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Links 5/6/2016: SouthEast LinuxFest, Debian 8.5 Released

GNOME bluefish



  • Meet The Fast And Beautiful Cub Linux 1.0 — “Cub = Chromium + Ubuntu”
    Cub Linux is created by combining the best features of Chromium OS and Ubuntu Linux i.e. speed and Google integrations of Chromium + power and compatibility of Ubuntu Linux. This cloud centric operating system is currently based on Ubuntu Linux LTS 14.04 ‘Trusty Tahr’ and is available for download as a Release Candidate.

  • Interview with the Creators of SilentKeys; Preevio
    I got the opportunity to talk to Iann De Maria and Romain Pironneau earlier today about the launch of their Kickstarter campaign for an Edward Snowden inspired privacy-oriented keyboard that runs a live Linux OS. Read on to find out what got said!

  • FOSS and Grits With Southern Fried Linux
    There’s a component to the SouthEast LinuxFest that’s not seen at most other free and open source conferences, as the conference seeks to celebrate not only FOSS, but Southern culture as well.

    The SouthEast LinuxFest is the conference that dares to be different. That’s because along with “Linux” and “FOSS,” “hospitality” is always a keyword at SELF, which will get cranked up next Friday, June 10. Hospitality — as in the “bless your heart” version known as “southern hospitality” — is sure to be on full display. That’s a given.

    I point this out not for the benefit of good ol’ boy or girl FOSSers who call the Southeast home — ’cause y’all already know — but for those who live outside the area who might not be aware that SELF allows attendees the chance to not only be immersed in the culture of free and open source software, but in the culture of the New South as well.

  • Desktop

    • “10”‘s Nagware Ruins Your Day
      If you want software that works for you rather than you being a slave to its supplier, use Free/Libre Open Source Software like Debian GNU/Linux. It saved me many times from re-re-reboots, malware and slowing down.

    • Even in remotest Africa, Windows 10 nagware ruins your day: Update burns satellite link cash
      When you're stuck in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR) trying to protect the wildlife from armed poachers and the Lord's Resistance Army, then life's pretty tough. And now Microsoft has made it tougher with Windows 10 upgrades.

      The Chinko Project manages roughly 17,600 square kilometres (6,795 square miles) of rainforest and savannah in the east of the CAR, near the border with South Sudan. Money is tight, and so is internet bandwidth. So the staff was more than a little displeased when one of the donated laptops the team uses began upgrading to Windows 10 automatically, pulling in gigabytes of data over a radio link.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • The History of Open Source & Free Software, Pt. 1, w/ Special Guest: Richard Stallman
      In the early 1980’s Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF): a socio-technological movement that revolutionized the software world. In this episode we’ll hear Stallman himself talking about the roots of the movement, and learn of its early struggles.

    • Our First Podcast, with ProfessorKaos64
      We are introducing today a new way to enjoy BoilingSteam with our first podcast. It was recorded on the 22nd of May, along with our special guest, ProfessorKaos64, who is pretty well known in the linux gaming community for his work on expanding SteamOS beyond its initial scope of only launching Steam games. You can check his SteamOS-tools page on Git-hub to find out the extent of his work so far.

  • Kernel Space

    • OpenSwitch Finds a New Home

    • HP’s OpenSwitch becomes a Linux Foundation Project
      HP's open source networking operating system, OpenSwitch, is now a Linux Foundation project.

      Many industry players are joining the project, including Broadcom, Cavium, Extreme Networks, LinkedIn, Mellanox, Nephos Inc.,, Quattro Networks, SnapRoute and, of course, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

    • HPE-backed OpenSwitch OS becomes Linux Foundation project

    • EU Parliament Votes for Smart Regulation of Blockchain Technology
      European Parliament members (MEPs) voted to take a hands-off approach to regulating blockchain technology, Ars Technica reports. Following the vote, unnamed sources told Ars Technica that European Commission staffers are working hard to understand the distributed ledger technology behind virtual currencies ‒ seven years after the launch of Bitcoin, with venture capital investments now totalling more than €1 billion.

    • On Getting Patches Merged
      In some project there's an awesome process to handle newcomer's contributions - autobuilder picks up your pull and runs full CI on it, coding style checkers automatically do basic review, and the functional review load is also at least all assigned with tooling too.

      Then there's project where utter chaos and ad-hoc process reign, like the Linux kernel or the community, and it's much harder for new folks to get their foot into the door. Of course there's documentation trying to bridge that gap, tools like to figure out whom to ping, but that's kinda the details. In the end you need someone from the inside to care about what you're doing and guide you through the maze the first few times.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Published AMD GPU-PRO Beta Driver (for Linux)
        On Windows, we really only have one graphics driver per GPU. On Linux, however, there is a choice between open drivers and closed, binary-only blobs. Open drivers allow users to perpetuate support, for either really old hardware or pre-release software, without needing the GPU vendor to step in. It can also be better for security, because open-source software can be audited, which is better (albeit how much better is up for debate) than just having a few eyes on it... if any at all.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 On Linux: OpenGL, OpenCL, Vulkan Performance
        $699 USD is a lot to spend on a graphics card, but damn she is a beauty. Last month NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 1080 as the current top-end Pascal card and looked great under Windows while now finally having my hands on the card the past few days I've been putting it through its paces under Ubuntu Linux with the major open APIs of OpenGL, OpenCL, Vulkan, and VDPAU. Not only is the raw performance of the GeForce GTX 1080 on Linux fantastic, but the performance-per-Watt improvements made my jaw drop more than a few times. Here are my initial Linux results of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Founder's Edition.

      • The Importance Of Benchmark Automation & Why I Hate Running Linux Games Manually
        Yet again with today's GeForce GTX 1080 Linux review there were multiple people asking "why XYZ Linux game wasn't tested", a recurring topic now over the past several years.

        XYZ game wasn't tested in that review or any other article since it can't be properly automated, that's usually the explanation whenever prompted in the forums. The game/engine wasn't either designed to be automated-benchmark friendly, the developers disabled it in the debug build, or in many cases when it's ported to Linux by companies like Feral Interactive they simply didn't bother with porting that functionality to Linux.

      • Some Extra, One-Off Benchmarks Of The GeForce GTX 1080 On Linux

      • See How Your Linux System Compares To The Performance Of A GeForce GTX 1080
        While finishing up the large GPU comparisons with the GTX 1080, I did run a few preliminary results in different benchmarks and uploaded them to Thanks to our benchmarking software, you can easily compare your own system to this $699 NVIDIA graphics card running under Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Revival Icon Set: An Icon Theme Reborn From Old Icon Theme
      There are plenty of icon themes available for Linux desktops but we always welcome new eyecandy study stuff which wants to make Linux desktop elegant and different. Revival icon set is a remastered version of an old icon theme which I don't know because it is not mentioned on source page. The icons in this set are kind of gradient variation and mimetypes taken from Emerald icon theme, it come with in three different folder colors: Blue, Orange, and Mint green folders. It is compatible with most of the desktops such as Unity, Gnome, Mate, Cinnamon, KDE and others. It is in active development, so if you want to contribute in any way you can do it via this page.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Upgrade/Install Latest KDE Plasma 5 in Kubuntu 16.04/Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial
      • Antu Icons Inspired from OS X, Android, and Flyme for Linux Desktop
        You may have tried many icon themes to make your desktop elegant and unique, Antü is another great looking icon theme which has some elements inspired from OS X, Android and Flyme OS. The idea behind this icon theme is to make a clean and soft icon set which can be used an alternative to Breeze in KDE and this icon theme was only available for KDE desktop but ZMA from Gnome-look manage to port it for other desktops such as Unity, Gnome, Xfce, Lxde, Mate, Cinnamon and others. The original Antü version for KDE desktop offers two variants one is for light panel and other for dark panel contains approximately 1500+ icons, the ported Antu-Universal version has four versions and ZMA added more icons approximately 3000+ icons. Both icon sets are in constant development and you report issues to theme and hopefully they are gonna fix it in next release. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool to change icons.
      • Crane – alpha version
        In the old version of GCompris, the dimensions of the window were locked, so there was only one mode: desktop mode. In the current Qt version, the window can be resized in any way the user wants. To address this issue, i had to adapt the activity to the new demands.
      • Plasma’s Publictransport to get some reworking !
        This summer I’ll be working on trying to bring back to life the Publictransport Plasma applet, as part of a Google summer of code project, mentored by Eike Hein and Mario Fux, which will need both reworking and rewriting of the present code for it to be able to work with Plasma5. To know more about the project, take a look at it’s wiki page on and a detailed explanation about the project by it’s author , Friedrich Pülz.
      • [Krita] Design the Kickstarter T-shirt!
        The Kickstarter has been funded so we’ll be needing T-shirts! Here’s your chance to earn fame by designing the one we’ll send to our backers: Special June drawing challenge!
      • Plasma 5.6.4 available in 16.04 Backports
        The Kubuntu Team announces the availability of Plasma 5.6.4 on Kubuntu 16.04 though our Backports PPA.
      • Building KDE Frameworks on MsWindows
      • Full emojis support for your KDE/Qt applications
        So in the past month I've devoted my weekends to get proper emojis support ready for KDE software. Thanks to our fantastic KEmoticons framework, all the heavy lifting is already done, we just needed a theme and utilize the theme.
      • Anatomy of a bug fix
        But let’s take a look at a particularly nasty bug, one that we couldn’t fix for ages. Ever since Krita 2.9.6, we have received crash reports about Krita crashing when people were using drawing tablets. Not just any drawing tablets, but obscure tablets with names like Trust, Peritab, Adesso, Waltop, Aiptek, Genius — and others. Not the tablets that we do support because the companies have donated test hardware to Krita, like Wacom, Yiynova and Huion.
      • KDAB at SIGGRAPH in July
      • Webinar – Introducing Qt 3D

      • Qt World Summit USA
        This year the Qt World Summit will be held in California and KDAB will be there as a major sponsor! you’ll also find some of our trainings on offer during the pre-conference training day on October 18th.

      • Taming the Beast
        One of the lesser-known features in KDE Applications and Plasma is the Kiosk Framework, a means of restricting the customizability of the workspace in order to keep users in an enterprise or public environment from performing unwanted actions or modifications.

      • Voy: Message passing library for distributed KRunner (Part 1)
      • KEXI 3
        Spolier: 0% of mockups here, top picture: kexi.git master, bottom picture: to-be-published GUI.

      • Coding at Lakademy Pt II
      • Lakademy 2016 – Starting to automate some servers on KDE
        Lakademy is a great event that happens every year since 2014. It is a Latin American event, but normally it happens in Brasil (Let’s try to do that in another place in Latin American? Do you have a good one? Let us know).
      • LaKademy 2016: one more reinvigorating event
        It was a great honor to participate this meeting again. I’ve been participated since Akademy-Br, in 2010, when I became a contributor to community. Like the other years, I worked in translation and promo activities. Me, Frederico and Camila decided to start a review work on all Plasma 5 translation files, messages and docmessages. There are many things that needs to be revised, especially in the documentation files. Moreover, as Brazil implemented a new orthographic agreement recently, we would like to update the translations to follow these changes. Of course, the amount of work is huge, the review process of all these files is tiring and can take a while, so just we started it during the event.

      • New Plasma Task Manager backend: Faster, better, Wayland
        During the last several months, I've been rewriting the backend for Plasma's Task Manager, the strip of launchers and windows embedded into the panel at the bottom of the screen.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 3-TeXLa is alive)
        Today is a great day because the question “Wiki, what’s going on?” has a precise answer: “TeXLa is alive!”
      • TeXLa editing hack with Kile
      • WTL editing hack with TeXLa
      • Strong kickoff
        Ever since I've connected with my mentor (Stefan) I've worked on LabPlot. Even before the community bonding period I have implemented LaTeX exporting support for spreadsheets and matrices. You can export now your datas in LaTeX tables, this is the export's dialog:

      • Gsoc 2016 Neverland #2
        I have been spending about one week thinking about how I should structure the templates and the themes, so you can build themes for WP, Drupal … with only one Html theme.

      • Work peroid.
        With the beginning of the coding period, I have set up all my accounts ,have read more about Qt5 and GSL libraries,had the discussion about the project with my mentor and finally done with the most boredom job, that is , taking university examinations.

      • GSoC Update 1: The Beginning
        The project idea's implementation has undergone some changes from what I proposed. While the essence of the project is the same, it will now no longer be dependent on Baloo and xattr. Instead, it will use a QList to hold a list of staged files with a plugin to kiod. My next milestone before the mid-term evaluation is to implement this in a KIO slave which will be compatible with the whole suite of KDE applications.

      • #24: GSoC with KDE – 3
        As the first part of my project, I had to implement an IMAP client for fetching emails from an IMAP server. I used KIMAP library in the process. With the help of my mentor and Daniel Vratil and Luca Beltrame, I implemented a working IMAP client. Daniel and Luca helped me with the API details, since the one available was lacking some of the details. Still, most of the methods were fine. The only minor issue related to the API was a specific function overloading in KIMAP::FetchJob. The new Qt signal/slot mechanism is good and all, but since it does static checking, we need to specify the exact methods. In this particular case, to resolve ambiguity, we need to cast it. Which looks not very beautiful. Hence, Qt recommends not to use function overloading.

