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Links 15/12/2021: EasyOS 3.1.15 and WordPress 5.9 Beta 3; Gaming on Wayland

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

    • Server

      • The inconsistencies of AWS EKS IAM permissions [Ed Amazon AWS is vendor lockin]

        AWS EKS is a remarkable product: it manages Kubernetes for you, letting you focussing on creating and deploying applications. However, if you want to manage permissions accordingly to the shared responsibility model, you are in for some wild rides.

      • Equinix expands adds more processors to its bare-metal service

        In addition to on-demand hardware, Equinix Metal offers DevOps tools and a Kubernetes ecosystem. Certified operating systems include Ubuntu, Debian, FreeBSD, NixOS, Talos, Alpine Linux, Alma Linux, Rocky Linux, and VyOS.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Hop on Pop | LINUX Unplugged 436

        We each try out the new Pop_OS! and Carl Richell from System76 joins us to get into the details.

        Plus why we feel Pop might be the new Ubuntu.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Amazon Is Hiring DXVK, Mesa & Proton Linux Developers For Luna Cloud Gaming - Phoronix

          Amazon has passed along word that they are hiring for Linux gaming engineers that are experienced in the likes of Valve's DXVK and Proton efforts as well as being experienced with the Mesa open-source graphics drivers, Vulkan, and more.

          As part of the work on Amazon's Luna cloud gaming service, the company has put out job openings of great match to our audience... An Amazon engineer did confirm that this indeed is for genuine Linux gaming engineers.

        • [ANNOUNCE] weston 9.0.91
          This is the alpha release for Weston 10.0.0. It's been a while since the
          previous release, so Weston 10.0.0 will contain a whole bunch of new features
          and improvements. Here are some highlights:

          - Add building blocks for color management: color transformations, gamma correct blending, color profiles. - Add feedback to linux-dmabuf-unstable-v1, enabling zero-copy scanout in more situations. - libseat support has been added. It will supersede all launchers in a future release. - The test suite has been expanded. - All example clients have been converted to xdg-shell. - Weston can now automatically launch a client after startup.

          Notes for packagers:

          - libdrm 2.4.95, libwayland 1.18.0 and wayland-protocols 1.24 are now required. - libpipewire 0.3 is required for the PipeWire remoting plugin. - Support for the deprecated wl_shell interface is now disabled by default (it will be removed in a future release, re-enable it with the Meson option -Ddeprecated-wl-shell=true). - A KMS driver supporting universal planes is now required for the DRM backend.

          Thanks to all contributors!
        • Wayland's Weston 10 Alpha Brings Early Color Management Work, More Zero-Copy Scanout - Phoronix

          The first alpha release of Weston 10.0 is now available as the next feature update to Wayland's reference compositor.

          It was over one year ago that Weston 9.0 shipped while now Weston 10.0 will see its stable debut in the coming weeks. For now an alpha release is available that also marks the end of feature development on this next compositor release.

          One of the major additions with Weston 10.0 is early stage work around supporting proper color management on Weston. This Weston color management work is still in-the-works but has preparations around color transformations, gamma correct blending, and color profiles.

    • Applications

      • Pensela: The Swiss Army Knife of Screen Annotation Tools

        Pensela is an open-source tool for creating and annotating screenshots. With it, you can draw directly on the screen. Its UI is mostly a toolbar that houses all the tools for annotating images in a minimalist layout. The tools are accessible with a single click which promotes its design initiative to be light, versatile, dynamic, and elegant.

        Nick-named the Swiss Army knife of Screen Annotation tools, Pensela has features that make it easy to draw shapes and add pre-added shapes in the form of stickers to images. It also features a highlighter, text support, custom color picker, background pages, a screenshot tool, and a laser pointer.

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Autodesk Mudbox

        Autodesk, Inc. is an American multinational software company that makes software products and services for the architecture, engineering, construction, product design, manufacturing, media, education, and entertainment industries. It bills itself as a “… leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software”.

        The company was founded in 1982 by John Walker, who was a joint developer of the first versions of AutoCAD, the company’s best known software application. Autodesk is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, it has over 11,000 employees, and is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.

        While Autodesk develops many high quality applications they are proprietary software. And the vast majority of their products are not available for Linux. This series looks at the best free and open source alternatives.

      • PeaZip 8.4.0

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It's freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

        Open and extract 200+ archive formats: 001, 7Z, ACE(*), ARC, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, DMG, GZ, ISO, LHA, PAQ, PEA, RAR, TAR, UDF, WIM, XZ, ZIP ZIPX - view full list of supported archive file formats for archiving and for extraction.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • What Are Kubernetes Controllers and Operators? – CloudSavvy IT

        The Kubernetes terms “controller” and “operator” refer to two different patterns that transition a cluster into a desired state. Controllers are an established concept whereas Operators have emerged more recently to describe application-specific controllers.

      • How to test your connection speed using the terminal with Speedtest

        Hello, friends. Today, I will show you a small utility that will allow us to measure our bandwidth. This little trick is very useful for both desktop users and more advanced users. So, in this post, I will show you how to test your connection speed using the terminal with Speedtest.

      • How to install WoeUSB on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy JellyFish

        If you are unable to locate package Woeusb to install via the base repository of Ubuntu because it is not there. Then what to do? Here is the way to get it. Learn the steps and commands to install WoeUSB on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy jellyfish. It will also work for Focal Fossa and the Bionic versions of Ubuntu.

        Creating a bootable USB drive is always an easy task on Windows using various kinds of free tools. However, when it comes to creating a bootable Windows 11, 10, or other versions on Linux OS then choices get narrowed down. However, Ubuntu has a built-in USB Image writer if you are using a Full Desktop installation. Otherwise use the WoeUSB, which is quite popular among Linux users to use for creating Windows bootable USB drive using its ISO file.

        WoeUSB is an open-source project and source code is available on GitHub to download. It comes with a command-line utility including the graphical version based on WxWidgets, a GUI wrapper for WoeUSB.

      • How to Improve Sound on Your Android Phone - Make Tech Easier

        Most of us now use our smartphones to listen to music, even though the vast majority of Android phones still lack powerful speakers capable of delivering quality audio. Of course, many us know better than to listen to music through our tinny phone speakers and use headphones instead, but even then there are things you can do to increase the volume, boost the sound quality or tweak it depending on what you’re listening to.

      • How to Host a Website Using Apache with SSL in Rocky Linux

        The crusade on how awesome, ideal, and convenient the Apache web server is can never get old. It continues to be a lifesaver for most individuals working on web application projects.

        Its popularity as a web server application is due to its open-source attribute. Moreover, the module-rich nature of Apache makes it flexibly configurable to its users. Also, when you decide to expand the footprints of your web application projects, Apache makes it possible to accommodate such growing projects.

      • How to Check and Repair XFS Filesystem in RHEL

        xfs_repair command repairs corrupt or damaged XFS filesystems.

        It’s highly scalable, high-performance and is designed to effectively repair even very large file systems with many inodes. Unlike other Linux file systems, xfs_repair does not run at boot time, even if the XFS file system was not cleanly unmounted.

      • How to build a container lab in five minutes | Enable Sysadmin

        Home labs are an excellent way to learn and test new technologies. Enable Sysadmin has published several articles on deploying home labs using virtual machines by way of scripting and Ansible, including Build a lab in five minutes with three simple commands by Alex Callejas and Build a lab in 36 seconds with Ansible by Ricardo Girardi. You can do something similar with containers.

      • How to Run a Local Network DHCP Server with Dnsmasq – CloudSavvy IT

        Dnsmasq is a lightweight network server providing DNS, DHCP, TFTP, and PXE functions. In this guide, we’ll look at configuring a fresh Dnsmasq installation as a standalone DHCP server.

        DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is the process by which network devices acquire IP addresses. Your network’s DHCP server is responsible for assigning each new device a unique address. Addresses can be static or dynamic, the latter meaning they’re issued on a short lease basis so each device’s IP may change over time.

        The router acts as the DHCP server in most small networks. Setting up Dnsmasq on a Linux box gives you control over the process, as well as improved visibility into any errors that occur.

      • How to Install Samba Server in RHEL, CentOS and Fedora

        Samba is an open-source and most popular widely used program that enables end-users to access Linux shared directory from any Windows machine on the same network.

        Samba is also named as a network file system and can be installed on Linux/Unix operating systems. Samba itself is a client/server protocol of SMB (Server Message Block) and CIFS (Common Internet File System).

        Using Windows smbclient (GUI) or file explorer, end users can connect to the Samba server from any Windows workstations to access shared files and printers.

      • How to using Ansible to install and configure Redis 6 on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this tutorial we are going to learn how to install and configure Redis 6 on Ubuntu 20.04 using Ansible.

        Redis is an in-memory data structure store, used as a distributed, in-memory key–value database, cache and message broker, with optional durability. Redis supports different kinds of abstract data structures, such as strings, lists, maps, sets, sorted sets, HyperLogLogs, bitmaps, streams, and spatial indices.

        Ansible is an open-source software provisioning, configuration management, and application-deployment tool enabling infrastructure as code. It runs on many Unix-like systems, and can configure both Unix-like systems as well as Microsoft Windows.

      • How to install and configure NextCloud on Ubuntu 20.04 and LEMP

        In this guide, we are going to set up NextCloud on a Ubuntu 20.04 server hosted with Nginx, Mariadb and PHP (LEMP stack). We will be using Mariadb 10 and PHP 7.4 for this guide.

        Nextcloud is an Open Source suite of client-server software for creating and using file hosting services. It is a a free self-hosted cloud storage solution similar to Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. With Nextcloud, you don’t have to worry about the pricey alternatives and since you will host your own files, you don’t have to worry about privacy or someone collecting your data.

        NextCloud can be installed on a private home server or a virtual private server in the cloud. Files can then be uploaded and then synced to a local desktop, laptop or even a smartphone. This way you have full control of your data.

      • How to install Webmin in Ubuntu 20.04 – Citizix

        In this guide we will install and set up Webmin on an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

        Webmin is a web-based system configuration tool for Unix-like systems, although recent versions can also be installed and run on Microsoft Windows. It s a free and open-source control panel for administering Unix/Linux servers.

        Webmin provides users with a graphical web-based user interface to configure common system tasks and settings. If you don’t like the idea of using the command line to manage your server, then Webmin is a good graphical alternative to you. The following is a list of functionalities provided by Webmin.

      • Hide or Add Specific Folders From GNOME Search Results in Ubuntu and Other Linux Distributions

        You might have already noticed that when you search for something in the GNOME menu/activities area, it also shows the files with names matching the searched term along with installed applications.

        That’s a handy feature. If you remember the file name or even part of it, you can easily search for it and open it just by pressing the Super key (Windows key) and typing the name.

        But there are a few nit bits around this search feature that you might not know about or never cared for.

        In this article, I’ll share how you can control the GNOME search feature, add or hide folders from the search option and disable it completely.

      • How To Install Python on Fedora 35 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Python on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Python is a widely used, interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. It is very friendly and easy to learn.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Python programming language on a Fedora 35.

      • How to Install and set up PHP and Nginx (LEMP) on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this guide we are going to install and set up PHP and Nginx in Ubuntu 20.04. We will also set up a virtual host to serve a simple php info page.

        PHP is a general-purpose scripting language geared towards web development. It is one of the popular programming languages for the web. Popular tools such as WordPress are coded using php. Big companies like Facebook also uses php heavily.

        Nginx is a web server that can also be used as a reverse proxy, load balancer, mail proxy and HTTP cache. It started out as a web server designed for maximum performance and stability. Nginx has grown in popularity since its release due to its light-weight resource utilization and its ability to scale easily on minimal hardware. Nginx excels at serving static content quickly and is designed to pass dynamic requests off to other software that is better suited for those purposes.

