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Links 25/8/2019: Happy Birthday to Linux, Enlightenment DR 0.23.0 Release

  • GNU/Linux

    • The best free alternatives to Windows and Microsoft Office

      Many people don’t realise that there is high-quality, free software available that can compete with Microsoft Office and the Windows operating system.

      While you might feel comfortable using traditional programs and be hesitant to change, you could save thousands of rand just by choosing high-quality freeware over paid software.

      With the right products, it is possible to run a suite of useful programs on your computer without spending a cent.

    • Server

      • Ampere Computing Is Keeping Close Track Of The Linux Performance For Their ARM Servers

        Hardware vendor Ampere Computing with their impressive ARM servers is doing a great job on closely following their hardware's Linux performance as part of a rigorous continuous testing regiment or ensuring quality, compatibility, and stability while being fully-automated.

        Ampere Computing's Travis Lazar talked at this week's Linux Foundation events in San Diego over the importance of continuous regression testing for software and hardware development by talking about their internal workflow and software in place. Their internal system is the "Totally Automated Regression System" or TARS for short. TARS makes use of various open-source components including the Phoronix Test Suite and its vast collection of benchmarks for providing comprehensive test coverage plus Ampere's own "extensions" to the Phoronix Test Suite. TARS also incorporates the provisioning/configuration responsibilities as well as analysis of the data.

      • [SUSE] Learn how the Multimodal OS can benefit your organization.
      • IBM

        • From ProdOps to DevOps: Surviving and thriving

          For many of us in Production Operations (ProdOps), change is the enemy. If something changes, there is now an opportunity for things that were working just fine to experience problems. It is like a game of Jenga. When will the tower fall because a seemingly minor change unbalances the whole stack of pieces? ProdOps teams hate change so much, that countless frameworks have been invented to "manage" changes; in reality, these frameworks make the procedure for effecting a change so onerous that most people give up and accept the status quo.

          Actually, that statement is a bit unfair. These frameworks are an attempt to wrap planning and consensus around production changes, thus minimizing potential downtime caused by random or rogue changes (see Why the lone wolf mentality is a sysadmin mistake).

        • Meet Red Hat at VMworld

          As Red Hat’s Ashesh Badani said in his blog post about the reference architecture for OpenShift on VMware’s SDDC stack “… this is just the first step — Red Hat OpenShift 4 brings optimized installation capabilities to a variety of infrastructures and for this, the companies are working towards a VMware Validated Design. We are excited that VMware is working closely with Red Hat to deliver a simplified experience there in the coming months.”

    • Kernel Space

      • How to compile a Linux kernel in the 21st century

        In computing, a kernel is the low-level software that handles communication with hardware and general system coordination. Aside from some initial firmware built into your computer's motherboard, when you start your computer, the kernel is what provides awareness that it has a hard drive and a screen and a keyboard and a network card. It's also the kernel's job to ensure equal time (more or less) is given to each component so that your graphics and audio and filesystem and network all run smoothly, even though they're running concurrently.

        The quest for hardware support, however, is ongoing, because the more hardware that gets released, the more stuff a kernel must adopt into its code to make the hardware work as expected. It's difficult to get accurate numbers, but the Linux kernel is certainly among the top kernels for hardware compatibility. Linux operates innumerable computers and mobile phones, embedded system on a chip (SoC) boards for hobbyist and industrial uses, RAID cards, sewing machines, and much more.

      • LG Has Been Working On Reduced Boot Times With Hibernation Optimizations

        LG Electronics has been exploring improvements around hibernation/suspend-to-disk to speed-up the Linux boot process for consumer electronics rather than performing cold boots and as part of that is working towards upstream optimizations.

        While hibernation-based booting is generally quicker than performing cold boots, suspending to disk does yield extra writes to the NAND flash memory on these consumer devices and that is one of the things they are seeking to avoid. So it's been an effort not only to speed-up the hibernation boot process but also reducing the amount of data that needs to be written out to the flash storage.

      • Happy Birthday, Linux!

        August 25 is the day that, in 1991, a fresh-fasted Finnish college student called Linus Torvalds parked his rear at his desk to announce his “hobby” OS to the world/comp.os.minix newsgroup:-

        “Hello everybody out there using minix,” he began.

        “I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).”

        Some 28 glorious years later and that “hobby os” now powers the world! From stock exchanges to billboards to satellites and smartphones: Linux is everywhere.

        But Linux is about more than code. It’s the beating heart of the open source movement, cheerleading collaboration and co-operation between people based on the idea that technology should be not just be good, but do good too.

        So raise a glass of something tasty to Linux, the invisible thread without which modern technology is stitched! 🥂

      • Happy Birthday, Linux: 28 Years Of Awesomeness

        Linus Torvalds, then a 21-year-old university student in Finland writes a post to a user group asking for feedback on a project he’s working on. His post was titled, “What would you like to see most in minix?“ He’s built a simple kernel for a Unix-like operating system that runs on an Intel 386 processor. The kernel eventually becomes Linux, which is released in 1994 and rest is the the history.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Microsoft Partners With Google, Intel, And Others To Form Data Protection Consortium

          The software maker joined Google Cloud, Intel, IBM, Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent to establish the Confidential Computing Consortium, a group committed to providing better private data protection, promoting the use of confidential computing, and advancing open source standards among members of the technology community.

        • #OSSUMMIT: Confidential Computing Consortium Takes Shape to Enable Secure Collaboration

          At the Open Source Summit in San Diego, California on August 21, the Linux Foundation announced the formation of the Confidential Computing Consortium. Confidential computing is an approach using encrypted data that enables organizations to share and collaborate, while still maintaining privacy. Among the initial backers of the effort are Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

          “The context of confidential computing is that we can actually use the data encrypted while programs are working on it,” John Gossman, distinguished engineer at Microsoft, said during a keynote presentation announcing the new effort.