      • Unlocking wallet during startup
        While setting up plasma5 I found a solution for something that had been bothering me forever. Basically, while session management is restoring all windows, the wallet isn't open yet, so if the wallet is needed to get online (wifi password), all the apps being restored (in my case, about 20 konqueror windows) have no networking yet and just show error pages.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Budgie-remix: Unity Light and then some
      When half a dozen major desktops are used by Linux distributions, what chance does a new one have? In the case of budgie-remix, a better chance than you might expect. With the combination of an unexpected endorsement and a lightweight and elegant desktop environment, Budgie-remix could manage to become the first distribution since Linux Mint to capture the interest of a large percentage of users.

      Budgie-remix builds on the work of Ikey Doherty for the budgie desktop, which is featured in the Solus distribution (formerly Evolve OS). David Mohammed, best known for the development of the Rhythmbox music player, packaged Budgie for Ubuntu, then noticed that Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu had left a message on Google+ saying, “Happy to support an application to make this an official *buntu flavour, if there is a community around the packaging.”

    • Budgie-Remix 16.04

    • Reviews

      • Alpine Linux Desktop
        I recently resurrected an older, but relatively small laptop to use in cattle class on an airplane, where a full-size laptop is eternally in danger of being crushed by the seat in front. Unfortunately, the laptop was running Windows Vista, a curse inflicted on many laptops of its era, when Microsoft went through one of its phases of pretending that people seek deeper meaning from an operating system as opposed to just hoping it will keep running and not break their applications. (What's that, you say? They're doing it right now by pretending that the next generation of children will be transformed by the tiny, incremental improvements they made to Windows? So surprising.)

      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of 4MLinux 17.0 - The Stable One?
        The GUI looks stylish and 4MLinux performs well. There are a few too many whys to be answered before I could use this over something like Q4OS and AntiX.

        For instance:

        Why can I not get a wireless network connection? Why after installing 4M Linux does it boot to a command prompt and not a GUI? Why have applications installed that are dependent on other applications which aren't installed?

        There is in general a good selection of lightweight applications installed and the extensions menu gives you access to a few key applications such as a decent browser and office suite.

        The games section is very nice and the inclusion of DOOM and Quake is a good touch.

        The trouble is that I can see some nice things but I can't think of a reason why I would use 4M Linux over something else.

        The key fix for the next release is to nail wireless network connections. Borrow the code from another distribution or include a network manager that just works. Puppy Linux has a tool called Frisbee which is lightweight and not so pretty but it definitely works. If in doubt use that.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Got SELinux?
        We are working to get SELinux and Overlayfs to work well together. Currently you can not run docker containers

      • PHPUnit 5.4
        RPM of PHPUnit version 5.4 are available in remi repository for Fedorra ≥ 21 and in remi-test repository for Enterprise Linux (CentOS, RHEL...).

      • PLUMgrid SDN Suite Works with Red Hat OpenStack
        Players in the emerging software-defined networking (SDN) arena are continuing on the path to interoperability as the industry shakes itself out, with PLUMgrid Inc. announcing its SDN suite is certified for the Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8.
      • PLUMgrid's ONS 5.0 for OpenStack now certified for use with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8
        PLUMgrid is bringing its Open Networking Suite to Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8. ONS 5.0 is now certified for use with the Red Hat OpenStack distribution, providing another option for deploying software-defined networking capabilities for OpenStack-based clouds.

      • Firms Explain How To Overcome Open Source Development Challenges
        Who better to explain how to overcome the challenges of managing open source projects and cultures than open source champions Red Hat Inc. and Docker Inc., both of which have come out with brand-new resources detailing their in-house processes and best practices for community software development?

        Within days of each other, Red Hat open sourced a best practices tool for managing open source projects, while Docker continued its blog series on how it does the same, this week focusing on its internal processes, such as how it promotes contributing developers to maintainer status.

      • How To Hire Software Testers, Pt. 3
        I am a QA contractor at Red Hat responsible for finding over 1600 bugs, a general purpose open source developer, Red Hat Certified professional, cloud hacker and an entrepreneur! My latest start-up is Mr. Senko!

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Cloud FAD 2016
          Then you should *totally* participate remotely in the Cloud Working Group’s Fedora Activity Day (FAD) in Raleigh, NC on June 7th and 8th! The Cloud Working Group will be making decisions, tackling tickets, and writing code to help with topics like automated testing, documentation, and increasing our public cloud provider footprint.

          Be sure to check out the Cloud FAD wiki page, sign up as a remote attendee, and join us in #fedora-meeting-3 on Freenode during the event.

        • Korora 23 Gnome - Fedora on steroids

          Here we go. A Fedora spin that is a bit confused from so much spinning. Overall, this distro works well. In a way. Korora is a decent, admirable attempt to transform a rather nerdy system into something anyone can use, with good looks, media codecs availability out of the box, lots of programs, and some additional friendly and gentle tweaks. Not bad.

          On the other hand, the execution is not flawless. The installer killed my GRUB, the package manager is plain stupid, the updates are done the wrong way, there are half a dozen semi-annoying bugs in day-to-day activities, and the networking needs significant and immediate improvements. All in all, not enough to sway me over. Korora 23 Coral gets about 7.5/10 on a sunny day, and I'm probably being generous. Then again, it's the best effort this spring yet, all distros included, and it does shine a ray of hope into my grizzled heart. Plus, it's better than the previous version I tested, so it might actually be majestic one day. Or like Xubuntu, steadily improve for four years until it becomes da bomb and then bomb. Korora, worth testing. And I'll check the KDE spin, too.

        • DNF / YUM History
          I wasn’t too worried as I can get around in the command line just fine, but I still wanted my GUI for other reasons as this is a home workstation, not a server. I recalled a command from my Red Hat training that proved to be very useful in this situation. DNF History (yum history for CentOS and Red Hat). You will need to be logged on as root to perform this action of course. If it won’t fit on the screen just type the command dnf history | less then take note of the ID number on the left of the screen. The offending removal I had was ID 96. Then you just type DNF history undo 96 and the system will install all the packages that were removed earlier. I tried other things while I was there and messed it up a bit more, which is why you see in the screen shot individual gnome installs. I used the history to see what packages were removed and then did a batch install of them all. I then finished up with a systemctl set-default and a reboot.

        • Fedora TTY on my hotel TV?

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 7.11 "Wheezy" Is the Last in the Series, Debian 8.5 Out Now
        Just a few moments ago, June 4, 2016, the Debian Project announced on their Twitter account that the eleventh and last maintenance release in the stable Debian GNU/Linux 7 "Wheezy" operating system is now available for download.

        The Debian GNU/Linux 7.11 update is now available for all users that are still running the "Wheezy" distribution on their personal computers or servers, and it looks like this is the last install medium that will be ever made available for the Debian GNU/Linux 7 series.

      • Updated Debian 8: 8.5 released

      • Debian 8.5 Released, Debian 7.11 Is Out Too For Ending Wheezy
        Debian updated their stable and old-stable releases this weekend.

        Debian 7.11 is the project's 11th and final point release to Debian 7 "Wheezy" with this version incorporating security updates and various bug fixes.

      • Weekly Report for GSoC16-Community bonding period
        The period where we introduce ourselves to the Debian community. I have updated my debian wiki page to introduce more about myself to the Debian community.

      • Reprotest repository exists and installs
        I had family obligations for most of the past week, so I haven't had a chance to do more than get started on reprotest. The repository now contains a version of reprotest that can be installed with pip/setuptools (run python install in the repository directory or pip reprotest/ from its parent directory) or with debhelper (run debuild -b -uc -us in the repository, then install the resulting .deb). I've tested this works by installing into a virtualenv and onto my own system, but if anyone else wants to verify this, that would be great. At the moment, reprotest doesn't do anything, mind.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • You Can Now Have All the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Live DVDs Into a Single ISO Image
            Softpedia was just informed today, June 4, 2016, by Željko Popivoda from the Linux AIO team that the Linux AIO Ubuntu project has finally been updated to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS operating system.

          • Ubuntu Phone used by 60+ year olds

            Overall, BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Phone fared decently in the hands of people who probably constitute the least prioritized demographic for the development and product teams over at BQ and Canonical. Essentially, this is still a beta nerd toy, and yet, it didn't draw hatred or anger with the unlikely pair of victims. In fact, that is probably the highest accolade one can pile on a brand new device trying to edge its way into a shark-infested, saturated market of mobile providers.

            It's not perfect, and my tech-savvy eyes sees far more faults than a casual user, which is often how it is. That also explains why you cannot really fully trust techies to review products, not unless they can disassociate their geeky knowledge from the end-user mission. For most people, this means good sound quality, good signal reception, the ability to call and message and chat and whatnot, the ability to take some photos and videos and share them with their friends, and a few other simple things like that. It's not about glamor and quad-core computation and touch screen crystal density. I always try to take this stance, but to be triple-sure, I let my generic progenitors roadtest the Ubuntu Phone and give their own verdict. A true, practical, down-to-earth judgment sans any touch Utopia nonsense.

            Anyhow, the Ubuntu Phone isn't a bad product really. This is a good start. A very good start. However, the devil is in the fine details. And money is in the applications and the seamless integration among all aspects of online and media. So I'd focus there, to make sure that Ubuntu users can enjoy music and video and buy stuff without having to go through any hoops and loops that iOS or Android users need not to. That's how this little thing will guarantee its survival and eventual success. Because largely, the actual platform is irrelevant. But then, throw in Convergence, and Ubuntu has an awesome opportunity to be a truly all-spectrum operating system, ahead of all the rest. Even Microsoft. Fingers crossed. We're done here. Stay tuned for more fun.

          • Still and rigid or adaptable? Tell us about your app

          • Your Complete Guide to Ubuntu Touch OTA-11
            Ubuntu OTA-11 is the latest update to Ubuntu for phones and tablets — and it brings some big new features to the fore.

            Among the changes OTA-11 brings to supported devices is initial wireless display support for the Meizu PRO 5.

            A staged rollout, be aware that it can take up to 24-48 hours for all supported devices to be notified of the update (tip: remember to keep your Wi-Fi turned on as the update is around 100MB+ in size).

          • Ubuntu OTA 11: Meizu Pro 5 Wireless Display
            The latest Over-The-Air update (OTA) 11 is out! We've introduced wireless capabilities to the Meizu Pro 5, which gives users the full Ubuntu PC experience running from a smartphone.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • How Apple lost its way: Steve Jobs’ love of simplicity is gone
    Four years ago, I wrote a book about Apple and the power of simplicity. It was the result of my observation, having worked with Steve Jobs as his ad agency creative director in the “think different” years, when Apple’s stellar growth was rooted in Steve’s love of simplicity.

    This love – you might call it obsession – could be seen in Apple’s hardware, software, packaging, marketing, retail store design, even the company’s internal organization.

    But that was four years ago.

  • Deathbed conversion? Never. Christopher Hitchens was defiant to the last
    Only a particular species of creep could persuade me to write to the son of a friend and ask him to describe the death agonies of his beloved father. I typed that he must say “I would rather not talk about it” if he wished, then sent an email to Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.

    I sat back, feeling dirty and not expecting a reply. I would not have troubled Alexander had not journalists at the nominally serious Times and BBC promoted the claim of a strange, spiteful book that Christopher Hitchens was “teetering on the edge of belief” as he lay dying from cancer of the oesophagus.

    The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist is the work of a true fanatic, who has never learned when to seize a golden opportunity to hold his tongue. Recounting a memorial for Hitchens in New York, for instance, Larry Alex Taunton has to say how much he hates the event and the mourners. “The funeral, like the man himself, was largely a celebration of misanthropy, vanity and excess of every kind,” he intones.

  • Microsoft fixes borked Outlook and Hotmail spam filter problem
    MICROSOFT HAS FIXED a problem with its Outlook and Hotmail spam filters that has saw users inundated with dinkle enhancement and Nigerian lottery scam emails.

    Microsoft first confirmed the problem on Tuesday evening, albeit vaguely, on its Service Status page with the message: "Some users may be receiving excessive spam mail."

  • Science

    • How this odd-looking camera changed how we take photos
      When you take a photo, it helps to have a pretty accurate idea of what will be inside the frame. It’s something we take for granted now. But early photographers had to guess, because they couldn’t look directly through the lens to see what they were snapping.

      There were some cameras at the end of the 19th Century that sort of solved this, using a swinging mirror that reflected the view from the lens to the photographer peering into the top of the camera. But it was rudimentary. Often the mirror had to be raised separately using a piece of string before the camera could be used. And the cameras themselves were huge.

  • Hardware

    • Next-Generation ThunderX2 ARM Targets Skylake Xeons

    • Nobody wants Intel’s Core M processor, and Computex proves it
      Asus led Computex 2016 with its biggest PC announcement of the year, the Zenbook 3. Super-thin, yet affordable, the system was compared repeatedly to the MacBook, particularly in the area of performance. Asus pointed out that unlike Apple’s system, which uses a Core M processor, the Zenbook 3 has a full-fledged Core i5 or i7. That makes it up to 30 percent quicker.
    • ARM Unveils The Mali-G71 Graphics Processor And Cortex-A73 Processor With A Focus On Virtual Reality Performance
      Have you recently stopped to think about what modern smartphones can do? It's amazing how much power is packed into these small little devices that we carry around all day, and it's even more amazing that most of that power resides in teeny tiny chips that are lodged somewhere between the huge screen and the big battery.