      • How to Upgrade to Pop OS 21.10 from 21.04 [Step by Step]

        We give you absolute easy steps in this post to upgrade to Pop OS 21.10 from Pop OS 21.04.

        The much awaited Pop OS 21.10 is released by System76. This release brings several unique changes such as a new mini application launcher, ARM build, a new OS refresh option to reset your Pop OS installation. It’s packed with features and of course with performance improvements.

        If you have Pop OS 21.04, and planning to upgrade to experience the new features, then follow the below guide to upgrade to Pop OS 21.10 from Pop OS 21.04.

        Note: If you are using Pop OS 20.04 LTS, it is not recommended upgrading due to incompatible software and packages between both the version.

      • Bash Shell: Find Out If a Variable Is Set or Not

        How do I check if a bash shell variable called $input is defined or not under BSD / Apple OS X / Unix / Linux like operating systems? How do I show an error when a shell variable such as $1 is not set and exit with an error?

        Bash comes with parameter expansion that displays an error if null or unset. So let us find out if a shell variable is set and show an error on screen when writing a bash script.

      • Bash Sequence Expression – TecAdmin

        The Sequence Expression is used to create a range of characters and integers by defining a start and endpoint. Usually, the Bash Sequence Expression is used with For Loops.

      • How to install SRB2Kart on a Chromebook - Updated Tutorial

        Today we are looking at how to install SRB2Kart on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to install WoeUSB on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy JellyFish

        If you are unable to locate package Woeusb to install via the base repository of Ubuntu because it is not there. Then what to do? Here is the way to get it. Learn the steps and commands to install WoeUSB on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy jellyfish. It will also work for Focal Fossa and the Bionic versions of Ubuntu.

        Creating a bootable USB drive is always an easy task on Windows using various kinds of free tools. However, when it comes to creating a bootable Windows 11, 10, or other versions on Linux OS then choices get narrowed down. However, Ubuntu has a built-in USB Image writer if you are using a Full Desktop installation. Otherwise use the WoeUSB, which is quite popular among Linux users to use for creating Windows bootable USB drive using its ISO file.

      • What is Cloud Computing? | Basics of Cloud Computing - OSTechNix

        In this article, we will be learning about the basics of cloud computing, it’s various models and types. We will also look into the Cloud computing architecture and characteristics in detail.

      • Using Ansible to install and configure Redis 6 on Debian 11

        In this tutorial we are going to learn how to install and configure Redis 6 on Debian 11 using Ansible.

        Redis is an in-memory data structure store, used as a distributed, in-memory key–value database, cache and message broker, with optional durability. Redis supports different kinds of abstract data structures, such as strings, lists, maps, sets, sorted sets, HyperLogLogs, bitmaps, streams, and spatial indices.

        Ansible is an open-source software provisioning, configuration management, and application-deployment tool enabling infrastructure as code. It runs on many Unix-like systems, and can configure both Unix-like systems as well as Microsoft Windows.

      • Play the drums on Linux with Hydrogen |

        Much of today's music features the exacting work of a drum machine. The term might make you think of a drum set with mechanical levers and cranks armed with drumsticks, but all it actually refers to is a synthesizer programmed to play drum sounds. A good drum machine programmer (often also a drummer) can make a drum machine sound either hyper-robotic (if that's the sound the producer's going for) or almost human, with nuance and swing. Drum machines can be physical devices, like the famous Roland TR-808, TR-909, Alesis HR-16, and many others, but lately, they've been implemented as software. The excellent LMMS application contains a drum machine, and there's the drumkv1 plugin for DAWs like Ardour, Qtractor, and Rosegarden. But there's also the dedicated Hydrogen drum machine that has just one job, which it does very well, and has done for the past 20 years: be a great, fully-featured, and open source drum machine.

    • Games

      • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Adds Experimental Vulkan Support - Phoronix

        Following recent Steam database entries suggesting as much, Valve this evening formally pushed out a new Counter-Strike: Global Offensive build introducing initial Vulkan API rendering support.

        As with the recent Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2 updates, this Vulkan rendering support for CS:GO is making use of DXVK-Native for translating Direct3D calls to Vulkan in an efficient manner. Up to now the Linux builds for CS:GO have only supported OpenGL.

      • Dota 2 gets a new Battle Pass, Controller Support, New Event Mode | GamingOnLinux

        Valve has pushed out a fresh major upgrade for the popular free MOBA game Dota 2, with one bit clearly preparing for the upcoming Steam Deck handheld.

        Bringing with it experimental controller support, "From choosing your hero to smashing an Ancient, you can battle your way to victory in Dota by plugging in any PC controller that allows Steam Input (including PS/XBOX/Switch Pro Controllers and more) and steering your hero into the fray." - Valve.

      • Google’s T-Rex Game Ported To The ESP32 | Hackaday

        Most Chrome users will have come across a neat little Easter egg when their Internet connection has gone down – a game known as “T-Rex” where a dinosaur must be jumped over cactii. Whether or not this is accurate in terms of the evolutionary timeline, it’s a bit of fun, and Volos Projects educator [Danko Bertović] decided to port the game to the ESP32.

      • Godot Engine - Release candidate: Godot 3.4.1 RC 3

        Godot 3.4 was released a month ago, and it went fairly smoothly! Many thanks to all the contributors who worked on it, including all testers who tried beta and RC releases to ensure that the 3.4-stable branch would be an easy and worthwhile upgrade path for all users.

        No software release is perfect though, so there will always be some things to iron out, which is why we usually provide maintenance releases for stable branches, focusing on bugfixing and preserving compatibility (see our release policy). A number of fixes have been queued already in the 3.4 branch for Godot 3.4.1, so here's a new release candidate to validate them.

      • Amazon hiring for Proton / Wine and Linux developers for streaming service Luna | GamingOnLinux

        Despite Luna originally using Windows for Amazon's game streaming service, it appears they may be moving over to Linux and they're looking to hire people to work on Proton / Wine and give back to open source.

        Hold up. Don't know what Proton is? It's part of Valve's Steam Play, be sure to check out our full guide.

        Across a few job adverts (#1, #2, #3), they mention how the roles involve "working with Proton - a compatibility layer to run Windows games on Linux using Wine" and that they are "committed to working with the open source community around Proton. This role will commit code to open source projects such as Proton and Wine in pursuit of running games in a stable and performant manner".

        Regardless of your thoughts on cloud gaming, this is still pretty great news for Proton and Wine that might see more people work on it and improve it further to get Windows games running even better on Linux!

      • Amazon looking to stream Windows games on Luna via Linux - Neowin

        Luna, the streaming games platform from Amazon, is charting new frontiers with its latest job listing. The company is looking to hire engineers who are familiar with DXVK, Wine (Proton), and Mesa. These are the same technologies that enable Windows games compatibility on Valve’s forthcoming Steam Deck. In fact, these tools are already available to Linux gamers via the Steam client.

        Their purpose is to abstract and trivialize the installation of Windows games on Linux while offering a compatibility sandbox for each game to live in. This offers advantages to the Windows model, where a new OS or library update could render an older, no longer supported game, incompatible.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Gaming on Wayland

          A considerable amount of people assume Wayland isn’t particularly suitable for gaming, usually because you can’t turn off the compositor. This post will challenge that assumption and see how the current state of gaming on Wayland is, with a focus on KWin, KDEs compositor.

        • Kdenlive 21.12 released

          Version 21.12 of the Kdenlive video editor is out.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • EasyOS version 3.1.15 released

          A little personal note; having used Firefox for awhile, I am happy to be back on SeaMonkey. There were things that peeved me about FF. The menu button top-right, with the three horizontal bars, would sometimes freeze and become unusable -- which astounded me, that a product so mature could have such a fault. Why does it nearly always append "www" when I type in a URL? -- and defaults to "http://" at sites that accept "https://". Then there is the very slow startup on older computers. The buggy GPU hardware acceleration. That's enough criticism!

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • What’s happening behind the scenes at Fedora Magazine

          Recently the decision was made to retire Taiga. This means a major change in the tool the Fedora Magazine editorial team uses to handle tracking all the excellent articles our loyal contributors write for you. This short article describes what this change requires.

          The Fedora Magazine editorial is an effort shared by several people at any time. Continuing some means of tracking the effort is necessary. Pagure is the replacement choice since it serves very much the same purpose as Taiga. In addition, Pagure currently tracks the Fedora Magazine “feature images”.

        • Fedora, CentOS and me

          Let me share my Fedora story with you. Hopefully, it helps you to understand, why I am also promoting AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, even if I am an active Fedora and CentOS community member and contributor.

          Someone suggested me to try Red Hat Linux in 1995 and replace Slackware Linux with it on my university server. I installed it, but I did not become a fan. And when I found the print out of the password file of my server on the wall of the Russian students' computer lab (see:, I quickly switched to Jurix, which already featured shadow passwords. And as Jurix became the base for SUSE Linux, I became a SUSE Linux and later an openSUSE user.

        • Digital transformation: How agile leaders and scrum masters can catalyze change | The Enterprisers Project

          Wouldn’t it be nice if you could install a digital transformation the same way you upgrade your laptop’s operating system? Click a few buttons and people receive their upgrades!

          Engineers suddenly put customers at the forefront of their work. They stop over-engineering and start building MVPs. Business folks suddenly know how to work with engineering teams, and a cloud-first, microservices-based mindset is the new normal for building software. Easy.

          But true change is more difficult because humans resist change. We need to understand why the change matters and how it impacts us personally. We need to practice new behaviors, make some mistakes, and take the personal journey required to build new capabilities within ourselves.

        • IT training: How a dual-track program helped NASCAR IT evolve

          Our job as leaders is not just to succeed in our own careers and deliver results for our organization. It’s to nurture and grow our talent – both personally and professionally. It’s to prepare our people for the next stage of their career, whether that’s with our company or not.

          When I joined NASCAR in March of 2020, I held one-on-one meetings with each of my 70 employees to learn more about them, their skill sets, their areas of expertise, and what they wanted to do. I discovered that many of them had been doing the same job for years, and they really wanted an opportunity to evolve.

          I knew we needed to put in place training – after all, it had been years since many of them had participated in any leadership development. But rather than reserve leadership training only for managers and directors, I decided that we would include and elevate everyone on our team.

          Rather than reserve leadership training only for managers and directors, I decided that we would include and elevate everyone on our team. There were a few reasons for this – first, you just never know where your next leader is going to come from. Second, leadership training was critical to evolving our organization into a servant organization for the rest of the company. I needed our team to embrace a different culture and know that I look at each one of them as a leader – to set the tone in meetings, be empathetic, and listen. What I didn’t realize, however, was the profound impact this training philosophy would have on our IT organization.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20.2 Uma - A mixed bag of good and weird

          Linux Mint 20.2 Uma is a so-so distro. Decent looks spoiled by difficult and incomplete customization. It's like 2011 and 2021 clashing together. The black screen boot issue is a big problem. The software selection is decent. Performance is good enough, but resource utilization is somewhat high. You have access to lots of useful tools, but they are geared toward skilled users rather than newbies. The default programs are obscure, and they might confuse people new to the Linux scene.

          I would like this review to be happier and more positive. But as you recall, in late 2020, way before Uma, I decided to trim down on my Linux testing, as I felt all too disappointed with the lack of quality and consistency in the distro world. Mint 20.2 fits into this picture quite well. Brilliance and nonsense blended together. Overall, Uma needs rework, it needs polish. Hardware and visuals are the big ones. If you feel like exploring and you want a simple Linux experience, Mint can offer some of that, but we're still far, far from the ideal that ordinary folks expect. 5/10. Neither good, nor bad, just average. And we're done.

