Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 30/7/2019: Manjaro Snap Support, LLVM 9.0 RC1

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Twitter Announced Switch from Mesos to Kubernetes

        On the 2nd of May at 7:00 PM (PST), Twitter held a technical release conference and meetup at its headquarters in San Francisco. At the conference, David McLaughlin, Product and Technical Head of Twitter Computing Platform, announced that Twitter's infrastructure would completely switch from Mesos to Kubernetes.

        For a bit of background history, Mesos was released in 2009, and Twitter was one of the early companies in support and use Mesos. As one of the most successful social media giants in the world, Twitter has received much attention due to its large production cluster scale (having tens of thousands of nodes). In 2010, Twitter started to develop the Aurora project based on the Mesos project to make it more convenient to manage both its online and offline business and gradually adopt to Mesos.

      • Linux Ending Support for the Floppy Drive, Unity 2019.2 Launches Today, Purism Unveils Final Librem 5 Smartphone Specs, First Kernel Security Update for Debian 10 "Buster" Is Out, and Twitter Is Switching from Mesos to Kubernetes

        Twitter is switching from Mesos to Kubernetes. Zhang Lei, Senior Technical Expert on Alibaba Cloud Container Platform and Co-maintainer of Kubernetes Project, writes "with the popularity of cloud computing and the rise of cloud-based containerized infrastructure projects like Kubernetes, this traditional Internet infrastructure starts to show its age—being a much less efficient solution compared with that of Kubernetes". See Zhang's post for some background history and more details on the move.

      • IBM

        • Three ways automation can help service providers digitally transform

          As telecommunication service providers (SPs) look to stave off competitive threats from over the top (OTT) providers, they are digitally transforming their operations to greatly enhance customer experience and relevance by automating their networks, applying security, and leveraging infrastructure management. According to EY’s "Digital transformation for 2020 and beyond" study, process automation can help smooth the path for SP IT teams to reach their goals, with 71 percent of respondents citing process automation as "most important to [their] organization’s long-term operational excellence."

          There are thousands of virtual and physical devices that comprise business, consumer, and mobile services in an SP’s environment, and automation can help facilitate and accelerate the delivery of those services.


          Some SPs are turning to Ansible and other tools to embark on their automation journey. Red Hat Ansible Automation, including Red Hat Ansible Engine and Red Hat Ansible Tower, simplifies software-defined infrastructure deployment and management, operations, and business processes to help SPs more effectively deliver consumer, business, and mobile services.

          Red Hat Process Automation Manager (formerly Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite) combines business process management, business rules management, business resource optimization, and complex event processing technologies in a platform that also includes tools for creating user interfaces and decision services.

        • Deploy your API from a Jenkins Pipeline

          In a previous article, 5 principles for deploying your API from a CI/CD pipeline, we discovered the main steps required to deploy your API from a CI/CD pipeline and this can prove to be a tremendous amount of work. Hopefully, the latest release of Red Hat Integration greatly improved this situation by adding new capabilities to the 3scale CLI. In 3scale toolbox: Deploy an API from the CLI, we discovered how the 3scale toolbox strives to automate the delivery of APIs. In this article, we will discuss how the 3scale toolbox can help you deploy your API from a Jenkins pipeline on Red Hat OpenShift/Kubernetes.

        • How to set up Red Hat CodeReady Studio 12: Process automation tooling

          The release of the latest Red Hat developer suite version 12 included a name change from Red Hat JBoss Developer Studio to Red Hat CodeReady Studio. The focus here is not on the Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces, a cloud and container development experience, but on the locally installed developers studio. Given that, you might have questions about how to get started with the various Red Hat integration, data, and process automation product toolsets that are not installed out of the box.

          In this series of articles, we’ll show how to install each set of tools and explain the various products they support. We hope these tips will help you make informed decisions about the tooling you might want to use on your next development project.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #141
      • Episode 76 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, the Pinebook Pro is now available for Pre-Orders and a Critical Security Bug reported for VLC but that was quickly debunked so we’ll talk about the details for that. In App News, we got a couple new apps to check out. A command-line cheatsheet app called and a live video mixer tool called Nageru. We’ve got a lot of Distro News this week from Fedora, SUSE, Mageia and we also got news from ArcoLinux, Sparky and Slackel. Later in the show, we’ll take a look at the new version of Coreboot and some Linux Gaming News with RetroArch and a new Humble Bundle that gave me some interesting perspective regarding various bundles. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux's KVM Sees Patches For RISC-V Support

        In continuation of the article last week how the RISC-V Linux kernel support has been maturing and various missing gaps filled in, another feature just arrived in patch form: support for KVM virtualization.

        Western Digital while associated with hard drives has been working big on RISC-V and already contributed Linux patches in the past. One of their engineers is the one to send out the RISC-V KVM support on Monday.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Keynote Speakers Announced for the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit and Embedded Linux Conference Europe

          The Linux Foundation today announced the keynote speakers for its Open Source Summit Europe (OSSEU), the leading conference for open source developers, architects and other technologists and a hotbed for emerging technologies, and Embedded Linux Conference Europe. The event takes place October 28-30 in Lyon, France.