    • Fanless Pico-ITX SBC uses Braswell SoCs, packs up to 8GB RAM
      Commell’s “LP-176” is a Pico-ITX SBC with Intel’s “Braswell” processors, featuring mini-PCIe, USB 3.0, SATA III, GbE, HDMI, and optional DisplayPort.

      Commell’s modestly configured LP-176, which follows Commell Pico-ITX form-factor boards such as the Bay Trail Atom E3800 and Celeron based LP-173, gives you a choice of two quad-core SoC’s from Intel’s Braswell line of 14nm system-on-chips. For the highest performance, there’s a 1.6GHz Intel Pentium N3710 with 6W TDP, and for the highest power efficiency at a lesser price, there’s a 1.04GHz Atom X5-E8000 with a 5W TDP.

    • Sensor oriented Marvell Cortex-A7 SoC targets IoT
      Marvell’s dual-core Cortex-A7 “IAP220” SoC for low-power IoT and wearables runs Linux, Android, or Brillo, and offers an integrated sensor hub.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EU referendum: Brexit 'would boost NHS by €£100m a week'
      Leaving the European Union would allow the UK government to spend an extra €£100m a week on the NHS by 2020, leading Brexit campaigners have said.

      Justice Secretary Michael Gove called on the government to pledge the money in the event of an EU exit - saying it would come from the UK's EU budget.

      It comes after Mr Gove took part in a televised Q&A, urging voters to "take back control" from "Europe's elites".

      The Remain campaign described the NHS spending claim as "totally dishonest".

      Greg Hands, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "Doctors and nurses want to stay in Europe because they understand that quitting the single market would damage the NHS by shrinking the economy.

    • U.S. Death Rate Rises, But Health Officials Aren't Sure Why
      For the first time in many years, the overall death rate ticked up in 2015, according to new federal data.

      It's not clear why and experts have to go through and analyze the data a little more thoroughly before they can say where and in which groups the deaths rates rose. But the initial data for 2015 from the National Center for Health Statistics shows the adjusted death rate went up from 723 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014 to nearly 730 deaths per 100,000 in 2015.

    • First Rise in U.S. Death Rate in Years Surprises Experts
      The death rate in the United States rose last year for the first time in a decade, preliminary federal data show, a rare increase that was driven in part by more people dying from drug overdoses, suicide and Alzheimer’s disease. The death rate from heart disease, long in decline, edged up slightly.

      Death rates — measured as the number of deaths per 100,000 people — have been declining for years, an effect of improvements in health, disease management and medical technology.

      While recent research has documented sharp rises in death rates among certain groups — in particular less educated whites, who have been hardest hit by the prescription drug epidemic — increases for the entire population are relatively rare.

      Federal researchers cautioned that it was too early to tell whether the rising mortality among whites had pushed up the overall national death rate. (Preliminary data is not broken down by race, and final data will not be out until later this year.) But they said the rise was real, and while it is premature to ring an alarm now, if it continues, it could be a signal of distress in the health of the nation.

    • AP Exclusive: How candy makers shape nutrition science

  • Security

    • Top 10 Common Hacking Techniques You Should Know About
      Unethical hacking can be called an illegal activity to get unauthorized information by modifying a system’s features and exploiting its loopholes. In this world where most of the things happen online, hacking provides wider opportunities for the hackers to gain unauthorized access to the unclassified information like credit card details, email account details, and other personal information.

      So, it is also important to know some of the hacking techniques that are commonly used to get your personal information in an unauthorized way.

    • Hackers, your favourite pentesting OS Kali Linux can now be run in a browser

    • Core Infrastructure Initiative announces investment in security tool OWASP ZAP
      The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) is continuing its commitment to help fund, support and improve open-source projects with a new investment. The organization has announced it is investing in the Open Web Application Security Project Zed Attack Proxy project (OWASP ZAP), a security tool designed to help developers identify vulnerabilities in their web apps.

    • The Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative Invests in Security Tool for Identifying Web Application Vulnerabilities

    • Study Shows Lenovo, Other OEM Bloatware Still Poses Huge Security Risk [Ed: Microsoft Windows poses greater risks. Does Microsoft put back doors in Windows (all versions)? Yes. Does it spy on users? Yes. So why focus only on Asian OEMs all the time?]
      Lenovo hasn't had what you'd call a great track record over the last few years in terms of installing insecure crapware on the company's products. You'll recall that early last year, the company was busted for installing Superfish adware that opened all of its customers up to dangerous man-in-the-middle attacks, then tried to claim they didn't see what all the fuss was about. Not too long after that, the company was busted for using a BiOS trick to reinstall its bloatware on consumer laptops upon reboot -- even if the user had installed a fresh copy of the OS.

      Now Lenovo and its bloatware are making headlines once again, with the news that the company's "Accelerator Application" software makes customers vulnerable to hackers. The application is supposed to make the company's other bloatware, software, and pre-loaded tools run more quickly, but Lenovo was forced to issue a security advisory urging customers to uninstall it because it -- you guessed it -- opened them up to man-in-the-middle attacks.

    • Friday's security updates

    • electrum ssl vulnerabilities
      One full month after I filed these, there's been no activity, so I thought I'd make this a little more widely known. It's too hard to get CVEs assigned, and resgistering a snarky domain name is passe.

      I'm not actually using electrum myself currently, as I own no bitcoins. I only noticed these vulnerabilities when idly perusing the code. I have not tried to actually exploit them, and some of the higher levels of the SPV blockchain verification make them difficult to exploit. Or perhaps there are open wifi networks where all electrum connections get intercepted by a rogue server that successfully uses these security holes to pretend to be the entire electrum server network.

    • Stop it with those short PGP key IDs!
      PGP is secure, as it was 25 years ago. However, some uses of it might not be so.

    • Wolf: Stop it with those short PGP key IDs!

    • There's a Stuxnet Copycat, and We Have No Idea Where It Came From [iophk: "Windows strikes again"]
      After details emerged of Stuxnet, arguably the world's first digital weapon, there were concerns that other hackers would copy its techniques.

      Now, researchers have disclosed a piece of industrial control systems (ICS) malware inspired heavily by Stuxnet. Although the copycat malware—dubbed IRONGATE by cybersecurity company FireEye—only works in a simulated environment, it, like Stuxnet, replaces certain types of files, and was seemingly written to target a specific control system configuration.

      “In my mind, there is little room to say that these are the same actors,” behind Stuxnet and IRONGATE, Sean McBride, manager at FireEye iSIGHT Intelligence told Motherboard in a phone interview.

      But clearly, and perhaps to be expected, other hackers have paid very close attention to, and copied one of the most powerful pieces of malware ever, raising questions of who else might have decided to see how Stuxnet-style approaches to targeting critical infrastructure can be adapted.

    • Are firewalls still important? Making sense of networking's greatest security layer
      Firewalls have become the forgotten part of security and yet they are still the place an admin reaches goes in a crisis

    • Software Now To Blame For 15 Percent Of Car Recalls
      Apps freezing or crashing, unexpected sluggishness, and sudden reboots are all, unfortunately, within the normal range of behavior of the software in our smartphones and laptops.

      While losing that text message you were composing might be a crisis for the moment, it’s nothing compared to the catastrophe that could result from software in our cars not playing nice.

      Yes, we’re talking about nightmares like doors flying open without warning, or a sudden complete shutdown on the highway.

      The number of software-related issues, according to several sources tracking vehicle recalls, has been on the rise. According to financial advisors Stout Risius Ross (SSR), in their Automotive Warranty & Recall Report 2016, software-related recalls have gone from less than 5 percent of recalls in 2011 to 15 percent by the end of 2015.

    • Effective IT security habits of highly secure companies
      Critics may claim that applying patches “too fast” will lead to operational issues. Yet, the most successfully secure companies tell me they don’t see a lot of issues due to patching. Many say they’ve never had a downtime event due to a patch in their institutional memory.

    • Introducing Security Snake Oil
      It has become quite evident that crowd-funding websites like KickStarter do not take any consideration to review the claims made by individuals in their cyber security products. Efforts made to contact them have gone unanswered and the misleading initiatives continue to be fruitless so as a community, we have to go after them ourselves.
    • CloudFlare is ruining the internet (for me) [iophk: "FB-like bottleneck and control for now available for self-hosted sites"]
      CloudFlare is a very helpful service if you are a website owner and don’t want to deal with separate services for CDN, DNS, basic DDOS protection and other (superficial) security needs. You can have all these services in a one stop shop and you can have it all for free. It’s hard to pass up the offer and go for a commercial solution. Generally speaking, CloudFlare service is as stable as they come, their downtime and service interruption are within the same margin as other similar services, at least to my experience. I know this because I have used them for two of my other websites, until recently.

      But what about the users? If you live in a First World Country then for the most part you probably wouldn’t notice much difference, other than better speed and response time for the websites using CloudFlare services, you will be happy to know that because of their multiple datacenter locations mostly in USA, Canada, Europe and China, short downtimes won’t result in service interruptions for you because you will be automatically rerouted to their nearest CloudFlare data center and they have plenty to go around within the first world countries.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Left, Right & Center’: A Movement for Peace
      Scheer disagreed, saying Clinton should be listening more to the progressive side of the party. If she doesn’t, he said, he fears that Clinton will move forward with a neoconservative, pro-war agenda unchecked.

    • Next Time Someone Says Nothing Is Made in the USA Anymore, Show Them This

    • America Excels in Business of Death [Ed: always same as above]
      America may lag behind the developed world in many categories, but it is No. 1 in the “merchant of death” business, experiencing a boom in the commerce of boom, especially in areas destabilized by U.S. invasions, notes JP Sottile.

    • Judge Upholds Life Sentences in Fort Dix Plot, But Advocates Say Fight Will Go On
      A U.S. district court judge has denied an attempt to overturn the convictions of Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka, three brothers who were sentenced to life in prison on dubious charges that they conspired to attack a military base in Fort Dix, New Jersey.

    • Media Trumpwash Clinton’s Reckless Foreign Record
      Almost all of the praise was premised on two assumptions: A) Trump presents a horrific risk to the planet and B) Clinton is the antidote to this, a “steady hand” in a dangerous world.

      Point A, it’s worth emphasizing, is true. Trump’s Muslim immigration ban and his claim that climate change is an “expensive hoax” that was “created by and for the Chinese” are certifiable and racist. His plan to seize the natural resources of other countries reverts us back to outright 19th century colonialism. His violent and inciting rhetoric presents a clear danger to immigrants, women and people of color.

      But B, the idea that Clinton is, by contrast, a prudent foreign policy moderate, is an establishment media assertion with little or no supporting evidence.

      Clinton has a long, objectively verifiable track record of acting recklessly on matters of foreign policy that seems to have slipped into a memory hole as the prospect of a Trump presidency looms overhead. While one would expect this rewriting of history to come from Clinton surrogates, it’s increasingly bizarre coming from nominally independent media pundits.

    • Poland’s ‘Cold War II’ Repression
      As the U.S. government ratchets up a new Cold War, Poland is taking hostility toward Russia to the next level, inviting in U.S. military bases and arresting an anti-NATO politician on vague “espionage” charges, writes Gilbert Doctorow.

    • ‘God paid him back with Parkinson’s disease’: The death of Muhammad Ali brings out the trolls
      To the surprise of no one, the tragic death of boxing icon Muhammad Ali brought out the ugly side in some people who faulted him for everything, including his religion, his stance against the Vietnam War and his outspokenness about social issues.

      Once the world’s greatest and best known athlete, Ali was never one to hold back when he had an opinion, speaking his mind during the Civil Rights movement and in opposition to the war in Vietnam when he refused induction into the service.

      Ali famously stated his case when he told the press, “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”

    • Muhammad Ali: An American Muslim
      He was more than a boxer, he was an anti-establishment icon.
    • Muhammad Ali, R.I.P.
      Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali, died today. He was a champion boxer and a brave man. He refused conscription into the Vietnam War, was framed up on false draft evasion charges and stripped of his world heavyweight boxing championship. In 1971 the US Supreme Court overturned his false conviction.

    • Muhammad Ali (1942-2016): Anti-War Legend and Boxing Great Dies at 74
      Boxing great Muhammad Ali, known around the world as a humanitarian who spoke out forcefully against racial inequality, social injustice, and the Vietnam War during the 1960's, has died at the age of 74.

    • The Greatest — Muhammad Ali — Dies at 74
      This was a long way from the 1960s and 1970s, when, to many white Americans, Ali — the former Cassius Clay and one-time heavyweight champion of the world — was vilified as a menacing black man, a symbol of a “foreign” religion (Islam), and a fierce opponent of America’s war in Vietnam who defied his government by refusing to be drafted, risking prison and the withdrawal of his boxing title.
    • Families of Death Squad Victims Allowed to Sue Chiquita Executives
      In what supporters described as "a victory for accountability for corporate crimes," a U.S. judge ruled in favor of allowing Colombians to sue former Chiquita Brand International executives for the company's funding of a paramilitary group that murdered plaintiffs' family members.

    • Muhammad Ali: The Original Activist-Athlete
      Whether it was refusing to be drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam 1967, literally talking a suicidal stranger off a ledge in 1981, or speaking out against the Islamophobia of presidential candidates in 2015, Ali’s greatness extended far beyond the ropes of the boxing ring, and his voice was more impactful than his fists.

    • UN Adds US-Supported Saudi Coalition to 'List of Shame' for Killing Children in Yemen
      The United Nations has blacklisted the Saudi Arabia-led coalition for maiming and killing scores of children with its campaign in Yemen.

