learning and rejects the term “AI” (“Hey Hi!”). He compares it to “dissociated press” — a very old term, not a buzzword or a misnomer. It’s not just the name of Zonker’s site (Joe Brockmeier — formerly of Slashdot, Novell, Red Hat and more). He says that accuracy matters less in the case of art (like images) so generative algorithms may be OK, but he rejects chatbots the way Microsoft does that and hypes it up. He’s not impressed by the idea and warns about privacy aspects. He refers to Uber as “Guber” because it gives drivers “peanuts”.

“He says that visa or passport applications in the US require proprietary software on the site (JavaScript).”About 25 minutes into his talk the subject of “apps” (for so-called ‘smart’ phones) is brought up. He explains that many “smart” things are “full of malware” and “locked down”, designed to “attack freedom”. He cites the “war on drugs” to explain that prohibiting things that hurt society may lead to negative consequences. He wants to “divert society away” from proprietary software without it becoming oppressive (like bans). Governments should offer “freedom-respecting” ways of doing things, he says. He contacts some sites and public organisations by telephone, complaining about sites that impede Free software users, e.g. for a bus schedule. JavaScript is among his concerns. Days ago he explained to me that he was moving away from SearX due to JavaScript being harder to avoid.

He says that visa or passport applications in the US require proprietary software on the site (JavaScript). “I cannot sent a message to my congressional representatives,” he notes. He does not like how academic conferences are often done over Zoom. “I push on this whenever I have the opportunity to,” he says.

“He cautions against becoming “a society of sheeple”.”He complains about “thought monitoring” systems and schools that use FUD to prevent students using GNU/Linux — pupils who are connecting to the network with GNU/Linux-running devices. He gives some examples of the FUD he has heard of. He wants to encourage people to compete over comebacks — or ways to overcome such FUD tactics.

He cautions against becoming “a society of sheeple”. He says that visa or passport applications in the US require proprietary software on the site (JavaScript).

He finally (towards the end) makes a call for speaking invitations. He wants to be invited to speak and he repeatedly recommends a site which debunks defamatory claims about him.

Links 17/03/2023: CentOS Newsletter and News About ‘Mr. UNIX’ Ken Thompson Hopping on GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • HowTo GeekThe System76 Meerkat Is a Tiny PC Built for Linux

        System76 is one of the few PC manufacturers with a focus on excellent Linux support, with a wide range of desktops and laptops. Now the company has brought back the “Meerkat,” a compact PC built for Linux.

        System76 first introduced the Meerkat in 2009, which was advertised as a “NetTop” (remember those?), and has gone in and out of production over the years with occasional hardware upgrades. The tiny PC is once again available for purchase, this time with your choice of 10th, 11th, or 12th Gen Intel Core processors. There are two sizes: a “short” model (1.42 inches tall) with only one M.2 drive slot, and the “tall” version (2 inches tall) adds a 2.5-inch drive bay for extra storage capacity. Both versions are 4.6 x 4.41 inches across.

    • Applications

      • Linux LinksExcellent Utilities: nvitop – GPU process management

        This utility is automatically installed with the NVIDIA drivers and lets users query and modify the GPU device state. While it’s probably the most well known NVIDIA monitoring tool, there are many other (and superior) tools available.

        nvitop is an interactive NVIDIA device and process monitoring tool and bills itself as “the one-stop solution for GPU process management”. Like nvidia-smi, nvitop is built on top of NVML, but the tool offers a lot more functionality. It’s free and open source software written in Python.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Leftovers

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • 2023-03-17 🔤SpellBinding: UFGHINC Wordo: CRORE
      • Playing cards with indicators along one edge

        Minimalists want indicators along as few corners as possible (if any… grumble grumble).

        Lefties want indicators in opposite corners so they can fan the cards in the opposite direction.

      • odd little film

        I was trying to find something worth watching on my neglected Tubi account and after some awful false starts (tip: much of Bryan Cranston’s early work is best missed, though it’s not his fault) I found a budget production called “Big Dark Energy” and was drawn in by the soundtrack (sounds like throat-singing in parts).

      • (privileged) work gripes

        I’ve been growing a little more unsatisfied with my work lately. I’ve been working there for nearly 2 years now, and generally, it is a comfortable job. Office job, home office 3x a week, lots of union protections and rights, flextime, nice coworkers, fair pay. I can call in sick for 3 days without a doctors note and only need one at the 4th. I get 30 days PTO a year and can take some over from the previous year, and we have no limited sick days. I have my own solo office – with walls, we do not have large offices with cubicles. We even have a sensible mission that I stand behind and my work actually leaves somewhat of a mark and ensures the safety of society in a specific way. I contribute my part to that.
        The work I get, what I actually get to see and handle, is very interesting to me. I enjoy seeing and reading it, and managing it.

      • Life’s Not Too Bad

        Since late last year life’s been going pretty well. Things that used to weigh heavily on my mind are no longer so burdensome. I’ve reclaimed my ‘live in the moment’ attitude and energy. I’m currently neck-deep in trying to start my career (again), and I’m uncharacteristically optimistic about how things will go over the next couple of months.

        I read this interesting article in Neuroscience News that talked about how our perception of time is directly linked to our heartbeat. I thought it was fascinating and that it totally tracks with my own lived experience.

        When I look back at times of stress and anxiety in my life, my perception of time was all over the place. Between feeling like I didn’t have enough time to accomplish what I needed to accomplish while also feeling like every day was a slog, it makes sense that my skewed sense of time could be linked to an erratic heart rate.

    • Technical

      • Would You Like an OpenTTD Save Game?

        This game really deserves more players. It’s absolutely amazing. OpenTTD owns my heart and soul nowadays.

        I’ve come to understand that most new players struggle to make a profit, and I assume some give up out of frustration and quit early on. When I started some 6-7 months ago I made a loss in my first game, but then read up a bit on how it works. I’m getting pretty good at it now.

        The least thrilling part of the game is that time between starting a new game and getting the finances going at a level where you can’t feasibly spend money as fast as it’s rolling in. I have no idea what the common length of that time is, but when starting in 1950 I usually make between $600k-$1000k in the year 1953. By 1955 I’m guaranteed to make more than a million per year.

      • Forced Obsolescence Hurts Security

        Project Zero at Google has reported a number of exceptionally severe vulnerabilities in Samsung’s modem stack, allowing remote code execution with no information other than a victim’s phone number.

      • Setting up GNU Emacs for Speedata Publisher

        If you follow my “Pebcak’s diary” you already knew that I am trying to learn these high-level TeX implementations, such as ConTeXt and Speedata Publisher.

        The latter is especially challenging since works exclusively with “XML Schema” and I found very few native opensource editors able to work with this XML variation.

      • The Grand Code Restructuring

        In general I don’t like to fuss over code, but this is exactly what I’ve been doing in preparation of the NLnet funded work. I’ve spent the last month restructuring Marginalia’s code base. It’s not completely done, but I’ve made great headway.

        Things got the way they got because in general for experimental solo-development projects, I think it makes sense to be fairly tolerant of technical debt.

        Since refactoring is something that is extremely difficult to break up into parallel tracks or do in small iterations, the cost of refactoring is effectively multiplied by the number of people that could be working on the code.

        It’s a bit like Amdahl’s Law applied to project management. When leaning into this, it allows smaller solo projects to be be extremely nimble compared to larger projects. Refactoring is very cheap when you’re working alone because there is no resource contention. This may seem a weird notion if you’re coming from working mostly on large projects where any technical debt is nearly irreversible, but that’s mostly a problem of large scale software development.

      • Programming

        • Rainy

          I found a CodePen the other day that showed a method for a rain effect on a web page. I like it a lot, so I’ve modified it to work without a pre-processor, and included instructions for how to add it to a Midnight page (or any other, for that matter). There are, of course, plenty of other ways to play with it. I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible to customize the basics, but going beyond that will require at least some knowledge of JavaScript and/or CSS.

        • Man. We _really_ don’t know git.

          I read through this and couldn’t help but just shrug and say, “same.” My college education never mentioned git. Ever. I wound up in some advanced classes early on, and wound up doing some actual programming with open-ended results (not workshop “program this thing the instructor said to do” kind of drivel). I was working with classmates older both in terms of their progress toward degrees and in chronological age.

          **Nobody else knew how git worked.** And the only reason I did is having fallen down the Linux rabbit hole years prior to that, and wound up picking up some _very_ basic (read: I didn’t even branch things properly or grasp what atomic commits were and how awesome they are) skills with source control in general.

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

The European Patent Office’s Central Staff Committee Explains the Situation at the EPO to the ‘Yes Men’ of António Campinos (Who is Stacking All the Panels)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 59217133f9f9582b2c0934acb9c644a5
EPO and the GCC Meeting
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The EPO’s management is lying to staff (even right to their faces!) and it is actively obstructing attempts to step back into compliance with the law; elected staff representatives have produced detailed documents that explain the nature of some of the problems they’re facing

THE document discussed above [PDF] is very long. It can help explain internal EPO affairs to outsiders — i.e. people to whom EPO blunders are known only through media channels (those that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos have not intimidated into silence with threats of lawsuits and various sanctions).

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) does a good job explaing the “hoax” studies of the administration, pretending that the EPO is poor in order to lessen the compensation to staff and thus deter/discourage properly-trainied and experienced staff from joining/staying. Today’s EPO is gradually running out of talent; as EPO insiders have warned repeatedly, this will result in further collapses, including patent quality and validity issues (illegitimate patents being granted, including European software patents). The biggest stakeholders in the EPO have already complained about the quality of European Patents; they too stand to lose because many of these patents can be used against them; only patent litigation firms stand to benefit regardless of the merit of cases.

The “covering message” (like cover letter) for the above PDF stated what was discussed, albeit the cronies of the President didn’t bother discussing much. They just said “yes” to proposals. Here’s the outline:

Report on the GCC meeting of 28 February 2023

Dear colleagues,

The following five items were on the agenda of the GCC meeting of 28 February 2023, on which the CSC members of the GCC raised their concerns and tried to get further clarifications.

- Revision of Circular No. 364 – Implementation of the New Career System – Rewards related amendments – for consultation GCC/DOC 02/2023

- General Guidelines on Rewards 2023 (President’s Instructions on Rewards) – for consultation GCC/DOC 03/2023

- Amendments of the Service Regulations related to the Staff Committee Elections (CA/9/23) – for consultation GCC/DOC 04/2023

- GCC Rules of Procedure – for consultation GCC/DOC 05/2023

- Data Protection Framework for the Administrative Council and its subsidiary bodies – for information GCC/DOC 06/2023

The detailed and reasoned opinions by the CSC members of the GCC can be read in this paper.

The EPO is in a state of crisis because not only sceptics and critics are becoming more vocal. Even longtime allies of the Office are growing impatient. We reproduce a recent letter below.

EPO quality letter page 1

EPO quality letter page 2

Links 17/03/2023: Linux 6.2.7 and LibreSSL 3.7.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 9:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • Adolfo OchagavíaThe birth of a package manager

      Since my time at the university, pursuing a Computer Science degree, I have always been fascinated by programming languages and the tooling around them: compilers, IDEs, package managers, etc. Eventually, that got me involved as a hobbyist in the development of the Rust compiler and rust-analyzer, but I never got the chance to work professionally on programming language tooling… until two months ago! In January, the nice folks at prefix.dev asked me to help them develop the rattler package manager, and there is lots to tell about what we have achieved since then, so buckle up!

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Linux GizmosESP32S3 dev board can be pre-ordered for $7.49

        The XIAO ESP3S3 is a thumb size module enabled with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and BLE 5.0 connectivity. The new SeeedStudio board includes lithium battery charging support and it provides up to 11x GPIOs.

      • HackadayFish Tank Dosing Pump Built Using Pi Pico

        When you’re maintaining a fish tank, it’s actually quite important to get all your basic chemistry right. Mismanage things, and you’ll kill all the helpful bacteria in the tank, or kill your fish when things get too alkaline or too acidic. To help him get things just right, [yojoebosolo] built a custom dosing pump to maintain his fishtank.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Raspberry PiRP2040 smart event badges for Hacker Hotel

        Hacker Hotel attendees weren’t given just any old badge and lanyard this year; they were adorned with an RP2040-based piece of artwork that not only sent you around the hotel to find everything, but also tested you with a few on-board games.

        RP2040 is the brains of this event amulet, with a CR2032 coin cell powering everything. The top third of the badge carries the circuitry and the lower two thirds has a row of buttons and LEDs which do lots of fun things. More on that later.

      • HackadayHackaday Berlin: Final Schedule, Last Call For Tickets, And More

        Hackaday Berlin is just about a week away, and we’ve just put the finishing touches on our preparations. And that includes a snazzy landing page, the full schedule, details on the Friday night meetup, and more.

      • Hackaday8086 Multiply Algorithm Gets Reverse Engineered

        The 8086 has been around since 1978, so it’s pretty well understood. As the namesake of the prevalent x86 architecture, it’s often studied by those looking to learn more about microprocessors in general. To this end, [Ken Shirriff] set about reverse engineering the 8086’s multiplication algorithm.

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • UndeadlyOpenSSH 9.3/9.3p1 released

      On 2023-03-15, the release of version 9.3 of OpenSSH was announced: [...]

    • Mailing list ARChivesLibreSSL 3.7.1 Released

      We have released LibreSSL 3.7.1, which will be arriving in the LibreSSL directory of your local OpenBSD mirror soon. This is the final development release for the 3.7.x branch, and we appreciate additional testing and feedback before the stable release coming soon with OpenBSD 7.3

    • UndeadlyLibreSSL 3.7.1 Released

      With a message to openbsd-announce and other lists, Brent Cook (bcook@) announced the release of LibreSSL 3.7.1, with numerous improvements.

    • PowerDNSThird Release Candidate of PowerDNS DNSdist 1.8.0

      We are very happy to release the third candidate of what will become dnsdist 1.8.0!

    • Brad TauntInstalling Ruby with RVM on Alpine Linux

      For some on-going projects I need to switch to different versions of ruby. Although there exist many step-by-step instructions on installing and configuring rvm for most Linux distros, there aren’t many focused on Alpine “daily drivers”.

      So this post is more or less a helpful document for my future self. If it happens to help others then that’s an added bonus!

    • PurismToward Matrix support in Chats – Part 2

      Matrix integration within the Chats app is progressing and this post is detailing the development progress since the last one. This update is not so much about new features but more about bug fixes and great improvements that make Chats slowly becoming an everyday “1 to 1” and “small groups” messaging app for both SMS/MMS and the more private end to end encrypted IP conversations.

      Until now, one of the main issues that prevented me from using Chats for everyday Matrix conversations with my friends and family was the fact that after rebooting the phone, my session would constantly be re-created, along with a new session ID that made me have to re-verify the session from another device over and over again. This is now fixed, since v0.7.0 and after weeks of using it, my phone is still using the same session ID.

      Another annoying issue that was affecting both SMS/MMS and IP messaging was the duplication of messages in the conversation. A full restart of Chats by rebooting the phone would restore the conversation with no duplicated messages. This has also been fixed in v0.7.0.

    • Call for Papers for LibreOffice Conference 2023

      Meet us in Bucharest, and tell us what you’re doing with LibreOffice!

    • Web Browsers/Web Servers

      • [Old] David Hamannnginx alias misconfiguration allowing path traversal

        I recently came across an nginx server that had a vulnerable alias configuration which allowed anyone to read files outside the intended directory. In the following post I will describe the misconfiguration and provide demo files so that you can experiment with it yourself.

      • Terence EdenA quick guide to getting Mozilla VPN working on a headless Linux server

        The Mozilla VPN service is great, but it doesn’t work using the CLI if you have a “headless” server. After a bit of faffing about, I got it working. I suffered so you don’t have to.

    • Education

      • MWL“Run Your Own Mail Server” chapter 0

        I’m about to open “Run Your Own Mail Server” for sponsorships. This book is a little different than most other books I’ve written, so I’m sharing the introductory chapter.