          Open source software and technologies are a leading indicator of where companies are investing resources for technology development. By bringing the latest open source projects and leading technologists together in one place, the event becomes a forum for defining and advancing technology development in the years ahead.

      • Graphics Stack

        • How The RadeonSI Performance Has Evolved For Navi 10 Since Launch

          Complementary to yesterday's Radeon RX 5700 / RX 5700 XT Linux Gaming Performance With AMDGPU 5.3 + Mesa 19.2-devel, here are some benchmarks showing how the RadeonSI OpenGL performance has evolved for the Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT since they launched three weeks ago for this open-source OpenGL Linux stack.

          Back on launch day for our initial Radeon RX 5700 series Linux tests it was just coverage of the RadeonSI OpenGL driver with not getting any packaged Linux driver in advance, the RADV code not hitting until later that day as a surprise, and AMDVLK code not being cleared yet for release. All those have since been resolved while for this article is looking at how the Mesa RadeonSI performance has evolved from those original results in the days of testing prior to the 7 July launch to now how the two Navi 10 cards are performing at the end of July.

        • RadeonSI Gallium3D Gets Wired For Compute-Only Arcturus To Handle Video Decode

          In addition to new patches coming out on Monday for addressing power management with AMD's unreleased "Arcturus" GPU, a set of Mesa patches were merged for adding RadeonSI Gallium3D driver support.

          But if you've read our Arcturus posts to date, you know there is no 3D engine enabled for this upcoming GPU. So why is the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver involved? It's there just for bringing up the video decode support, which is present for Arcturus.

        • AMD's Linux Driver Gets Power Management In Order For Unreleased "Arcturus" GPU

          Earlier this month AMD's Linux driver team sent out their initial open-source patches bringing up the "Arcturus" GPU as a new Vega family product. Today a second batch of patches adding in two thousand more lines of Linux kernel driver code were sent out.

          AMD has yet to announce this new product powered by the "Arcturus" GPU and it's not to be confused with the new Navi parts. This is a new Vega-based processor with HBM memory tailored for ROCm/OpenCL compute, there is no 3D engine, and it goes along with LLVM's new AMDGPU GFX908 target that was recently added.

        • MoltenVK Now Supports More Vulkan Extensions, Begins Targeting Metal 3.0

          The open-source MoltenVK project that offers Vulkan API support for Apple devices on iOS and macOS is out with a new release for mapping Vulkan atop Apple's Metal graphics/compute stack.

          MoltenVK has picked up support for a number of new Vulkan extensions and other fixes, but now does require Apple Metal 3.0. A Metal 3.0 requirement means using Xcode 11 for building and targeting macOS 10.15+ and iOS 13+ for the run-time requirement. MoltenVK still supports their earlier v1.0.36 release without Metal 3.0 for those wanting the older iOS/macOS coverage.

    • Applications

      • Top 10+ Best Linux Docks To Make Your Desktop Beautiful

        We are very familiar with windows desktop panel, named taskbar. Likewise, Linux Desktops might have docks, or it can run even without docks. You’ll get a lot of options if you desire to use docks for your Linux Desktops. If you want to understand the concept of Linux Docks, then it can be said that this is a graphical interface unit, which allows a user to communicate through the click with the software that he uses regularly. When it comes to the functionality and its extension, these utilities are very useful for the Linux desktops.

      • 5 Free Partition Managers for Linux

        Usually, you decide the disk partitions while installing the OS. But, what if you need to modify the partitions sometime after the installation. You just can’t go back to the setup screen in any way. So, that is where partition managers (or accurately disk partition managers) come in handy.

        In most of the cases, you do not need to separately install the partition manager because it comes pre-installed. Also, it is worth noting that you can either opt for a command-line based partition manager or something with a GUI.

      • Proprietary

        • The Hidden Costs of Automated Thinking

          The growing pervasiveness of machine-learning models, and the fact that anyone can create one, promise to make this process of accounting difficult. But it’s vital. Taken in isolation, oracular answers can generate consistently helpful results. But these systems won’t stay in isolation: as A.I.s gather and ingest the world’s data, they’ll produce data of their own—much of which will be taken up by still other systems. Just as drugs with unknown mechanisms of action sometimes interact, so, too, will debt-laden algorithms.

        • Are We Really Making Much Progress? A Worrying Analysis of Recent Neural Recommendation Approaches

          [...] we report the results of a systematic analysis of algorithmic proposals for top-n recommendation tasks. Specifically, we considered 18 algorithms that were presented at top-level research conferences in the last years. Only 7 of them could be reproduced with reasonable effort. For these methods, it however turned out that 6 of them can often be outperformed with comparably simple heuristic methods, e.g., based on nearest-neighbor or graph-based techniques. The remaining one clearly outperformed the baselines but did not consistently outperform a well-tuned non-neural linear ranking method. [...]