          Initially there are three projects that are part of the Confidential Computing Consortium, with an expectation that more will be added over time. Microsoft has contributed its Open Enclave SDK, Red Hat is contributing the Enarx project for Trusted Execution Environments and Intel is contributing its Software Guard Extensions (SGX) software development kit.

          Lorie Wigle, general manager, platform security product management at Intel, explained that Intel has had a capability built into some of its processors called software guard which essentially provides a hardware-based capability for protecting an area of memory.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Radeon Vulkan Driver Sees ~30% Performance Boost For APUs

          Mesa's RADV Radeon Vulkan driver just saw a big performance optimization land to benefit APUs like Raven Ridge and Picasso, simply systems with no dedicated video memory.

          The change by Feral's Alex Smith puts the uncached GTT type at a higher index than the visible vRAM type for these configurations without dedicated vRAM, namely APUs.

        • Intel Iris Gallium3D Is Close With SPIR-V Support For OpenGL 4.6

          This week saw OpenGL 4.6 support finally merged for Intel's i965 Mesa driver and will be part of the upcoming Mesa 19.2 release. Not landed yet but coming soon is the newer Intel "Iris" Gallium3D driver also seeing OpenGL 4.6 support.

          Iris Gallium3D has been at OpenGL 4.5 support and is quite near as well with its OpenGL 4.6 support thanks to the shared NIR support and more with the rest of the Intel open-source graphics stack. Though it's looking less likely that OpenGL 4.6 support would be back-ported to Mesa 19.2 for Iris, but we'll see.

    • Applications

      • The 8 Best IP Scanners For Linux in 2019

        If you want to know what IP addresses are actually in use in your network, your only option is pretty much to scan them all. Very often, this is something one would do using the ping command. Ping, which has been around almost as long as IP networking, is probably the best ways to test for connectivity to a given IP address. So, by successively pinging all IP addresses in a network, one can get a pretty good picture of which ones are in use and which ones are available.

        However, in all be the smallest of networks with only a handful of IP addresses, this can quickly turn into quite a chore. Fortunately, tools exist that will automatically scan a group of IP addresses and report on their responsiveness. Today, we’re reviewing some of the best IP scanners for Linux that will simplify your life when you have to scan IP addresses.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Get ready to blow everything up in Smith and Winston, releasing on August 27th

        Smith and Winston is a twin-stick shooter made entirely out of really small voxel blocks, it looks awesome and the destruction possible is also pretty amusing.

        Execution Unit have now announced that it's leaving Early Access next week on August 27th.

      • 7 Billion Humans turns one year old, Tomorrow Corp put their games on sale to celebrate

        Tomorrow Corporation are celebrating their puzzle game 7 Billion Humans turning a year old with a big sale on their games and they support Linux too.

        Your chance to pick up a bargain while further supporting another Linux-friendly developer, perhaps something for you to play through for the rest of the weekend?

      • Antichamber | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 18.04 | Native

        Antichamber running native on Linux.

      • Roberta, a new Steam Play compatibility tool to play games with a native ScummVM

        Following on from the Boxtron tool to run Steam games through a native Linux version of DOSBox, the same developer has now put out Roberta to do the same for ScummVM.

        What does it do exactly? It means you can run pretty much any game on Steam that uses ScummVM, through your native version of ScummVM, even if those games don't have a Linux build up. Instead of trying to run them through Steam Play's Proton.

      • Void Spirit is another new Dota 2 hero coming, The International 2019 prize pool breaks 34 million

        It's not enough to tease one new hero with Snapfire, as heroes now come in twos apparently. Void Spirit is another new hero coming to Dota 2.

      • What have you been playing this week and what are you clicking on this weekend?

        Another week has almost finished, it's now the weekend and it's super hot here which means it's time to hide indoors and play games.

        For me, it's been a real mix of things recently. With the announcement that EVERSPACE 2 is coming to Linux, I've decided to brush up on my piloting skills in the original. I'm still amazed at how fun EVERSPACE actually is, especially the Action Freeze feature where you can just entirely stop the game to take a picture.

      • alTrace, a new open source debugging tool for apps and games that use OpenAL

        Ryan "Icculus" Gordon has released a new open source tool today named alTrace, to help developers of games and software using OpenAL. Announced on their Patreon, it currently works on macOS and Linux and while Windows is possible, it's not yet supported.

      • Enjoy C&C Red Alert on Linux

        I am extremely happy. I remember trying to play Red Alert about 10 years ago, and you had to patch files, and there was this and that, but now, it's smooth, seamless. This is true for many other games of this type, and it's easier to get them running on the latest operating systems than it was a few years after their demise. This is because people realized how valuable and dear they were.

        Everything works well in this setup, but if you're not happy for some reason, you have cross-platform support, and there's also the fully open-source OpenRA clone. This one, alongside my DOSBox classics, many of which I still have the original save games for, plus OpenTTD, is the mainstay of excellence, from an era when computer gaming was pure and hard and utterly unforgiving. And it shows. I hope you find this little guide valuable. Next on the menu, Yuri's Revenge. See you soon.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Enlightenment DR 0.23.0 Release


        New padded screenshot option Meson build now is the build system Music Control now supports rage mpris dbus protocol Add Bluez5 support with totally new and redone module and gadget Add dpms option to turn it off or on Alt-tab window switcher allows moving of windows while alt-tabbing Lots of bug fixes, compile warning fixes etc. Massive improvements to Wayland support

      • Enlightenment 0.23 Released With Massive Wayland Improvements

        Since the demise of the Samsung Open-Source Group that employed many Enlightenment developers, there's been seemingly less Enlightenment developments to report on and Enlightenment fell off their annual release regiment. But hitting the Internet this weekend is the Enlightenment 0.23 release managed by Carsten Haitzler himself. Enlightenment 0.23 uses Meson as its default build system, music control is now supported along a DBus interface, BlueZ 5 Bluetooth support, DPMS functionality can now be toggled for monitor power savings, alt-tab switcher improvements, and reported "massive" improvements to the Wayland support. There are also many bug fixes throughout with Enlightenment 0.23.