        • Linux Mint 20.3 'Una' Beta available with Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce
          Like System76's Pop!_OS, Linux Mint is an operating system based on Ubuntu. The distribution comes with some interesting tweaks that many users appreciate, making it a popular choice in the Linux community for both beginners and experts alike. It is stable, easy to use, and has a well-designed Update Manager that puts many other distros to shame. Linux Mint is an absolute joy to use.

          Back in October, we told you that Linux Mint 20.3 would be named "Una." Even further back, towards the end of July, we shared the Beta of the operating system would be released around Christmas. Well, folks, we are less than two weeks away from that holiday and guess what? You can download Linux Mint 20.3 Beta immediately!

        • Linux Mint 20.3 beta arrives for people to test before the final release

          Just as we predicted last Wednesday, the Linux Mint team has released the beta builds of Linux Mint 20.3 so that the general public can help to test them before their final release in a couple of weeks. As always, Linux Mint 20.3 is available in three flavours; Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce. Cinnamon is the flagship environment, MATE is a little more solid, and Xfce is optimised for low-end hardware.

        • Linux Mint 20.3 Beta MATE

          Today we are looking at Linux Mint 20.3 Beta, MATE edition. It is based on Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Kernel 5.4 (but you can easily upgrade it to 5.13), MATE 1.26, and uses about 1GB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

        • Canonical & Xilinx Team Up For Ubuntu On Adaptive SoCs

          Canonical is looking to increase the outlook for Ubuntu on FPGAs and has announced a collaborative partnership with Xilinx to get the Linux distribution working on more of their hardware.

          Ubuntu images for the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ developer boards is now available and the Kria System-on-Modules. The two companies are going to work on ramping up the availability of enterprise-grade Linux on adaptive SoCs.

        • System76 Launches Pop!_OS 21.10 |

          System76 announces the availability of Pop!_OS 21.10. Coming almost six months after Pop!_OS 21.04, the latest version of System76 is loaded with new features and improvements. Pop!_OS 21.10 features the 5.15.5 kernel and latest NVIDIA driver. Pop!_OS 21.10 is now available on the Raspberry Pi too. Pop!_OS 21.10 includes GNOME updates and improvements.

        • Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS 21.10 Linux distribution from System76 is finally available for PC and Raspberry Pi

          Ubuntu Linux 21.10 was released back in October, and since then, fans of the Pop!_OS operating system have been wondering when System76 would update to the new Ubuntu base. Well, folks, today is finally the day. Pop!_OS 21.10 is now available to download for your PC hardware. In a surprise move, the company also releases a preview of the OS for the ARM-based Raspberry Pi!

          The most notable change in Pop!_OS 21.10 is the inclusion of a new Applications Library, as System76 tries to further distance itself from the vanilla GNOME desktop environment. The refreshed library displays windowed rather than full screen. It even has improved multi-monitor support, displaying the app library on whichever screen has the mouse cursor when summoned. You can see a video of it in action further down the page.

          "Pop!_OS 21.10 features the 5.15.5 kernel and latest NVIDIA driver. Pop!_OS has a new kernel policy whereby the latest kernels will be released once they’ve passed extensive quality assurance tests. This is the same release policy we’ve used for NVIDIA drivers. The System76 hardware lab contains a broad spectrum of chipsets, processors, and components to test for regressions prior to release so customers and users can be confident that new kernel releases will only improve their hardware performance and support," says System76.

        • Security vulnerabilities on the Data Distribution Service (DDS) | Ubuntu

          If you are currently running the Robot Operating System 2 (ROS 2), this piece is especially relevant to the security of your robots. A few weeks ago, a group of security researchers reported 13 security vulnerabilities affecting some of the most used implementations of DDS, the default middleware used by ROS 2.

        • Bare metal Kubernetes: The 6 things you wish you knew before 2022 | Ubuntu

          2022 is right around the corner, and it’s not just time to prepare for christmas, play video games, buy presents, or share anti-christmas memes. It’s time to start making some predictions for bare metal Kubernetes!

          Take a minute and let’s think about it. Developers have advent of code so they’re busy right now. Sysadmins and devops can play games like predicting what’s going to happen next year for bare metal Kubernetes. And with that, here are our 6 predictions for 2022.

        • Data Pipelines Overview | Ubuntu

          A Data Pipeline is a series of processes that collect raw data from various sources, filter the disqualified data, transform them into the appropriate format, move them to the places you want to store them, analyze them and finally present them to your audience.


          After you cleaned your data, you need to put them in somewhere your analyst can easily access them. You can choose Google Cloud Storage, which is an object file system, or some serverless solutions like BigQuery, or your PostgreSQL server on Ubuntu Pro Virtual Machine.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New Alpha Release: Tor Browser 11.5a1 (Windows, macOS, Linux)

            Tor Browser 11.5a1 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

            This is the first alpha version in the 11.5 series. This version updates Firefox to 91.4.0esr, which includes important security updates.

          • Data@Mozilla: This Week in Glean: How Long Must I Wait Before I Can See My Data?

            (“This Week in Glean” is a series of blog posts that the Glean Team at Mozilla is using to try to communicate better about our work. They could be release notes, documentation, hopes, dreams, or whatever: so long as it is inspired by Glean.) All “This Week in Glean” blog posts are listed in the TWiG index).

            You’ve heard about this cool Firefox on Glean thing and wish to instrument a part of Firefox Desktop. So you add a metrics.yaml definition for a new Glean metric, commit a piece of instrumentation to mozilla-central, and then Lando lands it for you.

            When can you expect the data collected when users’ Firefoxes trigger that instrumentation to show up in a queryable place like BigQuery?

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • WordPress 5.9 Beta 3

          WordPress 5.9 Beta 3 is now available for testing!

          This software version is still under development. Please do not run this software on a production site; install it on a test site, where you can try out the newest features and get a feel for how they will work on your site.

        • Kiwi TCMS - New versions of automation frameworks plugins

          Kiwi TCMS is pleased to announce new versions of our plugins for different test automation frameworks...

      • FSFE

        • Public Money/Public Code, the European Commission and ambush marketing

          There has been a lot of news about the European Commission (EC) deciding to encourage open source software.

          Some people have been confused and associated the announcement with the Public Money, Public Code campaign from FSFE. This confusion is dangerous as it allows FSFE to profit from work done by other people. If people don't understand the real reasons for the EC's decision then it will be harder to sustain the open source strategy or repeat this outcome in other public bodies.

          The EC previously published an open source strategy for the period 2014-2017. The city of Munich had adopted Linux back in 2004. FSFE only launched the PMPC campaign in late 2017.

          The PMPC campaign is an example of ambush marketing.

          FSFE bosses were aware that from time to time public bodies would make announcements about open source and they could associate themselves with these announcements and hopefully experience a surge of donations each time a public body makes a big announcement like this. This is why they decided to set up a dedicated microsite using a different domain name,

        • Upcycling Android ++ Major step for Device Neutrality ++ Nico Rikken + Ada + Job

          In the December Newsletter we talk about Upcycling Android, an initiative to overcome software obsolescence with Free Software. The EU is voting on the Digital Markets Act, a major step for device neutrality. Germany aims to adopt PMPC! We interview Nico Rikken for 20 Years FSFE. Meet Ada, a character in a children's book. Spot a job opportunity.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • ARMv8.8-A Support With New MOPS Instructions Ready For GCC 12 - Phoronix

            The latest GCC Git activity for next year's GCC 12 compiler is adding of ARMv8.8-A support.

            The last patch has reached GCC 12 for enabling "armv8.8-a" targeting support for this leading open-source code compiler. It goes along with Armv9-A support and other Arm additions already present in the GCC 12 code-base.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Find your free software footing with the FSF Licensing and Compliance Lab

            Like proud parents witnessing their child's effort to join the ranks of bipedals, the Licensing and Compliance Lab welcomes many newcomers to the free software community when they participate in our weekly hosted Free Software Directory meetings. Here, newcomers get to understand free software better through the examination of programs for entry into the Free Software Directory, they evaluate programs and determine if a program is free software or not. This evaluation turns into a skill, and much like walking, it is an expertise that can last a lifetime.

            The Directory, which provides access to over 16,000 vetted free software programs, is one of the best tools that we have for introducing people to free software, and working on it is a great way to start contributing. Not only is it used as a teaching utility in determining a program's licensing but the process often brings forth possible improvements which are submitted to upstream projects to improve their licensing metadata -- we've helped identify proprietary bits that were inadvertently included that could then be removed by the maintainers, and we've suggested improvements to the formatting and placement of licensing information to make it clear that the program is free and under which license it's actually distributed.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Senate Inches Closer To Providing Free Access To PACER

            Might a free PACER finally be on the horizon? For years, activists and a handful of Congressional reps have attempted to strip the fees from PACER, the federal court system's antiquated database that provides online access to court documents.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppCCTZ 0.2.10: Updates

          RcppCCTZ uses Rcpp to bring CCTZ to R. CCTZ is a C++ library for translating between absolute and civil times using the rules of a time zone. In fact, it is two libraries. One for dealing with civil time: human-readable dates and times, and one for converting between between absolute and civil times via time zones. And while CCTZ is made by Google(rs), it is not an official Google product. The RcppCCTZ page has a few usage examples and details. This package was the first CRAN package to use CCTZ; by now four others packages include its sources too. Not ideal, but beyond our control.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RDieHarder 0.2.3 on CRAN: Packaging Updates

          An new version 0.2.3 of the random-number generator tester RDieHarder (based on the DieHarder suite developed / maintained by Robert Brown with contributions by David Bauer and myself) is now on CRAN.

          This release comes only about one and half months after the previous release 0.2.2 and is once again related to R and CRAN changes. The upcoming (and very useful) ‘UCRT’ changes for Windows involve small build changes for the updated Windows toolchain so this release includes a patch kindly prepared by Tomas Kalibera. And because compilers get cleverer and cleverer over time, I also address a warning and error found by the newest gcc in what is otherwise unchanged and years old C code … In addition, two other warnings were fixed right after the previous release.

        • Beautiful Digital Experiences and Functional Safety – Can You Have One Without The Other?

          We all agree that our daily digital experiences should be as easy and beautiful as using an iPhone or a Nest thermostat. Whether it’s the elevator, the car, or the home automation system, we enjoy a modern and intuitive user experience. We also expect that these products give us peace of mind. We hope they still work somehow, even when things go sideways.

        • What’s New In Kotlin 1.6?

          Kotlin 1.6 is out with new features, an improved experimental memory manager, and an enhanced standard library. The additions help mature JetBrains’ increasingly popular cross-platform and cross-discipline language.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Day 15: 1 year of Comma – Raku Advent Calendar

            This year was yet another productive year for Comma, the Raku programming language IDE. Our small team has worked on numerous small improvements and bug fixes, as well as bigger features. In this article we’ll take a look at some bigger things that has landed this year.

          • Raku Advent Calendar: Day 14 – Santa Claus is Rakuing Along

            Santa just heard that Rakoons using best practices are being urged to start putting their modules into the Raku-only module repository called Zef. He wanted to do that soon, since his philosophy is to be a good example of always trying to do the right thing, and helping guide his IT department in the direction of Zef is certainly the right thing to do according to the experts on IRC #raku.

            One problem he found, though, was that how to do that with an existing module created by App::Mi6 in its default mode (to generate the new module for CPAN) is not clearly found in one place yet. So, he directed the IT folks to (1) create such a checklist and (2) follow it to put the new SantaClaus::Utils module on Zef.