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Valve's ACO AMD Shader Compiler Now Can Handle Vertex Shaders

        Valve's interesting ACO shader compiler alternative to AMDGPU LLVM currently for the RADV Vulkan driver as well as for RadeonSI OpenGL in the future now can handle vertex shaders.

        Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais shared last night that their ACO shader compiler now has vertex shader compiler support and thus cuts down shader compile times even more with not having to do any fall-backs. Their testing packages for Ubuntu and Arch have been updated with this latest code while the source is available for those wanting to test on other distributions.

      • Unity 2019.2 Released With Latest Features For This Cross-Platform Game Engine

        Unity 2019.2 rolled out today as the latest quarterly feature update for this very popular cross-platform game engine.

        Some of the big changes for Unity 2019.2 include DSPGraph as a new audio rendering/mixing system, their promising Burst Compiler has faster JIT compilation and different C# improvements, better HD Render Pipeline support, new 2D features in their Lightweight Render Pipeline, OpenGL support improvements focused on mobile platforms, and other changes.

      • Bash Shell Games: Let's Play Go Fish!

        Between the previous 163 columns I've written here in Linux Journal and the dozens of games I programmed and explored during the creation of my Wicked Cool Shell Scripts book, I've written a lot of Bash shell games. The challenge is to find one that's simple enough where a shell script will work, but isn't so simple that it ends up being only a half-dozen lines.

        Magic 8-Ball is a perfect example. It turns out that the entire "predict the future" gizmo was really just a 20-sided die floating in dark purple fluid.

      • Valve Funded Development Of Xrdesktop - Lets GNOME & KDE Work In VR

        Following the release of OpenXR 1.0, Collabora has announced the release of Xrdesktop, which was funded by Valve.

        Xrdesktop is an open-source project that allows for traditional X11 window managers to interact better within a virtual reality space for presenting on VR head-sets. Xrdesktop allows traditional Linux desktops like GNOME and KDE to work on a VR head-set.

        We've seen past open-source efforts like Arcan experimenting with a VR desktop while this Xrdesktop is about allowing existing traditional desktops to work more gracefully on VR head-mounted displays.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.17 to get modernized look and feel, several new features confirmed

          From what we’re hearing, KDE Plasma 5.17 will feature significant user interface and performance improvements — not to mention several new features.

          The 81st week of the KDE Usability and Productivity initiative was all about KDE Plasma, which is one of the most popular desktop environments out there right now. Its only competition being the almighty GNOME. Furthermore, the desktop environment ships with several popular Linux distros, such as openSUSE and Kubuntu.

          Nate Graham, who is one of the top KDE developers, recently revealed that the KDE team has worked on modernizing the user interface of KDE Plasma. Accordingly, the settings window of the new KDE Plasma will come with a more modernized look.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The 12 Best Gnome Shell Extensions

          The GNOME Desktop Environment is among the most loved Linux Desktop Environments and with the right Linux tools you can turn it into the perfect one for you.

          One way of customizing the DE is by using any of the many extensions available for free – which, apart from taking you steps closer to having an ideal UI/UX, greatly increase your productivity.

          Below is our list of the top 12 extensions you can install on the GNOME Desktop.

        • Joining Purism!

          Personal news time! Starting in August I’m going to be joining the team at Purism working on the design of PureOS and related software products, but what I’m very excited about is that I get to continue to work on GNOME design!

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Debian Family

        • An Overview of Debian 10 "Buster" from the GNOME Edition

          Debian 10 LTS, known as Buster, released with 7 desktop environments in 2019. This short article reveals the GNOME Edition for you. Unlike usual, I tried to break down the download pages more longer for you to give you clearer vision on what and where to download. I divided this article into 6 parts which talk about: ISOs, LTS, Calamares system installer, login sessions & RAM loads (fortunately, it's only ~800MiB right now!), user interface, and of course applications. I hope this overview helps everybody to reach Debian and try it as soon as possible. Happy reading!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Manjaro, snaps and the spirit of collaboration

          Linux distributions are all about freedom of choice for the end-user. However, there is a natural element of competition too. So, why did Philip Müller, one of the founders of the Manjaro distribution, come to the 2019 Snapcraft Summit in Montreal?

          There are several good reasons, according to Philip. First, he says, “Manjaro and Ubuntu have similar goals of making software simple to install, for example, by using snaps. Second, Snapcraft has evolved to embrace different Linux distributions, thanks to a deliberate decision by Canonical.” Philip also points to the growing maturity of the Snap Store and its reach extending further than just Ubuntu users. Third, Philip finds that “the Summit is good for networking with other projects and finding out how they fit into the Linux ecosystem.”