      • Amazon wildfires part of 'genocide' facing Brazil's Indigenous peoples, advocate says

        The Brazilian government's push to escalate agricultural and mining developments in the Amazon at the expense of Indigenous rights actively brought about the ongoing wildfire crisis, Indigenous advocates say.

        There are currently over 75,000 wildfires burning in the rainforest throughout the country — an 80 per cent increase over last year, according to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

        Rayanne Cristine Máximo França, a member of the Baré Indigneous people from the Amazonas state in Brazil's northwest, said the government of Jair Bolsonaro has unleashed an assault on Indigenous people and their lands by emboldening farmers, ranchers and miners to carve deeper into the Amazon rainforest.

      • Xfce, A Model GTK Based Desktop | Late Summer Blathering

        n full disclosure, Plasma is my Desktop Environment of choice, it is very easy to customize and to make my own with very little effort. As of late, there isn’t a whole lot of customizing I do, it’s all pretty minor. A couple tweaks to the the visuals, make it dark, change some sound effects to make it more Star Trek The Next Generation, add a couple Plasmoids and set up KDE Connect. Then I am ready to go.

        Since KDE 3 and later Plasma, each release adds and refines existing features, all of which seems as though they are doing so in a sustainable fashion. New releases of Plasma are always met with excitement and anticipation. I can count on new features and refinements and an overall better experience. I didn’t look anywhere else but then, Xfce wondered into my world and although slow to change has become that desktop too. Historically, Xfce has been [for me] just there, nothing particularly exciting. It has held the spot of a necessary, minimal viable desktop… but not anymore.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kate - Document Preview Plugin - Maintainer Wanted!

          At the moment the Document Preview plugin that e.g. allows to preview Markdown or other documents layout-ed via embedding a matching KPart is no longer maintained.

          If you want to step up and keep that plugin alive and kicking, now is your chance!

        • The Sprint

          Hi -)) haven’t posted for some time, because I was busy travelling and coding for the first half of the month. From Aug 5 to Aug 9, I went to the Krita Sprint in Deventer, Netherlands.

          According to Boud, I was the first person to arrive. My flight took a transit via Hong Kong where some flights were affected due to natural and social factors, but fortunately mine was not one of them. Upon arrival in Amsterdam I got a ticket for the Intercity to Deventer. Railway constructions made me take a transfer via Utrecht Centraal, but that was not a problem at all: the station has escalators going both up to the hall, and down to the platforms (in China you can only go to the hall by stairs or elevator (which is often crowded after you get off)). When I got out of Deventer Station, Boud immediately recognized me (how?!). It was early in the morning, and the street’s quietness was broken by the sound of me dragging my suitcase. Boud led me through Deventer’s crooked streets and alleys to his house.

          For the next two days people gradually arrived. I met my main mentor Dmitry (magician!) and his tiger, Sagoskatt, which I (and many others) have mistaken for a giraffe. He was even the voice actor for Sago. He had got quite a lot of insights into the code base (according to Boud, “80%”) and solved a number of bugs in Krita (but he said he introduced a lot of bugs, ha!). Also I met David Revoy (my favourite painter!), the author of Pepper and Carrot. And Tiar, our developer who started to work full-time on Krita this year; she had always been volunteering to support other Krita users and always on the IRC and Reddit. And two of other three GSoC students for the year: Blackbeard (just as his face) and Hellozee. Sh_zam could not come and lost communications due to political issues, which was really unfortunate (eh at least now he can be connected). It is feels so good to be able to see so many people in the community – they are so nice! And it is such an experience to hack in a basement church.

    • Distributions

      • Debian Family

        • Introducing Noir

          Noir is a drop-in replacement for Black (the uncompromising code formatter), with the default line length set to PEP-8's preferred 79 characters. If you want to use it, just replace black with noir in your requirements.txt and/or and you're good to go.

          Black is a Python code formatter that reformats your code to make it more PEP-8 compliant. It implements a subset of PEP-8, most notably it deliberately ignores PEP-8's suggestion for a line length of 79 characters and defaults to a length of 88. I find the decision and the reasoning behind that somewhat arbitrary. PEP-8 is a good standard and there's a lot of value in having a style guide that is generally accepted and has a lot of tooling to support it.

          When people ask to change Black's default line length to 79, the issue is usually closed with a reference to the reasoning in the README. But Black's developers are at least aware of this controversial decision, as Black's only option that allows to configure the (otherwise uncompromising) code formatter, is in fact the line length.

          Apart from that, Black is a good formatter that's gaining more and more popularity. And, of course, the developers have every right to follow their own taste. However, since Black is licensed under the terms of the MIT license, I tried to see what needs to be done in order to fix the line length issue.

        • miniDebConf19 Vaumarcus – Oct 25-27 2019 – Registration is open

          The Vaumarcus miniDebConf19 is happening! Come see the fantastic view from the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, in Switzerland! We’re going to have two-and-a-half days of presentations and hacking in this marvelous venue and anybody interested in Debian development is welcome.

        • New feature

, the build service for installation and cloud images has a new feature. When building an installation images, you can enable automatic reboot or shutdown at the end of the installation in the advanced options. This was implemented due to request by users, that are using the service for their VM instances or computers without any keyboard connected.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Life with an offline laptop

        When I think about an offline laptop, I immediately think I will miss IRC, mails, file synchronization, Mastodon and remote ssh to my servers. But do I really need it _all the time_?

        As I started thinking about preparing an old laptop for the experiment, differents ideas with theirs pros and cons came to my mind.