        • Python

          • How Not To Write Python Comments

            A Python comment is an explanation in the source code of a Python program. It doesn’t do anything besides being informative and is ignored by the Python interpreter.

          • Openstack RDO && KVM Hypervisor: Exersing Python 3.10 on Fedora 25 via sorting Pandas DataFrame

            The following below is a not entirely trivial algorithm for students that creates a Python dictionary when scanning text according to the conditions of the problem, which is then processed as Pandas Dataframe to provide the output required

            The original problem itself

            The text file alpha-wide.txt contains only capital letters of the Latin alphabet (ABC… Z). Identify the character that most often occurs in the file immediately after the letter X. In the answer first write down this character, and then separate by blank how many times it occurred after letters X. If there are several such characters, you need to display the one that appears earlier in the alphabet.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

  • Leftovers

    • November
    • The Death of Glenn Foster

      “Two kids from the (south) Eastside of Chicago doing big things and being great husbands and fathers,” Jeff Allen texted Glenn Foster. A childhood friend and college football teammate of Allen, Foster had texted him out of the blue, reconnecting after five years without contact. By then, both had had NFL careers, started families, and were building successful businesses.

    • Opinion | Living Through the Dixie Fire: A Tour Guide to Hell on Earth, Small Town-Style

      Half a mile south of what's left of the old Gold Rush-era town of Greenville, California, Highway 89 climbs steeply in a series of S-turns as familiar to me as my own backyard. From the top of that grade, I've sometimes seen bald eagles soaring over the valley that stretches to the base of Keddie Peak, the northernmost mountain in California's Sierra Nevada range.

    • One weird trick to improve your website’s performance

      But more often than not, the “one weird trick” genre drives me nuts, because of what’s not included in the post:

      Did you test on multiple browsers?

      Did you profile to try to understand why something is slower or faster?

      Did you publish your benchmark so that others can verify your results?

    • Science

      • Orbital Safety: The Challenges Of Surviving Space Junk | Hackaday

        Hanging around in earth orbit is like walking into the middle of a Wild West gunfight — bullets are flying around everywhere, and even though none are purposefully aimed at you, one might have your name on it. Many of these bullets are artificial satellites that are actively controlled and monitored, but we also find dead satellites, remnants of satellites, discarded rocket stages, tools lost during spacewalks, and even flecks of paint and rust, much of it zipping around at multiple kilometers per second without any guidance.

        While removing this space debris directly would be ideal, the reality is that any spacecraft and any spacesuit that has to spend time in orbit needs to be capable of sustaining at least some hits by space debris impacting it.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Tom’s Teardowns: Verizon AC791L Jetpack 4G Mobile Hotspot | Hackaday

        The saying “time and tide wait for no man” is usually used as a verbal kick in the pants, a reminder that sometimes an opportunity must be seized quickly before it passes by. But it can also be interpreted as a warning about the perpetual march of time and how it impacts the world around us. In that case, we would do well to add cellular technology to the list of proverbial things that wait for no one. Do you need 5G? No. Do you want it? Probably not. But it’s here, so be a good consumer and dump all your 4G hardware in the name of technical progress.

        This line of logic may explain how the Verizon-branded Netgear AC791L 4G “Jetpack” hotspot you see here, despite being in perfect working order, found itself in the trash. The onset of 5G must have been particularly quick for the previous owner, since they didn’t even bother to wipe their configuration information from the device. In the name of journalistic integrity I won’t divulge the previous owner’s identity; but I will say that their endearing choice of WPA2 key, iluvphysics, makes for a nice fit with our publication.

      • Automated Turret Keeps Dorm Clean, RoboCop Style | Hackaday

        Students’ dorm rooms are not generally known to be the most orderly of places. Whether it’s mountains of dishes in the sink, piles of clothes waiting to be washed, or random bits and bobs strewn across the hallway, cleaning up is pretty low on the agenda for many dorm dwellers.

        [Luis Marx] seems to have invented a useful solution to his (or his roommates’) sloppiness: a robotic turret that opens fire on anyone who leaves items unattended (video, in German, embedded below). This system uses a set of “clutter sensors” that can be placed in strategic locations around the house and will detect stray objects using ultrasonic sensors. If any are found, the main system is alerted through WiFi. The turret will then search for any persons in its vicinity and start shooting them with little plastic balls.

      • DIY Semi Auto Grinder Builds Itself (Sort Of) | Hackaday

        [JSK-koubou] is no stranger to making tools to improve their work, and this latest video is yet another in a long list of such builds, just checkout their YT channel to see the many other examples. The tool being highlighted this time is a semi-automatic grinder (Video, embedded below) which could be very handy in many situations.

        Many of us struggle a little to get straight cuts with an angle grinder, especially with softer materials, as it is sometimes hard to get a good ‘feel’ of how the cut is proceeding. Once the cut is started, thin blades will tend to ‘track’ in the slot, so if it starts off a little bit, the whole cut will be off. Most annoying. Anything to help keep things straight and square would help a lot, with the extra feature of a motorized drive enabling a constant cut rate, and presumably giving an increase in the cut quality.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Could the Omicron Variant Be Good News?

        The variant also seems to be able to get around the immunity built up from vaccines or prior infections. In principle, all the people infected at the super-spreader event in Norway had been fully vaccinated, since this was a pre-condition for admission. In South Africa, many of the people who have been hospitalized with infections already should have had some immunity from prior infections. In short, we can be pretty confident that Omicron spreads much more quickly than Delta or earlier variants.

        That is the bad news with Omicron, the good news is that the evidence to date indicates that it is far less severe than Delta. Most of our evidence on severity comes from South Africa, where it was first detected. The reports from hospitals there indicate that a much smaller percentage of the people who get infected need oxygen and end up in intensive care units. It also seems that a much smaller percentage are dying.

      • The Omicron Shame: Why is the World Punishing Instead of Helping Africa?

        The swiftness of choking off some of Africa’s poorest countries, including Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, is particularly disturbing if placed within a proper context concerning the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Global South, generally, and Africa, in particular.

        “I’ve decided we’re going to be cautious,” United States President Joe Biden told reporters on November 26, to explain the new travel restrictions imposed by Washington. “We don’t know a lot about the variant except it is a great concern, seems to spread rapidly.”

      • QR codes? Not worth it. A draft bill on introducing vaccine proof on public transport was removed from the Russian State Duma’s agenda. Here’s why.

        Draft legislation on introducing QR-code vaccine proof for accessing planes and trains in Russia will not go to the floor of the State Duma, parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on Telegram late in the evening on December 12. This abrupt announcement came just two days before lawmakers were expected to vote on the bill, which had already been sent to regional legislative assemblies for feedback. Despite public protests opposing the legislation, three quarters of Russia’s regions approved the proposal. So why was the draft law shelved at the last minute? Here’s what Meduza found out.

      • Former WHO Director: Those Upholding Vaccine Apartheid Should Be Tried for 'Crimes Against Humanity'

        A former World Health Organization director argued Tuesday that rich countries should face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for creating and perpetuating a system of vaccine apartheid, which has left billions of people around the world at risk as the deadly coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

        "We could see another 12 million deaths in the next year. People across the world want justice."

      • Major Survey Finds 100 Million Americans See US Healthcare System as 'Expensive' or 'Broken'

        The largest survey of its kind since the start of the Covid-19 crisis found that 38% of respondents—representing around 100 million Americans—characterized the for-profit U.S. healthcare system as either "expensive" or "broken," an indication that the pandemic has markedly shifted public opinion.

        Gallup and West Health, the two organizations behind the new survey out Tuesday, began the polling process by asking respondents to concisely describe the U.S. healthcare system in their own words. Nearly 40% used the word "expensive" and 13% said the system is "broken"—the two most common descriptors offered by respondents.

      • The Finger Lakes Are Being Poisoned

        The Finger Lakes region was settled just after the Revolutionary War by a person with long dark hair, eyes of startling intensity, and the voice of a man. Jemima Wilkinson, dubbed the Public Universal Friend, was stoned by an angry mob in Philadelphia and went north with a group of followers to an area of deep blue lakes and agricultural land richer than anyone had ever seen. Within a hundred years, the Finger Lakes had become host to the reform Quakers, the Underground Railroad, the abolition movement, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. When Stanton was barred from an abolitionist meeting because she was a woman, she started the women’s rights movement in Seneca Falls.1

      • The Growing Revolution

        Starting any farm is a crapshoot, but Reginaldo and Amy Haslett-Marroquin went the hard way right from the start. In the fall of 2020, they bought 75 acres south of Minneapolis to expand their chicken-farming operation. Rather than take a guaranteed contract with one of the corporate brands, like Tyson or Pilgrim’s Pride, they’re raising organic broilers in an agroforestry system and marketing them under their own label, Tree-Range. This story was produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, a nonprofit investigative news organization.

      • Spokesman Callously Says It’s a Miracle "Only 8" Died in Candle Factory Collapse
      • Survey Finds Sharpest Decline in Public Opinion About Health Care in the US
      • WHO Warns 'Vaccine-Deprived' Africa May Not Hit 70% Covid-19 Inoculation Goal Until 2024

        Amid warnings that Africa may not reach the goal of vaccinating 70% of the continent's population against Covid-19 until late 2024—a level of inoculation already achieved in many rich countries—public health experts on Tuesday reiterated the imperative to boost African capacity to manufacture and distribute doses, and to end vaccine inequality, for the common benefit of humanity.

        "We will never get out of this if we don't work together as one world."

      • Texas Border Town Demands Stronger Action to Tackle Cancer-Causing Chemical Pollution

        For Edna Ibarra, it was the realization that with every breath her 11-year-old son was breathing in a little more of an industrial carcinogen that drove her to get involved in the fight against air pollution in Laredo, Texas.

        And her son isn’t the only child exposed to this risk. Close to Ibarra’s home in the La Bota neighborhood of Laredo, you’ll find the Julia Bird Jones Muller Elementary School, a public school attended by roughly 880 kids from kindergarten to 5th grade, almost all of whom are Hispanic. And about 1.6 miles away is a plant owned by Midwest Sterilization Corp — one of the nation’s largest emitters of the carcinogenic chemical, ethylene oxide (EtO).

      • Biden’s At-Home Coronavirus Test Program Epitomizes Our Public Health Failures

        Last week, with Covid-19 cases surging and more Americans testing positive for the omicron variant, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked at a news briefing why the United States doesn’t provide universal free at-home coronavirus tests. “Should we just send one to every American?” she retorted sarcastically.

      • Citing Multimillion-Dollar Big Pharma Ties, Sanders to Vote 'No' on Biden's Pick for FDA Chief

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday said he would oppose President Joe Biden's nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the second time, citing the cardiologist's multimillion-dollar ties to Big Pharma.

        "One of the major reasons the pharmaceutical industry, among many others, is so powerful is its close relationship with the FDA and other regulators in Washington."

      • ACTION ALERT: As US Covid Deaths Reach 800,000, Atlantic Essay Asks: Who Cares?

        A second Delta wave of Covid-19 is hitting parts of the country hard at the moment, as public health experts anxiously keep an eye on the newest variant, Omicron, to see what impact it might have on the pandemic here. On a day when some outlets (e.g., New York Times, 12/13/21) soberly reported that the recorded US death toll is about to surpass 800,000—a number greater than the entire population of Seattle, Denver or Washington, DC; greater than the US toll from the Spanish Flu or the Civil War—the Atlantic (12/13/21) gleefully marked the occasion by publishing a glib piece headlined “Where I Live, No One Cares About Covid.”

      • 'A defining tragedy': US COVID death toll eclipses 800,000 as winter surge intensifies

        On Tuesday, the United States reached yet another staggering milestone, with 800,000 Americans now confirmed lost to the coronavirus, according to newly updated data from Johns Hopkins University.