      According to an annual report on children and armed conflict released by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the coalition was responsible for 60 percent of a total of 510 deaths and 667 woundings in 2015 after its campaign began in March—a six-fold increase, as Human Rights Watch (HRW) separately pointed out.

    • Kurds urge Canada to provide heavy weapons for war against ISIL, as well as for their independence
      The Kurds are pushing Canada to supply them with the heavy weapons they need to fight ISIL — as well as to defend themselves after they separate from Iraq.

      The Canadian military has a stockpile of armoured vehicles that could be of use to the Kurds but has yet to figure out whether to turn those over.

      The military has in its surplus stocks three Husky armoured vehicles used in Afghanistan to help clear improvised explosive devices and one Buffalo vehicle used for similar operations, according to data compiled by the Canadian Forces. Also surplus are 181 Coyote wheeled armoured vehicles and 46 tracked light armoured vehicles. Some of those upgraded carriers were used in Afghanistan and received good reviews for how they protected troops.

    • Libya’s ‘Chaos Theory’ Undercuts Hillary
      Hillary Clinton’s Libyan “regime change” project remains in chaos with one U.S. official likening rival factions to rogue water “droplets” resisting a U.S.-carved rewards-and-punishment “channel” to reconciliation, reports Robert Parry.

    • Operation Condor: A transnational criminal conspiracy, uncovered
      On May 27, for the first time ever, a court in Latin America ruled that Operation Condor was a supranational criminal conspiracy organized to disappear political opponents across borders. The verdict was handed down by an Argentine court that convicted 14 high- and mid-ranking Argentine military officers who acted during the 1976-1983 dictatorship, and one Uruguayan military officer, for their involvement in this criminal plan.

    • Of Gorillas and Palestinians
      On May 28, a 3-year-old child somehow entered a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. After being picked up by a 17-year-old gorilla, zoo officials felt the child was in immediate, mortal danger and the gorilla was quickly shot and killed. The child was unharmed.

      This is certainly a sad story; the gorilla was of a rare breed, and in picking up the child, was only doing what such animals do: it saw a curiosity, and went to explore it. Zoo officials say they had no choice but to kill the animal, because the child was at great risk.

      There has been much discussion about this situation. There were initial news stories, with continual follow-ups; commentary from experts and the general public, etc. There is much anger directed at the zoo, with many people weighing in to say the gorilla was helping, and not harming, the child, and that zoo officials over-reacted. Anonymous hackers have attacked the zoo. As evidence of the publicity and interest this situation garners, a Google search of the combined words ‘”Harambe”, the name of the gorilla, and “Cincinnati Zoo” brings up nearly 1,000,000 results.

    • Admit that Islam drives Isis, says BBC religion boss
      The BBC’s Muslim head of religion and ethics has said it is untrue that Isis has “nothing to do with Islam”. Aaqil Ahmed acknowledged it was an “uncomfortable” truth that the terrorist group is inspired by Islamic doctrine.

      Mr Ahmed was speaking at Huddersfield University when he was asked to defend the corporation’s policy of referring to Isis as the “so-called” Islamic State. At an event organised by Lapido, the centre for religious literacy in journalism, the barrister Neil Addison said: “You wouldn’t say ‘so-called Huddersfield University’.”

    • News Guide: German Vote Recognizing Armenian Genocide
      Germany's Parliament voted Thursday to label the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide.

      The move threatens to increase tensions with Turkey at a sensitive time when Ankara is playing a key role in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.

    • Turkey recalls ambassador after German MPs' Armenian genocide vote
      Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Berlin after German MPs approved a motion describing the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a century ago as genocide – a decision that the Turkish president said would “seriously affect” relations between the two countries.

      The five-page paper, co-written by parliamentarians from the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Green party, calls for a “commemoration of the genocide of Armenian and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916”. It passed with support from all the parties in parliament. In a show of hands, there was one abstention and one vote against.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI accused of spying on defense in Medicare fraud case
      In a stunning twist in a long-running Medicare fraud case, both the Miami U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI stand accused of spying on a defendant’s lawyer by illegally and secretly obtaining copies of confidential defense documents.

      Court papers filed last week by attorneys for Dr. Salo Schapiro contend the secret practice was not the action of “just one rogue agent or prosecutor.” Rather, it was apparently an “office-wide policy” of both the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI that’s gone on for “at least 10 years.”

    • NSA Kills People Based on Metadata, But Can’t Preserve Its Own Personnel Metadata for a Simple FOIA
      Over at Vice News, I’ve got a story with Jason Leopold on 800 pages of FOIAed documents from the NSA pertaining to their response to Edward Snowden. Definitely read it (but go back Monday to read it after VICE has had time to recover from having NSA preemptively release the documents just before midnight last night).

      But for now I wanted to point out something crazy.

    • EU financial sector lacks transparency, situation deteriorating
      The EU financial sector currently lacks financial transparency, and this has become not better but worse over the last three years, so say three researchers in economics and governance in a joint blog post. "This is worrying, because the further successful integration of the EU financial sector requires financial market participants and the public to be able to access information on banks' activities and health across borders."

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • PM and Boris clash over EU fishing laws
      David Cameron and Boris Johnson have clashed over the impact of the European Union on the UK's fishing industry.

      Mr Johnson, from the Leave campaign, told BBC's Countryfile British fishermen needed to be freed from "crazy" EU rules.

      But the prime minister said the value of the UK's fishing industry had gone up over the last five years.

      The EU's Common Fisheries Policy sets rules for the amount of fish each country's boats can catch.

      Mr Cameron and Mr Johnson are leading campaigners on opposing sides of the EU referendum, to be held on 23 June.

    • Norway reportedly agrees on banning new sales of gas-powered cars by 2025
      Norway’s four main political parties have been discussing a possible ban on new gasoline-powered car sales (diesel or petrol) for quite some time, but they were not able to come to an understanding until now, according to a new report from Dagens Næringsliv (Paywall), an important newspaper in Norway.

      The four main political parties, both from the right and the left, have agreed on a new energy policy that will include a ban on new gasoline-powered car sales as soon as 2025 – making it one of the most aggressive timeline of its kind for such a policy. What’s probably most remarkable here is that Norway is currently one of the world’s largest Oil exporters.

      India confirmed that it is evaluating a scheme for all its fleet to be electric by 2030 and the Dutch government is discussing the possibility to ban gas-powered car sales and only allow electric vehicle sales starting also by 2025, but the idea divides the parliament.
    • Nature Keeps Cities from Making Us Dead Inside
      I bailed on my most recent city, Baltimore, in 2012. First it was to somewhere deep as hell in the mountains of southwestern Colorado, and then it was to this place here in Washington state, which is still in the mountains but at least has respectable internet service. Leaving the city at that time seemed like a pretty good call—all of a sudden, I realized that as a remote worker I didn't need it.

    • Microplastics killing fish before they reach reproductive age, study finds
      Tiny particles of plastic litter in oceans causing deaths, stunted growth and altering behaviour of some fish that feed on them, research shows

    • Canada’s Rapidly ‘Greening’ North is Bad News For Everyone
      Going green sounds like a good thing, but not in Canada’s north. There, a changing climate and warmer temperatures are transforming semi-frozen tundra into grass for much of the year.

      Almost 30 percent of the land area of Canada and Alaska together is greener than it was in 1984, a new study in Remote Sensing of Environment reports. While that’s not a surprising statistic to these researchers—it echoes what other studies have been showing—the new study documents in painful detail just how these changes are happening.

      Previous satellite studies showed a resolution of roughly 4 kilometers squared. The latest data using Landsat 5 and 7 (the same satellite series that showed us the shocking Fort Mac fires) brings that resolution down to just 30 meters, meaning they could do a hyper-local analysis. As Landsat’s infrared sensors are sensitive to the greens of leaves and bushes, this allows researchers to map how tree cover or land cover change over time.
    • A Bunch of Nuclear Power Plants Are Closing, and It’s Because of Fracking
      The onetime energy source of the future lost more ground this week, as the largest US nuclear power company said it will pull the plug on two money-losing plants in Illinois.

      Exelon announced Thursday that it would be closing the Clinton nuclear plant, about 160 miles south of Chicago, and the twin-reactor Quad Cities plant, on the Mississippi River near Moline. Exelon said the two plants have lost a total of $800 million in recent years, and it had lobbied hard for a surcharge on power bills to support the plants—a plan critics called a bailout.
    • Indonesian forest fires caused largest increase in atmospheric CO2 since measurements began
      Last year’s extensive forest fires in Southeast Asia, most notably Indonesia, were responsible for the highest levels of atmospheric CO2 emissions ever measured, according to research published today from King’s College London.

      Writing in Nature Scientific Reports, Professor Martin Wooster from King’s and the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation, together with colleagues from institutions across Europe and Indonesia, said that last year’s record growth in CO2 was caused by the impacts of El Nino and the long- term growth in CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels.

      Much of Indonesia was naturally covered by forests, and some grew on a thick layer of moist, carbon-rich peatland storing more than 55 billion tonnes of carbon, far more carbon than is stored in their above ground vegetation. However, decades of forest clearance and the drying out of the normally moist peatlands for agriculture using extensive networks of drainage canals has made extensive parts of the Indonesian landscape much more flammable than before.

      Professor Wooster, explained ‘We saw the strongest growth in the global atmospheric concentration of CO2 with an increase of more than 40% higher than the last decade’s average annual atmospheric CO2 global growth rate.
    • Sudden appearance of crater dubbed ‘the Gateway to the Underworld’ in Siberia is a warning to our warming planet
      It is known as “the Gateway to the Underworld” by local people who fear to go near the massive crater that suddenly appeared in the frozen heart of Siberia.
    • 5 'Innocent' Things We Do (Are Environmentally Catastrophic)
      If you're anything like us, you do your fair share to preserve this fragile planet of ours for future generations: You recycle your plastics, you take a carpool to work rather than driving your monster truck, and you enjoy black rhino steaks only on special occasions (such as a successful black rhino hunt from the window of your monster truck). But it turns out that even staunch conservationists like ourselves can be unknowingly dealing Mother Nature swift and repeated kicks to the shin, because the little things we do every day without so much as a second thought can have unbelievably massive effects on the environment. For instance ...

    • EPA Finds Widely-Used Weed Killer Could Threaten Animals
      Atrazine is the second-most widely used herbicide in the United States. Manufactured by the chemical giant Syngenta, farmers have sprayed, on average, 70 million pounds of the weed killer on cropland across the country for the last twenty years. Half of the corn grown in the United States — some tens of millions of acres — is treated with atrazine.

    • The Climate and a Very Hot Election Year

      Miami Beach flooding has “spiked drastically,” measuring +400% in only one decade!

    • Storm surge imperils 455,000 Tampa Bay homes, report says
      Nearly 455,000 Tampa Bay homes could be damaged by hurricane storm surges, the most in any major metro area except Miami and New York City. And rebuilding all those homes could cost $80.6 billion.

      That’s according to a report released Wednesday by CoreLogic, a global property information firm, as the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season officially kicks off with two named storms already on the record books.

      CoreLogic said 454,746 Tampa Bay homes are vulnerable to hurricane flooding, a number that represents about a third of all the area’s homes. Of those, 92,103 are in what CoreLogic calls the “extreme’’ risk zone. That means they could be affected by even a relatively modest Category 1 with winds from 74 to 95 mph and a surge in the 4- to 5-foot range.
    • This Is What Insurgency Looks Like
      A week before the action the Albany Break Free steering committee defined their basic message. Potentially explosive crude oil “bomb trains” roll through Albany and surrounding communities, polluting the air and contributing to the climate crisis. Primarily low-income communities of color are put at risk. The urgent need to address climate change means that fossil fuels have to be left in the ground and a transition made to a “twenty-first century renewable energy economy.” They called for an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines, power plants, compressor stations, and storage tanks. And they called for a just transition away from fossil fuel energy with training and jobs for affected workers, so “no worker is left behind.”

    • Climate Change Censorship: Australia and UNESCO
      Despite lauding various efforts to pursue “clean energy” (PM Malcolm Turnbull decided to reverse the previous leader’s decision to scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation), environmental politics in Australia remains a dirty business.

      Turnbull demonstrated as much in March by announcements that he would remove funds from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and replace it with a new, slogan rich “Clean Energy Innovation Fund”. Turnbull is particularly keen on copyrighting innovation, a substitute, he finds, for actual de-funding strategies for the essentially redundant environment portfolio.

    • Top-placed endurance horses test positive for EPO
      The horses that finished first and second at the CEI1* endurance race at Doha, Qatar, on April 22 have tested positive for a banned substance, the FEI has announced.

    • FEI: Two Endurance Horses Teste Positive for Human EPO
      The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has announced two adverse analytical findings involving prohibited substances.

    • House GOP Again Trying to Gut Climate Science Funding
      Funds for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—agencies that conduct critical climate change research, among other things—are on the chopping block as the Republican-led U.S. House and Senate hash out their 2017 spending bills.

      According to Climate Wire, "The spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee last week allocates $128 million for NOAA's climate research, a 20 percent cut from the previous year. The bill allocates $1.7 billion for NASA's Earth Science division, a 12 percent cut from 2016."

      Specifically, House appropriators cut funding for climate labs run by NOAA by 17 percent below 2016 levels, which will impact efforts to update carbon dioxide observatories and track U.S. emissions, and also cut funding for ocean acidification research by 15 percent below 2016 levels.