      • How UCLA Library preserves rare objects with open source

        The University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) Library houses a collection of millions of rare and unique objects, including materials dating from 3000 BCE, that could be damaged, destroyed, or otherwise threatened if they were displayed.

        To make these special collections widely available while keeping them secure, the UCLA Library has been modernizing its digital repository, which was established 15 years ago on now-outdated software.


        Watch Jen's Lightning Talk to learn more about the UCLA Library's rare collections digitization project.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD's Executive Director Calls For Linux + BSD Devs To Work Together

          While called the Open-Source Summit, the event is primarily about Linux as after all it's hosted by the Linux Foundation. But at this week's Open-Source Summit in San Diego, Deb Goodkin as the executive director of the FreeBSD Foundation presented. Deb's talk was of course on FreeBSD but also why FreeBSD and Linux developers should work together.

          The presentation covered FreeBSD's development workflow and various features of this open-source operating system project for those unfamiliar as well as some of the companies utilizing FreeBSD and their different use-cases. It's a good overview for those not familiar with FreeBSD.

        • FreeBSD Meets Linux At The Open Source Summit

          The Linux Foundation hosted the executive director of the FreeBSD Foundation, Deb Goodkin, at the Open Source Summit in San Diego. In this episode of Let’s Talk, we sat down with Goodkin to talk about the FreeBSD project and the foundation.

      • Programming/Development

        • RcppExamples 0.1.9

          The RcppExamples package provides a handful of short examples detailing by concrete working examples how to set up basic R data structures in C++. It also provides a simple example for packaging with Rcpp.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The prosecution of Assange affects us all

        WITH the indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the imprisonment of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, we are seeing the US government’s blatant attack on the First Amendment. This assault now is officially acknowledged by a US federal court, where the judge dismissed a Democratic National Committee civil suit against WikiLeaks on the grounds of First Amendment protections that apply to all journalists.

        Assange, who has become a political prisoner in this war on the free press, was charged under the Espionage Act over publications exposing the US illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently serving a 50 week sentence in Belmarsh prison in London for a violation of bail conditions he made in 2012 while attempting to obtain political asylum in Ecuador to mitigate the risk of extradition to the US. While in a maximum-security prison that holds some of the highest-risk prisoners in the country, he continues to fight US extradition.

      • As Australian government threatens to jail journalists, media chiefs denounce Julian Assange

        The hypocrisy of the corporate media was on display last week at the two public hearings of an Australian parliamentary committee inquiry into the impact of intelligence agency and police powers on press freedom. Even as a senior government official declared that anyone who leaked “top secret” information should “go to jail,” media chiefs backed the persecution of Julian Assange, which has set the precedent for the intensifying global war on journalism. While claiming to champion the public’s “right to know,” media executives vilified the WikiLeaks founder for exposing the crimes, conspiracies and mass surveillance of the US-led spy and military apparatuses. They pledged to work more closely with the government and its agencies to ensure that any classified material they received would be suppressed or censored to protect “national security.” Andrew Hastie, the ex-Special Forces commander who chairs the parliamentary security and intelligence committee, set the tone. He asked the media representatives to confirm that their “public interest journalism” was “quite distinct from the radical transparency advocated by Julian Assange and his merry band of WikiLeakers.” Representing the Murdoch media, News Corp executive Campbell Reid replied: “Absolutely.” News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller declared: “Yes, it is.” Asked by the Labor Party’s Mike Kelly, another former military officer, about the “reputable” media’s “relationship” with WikiLeaks in initially publishing some of the secret information about US and allied war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reid denounced Assange.

      • Julian Assange’s father warns WikiLeaks’ publisher’s health is “declining rapidly” in Belmarsh Prison

        In an interview on August 16 with 3CR, a Melbourne community radio station, Julian Assange’s father John Shipton stated that the WikiLeaks founder’s health is continuing to deteriorate in Britain’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison. Shipton revealed that Assange had received a visit from his brother Gabriel several days earlier. “Julian is emaciated and not in tip-top order or health,” Shipton said. “He is suffering anxiety. He is still in fighting spirits, but his well-being is declining rapidly.”

      • 40 rebuttals to the media’s smears of Julian Assange – by someone who was actually there

        The Western corporate media has shown extreme bias against the whistleblowing publication WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Nowhere is this more evident than in a recent CNN article on the imprisoned journalist, which completely botches the facts.

        On July 15, CNN published an exclusive report that sent shock waves through the press: “Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling.” This two-pronged hit piece mixes character assassination with a clumsy attempt to show that he and WikiLeaks supposedly served as agents of chaos for the Kremlin during the 2016 US presidential election.

        But the article contains numerous errors, omissions, examples of bias, speculations, and simply false information.

        CNN’s attempts to shape the narrative on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are not new. On March 28, the TV program Conclusiones, on CNN Español, claimed — without evidence — that Assange had published the famous INA Papers leak, exposing the corruption of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and his family.

      • Mysteriously vanished Dutch WikiLeaks partner ‘likely’ lost in kayaking accident – Norway police

        A WikiLeaks associate, who mysteriously vanished last year while on a visit to Norway, was probably the victim of a kayaking accident, Norwegian police say. The man’s body remains missing, however, leaving a mystery unsolved. In a statement on Friday, police said they believe Arjen Kamphuis – a missing cybersecurity expert and WikiLeaks affiliate who was last seen in the Norweigan town of Bodo in the summer of 2018 – was likely “lost at sea” after a kayaking trip went awry.

        “The police have concluded that Mr Kamphuis most likely suffered an accident on the evening of August 20, 2018, while kayaking in … northern Norway, and was subsequently lost at sea,” the police statement said.