          Manjaro is based on Arch and releases new versions about twice a year since the launch in 2011. Primarily targeted at Linux beginners and intermediates, Manjaro does also attract more knowledgeable users depending on their needs. Packaging decisions are guided by what users want, which explains Manjaro’s growing interest in snaps – especially given the fact that Manjaro has three editions to support and many community editions. For the main ones, Philip and team decide on what core apps are delivered and if snapd is one of those then he sees an increased likelihood of the community editions following suit. As confirmed during the Summit, Philip states that “Snap Store access will be available on KDE, XFCE and GNOME editions of Manjaro.”

          In his opinion, “open source needs a new, collaborative model, as opposed to the secrecy of closed source. Collaboration helps get things done faster and allows a stronger focus on the end product and value to users.” In summary, if a user continues to use Manjaro as their operating system, the addition of snaps offers an easy additional way to install more software for them.

        • Manjaro Moving Ahead With Snap Support, Bundling Proprietary FreeOffice

          Arch-based Linux distribution Manjaro has issued their newest testing update with some controversial changes.

          Manjaro is moving ahead with their support of Snap packages spearheaded by Ubuntu/Canonical. Xfce, GNOME, and KDE spins of Manjaro will ship with fpakman for managing of both Snaps and Flatpaks on the system. Fpakman is a GUI for Flatpak/Snap management as an alternative to GNOME Software or KDE Discover.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 589

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 589 for the week of July 21 – 27, 2019.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open-spec board supports blockchain-based IoT with Ethereum

        On Kickstarter: The “Elk” SBC is designed for a decentralized-web IoT applications using blockchain. It runs Linux on an Allwinner H3 and Arduino on an STM32 and supports Ethereum, Whisper, and IPFS.

        A Cairo, Egypt based startup called Elk has won Kickstarter funding for a tiny (55 x 25.5mm) IoT development board designed for decentralized web applications that can traffic in cryptocurrency payments using blockchain via Ethereum. The Elk board is designed for blockchain enabled IoT networks with privacy guarantees that are not possible with mainstream IoT platforms that depend on commercial cloud platforms, says Elk. The company calls its private decentralized IoT stack “Decent IoT.”

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Ubucon Europe 2019: 3rd Batch of Calls Approved

          In the final days of the Call for Papers we announce another batch of excelent talks, and the speakers that are going to deliver them.

        • Video presentations from the LibreOffice Asia Conference 2019

          LibreOffice developers love to hack on code – but they also love to meet up, exchange ideas, share information, and enjoy good food! The LibreOffice Asia Conference 2019 took place on 25 and 26 May, and now the videos from the presentations are online. Check them out – there are 16 videos in total, and you can browse the playlist using the button in the top-right…

        • The Future Of HOPE

          While beginning preparations for the next HOPE conference, we were stunned to hear of the plan to triple the cost to us from the hotel. This would pretty much make HOPE impossible, at least not without it becoming the kind of conference we never wanted. The purpose of HOPE is to make the world of hackers and technology accessible, and that means affordable. We could become one of those corporate events that charge thousands of dollars. But we would never feel as proud of what we're able to create with the hacker community every two years.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • From e-learning to m-learning: Open education's next move

          "Open education" means more than teaching with open source software. It means being open to meeting students wherever they are.


          Higher education is often an entrepreneurial space, seizing on new opportunities to deliver the best value. Too often, however, institutions spend a year or more to designing, bidding on, selecting, purchasing, building, or implementing new education technologies in the service of the teaching and learning mission. But in that yearlong interim, the technology landscape may change so much that the solution delivered no longer addresses the needs of the education community.

      • Programming/Development

        • [llvm-dev] [9.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 1 is here
          Hi everyone,

          9.0.0-rc1 was just tagged from the release_90 branch at r367217 (tagged as llvmorg-9.0.0-rc1 in the Git monorepo).

          Source code and docs are available at

          Binaries will be added as they become available.

          Please file bug reports for any issues you find as blockers of

          Release testers: please start your engines, run the script, share your results, and upload binaries.

          Thanks, Hans
        • LLVM 9.0-RC1 Arrives For Testing

          While LLVM 9.0 was branched nearly two weeks ago and it was anticipated that the release candidate would immediately follow, only yesterday did 9.0-RC1 materialize.

          Ongoing LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg managed to clear LLVM 9.0-RC1 for release on Monday. The very brief announcement can be read on llvm-dev.

          The nearly two week delay was due to Wennborg working to address some LLVM issues prior to tagging this first release candidate.

        • Clojure Clash | Coder Radio 368

          Mike and Wes debate the merits, and aesthetics, of Clojure in this week's rowdy language check-in.

          Plus why everyone's talking about the sensitivty conjecture, speedy TLS with rust, and more!

        • Python Bytes: #141 Debugging with f-strings coming in Python 3.8

          To new programmers joining the field, especially those without CS degrees, it can feel like the title is safe-guarded. Only bestowed on the select that have proven themselves.