    • Call to 'Save Oceans, Protect Workers' Goes Airborne as Greenpeace Targets Walmart
      Greenpeace activists converged in Fayetteville, Arkansas this week to call attention to global human rights abuses and environmental damage caused by retail giant Walmart ahead of the company's annual shareholders' meeting.

      The environmental group flew its thermal airship over the company's world headquarters in Fayetteville on Wednesday, displaying banners that read, "Walmart: Cleanup needed in the tuna aisle," and "Save oceans. Protect workers," a reference to the company's sale of canned tuna brands that Greenpeace says are destructive and unethically produced.

    • #ExxonKnew About Climate Change And ExxonKnows How To Use Trade Deals To Get Its Way
      Public outrage has been brewing about the fact that ExxonMobil—one of the the world’s biggest oil companies—knew about climate change as early as 1977 and yet promoted climate denialism and actively deceived the public by turning “ordinary scientific uncertainties into weapons of mass confusion.”

      A little-known fact, however, is that while ExxonMobil was misleading the public about climate disruption, it was also using trade rules to increase its power, to bolster its profits, and to actively hamper climate action.

    • Crude L.A.: California’s Urban Oil Fields

    • ‘Bomb Train’ Derailment Sparks Fire in Columbia River Gorge (Video)

    • Train carrying oil derails near Oregon's Columbia river gorge
      A train towing cars full of oil derailed on Friday in Oregon’s scenic Columbia river gorge, sparking a fire that sent a plume of black smoke high into the sky.

      The accident happened around noon near the town of Mosier, about 70 miles east of Portland. It involved eight cars filled with oil, and one was burning, said Ken Armstrong, state forestry department spokesman. There were no fatalities or injuries.

    • Major Oil Train Derailment In Oregon
      A Union Pacific train carrying volatile Bakken crude oil derailed in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge Friday afternoon, sparking a large blaze and prompting evacuations and road closures around the nearby town of Mosier. No deaths or injuries were reported.

    • 'Bomb Train' Hits Oregon Community as Feared Derailment Comes to Pass
      A fire is burning and large plume of smoke is rising after a train carrying oil derailed not far from the Columbia River in the town of Mosier, Oregon on Friday.

      Termed colloquially by their opponents as 'bomb trains,' the increased threat of oil-by-rail disasters has been of growing concern across North America in recent years. Friday's disaster is just the latest in a long string of such accidents that have rocked communities and devastated fragile ecosystems in both the U.S. and Canada.

    • Oil train derails near Mosier in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge
      An oil train derailment Friday in the Columbia River Gorge near Mosier sent up a massive plume of black smoke and stoked long-standing fears about the risks of hauling crude oil through one of the Pacific Northwest's most renowned landscapes.

    • Seine up to highest level in 35 years, Paris landmarks shut

    • Louvre Shuts Doors as Paris Gripped by Historic Flooding
      Paris's Louvre Museum is among the city's historic landmarks being shut on Friday as heavy rains caused the Seine River to swell to levels not seen in over three decades.

      "I am really sorry, but we're closed today," one Louvre staffer told visitors, the Associated Press reports. "We have to evacuate masterpieces from the basement."

      The Washington Post reports: "By early Friday evening, the Seine is expected to crest at approximately 21 feet, nearly 17 feet above its normal level. Authorities anticipate the water to remain high throughout the weekend but to gradually recede next week."

  • Finance

    • Major attacks Vote Leave 'deceit' as Johnson defends campaign
      Former PM Sir John Major has hit out at the "squalid" and "deceitful" campaign to get Britain out of the EU.

      He told Andrew Marr he was "angry about the way the British people are being misled" by fellow Conservative Boris Johnson and Vote Leave.

      He urged Mr Johnson to stop putting out information on immigration and the NHS which he knew to be false.

      Mr Johnson stood by Vote Leave's figures and called for an end to "blue-on-blue" conflict.

    • Philly Says No to Poor People’s March at DNC: an Interview with Cheri Honkala
      The Democratic National Convention will take place in Philadelphia, from July 25th through July 28th. City authorities have issued permits for four marches during the convention, but they have thus far refused to grant a permit to the March for Our Lives organized by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. I spoke to campaign organizer, Philadelphia native, and former Green Party vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala.

    • Meaningful work not created – only destroyed – by bosses, study finds
      Bosses play no role in fostering a sense of meaningfulness at work - but they do have the capacity to destroy it and should stay out of the way, new research shows.

      The study by researchers at the University of Sussex and the University of Greenwich shows that quality of leadership receives virtually no mention when people describe meaningful moments at work, but poor management is the top destroyer of meaningfulness.
    • Affordable Housing is Out of Reach for Many American Workers
      In no state, metropolitan area or county in the United States can a full-time worker earning the prevailing minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. A new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) reveals the disparity between rental housing costs and renter income in every jurisdiction across the country.

      Out of Reach 2016: No Refuge for Low Income Renters, calculates the housing wage – the hourly wage someone working full-time, 40 hours a week, would need to earn in order to afford a modest apartment without spending more than 30% of household income on rent and utilities – for every state, metropolitan area and county in the country.

    • Predatory Payday Lenders’ Top Democratic Ally Flip Flops On New Rules
      After months of public pressure and a stiff primary challenge from her left, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) reversed her position on payday lending Thursday.

    • Employment Lies
      The average work week is no longer 40 hours. The shrinkage of the average work week to 34.4 hours (May) is another reason for declining real median family income. Assuming 3 weeks of vacation, a 34.4 hour work week is 274.4 hours less per year. At $20 per hour, for example, a 34.4 hour work week produces $5,488 less annual income than a 40 hour week.

    • Trump University Shows Why For-Profit Motives Don’t Belong In Education
      Revelations from documents connected to Trump University are generating outrage across the political spectrum, from my colleague Terrance Heath, who called it “a scheme to transfer wealth from people who had little,” to the conservative journal National Review which carried an editorial proclaiming it “a massive scam.”

      Much of the commentary has focused on the “playbook” that guided sales reps for Trump U in how to coerce prospective students to sign up for the bogus degree program. A review of the document by CBS News highlights the hard sell tactics Trump U staffers used to push prospects into committing many thousands of dollars – upwards of $35,000 – to a course of study that many of those students now concede turned out to be “useless information.”

    • It’s England’s Brexit
      Whatever the result of the referendum, whether it is a healthy majority for Remain, a narrow one, or a vote to Leave, the heart of the matter is that England has to have its own parliament. What the referendum reveals is that England both monopolises and is imprisoned by British Westminster and its culture of ‘to the victor the spoils’. To escape from this England is embracing Brexit because no other solution is on offer. It may be intimidated into remaining in the EU through fear of the economic consequences. But England’s frustrated desire for democracy has turned it against the EU rather than the real culprit, the British state.

    • Brexit and the law of unexpected consequences

      The exit of Britain could contribute not to disintegration but a consolidation of authoritarian governance in the European Union.

    • Cable Company Admits It Gives Poor Credit Score Customers -- Even Worse Customer Service
      As I've noted a few times, telecom sector investor conferences are amusing for the simple fact that many cable executives -- notably those of the old guard -- haven't yet figured out that what they say at them can be heard by the general public. As a result we'll often see companies make candid statements they'd never say otherwise, forcing PR departments to then try and backpedal away from the comments.

    • MassMutual Financial Group to lay off nearly 100 more employees in Springfield
      MassMutual Financial Group will lay off nearly 100 employees from its information technology department.

      MassMutual spokesman James Lacey confirmed the layoffs Tuesday morning, saying the employees would leave over the next 18 months. MassMutual is outsourcing the work to a company with which it has had a longtime business relationship, he said.

      "MassMutual continually reviews its operations to ensure we are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible to deliver the greatest value to our policy owners and customers." Lacey said. "At times, these decisions impact our staffing levels. And when they do, we are committed to a thoughtful and respectful process. While decisions like this are never easy, such activities are necessary to meet the evolving needs of our customers and compete as effectively as possible both today and in the future."

    • Moody’s downgrades Finland’s credit rating, upgrades outlook to stable [Ed: reckless and corrupt speculators]
      The last of the three major credit ratings agencies has now also stripped Finland of its coveted triple-A credit rating, citing the country’s ongoing economic problems. But in a nod to the government's austerity programme, Moody's investor services unit upped Finland's credit rating outlook from negative to stable.

    • Noam Chomksy: There’s nothing free about free trade agreements
      Two weeks after Greenpeace released 280 pages on the TTIP trade agreement, Noam Chomsky spoke with Channel 4 about why he believes the new agreement has nothing to do with reducing tariffs, calling it “pretty extreme.”

      According to Greenpeace: “Whether you care about environmental issues, animal welfare, labor rights or internet privacy, you should be concerned about what is in these leaked documents. They underline the strong objections civil society and millions of people around the world have voiced: TTIP is about a huge transfer of power from people to big business.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Truthdig to Host Green Party’s Jill Stein on California Primary Night
      Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has quite the résumé. A two-time Harvard graduate, Stein began her career as a family physician before her environmental activism propelled her into the sphere of politics.

      “I used to practice clinical medicine, taking care of patients,” she said in an interview with Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer. “Now I practice political medicine, because it’s the mother of all illnesses.”

      Stein will be in the Truthdig offices Tuesday evening for a “Facebook Live” discussion on the final state presidential primaries, including California’s, which will be a deciding factor in the presidential race.

    • The Chaos of a Hillary Clinton Presidency: Corporate Dominion and Open Rebellion
      If Hillary Clinton occupies the White House her presidency will be unpleasant for her and chaotic for the country. Ms. Clinton will encounter a nationwide rebellion she cannot comprehend and hence will not address.

      The rebellion is already underway, and it will continue. It is not a violent, man-the-barricades revolution, but a visible one in which millions of voters in both parties are openly rejecting conventional candidates. They are seeking a radical transformation of American governance.

    • Hillary Clinton Super-Lobbyist Says “We’re Not Paid Enough,” Pans Obama Lobbying Reforms
      Leading Democratic super-lobbyist and Hillary Clinton bundler Heather Podesta derided President Obama’s lobbying reforms Wednesday, while laughing off concerns about her own sky-high compensation.

      “I think Obama hurt himself by taking such an arms-length posture with the Washington community,” Podesta, a multimillionaire who has represented chemical companies, health insurers, and for profit-colleges, told Vox’s Ezra Klein. “By attacking Washington in that way, there was a bit of a brain drain. And a lost opportunity.”

    • The People Are the Story–and Corporate Media Are Missing It
      At FAIR, we always say the primary measure of media in an election is not how fair they are to this or that candidate, but how fair they are to the people—all of the people who are affected by the outcome of this particular process, such as it is, and need to see how it functions in relation to them and their needs and concerns. The people are the story—and how well they are represented by a process that’s ostensibly intended to do that.

      That corporate media don’t see things that way is indicated by the resounding uninterest with which they greeted a poll from the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The mid-May survey of more than a thousand registered voters found fully 90 percent lack confidence in the country’s political system. Forty percent describe it as “seriously broken.” Seventy percent—equal proportions of Democrats and Republicans—say they are “frustrated” by the 2016 election; 55 percent describe themselves as “helpless.” Only 17 percent think the Democratic Party is open to new ideas, while 10 percent say that of Republicans. Seven in 10 think primaries and caucuses ought to be open. And 1 in 4 say they have hardly any confidence their vote will be counted! I want to underscore that these are registered voters—in other words, the ones who haven’t become totally disaffected.

    • Democrats in Dis-Array
      With rumors flying that establishment Democrats might hand Hillary Clinton her hat before the Democratic Convention to replace her with Joe Biden, John Kerry or some other grey-suited hand-job for empire and the Chamber of Commerce, the greatness that is the U.S. in 2016 keeps mounting. (Bernie Sanders’ name must have been accidently left off of the list— an oversight no doubt soon to be corrected). That Mr. Sanders’ program is the ghost of Democrats past (circa 1964) suggests that the Democratic establishment must be looking toward the future (1980). Michael Dukakis appears to still be alive and available. This written, being alive might not be a requirement for making the list.

    • Trump or Clinton, Screwed Either Way
      After disaster strikes, it often turns out that there were several contributing factors behind it. Looking back, though, there was usually one key moment when One Really Bad Decision was made — when catastrophe might have been avoided had the people in charge done something different.

    • Hillary Clinton's Flat and Misleading Foreign Policy Speech
      Yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave a foreign policy speech in San Diego that was notably flat and misleading. It's been getting decent reviews in the mainstream media for the zingers she tossed at Donald Trump. But when you listen to the speech (you can watch it here) and think about it, you realize how insipid and unoriginal it really was.

      Here are my thoughts on Clinton's speech:

      1. The speech featured the usual American exceptionalism, the usual fear that if America withdraws from the world stage, chaos will result. There was no sense that America's wars of choice in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. have greatly contributed to that chaos. Oh, there was also the usual boast that America has the greatest military. That's what Imperial and Nazi Germany used to boast -- until the Germans lost two world wars and smartened up.

    • The Escalating Fight Between Barney Frank and Bernie Sanders
      But Sanders was not thrilled with co-chairmen of two standing committees, Barney Frank and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. International Business Times recently explained that Frank’s position is an obstacle for the Sanders campaign, noting that Frank not only “sits on the board of directors of a major bank that was recently named in a lawsuit about an alleged Ponzi scheme,” but that he “has also publicly boasted about the money he has raked in from Wall Street, both as a lawmaker and now as a top Democratic Party power broker.” Essentially, Frank’s position in the party encapsulates what Sanders believes is wrong with the current political system.