      • Wikileaks death: Dutch hacking expert 'had kayaking accident'

        Norwegian police said on Friday they have ended a year-long probe into the disappearance of a Dutch cybersecurity expert, concluding he "most likely" died in an accident. Arjen Kamphuis was last seen on August 20, 2018, when checking out from a hotel in Bodoe, just north of the Arctic Circle. A few days later, a kayak with a hole in the hull and an oar were found on the shore of the fjord, as well as some other personal items. Those circumstances and his work, which involved advising governments, firms, journalists and activists groups on how to prevent hacking attacks, fueled speculation of possible foul play.

      • Norway: Dutch cybersecurity expert likely died in accident

        Police in Norway believe a missing Dutch cybersecurity expert who had worked for the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks "most likely perished as a result of an accident" in a fjord.

        Police in northern Norway say Arjen Kamphuis, who was last seen on Aug. 20, 2018, when checking out from a hotel in Bodoe, just north of the Arctic Circle, likely was involved in a kayaking accident that same day "and has disappeared at sea."

      • Norwegian police: Missing WikiLeaks associate 'most likely' had a kayaking accident

        Arjen Kamphuis, a Dutch cybersecurity expert who went missing under mysterious circumstances last year probably had a kayaking accident, Norwegian police said on Friday. Kamphuis, then aged 47, had not been seen since he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo on August 20th, 2018.

        His disappearance had triggered a wave of conspiracy theories on social media, ranging from CIA and Russian involvement to a mission to carry out a secret project for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

        Then police discovered a kayak in the same area where a fisherman had found some of Kamphuis' personal belongings floating in the waters about 50 kilometres east of Bodø.

    • Environment

      • Saving the Planet Means Fighting Bipartisan Corruption

        Burning fossil fuels boils our planet — that much is generally well known.

      • Amazon Fires Put the Planet at Risk

        In Brazil, the Amazon rainforest is now burning at a record rate.

      • More Fires Now Burning in Angola, Congo Than Amazon: Maps

        Weather Source has recorded 6,902 fires in Angola over the past 48 hours, compared to 3,395 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 2,127 in Brazil. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon for Central Africa.

      • The Horrifying Science of the Deforestation Fueling Amazon Fires

        Nevertheless, they’ve set themselves up for failure. Farmers have to burn the forest in part because Amazon soil is, weirdly enough, poor in nutrients. “It's called the paradox of luxuriance,” says Bruna. “You look at the Amazon and you think this is the garden of Eden, you can plant anything here and it's going to grow. But what people don't realize is that those trees have over millennia evolved really efficient nutrient extraction mechanisms.”

        Burning the trees produces ash the new crops need to grow, but a lot of those nutrients vaporize when the plant material burns, making the resulting farmland more or less garbage. As a result, farmers quickly wear out the land and move on, burning new stretches of rainforest. “You go from a really lush tropical forest to a completely nonproductive cattle pasture almost immediately,” adds Bruna.

        The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is methodical and self-perpetuating. When all those trees burn, they release CO2 into the atmosphere, cutting down on a critical carbon sink. In the Amazon, this is particularly problematic because it can turn into a net carbon emitter even when it’s not on fire. Rivers and lakes in the tropics are filled with algae and other life-forms that respire CO2 just like we humans do. Without trees, the Amazon loses its sequestering power and instead becomes a belcher of carbon.

      • Deep Time and the Green River, Floating

        These days there isn’t a vacant hotel room to be found in Vernal, Utah. Or Craig, Colorado. Or Pinedale, Wyoming, for that matter. The rooms are all booked up with oil workers, pipe-layers, explosive technicians and tax accountants versed in the intricacies of the depreciation allowance.

      • Earth 4C Hotter

        A decade ago several prominent climate scientists discussed the prospects of a 4C Earth. Their concern was qualified “… if greenhouse gases do not slow down, then expect a 4C Earth by 2055.” Of course, that would be catastrophic, and one can only assume those scientists must have recognized real risks. Otherwise, why address the issue of 4C by 2055 in the first instance?

      • Youth to Adults—Join Us in the Climate Fight

        So far it’s been the hottest summer ever recorded — June was the hottest June, and July was the hottest month ever. France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands had their hottest days of all time, joining countries from Cuba to Vietnam and Togo to the Reunion Islands.

        This is dangerous for two reasons.

        One, it’s destroying the planet.

        And two, it’s becoming so common that people may lose hope or tune out — the news can be almost as sapping as the heat. But that apathy would come at just the wrong moment. The price of renewable energy hit a record low last month, when a Portuguese power auction produced the cheapest electricity in history. Given the political will, we could quickly make huge strides in combatting climate change.

      • Understanding Christians’ Climate Views Can Lead to Better Conversations About the Environment

        In their second round of debates, Democratic presidential candidates called for aggressive measures to slow climate change. As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has said, “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”

        Politicians realize that many voters care about this issue. A 2018 survey conducted by Yale and George Mason Universities categorizes 69% of Americans as at least “somewhat worried” about climate change, the highest level these programs had recorded since 2008.

        But climate is still an uncomfortable subject for many people. I study environmental communication and the obstacles people encounter when discussing climate change. My new book, “Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics: Religion and the Environment,” considers Christians and the variety of ways they incorporate the environment into their faith.

        Studying Christianity provides important insights into how to talk productively about climate change with a variety of audiences. I interviewed Christians from many different denominations and found that they don’t all think alike when it comes to the environment. Some reject environmentalism, some embrace it, and others modify it to fit their beliefs.

      • The Fight's Not Over, Say Activists, as Nebraska Supreme Court Approves Keystone XL Route

        "If history recalls Nebraska at all, it may remember this as its most regrettable decision."

      • The Realism and Unrealism of the Green New Deals

        A problem facing advocates of serious action to deter global warming is that the costs of not acting aren’t quantifiable and remain somewhat abstract. In contrast, calling for a phase-out of fossil fuels understandably leads to fears of job losses, especially since capitalism isn’t going to offer new employment for those displaced.