        • Precision Recall Curve Simplified

          This article outlines precision recall curve and how it is used in real-world data science application. It includes explanation of how it is different from ROC curve. It also highlights limitation of ROC curve and how it can be solved via area under precision-recall curve. This article also covers implementation of area under precision recall curve in Python, R and SAS.

        • Use Blockchain API to retrieve the Bitcoin exchange rate within the 15 minutes period of the time

          Hello and welcome back, in this article we will continue to develop the cryptocurrency application. In the previous few chapters, we had only used the cryptocompare API to make the REST call but in this chapter, we will add in the blockchain package which has the exchangerates module that we can use to retrieve the 15 minutes period of the time of the Bitcoin / major world currencies pair exchange rate. Since we will load the data from blockchain once the user has pressed the load button, we can now safely ignore the data from the previous cryptocompare rest call.

        • Excellent Free Books to Learn C++
        • Using Python to explore Google's Natural Language API
        • Python for NLP: Movie Sentiment Analysis using Deep Learning in Keras

          This is the 17th article in my series of articles on Python for NLP. In the last article, we started our discussion about deep learning for natural language processing.

          The previous article was focused primarily towards word embeddings, where we saw how the word embeddings can be used to convert text to a corresponding dense vector, which can be subsequently used as input to any deep learning model. We perform basic classification task using word embeddings. We used custom dataset that contained 16 imaginary reviews about movies. Furthermore, the classification algorithms were trained and tested on same data. Finally, we only used a densely connected neural network to test our algorithm.

        • AMD Zen 2 "Znver2" Compiler Optimizations Back-Ported For GCC 9.2 Compiler

          Last week I wrote about the GCC 10 compiler picking up a new scheduler model and cost tables for AMD Zen 2 CPUs to build off the initial "znver2" microarchitecture target from last year. Fortunately, those Znver2-specific improvements have now been back-ported to the GCC 9 compiler branch so it will see user systems with not as long of a wait until GCC 10 stable.

          SUSE compiler engineer Jan Hubicka who worked out the scheduler model and cost table adjustments for Znver2 has now back-ported the changes to gcc-9-branch. With GCC 10.1 as the first GCC 10 stable release not due out until Q2'2020, this back-porting will allow it to see user systems sooner.

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Schumer to McConnell: Stop blocking election security bills

        Schumer asked for consent to pass a House bill, supported by one Republican, that would require paper ballots, while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wanted to pass legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers. McConnell blocked both of the bills.

      • LinkedIn bug let anyone add fictional job listings for any company

        As well as being able to cause investor panic at the drop of the hat, the bug could have more serious implications. As part of the process of adding a job to a company's page, the fake recruiter could also direct applicants to an external site making it the kind of phishing opportunity that scammers only dream of: an official-looking link to a fake website.

      • Docker 19.03 introduces an experimental rootless Docker mode that helps mitigate vulnerabilities by hardening the Docker daemon

        Tõnis Tiigi, a software engineer at Docker and also a maintainer of Moby/ Docker engine, in his recent post on Medium, explained how users can now leverage Docker’s non-root user privileges with Docker 19.03 release. He explains the Docker engine provides functionalities which are often tightly coupled to that of the Linux Kernel. For instance, to create namespaces in Linux users need privileged capabilities this is because a component of container isolation is based on Linux namespaces.

      • Evolving OVAL

        Red Hat has been heavily involved in providing our customers and the open source community with access to clear security data since 2002. We were a founding board member of Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) in 2002, and officially made a declaration of OVAL compatibility in 2006. Even before the newer standards of OVAL and Common Vulnerability Reporting Format (CVRF) came to be, Red Hat Product Security has had a heritage of transparency around security as demonstrated through our publicly sharing security advisories and Common Vulnerability Enumeration (CVE) pages so system admins, security professionals, and consumers could understand how Red Hat products are affected by security vulnerabilities.

        While OVAL has evolved significantly over those 17 years, so to has the threat landscape that IT organizations must survive and thrive in. Business solutions have rapidly moved from distributed/client-server-based apps to complex (micro-)services-based composite applications that span multiple technological architectures. System administrators and security practitioners need to manage complex stacks where each component could introduce risk due to potential vulnerabilities in the attack surface.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Green MEP attacks minister for disinformation about farming exports

        In response to comments made by NFU boss Minette Batters about threats to sheep farmers from a No Deal Brexit (1), Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns suggested they should switch from their dominant European markets and seek customers in Japan instead (2).

        Molly Scott Cato, who represents many sheep farmers in her constituency of South West England, said:

        “The minister is either misrepresenting or misunderstanding the situation and thereby risking the livelihoods of sheep farmers in Wales and the South West.

        “He admits that the 40% tariffs that will follow a No Deal exit from the EU will decimate lamb exports to the EU but suggests that a new market has just opened up in Japan.

        “This market is only tariff-free because of an EU trade deal between the EU and Japan (JEFTA), a deal that we will no longer be part of outside the EU.