    • Sanders Explains Why He Keeps Going And May Just Win California on Tuesday
      But other states also will be voting Tuesday and DeMoro warned about the coming media spin. “There will be a narrative, a lie that comes out on June 7,” DeMoro said. “She will not have the pledged delegates. You have to sound the alarm. This is not over. We are going to win California.”

      Statements like that are baffling to Clinton supporters. They don’t understand the fervor behind Sanders. They say there’s no way superdelegates—elected officials, party leaders and allies who comprise 15 percent of the national convention delegates who will pick the 2016 nominee—are about to drop their overwhelming and longstanding support of Clinton.

    • Blaming Sanders: Why Democratic Party Unity is Officially Impossible
      I’m not going to suggest that people shouldn’t like Hillary Clinton if they adore her, and many do, but for her champions to continue the arrogant argument that she is anything more than a smug politician with a big stick, i.e., a cozy relationship with corporate America and the military industrial complex, is silly obfuscation.

      Such denial flies in the face of reality given Clinton’s attachment to and her unmovable faith in the neoliberalism of our age, which more-progressive thinkers—never mind the remnants of the Left—see as problematic.
    • Has Sanders Betrayed His Revolution by Endorsing Jane Kim?
      Bernie Sanders is calling for a “revolution.” Were his proposals implemented, some positive changes could occur. Life threatening global environmental problems could be more seriously addressed, economic inequality could be reduced, everyone could be guaranteed health care as a right, and public higher education could be tuition free.

      To carry out his “revolution,” there will need to be a well-organized mass movement that is not dependent on a single individual such as himself. It will obviously need help and support from other political leaders.

    • Puerto Rico Slashes Polling Places For The Democratic Primary, Laying The Groundwork For Chaos
      In early May, Puerto Rico’s Democratic Party announced that more than 1,500 polling places would be available for the island’s June 5 Democratic primary. A few weeks later, they slashed that number to just over 430 — a reduction of more than two thirds.

      In 2008, the island’s last competitive Democratic primary, there were more than 2,300 polling places.

      Some are warning of long lines and voters left unable to access the ballot box, as an estimated 700,000 Puerto Ricans will vote this Sunday, and polling places will only be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m..

      Worse, many voters will have to visit two separate locations to cast ballots in the presidential primary and the local primaries held the same day. Voter turnout and engagement has for years been much higher on the island than in the 50 U.S. states, but these changes may present too heavy a burden for low-income residents who lack transportation options or who need to work.

    • How Nate Silver Provides Political Cover for Hillary Clinton
      If you want to know whether to take a spike in Donald Trump’s poll numbers seriously or whether Ohio’s likely to go red or blue in the general election, ask Nate Silver. Look elsewhere if you want to know whether Hillary Clinton is a Sanders-like progressive or something entirely different.

    • The Missing Clinton-Sanders Debate: California Dreaming?
      In opting out of the last of her previously agreed upon debates with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton returned to campaign-long theme – her inevitability. And entitlement. Her supporters told us from the start that Clinton was entitled to the nomination because party leaders had decided. And her nomination was inevitable because party leaders had decided – as her immediate and continuing domination of the superdelegate count showed.

      That Clinton really shouldn’t have to worry about Sanders at all, because she should be concentrating on Trump, has also been a continual part of the Clinton argument: She’s gonna win; Sanders can only make her look bad.

      Debates happened, nonetheless, allowing Sanders to upend the standard discussion. America found out that you could forego the billionaires’ bucks and still out-fund raise the “inevitable” candidate with millions of contributions averaging $27. Sanders introduced the ideas of democratic socialism into the American mainstream – and then demonstrated a massive following for them. Doubling the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour was put on the table as Sanders hammered on the theme that no one who works full time should be poor. Medicare-for-all was back on center stage.

    • Fueling Sanders' Turnout Hope, California Reports Record Surge of New Voters
      With national anticipation growing ahead of five upcoming Democratic primaries on Tuesday and with so much hinging on the outcome in California, the Bernie Sanders campaign received encouraging news late Friday as the California secretary of state's office reported soaring registrations of new voters, especially for Democrats.

    • What Americans abroad know about Bernie Sanders and you should know too
      As the prospect of Donald Trump in the White House moves from ludicrous to terrifying, it’s time to reconsider the electability question. Despite polls suggesting that Hillary Clinton is more likely to lose the general election than Bernie Sanders, her supporters routinely argue that Sanders’ program is too radically utopian to have a chance. Often a note of condescension is injected: Young people support Sanders because they want free stuff. Once his proposals are seriously considered, it’s argued, any adult will reject them out of hand.

      Although countless analyses have been devoted to the demographics each candidate needs to win, one demographic has not been part of the national conversation. Sanders won the first global Democratic Party primary by a landslide — 69% of the vote — that the media hardly noted and never analyzed. Democrats Abroad, the overseas arm of the Democratic Party, organized the election, which took place in March, to represent citizens who live outside the U.S., a group the Democratic National Committee considers the 51st state.

    • My Role With the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee

      I am, of course, a strong supporter of Palestinian rights, so is Bernie Sanders, and so, according to a recent Gallup poll, are a majority of Democrats. But the crude effort to reduce Sanders’ entire campaign and my entire life’s work to an effort to “get Israel” betrays an unsettling anti-Arab bias and a bizarre obsession to which I must respond. It does damage to Sanders, to me, and to our nation’s ability to have an honest conversation about a critical issue of importance.

      By focusing exclusively on Israel and ignoring all of the other concerns that Sanders has brought to this year’s presidential campaign, the press does a grave disservice to his efforts to elevate the issues of universal health care, free college tuition, raising the minimum wage, investing in clean energy, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and making Wall Street pay its fair share in taxes. This is a not so subtle attempt to demean the man and dismiss his candidacy as marginal.

      The same is true for me. In response to the question from the editorial writer as to why Bernie may have appointed me, I recited a bit of my resume. To be sure, I am the proud founder of a number Arab American organizations, but I have also served on the DNC for 23 years. I have been on the DNC Executive Committee for the past 15 years; co-Chaired the DNC Resolutions Committee for the past 10; and have chaired the party’s Ethnic Council since 2009. I served as Ethnic Outreach Advisor to both the Gore 2000 and the Obama 2008 Campaigns. And President Obama has twice appointed me to two-year terms on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

      When the mainstream media and the far-right groups converge in turning my entire life’s work into a one-dimensional caricature—“pro-Palestinian activist”—they are not complimenting me. They are setting me up. Make no mistake, I am proud of my advocacy for Palestinian rights, but given the political climate in which we live, such crude reductionism lays the predicate for political exclusion, violence, and threats of violence. Over the years, Arab Americans have suffered from all of these challenges to our rights. I know. I’ve been there.

    • We can’t have more of the same: The very real dangers of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy
      Just what we needed: another foreign policy speech from Candidate Clinton. This one arrived last Thursday in San Diego—well-chosen ground, given the Navy’s immense base on the city’s shore and the Marine Expeditionary Force garrisoned at Camp Pendleton. It has a long military tradition, San Diego, and the projection of American power is what drives the local economy. Perfect for Clinton. Her speech to this crew-cutted, right-wing town was, of course, “major”—as all of her speeches on the foreign side cannot help but be.

      Clinton’s people advised the press beforehand that, major or not, this presentation was not intended to break any new ground—no new positions, no new policy initiatives or ideas. This hardly had to be explained, of course: Hillary Clinton has no new ideas on American foreign policy. That is not her product. Clinton sells continuity, more of the same only more of it because it is so good. In continuity we are supposed to find safety, certainty and security.

      I do not find any such things in the idea that our foreign policy cliques under a Clinton administration will simply keep doing what they have been doing for many decades. The thought frightens me, and I do not say this for mere effect. In my estimation, and it is no more than that, the world is approaching maximum tolerance of America’s post–Cold War insistence on hegemony. As regular readers will know, this is why I stand among those who consider Clinton’s foreign policy thinking, borne out by the record, the most dangerous thing about her. And there are many of us, by the evidence.

    • Latinos, Millennials Lead California Voter Tsunami
      This election season has been rife with complaints regarding voter registration, and many Americans are starting to question the notion of closed primaries. In some states, there have been allegations of election fraud.

    • Calif. sees record high voter registrations going into primary
      A record number of voters have registered in California ahead of its presidential primary this week, the state's secretary of state announced Friday.

      A report released on Friday shows that there are 17,915,053 voters registered as of the state’s May 23 deadline, the most the state has ever seen going into a primary.

      “Nearly 18 million California citizens are registered to vote in the June 7 Presidential Primary,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement.

      “In the 45 days leading up to the voter registration deadline, there was a huge surge in voter registration — total statewide voter registration increased by nearly 650,000. Part of this surge was fueled through social media, as Facebook sent a reminder to all California users to register to vote.”

    • As Dems' Primary Saga Plays Out, California Latino Voter Registration Surges
      Bill Velazquez, Sanders' National Director for Latino Outreach and a native of East Los Angeles, said the campaign has seen increased involvement and response to canvassing from the Latino community. Latino Sanders supporters had been organizing in the state on their own for a while, some for a year, before the campaign set up in the state.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Black Lives Matter Activist Jasmine Richards Is Convicted of ‘Felony Lynching’
      A jury in Pasadena, Calif., this week convicted Black Lives Matter activist Jasmine Richards of “felony lynching.” Richards, 28, is the first African-American to be tried on the controversial charge, which authorities only recently renamed “attempting to unlawfully remove a suspect from police officers.”

      Sonali Kolhatkar discusses the case with Anthony Ratcliff, a Black Lives Matter organizer and professor of Pan-African studies at California State University, Los Angeles, on her program “Rising Up With Sonali.”

    • Visualizing the Landscape of Migrant Deaths in Arizona
      Just a few hours south of Tucson, on the other side of the border, there’s a quiet, dusty Mexican town called Sásabe. The streets are empty, the pavement rutted in places, overcome by the sandy earth in others. Like countless towns along the border, Sásabe feels less like a place where people are born, grow up, live, work, marry and raise children; and more like a way station, a place designed for an itinerant population of migrants and would-be border crossers. Somewhere to rest. A place to buy water and food. A place to consider the journey thus far, and prepare for the trials to come. At midday the heat is blinding. After dark, the desert is cold and unforgiving. There are few shops or restaurants, and no identifiable center of town. Sásabe long ago gave in to the reality of its unfortunate location. Everything feels temporary, and one imagines that the houses themselves could pack up and go, if they were called upon. There’s an image: This cluster of anonymous, dun-colored buildings trudging north across the scrub brush. Of course they would stop at the wall because Sásabe’s defining feature is the border fence, rising to the north, marking the town’s beginning and its unfortunate end.

    • Sanders v. Clinton on Palestine: No Contest
      The California Democratic Primary is this Tuesday, June 7. Whatever “The Movement” means to you, if you care about human decency and international human rights we need a Sanders victory and a Clinton repudiation in California on June 7—and beyond.

    • Gazans on Brink of Further Humanitarian Disaster as Blockade's Battering Goes On
      As the blockade of Gaza—widely denounced as "collective punishment"—marks its ninth anniversary this month, Oxfam is urging the global community to apply pressure on Israel to allow the territory's residents to exercise their most fundamental human rights.

      Israel imposed the blockade in 2007 when Hamas gained control of the territory, and is, according to a panel of experts reporting to the UN Human Rights Council, in "flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law."

    • Gaza Emergency
      During the violence, 118 UNRWA installations were damaged, including 83 schools and 10 health centres. Over 12,600 housing units were totally destroyed and almost 6,500 sustained severe damage. Almost 150,000 additional housing units sustained various degrees of damage and remained inhabitable. The conflict led to a homelessness crisis in Gaza, with almost 500,000 persons displaced at its peak; thousands remain displaced to this day.

    • Dismantling Civil Society in Bahrain
      Like a vise which first grips its object and then slowly, deliberately and inexorably crushes it, the al-Khalifa regime has done similarly to civil society in Bahrain. It did not stop when peaceful, pro-democracy, reform protests erupted in 2011 and were violently put down by government forces aided by an invasion of Saudi troops in March of that year. Indeed, the vise continues to close and relentlessly so.

      Nationalities have been revoked, mosques razed, citizens deported, human rights activists imprisoned on flimsy charges of insulting the monarchy at the least or plotting its overthrow at worst, and the most perfunctory of dialogues with the opposition abandoned. By smothering the figures and institutions who dare challenge the authority of the ruling dynasty in the most benign of fashions – a tweet, waving the country’s flag, tearing up a photo or merely questioning the tenure of the world’s longest serving prime minister – the Bahraini regime and its Gulf allies would like to believe monarchical rule has been preserved. Such desperate measures however, only speak to its precarity.

    • Netanyahu Consolidates Power Over Israeli Society
      I recently mentioned the German word Gleichschaltung – one of the most typical words in the Nazi vocabulary.

      "Gleich" means "the same", and "Schaltung" means "wiring". The long German word means that everything in the state is wired up the same way – the Nazi way.

      This was an essential part of the Nazi transformation of Germany. But it did not happen in any dramatic way. The replacement of people was slow, almost imperceptible. In the end, all important positions in the country were manned by Nazi functionaries.