      • Business Round-Up: Tobacco sales plummet to historic low

        The 2011-20 period saw a 29 percent decrease in sales compared to the previous decade, according to Danmarks Statistik.

      • Malta set to legalise cannabis for personal use

        Malta's parliament was set Tuesday to approve plans to legalise possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal use -- a first in Europe, although other countries tolerate it.

      • The [Internet] is tricking our brains

        But that choice is more than a way to test our recollection of trivia. People who lean on a search engine such as Google may get the right answers but they can also end up with a wrong idea of how strong their own memory is, according to a study that Ward published in August. That’s because online search is so seamless and always available that people often don’t have the chance to experience their own failure to remember things, the study found.

        The findings are part of a wave of new research in recent years examining the intersection of the internet and human memory. The implications could be far-reaching, including for the spread of political misinformation, Ward said. He cited years of research into how people make decisions, showing that people who are overconfident in their knowledge become more entrenched in their views about politics and science and also can make questionable financial and medical decisions.

      • Is America experiencing mass psychosis?

        In 2020, 34 percent of Republicans and independents who lean to the right surveyed by Pew Research Center agreed that it was "probably" or "definitely true" that powerful people intentionally planned the COVID-19 outbreak. Eighteen percent of Democrats and left-leaners agreed, too. That same year, results from a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey found that approximately three-quarters of Republicans did not trust the 2020 presidential election results.

        It should go without saying that these kinds of beliefs are fantasy, not rooted in any rational fact or evidence. Hence, someone observing from afar the rise in conspiratorial beliefs and pseudoscience might characterize a vast swath of the American public as delusional. From the COVID-truther movement to people believing the 2020 presidential election was rigged, it appears that the body politic is — to put it mildly — no longer on the same page.

        Given the perturbed psychological state of so many Americans, it is worth asking if something is happening — psychologically speaking — that is causing many Americans to live in very different realities.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Update Chrome now, because [crackers] are attacking it

          Fortunately, the fix is an easy one: Ensure that your browser is up to date, then simply restart it to launch the patched, up-to-date version. Google’s blog post explains that the new version of the browser has been released merely to address existing security vulnerabilities, of which one of them, known as CVE-2021-4102, is being exploited in the wild.

        • The Army is in hot water over TikTok recruiting activity

          The US Army is facing pressure from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) after recruiters were caught using TikTok to find leads on young Americans to enlist, despite orders banning the app’s use on government devices.

          Issued on Monday to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, Rubio’s letter comes in response to a recent report from Nextgov describing how recruiters struggle to reach young adults online. The report detailed how many Army recruiters are ignoring the military’s TikTok ban, often using their own personal devices to create videos and reach out to young users to find enlistment leads. Some recruiters, like @njrecruiter, tout nearly 500,000 followers on the platform.

          In his letter, Rubio pressures Wormuth to take additional enforcement actions, citing possible threats posed by the app’s use due to its alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

        • Human resource management group hit by ransomware attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), a human resources management provider, was hit by a ransomware attack earlier this week, the company confirmed.

          Kronos Executive Vice President Bob Hughes confirmed the incident in a blog post published Monday. Hughes noted that the company became aware of the breach on Dec. 11 and that it had impacted the Kronos Private Cloud, which includes UKG Workforce Central, UKG TeleStaff, Healthcare Extensions and Banking Scheduling Solutions.

          Hughes warned that while the company was working to address the incident, it could result in Kronos Private Cloud systems being impacted for “several weeks.”

        • Virginia General Assembly's IT unit hit by ransomware attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The information technology unit for Virginia’s General Assembly has been hit by a ransomware attack, which barred legislators and staff from accessing the system that handles bills.

        • Toyota is going to make you pay to start your car with your key fob

          Toyota is charging drivers for the convenience of using their key fobs to remotely start their cars. According to a report from The Drive, Toyota models 2018 or newer will need a subscription in order for the key fob to support remote start functionality.

          As The Drive notes, buyers are given the option to choose from an array of Connected Services when purchasing a new Toyota, and one of those services — called Remote Connect — just so happens to include the ability to remotely start your car with your key fob.

        • Toyota Made Its Key Fob Remote Start Into a Subscription Service

          Yes, it appears the pay-to-play ethos that's spreading around the industry has reached the world's largest automaker. A Toyota spokesperson confirmed to The Drive that if a 2018 or later Toyota is equipped with Toyota's Remote Connect functions, the vehicle must be enrolled in a valid subscription in order for the key fob to start the car remotely. To be clear, what we're talking about is the proximity-based RF remote start system, where you press a button on the fob to start the car while outside of it within a certain distance—say, from your front door to warm up your vehicle in the driveway on a cold morning before you get in. Your fob uses radio waves to communicate with the car, and no connection back to Toyota's servers is needed. But the function will not work without a larger Remote Connect subscription.

        • Amazon Will Shut Down Ranking Site in 2022

          Amazon has announced that it will permanently shut down, the company’s global traffic and ranking Resource that has been in operation for over 25 years. This move will end long-term access to valuable statistics on website performance and reach.

        • Google, WHO partner to help developers build secure digital health solutions

          Created by HL7, FHIR is a global standard framework for healthcare data that is being widely adopted to address fragmentation and foster more patient-centered care.

          The collaboration aims to empower Android developers, including in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs), as they build digital health tools for healthcare workers everywhere.

          The SDK provides developers with a common set of application components like on-device storage, data-access and search APIs, thereby reducing the time and effort it takes to build FHIR-based, interoperable digital health applications on Android which powers 3 billion active devices worldwide.

        • GitLab acquires open-source observability startup Opstrace

          Publicly traded development tooling company GitLab Inc. today announced that it has bought Opstrace Inc., a startup with an observability platform for detecting technical issues in cloud environments.

          Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition is the first to be announced by GitLab since its initial public offering in October, which raised about $650 million.

        • Security

          • Private Internet Access VPN Issues Update to Protect Users Against Apache Log4j/Log4Shell Exploit

            Since the threat was€ disclosed,€ our€ engineers€ have been working€ around-the-clock€ to€ come up with€ a patch€ that can not only protect€ our€ users from exploits in our system but can€ also€ help€ protect€ PIA’s VPN€ users from the Log4j 2 vulnerability altogether.

          • Apache Log4j CVEs

            The Apache Software Foundation project Apache Logging Services has responded to a security vulnerability that is described in two CVEs, CVE-2021-44228 and CVE-2021-45046. In this post we’ll list the CVEs affecting Log4j and keep a list of frequently asked questions.

            The most recent CVE has been addressed in Apache Log4j 2.16.0, released on 13 December. We recommend that users update to 2.16.0 if possible. While the 2.15.0 release addressed the most severe vulnerability, the fix in Log4j 2.15.0 was incomplete in some non-default configurations and could allow an attacker to execute a denial of service (DoS) attack. Users still on Java 7 should upgrade to the Log4j 2.12.2 release.

          • Banks, ISPs Increasingly Embrace 'Voice Print' Authentication Despite Growing Security Risk

            While it's certainly possible to sometimes do biometrics well, a long line of companies frequently... don't. Voice print authentication is particularly shaky, especially given the rise of inexpensive voice deepfake technology. But, much like the continued use of text-message two-factor authentication (which is increasingly shown to not be secure), it apparently doesn't matter to a long list of companies.

          • Adobe Releases Security Updates for Multiple Products

            Adobe has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in multiple Adobe products. An attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.

          • Microsoft December 2021 Patch Tuesday: Zero-day exploited to spread Emotet malware
          • Microsoft Patch Tuesday, December 2021 Edition

            Microsoft, Adobe, and Google all issued security updates to their products today. The Microsoft patches include six previously disclosed security flaws, and one that is already being actively exploited. But this month’s Patch Tuesday is overshadowed by the “Log4Shell” 0-day exploit in a popular Java library that web server administrators are now racing to find and patch amid widespread exploitation of the flaw.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Unprecedented Arrests of Military and Police Surveillance Officers in Denmark

              The court forbade media coverage.€  The nine-hour indictment hearing was held behind double-locked doors. Denmarks Radio (DR), the public service radio-television-online medium, learned only that three of the four were heard in court, one was released and two remanded in custody. There is no information about the fourth person arrested.

              FE is the equivalent to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. While the FE jurisdiction also covers military intelligence, they must not spy on Danish people—only foreigners and those in other countries. The Police Intelligence Service (PET) surveils Danes, as the FBI surveils people within the U.S. The constitution forbids blanket spying on any Danish resident without court approval.

            • Google’s Manifest V3 Still Hurts Privacy, Security, and Innovation

              Since announcing Manifest V3 in 2018, Google has launched Manifest V3 in Chrome, started accepting Manifest V3 extensions in the Chrome Web Store,€ co-announced joining the W3C WebExtensions Community Group (formed in collaboration with Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla), and, most recently, laid out a timeline for Manifest V2 deprecation. New Manifest V2 extensions will no longer be accepted as of January 2022, and Manifest V2 will no longer function as of January 2023.

              According to Google, Manifest V3 will improve privacy, security and performance. We fundamentally disagree.

              According to Google, Manifest V3 will improve privacy, security, and performance. We fundamentally disagree. The changes in Manifest V3 won’t stop malicious extensions, but will hurt innovation, reduce extension capabilities, and harm real world performance. Google is right to ban remotely hosted code (with some exceptions for things like user scripts), but this is a policy change that didn’t need to be bundled with the rest of Manifest V3.

            • Honda wants to use connected cars to identify hazardous road conditions

              Honda announced an experiment to use its cars to collect data about hazardous road conditions. Using GPS and cameras, the Japanese automaker is gathering real-time road information about poor lane markings or potholes, which it can then send to municipalities for future improvements.

              The pilot project, which is being run out of the Honda Research Institute, is the first to use connected vehicle technology to capture accurate data on road conditions, the company said. To start out, Honda is collaborating with one state, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and plans to start providing road condition data in early 2022.

            • US Vice-President Kamala Harris Avoids Bluetooth Headphones, Because They're Risky

              A Twitter post highlighting how US Vice President, Kamala Harris, prefers using wired headsets instead of wireless ones that use Bluetooth as a cybersecurity risk.

              This was followed by a report by Politico that mocked Harris’s move, terming her ‘Bluetooth-phobic’. Yes, the rise of Bluetooth earphones over the last few years has no doubt sent wireless headphones going through the roof, and for good reason -- they're just so convenient to use and no more wire tangles to worry about.

              But that doesn't mean they're the most secure. In fact, most buyers don't even factor in the cybersecurity risk of Bluetooth technology.

            • WhatsApp Now Hides Last Seen Online From Unknown Numbers Who Stalk

              Now, users with whom you haven’t interacted or communicated on WhatsApp, won’t be able to see your online status update and last seen, even if they have your number saved. The feature was initially rolled out for a small group of people, with more users expected to get this feature soon.

              This won’t really alter anything between the contacts you regularly communicate with -- either friends, family or businesses or anyone with whom you’ve previously had a conversation.

            • Facebook, Google Should Be Held Accountable for Online Scam Advertisements, Cyberflashing: UK Lawmakers

              Google, Facebook and other online services should be held legally accountable for advertisements on their platforms to prevent fraudsters scamming millions of consumers, a cross-party group of British lawmakers has said. Britain has proposed a landmark online safety law to punish abuses such as child pornography, racism and violence against women, but a joint committee of lawmakers drawn from both houses of parliament said on Tuesday it should go a step further to cover paid-for adverts.