        This is uncopyedited. Unreviewed. It exists to illustrate scope, not for folks to send me corrections. Yet. Before I complete the book, I will probably discard and redraft this chapter. Bridge Out Ahead. Slippery When Wet. No warranty of fitness for purpose. Probably causes cancer, chin hemorrhoids, and alternaria leaf blight.

    • Programming/Development

      • CanonicalHelp us build better doc

        While there are many developers, though, there are few technical authors to translate all this glory into immortal prose — or at least into a decent how-to guide. In fact, large teams of 20 or 30 developers often depend on just one writer to produce all of their documentation. This seems like an unbalanced workload: many features, many developers, one technical author — and yet, it’s a very common practice.

      • RlangKaizen Project for R Package Documentation

        Beginning with the present open call for proposals, the ISC will award grants for projects to improve the documentation of “essential” R or Bioconductor packages. By essential, we mean packages that help to form the backbone of R’s capabilities in some area of statistical or computational analysis and are important to an identifiable segment of the R Community. It is likely that a significant proportion of the packages in CRAN Task Views and on Bioconductor will meet these criteria.

      • Lawrence TrattRust’s Two Kinds of ‘Assert’ Make for Better Code

        Daniel Lemire’s recent post “runtime asserts are not free” looks at the run-time cost of assert statements in C and shows that a simple assert in a frequently executed loop can cause significant overhead.

        My own opinion on assertions has shifted over the years, from “I don’t see the point” to “use them sparingly” to “use them as much as possible”. That last shift is largely due to Rust having two kinds of “assert” statement – assert and debug_assert – which has allowed me to accurately express two different kinds of assertions, largely freeing me from performance worries. If you come from a language that only has one kind of assert statement, this distinction can seem pointless, so in this post I want to briefly explain why it helped shift my thinking.

      • Andrew HutchingsShape drawing on the SSD1351 display

        Based on the previous few posts, we now have lots of things we can do with the SSD1351 display. One additional thing we can play with this time is drawing shapes. There are a few tricks to doing this quickly. As with previous posts, this will work on other displays with minimal effort to convert it.

      • OpenSource.comWrite documentation that actually works for your community

        What distinguishes successful and sustainable projects from those that disappeared into the void? Spoiler — it’s community. Community is what drives an open source project, and documentation is one of the foundational blocks for building a community. In other words, documentation isn’t only about documentation.

        Establishing good documentation can be difficult, though. Users don’t read documentation because it’s inconvenient, it goes out of date very quickly, there’s too much, or there’s not enough.

        The development team doesn’t write documentation because of the “it’s obvious for me, so it’s obvious to everyone” trap. They don’t write because they are too busy making the project exist. Things are developing too fast, or they’re not developing fast enough.

        But good documentation remains the best communication tool for groups and projects. This is especially true considering that projects tend to get bigger over time.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Jussi PakkanenThe PDF text model is quite nice, actually

        As was discussed earlier, the way PDF handles fonts and glyphs is arcane and tedious. It takes a lot of boilerplate and hitting your shins against sharp stones to get working. However once you do and can turn to the higher level text functionality, things become a lot nicer. (Right-to-left, vertical and calligraphic scripts might be more difficult, but I don’t know any of those.)

  • Leftovers

    • Counter PunchIs Love Extreme?: A Politics of Honest Indignation

      Recently I met a cousin for lunch whom I had not seen in years. Our mothers were first cousins in their small kin group of 6 first cousins, five of them women, who sparkled with robust intelligence and humor right up into old age. Talking about my writing – she had never read my essays as far as I know – I mentioned how I had come to be, to my own surprise, a thinker, in love with my power to imagine forth ideas. She smiled, and said something to the effect of of course you’re smart like all the Stebers (our mutual great-grandfather, son of Alsatian immigrants, was a prodigious inventor, holder of many patents). I corrected her: But I never knew I could think. Growing up in a household where ideas and politics were not discussed, argued over, etc., – in fact where opinions apparently were a private matter not to be aired in public – I never knew the having of ideas was a dimension of humanness, not meant to be optional.

      Of course, I didn’t say all this to her. But now I know that being discouraged from thinking, from forming ideas about the most important matters that one must express/defend as one’s truth – is a severe deprivation. (We could once have called it a deprivation particularly affecting women, but looking around, the absence of serious thinking is now the norm.)

    • Austin Z HenleyDon’t trap me in a chat window

      It is important to not trap the user into the chat window. Let them use the rest of the application in collaboration with the AI! This will take time for deeper integrations to happen, and it is what will really make these AI features shine.

    • Counter PunchMice Who Stop Fearing Cats

      We enjoy having a feeling that we are in control in our lives, and most of us will do incredible feats of mental gymnastics to retain that (often) illusory belief. We may cede to some amount of circumstantial nudging, but overall we want to believe, especially if from America, that ultimately we are in control of  at least our belief system and behaviors. But what if I told you there’s a very good chance the biome in your own body, that is the microbial life and previous footprint of infections, could be a very large determining factor in your mood and perhaps even risk taking behaviors?

      Many have heard about the effects found in mice that become infected with toxoplasmosis.

    • Counter PunchThe Lobster Crawl to Revolution

      Aside from his Symbolist autobiography Aurelia, Gerard de Nerval was also famous for walking his pet lobster around town on a leash. Memorably, the leash was a pink ribbon (Satie paid homage to Nerval by binding his late-period musical scores in pink bows). This lobster also seems a fine metaphor for Nerval’s historical studies in The Illuminated, or the Precursors of Socialism, first published in 1852, now superbly translated into English by Peter Valente and published by Wakefield Press. Lost on dry land, the lobster makes its sidereal way, halting and prehistoric, arriving in its own time—if it arrives at all, for this journey might be all of crustacean life—back again at the waters’ edge. Water signifies flowing time. The ripples on its face are the echoes of deep undersea currents, the origins of revolutions which bubble up and flash for a brilliant instant on the surface before receding into uninterrupted calm.

      At first glance, the subtitle of his book seems mysterious and contradictory: mysticism and materialism are united. Nerval’s ‘precursors of socialism’ are six disparate figures who played some role in the making of the French Revolution. He traces their eccentric lifelines in a great web of ideas and wild biographies which forms a secretive milieu in the fabric of the times, a set of anomalies orbiting the momentous event of 1789. The book ends with the establishment of the Consulate, and with it comes the victory of bourgeois power and the final cessation of the revolutionary moment.

    • Counter PunchHow I Entered the Art World

      I became a professional philosopher, like every academic nowadays, by taking graduate classes, learning to write and critique philosophical essays and reading the relevant literature. And then writing a doctoral dissertation. Entering the philosophy world is a well-organized activity, but entering the art world is generally a less formal process. I entered thanks to the complicated relationship with a businessman whom I will identify as T. (For reasons that will become clear, I prefer not to name him.) His story is interesting and maybe revealing, and since he’s passed, as have many of the other people in this story, now it can be frankly told.

      T was a gifted, generous printer and art dealer who made and sold monotypes, and unique works of art on paper. I was introduced to him by an artist friend. T wanted to have a book about his art, and so he hired me as his writer. At the start, I knew nothing about monotypes, and so I had to spend some years visiting T’s studio and interviewing his artists. There were experienced writers ready to do such a book. Really, then, so I gradually realized, what T wanted was a relationship. And so I spent a lot of time with him. Although not a particularly bookish person, he respected my intellectual interests. Coming from a privileged family, T had a vast, two-story studio and home in Tribeca. At the center of his life were the big printing presses. T introduced many of the artists he worked with. He traded art on the walls at a grand, very nearby French restaurant for an amazing tab, and so we benefitted from that exchange. Once when the famous English critic David Sylvester came to town, we wined and dined him. Often we took other guests there. And on one occasion, T and I traveled to Italy together.

    • Counter PunchThe Lesson of the Lisbon Earthquake

      The great earthquake that suddenly destroyed Lisbon in November 1755 was perhaps the most disastrous  natural phenomenon to strike Europe since the Mt. Vesuvius explosion of the first century—at maybe 9 on the Richter scale it virtually leveled  the largest of the continent’s  great capitals, with the immediate deaths of perhaps 50,000 people and the loss of vast amounts of treasure from the vast Portuguese empire stored along the Tagus.  But it was more: it was an event that changed the way Europeans thought not only about a benevolent God but about the role of humans in the earth’s systems, and thus ushered in the Age of Enlightenment.

      Challenges to that thought had begun to surface in Europe earlier in the century.  Descartes in France had come up with a Discourse in 1637 that held that individual humans were capable of determining truths, by reasoning and scientific analysis: “Cogito, ergo sum.” Newton followed not long after with his Principia Mathematica in 1687 that provided the tools by which to capture scientific reasoning and natural law, and thus the road to progress.  The Enlightenment—the triumph of a human-centered mode of thought and action that proved individual use of logical reason and scientific method led to personal liberty and social advancement, to which the church and the crown were only impediments.

    • Jim NielsenThe Alphabet as Technology

      If I was on the alphabet marketing team — and I’m not talking about Google’s parent company here — I’d plug some punchy tagline like, “Twenty-six boring letters, an infinite number of exciting possibilities.”

    • HackadayCoffee Grinder Gets Bluetooth Weighing

      Some people take their coffee grinding seriously. So what do you do when the hot new grinders automatically weigh coffee, and yours doesn’t? Well, if you are like [Tech Dregs] and the rest of us, you hack your existing grinder, of course. The link is to the source code, but for a quick overview, check out the video below.

    • ScheerpostFear of God
    • The NationTo Build a Better World, We Have to First Imagine It

      Reckoning is an act of doing. It’s what V (formerly Eve Ensler), the author, activist, and playwright started doing during the quiet times of Covid. The result is her new best-selling memoir. Reckoning is a collection of poetry, prose, polemic, and play excerpts dating back to the 1980s. She calls “reckoning” the antidote to fascism, and it’s ultimately not something we can each of us do alone. V is a Tony and Obie Award–winning phenomenon. Her play, The Vagina Monologues, has been performed in more than 140 countries and sparked a movement to stop violence, V-Day, which turns 25 this year.

    • The NationBeautiful, Lonely, and Degraded: Gavin Lambert’s LA

      First published in 1971, Gavin Lambert’s delectable novel The Goodby People takes place in a Los Angeles as beautiful as it is degraded: The dusk comes on warm, with “just enough humidity to make it cling,” and scarlet flowers float on swimming pools, while the Santa Monica mountains, choked by smog, appear as desolate in the distance as a “photograph of the moon.” The city’s inhabitants are similarly disaggregated and dissociated by distances of “twenty or thirty miles.” Sex is casual; relationships are transitory, and people tend to leave without a trace. Everyone in The Goodby People, whether they hail from the rich enclaves of the coast or a squat in East Hollywood, is alone, it seems, but connection is our narrator’s intent.

    • Science

      • Eesti RahvusringhäälingUniversity of Tartu researchers developing Estonia’s first lunar rover

        Researchers and students at the Tartu Observatory of the University of Tartu have begun work on the development of what will become Estonia’s first ever lunar rover. The project aims to land Estonian technology on the Moon by the end of this decade or the start of the next.

    • Education

      • Library Case[IFLA]’s Frustrating Elections 2023

        As an individual member of IFLA, I have very limited voting rights in the organisation’s election of a new Governing Board. Nonetheless, I try to follow the ongoing elections. Today I looked at the candidates and their “motivational statements”, i.e. their self-presentations and programme statements (these can be read here).

        In general, I feel somewhat despondent that not a single one of them, as far as I could see, has anything new or substantial to offer. The demand for openness and transparency that so many mention is a good value, but how much is this value worth on its own? Candidates attest to their love, care and enthusiasm for running and engaging with IFLA. But they carefully avoid setting any strategic goals or elaborating on what should change. The underlying, implicit idea behind their “programme statements” is apparently that Ifla’s current global vision and strategy are perfectly satisfactory, that Ifla should by and large continue as hitherto, except for this flaw of lack of openness, transparency, which is now to be corrected. The same applies to the reasons given by the Verein Deutscher Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare (read more here) for abstaining from involvement in Ifla’s election process. The Swedish Library Association, (SLA) for their part, wants to “replace the entire board”. In the name of openness and transparency, one would, however, expect them to announce their own candidates for the new board and why they should be voted for. Therefore, is good that the SLA has at least disclosed the name of Leif Mårtenson whom they have nominated for the important post of Treasurer. I’ll return to their choice further down.

      • Common DreamsDon’t Look Now, But the Far Right May Be Trying to Steal the Future

        If you’re a well-informed Republican leader, you know you have a problem. The extreme right-wing, which is really the only right-wing that exists these days, is losing the future. Baby boomers may still love them, but millennials and Generation Zers largely reject their agenda. Year by year, as more boomers disappear, Gen Zers, the age group Republicans do by far the worst with, are not only coming of age, but also voting in greater numbers than many expected. Meanwhile, while the data is somewhat mixed, recent evidence suggests millennials may actually be growing even less conservative as they age.

      • Common DreamsTexas Officials Stage ‘Hostile Takeover’ of Houston Schools

        Public education advocates on Wednesday were outraged as Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration announced the state would take over the Houston Independent School District despite recent improvements in school performance that were achieved as the district remains chronically underfunded.

      • Common DreamsTens of Thousands of New Zealand Teachers Strike to Protest Shortages, Low Pay

        An estimated 50,000 New Zealand educators walked off the job Thursday to demand better pay, improved working conditions, and more government support amid a worsening cost-of-living crisis and a teacher shortage that has left many questioning their future in the profession.

      • TruthOutStrike at The New School Spawned a Radical Coalition That’s Still Going Strong
    • Hardware

      • HackadayRobot Hand Looks And Acts Like The Real Thing

        Throughout history, visions of the future included human-looking robots. These days we have plenty of robots, but they don’t look like people. They look like disembodied arms, cars, and over-sized hockey pucks concealing a vacuum cleaner. Of course there’s still demand for humanoid robots like Commander Data, but there are many challenges: eyes, legs, skin, and hands. A company known as Clone may have the solution for that last item. The Clone Hand is “the most human-level musculoskeletal hand in the world,” according to the company’s website.

      • HackadayReplacing A Clock IC’s Battery

        You can find a lot of strange things inside IC packages. For example, the Dallas DS12885 and DS12887 real time clock “chips” were available in a large package with an internal battery. The problem, of course, is that batteries die. [New Old Computer Show] wanted to restore a machine that used one of these devices and was able to repair the device. You can see two videos below. In the first video, he replaces both the battery and adds an external oscillator which would be necessary for the DS12885. However, he actually had the DS12887, which has an internal oscillator, something the second video explains.

      • HackadayTaking Apart IKEA’s Latest Air Quality Sensor

        Whether it’s because they’re concerned about worsening pollution or the now endemic variants of COVID-19, a whole lot of people have found themselves in the market for a home air quality monitor thee last couple of years. IKEA noted this trend awhile back, and released the VINDRIKTNING sensor to capitalize on the trend.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • NPRThe U.K. is the latest to ban TikTok on government phones because of security concerns

        Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden told Parliament that the ban applies with immediate effect to work phones and other devices used by government ministers and civil servants. He described the ban as a “precautionary move,” and said it does not apply to personal phones and devices.

      • India TimesUK to ban TikTok on government phones

        TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny due to fears that user data from the app owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, undermining Western security interests.

        Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre has been reviewing whether TikTok should be barred from government phones, while the United States, Canada, Belgium and the European Commission have already banned the app.

      • India TimesNew Zealand to ban TikTok on devices with access to parliamentary network

        Gonzalez-Montero, in an email to Reuters, said the decision was taken after advice from cybersecurity experts and discussions within government and with other countries.

        “Based on this information the Service has determined that the risks are not acceptable in the current New Zealand Parliamentary environment,” he said.