      • Energy

        • Hard Times in the Climate Denial Business for the Heartland Institute

          Last week, the Heartland Institute was again trumpeting climate science denial at its 13th “International Conference on Climate Change” at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. But by a number of measures, the Chicago-based free market think tank's science denial doesn't exactly seem to be a growing — or cohesive — movement at this point.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • India’s Tiger Population Booms — But Problems Persis

          India this week announced some amazing news: The country’s wild tiger populations have increased by 30 percent in just the past four years. Buoyed by intense conservation efforts, India is now reportedly home to an estimated 2,967 Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris).

          To put this in context, India’s tiger population was estimated at 2,226 in 2016, when the wild population of all tiger subspecies was placed at 3,890. That was a big increase over 2010’s estimate, which placed the world population at just 3,200 after several years of rampant poaching for the animals’ skins and body parts, which are all too often used in traditional Asian medicine.

          India credited increased monitoring and stricter wildlife policies for the population increase, which puts the country four years head of its goal to double its wild tiger populations.

          There are a few caveats to these new numbers, though. First, the country calculated its new tiger population numbers, in part, by collecting and analyzing 350,000 images from 26,000 camera traps distributed across 146,000 square miles of tiger habitat. This method has actually garnered some criticism for its accuracy. India used to estimate its tiger population by counting footprints or “pug marks,” but that method was abandoned after it was proven to count tigers that did not still exist. The new method counts photo images as well as tiger tracks, droppings and other signs of their presence, along with estimates of prey abundance and habitat viability. Some experts suggest this may lead to double-counting of some tigers.

          Meanwhile tiger poaching is still a big problem, although it has declined in recent years. More than 400 tigers are believed to have been killed by poachers in India between 2008 and 2018, according to a recent investigation.

        • Elephants’ diets help forests to thrive

          Like humans, all social animals exploit, disturb and alter their natural environment. Biologists have just identified at least one species, elephants, that – in the course of bulldozing their way through the undergrowth and destroying young trees – actually make the forest more efficient at storing carbon and thus containing global heating.

          The African forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis browses upon and uproots young trees with stems smaller than 30cms and deposits the digested foliage as fertiliser, rich in seeds for the next generation of saplings.

      • Overpopulation

        • Earth Overshoot Day is earlier than ever this year—and it underestimates the crisis

          On Monday, July 29, we will be 209 days into the calendar year. And we will have used up all the resources the Earth could regenerate in 365 days.


          Each year, the human population grows. We consume more natural resources than the planet can regenerate in a year, and emit far more carbon dioxide than our forests and oceans can possibly sequester. Thus, our deficit grows. We fall further and further in the red. Last year’s Earth Overshoot Day was Aug. 1, three days later than this year’s. The date has crept up by two months over the last 20 years.

        • Earth Overshoot Day: Planet's 2019 resources 'budget' already spent

          The equivalent of 1.75 planets would be required to produce enough to meet humanity’s needs at current consumption rates.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump aide submitted drafts of 2016 'America First' energy speech to UAE for edits, emails show

        Two weeks before Trump was scheduled to deliver the energy policy speech, Thomas Barrack, a California investment tycoon with extensive contacts in the Middle East and who later helped oversee Trump’s inauguration, provided a former business associate inside the United Arab Emirates with an advance copy of the candidate’s planned remarks. The associate then told Barrack he shared them with UAE and Saudi government officials, after which Barrack arranged for language requested by the UAE officials to be added to the speech with the help of Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Paul Manafort.

      • Lil Nas X became Twitter’s CEO for a day and didn’t ban the Nazis

        The fact that harassers, abusers, and other bad actors seem to flourish on the platform without consequence is demoralizing, to say the least, and not only because users have been clamoring for some kind of decisive action for years. (Also, if they can’t give Lil Nas X an edit button what hope have we for change?)

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • The Facebook transatlantic data transfer case explained

        The three parties in the case each agree and disagree on overlapping issues. The DPC is the applicant in the case, while Facebook Ireland Ltd (Facebook’s Irish subsidiary) and Max Schrems are the defendants.

        Both the Irish DPC and Schrems take the view that US surveillance laws violate the rights to privacy, data protection and redress under EU law.

        But while they agree on this point, they differ on whether SCCs are a suitable mechanism to protect European data from US ‘mass surveillance’.

        The DPC says that SCCs are invalid for protecting data transferred from the EU to the US.

        Schrems, however, views SCCs as an adequate solution for protecting European data from US surveillance – provided SCCs are correctly applied and enforced by the DPC.

      • Sites could be liable for helping Facebook secretly track your web browsing, says EU court [iophk: forced acceptance is not consent]

        The European Union’s top court says website owners could face legal risk over Facebook’s ubiquitous “Like” buttons. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled today that site owners could be held liable for transmitting data to Facebook without users’ consent — which appears to be exactly what happens when users visit a site with a Like button, whether or not they click it.