      • Energy

        • Tapping into People Power

          In times like this, many of us feel powerless to do anything about the political, social, and environmental injustices we face. But, power is everywhere. Like sunlight and solar panels, it’s a question of tapping into it. Accustomed to the top-down power of presidents and CEOs, most of us have no idea where to plug in and connect to the phenomenal€ people power€ that exists. As the editor of€ Nonviolence News, I collect 30-50 stories of nonviolence in action€ each week.€ These stories are inspiring examples of how people like us are finding unexpected sources of strength, creativity, resistance, hope, and yes,€ power. Beyond protests and petitions, there are hundreds of ways to work for change. Here are seven ways we can connect to the power of removing our consent and cooperation, refusing to go along with injustice, and intervening in the destructive practices that cause harm. I’ve included several examples in each section – a total of 28 amazing stories – that illuminate how and where people can find the power to make powerful change.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Trump and Endangered Species, Wildlife and Human

          He hit a double.€  It all happened the week of€  August 11, 2019.€  That was the week the trump took steps to reduce protections for two endangered species.€  In each case the decision was made because in one case it was going to make it easier for certain taxpayers to make money, and in the other it was going to save all taxpayers money.€  It was a trump-type win-win.

        • How Agriculture and Ranching Subvert the Re-Wilding of America

          A recent paper on the rewilding of Europe noted that wolves and grizzlies, not to mention lynx, moose, and other wildlife, have greatly expanded their ranges on the continent. There are lessons for the American West here. If it were not for the ecologically degrading presence of ranching and farming, we could see a significant revitalization and restoration of native wildlife.

        • Trade in Giraffe Products to be Regulated

          Conservationists have hailed a "big win" for threatened giraffes as countries agreed to protect the African animals from unregulated trade. Giraffes are facing what has been described as a "silent extinction", with numbers falling by up to 40 percent€ over the last 30 years, wildlife experts said. Threats to the world's tallest land mammal include trade in their body parts, as

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • China’s Hong Kong Nightmare, and the US Response

        Donald Trump has kept his promise, reportedly made to Xi Jinping in June, that Washington would “tone down” its comments on the spiraling HK protests. “Very tough situation” Trump tweeted on August 12. “I hope it works out for everybody, including China.”

      • “Nuance” in Politics and Public Policy? No Thanks

        In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry called his ever-shifting position on the war in Iraq “nuanced” as a way of explaining why he was for it before he was against it and why his prescriptions for its future kept changing.

      • Brazil: From Global Leader to U.S. Lapdog

        Brazil recently gained the vaunted status of “Major Non-NATO Ally.”

      • Julian Assange smears fade as Wikileaks witnesses concede he was not reckless, did protect informants

        Assange wanted to redact the names. He did redact the names. He wanted to protect informers, save lives. He did protect informers. Davis has since withdrawn his bluntest criticisms of The Guardian and the New York Times, whose reporters he said should have been in jail rather than Assange. Following negotiations, Mark Davis and The Guardian journalist Nick Davies have issued a joint statement, which is published below. [...]

      • Epoch Times banned from advertising after sneaking pro-Trump propaganda onto Facebook

        The Epoch Times previously spent $2 million on Facebook ads supporting President Trump and amplifying conspiracy theories, which is more than any other organization, save for the Trump campaign itself. After journalist Judd Legum noted back in July that many of The Epoch Times’ ads were in violation of Facebook’s policies, the outlet’s accounts were banned.

      • David Koch Got What He Paid For

        David Koch was not a political mastermind. He was a failed candidate, a bit of a bumbler as a strategist, and a frequently inconsistent ideologue. But he knew what rich men who dabble in politics know: If you throw enough money around, two things will happen. First, the machinery of electioneering and governing will adjust to the cash flow. Second, the recipients of your largesse will take your calls.

        These are not just truths for David Koch and his brother Charles. It are the truth of electioneering in our times. Yet the Kochs have been more than mere “major donors.” They have been the poster boys for a crisis that grew dramatically worse on their watch, as they steered their vast fortune into bending the governing of states across the country and decisions made in Washington to their will.

      • China’s thin-skinned online nationalists want to be both loved and feared by the West

        One possible take on this dispiriting saga is that China’s hair-trigger patriots are themselves victims. In this telling, if young Chinese netizens are easily offended, it is because they have spent their formative years cut off from the world behind a Great Firewall of digital censorship, and pounded by a drumbeat of nationalism.

        A closer look at those online nationalists is more troubling. It is true that government propagandists have worked hard to whip up this latest storm. Communist Party social-media accounts have gleefully asserted that foreign firms must work harder to uphold China’s sacred territorial unity, or feel the “cold, cold” wrath of 1.4bn patriotic consumers.

        But a sad truth about nationalist anger is that it can be manipulated and sincere at the same time. [...]

      • Centrists Are Going to Kill Us

        Centrists are going to kill us. Literally. They’ll do it in two ways.

        First, they’re saying that we can’t afford the kind of far reaching solutions like Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal that are needed to tackle the climate crisis.

        Second, they’re spreading the dangerous myth that Democrats need to appeal to the center to win the election. How would this kill us? Well, it’s the only way Trump – who is unravelling right before our eyes – could get reelected, and that would be an existential crisis.

        Let’s look at each in turn.

      • Let's Stop Trying to Predict Who Can Beat Trump

        Jill Biden, wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, commented Monday that although her husband may not be good enough on certain issues, people ought to vote for him anyway.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Apple contractors were allegedly listening to 1,000 Siri recordings a day — each

        There’s a reason why we’re likely learning more details about the contractors’ work now: they may be out of a job. Apple has temporarily stopped using contractors to listen to Siri conversations, and the Irish Examiner reports that Apple no longer needed the services of Cork, Ireland-based contracting company GlobeTech, which employed the contractor who spoke to the Irish Examiner.