      • New York TimesU.K. Bans TikTok on Government Devices

        Speaking in Parliament, Oliver Dowden, a senior cabinet minister, announced the ban with immediate effect, describing it as “precautionary,” even though the United States, the European Union’s executive arm, Canada and India had already taken similar steps. New Zealand did so on Friday.

        Social media apps collect and store “huge amounts of user data including contacts, user content and geolocation data on government devices that data can be sensitive,” Mr. Dowden said, but TikTok has aroused more suspicion than most because of its owner, the Chinese company ByteDance.

      • Hong Kong Free PressNew Zealand to ban Chinese-owned app TikTok from lawmakers’ devices

        New Zealand will ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from lawmakers’ devices, officials told AFP Friday, becoming the latest Western nation to act on security fears about the platform. TikTok will be banned on all devices with access to the parliamentary network, Parliamentary Service chief executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said.

      • BW Businessworld Media Pvt LtdNew Zealand Bans TikTok On Phones Of MPs Amid Rising Security Concerns

        The executive informed of the new move to the New Zealand MPs after Britain banned the Chinese-owned video app on government phones with immediate effect, overnight recently.

      • [Old] New York TimesYoung TikTok Users Quickly Encounter Problematic Posts, Researchers Say

        Once young users viewed and liked content about body image and mental health, TikTok automatically recommended related videos to them every 39 seconds, according to the researchers. To test the app, the researchers set up eight accounts in August, posing as 13-year-olds, the minimum age for users, in the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada.

        “The pathways into extreme content were so innocuous,” Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said in an interview. “Your eye might be caught by a video of an aspirational body in beautiful clothes and very quickly the algorithm realizes you’re interested in body image.”

      • Counter PunchA (Bad) Trip to the Most Radioactive Place in America

        The following is an adapted excerpt from the preface of Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America (Haymarket Books, 2022)

      • The NationThe Self-Appointed Covid Experts Are At It Again

        Over the past month, two topics in Covid science have made the news everywhere, from newspapers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal to cable news channels, and across social media and other websites. The first was precipitated by a systematic review of studies on masking by the Cochrane Library. The second was whipped up by a Department of Energy assessment on Covid’s origins.

      • “Can colleges mandate Ozempic?” Clever or clueless analogy? You be the judge!

        It’s been a while since my attention has been drawn back to Dr. Vinay Prasad, the 0.2 FTE academic oncologist at UCSF who before the pandemic first caught my attention because he appeared to be a champion of evidence-based medicine and more rigor in clinical trials used to approve oncology drugs. The operative phrase is “appeared to be” because, soon after the pandemic hit, Dr. Prasad took a heel turn into COVID-19 contrarianism and antivax-adjacent propaganda to the point of going full Godwin and likening interventions to slow the spread of the pandemic to incipient fascism, whining about the “misinformation police” and “obsessive criticism” on social media of COVID contrarians like him, and disparaging fear of COVID-19 as irrational anxiety. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been so surprised, given how a few months before the pandemic Dr. Prasad had started attacking skeptics who debunked antivaccine pseudoscience and alternative medicine like homeopathy because, apparently, he viewed such an activity as too beneath his massive intellect, likening it to “dunking on a 7′ hoop.” In retrospect, I suppose that it was inevitable that he’d write something as mind-bogglingly stupid as his latest Substack, Can colleges mandate ozempic? and violate Betteridge’s law of headlines by answering, “Established precedent says yes!”

      • How Forest Loss Can Unleash the Next Pandemic

        The forests around the epicenter of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak are getting patchier. The next pandemic could emerge from the edges around these patches, where wildlife and humans mix.

      • Copenhagen PostNew report: Denmark’s air quality worst in the Nordics

        Things are improving, but according to figures from IQ Air, the air quality in the country fails to live up to WHO guidelines

    • Proprietary

      • ABCOpenAI CEO Sam Altman says AI will reshape society, acknowledges risks: ‘A little bit scared of this’

        In his interview, Altman was emphatic that OpenAI needs both regulators and society to be as involved as possible with the rollout of ChatGPT — insisting that feedback will help deter the potential negative consequences the technology could have on humanity. He added that he is in “regular contact” with government officials.

        ChatGPT is an AI language model, the GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer.

      • GoogleMultiple Internet to Baseband Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilities in Exynos Modems

        In late 2022 and early 2023, Project Zero reported eighteen 0-day vulnerabilities in Exynos Modems produced by Samsung Semiconductor. The four most severe of these eighteen vulnerabilities (CVE-2023-24033 and three other vulnerabilities that have yet to be assigned CVE-IDs) allowed for Internet-to-baseband remote code execution. Tests conducted by Project Zero confirm that those four vulnerabilities allow an attacker to remotely compromise a phone at the baseband level with no user interaction, and require only that the attacker know the victim’s phone number. With limited additional research and development, we believe that skilled attackers would be able to quickly create an operational exploit to compromise affected devices silently and remotely.

        The fourteen other related vulnerabilities (CVE-2023-26072, CVE-2023-26073, CVE-2023-26074, CVE-2023-26075, CVE-2023-26076 and nine other vulnerabilities that are yet to be assigned CVE-IDs) were not as severe, as they require either a malicious mobile network operator or an attacker with local access to the device.

    • Security

      • Integrity/Availability/Authenticity

        • [Old] David HamannBeware of wilcards paths in sudo commands

          So while the wildcard sounds like an easy way to solve the initial problem, it is always better to be explicit about what a user can do (either by putting a restricting regular expression in place or – even better – always explicitly targeting a file or declaring a static argument), for example by listing all the full commands with the different arguments that are allowed to be executed or by building a small wrapper program.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • YLEIS: Police investigate minister’s WhatsApp account hijacking claims

          “We are trying to find out whether a crime has really happened here or not,” said NBI inspector Sami Siurola.

        • The HillMicrosoft adding AI technology to Word, Excel

          In a news release, Microsoft said its new AI feature, referred to as Copilot, will be built off of “the power of large language models (LLMs) with business data and the Microsoft 365 apps, to unleash creativity, unlock productivity and uplevel skills.”

        • Silicon Angle4.2M records exposed in breach at healthcare provider Independent Living Systems

          Independent Living Systems LLC, a Florida-based healthcare and managed care solutions provider, has suffered a data breach with the records of some 4.2 million individuals potentially stolen.

          In a statement March 14, the company said it experienced an “incident involving the inaccessibility of certain computer systems on its network” last July 5. ILS hired outside cybersecurity specialists and launched an investigation, which found that an unauthorized actor obtained access to certain systems between June 30 and July 5, 2022.

        • TechdirtFBI Latest To Admit To Bypassing Warrant Requirements By Purchasing Location Info From Data Brokers

          Well… fuck the Supreme Court, I guess.

        • TechdirtYes, The US Government Threatening To Block TikTok Violates The 1st Amendment

          You may have heard that the Biden administration has told TikTok that it must be divested from ByteDance or it will be banned in the US. At least that’s what TikTok said the administration has said. The end result of this might well be that ByteDance divests of TikTok, but we should be clear: the threat, and any potential block, would be a clear, blatant, dangerous violation of the 1st Amendment.

        • Site36German Data Protection Commissioner finds numerous deficiencies in surveillance

          On Wednesday, the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection, Ulrich Kelber, presented his latest report on activities at a press conference in Berlin. presented. It shows that last year the authority was notified of 10,658 data protection violations last year, a good five per cent more than in 2021.

          Kelber, a former SPD member of parliament, monitors compliance with data protection at federal public agencies as well as at companies that provide telecommunications and postal services. For this purpose, he and his team undertakes inspection visits and prepares audit reports, which are followed by recommendations or orders. Kelber also regularly checks their implementation. The control of other business enterprises, clubs, associations or political parties, on the other hand, is the responsibility of the 16 state commissioners for data protection.

        • TechdirtOregon’s DMV Database Is Broken And That Means Innocent People Are Spending Months Behind Bars

          The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles is pretty much just renting a car from Hertz. Participating in either system greatly increases your chances of spending time jailed for crimes you didn’t commit.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The EconomistWhat to make of a clash between a Russian jet and an American drone

        In the latest encounter, American officials say that the Su-27s conducted 19 close passes and sprayed jet fuel on the Reaper, possibly to obscure its sensors. On the last pass, one jet struck the Reaper’s rear propeller forcing its controllers to glide it into the water. Russia denies this account, insisting that the plane fell into the sea after “sharp manoeuvring”. A video from the Reaper, released by US European Command on March 16th (pictured above), corroborates the American claims. It shows the Su-27 swooplng up wildly next to the drone, and a damaged propeller in the aftermath. American officials have described the intercept as “unsafe”, “unprofessional” and “juvenile”—but Lloyd Austin, America’s defence secretary, said that it was not clear whether the collision itself was intentional. Russian pilots are likely to have taken greater risks with a drone than they would have done had a human pilot been on board. In 2016 China seized an American naval drone in the South China Sea—something it would not have dreamed of doing with a crewed vessel.

      • TruthOutBlinken Visits Niger as Biden Moves to Counter China and Russia in Africa
      • Democracy NowBlinken Visits Niger, Home to U.S. Drone Base, as Biden Moves to Counter China & Russia in Africa

        U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Niger and Ethiopia as part of the Biden administration’s growing competition with China and Russia for influence across Africa. Niger has become a critical U.S. ally in the Sahel region, and the U.S. opened a new drone base in the city of Agadez in 2019. The U.S. has about 800 military personnel in Niger, and Blinken’s trip marks the first visit to the country by a U.S. secretary of state. “Niger is one of the last strongholds of U.S. security partnerships in the region,” says Stephanie Savell, co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University, who has researched U.S. militarism in West Africa and beyond. We also speak with writer and activist Coumba Toure, chair of the board for TrustAfrica and an ambassador for Africans Rising for Unity, Justice, Peace and Dignity. “Africa needs to be looked at as a continent where there are human beings, not just for power gains and for exploitation,” says Toure.

      • YLENiinistö expects Erdogan to announce approval of Nato membership on Friday

        “The Turks have hoped that I will be there to acknowledge it when they announce this decision,” Niinistö said.

      • Copenhagen PostDenmark’s military spending on the rise as world’s powers sharpen claws

        Yesterday the prime minister of Mongolia told British newspaper The Times of his fears that the world is sliding into a new Cold War. This can only be bad news, he lamented, for small democracies like his, which is squeezed

      • Democracy NowWill Peace Hold in Tigray? Blinken Visits Ethiopia Four Months After Truce Reached to End War

        U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Wednesday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other top officials, including leaders from the northern Tigray region. Blinken praised the four-month-old peace deal that ended two years of fighting between government troops and forces in Tigray, and called for accountability for war crimes committed during the conflict without casting blame on either side. Blinken also announced $331 million in new U.S. humanitarian assistance for Ethiopia. “It’s an important trip by the secretary of state, because the U.S. is one of the major brokers of the peace deal that was signed in November between the Tigrayan officials and the federal government,” says journalist Tsedale Lemma, founder of the Addis Standard, an English-language monthly news magazine based in Ethiopia. She says the U.S. must push for the “full implementation” of the peace deal, which is currently not happening.

      • Counter PunchVeterans in Labor: How Unions Benefit From Ex-Soldiers in Their Ranks

        Even in the era of identity politics, one category of identity is much ignored: what journalist Joe Glenton calls “veteranhood.” In the U.S., nineteen million people, across several generations, share a strong sense of personal identity based on having served in the military.

        Mainstream media outlets tend to notice veterans only when they’re voting Republican or joining right-wing militias, white supremacist groups, or other MAGA-land formations. On the left, former soldiers who become anti-war activists are highly regarded. But the far larger number of military veterans (more than 100,000) who become law enforcement officers are seen, for good reason, as contributing to the problem of  militarized policing, along with the better known Pentagon-to-police equipment pipeline.

      • Telex (Hungary)Hungarian government blocked Ukraine’s accession to NATO cyber centre until war, now it would approve it
      • YLEReuters: Turkey to approve Finland’s Nato bid independently from Sweden’s, Hungary delays vote again

        Turkey will ratify Finland’s application by mid-April, the news agency says, while the timetable for Hungary’s decision remains unclear.

      • DiEM25Yanis Varoufakis brutally attacked by group of thugs in Athens

        A short while ago, Yanis Varoufakis was the victim of a cowardly attack. He was at an Athens restaurant with DiEM25 members from all over Europe, when a small group of thugs stormed the place shouting aggressively, falsely accusing him of signing off on Greece’s bailouts with the Troika. Varoufakis stood up to talk to them but they immediately responded with violence, savagely beating him while filming the scene.

      • GreeceVaroufakis blames ‘hired thugs’ for assault

        “A small group of thugs stormed the place shouting aggressively, falsely accusing him of signing off on Greece’s bailouts with the troika. Varoufakis stood up to talk to them but they immediately responded with violence, savagely beating him while filming the scene,” a DiEM25 statement read.

        MeRA25, the Greek wing of DiEM25, described it as a “brazen fascist attack.”

      • Hellas Posts EnglishYanis Varoufakis: One of the perpetrators of the attack was identified

        The unanimous condemnation of the parties of the democratic arc, reminded that such fascist incidents are not tolerated in democracy. Executives of MERA25, speaking to protothema.gr, they spoke of provocations but also of a “professional” blow. “This is a well-organized provocation, a fascist attack against Yanis Varoufakis” his close associate pointed out.

      • MeduzaRussia’s Supreme Court declares the Freedom of Russia Legion, reportedly comprised of Russian volunteers fighting for Ukraine, a ‘terrorist organization’ — Meduza

        The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has declared a unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, known as the Freedom of Russia Legion, a “terrorist organization.”

      • MeduzaA Russian military underwater robot reportedly finds downed U.S. drone in the Black Sea — Meduza

        The American MQ-9 reaper drone, which was shot down over the Black Sea, has been found near Sevastopol, at a depth of 850–900 meters (nearly 3,000 feet). Sevastopol publication ForPost reported the news, citing a source close to Russia’s Defense Ministry who is familiar with the details of the operation.

      • Counter PunchCacophany, Not Harmony: US Foreign Policy’s Terrible Tune

        On March 14, a Russian SU-27 fighter brought down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. The exact details of where and how remain a mystery even after the release of drone video showing what appears to be a dump of jet fuel onto the drone, but those details don’t matter much. The incident mainly serves as an excuse for more ratcheting up of US-Russian tensions around the war in Ukraine.

        When I think of drones, I’m more likely to think of music — yes, music — than of unmanned military aircraft. And thinking about the drone effect in music provides a useful analogy to US foreign policy.

      • MeduzaDead souls The Anti-Corruption Foundation’s ex-chairman says the West should lift sanctions against repentant Russian elites, but his group has cleared just three people since August (because they died) — Meduza

        Last week, Alexey Navalny’s longtime associate Leonid Volkov resigned from his chairman’s post at ACF International (also known as the Anti-Corruption Foundation), amid a scandal around his surreptitious signing of two letters seeking sanctions relief for several Russian oligarchs. But Volkov hasn’t abandoned the rationale he endorsed in those letters. In an invited policy op-ed published in the March 18 issue of The Economist (where he is identified as “Navalny’s chief of staff”), Volkov continues to argue the same line about the need for “rethinking” personal sanctions against Russia’s elites. The scandal around Volkov’s abuse of his position at ACF, however, has revealed inconsistencies and murky places in the foundation’s own international policy proposals.

      • Democracy NowDeath, Destruction & Resilience: Nadje Al-Ali on the 20th Anniversary of U.S. Invasion of Iraq

        As the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq approaches next week, Democracy Now! begins our look at the Iraq War’s lasting after-effects on Iraqi society and the shape of global politics today. “The story of the past 20 years is a story of destruction, devastation, corruption, incompetence, but also a story of resilience,” says Nadje Al-Ali, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Brown University and author of several award-winning books on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, including What Kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq.