      We are now witnessing something like this in Israel. We are already well into the middle of the process.

      Position after position is taken over by the far-far right, which is ruling Israel now. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

    • Hard Times Ahead for the Israel Lobby (Thank Sanders and Trump)
      A number of Israel-first billionaires and millionaires – people like Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer and others of their ilk — glommed onto the Republican Party years ago. Despite Trump, many of them will probably continue stuffing the pockets of biddable Republican politicians.

    • Trump-Fueled Violence Continues As Protests In San Jose Turn Bloody
      The scene outside Donald Trump’s rally in San Jose, California Thursday night turned violent as anti-Trump protesters attacked the presumptive Republican nominee’s supporters, punching and attacking them and repeatedly calling them names.

      Though violence at Trump rallies has become a common occurrence, most incidents have involved violence instigated by both Trump supporters and protesters. In San Jose, however, Trump supporters were seemingly randomly attacked by protesters.

      Videos from the event show anti-Trump protesters attacking Trump supporters as they left the rally, leaving them bloody. According to the Washington Post, “protesters jumped on cars, pelted Trump supporters with eggs and water balloons, snatched signs, and stole ‘Make America Great’ hats off supporters’ heads before burning them and snapping selfies with the charred remains.”

    • The Unendurable Horrors of Leadership Camp
      One of the strange things about the business world is the extent to which its jargon is euphemistic. When we talk about leaders, we’re talking about bosses. Yet for some reason bosses don’t like to admit what it is they do. That’s why employees become “team members,” why firing becomes “letting go.” In a way, it suggests that people’s human instincts are that capitalism is something rotten; the more you describe it with precision, the more horrendous it sounds. At the level of uplifting abstractions, derived from self-help culture, everything can be pleasant and neutral. It’s only when you hack through the forest of buzzwords that you can understand what is actually being discussed.

    • White Youths Shouting Racial Slurs Chase Black Teenager to His Death (Video)
      Sixteen-year-old Dayshen McKenzie collapsed and died after being chased through the hot streets of Staten Island recently by a group of mostly white young men yelling racial slurs.

      “I got a gun!” one pursuer shouted, according to witnesses. “I’m gonna shoot you, n- - - -a!,” yelled another.

      A friend of McKenzie’s said they and the group of white teenagers were outside a hamburger shop when they got into an argument, which ended when the white teens left. But the group returned and began to chase them.

      “They were calling us n- - - -rs,” said Harry Smith, according to the New York Daily News. “I just heard a lot of racial slurs. They were mixed—some white, some of them were Hispanic. But nobody was black.”

    • Hillary Promises Not to Order the Military (!?!) to Torture
      Though I agree with the general sentiment that Donald Trump should not be trusted with America’s nuclear codes, there’s a lot I loathed in Hillary’s foreign policy speech yesterday.

      Her neat espousal of American exceptionalism, with the specter that another country could make decisions about our lives and jobs and safety, is especially rich coming from a woman who has negotiated several trade deals that give corporations the power to make decisions about our lives and jobs and safety.

    • Alberto Gonzales Offers The Worst Defense Of Trump’s Racism
      During an interview with CNN on Friday, Donald Trump repeatedly insisted that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Latino heritage is a legitimate reason why he’s unfit to preside over a Trump University fraud case.

      Curiel is an American — he was born in Indiana. His parents are from Mexico.


      Gonzales’ argument rests on largely ignoring Trump’s own words and inventing new reasons for Trump’s objection that, even if true, seem irrelevant. He discusses Curiel’s affiliation with a San Diego-based Latino lawyers group and suggests that association might render him unable to render a fair judgment.


      But Curiel’s association with a Latino lawyers association is no more improper than is a black judge’s association with the NAACP. Yet the hypothetical NAACP-associated black judge would still be able to preside over a race discrimination case, because barring him or her from doing so would be blatantly racist. Federal courts have consistently rejected the notion that a judge’s ethnicity renders them unable to fairly decide cases.

    • Rome--Victims "very skeptical" of new Vatican abuse policy
    • Pope scraps abuse tribunal for negligent bishops
      Pope Francis on Saturday scrapped his proposed tribunal to prosecute bishops who covered up for pedophile priests and instead laid out legal procedures to remove them if the Vatican finds they were negligent.

      The new procedures sought to answer long-standing demands by survivors of abuse that the Vatican hold bishops accountable for botching abuse cases. Victims have long accused bishops of covering up for pedophiles, moving rapists from parish to parish rather than reporting them to police — and suffering no consequences.

    • Pope Francis Abandons Proposal to Prosecute Bishops for Covering Up Abuse
      The Catholic Church has been struggling to remedy internal proceedings ever since it was revealed in 2002 that bishops across the nation shielded pedophile priests from consequences.

      Last year, Pope Francis looked to hold bishops accountable when he announced the creation of a tribunal with authority to dismiss bishops who played a role in covering up abuse. But now the pope has apparently changed his mind.
    • Donald Trump Suddenly Remembers Muhammad Ali
      It was unfathomable that Trump could forget Muhammad Ali, the consensus greatest boxer in history, a world-renown activist-athlete who always put his identity as a Muslim front and center.

    • Trump Responds To Accusations Of Racism With Fake Photo Of Black Supporters
      It was not taken at a Trump event. Rather, it was taken at the “The 27th annual Midwest Black Family Reunion” held in Ohio in August 2015. The event featured “music, art, chess, children’s games and other activities.”

      Last year, Trump attracted controversy when he retweeted fake statistics claiming 81% of white murder victims were murdered by blacks. The actual figure is 14%.


      Speaking to BuzzFeed News, the parents in the photo -- Eddie and Vanessa Perry -- said they are not Trump supporters. They aren't endorsing or publicly supporting anyone. Eddie Perry called Trump's use of the photo "misleading" and "political propaganda."
    • Saudi Arabia bought a huge stake in Uber. What does that mean for female drivers?
      This week the Silicon Valley-based ride-sharing app Uber announced it was getting a huge new injection of funding. But the money wasn't coming from any of the standard investors from the U.S. tech world.

      Instead, it was coming from Saudi Arabia.

      The Saudi state's Public Investment Fund (PIF) was putting $3.5 billion into the company, the largest investment in Uber to date. The move has raised eyebrows, however, due to one of the kingdom's most notorious domestic policies: Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women cannot legally drive.

    • Migrant crisis fuels sex trafficking of Nigerian girls to Europe
      A promising student who dreamed of going to university, Mary was 16 when a woman approached her mother at their home and offered to take the Nigerian teenager to Italy to find work.

      Pushed to go by her family who hoped she would lift them out of poverty, Mary ended up being trafficked into prostitution.

    • Dangerous migrant smuggling routes flourish in lawless Libya
      After a flurry of boat departures that sent hundreds of migrants to their deaths in the Mediterranean, survivors told police they had been kept for weeks on one meal a day in holding houses near the Libyan shore.

      Then they boarded the rubber or wooden vessels, but only those co-opted to run or drive the boats were given life-jackets, according to accounts given to Italian police.
    • Listen To Paul Ryan Say That He Cares More About Gutting Medicare Then He Does About Racism
      A court in Seattle has lifted an order that required our client MuckRock to remove documents one of its users obtained from a public records request.

      Agreeing with EFF, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing ruled that the previous order amounted to a prior restraint on speech that violated the First Amendment, and rescinded it along with denying plaintiffs’ request to extend it.

      The upshot is that MuckRock and its co-founder, Michael Morisy, are no longer prohibited from publishing two documents the court had previously ordered the website to take down.

      More than a week ago, several companies sued MuckRock, one of its users, and the city of Seattle after the user filed a public records request seeking information about the city’s smart utility meter program.

    • Palestine’s forgotten children
      Next year will mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Britain has a historic responsibility to challenge the Israeli government’s conduct in the West Bank and Gaza.
    • Jacob Appelbaum, Digital Rights Activist, Leaves Tor Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
      On Thursday, the Tor Project quietly announced the departure of leading digital rights activist Jacob Appelbaum from its board. At first, they didn't say why — now, we know.

      On Friday afternoon, members of the cryptography community accused Appelbaum publicly of multiple instances of sexual assault against people in the Tor community, and attributed these accusations to Appelbaum's departure from the Tor Project.

    • Bank of America puts single mom through hell after she tries to access money from death lawsuit
      A Detroit woman is accusing Bank of America of discrimination after they placed a hold on money she received as part of an insurance settlement over the death of her brother — and then accused her of fraud.

      Christina Anderson, a single mother of four, told Fox News 2 Detroit that her younger brother recently died and she received $50,000 as part of insurance settlement that was wired directly to her account with Bank of America on May 20.

      According to Anderson, the bank told her there was an initial two-hour hold on the money and afterwards she was free to draw against it, which she did over the course of several days by making two substantial withdrawals.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EU’s forthcoming Net Neutrality rules Leaked: Here’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
      A draft version of the EU regulators‘ guidelines on net neutrality has been leaked . The good news: they’re not terrible. The bad news: they contain huge loopholes on all essential points. This post explains what this means for Europe’s upcoming net neutrality reform.

    • Internet Boom Times Are Over, Says Mary Meeker’s Influential Report
      Growth of internet users worldwide is essentially flat, and smartphone growth is slowing, too. Those sobering insights were among the hundreds packed into the much-awaited Internet Trends report, an annual tech industry ritual led by Mary Meeker, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

      Wearing an Apple Watch while standing at a podium onstage at Recode's technology conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on Wednesday, Meeker blazed through highlights from her 213-slide presentation in roughly 20 minutes. She said the number of global internet users hovers around 3 billion, with new ones slow to come online. She attributed the slowdown to stagnating gross domestic product. Global GDP growth in six of the last eight years was below the 20-year average.

    • CSS at BBC Sport (Part 1)
      I promised I’d write a blog with more details so here goes. When I started writing this I realised there was lot to say so I’m going to split this two blog posts which covers how we’re approaching CSS at BBC Sport.

      The BBC Sport website is the UK’s most popular sports website, providing coverage of around 50 different sports. From major sports such Football, Formula 1, Cricket and Rugby, to minor sports like as Archery, Bowls and Handball. On average we receive 26 million unique browsers a week. As is now common across the web, the number of users accessing BBC Sport from a mobile device has been steadily increasing of the last few years. We now on average receive more than 50% of traffic from mobile devices, with this percentage increasing at weekends as people are keeping up to date whilst out and about.

    • Another Broadband CEO Admits: Data Caps Have Nothing To Do With Capacity
      Supporters of internet data caps want to have things both ways: admitting that the monthly usage limits have nothing to do with congestion, while simultaneously arguing that those who use the most should pay more (but not that those who use the least should get any discount). Thus it’s refreshing that one broadband exec both acknowledged the congestion myth and said his company has no intention of instituting caps… at least for now.

    • Data caps are a business decision—not a network necessity, Frontier says
      Frontier Communications, newly expanded after purchasing Verizon wireline networks in three states, says it has no plans to impose Comcast-style data overage charges.

      "We have not really started or have any intent about initiatives around usage-based pricing," CEO Daniel McCarthy told investors Wednesday at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference. "We want to make sure our product meets the needs of customers for what they want to do, and it doesn't inhibit them or force them to make different decisions about how they're going to use the product."

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Interview – Indigenous Concern Over Rising Focus On IP In WIPO TK Talks
      Indigenous peoples have been the victims of repeated acts of biopiracy while the international community has failed to act to prevent it, indigenous representatives said in an interview this week. The World Intellectual Property Organization has been discussing ways to address that issue for some 16 years, without success. As negotiators continue to seek consensus on what a potential treaty could achieve, indigenous peoples feel the spotlight has drifted from their issues to technical issues of the intellectual property system and highlighted attention on users of the system.

      Over the years, the voluntary funds that allowed indigenous participation at WIPO have been depleted and repeated calls for funds by WIPO, indigenous peoples, and some delegations have remained unanswered. In the eyes of indigenous peoples, this reflects a lack of interest of WIPO members in having their participation, rendering the process illegitimate.

    • Innovation And Access: Fission Or Fusion? Interview with Dr. Kristina M. Lybecker, Associate Professor of Economics at Colorado College
      In the light of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, this series of sponsored articles challenges experts to give their views on the policies that best support the development of solutions to societies’ greatest challenges and how enabling policy environments, including IP systems, influence the development and flow of new technologies and services in different sectors, fields of technology, and jurisdictions. The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors. Below is an interview with Dr. Kristina M. Lybecker, Associate Professor of Economics at Colorado College in Colorado Springs (US).

    • Trademarks

      • Sony's New Emoji Animated Movie At Trademark Odds With Guy Who Trademarked Emojis
        It probably goes without saying that the word "emoji" is now a full member of the popular lexicon. So popular, in fact, that Sony is apparently going to release an animated film called The Emoji Movie, which will follow the "lives" of a bunch of emojis, for reasons I cannot possibly fathom. But, as the release of the film is currently in the works, Sony is also apparently preparing to fend off a trademark claim from Marco Husges, a game developer and emoji creator.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube Threatens Legal Action Against Video Downloader (Update)

        YouTube continues to crack down on sites and services that allow people to download videos from the site. Most recently, YouTube urged the operator of TubeNinja to cease his activities, or face potential legal action instead. For now, however, the video download service has no plans to change its course.