            • Jan. 6 [Insurrection] Organizers Sue to Prevent Committee From Getting Their Phone Records

              Organizers of the Jan. 6 [insurrection], hoping to keep Congress from obtaining their cell phone data, have sue telecom giant Verizon. The plaintiffs include former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s niece, Maggie Mulvaney, as well as Justin Caporale, Tim Unes, and Megan Powers.

              The organizers of rally that preceded the riot at the Capitol argue in the suit that the subpoena from the House committee investigating Jan. 6 requesting cell phone records “lacks a lawful purpose and seeks to invade the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to privacy and to confidential political communications.” The plaintiffs also claim that they “voluntarily sat for lengthy interviews and gave thousands of documents to congressional investigators” and “answered every single question.”

            • Canada: Teacher transferred for wearing hijab; students, politicians outraged

              However, Quebec leader Francois Legault has defended the law, saying that the school board should not have hired a hijab-wearing teacher. He termed the law as “reasonable and balanced”, reported the daily.

              As the news picked up steam, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cautiously weighed in on the issue, stating that while he is opposed to Bill 21, Quebeckers should sort the issue on their own. “Nobody in Canada should ever lose their job because of what they wear or their religious beliefs,” the PM’s office said in an email to Reuters.

            • The Perils of Broadcasting in Arabic

              What that means, essentially, is that reporters and editors have to leave whatever strong opinions they may have at the door when are they on the job. And what DW has discovered is that the strong opinions of certain Arabic-service staff have poisoned its reporting of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and stained the broadcaster with the taint of antisemitism.

              It was an investigative article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) newspaper at the beginning of December that first exposed the rot inside DW’s Arabic service. Several of its employees and contractors had made viciously antisemitic comments that were on the public record, while others even had affiliations with antisemitic organizations, like the news desk editor who previously worked as a correspondent for the newspaper of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), a Nazi-inspired organization whose symbol is a variant of the swastika.

            • Leading ISIS Media Figure and Foreign Fighter Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Provide Material Support to Terrorist Organization Resulting in Death

              A Saudi-born Canadian citizen pleaded guilty today to conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS), resulting in death.

              According to court documents, Mohammed Khalifa, aka Abu Ridwan Al-Kanadi and Abu Muthanna Al-Muhajir, 38, served in prominent roles within ISIS starting in 2013 and continuing until his capture by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in January 2019, following a firefight between ISIS fighters and the SDF. In addition to serving as a fighter and executing two Syrian soldiers on behalf of ISIS, Khalifa served as a lead translator in ISIS’s propaganda production and the English-speaking narrator on multiple ISIS videos.

            • Fulani Muslims Shout 'Allahu Akbar' While Slaughtering 10 Christians, Children and Burning 100 Homes

              Jihadist Fulani herdsmen reportedly attacked villagers in Nigeria's Plateau state on Friday, killing 10 Christians and burning down 100 homes.

              International Christian Concern (ICC) reports the victims ranged in age from 4 to 86. Witnesses said the heavily armed attackers wore black clothing and shouted "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is the greatest) as they stormed the area.

            • “You infidel, we will kill you all, Allah Akbar “: Man attacks several people in a petrol station in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

              The incident took place early on Friday afternoon in Cagnes-sur-Mer (Alpes-Maritimes). A man refused to put out his cigarette when the operator of the petrol station on the beach promenade asked him to do so. He then threatened her and the Israeli community: “I’ll shoot them, I’ll shoot them,” he said. He also verbally assaulted the shopkeeper’s husband, saying, “I can shoot you right now, I have a gun, Allah is with me, he protects me”.He then physically assaults a customer by punching him twice in the upper body. As he fled, he approached another driver, grabbed him by the neck and shouted: “You infidel, you son of a bitch, we will kill you all, Allah Akbar”. BFMTV

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | The US Military Budget in the Form of a Mushroom Cloud

        Where are you going to get the money?€  That question haunts congressional proposals to help the poor, the unhoused, and those struggling to pay the mortgage or rent or medical bills, among so many other critical domestic matters.€  And yet—big surprise!—there's always plenty of money for the Pentagon. In fiscal year 2022, in fact, Congress is being especially generous with $778 billion in funding, roughly $25 billion more than the Biden administration initially asked for.€  Even that staggering sum seriously undercounts government funding for America's vast national security state, which, since it gobbles up more than half of federal discretionary spending, is truly this country's primary, if unofficial, fourth branch of government.

      • Opinion | The International Consensus on How to Prevent a Nuclear Iran That Is Never Discussed in the US

        Tensions between the United States, Israel, and Iran are dangerously high—the highest they have been since the American assassination of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani. Israel is currently musing—openly—about attacking Iran, while the Biden Administration announced they will consider "other options" than diplomacy if the Vienna nuclear talks fail. By "other options," the Biden Administration reportedly means increasing the already severe economic sanctions on Iran or preparing for military confrontation. The diplomatic talks are faltering, and commentators are predicting that war with Iran is "around the corner."€ 

      • Biden’s “Democracy Summit” Prioritized US Hegemony Over Democratic Ideals
      • President Biden’s Democracy Summit: An “International Kiss”

        The summit’s obvious purpose was to align as many nations as possible in support of U.S. efforts to isolate and contain both Russia and China.€  The summit’s major weakness was the fact that most European and Asian nations do not want to make a binary choice between the United States and Russia or the United States and China.

        There is an additional problem in Europe where there is increased reluctance to embrace the global ambitions of the United States and its Cold War propaganda.€  French President Emmanuel Macron is leading an effort to bolster European strategic autonomy in part to reduce European dependence on the United States.€  The four years of the Trump presidency and the bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan provided an opening for Macron, whose prestige and ambitions have increased with last week’s retirement of former German chancellor Angela Merkel.

      • ECHR orders Russia to pay compensation to domestic violence victim whose husband cut off her hands

        The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russia is to pay compensation to several domestic violence victims over the authorities’ failure to respond to their cases.€ 

      • Let’s Abandon False Dichotomy of “Offensive vs. Defensive” Support for Yemen War
      • 'End the Filibuster and Pass Gun Reform,' Progressives Say on Sandy Hook Anniversary

        Progressives on Tuesday marked the nine-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting with fresh demands for U.S. Senate Democrats to kill the filibuster, this time eyeing a need to pass gun reform legislation.

        "Congress should've acted nine years ago—but that opportunity isn't gone today."

      • Former student detonates improvised explosive outside Orthodox school in Russia, injuring 12

        An explosion on the grounds of an Orthodox school injured 12 people in the Russian town of Serpukhov on the morning of December 13. The improvised bomb was detonated by 18-year-old Vladislav Struzhenkov, a former student at the school. Struzhenkov was severely injured in the explosion and hospitalized in critical condition. While his motives remain unclear, pupils at the school told journalists that Struzhenkov was “bullied” by his teachers. Following the explosion, law enforcement raided Struzhenkov’s home and reportedly confiscated a variety of weapons. Investigators have opened a criminal case and intend to interrogate Struzhenkov once his condition has improved.€ 

      • Opinion | Know This, Trump's Attempted Coup on Jan. 6 Was Just Practice

        "Trump's Next Coup Has Already Begun…" is the title of an article in the Atlantic, just out, by Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of many groundbreaking exposés. He describes the various maneuvers that Trump-driven Republican operatives and state legislators are developing to overturn elections whose voters elected Democrats from states with Republican governors and state legislatures. Georgia fit that profile in 2020—electing two Democratic senators in a state with a Republican legislature and governor.

      • Jan. 6 Coup Plot PowerPoint in Hand, House to Vote on Criminal Charges for Mark Meadows

        The U.S. House is expected to vote Tuesday to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena, defiance that came after the Trump loyalist had already handed over more than 9,000 documents to the panel investigating the January 6 insurrection.

        "We can and must hold every person involved in the deadly January 6th insurrection accountable—period."

      • New Analysis Reveals Why Repealing 2001 AUMF 'Will Not Be Enough to Kill the War on Terror'

        A new€ analysis€ published Tuesday by the Costs of War Project€ details€ how the power of U.S. presidents to greenlight military activities has grown since the 2001 Authorization€ for the Use of Military Force was first enacted, demonstrating why simply repealing the measure now won't be enough to end so-called "counterterrorism operations" across the globe.

        "The AUMF... is the beginning of the story, not the end."

      • Liz Cheney Suggests Trump Could Be Charged With Impeding Congress Over Jan. 6
      • Revolution of One

        On January 6, 2021, hundreds of demonstrators invaded the US Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the election of Joseph Biden as president of the United States and install the man they regarded as the legitimate victor and leader of America, Donald Trump. Initiating an insurrection that stunned the nation and the world, the demonstrators drew their inspiration directly from Trump: Many had attended a rally in Washington earlier that day where he called for resistance, proclaiming, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Yet when the actual invasion of the Capitol took place, Trump was nowhere to be seen. He remained in the White House, initially seeming to approve of the attack and only publicly condemning it the next day. The Capitol invasion represented a striking action on behalf of a charismatic leader, but one not led by that leader himself. It raised the question (one freighted in this case with all sorts of legal implications, including issues of treason): Was that charismatic leadership a creation of the leader himself, or of those who followed and drew inspiration from him? Did the leader bring about the movement, or vice versa?1

      • How the OPCW’s Syria probe censored science
      • New CILIP website collects fatal police shootings

        A striking number of people are killed by police in their own homes, and in many cases the victims were in a psychologically exceptional situation. A new website prepares information on police shootings from 1976 in a novel form.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Have an Open Records Horror Story? Shine a Light by Nominating an Agency for The Foilies 2022

        Compiled by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and MuckRock, The Foilies run as a cover feature in alternative newsweeklies across the U.S. during Sunshine Week (March 13-19, 2022), through a partnership with the Association of Alternative Newsmedia.

        In 2021, we saw agencies fight to keep secrets large and small and we saw officials withhold and obfuscate critical information the public needs and is entitled to by law. But even as we’ve kept a running tally of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) fumbles, we still miss many of the transparency horror stories out there, especially those that go unreported.

        If you’ve seen a story about an agency closing off important access or simply redacting ad absurdum, this is your chance to highlight it and let the world know—and hopefully help push all agencies to be a little more open.

      • Years Before a Police Union Leader Was Raided by the FBI, Local Investigators Didn’t Pursue Allegations Against Him

        Not long after he took over the police union he would lead for nearly two decades, Sgt. Ed Mullins sued the New York Police Department in a case that would eventually earn his members $20 million in back pay and damages from the city.

        The lawsuit showed gumption, and the judgment, issued in 2012, endeared Mullins to the thousands of NYPD sergeants he represented. But the money wasn’t the half of it.

    • Environment

      • Rising temperatures are causing an unprecedented transformation in the Arctic

        Climate change continues to create “cascading disruptions” in the Arctic as the region experiences rapid warming, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) writes in its 16th annual Arctic Report Card released earlier today.

        Pulling together the most recent data on temperature trends, sea ice cover, and more gathered in 2020 and 2021, this year’s Arctic Report Card includes 111 contributing writers from 12 countries, who detail the transformation taking place across the far north as a result of human-caused climate change. That includes dramatic sea ice losses, rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and exceptionally warm autumns. The Arctic experienced its warmest autumn on record between October and December 2020.

      • Arctic Report Card 2021: Rapid and pronounced warming continues to drive the evolution of the Arctic environment

        Cascading disruptions, extreme events, and increasing variability throughout the Arctic impact the safety and well-being of communities within and far away from the Arctic.