      • Counter PunchWhat Did the Iraq War Really Cost?
      • The DissenterMarch To Iraq War, 20 Years Later: March 16, 2003
      • ScheerpostEven Peace Is Made in China

        The Iran-Saudi deal spells trouble for U.S. hegemony but potentially a new chapter of peace and prosperity in a deeply troubled world.

      • TruthOutBiden Announces Support for Senate’s Iraq War Authorization Repeal
      • Counter PunchThe Urbanity of Evil: 20 Years After the Invasion of Iraq

        Vast quantities of lies from top U.S. government officials led up to the Iraq invasion. Now, marking its 20th anniversary, the same media outlets that eagerly boosted those lies are offering retrospectives. Don’t expect them to shed light on the most difficult truths, including their own complicity in pushing for war.

        What propelled the United States to start the war on Iraq in March 2003 were dynamics of media and politics that are still very much with us today.

      • Counter PunchThe Not-So-Winding Road from Iraq to Ukraine

        March 19th marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq. This seminal event in the short history of the 21st century not only continues to plague Iraqi society to this day, but it also looms large over the current crisis in Ukraine, making it impossible for most of the Global South to see the war in Ukraine through the same prism as U.S. and Western politicians.

        While the U.S. was able to strong-arm 49 countries, including many in the Global South, to join its “coalition of the willing” to support invading the sovereign nation of Iraq, only the U.K., Australia, Denmark and Poland actually contributed troops to the invasion force, and the past 20 years of disastrous interventions have taught many nations not to hitch their wagons to the faltering U.S. empire.

      • Common DreamsBiden Shows Support as Senate Advances Repeal of Iraq War Authorizations

        As the U.S. Senate on Thursday teed up a vote to end the congressional authorizations for the Gulf and Iraq wars, President Joe Biden formally backed the bipartisan bill.

      • MeduzaRussian serviceman who confessed killing civilian in Ukraine gets suspended prison sentence for ‘spreading fakes’ — Meduza

        A military court in Khabarovsk has issued a 5.5-year suspended sentence in the case of Daniil Frolkin. Earlier, prosecution had requested a six-year prison term for Frolkin, who told the independent Russian publication iStories about killing a civilian in Andriivka, a village in the Kyiv region of Ukraine.

      • MeduzaFire in Rostov-on-Don FSB building kills one, injures two as ammunition explodes inside — Meduza

        A fire broke out in the Rostov-on-Don FSB Border Service building, as reported by the Interfax, citing local emergency services.

      • Project CensoredSeymour Hersh Alleges US Role in Nord Stream Pipeline Blast – Validated Independent News

        For more than a decade, Russia has exerted influence in the region by supplying Germany and other Western European nations with natural gas via Nord Stream 1. The completion of Nord Stream 2 in late 2021 effectively doubled the amount of relatively inexpensive gas flowing from Russia to Western Europe, further weakening US influence over European nations, including its NATO allies.

      • Common DreamsObjecting to One of the Highest US Military Budgets in History

        Last week, the White House released President Biden’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2024, which begins October 1 of 2023.

      • Counter PunchA Democratic End to Ukraine’s War?

        Notably absent until now from the Western narrative regarding the current war in Ukraine and how it might end has been any suggestion that the wishes of the people who lived prior to February 24, 2022 in the four eastern and southern oblasts whose sovereignty has since September 2022 been formally contested between Russia and Ukraine might be of any conceivable relevance.

        Realistically, there are only two ways for this sovereignty dispute to be decided: (i) by further and potentially intensified deaths and destruction until one side of the other achieves “victory”, however defined, in a war which neither Russia nor the United States believes it can afford to lose or (ii) by the votes of a majority of those resident in each oblast prior to February 24, 2022 in referendums organized by the United Nations or another agreed international organization, with both sides committed to accept the referendum results.

      • Counter PunchThe Anti-China Offensive

        The leading endeavor of U.S. foreign policy is now containment of the rise of China, “our most consequential strategic competitor,” as the 2022 National Defense Strategy notes at its start. The response to this “pacing challenge” includes confrontation over Taiwan and obstruction of technological progress, while China’s burgeoning network of economic alliances is singled out as a threat that must be contained. These are shrewd ways of pursuing an overriding goal of U.S. foreign policy, making American preeminence in global power last as long as possible. But the anti-China offensive should be opposed as morally wrong. While, if anything, it worsens repressiveness in China, it encourages an invasion of Taiwan, obstructs the escape from poverty of hundreds of millions in China, and increases the likely future worldwide toll of U.S.-induced violent disorder. The strategic wisdom of these responses to the challenge of China’s rise extends this condemnation to the grand strategic goal that motivates them.

        Confrontation over Taiwan is one prong of the anti-China offensive. Since 2020, the U.S. has sent warships, sometimes two at once, about once a month through the Taiwan Strait. Since 2019, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have amounted to $19.5 billion, accompanied by increased deployment of U.S. military personnel, including Special Forces. Interviewed this past September, Biden followed up on previous assertions of a U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan, noting that “Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence … that’s their decision” before saying that U.S. forces would defend Taiwan if “there was an unprecedented attack.” In October, encouraged by this surging support, the president of Taiwan announced plans for a massive military build-up and declared, “We have no room for compromise” in “defend[ing] our national sovereignty.” In December, Biden signed the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, which authorizes $2 billion a year of aid providing military equipment for the next five years, with loan guarantees for Taiwan’s purchases from non-government sources.

      • Counter Punch“One China,”Taiwan, U.S. Power, and Biden Saber-Rattling into a Crisis

        While the Ukraine-Russia war rages on, President Joseph Biden has set his sights on preparing for a much bigger conflict—an economic and political, and potentially military, war against the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). Over the past several months tension between the U.S. and China has escalated rapidly to a host of issues as seemingly, some trivial and some deadly serious.

        The U.S. has been on a collision course with China for some time, especially since the 2016 Trump campaign put a bullseye on the PRC because of its big balance-of-trade surplus due to cheap labor and the comparative price of its currency, and then Trump upped the ante when he placed tariffs on the PRC and began a virulent anti-China (and anti-Chinese) campaign when COVID broke out.

      • MeduzaDagestani police colonel sentenced to life in prison, in connection with Islamic terrorist attack that killed 41 — Meduza

        A military court in Moscow has sentenced a high-ranking police official from Kizlyar, Dagestan, to life in prison.

    • History

      • The NationFor Women’s History Month, Let’s Make History

        It seems like every year women’s history Month gets less political and more corporate-­celebratory. Yay, women! Who would have dreamed in 1980, when Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Women’s History Week, that we would see Hershey’s honoring the month in 2023 by releasing limited-­edition chocolate bars. But we have bigger issues than candy.

    • Environment

      • RlangPolycrisis: When Will the World End? Professor Gott’s Equation Gives an Answer! (Also as a Video!)

        My colleague Professor Richard Gott III from the elite university of Princeton has developed a simple mathematical model to answer this and many other questions that suffer from a high degree of uncertainty and published his research in the prestigious journal Nature.

        The following post is based on “A math equation that predicts the end of humanity” by William Poundstone, who also wrote a whole book on the matter (“The Doomsday Calculation”).

      • Common DreamsAlliance of 60+ Groups Demands Farm Bill That Rejects False Climate Solutions

        Dozens of climate action, Indigenous rights, and public interest groups on Thursday announced an alliance that plans to engage with lawmakers ahead of this year’s congressional debate on the Farm Bill, calling on them to pass legislation that rejects carbon offsets, carbon markets, and other policies that perpetuate a planet-heating agricultural system.

      • Common DreamsGroups Vow to Sue Biden for Ignoring Demand to End Drilling on Public Lands

        Three environmental groups on Thursday filed a 30-day notice of their intent to sue the Biden administration for refusing to respond to a petition to wind down fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters.

      • Common DreamsIn Reversal of Trump-Era Stance, Biden DOJ Backs Colorado Communities Suing Big Oil

        Climate defenders on Thursday applauded the Justice Department’s move to support communities suing a pair of oil companies by urging the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the corporations’ bid to keep the case out of state court.

      • The NationThe Willow Oil Project Won’t Make Us Safer

        On Monday, the Biden administration green-lighted the Willow Project, a controversial oil drilling venture inside the Arctic Circle proposed by the fossil fuel giant ConocoPhillips. The decision was a bitter disappointment to the legions of young people who had turned out in 2020 to elect the man who had once promised an end to oil drilling on federal lands—“period, period, period.”

      • Counter PunchClimate Policy’s on Shaky Ground in the Farm Bill

        Members of Congress have begun drafting the 2023 “Farm Bill,” and they’ll be wrangling over it through most of the year. This legislation, passed into law anew every fifth year or so since the 1930s, has had far-reaching influence on food and farming in the United States. Each version of the bill is given its own name; the previous one, for example, was called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Given the nature of the early debate over this bill-in-the-making, it might end up deserving to be called the Food and Climate Bill of 2023.

        Over the next two years, any legislation explicitly aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions will be dead on arrival in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. By default, the Farm Bill may now be the playing field for the only climate game in town, according to Washington-watchers such as Peter Lehner, who represents the group Earthjustice. He told Politico last month, “The farm bill is probably going to be the piece of legislation in the next two years with the biggest impact on the climate and the environment.”

      • YLESecond-hand clothes find way to Finnish department store shelves

        The second-hand clothing market is booming in Finland.

      • Energy/Transportation

        • David RosenthalMore Cryptocurrency Gaslighting

          Ignacio de Gregorio is a “crypto expert” with 8.5K followers on Medium and he’s worried. In The one word that can kill Crypto is back he discusses the New York Attorney General’s suit agains KuCoin and, once again, demonstrates how gaslighting is central to the arguments supporting cryptocurrencies. Below the fold I point out the flaws in his argument.

          I’ll start by pointing out that I couldn’t find any disclosure as to whether de Gregorio is long or short cryptocurrencies or related companies. So it is safe to assume that he is one of the majority of “crypto experts” Talking Their Book. And that, with typical crypto-bro misogyny, he personifies the villain of the piece (my emphasis): [...]

        • Renewable Energy WorldWill Michigan cash in on community solar or get left behind?

          Fortunately, bills that would do exactly that were just introduced into the Michigan legislature by state Sens. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Township). This bipartisan legislation consists of two bills: SB 152 would require the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to issue new regulations ensuring all customers have opportunities to participate as subscribers to a community solar facility, among other provisions. No less than 30% of the electricity produced by each community solar facility would be reserved for low-income households and service organizations. Meanwhile, SB 153 would establish rules for those customers to receive proportional bill credits for the output of the community solar facilities to which they subscribe.

          There is another reason community solar is particularly important right now: DTE and Consumers Energy are putting forth their own proposals for utility-owned “community solar” programs. It would be a problem if the future of community solar in Michigan is only utility-owned. The current existing utility programs are small, not offered in communities across the state, and expensive – all issues that could be addressed with more competition and broader opportunities for community solar.

        • India TimesCrypto-linked bank failures fuel regulation debate

          Global finance was rocked by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last week, and the digital currency sector was hit hard by the demise of US crypto lenders Silvergate and Signature — just months after the bankruptcy of troubled crypto exchange trading platform FTX.

          Regulators are increasingly keen for oversight of a sector which boomed during the Covid pandemic when many people were stuck at home.

        • India Times[Cryptocurrency] investors pull $3 billion from stablecoin USDC in three days

          Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies designed to maintain a constant exchange rate with traditional currencies. USDC is the second-biggest stablecoin with a market cap of $37.6 billion.

          From Monday to Wednesday, Circle processed $3.8 billion of USDC redemptions (investors swapping their tokens back into U.S. dollars) and created $0.8 billion more of the token, Circle’s blog post said, meaning investors have pulled around $3 billion overall in the three days.

        • MeduzaGazprom net profits slashed by two-thirds in 2022 — Meduza

          Gazprom has reported a net profit of 747.25 billion rubles in 2022, writes the Russian business publication Kommersant. (This is about $9.79 million in today’s money.)

        • DeSmogUS Justice Department Tells Supreme Court to Reject Big Oil Petition in Colorado Climate Lawsuit

          Communities in the United States suing major fossil fuel producers over climate-related harms got a boost in court on Thursday. At the request of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Department of Justice weighed in on a key procedural question that has been ensnaring the progress of many climate accountability lawsuits — the question of where the lawsuits should be heard.

          In 2018, the city and county of Boulder and the county of San Miguel in Colorado filed suit in state court against ExxonMobil and Suncor, arguing the oil companies’ disinformation about their products hurt Coloradans. But the oil companies pushed for the case to be tried in federal, not state, court – a seemingly minor distinction that could have major consequences.

        • DeSmogThe Fight to Define ‘Green Hydrogen’ Could Determine America’s Emissions Future
        • DeSmogConservative MP Set to Pocket £153,600 from Fossil Fuel-Linked Firms

          Tory MP for The Wrekin, Mark Pritchard, stands to earn £153,600 in the next 12 months from three jobs with companies that have an interest in fossil fuels. 

          A new update to Pritchard’s register of interest shows that the MP has accepted a £46,800 a year role with the Texas-based Focal Point Energy LLP, an energy investment and development company that works for fossil fuel firms. The company is run by a former energy adviser to Donald Trump’s administration, and is advised by a former Republican senator who has questioned climate science.

        • Common DreamsFossil Fuel Giants Urged to ‘Pay Up’ After Tropical Cyclone Freddy Kills 300+

          As the death toll from Tropical Cyclone Freddy continues to rise, climate justice advocates are imploring the fossil fuel corporations most responsible for the destruction to reduce their planet-wrecking emissions, compensate victims, and fund rebuilding.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Hindustan TimesSnow leopard’s prey-catching skills stun the Internet. Watch

          Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Parveen Kaswan regularly shares intriguing wildlife-related posts on Twitter. From sharing mesmerizing pictures of wildlife to challenging people to identify various creatures, the IFS officer’s Twitter account is filled with several fascinating posts. And his recent post on the microblogging site is no different. It captures a snow leopard catching its prey along a super steep slope.

        • Counter PunchAmazon Rainforest Destabilizes the World

          A new 40-year study discovered the eye-opening fact that what happens in the Amazon Rainforest impacts the entire Earth system. This puts an exclamation point on the fact that the Amazon Rainforest, the planet’s most crucial source of life support, is in deep trouble mainly because of massive deforestation.

          The Amazon River Basin is the world’s largest rainforest, larger than the next two largest rainforests combined, the Congo Basin and Indonesia, and roughly the size of the forty-eight contiguous United States covering 40% of South America including parts of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana Suriname and French Guiana.

      • Overpopulation

        • VOA NewsWater Experts Look to Change Attitudes, Policies

          Even when water is accessible, in too many instances it is unsafe to drink. Ho said water quality is an issue that should be of “prime concern” given that chemicals, heavy metals, hormones and other potentially toxic substances are routinely present in the U.S. water supply.

    • Finance

      • Niels ProvosThe Mandalorian Beskar Project Concludes with $20,000 Donated to Second Harvest

        In the video, I document the process of creating a Beskar ingot as seen in the Mandalorian. To create the distinctive Beskar look, I selected two types of steel, 1095 – a plain high carbon steel, and 15n20 – a steel with high nickel content. Through a series of forge welding operations, the different types of steel were fused together under pressure and very high temperatures, eventually reaching around 170 layers. The ingot was then forged and ground to achieve its final dimension. To complete the process, the Galactic Empire sigil was hot stamped onto the ingot and the steel was heat treated, polished, and etched with ferric chloride to bring out the stunning pattern that resembles the iconic Beskar ingot from the Mandalorian series.

        The project not only showcased the incredible craftsmanship involved in creating a beautiful replica of the iconic Beskar steel, but also brought together a community of passionate fans who wanted to make a positive impact. The initial giveaway in the video stimulated this donation campaign, which helped increase awareness about the issue of hunger and food insecurity in California.