        The ruling doesn’t stop Facebook, or other companies with similar widgets, from offering these options. But sites must obtain consent from users before sending data to Facebook, unless they can demonstrate a “legitimate interest” in doing otherwise. Right now, data gets seemingly sent to Facebook as the page loads — before users have a chance to opt out. So in the future, sites might have to approach Like buttons differently.

      • Capital One data breach: Arrest after details of 100m US individuals [copied]

        The personal details of about 106 million individuals across the US and Canada were [copied] in [an attack] targeting financial services firm Capital One, the company has revealed.

      • In Hong Kong Protests, Faces Become Weapons

        As Hong Kong convulses amid weeks of protests, demonstrators and the police have turned identity into a weapon. The authorities are tracking protest leaders online and seeking their phones. Many protesters now cover their faces, and they fear that the police are using cameras and possibly other tools to single out targets for arrest.

        And when the police stopped wearing identification badges as the violence escalated, some protesters began to expose officers’ identities online. One fast-growing channel on the social messaging app Telegram seeks and publishes personal information about officers and their families. The channel, “Dadfindboy,” has more than 50,000 subscribers and advocates violence in crude and cartoonish ways. Rival pro-government channels seek to unmask protesters in a similar fashion.

      • How the West Got China's Social Credit System Wrong [iophk: why wait?]

        That’s not to say that fears about social credit are entirely unfounded. The Chinese government is already using new technologies to control its citizens in frightening ways. The internet is highly censored, and each person’s cell phone number and online activity is assigned a unique ID number tied to their real name. Facial-recognition technology is also increasingly widespread in China, with few restraints on how it can be used to track and surveil citizens. The most troubling abuses are being carried out in the western province of Xinjiang, where human rights groups and journalists say the Chinese government is detaining and surveilling millions of people from the minority Muslim Uyghur population on a nearly unprecedented scale.

      • NYPD Screws Up Again; Hands Out Even More 'Secret' Facial Recognition Docs To Researchers

        The inadvertently great thing about the New York Police Department is its random inability to keep its secrets. Journalists have referred to the agency as being more opaque than redaction masters like the CIA and FBI. Its perpetual efforts to thwart public records requesters have led to insanity like refusing to release the department's public records response guidelines or years of stonewalling over innocuous information.

        So, when the "fuck you, citizens" facade inadvertently crumbles, we are: All. Over. It. Back in April, Georgetown researchers received documents the NYPD surely did not mean to release. Included in the NYPD's release was a presentation on facial recognition software that it swore up and down (often in front of a judge!) was too sensitive to release to the public. This despite the fact the presentation was from a conference where any member of the public with $1,700 could view this super-sensitive slide deck.

        The NYPD managed to talk a court into the ordering the impossible: the post facto memory-holing of documents researchers had already seen. The court said the researchers could not talk about the presentation's content and ordered them to "return" the PDF they had received, however the hell that works.

        Well, fool themselves once, shame on the NYPD. Fool themselves two or more times, the court says, "You're on your own." The New York Daily News reports the NYPD has screwed the facial recognition pooch yet again. Unbelievably, it has made the same mistake twice while dealing with the same public records requesters.

      • Amazon's Free Doorbell Cameras Only Cost Law Enforcement Agencies Their Dignity And Autonomy

        There's no such thing as a free surveillance camera. Amazon gives these to local cops with the understanding they will proselytize on behalf of its doorbell cameras. Police give these cameras to residents with the understanding (albeit one without the legally-binding language) that they'll hand over footage from these cameras whenever officers ask for it.

        The set-up is sustainable and scales well. The more residents who download Amazon's surveillance/snitch app Neighbors, the more credits cops can apply towards the purchase of more Ring cameras. It's a new spin on pyramid schemes, with Amazon gaining market share with each deployment, allowing government employees to do the legwork.

        The police become middlemen and advertisers. Some agencies might bristle at the mandated evangelism Amazon demands, but that resentment is likely outweighed by the addition of several cameras to the agency's surveillance network. As previous reporting has shown, every installed Ring doorbell cam shows up on an interactive map provided by Amazon called the "Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal." Cops know who have cameras and can easily figure out what footage might be useful while investigating criminal activity.

        This arrangement allows officers to bypass warrant requirements by approaching homeowners directly for footage. Granted, this was always the case, but a portal connecting police with Ring doorbell users streamlines the process.

      • Once More With Feeling: 'Anonymized' Data Is Not Really Anonymous

        As companies and governments increasingly hoover up our personal data, a common refrain to keep people from worrying is the claim that nothing can go wrong because the data itself is "anonymized" or stripped of personal detail. But time and time again, we've noted how this really is cold comfort; given it takes only a little effort to pretty quickly identify a person based on access to other data sets. Yet most companies (including cell phone companies that sell your location data) act as if "anonymizing" your data is iron-clad protection from having it identified. It's simply not true.