      • Anti-Piracy Group Wants to Take Down ‘The Internet’

        It's no secret that copyright holders are trying to take down as much pirated content as they can, but one anti-piracy outfit is targeting everything that comes into its path. Over the past week Copyright UNIVERSAL has tried to censor legitimate content from Netflix, Amazon, Apple, various ISPs, movie theaters, news outlets and even sporting leagues.

      • BitTorrent Goes All In on Media, Moves Sync App to New Venture
        BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the popular uTorrent file-sharing client, will increase its focus on online media. The company plans to open a studio in Los Angeles and is working on several new applications. Meanwhile, its popular Dropbox competitor "Sync" will rebrand and move to a new company.

      • What Happened When a Student Streamed a Movie on Facebook Live
        It was just a matter of time until this happened. A student watching a rom-com at an Illinois cinema decided to use his phone to live-stream the film to his Facebook feed, leading the theater to claim (falsely) he had been “arrested” by police.
      • Student Arrested in U.S. For Live Streaming a Movie on Facebook – Updated

        A student has been arrested in Chicago for filming at a movie premiere and live streaming it on the Internet. The individual reportedly used a camera phone to live stream on Facebook but the infringement was monitored by an anti-piracy outfit 8,200 miles away in India who alerted police in the United States.

      • DVD Release Delays Boost Piracy and Hurt Sales, Study Shows

        A new academic paper from Carnegie Mellon University examines the link between international DVD release delays and piracy. The study shows that release delays give rise to increased piracy, hurting sales in the process. In addition, the researchers conclude that the movie industry should consider minimizing or eliminating the unneeded delays.

      • A De Minimis Amount of Creative Freedom: Courts Push Back to Protect Music Sampling
        Too often copyright maximalists take the view that if anyone is making money and using a copyrighted work, no matter how or how minimally, then the copyright owner should get a cut. That’s the attitude that has pushed, among other things, a “clearance culture” in music sampling, a belief that permission is needed to create something new that includes samples.

      • A guy trained a machine to "watch" Blade Runner. Then things got seriously sci-fi.
        Last week, Warner Bros. issued a DMCA takedown notice to the video streaming website Vimeo. The notice concerned a pretty standard list of illegally uploaded files from media properties Warner owns the copyright to — including episodes of Friends and Pretty Little Liars, as well as two uploads featuring footage from the Ridley Scott movie Blade Runner.

        Just a routine example of copyright infringement, right? Not exactly. Warner Bros. had just made a fascinating mistake. Some of the Blade Runner footage — which Warner has since reinstated — wasn't actually Blade Runner footage. Or, rather, it was, but not in any form the world had ever seen.

      • Warner Bros. DMCAs Insanely Awesome Recreation Of Blade Runner By Artificial Intelligence
        I'm going to dispense with any introduction here, because the meat of this story is amazing and interesting in many different ways, so we'll jump right in. Blade Runner, the film based off of Philip K. Dick's classic novel, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, is a film classic in every last sense of the word. If you haven't seen it, you absolutely should. Also, if you indeed haven't seen the movie, you've watched at least one less film than an amazing artificial intelligence software developed by Terrance Broad, a London-based researcher working on his advanced degree in creative computing.

      • Rome Court of First Instance says that ISP's unjustified delay in removing infringing content ... removes safe harbour protection
        When does an internet service provider (ISP) lose its safe harbour protection because, upon obtaining actual knowledge or awareness of third-party illegal contents, it has not acted expeditiously to remove or disable access to such contents?

        According to the Tribunale di Roma (Rome Court of First Instance), this is for example the case of an ISP that acts months after the request of the concerned rightholder.

      • This Is Bad: Court Says Remastered Old Songs Get A Brand New Copyright
        Whoo boy. Did not expect this one. For a while now, we've noted a variety of lawsuits over pre-1972 sound recordings, due to a quirk in copyright law. You see, for a long time, sound recordings were not covered by federal copyright at all (the compositions were, but the recordings were not). State laws did jump in to fill the gap (often in terrible ways), but in the 1970s, when the Copyright Act was updated, it finally started covering sound recordings as well... but only for songs recorded in 1972 or later. This has left all songs recorded before that in a weird state, where they're the only things still covered by a mess of confusing state copyright laws. The easy way to fix this would be to update the law to just put all such sound recordings under federal copyright law. But the RIAA has resisted this heavily, recognizing that keeping them away from federal copyright law is allowing them the ability to keep them under copyright even longer and to squeeze a lot of extra money out of music streaming companies.

        Last fall, we wrote about the record labels moving on from streaming companies to instead suing CBS over its terrestrial radio operations playing pre-1972 songs as well. CBS hit back with what we considered to be a fairly bizarre defense: claiming that it wasn't actually playing any pre-1972 music, because all of the recordings it used had been remastered after 1972, and those recordings should have a new and distinct copyright from the original sound recording. As we noted at the time, an internet company called Bluebeat had tried a version of this argument years earlier only to have it shot down by the courts (though its argument ignored the whole derivative works issue).

      • EU-Funded Study On The Cost Of Copyright Infringement Dismisses Key Real-World Factor As 'Outside Its Scope'
        You may notice a certain one-sidedness there: this is all about infringement and enforcement, with nothing about whether the current copyright laws are part of the problem, or whether they are even fit for the digital age. Given that bias, the subject of the Observatory's latest report will come as no great surprise: "The economic cost of IPR infringement in the recorded music industry."


        I predict we'll be seeing these numbers a lot in the future, because the music industry will be quick to seize on them as "objective" figures that are above suspicion, unlike industry-sponsored analyses. But of course, things are not always what they seem, and it's worth reading the full report in order to find out what is really going on here. Nearly half of the 48-page is taken up with appendices outlining the forecasting model used to calculate those "lost sales."


        Thus it is taken as axiomatic that every lost sale would have converted to a real sale if a magic wand had been waved, and piracy had become impossible. No justification is offered for this huge assumption, and that's not surprising, since it doesn't exist: in the real world only a fraction of those "lost sales" would ever be converted to actual sales. So even if we accept the modelling in the appendices is correct, the figures that result must be reduced by some factor to take account of this. It's hard to say what that factor is, but it affects all the headline figures -- the 5.2%, the 2,155 jobs, and the €63 million in government revenue. Actually, things are even worse than they seem, because the study doesn't explore the possibility that online sharing boosts sales, rather than reduces them.


        Which apparently showed the HADOPI anti-piracy law "caused iTunes music sales to increase by 22-25% [in France] relative to changes in the control group [countries]." Except that it didn't, as Techdirt noted at the time.
      • Two Separate Copyright Rulings Around The Globe May Finally Clear The Copyright Way For Sampling
        A big part of the problem was a horrible ruling in the 6th Circuit in one of the (many) Bridgeport cases (a company that is alleged to have forged records to get control over heavily sampled works, and then sued lots of artists over their samples). In Bridgeport v. Dimension Films, a confused 6th Circuit appeals court made a bunch of nutty comments in a ruling, including "Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way." That case, which didn't even look at the fair use issue, effectively wiped out another legal defense against accusations of copyright infringement, known as "de minimis use." The court's bizarre ruling contradicted plenty of others in basically saying there's no such thing as de minimis use because each sampled note has value or it wouldn't have been sampled.
      • De Minimis Music Sampling Isn’t Infringement–Salsoul v. Madonna
        There are several alternative tests for gauging “substantial similarity” in copyright cases. The flagship test is the “ordinary observer” test, but variations include the (baffling) extrinsic/intrinsic test and the abstraction-filtration-comparison test. With respect to sampling sound recordings, the Sixth Circuit’s ruling in Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films created another variant: any sound recording sampling, no matter how minor, was per se infringement, period. Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit rejected Bridgeport’s per se rule, holding that the “de minimis” defense (most prominently associated with Ringgold v. Black Entertainment Television) applied to music sampling.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Stefano Maffulli's (and Microsoft's) Openwashing Slant Initiative (OSI) Report Was Finalised a Few Months Ago, Revealing Only 3% of the Money Comes From Members/People
Microsoft's role remains prominent (for OSI to help the attack on the GPL and constantly engage in promotion of proprietary GitHub)
[Video] Online Brigade Demands That the Person Who Started GNU/Linux is Denied Public Speaking (and Why FSF Cannot Mention His Speeches)
So basically the attack on RMS did not stop; even when he's ill with cancer the cancel culture will try to cancel him, preventing him from talking (or be heard) about what he started in 1983
On Wednesday IBM Announces 'Results' (Partial; Bad Parts Offloaded Later) and Red Hat Has Layoffs Anniversary
There's still expectation that Red Hat will make more staff cuts
Microsoft's Windows Down to 8% in Afghanistan According to statCounter Data
in Vietnam Windows is at 8%, in Iraq 4.9%, Syria 3.7%, and Yemen 2.2%
[Meme] Only Criminals Would Want to Use Printers?
The EPO's war on paper
EPO: We and Microsoft Will Spy on Everything (No Physical Copies)
The letter is dated last Thursday
Links 22/04/2024: Windows Getting Worse, Oligarch-Owned Media Attacking Assange Again
Links for the day
Links 21/04/2024: LINUX Unplugged and 'Screen Time' as the New Tobacco
Links for the day
Gemini Links 22/04/2024: Health Issues and Online Documentation
Links for the day
What Fake News or Botspew From Microsoft Looks Like... (Also: Techrights to Invest 500 Billion in Datacentres by 2050!)
Sededin Dedovic (if that's a real name) does Microsoft stenography
[Meme] Master Engineer, But Only They Can Say It
One can conclude that "inclusive language" is a community-hostile trolling campaign
[Meme] It Takes Three to Grant a Monopoly, Or... Injunction Against Staff Representatives
Quality control
[Video] EPO's "Heart of Staff Rep" Has a Heartless New Rant
The wordplay is just for fun
An Unfortunate Miscalculation Of Capital
Reprinted with permission from Andy Farnell
Online Brigade Demands That the Person Who Made Nix Leaves Nix for Not Censoring People 'Enough'
Trying to 'nix' the founder over alleged "safety" of so-called 'minorities'
[Video] Inauthentic Sites and Our Upcoming Publications
In the future, at least in the short term, we'll continue to highlight Debian issues
List of Debian Suicides & Accidents
Reprinted with permission from
Jens Schmalzing & Debian: rooftop fall, inaccurately described as accident
Reprinted with permission from
[Teaser] EPO Leaks About EPO Leaks
Yo dawg!
IBM: We Are No Longer Pro-Nazi (Not Anymore)
Historically, IBM has had a nazi problem
Bad faith: attacking a volunteer at a time of grief, disrespect for the sanctity of human life
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Bad faith: how many Debian Developers really committed suicide?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 21, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, April 21, 2024
A History of Frivolous Filings and Heavy Drug Use
So the militant was psychotic due to copious amounts of marijuana
Bad faith: suicide, stigma and tarnishing
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
UDRP Legitimate interests: EU whistleblower directive, workplace health & safety concerns
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 21/04/2024: Earth Day Coming, Day of Rest, Excess Deaths Hidden by Manipulation
Links for the day
Bad faith: no communication before opening WIPO UDRP case
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Bad faith: real origins of harassment and evidence
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 21/04/2024: Censorship Abundant, More Decisions to Quit Social Control Media
Links for the day
Bad faith: Debian Community domain used for harassment after WIPO seizure
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
If Red Hat/IBM Was a Restaurant...
Two hours ago in
Why We Republish Articles From Debian Disguised.Work (Formerly Debian.Community)
articles at aren't easy to find
Google: We Run and Fund Diversity Programs, Please Ignore How Our Own Staff Behaves
censorship is done by the recipients of the grants
Paul Tagliamonte & Debian Outreachy OPW dating
Reprinted with permission from
Disguised.Work unmasked, Debian-private fresh leaks
Reprinted with permission from
[Meme] Fake European Patents Helped Fund the War on Ukraine
The European Patent Office (EPO) does not serve the interests of Europe
European Patent Office (EPO) Has Serious Safety Issues, This New Report Highlights Some of Them
9-page document that was released to staff a couple of days ago
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 20, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, April 20, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Microsoft-Run FUD Machine Wants Nobody to Pay Attention to Microsoft Getting Cracked All the Time
Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (FUD) is the business model of "modern" media
Torvalds Fed Up With "AI" Passing Fad, Calls It "Autocorrect on Steroids."
and Microsoft pretends that it is speaking for Linux
Gemini Links 21/04/2024: Minecraft Ruined
Links for the day
Links 20/04/2024: Apple is Censoring China’s App Store for the Communist Party of China
Links for the day
Links 20/04/2024: Accessibility in Gemini and Focus Time
Links for the day
Congratulations to Debian Project Leader (DPL) Andreas Tille
It would not be insincere to say that Debian has issues and those issues need to be tackled, eventually
20 April: Hitler's Birthday, Debian Project Leader Election Results
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
September 11: Axel Beckert (ETH Zurich) attacks American freedoms
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
20,000 victims of unauthorized Swiss legal insurance scheme
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Matthew Garrett, Cambridge & Debian: female colleague was afraid
Reprinted with permission from
David Graeber, village wives & Debian Outreachy internships
Reprinted with permission from
Neil McGovern & Ruby Central part ways
Reprinted with permission from
Links 20/04/2024: Chinese Diplomacy and 'Dangerous New Course on BGP Security'
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 19, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, April 19, 2024
The Latest Wave of Microsoft Crime, Bribes, and Fraud
Microsoft is still an evil, highly corrupt company