      • Michael West MediaThe endless harm of pokies gambling – Perrottet and Minns at odds as Election looms

        With $95 billion a year fed into NSW’s poker machines, and close to $10bn in player losses, gambling reform is high on the list of key policy issues for the looming NSW election. Which party provides the best policy platform to curb gambling harm in the biggest poker machine province in the world? Callum Foote investigates.

        Australians are some of the heaviest gamblers in the world, and NSW tops the country in terms of losses to poker machines, with roughly $5 billion in losses every six months according to the latest government statistics.

      • Telex (Hungary)“We need to pressure the Hungarians” – leaked documents reveal collapse of Russian-led bank in Budapest
      • Counter PunchThe Values of Budget
      • Copenhagen PostNo end to above average inflation – Nationalbanken

        Central bank revises forecast to predict an overall rate of 3.6 percent for 2024 – over double its previous estimate

      • TechdirtCFPB Launches Long Overdue Probe Of Unaccountable Data Broker Market

        We’ve noted for a while that the performative histrionics surrounding TikTok are really just a distraction from our corrupt failure to police dodgy data brokers or pass even a basic privacy law for the internet era. U.S. companies don’t want to lose money by empowering consumers or being ethical, and the U.S. government doesn’t want to get warrants for data it can buy cheaply from brokers.

      • DataGeeekFood Inflation: Comparing with Interactive Chart of {ggiraph}

        According to authorities, up to 205 million are facing food insecurity in about 45 countries. Besides global warming that causes poor rainfall performance, another strong reason to worry about the issue is the Russian invasion of Ukraine which causes trade-related restrictions.

        I’ve just wondered how this reflects on food inflation. To do that, we will examine the food CPI rates of some G20 countries. First, we build our dataset.

      • Common DreamsGOP Author of Bank Deregulation Bill Says ‘No Need’ for Tougher Safeguards

        Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, the lead author of a 2018 bank deregulation law that weakened key guardrails designed to prevent another financial crisis, insisted this week that there is “no need” to impose more strict rules following two of the largest bank collapses in U.S. history.

      • Common DreamsWhat Will It Take to End the Billionaire Bailout Society We Live In?

        In case we need any more proof, the bailout of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is yet another overt sign that we are operating within a new version of capitalism. The wealthiest among us have little fear of losing money from their most important financial investments. They know they will be bailed out, and the rest of us will pick up the tab.

      • Common DreamsAside From the Military Bloat, Biden Budget Is Worth Celebrating

        How can we measure what our leaders value? One way is to look at their budgets.

      • Common Dreams‘Champion for Working Families’: Bernie Sanders Backs Brandon Johnson for Chicago Mayor

        U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday endorsed progressive Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson in Chicago’s mayoral race, calling the former public school teacher a “champion for working families” and touting his support for taxes on the rich to fund critical social services.

      • ScheerpostDennis Kucinich and Michael Hudson on the Anatomy of Bank Failures

        This is a wide-ranging discussion about the anatomy of bank failures. Dave Kelley, the moderator, is a pension actuarial expert, headquartered in Ohio. Chairman of the Domestic Policy subcommittee of the Govt Oversight Committee, Kucinich, as a senior member of Congress, investigated the subprime meltdown (see you tube videos), grilling Wall Street titans. Michael Hudson […]

      • MeduzaStartup revolution Can Central Asia reap the rewards of Russia’s IT exodus? — Meduza
      • Counter PunchThis is Fascism, SVB Bailout Edition

        The very public failure of SVB (Silicon Valley Bank) is raising concerns of a renewed wave of bank failures that threatens Western economies. The subtext is residual fear that the earlier (mid-2000’s) bank crisis was never adequately addressed. The very bankers who sank the banking system back then were handed trillions in public largesse to cover their losses, but the system of Wall Street provision of credit to fuel capitalism was never reconsidered. As then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner put it, ‘the US doesn’t do nationalization (of banks).’

        Part of the political calculus behind the earlier bailouts was the role of Wall Street in support of American imperialism. Neoliberalism was claimed in a constructive way to be ‘war by other means’ because it transferred wealth from the economic periphery to the center without a shot being fired. Trade was to replace warfare went the theory. That the US has been the most capitalist and the most militaristic nation in the world over the last century has done little to discredit this theory amongst true believers. These true believers now run the US.

      • The NationWhy Is the Republican Party Suddenly Weakening Child Labor Laws?

        In Arkansas, children as young as 14 will soon be able to work up to 48 hours a week—without the permission of their parents. Iowa legislators are considering a bill that would allow teens to work in mining and meatpacking. And in Ohio, a bill currently sailing through the legislature would let 14- or 15-year-olds work until 9 pm year-round.

      • Counter PunchChild Labor is Back…with a Vengeance!

        Child labor is back. That’s because rich corporations and their political parasites want it back. What better way, they doubtless imagine, for penniless, unaccompanied migrant children to spend their time than performing dangerous tasks in slaughterhouses or moiling with toxic cleansers in factories? What else are these kids going to do with their time? Go to school? Not likely, if our oligarchs have it their way. Corporate billionaires need workers, especially post-Great Resignation, when millions of employees, after remembering thanks to covid that life is short, basically said “You can take this lousy job and shove it.” As a result, it’s a tight labor market, despite the Federal Reserve’s best efforts to boost unemployment, to wit, Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s interest rate increases, his volley in the class war that backfired, potentially taking down the banks (poetic justice that could ruin us all). And a tight labor market means higher wages. Our corporate bigwigs don’t like that at all, and thus eye child workers all the more eagerly, because they can pay them peanuts.

        Also jumping on the tawdry child labor bandwagon are states like Minnesota and Iowa. There, GOP legislators want exceptions to child labor regulations, so kids can work longer hours and to “protect employers from liabilities due to sickness or accidents,” per the proposed bills’ language, as RT reported February 24. Washington even lends a hand – with a new rule in January, lowering the age of professional truck drivers from 21 to 18. So now, according to CNN January 19, 18-year-olds can drive semi-trucks across state lines, because “the U.S. government is setting up an apprenticeship program for young truckers.” This will lead to many more collisions and other potentially lethal events, but the feds don’t care – like Powell, they see a class war to win for the billionaires, so road safety? A thing of the past, innit?

      • Counter PunchTeapot Dome Redivivus: How Clinton and Gore Opened the Alaskan Arctic to Oil Drilling

        Imagine building 70 new coal-fired power plants that will emit 9 million metric tons of carbon pollution a year (the same as two million gas-powered cars) and more than wipe out all emissions savings from renewable energy projects on U.S. public lands by 2030. Imagine constructing hundreds of miles of roads and pipelines, two airstrips, a gravel mine and a big processing plant on tundra and wetlands where the permafrost is already melting so quickly that it will have to be artificially-refrozen to keep the whole enterprise from collapsing.

        That’s basically what you’re getting with the Willow Project, the massive oil drilling operation just approved on Alaska’s North Slope by Biden’s Interior Department. This grotesque operation prompted Al Gore to waddle forth with a rare rebuke of a fellow New Democrat: “The proposed expansion of oil and gas drilling in Alaska is recklessly irresponsible. The pollution it would generate will not only put Alaska native and other local communities at risk, it is incompatible with the ambition we need to achieve a net zero future. We don’t need to prop up the fossil fuel industry with new, multi-year projects that are a recipe for climate chaos. Instead, we must end the expansion of oil, gas and coal and embrace the abundant climate solutions at our fingertips.”

      • Common DreamsEnraging Workers, Macron Bypasses Parliament With ‘Nuclear Option’ on Retirement Age Hike

        Amid protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular plan to overhaul the country’s pension system, his government on Thursday chose the “nuclear option,” opting to use a constitutional procedure to force through reforms, including raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, without a vote in the lower house of Parliament.

      • Pro PublicaExecs Make Millions via Timely Trades of Competitors’ Stock

        On Feb. 21, 2018, August Troendle, an Ohio billionaire, made a remarkably well-timed stock trade. He sold $1.1 million worth of shares of Syneos Health the day before a management shake-up caused the company’s stock to plunge 16%. It was the largest one-day drop that year for Syneos’ share price.

        The company was one Troendle knew well. He is the CEO of Medpace, one of Syneos’ chief competitors in a niche industry. Both Syneos and Medpace handle clinical trials for biopharma companies, and that year they had jointly launched a trade association for companies in the field.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Telex (Hungary)State Secretary strikes back at MEPs criticising Hungarian Foreign Minister for trip to Minsk
      • Telex (Hungary)‘Europe is suffering from a psychosis of war’ – Orbán in Ankara
      • Counter PunchWhat Can Americans Do About Having a National Political Party Built on Hatred?

        Denver conservative radio host Mandy Connell publicly changed her party affiliation from Republican to independent on her program this Monday, a week after giving a thoughtful and largely apolitical interview to Talkers Magazine publisher Michael Harrison on his podcast. On her own program she was blunt:

      • Insight HungaryEP criticizes Szijjártó for Minsk visit

        The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Belarus on Wednesday, including a paragraph on Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó’s recent trip to Minsk.  The resolution underlines the importance of strengthening EU unity concerning Belarus, including the diplomatic isolation of the current regime. 

        They condemn any actions, including “high-ranking visits to the de facto authorities in Minsk, which could cast doubt on the Union’s unequivocal non-recognition of the Lukashenka regime”. The EP “deplores the 13 February 2023 visit to Minsk by the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, which contradicts the EU policy on Belarus and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and disapproves of the continuing issuance by some Member States of Schengen visas to individuals close to Aliaksandr Lukashenka”. 

      • Common DreamsPerhaps Protests Will Help People Recognize That Israel Is Not a Country of Law and Order

        As hundreds of thousands, throughout Israel, joined anti-government protests, questions began to arise regarding how this movement would affect, or possibly merge, into the wider struggle against the Israeli military occupation and apartheid in Palestine.

      • TruthOutReport Reveals Tape of Trump Pressuring Georgia Official to Overturn Election
      • TruthOutReport: “Dysfunction” in Congress Can Be Remedied by Proportional Representation
      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

        • EFFGovernment Hasn’t Justified a TikTok Ban

          So we are troubled by growing demands in the United States for restrictions on TikTok, a technology that many people have chosen to exchange information with others around the world. Before taking such a drastic step, the government must come forward with specific evidence showing, at the very least, a real problem and a narrowly tailored solution. So far, the government hasn’t done so.

          Nearly all social media platforms and other online businesses collect a lot of personal data from their users. TikTok raises special concerns, given the surveillance and censorship practices of its home country, China. Still, the best solution to these problems is not to single-out one business or country for a ban. Rather, we must enact comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation. By reducing the massive stores of personal data collected by all businesses, TikTok included, we will reduce opportunities for all governments, China included, to buy or steal this data.

        • The NationSilicon Valley Bank Didn’t Fund Black Lives Matter

          Claremont’s dishonest accounting is clearer when it calls out other corporations for their BLM projects. It shows the firm 3M pledging a whopping $50 million to “BLM.” But the investment is mainly focused on supporting STEM learning in Black communities, Marshall says, with a pledge of $50 million over five years. The first year, $5 million went to the United Negro College Fund for work in St. Paul, Minn., hardly the same as BLM.

        • Common DreamsDeadly Disinformation – The Underreported Scandal at the New York Times

          Today’s assignment…

        • Counter PunchBriahna Joy Gray Asks Matt Taibbi The Right Questions

          Matt Taibbi was surprised to get a confrontational interview from Briahna Joy Gray, who like him, is linked with the horseshoe theory of politics (left and right are the same). The occasion for the interview was that Taibbi has been revealing the Twitter files, the leaked documents from the Jack Dorsey era of Twitter.

          Gray is a much more nuanced thinker than Taibbi and frustrates both the Trumpenleft (Paul Street’s genius term) and the Brandonleft (the part of the left that keeps being shocked by Joe Biden’s “betrayals”). See Joshua Frank’s aptly named piece recently in CounterPunch.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Common Dreams‘Important Victory’ for Florida Higher Ed: Court Upholds Block on DeSantis Censorship Law

        The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday kept in place a preliminary injunction against Florida GOP policymakers’ school censorship law in what rights advocates celebrated as “an important victory for professors, other educators, and students.”

      • TruthOutDeSantis Aims to Revoke Liquor License for Hotel That Hosted Drag Show Last Year
      • The NationHow an English Footballer Took On the BBC

        It is said that the British are resistant to change. This, after all, is a country where the peaceful departure of a 96-year-old monarch can dominate the news cycle for weeks, where tennis players at Wimbledon can be asked to change outfits if they break the all-white dress code by wearing too much color, where some private members’ clubs in central London still refuse to admit women, and where graduation ceremonies at Oxford and Cambridge are still conducted in Latin.

      • EFFWhat Policymakers Need to Know About the First Amendment and Section 230

        Alongside EFF Senior Staff Attorney Aaron Mackey, the panel included Billy Easley, Senior Public Policy Lead at Reddit, and Emma Llanso, Director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), one of the co-authors of Section 230, gave opening remarks. 

        Senator Wyden opened the panel with background on the law: it simply establishes the principle that the person who creates and posts content is responsible for that content. Thanks to Section 230 and the First Amendment, websites can take down what they want. Section 230 is essential to smaller companies and startups: “The big guys can take care of themselves,” but the small guys should be able to compete with the big guys, Wyden explained. The law democratizes speech, and elevates the choices of users. Thanks to Section 230, people are able to speak out. 

        Wyden then discussed the latest Supreme Court cases. In Gonzalez v. Google, the petitioning plaintiffs made a radical argument about Section 230. They asked the Supreme Court to rule that Section 230 doesn’t protect recommendations we get online, or how certain content gets arranged and displayed. In Twitter v. Taamneh, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that online services can be civilly liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) based on claims that the platform had generalized awareness that members of a terrorist organization used its service.

      • TruthOutArizona Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Critical Race Theory
      • MeduzaTransparency International shutters its Russia office — Meduza

        The Russian branch of Transparency International, an international organization combatting corruption, has announced that it will end its operations in the country.

      • Rolling StonePublisher Deletes Race From Rosa Parks Story for Florida

        In the lesson by Studies Weekly used in elementary schools today, segregation is clearly defined: “The law said African Americans had to give up their seats on the bus if a white person wanted to sit down.” But in the initial version created for Florida’s review, the lesson reads: “She was told to move to a different seat because of the color of her skin.” And in the second updated version, race is removed completely: “She was told to move to a different seat.”

      • Associated PressExperts say attacks on free speech are rising across the US

        “It’s pretty mind-boggling that so many politicians are waving the flag of freedom while doing anything they possibly can to infringe on the free speech rights of Americans,” Paulson said.

        Still, no one political group has a monopoly on censorship — aggression is increasing across the spectrum, Cohn said.

      • CPJFrench journalist Cemil Şanlı receives death threat, accosted outside home

        Later that day, he filed a criminal complaint with local police in a suburb of Paris reporting the threat as well as an incident about a month before in which two people with their faces covered accosted him outside of his home and insulted him, according to the journalist and news reports.

      • RFATibetan speaker repeatedly interrupted by Chinese delegates at UN session in Geneva

        Chinese delegates repeatedly interrupted the Tibetan representative of the Dalai Lama as she spoke Wednesday about cultural rights violations in Tibet on behalf of a humanitarian group during a meeting of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

        Thinlay Chukki from the Tibet Bureau Geneva, the official agency of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile, began describing the treatment of Tibetan children and nomads in China’s far-western Tibet Autonomous Region on the behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Terence EdenUnicode Roman Numerals and Screen Readers

        How would you read this sentence out aloud?

        “In Hamlet, Act Ⅳ, Scene Ⅸ…”

        Most people with a grasp of the interplay between English and Latin would say “In Hamlet, Act four, scene nine”. And they’d be right! But screen-readers – computer programs which convert text into speech – often get this wrong.