        The latest case in point: in new research published this week in the journal Nature Communications, data scientists from Imperial College London and UCLouvain found that it wasn't particularly hard for companies (or, anybody else) to identify the person behind "anonymized" data using other data sets.

      • Data is the new plutonium

        It starkly outlines just how rabidly corporations are out to take your privacy. Never mind nation states monitoring seemingly all traffic and sometimes even diverting entire swaths of internet traffic, with legislation that seeks to retain untold amounts of communication and attempts to dangerously undermine encryption itself.

        With this sort of predatory activity it’s not surprising people have been cloaking their online activity with a selection of open source tools, plug-ins and techniques. This issue we’ve lured Jonni out of his lead-lined Faraday cage with the promise of doughnuts, cider and fungi-based food products, so he can update us all with the best ways to easily protect our online footprint. The latest release of Tails is on the LXFDVD, so a combination of that and a tricked-out install of Firefox should cover most circumstances. Try his tips out and let us know how you get on.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Donald Trump's administration is after Julian Assange and it serves as a warning to us all

        "But as charged, I think we have to stand with him because journalism isn't espionage. I mean, whatever Julian was up to, I don't think it was espionage."

        Scott Shane, the reporter from The New York Times who also cooperated with WikiLeaks in the early days, agrees a successful prosecution would create a broader threat to freedom.

        "I think once you choose to charge Assange with publishing information that the Government said was secret, it's not a huge step to charge The New York Times or a New York Times reporter or editor with publishing information the Government said should be secret," he said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Yemeni women activists escape war with the help of a global, underground network

        More than four years of war between the Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed, internationally recognized government has ripped Yemen apart and led to the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Houthis, backed by Iran, have captured large swaths of the country, including the capital city, Sanaa, from pro-government forces. In those areas, rights groups say Houthis have escalated their crackdown on public displays of dissent.

      • Court: No Immunity For SWAT Team That Hurled A Flash-Bang Grenade In The General Direction Of A Two-Year-Old Child

        It usually takes very extreme behavior from law enforcement officers to punch holes in the qualified immunity shield. Fortunately/unfortunately, there's seems to be no shortage of extremely-badly-behaving law enforcement officers.

        In this case, fielded by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Kansas City Police Department was investigating a homicide. Detectives managed to track the victim's cellphone to an apartment. They also managed to track down the suspect by using a combination of phone records and old fashioned police work. They arrested the suspect and applied for a search warrant for his residence.

        The warrant request omitted the fact they had heard the targeted phone ringing in an apartment on Winchester Street, rather than the apprehended suspect's residence (the "Bristol residence"). The SWAT team also met prior to the search and were informed the homicide suspect was already in custody.

        The SWAT team proceeded to the Bristol residence with a normal search warrant. Once the SWAT team arrived, it decided to do SWAT team things, even though it only had a normal warrant that didn't authorize the things it chose to do.

      • Congress Is Home For the Summer and Ready to Hear From You

        When it comes to politics, in-person meetings make a huge difference. Just a few questions from constituents during town halls can show a representative or senator which issues are resonating with the residents of their district or state. Even if you’ve never met an elected representative before, showing up IRL is actually pretty easy to do, and this is the perfect time: in August, Congress takes a break from considering legislation so members can be in their districts, giving you the opportunity to meet and talk to them without traveling to Washington, D.C.

        While in D.C., representatives and senators have to rely on calls and emails to know what the people they represent think about the issues. Those calls and emails are important, but when they’re back in their districts, you can make sure they hear directly from you—in person—about the issues that matter to you. Even if you have called or emailed before, putting a face to the same concerns can help your elected representative understand your concerns. Even if you didn't get them to agree with you, those conversations will help shape their legislative priorities once they return to D.C. in September.

    • Monopolies

      • PBS will stream live for the first time with YouTube TV

        PBS has been working to expand its viewership through digital partnerships, starting with its Amazon Prime Channel PBS Living, which launched earlier this March. The $2.99 / month channel offers individual episodes of shows like Antiques Roadshow and This Old House. With this new YouTube TV partnership, PBS can reach viewers who have left traditional cable for the over-the-top TV service.

      • Copyrights

        • UFC Broadcast Partner Goes Pay-Per-View And Pushes Fans To Piracy

          It will not come as news to the regular Techdirt reader that the folks behind Ultimate Fighting Championship truly hate pirate streams of its fight-nights. For years now, UFC has done everything from punishing some of its own biggest fans to petitioning the government and courts to strictly block any unauthorized broadcasts. In other words, UFC's stance is that it will take any action necessary to prevent people from pirating its product.

          In which case, UFC may want to have a word with at least one of its broadcast partners. BT Sport, the UFC's broadcast partner in the UK, recently made the decision to suddenly hit its subscribers with an additional pay-per-view fee to watch the bigger UFC matches. The move was met with catastrophic results.

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