      • What Really Goes Wrong With Your Tablet | Hackaday

        We’ve all seen our share of consumer electronic devices that need repair. It’s inevitable that, however well-cared-for it will be, there’s always the unforseen that brings its life to an end. Many of us will be using devices we’ve repaired ourselves, because often other people’s useless broken electronics can be our free stuff when we know how to fix them and they don’t. This is the arena the Restart Project operate in, as through their Restart Parties they provide repair services to save unnecessary landfill. Over nearly a decade in operation they’ve fixed a huge number of faulty items, and now they’re releasing some data and have analysed common fault modes and barriers to repair for some categories.

      • South Korea's Green New Deal: Myths and Realities

        In South Korea, on the other hand, the Green New Deal is a policy reality.

        In 2020, the ruling Democratic Party put its version of a Green New Deal at the center of its platform. When South Korea held its parliamentary election that April in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, that platform helped propel the liberal Democratic Party bloc to a landslide victory and a legislative super-majority. Emboldened by this victory, the liberal Moon Jae-in administration officially made the Green New Deal a part of government policy several months later.

      • How the USA Could Lead a Global Green New Deal

        The force structure and strategic doctrine of the U.S. military was forged over 60 years of preparing for a land war with Soviet tank armies on the steppes of Eastern Europe. Now the threat is a suicidal individual with a suitcase bomb containing radioactive material. The struggle against this type of zealotry cannot be won with tanks and bombs, it is a war for hearts and minds, and that war can be won with eco-development on a grand scale.

        More than 800 U.S. military bases around the world are a massive expense that diverts money from desperate needs at home: collapsing infrastructure, a medical system stretched to the breaking point, widespread pollution, and an education system that needs massive upgrading. Most Americans don’t know it but there are large sections of the U.S. military that are developing solar energy, wind energy, biofuels, electric vehicles, and other green technology that could be used to train local people around the world in these technologies of the future.

      • Michelle Wu: Cities Must Lead for the Green New Deal

        On November 2, an election night when Democrats suffered setbacks and pundits said voters were rejecting bold progressive ideas, mayoral candidate Michelle Wu won big in Boston as an ardent champion of economic, social, and racial justice and a municipal Green New Deal. Running with support from the Working Families Party, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Representative Ayanna Pressley, the 36-year-old city council member secured 64 percent of the vote and a mandate to go big. We spoke after her swearing-in about how she won and what her victory means for progressive politics. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

      • The Climate, for War, Crisis

        In the US, the same institutions paying lip service to the climate crisis are expanding the defense budget. In terms of carbon release alone, the militaries of the world are the biggest emitters of all, and are not included in diplomatic efforts to reduce warming. The US is by a factor of 10, the worst. A black hole of military spending even in peacetime has become normalized. Working folks complaining about the price of gas, which is cheap when it costs a third the price of bottled water, never compare their use to that of their military. A single Super Hornet jet fighter for example carries up to 29,000 lbs. of jet fuel on takeoff. That’s 4,264 gallons for one flight.

        An empty Hornet weighs about 32,000 lbs. and is required to weigh no more than 34,000 lbs. when it lands on its ship. A heavier plane is uncontrollable at slow landing speeds. Excess weight puts a lot of strain on the plane and the ship’s equipment. When a navy plane approaches it’s carrier, it dumps the fuel above the max weight into the air, sometimes most of what it took off with. Think about that when you pay $4 a gallon for your fuel, or think about reducing pollution in the ocean, or worry about hydrocarbons escaping into the atmosphere. Pilots need to fly often to keep sharp with their equipment, and the military needs to be always moving. In the name of Defense, the waste of precious and improperly handled poisonous resources is not even in the public conscience. This one example of intentional waste, in peacetime, barely scratches the surface of the insidious nature of our present course as revealed in Graham Nash’s lyric:

      • Record-High Arctic Temperature of 38€°C 'More Befitting the Mediterranean,' UN Warns

        The World Meteorological Organization on Tuesday€ confirmed that a new record-high Arctic temperature was set during this summer's devastating Siberian heatwave, when the Russian town of Verkhoyansk hit 38€°C, or 100.4€°F.

        "The WMO€ Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes€ has never had so many ongoing simultaneous investigations."

      • Climate-Fueled Drought Pushing Millions 'to the Brink' in War-Torn Somalia

        Several consecutive failed rainy seasons have left 3.5 million people in Somalia facing extreme hunger, leading experts to warn that the war-torn country in the Horn of Africa is already experiencing the deadly effects of the climate emergency and is in dire need of mitigation interventions as well as humanitarian aid.

        "Some have already experienced intense drought for more than a year and have had to watch their livestock, crops, and savings perish in front of their eyes."

      • Energy

        • Wealth, Capitalism and Ideology

          Germany’s climate policy under Merkel has failed because of four reasons: firstly, Germany’s recent CO2 emission reduction came because of none other than the Coronavirus pandemic. Yet, Germany’s recent reductions were not as significant as its 1990 to 1995 reduction. Secondly, Germany’s overall emission reduction during the last two decades resulted – to a large extent – from an almost complete de-industrialization of former East-Germany. Thirdly, Germany’s next significant reduction came in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009 (GFC).

          Fourthly, while CO2 emissions in Germany’s energy and industrial sector are largely stagnating and not going down as widely presented in Germany’s mobility sector, things are even worse. To a large part, this is because of a rapid motorization of the former East-Germany during the last few decades. In the area of CO2 emissions in the building and construction, Germany has achieved virtually nothing.

        • Despite His Promises, Biden Is Still Serving Fossil Fuel Interests
        • The UK’s Biomass Subsidies Are Harming Residents in North Carolina Communities Like Mine

          I live in Northampton County in the U.S. state of North Carolina, where absentee companies have been polluting for years. My neighbors and I are tired of having our community treated as a dumping ground. This community is my home, it’s where I grew up, and we have been fighting polluters for more than 25 years — a large natural gas pipeline and the nearby Enviva wood-pellet biomass production facility are just two of the most recent developments.My community is predominantly African American and one in five of my neighbors live below the poverty line, which flies in the face of the promises these same companies have made for decades: that we should accept pollution in return for economic development. I’m here to say that Enviva’s biomass production is no different than the other polluters we have battled and I’m dismayed that the broken promises are no longer just about jobs, but about the environment, too.€ 

          Scientists tell us that power plants that burn biomass from forests, relying on wood pellets produced at facilities like the one in Northampton’s backyard, emit massive amounts of carbon pollution that’s heating up our planet and making floods, droughts, and natural disasters worse. Government leaders and the public have been falsely led to believe burning biomass is part of the solution to climate change, but it’s not.Drax power station, for example, is now the world’s largest biomass-burner and the biggest single source of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. Nevertheless, according to 2020 estimates, Drax earned nearly €£3 million a day in direct subsidies from the UK government, with UK taxpayers set to spend €£10 billion supporting Drax up until 2027. But that’s not the extent of the damage.

        • Activists Say Biden 'Bamboozled' by Big Oil as Crude Export Ban Is Off Table

          Climate and environmental campaigners on Tuesday expressed deep disappointment with the Biden administration after Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm assured a major fossil fuel lobby that a ban on crude oil exports is not under consideration.

          "This is nothing more than feeding the beast in pursuit of profit, while Gulf Coastal communities of color continue to suffer the effects of pollution and social and environmental injustice."

    • Finance

      • Opinion | The Warped Politics of Inflation

        The recurring mantra from Fox, the Republican Party and the mainstream media is that Joe Biden, government spending, and the rising incomes of ordinary people are responsible for our increasing inflation rate.€  That is incorrect and this error is preventing an effective national response to inflation.

      • Opinion | Momentum for a Permanent 4-Day Work Week Grows

        The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the biggest bloc of liberal lawmakers in Congress, on Dec. 7 endorsed a bold bill proposed by Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., which would seek to implement a four-day workweek. It's a measure that has no real prospect of becoming law in the near term, but it's a compelling idea that's garnering more attention worldwide—and it could serve as a potential point of focus for the American left in the future.

      • Striking Kellogg’s Workers Vow to Hold Out for Better Contract, Urge Boycott of Company’s Products

        Kellogg’s announced it would begin permanently replacing the 1,400 workers who have been on strike for over two months to demand fair wages and better working conditions. The move comes after an overwhelming majority of Kellogg’s workers rejected a new five-year agreement they say falls short of their demands and sparked widespread public backlash, including from President Biden. “We are fighting for equal pay and equal benefits, regardless of what the company is putting out there. And trying to replace us is something that they’re using as a scare tactic,” says Kevin Bradshaw, a striking Kellogg’s worker and president of Local 252G in Memphis, Tennessee.

      • 'Let's End Kellogg's Gr-r-eed': Sanders to Rally With Striking Workers in Michigan

        Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he will travel to Battle Creek, Michigan later this week to rally with striking Kellogg's workers as the company's management attempts to permanently replace the 1,400 employees who walked off the job in October to protect their benefits from deep cuts.

        "Kellogg's workers made the company billions during a pandemic by working 12-hour shifts, some for more than 100 days in a row. But Kellogg's is now choosing corporate greed over the workers they once called 'heroes,'" tweeted Sanders, chair of the Senate Budget Committee. "On Friday, I'm going to Michigan to stand with the workers."

      • Top US Banks and Investors Responsible for Nearly as Much Emissions as Russia, Report Finds

        Fueling fresh calls for swift, sweeping action by President Joe Biden and financial regulators, a report published Tuesday reveals that if the planet-heating pollution of the 18 largest U.S. asset managers and banks is compared to that of high-emissions countries, Wall Street is a top-five emitter.

        "Financial regulators have the authority to rein in this risky behavior, and this report makes it clear that there is no time to waste."

      • Strike Wave in the U.S.? Labor Historian Nelson Lichtenstein on Union Drives & Worker Revolts

        As unionizing efforts have taken the U.S. by storm, we look at the history of the U.S. labor movement and how unions have acted as a bulwark against corporate power. Worker organizing at Starbucks, Kellogg’s and Amazon shows that unions help enforce health and safety measures and protect workers who speak out. “A working-class consciousness ebbs and flows,” says Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “A union is a way of capturing that consciousness and making it the law of the land.”

      • “Our Movement Is Growing”: How Starbucks Workers in Buffalo Fought Company’s Union Busting and Won

        We look at the historic workers’ victory at the Elmwood Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York, where workers successfully voted to unionize last week, making them the first to do so among the coffee chain’s 9,000 locations in the United States, and sparking new efforts at stores across the country. We speak to one of the 19 employees who voted in favor of forming a union about confronting the company and overcoming the challenges. Starbucks hired “the most notorious union-busting law firm in the country and literally ran not even a textbook anti-union campaign but an almost unprecedented anti-union campaign,” says Jaz Brisack, a barista at the Starbucks located in Buffalo.

      • LastPass is going to become an independent company

        LogMeIn plans to spin out password management tool LastPass as a standalone company, it announced Tuesday. With the change, LastPass is promising that customers will receive enhancements on an “accelerated timeline” next year. “With a team solely dedicated to its continued innovation and growth, [LastPass] will be able to deliver even more strongly for users,” a spokesperson said.

        LastPass, which LogMeIn purchased for $125 million in 2015, is a popular password management tool; it’s used by “more than 30 million users and 85,000 businesses worldwide,” according to LogMeIn, and “the significant majority” of its business is corporate customers. LogMeIn’s emphasis on LastPass’ corporate use in its press release could suggest the standalone company is going to focus more on that audience.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Progressives Sweep 2021’s Municipal Elections Across Georgia

        “Last night proves two things,” said Ray McClendon, the Atlanta NAACP’s political action chair, speaking a day after the November 30 municipal runoff elections. “One, it proves the value of the grassroots relational organizing that we’re doing. And two, it explodes the myth of what the national narrative is about a progressive capacity for victories.”