        Why? Well, because I didn’t just type “Uppercase Letter i, Uppercase Letter v”. Instead, I used the Unicode symbol for the Roman numeral 4 – Ⅳ. And, it turns out, lots of screen-readers have a problem with those characters.

      • Vice Media GroupGirls Do Porn Cameraman Ordered to Pay Victims More Than $100,000

        The cameraman for sex trafficking ring Girls Do Porn has been ordered to pay victims more than $100,000 in total, including half of what he makes working in the prison system for his two-year sentence.

      • TruthOutWill Harvard’s New President Act to Confront the University’s Legacy of Slavery?
      • Counter PunchTrashing Asylum: the UK’s Illegal Migration Bill

        He was standing before a lectern at Downing Street.  The words on the support looked eerily similar to those used by the politicians of another country.  According to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Stop the Boats was the way to go.  It harked back to the same approach used by Australia’s Tony Abbott, who won the 2013 election on precisely that platform.

        The UK Illegal Migration Bill is fabulously own-goaled, bankrupt and unprincipled.  For one thing, it certainly is a labour of love in terms of the illegal, as the title suggests.  In time, the courts may well also find fault with this ghastly bit of proposed legislation, which has already sailed through two readings in the Commons and resting in the Committee stage.

      • Pro PublicaUtah Judge Pauses Order to Return Siblings to Father

        After two months barricaded in a bedroom to defy a court order directing them to be returned to the custody of their father, who they say abused them, Utah siblings Ty and Brynlee Larson emerged after a judge delayed enforcing the custody change while a new criminal probe into the father is resolved.

        “New information has come forward today regarding serious allegations of abuse,” Judge Derek Pullan said in a Monday hearing, citing the criminal probe first reported by ProPublica.

      • TruthOutJudge in Abortion Medication Case Appears Sympathetic to Calls for Ban
      • Counter PunchThe True Costs of Renting a Home

        In 1937, the American folklorist Alan Lomax invited Louisiana folksinger Huddie Ledbetter (better known as Lead Belly) to record some of his songs for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Lead Belly and his wife Martha searched in vain for a place to spend a few nights nearby. But they were Black and no hotel would give them shelter, nor would any Black landlord let them in, because they were accompanied by Lomax, who was white. A white friend of Lomax’s finally agreed to put them up, although his landlord screamed abuse at him and threatened to call the police.

        In response to this encounter with D.C.’s Jim Crow laws, Lead Belly wrote a song, “The Bourgeois Blues,” recounting his and Martha’s humiliation and warning Blacks to avoid the capital if they were looking for a place to live. The chorus goes,

      • Counter PunchEl Salvador Under a “State of Exception:” Human Rights Violations and Suspension of Freedoms

        The pro-government deputies approved in early January the tenth extension of martial law that allows the government, among other things, to hide information on public spending. The exception regime includes the suspension of the constitutional guarantees of Salvadorans and the use of the military in public security.

        Since March 2022 when El Salvador’s government began implementation of its cornerstone security strategy, it has been marked by reports of human rights violations, arbitrary detentions, abuses by security forces, forced disappearances, and blockades to access to public information by the State.

      • The NationThe Movement Behind the Judge and the Junk Science Poised to Block Access to Mifepristone

        At a hearing that Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk tried to hide, in a state that won’t be affected by his actions because abortion is already banned there, the avowedly anti-abortion judge heard arguments Wednesday in a case that could upend access to medication abortion nationwide. In an Amarillo, Tex., courtroom, attorneys with the Christian right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) asked Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk to revoke the FDA’s 23-year-old approval of mifepristone, the first of two drugs used in medication abortion, which makes up more than half of all abortions in the United States.

      • EFFCivil Society Organizations Urge Ghana’s Parliament to Reject Repressive Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

        As we’ve said before, this bill is not only an assault on the rights of LGBTQI+ people to exist, but it also represents a grave threat to freedom of expression. While Ghanaian law has long criminalized same-sex sexual activities, the new proposal goes much further by threatening up to five years in jail for publicly identifying as LGBTQ or “any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female.”

        The sentence increases if the offending person expresses their gender beyond or identifies outside of the so-called “binary gender.” The bill also has a blanket prohibition on advocating for LGBTQI+ rights and explicitly assigns criminal penalties for speech posted online, and threatens online platforms—specifically naming Twitter and Meta products Facebook and Instagram—with criminal penalties if they do not restrict pro-LGBTQ content.

      • Counter PunchMontana’s Anti-Trans Bill: an Attempt to Legalize Discrimination

        All the hullabaloo about how much or little SB458 will cost the State of Montana, if the bill is enacted, completely misses the most important flaw in this proposed piece of legislation.  In attempting to define sex and sexuality to include only sperm and egg producers, SB 458 is nothing other than a disingenuous attempt to put a legal gloss on the exact sort of discrimination that Article II, section 4 of Montana’s Constitution specifically prohibits.

      • Counter PunchImmigration Policy Doesn’t Have to be This Way
      • Counter PunchBiden’s Betrayal of D.C.’s Black Youth

        Perhaps the most agonizing thing in my final days as a trial lawyer—at the D.C. Public Defender Service, over a decade ago—was the long hours spent trying to persuade young Black male teenagers, some charged as adults, some legally defined as adults (despite still-tender ages), to plead guilty in carjacking cases—the least awful option they had.

        Indigent, impetuous, and often inadequately loved and nurtured, these Black boys incongruously grow up in the shadow of rich, white marble monuments; they exist in the perilous margins, living close to—but figuratively far from—the halls of power of our “shining city on a hill.” Invariably these boys were—and they still are—shipped off to unconscionably full federal prisons; there they serve a significant spell of their already shattered lives—the shards of which stick out, sharply, in social service records, and ineffably sad sentencing memoranda.

      • TruthOutAbortion Bans Could Exacerbate the US’s Already High Rate of Preterm Births
      • Court House NewsGirlsDoPorn cameraman to pay $100,000 to two victims

        Theodore Wilfred Gyi, who shot over 100 videos for GirlsDoPorn and its offshoot, GirlsDoToys, pleaded guilty in 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking through his work with the operators of the website, Matthew Wolfe and Michael Pratt, to coerce young women to appear in porn videos. In 2022, a federal judge sentenced Gyi to four years in prison.

        Now U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino ordered Gyi to pay $31,508.11 in restitution to one victim and $72,341 to another. Both victims are identified only by their initials in the restitution order.

      • NPRDenver donates 35 bison to Native American tribes

        The city of Denver has donated 35 bison to several Native American tribes and one memorial council in Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming. The transfers marked another example of Indigenous people reclaiming stewardship over land and animals their ancestors managed for thousands of years.

        After a ceremony on Wednesday, the animals were loaded onto trucks and moved to tribal lands.

      • Counter PunchFascists in the Courts and the Need to Abandon Liberal Surrender and Complicity

        Sometimes it is hard to know who is worse: the Christian white nationalist neofascists who keep pushing the nation further right or the hollow and passive resistance of the fake-opposition Weimar Democrats who keep accommodating the ever more mainstreamed far right.

        But we don’t have to choose.  The fascisation of US politics and policy reflects, among other things, a symbiotic, even “co-dependent” dance between the Republikaner right and those aligned with the not-so leftmost of the two dominant capitalist parties – the dismal Dems.

      • Common DreamsFor First Time, US Democratic Voters Sympathize More With Palestinians Than Israelis: Poll

        Gallup poll results revealed Thursday that while, for the first time, more U.S. Democratic voters now sympathize with Palestinians than with Israelis, left-leaning respondents also “want solutions that respect Israel’s needs as well.”

      • TruthOutPoll: Democrats Sympathize With Palestine Over Israel For the First Time
      • Counter PunchMass Protests and False Hope: Israel’s Supreme Court is No Friend of the Palestinian People

        As hundreds of thousands, throughout Israel, joined anti-government protests, questions began to arise regarding how this movement would affect, or possibly merge, into the wider struggle against the Israeli military occupation and apartheid in Palestine.

        Pro-Palestine media outlets shared, with obvious excitement, news about statements made by Hollywood celebrities, the likes of Mark Ruffalo, about the need to “sanction the new hard right-wing government of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu”.

      • The Nation“A Closed, Burnt Huwara”: How Israeli Settlers Launched A Pogrom

        Nablus—When the first call from the central dispatch unit at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) was received in the afternoon of February 26, Mohannad Hawah, 25, was among the first volunteers to respond.1

      • Common DreamsRachel Corrie ‘Lives On in All of Us,’ Say Palestinians 20 Years After IDF Killed Activist

        Palestinian rights activists on Thursday remembered the life and legacy of Rachel Corrie, the American human rights defender who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer on March 16, 2003 while trying to shield a Palestinian home from demolition in occupied Gaza.

      • The NationAnother Refugee Tragedy
      • FAIR‘The Whole System Is Stacked Against a Person With a Disability’

        Janine Jackson interviewed the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative’s Kim Knackstedt about disability policy for the March 10, 2023, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Torrent FreakDenmark’s Piracy Blocklist Adds YouTube Rippers & Expands to 239 Sites

          Denmark is one of the leading countries when it comes to pirate site blocking orders. The first blocking case started 17 years ago and since then, over 200 sites have been added to ISP blocklists. This week, nine new sites were added, and with targets such as y2mate.com, savefrom.net and loader.to there is a heavy focus on YouTube rippers.

        • Torrent FreakAfter ACE Shuts Down Streamzz, Pirates Demand Refunds But Get Zebras Instead

          The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment has shut down Streamzz, a stream hosting service that reportedly offered 75,000 movies and 15,000 TV episodes for display on more than 60 pirate sites. Reports suggest that those owed money aren’t getting paid. Having their Hollywood and in some cases adult movies swapped out for random wildlife videos hasn’t made things any better.

        • Techdirt‘Destiny 2’ DLC Suddenly Results In Copyright Strikes For Streamers

          We haven’t always spoken in glowing terms about Bungie, the game studio behind the Destiny franchise. That being said, in more recent days, Bungie has also taken some very positive steps when it comes to protecting its fans from copyright takedown abuse, while also highlighting for the record that the DMCA takedown process employed by streaming sites absolutely sucks out loud. So, when it comes to how Bungie generally behaves on matters of intellectual property, it’s kinds of like an annoying Facebook relationship status: it’s complicated.

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

GNU/Linux in Honduras: 10% Market Share? (Updated)

Posted in America at 6:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As per the latest statistics

GNU/Linux in Honduras

Update: ‘Psydroid’ has just pointed out (in IRC) that in the United States (US) ChromeOS + GNU/Linux have a market share greater than 10% and Windows is installed on barely half of laptops/desktops. ChromeOS is technically GNU/Linux with lots of malware preloaded, but it’s still a kind of Gentoo and thus it’s fair to say that in the US the share of GNU/Linux is now about 10% or more. If one counts Android too (Android is powered by Linux), then “Linux” almost has majority market share in the US.

Links 17/03/2023: Update on John Deere’s Ongoing GPL Violations and PyTorch 2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • AmazonAmazon Linux 2023, a Cloud-Optimized Linux Distribution with Long-Term Support

        I am excited to announce the general availability of Amazon Linux 2023 (AL2023). AWS has provided you with a cloud-optimized Linux distribution since 2010. This is the third generation of our Amazon Linux distributions.

        Every generation of Amazon Linux distribution is secured, optimized for the cloud, and receives long-term AWS support. We built Amazon Linux 2023 on these principles, and we go even further. Deploying your workloads on Amazon Linux 2023 gives you three major benefits: a high-security standard, a predictable lifecycle, and a consistent update experience.

        Let’s look at security first. Amazon Linux 2023 includes preconfigured security policies that make it easy for you to implement common industry guidelines. You can configure these policies at launch time or run time.

      • LWNAmazon Linux 2023 released

        Amazon has released a new version of its vaguely Fedora-based, cloud-optimized distribution.

      • Help Net SecurityAmazon Linux 2023: Create and execute cloud-based applications with enhanced security

        Amazon Linux 2023 is provided at no additional charge. Standard Amazon EC2 and AWS charges apply for running EC2 instances and other services. This distribution includes full support for five years.

    • Kernel Space

      • LWNThe rest of the 6.3 merge window

        Linus Torvalds released 6.3-rc1 and closed the 6.3 merge window as expected on March 5. By that time, 12,717 non-merge commits (and 848 merges) had found their way into the mainline kernel; nearly 7,000 of those commits came in after the first-half merge-window summary was written. The second half of the 6.3 merge window was thus a busy time, with quite a bit of new functionality landing in the mainline.

      • LWNKernel time APIs for Rust

        While the 6.3 kernel has gained more support for the Rust language, it still remains true that there is little that can be done in Rust beyond the creation of a “hello world” module. That functionality was already available in C, of course, with a level of safety similar to what Rust can provide. Interest is growing, though, in merging actually useful modules written in Rust; that will require some more capable infrastructure than is currently present. A recent discussion on the handling of time values in Rust demonstrates the challenges — and opportunities — inherent in this effort.

        Asahi Lina, who is implementing a graphics driver for Apple hardware in Rust, has posted a number of pieces of Rust infrastructure, including a module for timekeeping functions.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • University of TorontoNFS filehandles from Linux NFS servers can be client specific

        The ultimate cause of this is Linux’s NFS export permissions model. In many NFS servers, export settings are attached to the export point, such as /w/435, and these settings include what clients have access and so on. In Linux, you have things, such as netgroups, that have a collection of export settings for a particular export point. This creates a natural model for giving different clients different sets of permissions and attributes, but it also means that all export attributes are per-client, including ones such as fsid=. And since the filesystem id is necessarily part of the NFS filehandle, NFS filehandles as a whole can be different between different clients.

      • Doug BrownUpgrading my Chumby 8 kernel part 4: reboot/poweroff

        I actually implemented it in U-Boot first, but I thought the Linux side of it would be more fun to share. If you want to see what was involved on the U-Boot side, see this commit from my fork of U-Boot.

      • OSTechNixHow To Create Installable ISO From A Linux System With Penguins-eggs

        Penguins -eggs is a console utility that allows you to remaster your Linux system and create an installable ISO from the live system. Using Penguins-eggs, you can create both live and installable version of your current Linux machine, with or without user data.

        Penguins-eggs creates a compressed filesystem from your current Linux system by removing user data and the users. You can then fully customize the resulting ISO with themes and addons to make it look like your own Linux distribution.

        To put this in layman terms, you can backup your whole install, including all of your personal data (files, documents, PDFs, music, videos…etc), that is currently running right now on your internal SSD/HDD and create an ISO. You can put the ISO in your external USB and carry a live operating system. Just plug the USB, boot the ISO and start using your portable Linux operating system anywhere. It’s that simple!

      • 3 ways to install PHPUnit in Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 LTS

        PHPUnit is a software testing framework published under a GPL license for PHP coders. It is popular among PHP developers to write custom tests for their code to benchmark its performance.

      • ZDNetHow to share folders to your network from Linux

        If you need to share files and folders with other users on your network from your Linux desktop, we can walk you through the process.

      • What is the Tar command in Linux?

        The tar in Linux is a commonly used lightweight command line tool for creating file archives and compressing them. Not only for archiving, but users can also use it for extracting, and manipulating existing archives as well.

      • HowTo ForgeHow to Install and Use Microsoft SQL Server on Debian 11 [Ed: This is proprietary software of a company that attacks Linux and this software does not even run natively on GNU/Linux]

        MSSQL Server or Microsoft SQL Server is an RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) developed by Microsoft. This tutorial will show you how to install and use Microsoft SQL Server on Debian 11.

      • HowTo ForgeHow to install OTRS (OpenSource Trouble Ticket System) on Debian 11

        OTRS is an open-source Ticket Request System that helps organizations process customer tickets and requests. This post will explain how to install OTRS on Debian 11 server.