      • Mastercard Alerts Privacy Watchdogs After Loyalty Program Leak

        The Belgian watchdog said in a statement on Friday that the card company alerted it to a “breach” detected on Aug. 19. It said the episode would have affected a “large number” of people and that “a significant portion” of them would be German customers.

      • Facebook just published emails showing how much employees knew about the giant Cambridge Analytica data scandal 2 years before the story exploded

        A message thread ensued on September 29, in which employees debated whether the data scraping constituted a violation of Facebook's rules. There was no clear conclusion.

        The emails show that it was not until December 2015 that Facebook became aware from a report in The Guardian that user data scraped by Aleksandr Kogan — through his This Is Your Digital Life quiz — was sold to Cambridge Analytica.

      • EU considers new rules on facial recognition

        However, EDRi said in a statement on July 22 it would take a long time "to formulate a meaningful and future-proof piece of legislation on this topic".

      • Brits Are Pissed About Mercedes-Benz Tracking Down Customer Cars For Repossession: Report

        To be clear, in the written terms and conditions of the Mercedes-Benz financial agreement for vehicle loans in the UK, it’s apparently spelled out in bold text exactly how the automaker can use location data for finding a vehicle when the owner is in breach of their financial agreement. But apparently that’s not enough, and the allegedly rare occurrence of the carmaker tracking people down is enough to upset some people and stoke fears of too much corporate oversight and nuisance in peoples’ lives.

      • An Arizona Law Requires Surveillance of People Who Are Presumed Innocent

        Arguably, the most important moment in one’s case is the decision whether to release an arrested person on bail, and if so under what conditions. Nothing predicts a later criminal conviction more than being jailed pretrial. The difference between being locked behind bars or able to return to your family, maintain your job, and work with a lawyer to defend yourself can make or break your chances of winning your case. All too often, people succumb to the pressure to plead guilty—regardless of actual guilt—because of the horrors of incarceration.

        Even for those who are released pretrial, the ordeal doesn’t end. Increasingly, presumptively innocent people are subject to onerous and expensive conditions upon their pretrial release such as ankle monitoring, drug testing, or physical checks ins with probation officers. In much of the country, people released may have to pay for the costs of any such conditions, which can cost hundreds of dollars every month.

        But this critical pretrial decision is often infected by a knee-jerk fear: Simply because a person is accused of a given crime, they must be dangerous. This tendency undermines the presumption of innocence and is out of touch with reality. Over 98 percent of people released pretrial with pending felonies avoid arrest for a violent felony.

        Arizona provides key examples of problematic presumptions of dangerousness. In 2002, Arizona voters passed a ballot initiative requiring that people accused of various crimes sit in jail pending trial. The ballot initiative was based entirely on fear-mongering, claiming without evidence that “it has happened time and again” that “slick defense lawyers” get bond amounts reduced and were thus “allowing predators back on the street for just a few hundred dollars.” We argued that these automatic jail laws were unconstitutional, and the Arizona Supreme Court struck down two provisions. The message was clear: You cannot presume someone is dangerous based simply on charge, even if the allegations are serious. Individuals deserve a determination of their pretrial freedom based on their specific circumstances.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalist says Customs and Border Protection harassed him at LAX: 'Welcome to Trump's America!'

        “Wow. Just… wow. Just went through LAX immigration. Presented my journalist visa and was stopped by the CBP agent and accused of being part of the ‘fake news media,’” James Dyer, who hosts a podcast for Britain’s Pilot TV magazine, wrote on Twitter. “He wanted to know if I’d ever worked for CNN or MSNBC or other outlets that are ‘spreading lies to the American people.’ He aggressively told me that journalists are liars and are attacking their democracy,” he continued in the thread of tweets.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Finding the Comrades: Maintaining Precarious Sanity In Insane Times

        Some of the most awful scenes from history or literature I can conjure in imagination are those in which a person who critiques the existing political structures – usually a story about Communist or other totalitarian society- is declared mad and sent to a mental institution where his claims to sanity fall on the horrifyingly deaf ears of sold-out doctors. “Oh, everyone here is “sane,” that’s what they all say, heh heh” The most frightening aspect of the current historical moment, with its multiple and terrifying threats, is the perception that I exist now inside this scene, completely under the authority of people I cannot trust, only the mental institution has been turned inside out, and the “enforcer” is perceived in the eye of my neighbors and even my friends! This is because, in general, though people can be trusted to be “good,” and they’re not actually spies or narcs, they will not, with very few exceptions, acknowledge the common enemy and thus, they will not be comrades. One is left to ask, if no one on this side of the institution’s walls shares my perception, then might not I be crazy?

      • Critics Condemn Inclusion of Anti-Semitic, White Nationalist Blog Post in Daily Briefing Sent to Immigration Judges by Trump's DOJ

        "There is no bottom," Rep. Ilhan Omar said of the Trump administration

      • What It’s Like to Grow Up Hunted

        It was a quiet Sunday night when my dad told me to hide in a closet — and stay there until he said to come out.

      • Congo’s Patrice Lumumba: The Winds of Reaction in Africa

        The Congo won independence from Belgium in June 1960 with Patrice Lumumba, age 35, as Prime Minister. Immediately it began to fall apart, under revanchist Belgian assault, Cold War pressures, adjacent settler colonial reaction and collaborationist Congolese elites like Moise Tshombe and Joseph Desire Mobutu. On 12 July Lumumba and President Kasavubu asked UN Secretary General Hammarskjold to urgently despatch military assistance “to protect the national territory of the Congo against the present external aggression” (Katanga had broken away under Tshombe with big Belgian support). In early July, Dag Hammarskjold, UN secretary general, stressed that ONUC (the UN mission, already 3,500 strong was “not under the orders of the [Congolese] government “nor [was it] party to any internal conflict”.

      • TSA urges consumers to change identification as Real ID deadline draws near

        Without a Real ID, travelers won't be able to board a flight, unless they have an alternative enhanced identification such as a passport. Those with Real IDs are also able to access federal facilities and nuclear power plants.