      • BeebomHow to Rename a Directory in Linux

        In Linux, directories (or folders) are an essential part of the file system and renaming directories can be useful when organizing your files. While it is a simple task, and there are Linux Terminal commands to make it even easier for you, things might get confusing initially if you are a beginner. Renaming a directory in Linux is a simple process that can be done using the command-line or the graphical interface. In this article, we will show you how to rename a directory in Linux using both of these methods.

      • Network WorldUsing the at command to schedule tasks on Linux

        To schedule a command or script to run at some particular time, the at command is perfect and provides many options for specifying the time you want it to run. It will set the task up to be run whenever you specify, and you can view the scheduled tasks or even change your mind and cancel one of them as you see fit.

        The at command differs from cron in that it sets up a command or script to run only once, while cron allows you to set up commands or scripts to be run on a specified schedule – whether every day, once a week, a couple times a month or even just once a year.

      • Make Use OfHow to List All User Groups on Linux

        User groups on Linux help you define a set of permissions that you can then impose on other users. Unix and Linux come with some pre-configured user groups, and as an administrator, it’s easy to create additional groups to further categorize and manage users.

        But before creating a new group, you’d want to know more about the existing ones. Luckily, there are several ways to list all user groups present on Linux, and you can even view the list of groups a specific user is a part of. Let’s get started.

      • It’s FOSSTerminal Basics Series #5: View the File Contents in Linux

        In this chapter of the Terminal Basics series, you’ll learn about viewing the contents of files in the Linux command line.

      • 2023-03-13How To Turn Your Current System To An Installable ISO (For Debian, Ubuntu, Arch Linux and Manjaro)
      • VituxHow to Install NTP Server and Client(s) on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

        NTP or Network Time Protocol is a protocol that is used to synchronize all system clocks in a network to use the same time. When we use the term NTP, we are referring to the protocol itself and also the client and server programs running on the networked computers. NTP belongs to the traditional TCP/IP protocol suite and can easily be classified as one of its oldest parts.

        When you are initially setting up the clock to sync with NTP, it takes six exchanges within 5 to 10 minutes before the clock is set up. Once the clocks in a network are synchronized, the client(s) update their clocks with the server once every 10 minutes. This is usually done through a single exchange of messages (transaction). These transactions use port number 123 of your system.

      • Make Tech EasierHow to Create An Online Dictionary with Dico in Linux

        Dico is a modern implementation of the traditional DICT protocol. It aims to create a fully modular dictionary server software that you can host almost anywhere.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDEAdapting Standard Usage Scenario Scripts For KDE Applications: My Journey As A Season Of KDE Mentee
          My Journey into the KDE Community: From Season of KDE Application to Mentee

          The notification about the Season of KDE program arrived like a ray of sunshine on a dreary day, and I eagerly clicked on it to see what opportunities it held. Amidst the many exciting project ideas, the Blue Angel Certification Preparation for KDE applications stood out to me as a challenge worth pursuing. I took the first step towards realizing my goal by engaging in a conversation with the community and making some initial contributions to FEEP. On January 24th, the selected candidates were announced. My heart was pounding as I scanned the list of names, and when I saw mine, I let out a cheer! Being accepted as a mentee in the KDE community was a great start to the year 2023.

          For the project, I will be using emulation tools such as xdotool and KDE Eco Tester to finish preparation of usage scenario scripts needed to measure KDE applications such as Kate and GCompris. To help guide my work, my mentor and I created a to-do list based on my proposed timeline and we selected the KDE infrastructure to manage the checklist of tasks. This was my first exposure to the diverse range of applications and platforms provided by KDE for the community.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOMEMartín Abente Lahaye: Portfolio 0.9.15

          In terms of visuals, by popular demand, the most notable change is the use of regular icons for the files browser view. It should be easier now to quickly catch what each file is about. Thanks to @AngelTomkins for the initial implementation, @Exalm for helping with the reviews, and to the GNOME design team for such lovely new icons.

          Another addition is support for system-wide style management. This is specially useful now that desktops like GNOME provide quick toggle buttons to switch between dark and light modes. Thanks to @pabloyoyoista for the initial implementation.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • DebugPointNordVPN Open Sources Key Modules for Community Collaboration

      The leading virtual private network service provider – NordVPN, has announced that it has open-sourced three products, demonstrating its commitment to transparency and community collaboration.

      As part of this move, NordVPN will release the entire NordVPN application on Linux, Libtelio – a networking library used across NordVPN apps on all operating systems, and Libdrop – a library used to share files over Meshnet. This means that anyone can examine, alter, and distribute these elements as they see fit.

    • Bleeping ComputerNordVPN open sources its Linux VPN client and libraries

      As part of this announcement, NordVPN released the source code for its Linux applications and two libraries – Libtelio and Libdrop.

      “We’re making these products open source as a sign of our commitment to transparency and accountability,” reads Nord’s announcement.

    • LWNOpenSSH 9.3 released [LWN.net]

      OpenSSH 9.3 has been released. It includes a couple of security fixes, as well as adding an option for hash-algorithm selection to ssh-keygen and an option that allows configuration checking without actually loading any private keys.

    • It’s FOSSFOSS Weekly #23.11: Ubuntu 23.04 Features, 2 New Distros, Terminal Basics and More Linux Stuff

      Two new distros have been announced this week. Apart from that, take a look at the features of the upcoming Ubuntu 23.04.

    • Open Source Software: Top Sites

      This list of open source sites includes several categories — each of which will be of interest to open source software users.  The “project hosting” category includes giants who provide server space for open source code and allow downloads. The “directories” category includes sites that have created lists of open source projects.

    • Unicorn MediaOSI Email Mistake Could Affect Election Results [Ed: And yet another election-related blunder or scandal at OSI. It happened a lot in recent years and it shows that it's no longer functioning. Microsoft turned OSI into its openwashing lobbyist.]

      Open Source Initiative has committed a faux pas in its currently underway board of directors election that has the potential to affect the results. This comes two years after the organization was forced to scrap the results of a board of directors election and hold a second election, after a security hole in its election software was found to have been exploited.

      In this case, such drastic measures will probably not be necessary to fix the problem, however.

      The misstep came on Thursday night, in a get-out-the-vote email sent by the organizations executive director, Stefano Maffulli, to OSI members. Voting in the election, which will decide board members for two individual seats (voting for a third affiliate seat is only open to affiliate members), began on February 10 and will officially run through February 20. In the email, however, Maffulli told members, “You can vote until Monday March 21, 1700 UTC – 9am US Pacific.” Unfortunately, Monday is March 20, meaning March 21 falls on Tuesday.

    • FSF

      • FSFFSF Events: Free Software Directory meeting on IRC: Friday, March 17, starting at 12:00 EDT (16:00 UTC)

        Join the FSF and friends on Friday, March 17, from 12:00 to 15:00 EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory.

      • GNUGNU Guix: Building Toolchains with Guix

        In order to deploy embedded software using Guix we first need to teach Guix
        how to cross-compile it. Since Guix builds everything from source, this
        means we must teach Guix how to build our cross-compilation toolchain.

        The Zephyr Project uses its own fork of GCC with custom configs for
        the architectures supported by the project. In this article, we
        describe the cross-compilation toolchain we defined for Zephyr; it is
        implemented as a Guix

        About Zephyr

        Zephyr is a real-time operating system from the Linux Foundation.
        It aims to provide a common environment which can target even the most
        resource constrained devices.

        Zephyr introduces a module system which allows third parties to share code
        in a uniform way. Zephyr uses CMake to perform physical component composition
        of these modules. It searches the filesystem and generates scripts which
        the toolchain will use to successfully combine those components into a
        firmware image.

        The fact that Zephyr provides this mechanism is one reason I chose to
        target it in the first place.

        This separation of modules in an embedded context is a really great thing.
        It brings many of the advantages that it brings to the Linux world such as
        code re-use, smaller binaries, more efficient cache/RAM usage, etc.
        It also allows us to work as independent groups and compose
        contributions from many teams.

        It also brings all of the complexity. Suddenly most of the problems
        that plague traditional deployment now apply to our embedded
        system. The fact that the libraries are statically linked at compile
        time instead of dynamically at runtime is simply an implementation detail.
        I say most because everything is statically linked so there is no runtime
        component discovery that needs to be accounted for.

    • Licensing / Legal

      • John Deere’s ongoing GPL violations: What’s next – Conservancy Blog – Software Freedom Conservancy

        I grew up on a farm. My parents worked hard to grow crops and manage the farm business. My parents also found additional jobs to make ends meet. As farmers have done for millennia, my family used tools to farm. Some of those tools were tractors. Farmers now, as they have for thousands of years, rely on their ability and right to fix their tools. Perhaps that’s bending a hand rake back into shape. Maybe they need to weld a broken three-point hitch back together. Agriculture was humanity’s first truly revolutionary technological advancement. Since its inception, each generation of farmers exercised their right to repair their tools. This has allowed agriculture to grow and improve immeasurably. We take for granted the benefits that this has given us, and the abundance of food it provides.

        The right to repair farm tools is now in serious jeopardy, not because farmers haven’t fought to maintain this right, and not even because farmers haven’t chosen to use tools that guarantee their right to repair their tools. In fact, most farmers are still buying tools that have a right to repair built into them, not by their intrinsic nature, but by the software that the toolmakers have chosen to include as part of the tools they sell to the farmers.

        Sadly, farm equipment manufacturers, who benefit immensely from the readily-available software that they can provide as part of the farming tools (tractors, combines, etc.) they sell to farmers, are not complying with the right to repair licenses of the software they have chosen to use in these farming tools. As a result, farmers are cut off from their livelihood if the farm equipment manufacturer does not wish to repair their farming tools when they inevitably fail, even when the farmer could easily perform the repairs on their own, or with the help of someone else they know.

      • LWNSFC: John Deere’s ongoing GPL violations: What’s next [LWN.net]

        The Software Freedom Conservancy calls out John Deere for failure to comply with the GPL and preventing farmers from repairing their own equipment.

    • Programming/Development

      • Python

        • DebugPointVariables in Python: Concepts with Examples & Common Errors

          In Python, a variable is a reserved memory location that stores a value.

          They are names that can be assigned a value and used to reference it throughout your code. Using a variable makes a value accessible & gives values a context/meaning concerning your code.

          This tutorial explains the concept of variables in Python, their types, and how to use them with examples in real-world scenarios.

        • 2023-03-14Next Debian/Ubuntu Releases Will Likely No Longer Allow pip install Ouside A Virtual Environment
        • PyTorch 2.0: Our next generation release that is faster, more Pythonic and Dynamic as ever

          We are excited to announce the release of PyTorch® 2.0 which we highlighted during the PyTorch Conference on 12/2/22! PyTorch 2.0 offers the same eager-mode development and user experience, while fundamentally changing and supercharging how PyTorch operates at compiler level under the hood with faster performance and support for Dynamic Shapes and Distributed.

          This next-generation release includes a Stable version of Accelerated Transformers (formerly called Better Transformers); Beta includes torch.compile as the main API for PyTorch 2.0, the scaled_dot_product_attention function as part of torch.nn.functional, the MPS backend, functorch APIs in the torch.func module; and other Beta/Prototype improvements across various inferences, performance and training optimization features on GPUs and CPUs. For a comprehensive introduction and technical overview of torch.compile, please visit the 2.0 Get Started page.

      • Java

        • Pass by Value Meaning in Java

          In Java, when you pass a parameter to a method, a copy of the value of that parameter is passed to the method, rather than the original object itself.

        • What are Varargs in Java and How to Use Them

          In Java, varargs (variable-length arguments) are a feature that allows a method to accept an arbitrary number of arguments of the same type. The varargs feature was introduced in Java 5 and is denoted by an ellipsis … after the parameter type in the method signature.

        • What are Java’s Access Modifiers and How to Use Them

          In Java, access modifiers are keywords that determine the accessibility of classes, methods, and variables in an object-oriented program. There are four access modifiers in Java: Access modifiers are used to control the level of encapsulation of an object-oriented program and to restrict access to sensitive or implementation-specific details of the program.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • LWNBTHome: An open standard for broadcasting sensor data

        Many wireless sensors broadcast their data using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Their data is easy to receive, but decoding it can be a challenge. Each manufacturer uses its own format, often tied to its own mobile apps. Integrating all of these sensors into a home-automation system requires a lot of custom decoders, which are generally developed by reverse-engineering the protocols. The goal of the BTHome project is to change this: it offers a standardized format for sensors to broadcast their measurements using BLE. BTHome is supported by the Home Assistant home-automation software and by a few open-firmware and open-hardware projects.

        The chances are high that the manufacturer of a BLE device requires the use of a smartphone app to remotely view its data. But, technically, there’s no need to use the app. The device advertises its name and some data; anyone with a BLE receiver in the neighborhood is able to pick up those BLE advertisements. What those apps do is to convert the raw data to information such as a temperature or humidity value using a protocol decoder for the proprietary data format.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

    • Security

      • Ubuntu HandbookLiferea News Reader 1.14.1 Released with A Critical Security Fix

        For users of Liferea feed reader, new version 1.14.1 and 1.12.10 were released few days ago. All users are urged to upgrade due to an important security fix. Liferea is a free open-source GTK3 feed reader that brings together all of the content from your favorite subscriptions into a simple interface.

      • Bleeping ComputerMicrosoft support ‘cracks’ Windows for customer after activation fails
      • Bleeping ComputerFakeCalls Android malware returns with new ways to hide on phones
      • Bleeping ComputerMicrosoft fixes Outlook zero-day used by Russian hackers since April 2022 [Ed: Fake journalism helps Microsoft portray this as a problem with Russia rather than a problem with Microsoft, which puts back doors in things; partisan politics is a low blow and misdirection, as if only Russians exploit Microsoft holes]

        Microsoft has patched an Outlook zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2023-23397) exploited by a hacking group linked to Russia’s military intelligence service GRU to target European organizations.

      • Bleeping ComputerMicrosoft March 2023 Patch Tuesday fixes 2 zero-days, 83 flaws [Ed: How Microsoft-connected media cronies spin this; the reality is vastly worse because those things are insecure by design]
      • ForbesMicrosoft Outlook Warning: Critical New Email Exploit Triggers Automatically—Update Now [Ed: Davey Winder has been a Microsoft propagandist for over a decade already; here is he is deflecting the blame and writing face-saving Microsoft lies. Microsoft: blame nations, blame the users, blame developers, never Microsoft!]
      • LWNSecurity updates for Thursday [LWN.net]

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr and pcre2), Oracle (nss), Red Hat (kpatch-patch and nss), SUSE (java-11-openjdk, kernel, and python310), and Ubuntu (emacs24, ffmpeg, firefox, imagemagick, libphp-phpmailer, librecad, and openjpeg2).

      • LWNSecurity updates for Wednesday [LWN.net]

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (node-sqlite3 and qemu), Fedora (libmemcached-awesome, manifest-tool, sudo, and vim), Red Hat (gnutls, kernel, kernel-rt, lua, and openssl), Slackware (mozilla), SUSE (amanda, firefox, go1.19, go1.20, jakarta-commons-fileupload, java-1_8_0-openjdk, nodejs18, peazip, perl-Net-Server, python, python-cryptography, python-Django, python3, rubygem-rack, and xorg-x11-server), and Ubuntu (ipython, linux-ibm, linux-ibm-5.4, and linux-kvm).

      • 7NEWSLatitude Financial hacked as 300,000 customer identification documents stolen

        Financial lender, Latitude Finance, has warned customers of a major cyberattack in which more than 300,000 customer identification documents were stolen.

        A spokesperson for the company said unusual activity was detected on its systems over the last few days, and it appeared the company’s records had been hacked.

        They said hackers stole employee login details to access personal customer information held by two other service providers before the company was able to isolate the incident.

      • CISAThreat Actors Exploit Progress Telerik Vulnerability in U.S. Government IIS Server [Ed: US regime paying a steep price for "choosing" Microsoft]

        From November 2022 through early January 2023, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and authoring organizations identified the presence of indicators of compromise (IOCs) at a federal civilian executive branch (FCEB) agency. Analysts determined that multiple cyber threat actors, including an APT actor, were able to exploit a .NET deserialization vulnerability (CVE-2019-18935) in Progress Telerik user interface (UI) for ASP.NET AJAX, located in the agency’s Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) web server. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability allows for remote code execution. According to Progress Software, Telerik UI for ASP.NET AJAX builds before R1 2020 (2020.1.114) are vulnerable to this exploit.[1]

      • The RecordNew threat group hacked EU healthcare agency and embassies, researchers say

        A new hacking group is targeting European countries and organizations in an espionage campaign that began in June 2022, according to new research.

        Cisco’s Talos cybersecurity team calls the new group “YoroTrooper” and said it has already successfully compromised accounts connected to a “critical” European Union healthcare agency and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The researchers also found that it attacked several embassies.

        “Our assessment is that the operators of this threat actor are Russian language speakers, but not necessarily living in Russia or Russian nationals since their victimology consists mostly of countries in the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States],” which includes countries like Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, the researchers said.

      • Data BreachesJustice Department Investigation Leads to Takedown of Darknet Cryptocurrency Mixer ChipMixer

        The Justice Department announced today a coordinated international takedown of ChipMixer, a darknet cryptocurrency “mixing” service responsible for laundering more than $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency, between 2017 and the present, in furtherance of, among other activities, ransomware, darknet market, fraud, cryptocurrency heists and other hacking schemes. The operation involved U.S. federal law enforcement’s court-authorized seizure of two domains that directed users to the ChipMixer service and one Github account, as well as the German Federal Criminal Police’s (the Bundeskriminalamt) seizure of the ChipMixer back-end servers and more than $46 million in cryptocurrency.

      • Data BreachesIndependent Living Systems updates its breach disclosure; notifying more than 4.2 million patients

        In September 2022, Independent Living Systems LLC (ILS), a business associate in Florida, notified HHS and regulators of a network incident that affected 501 patients. They also provided public notice, but were unable to identify and notify all individuals who had been affected. The “501” was simply a marker to indicate “more than 500.” The HHS entry hasn’t been updated since then, and HHS hasn’t yet closed its investigation. But thanks to ILS’s notification to the Maine Attorney General’s Office, we now know that the breach affected a total of 4,226,508 people. HHS may update its entry in the near future with the number reported to them.

        This week, ILS issued a press release about the incident on behalf of its covered entity subsidiaries Florida Community Care LLC and HPMP of Florida Inc. d/b/a Florida Complete Care. ILS also issued the notification as a direct provider of services and on behalf of certain data owner clients and covered entity health plans.

      • DecryptPlaintiff Wins Case Against [Cr]ackers After Serving Court Papers via NFT

        A federal judge in Florida has ruled in favor of a plaintiff who sued anonymous hackers and issued formal notice of the legal action via NFT, according to recent court filings.

        The ruling, a default judgment from Judge Beth Bloom of the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, declares that the unidentified hackers are on the hook for the $971,291 worth of USDT (Tether) that they stole from plaintiff Rangan Bandyopadhyay’s Coinbase wallet in December 2021.

      • Data BreachesAllCare Plus Pharmacy notifies 5,971 patients of phishing incident last year

        According to their notification, on June 21, 2022, AllCare discovered that some employees had received phishing emails. Their investigation revealed that some of the employees’ accounts had been compromised, and the attacker accessed certain accounts containing patient information. The types of information in those email accounts included name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, other types of identity information, financial information, and health information such as health insurance information about prescription and treatment information.

      • Data BreachesBeaver Medical Group notifying patients whose information was accessed in phishing incident

        Beaver Medical Group (BMG) in California is part of Optum Health. On January 24, BMG discovered unusual activity in an employee’s workstation. Their investigation revealed that an unauthorized actor had launched a targeted phishing attack that gave them access to the employee’s email account.

      • CBCN.L. says Hive ransomware group was behind 2021 cyberattack on health systems [Ed: Microsoft Windows TCO]

        The Newfoundland and Labrador government says the Hive ransomware group was behind a cyberattack that paralyzed the province’s health-care system a year and a half ago.

        But top government officials still won’t say whether they paid a ransom.

        “We can’t disclose anything about a request for a ransom, for security purposes,” Justice Minister John Hogan told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

      • Data BreachesNorthStar Emergency Medical Services notifies 82,450 patients of September hacking incident

        According to a notification letter and press release by NorthStar, on September 16, 2022, NorthStar detected abnormal activity in their network. Investigation subsequently revealed that an unauthorized actor had accessed files containing protected health information. The types of information in the files included names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, patient ID number, treatment information, Medicare/Medicaid number, and/or health insurance information.

      • Ars TechnicaLawsuit: Cop pulled over driver for TikTok livestream—and shared driver’s ID

        A Dallas County Sheriff’s Department deputy, Francisco Castillo, was briefly suspended after livestreaming a traffic stop, allegedly just to gain TikTok clout, in 2021. Now, the Texas motorist that he pulled over, Torry Osby, is suing, saying that the deputy exposed Osby to risks of identity theft and break-ins at his home by flashing Osby’s driver’s license and sharing his personal information to more than 100 followers tuned into Castillo’s livestream.

        Osby’s lawyer, James P. Roberts, told Ars that it’s unlikely that their client was the only victim of Castillo’s alleged privacy-invading social media abuse. The complaint documents a seeming pattern of Castillo sharing videos while on duty that seemed to get more engagement than his other videos, making it appear likely to Osby’s lawyers that Castillo was increasingly motivated to create videos of his police activity in hopes of boosting his likes and followers.

      • Data BreachesRomanian entities issued monetary penalties for infosecurity and data protection failures

        Regulators in Romania have issued monetary penalties to six Romanian entities for insufficient technical and organizational measures to ensure information security. Two other entities were issued fines for other GDPR violations.

      • Current Turmoil and Future Risks in Resolving Data Breach Class Actions

        Data incident lawsuits, especially class actions, have the potential to create significant business disruption, loss of marketplace credibility, civil liability or regulatory exposure. Consequently, companies that experience a data incident often want the issues resolved quickly and at minimal cost. In terms of litigation, an early settlement of civil lawsuits in a class action resolution to sweep up all potential claims may be a good strategy. Class action settlements can be structured in a variety of ways, with any number of different terms, to effectuate the desired result.

      • Dark ReadingBianLian Ransomware Pivots From Encryption to Pure Data-Theft Extortion

        The BianLian ransomware group is ramping up its operations and maturing as a business, moving more swiftly than ever to compromise systems. It’s also moving away from encryption to pure data-theft extortion tactics, in cyberattacks that have so far bagged at least 116 victims, researchers have found.

        BianLian, first discovered last July, hasn’t deviated much from its initial tactic: deploying a custom go-based backdoor once it infiltrates a network. The functionality of the malware essentially remains the same except for a few tweaks, researchers from Redacted said in a blog post published today.

        However, the swiftness with which the group’s command-and-control server (C2) deploys the backdoor has increased, and the group notably has moved away from ransoming encrypted files to focusing more on pure data-leak extortion as a means to extract payments from victims, the researchers said.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Marcy WheelerThe New Investigation into Bannon and Boris Buried Under Bannon’s Bluster

        Buried 22 paragraphs below some flashy quotes from Steve Bannon, NYT reveals that he — along with the subject of a profile, Boris Epsheyn — is under legal scrutiny for the crypto currency scam they used to bilk a lot of Trump loyalists.

      • Marcy WheelerGuo Wengui Arrested

        Steve Bannon’s sometime partner, Guo Wengui, was arrested this morning on a sweeping financial fraud and conspiracy indictment.

      • New York TimesTikTok Pushed by U.S. to Resolve National Security Concerns [Ed: This does not tackle the principal issue, which is mental manipulation. They pretend "privacy" is the core issue.]

        The demand hardens the White House’s stance toward the popular video app, which is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance.

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • NCACNCAC Executive Director Christopher Finan to Retire

        New York, NY, March 13, 2023 – The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) announced today that Executive Director Christopher M. Finan will retire this summer after 40 years of defending free expression and First Amendment rights.

      • Michael West MediaLehrmann sure of ‘millions in defamation’ from reports

        Before being charged with sexual assault, former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann said he could obtain “millions in defamation” over media reports about the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • CS MonitorFamily detentions? Why Biden is tacking right on immigration.

        President Joe Biden’s recent shift on immigration policy shows the challenge of balancing order and compassion. It may also reflect concerns about a coming surge at the border, following the rollback of a pandemic-era measure.

      • CS MonitorSan Francisco board hears 100 ideas for Black reparations

        San Francisco could become the first major city to fund reparations for slavery and systemic racism. The Board of Supervisors heard a proposal of over 100 measures including eliminating debt, selling homes for $1, and awarding $5 million to Black residents.

      • CS MonitorPakistan unrest: Supporters clash with police trying to arrest Khan

        Police attempts to arrest former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan have triggered two days of street clashes with supporters. Since 1947, at least seven former prime ministers of Pakistan have been arrested in various cases and tried by courts.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Dennis Crouch/Patently-OIPRs and the APA: Review of Director’s Discretion to Initiate IPRs [Ed: Crouch et al, bribed by the patent litigation 'industry', still doing anything they can to scuttle any challenges to fake patents]

          Apple brought an action against the USPTO Director Vidal in district court under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701– 706, challenging the Director’s instructions to the Board regarding exercise of discretion in IPR institution decisions. In Apple v. Vidal, 2022-1249, — F.4th — (Fed. Cir. Mar. 13, 2023), Judge Taranto (joined by Judges Lourie and Stoll) largely affirmed the district court’s dismissal, confirming that the Director’s instructions are unreviewable.  The court did separately reverse a tertiary challenge to allow Apple to proceed on a claim related to the note-and-comments procedure of the APA. 

        • Dennis Crouch/Patently-OPreparing for Automated Examination [Ed: Promoting Microsoft gimmicks and lies to merely pretend patent examination is no longer necessary and a bunch of chatbots an truly understand novel ideas]

          Associates around the country today are drafting motions, patent applications, and other documents using some version of ChatGPT.   Of course, If I were a judge or examiner, I might also be interested in using AI to help facilitate my decision-making.  ChatGPT is good for that as well and can provide a reasoned structure, including identifying of prior art and obviousness standards.

        • EPO discusses digitalisation at eighth eSACEPO meeting [Ed: The criminals who run the EPO and grant loads of fake parents use "digitalisation" as pretext for granting loads of fake patents on software. This is class warfare using stacked panels controlled by monopolists.]

          User representatives from Europe, China, Japan, Korea and the United States met online to exchange on digital transformation in the patent grant process and advances in online services.

      • Trademarks

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • What is home?

        Returning home from the coast I was entranced by endless forests of
        ferns in the undergrowth of leafless tree swallowed by layers of thick
        green moss, swirling fog meeting the sky and ground. I may be a
        “computer person” but I never feel at home indoors. I always want to
        be surrounded by green and cold and damp and dark. My boyfriend often
        calls me a forest fairy, a dryad.

      • Lost In Translation

        … in no way related to my continued adventures in CDDA that involved me arriving back at my base at 3AM with a deer I had accidentally run over and no headlights on account of none surviving the return trip directly through the acid ants …

        So one cannot simply say “hold my beer” in lojban. Well, I guess you could, but that would imply you would be holding the beer, probably in your cupped hands. Gross. We have technology for this! Bottles, mugs, her teacups, the skulls of your enemies, flower pots, etc. Anyways. Beer. What you are actually holding is, usually, a container that contains the beer, a point that English kind of negligently glosses over–hold my beer. Probably because you are in a hurry to do something stupid, and if you took a long time to say it, you might think better of it, or more likely you will have forgotten by the time you got done expositing. Ent wisdom, yo.

    • Politics

      • Oxymoronist: Sy Hersh

        Seymore Hersh’s recent article on substack shows what news is no longer fit to print in the mainstream press, at least in the US. Himself being a celebrity reporter, it should be hard to put the mute on his explosive pipeline story. There have been some healthy debate as to the sufficiency of relying on one unnamed source, even though many other news stories taken absolutely seriously have also relied on a single anonymous source. Then came another version of the pipeline story, much more vague, and worse, some of its more detailed claims have been debunked as implausible or impossible (e.g. in an article by Scott Ritter on Consortium News, March 14).

    • Technical

      • Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy

        I have converted Martin Paul Eve’s book “Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy” into Gemtext.

      • sdf minecraft and lone wolf and cub

        Sometimes I run myself ragged until the wheels fall off and I am
        forced into downtime procedures. I am currently experiencing one of
        those instances. Too much work and giving of my time and energy has
        brought me here. I need to take better care of myself. I was
        supposed to be on a vacation now but instead, I am resting at home,
        not on vacation, using vacation time for sick time. The older I get,
        the more I encounter this. And sometimes I beat myself up a bit
        about it, but not this time since there is awareness of the pattern
        and I took contrary action.

        Since I have had some downtime, I decided to reinstall minecraft and
        log onto SDF’s minecraft server. It has been quite some time since
        I was on and was happy to see that my base was still intact. There
        were a few people on and I tried to catch up.

      • MNT Pocket Reform

        I noticed that the MNT Pocket Reform crowdfunding has been running for
        a few days [1]. It already reached the funding goal but they are still
        open for further support.

        The device is smaller than the “full” (12.5″) MNT Reform and about 50%
        lighter (it is said to be under 1 kg). It has 7″ screen (the device is
        actually bigger than that because screen bezel is considerable).
        Anyway, it can use the same CPU cards as the big Reform and has a
        similar level of hackability.

      • NetBSD and SC

        It seems that the NetBSD 9.3 has a modern (7.16) version of the sc(1),
        the console-only spreadsheet calculator. I was used to the older (6.22)
        release which was traditionally available in many “classic” UNIX
        systems like the IRIX (as was included in many linux distros, too).

        By modern I mean the latest stable version (the 7.16 is from 2002), my
        favorite 6.22 is a bit older (1990s). The initial release was in 1981,
        by the way.

        I have no problem with modern stuff it it is not worse than the old
        one. Unfortunately, there 7.x line added some features which have made
        my work harder.

      • Lynx

        I am a bit curious who still uses the Lynx browser [1]? I don’t call it
        a “WWW browser” because it can do also the Gopher protocol (and does it
        very well).

        There are more modern solutions (which can combine the Gopher and the
        Gemini, for example) adn also some purely Gopher browsers. I have tried
        some of them but I am still the Lynx user.

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

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, March 16, 2023

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:28 am by Needs Sunlight

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RMS: A Tour of Malicious Software, With a Typical Cell Phone as Example

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 1:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Tonight in Europe or this afternoon in America Richard M. Stallman (RMS), who turned 70 yesterday, gives a talk

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is hosting a talk by Richard M. Stallman on March 17, 2023 at 15:00 EDT (19:00 UTC).


Mar 17, 2023

03:00 PM to
04:15 PM

Contact Name

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is hosting a talk by Richard M. Stallman (RMS) on March 17, 2023 from 15:00 to 16:15 EDT (19:00 – 20:15 UTC) in Somerville, MA. Since LibrePlanet will take place on the following two days (March 18 and 19), we hope that you’ll be in town. We have a limited amount of space for an in-person audience, so please sign up today if you’d like to see this talk in person.

The talk is entitled “A tour of malicious software, with a typical cell phone as example.” Richard Stallman will be speaking about the free software movement and your freedom. His speech will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend online. We will also broadcast the talk at fsf.org/live. Remote attendees can ask questions in the #fsf channel of the Libera.chat IRC network.

Details to the in-person event will be shared upon registration. Please note that in-person attendees will be required to wear a mask, and other mandatory coronavirus precautions may be put in place prior to the event.

If you have any questions about the event itself, please write campaigns@fsf.org.

More information about this event…

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license (or later version) — Why this license?

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