        States have cited concerns with Real IDs requirements in the law that include storing images of documents that driver's license applicants present as proof of their identity, like their birth certificates. State officials say that information could be breached and could be used to track law-abiding U.S. citizens.

        They also oppose the U.S. government unilaterally setting standards in an area traditionally handled by the states.

      • Beyond Prisons: Gladiator Fights Feat. IWOC’s Brooke Terpstra

        Beyond Prisons is back from summer break with a special double episode with Brooke Terpstra, Oaklander forever, movement veteran, and worker who organized with the Incarcerated Workers Organizer Committee (IWOC).

        Brooke is an organizer with the Oakland chapter of IWOC and was a member of the IWOC national media committee for the 2018 prison strike. In the first hour of this episode, Brooke walks us through incidents of prison-orchestrated violence in California, known as “Gladiator Fights.” He shares the history and backstory of why California prisons are organizing these fights, dismantles the corrections department’s spin on these incidents, and details the experiences of prisoners and their loved ones who are fighting for survival and to end the practice.

        In the second hour, Kim and Brian debrief after their conversation with Brooke. They discuss their reactions and experiences reporting on these fights and the trauma of being in proximity to the multifaceted violence of incarceration.

      • The Chicago 8 Trial, Revisited

        In my early childhood days we played Cops and Robbers, or Cowboys and Indians. Things were simple, black and white. We never asked about moral issues. We never wondered if maybe the Indians had a legitimate beef (let’s say genocide) and maybe the Cops should be pursuing the Cowboys instead. We watched Dragnet, Adam-12 and the FBI on TV and thought policemen were wonderful catchers of evil people; their corruptibility was beyond our fathoming and we knew (however so ruefully) that their truncheons would only be used on Black heads. We sighed, but lived on.

      • As Long as Enemies of the State Keep Dying Before Trial, No One Should Trust the State

        There is no other way to say it: it was a political assassination.

      • The Significance of the “1619 Project”

        On Sunday, the New York Times unveiled “The 1619 Project,” a journalistic series in the Sunday magazine that seeks to tell the “unvarnished truth” about slavery and its impact on America’s history.

      • DHS Was Tracking White Supremacist Terrorists, but Nobody Wanted to Listen

        No one listened when the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI sounded the alarm about the rise of white supremacist and far-right domestic terrorism, says former DHS intelligence analyst Daryl Johnson and Greg Huffman of Facing South

      • Stop Criminalizing Children in the Name of School Security

        We went this first week of school so far this year without one of those moronic incidents typical of the occasional adolescent, typical of last school year, when it seemed we had some of these every few days: no SnapChat banter of an impending assault on any school, no bigoted threats against a teacher, no one brought a gun, a knife, a tank or an ICBM to school that we know of, and best of all, no one has been arrested, no one faces felony charges for pulling any of these gross misjudgments that end up changing the child’s life so we can all pretend that we’re keeping everyone else safe.

    • Monopolies

      • YouTube says it will now remove ‘violent’ and ‘mature’ videos pretending to be kid-friendly

        The policy change was announced two days ago, but it was done so on a YouTube Help community forum and appears to have gone largely unnoticed, with the post amassing only 20 replies and little news coverage. YouTube says it will begin ramping up enforcement of this new policy over the next 30 days, to give creators a chance to become familiar with the new rules.

        As part of that process, YouTube says it will remove videos that violate the policy, but it won’t be giving strikes to channels until the 30-day period is up. YouTube says it won’t be handing out strikes to videos uploaded prior to the policy change, but it still reserves the right to remove those videos. YouTube advises creators check the YouTube Kids guidelines if they want to specifically reach children with their videos, and it also advises creators to make sure their descriptions and tags are targeting the right audience to avoid getting caught up in the ban. YouTube also says it will be age-restricting more content that could be confusingly viewed as kid-friendly, like adult cartoons.

        YouTube gives some examples of offending content, like videos tagged as “for children” that feature family-friendly cartoons engaging in otherwise violent or disturbing activity, like “injecting needles.” YouTube also warns against content featuring nursery rhymes that engage with mature themes like sex, violence, and death.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Qualcomm files opening brief in Ninth Circuit appeal of FTC antitrust win; appellate hearing may slip into February

          Not unexpectedly but understandably, Qualcomm just filed a 176-page opening brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in its appeal of the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust victory in the Northern District of California--and an 11-page unopposed motion explaining why the opening brief has to be that long.

          This has implications for the timeline. The most recent scheduling order, based on another unopposed Qualcomm motion, gave the FTC until October 25 for its responsive brief, and Qualcomm until November 15 for its reply brief. But in that motion Qualcomm already indicated that the FTC could also get an extension (after Qualcomm got two more weeks because the expedited schedule was too expedited even for them) should Qualcomm exceed page limits. It now turns out the FTC will even get twice as much extra time: four weeks. Qualcomm doesn't oppose it, so it's a given that the FTC will use that extra time and then file its responsive brief just before Thanksgiving--and then Qualcomm will have until mid-December for its reply brief.

      • Copyrights

        • Internet Archive Faces Permanent ISP Blocking Following Audiobook Lawsuits

          An anti-piracy group representing the rights of authors is calling for the Internet Archive to be blocked by ISPs in Russia forever. A pair of lawsuits concerning two audiobooks, including Metro 2033, led to the request to have the massively popular permanently rendered inaccessible in the region. A legal process is now underway to avoid that happening.

        • Bill Aims to Deter Piracy by Teaching Copyright in Philippine Schools [iophk: actual copyright laws or just misnformation and indoctrination?]

          A new bill that's currently being reviewed by Philippine lawmakers proposes to add copyright classes to the required curriculum. According to local Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, this should help to deter the rampant piracy [sic] problem the country faces today.

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