        “In other words, progressives are not the problem,” said Andrea Miller, executive director of the Center for Common Ground, whose tools for finding and informing Black voters were used by the NAACP and its allies in the runoffs, as well as in Virginia’s recent statewide elections where they led to some of that state’s highest voter turnout in communities she targeted.

      • Putin’s Democracy Problem: Civil Society and Ukraine

        The Assault on Civil Society

        The imprisonment of Alexei Navalny has been followed by a systematic attack on other human rights advocates. Some of his associates have left the country; others have been silenced.

      • Opinion | US Democracy Is Under Attack

        "Renewing our democracy and strengthening our democratic institutions requires constant effort," President Joe Biden announced at the recent Summit for Democracy. Over the last 10 years, democracy has been in decline across the world, even, as Biden admitted, in the United States.

      • Senator Hawley Touts Masculinity

        Josh Hawley says we need more men With pride in all that manly stuff. If Hawley means more men like him, Well, thanks, but we’ve got quite enough.

      • 'We Can Do the Same Thing for Voting Rights': Senate Bypasses Filibuster for Debt Ceiling Vote

        Progressives within and beyond Congress on Tuesday pointed to the Senate's vote to raise the country's debt ceiling as proof of what's not only possible but necessary to advance voting rights legislation and other Democratic priorities: working around—or killing—the filibuster.

        "Our economy was at stake with the debt ceiling, and our democracy is at stake with voting rights."

      • Gavin Newsom’s Gun Stunt Is Inspired—and Doomed to Fail

        California Governor Gavin Newsom has done what tons of progressives want elected Democrats to start doing: fight like Republicans. Over the weekend, he announced that his office is working on a bill modeled after Texas’s Senate Bill 8—the one that empowers private bounty hunters to take away the constitutional rights of women and pregnant people by enforcing a six-week abortion ban. But Newsom doesn’t want California’s version to go after people with uteruses; he wants it to go after people with guns.

      • Vera Jourova on rule of law matters: We would be ready to act as soon as we can

        The Commission has no doubt as to the full legality of the Budget Conditionality Regulation said Vera Jourova, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Values and Transparency. She doesn't want to speculate on the final decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and thinks that the Commission also has to see the replies to the letters sent to the Hungarian government. The Vice-President talked about the proposed Media Freedom Act, and the lack of contact between her and the Hungarian government members too.

      • ‘Our Democracy Is in Perilous Decay, and We Can Turn It Around’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Ralph Nader about organizing for the public interest for the December 10, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Meet the new boss After helping to create Russia’s ‘sovereign Internet,’ the son of one of the Kremlin’s most powerful officials takes the helm at the country’s most popular social network

        On Monday, December 13, Vladimir Kiriyenko was appointed to serve as the new CEO of Vkontakte’s parent company, VK. The son of Sergey Kiriyenko (President Putin’s first deputy chief of staff and the Kremlin’s unofficial domestic policy czar), Vladimir previously worked as a vice president at Rostelecom. His appointment followed a mayor sale of shares that transferred control over VK to Gazprombank and the insurance giant Sogaz. Meduza explores key details of the new CEO’s life.€ 

      • ‘We won’t stop’ Exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya accuses Lukashenko of ‘taking revenge’ after Belarus sentences her husband to 18 years in prison

        A Belarusian court has handed an 18-year prison sentence to opposition blogger and politician Sergey Tikhanovsky — the husband of exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. The closed-door trial took place at a remand prison in the city of Gomel on Tuesday, December 14. Five other opposition figures were tried alongside Tikhanovsky, all of whom were handed sentences of 14 years in prison or more.€ After the verdict, Tikhanovskaya condemned Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko for “taking revenge on his strongest political opponents” and promised that her opposition movement would continue its work.

      • Deplatforming Trump Didn’t Work

        But reading Gellman’s story, or what is effectively a companion piece in the Washington Post about the next 18 steps to look for in our coming democratic erosion, it becomes clear how much bigger our emergency is than all of that. The platforms have their role to play, but it’s smaller than I had assumed. Which is unfortunate, because the past five years have shown that tech companies can be cajoled into addressing at least some of the harms that take place on their watch.

        Which is more than I can say for Congress.

      • Trump media company inks deal with video platform Rumble

        Former President Trump’s media company has inked a deal with the video platform Rumble, which will provide video and streaming for Trump's new social media network.

        The Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) announced in a statement on Tuesday that it has entered into a “wide-ranging technology and cloud services agreement” with Rumble Inc.

      • USPS secretly tested mobile voting system: report

        The U.S. Postal Service worked on a secret project to test a blockchain-based mobile phone voting system ahead of the 2020 elections before ultimately abandoning the project, according to The Washington Post.

        The effort was apparently conducted without any involvement from agencies focused on election security. According to the Post, the secrecy of the project alarmed officials, who worried that news of it could spark conspiracies and stoke distrust in the U.S. election system.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Victory! Federal Court Blocks Texas’ Unconstitutional Social Media Law

        In October, EFF filed an amicus brief against HB 20 in Netchoice v. Paxton, a challenge to the law brought by two associations of tech companies. HB 20 prohibits large social media platforms from removing or moderating content based on the viewpoint of the user. We argued, and the federal court agreed, that the government cannot regulate the editorial decisions made by online platforms about what content they host. As the judge wrote, platforms’ right under the First Amendment to moderate content “has repeatedly been recognized by courts.” Social media platforms are not “common carriers” that transmit speech without curation.

        Moreover, Texas explicitly passed HB 20 to stop social media companies’ purported discrimination against conservative users. The court explained that this “announced purpose of balancing the discussion” is precisely the kind of government manipulation of public discourse that the First Amendment forbids. As EFF’s brief explained, the government can’t retaliate against disfavored speakers and promote favored ones. Moreover, HB 20 would destroy or prevent the emergence of even large conservative platforms, as they would have to accept user speech from across the political spectrum.

        HB 20 also imposed transparency requirements and user complaint procedures on large platforms. While these kinds of government mandates might be appropriate when carefully crafted—and separated from editorial restrictions or government retaliation—they are not here. The court noted that companies like YouTube and Facebook remove millions of pieces of user content a month. It further noted Facebook’s declaration in the case that it would be “impossible” to establish a system by December 1 compliant with the bill’s requirements for that many removals. Platforms would simply stop removing content to avoid violating HB 20 - an impermissible chill of First Amendment rights.

      • Turkey's Dictator Erdogan, Who Has Sued Thousands Of Critics, Jailed More, Now Claims That 'Social Media' Is A 'Threat To Democracy'

        In the past we've pointed out how western politicians' attacks on social media are only serving to play into the hands of authoritarians around the globe, justifying their crackdowns on free speech and critics. And that doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. The latest is Turkey's President repeating the exact lines that US/EU politicians have been using to slam social media as "dangerous to democracy" in order to justify even more draconian crackdowns on speech and the press in his country.

      • Birds Aren't Real, And Kids Are Not So Susceptible To Conspiracy Theories (Their Parents On The Other Hand...)

        Back in high school, I read Robert Anton Wilson/Robert Shea's Illuminatus! Trilogy back-to-back with Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, and ended up being amused and fascinated at the intersection of conspiracy theories and pranksters. If you're unaware, both books satirize the nature of conspiracy theories. Soon after I picked up a copy of Re/Search's Pranks! book, which, to this day, is on my book shelf between a copy of the Mondo 2000 book and The Book of the SubGenius (with a copy of the tiny Loompanics yellow version of Principia Discordia sitting next to them). Soon after reading those, I got to college, and thanks to the wonders of the internet (and Usenet in particular) discovered a group of somewhat merry internet pranksters who dubbed themselves "The Flat Earth Society" -- as a purely ironic group who enjoyed the mixture of absurdity, satire, pranking, with an appreciation for the occasional conspiracy theory worth mocking (I'm still in touch with some people from that group decades later, again, thanks to the internet).

      • Youth captured with Quran near Puja pavilion in Habiganj

        The attacks were launched after a false claim of the desecration of the Quran by the Hindus at a Puja venue in Comilla spread like wildfire.

        Later, police arrested one Iqbal Hossain of the town for placing the Quran at the Puja venue to spoil religious harmony.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Moscow court fines investigative outlet The Insider for noncompliance with ‘foreign agent’ disclosure

        A district court in Moscow has fined the investigative news outlet The Insider for refusing to add “foreign agent” disclaimers to its materials, reports the official Telegram channel of the Moscow courts.

      • A Secretive Border Patrol Unit Worked With the FBI to Investigate Journalists
      • “No Rules”: A Border Patrol Unit Worked with the FBI to Investigate Journalists. Is It Still Running?

        A shocking exposé reveals how a secretive Customs and Border Protection division investigated as many as 20 journalists and their contacts by using government databases intended to track terrorists. Those investigated include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporter Martha Mendoza, along with others at The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. We speak to Jana Winter, the investigative correspondent who broke the story at Yahoo News, who says it’s unclear if the surveillance program was discontinued. “These were career officials who are still running this secretive unit with no rules and no procedures for how they access these databases,” says Winter. “They target Americans who are located in the United States who are not suspected of any crime whatsoever.”

      • Julian Assange: A journalist or an enemy of the U.S. State?

        What are the charges faced by Julian Assange in the U.S. and why are they problematic?

        The story so far: A British court has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the U.S. to face criminal charges being pursued by the U.S. Government, including those related to the Espionage Act, reversing a lower court decision from earlier this year. This was after assurances from U.S. authorities that Mr. Assange would not be held in highly restrictive prison conditions in that country unless he committed an act in the future which would require those measures. Mr. Assange is now seeking to appeal the decision in Britain’s Supreme Court, his legal team said.

      • The execution of Julian Assange: He exposed the crimes of empire — and that can't be tolerated

        Let us acknowledge that the goal of these executioners, who discussed kidnapping and assassinating Assange, has always been his annihilation. That Assange, who is in precarious physical and psychological health and who suffered a stroke during court video proceedings on Oct. 27, has been condemned to death should not come as a surprise. The 10 years he has been detained, seven in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and nearly three in the high-security Belmarsh prison, were accompanied with a lack of sunlight and exercise and unrelenting threats, pressure, anxiety and stress. "His eyes were out of sync, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry," his fiancée Stella Morris said of the stroke.

      • The Execution of Julian Assange

        Let us acknowledge that the goal of these executioners, who discussed kidnapping and assassinating Assange, has always been his annihilation. That Assange, who is in precarious physical and psychological health and who suffered a stroke during court video proceedings on October 27, has been condemned to death should not come as a surprise. The ten years he has been detained, seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and nearly three in the high security Belmarsh prison, were accompanied with a lack of sunlight and exercise and unrelenting threats, pressure, anxiety and stress.€  “His eyes were out of sync, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry,” his fiancé Stella Morris said of the stroke.

        His steady physical and psychological deterioration has led to hallucinations and depression. He takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. He has been observed pacing his cell until he collapses, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall. He has spent weeks in the medical wing of Belmarsh. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.” The executioners have not yet completed their grim work. Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the Haitian independence movement, the only successful slave revolt in human history, was physically destroyed in the same manner, locked by the French in an unheated and cramped prison cell and left to die of exhaustion, malnutrition, apoplexy, pneumonia and probably tuberculosis.

      • The Judicial Kidnapping Of Julian Assange

        In the crudest, most political judgement in memory, two High Court judges in London have ordered the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, where a trial in a kangaroo court awaits him, followed by a life lost in a barbaric prison system. "Let us look at ourselves, if we have the courage, to see what is happening to us" - Jean-Paul Sartre

        Sartre's words should echo in all our minds following the grotesque decision of Britain's High Court to extradite Julian Assange to the United States where he faces "a living death". This is his punishment for the crime of authentic, accurate, courageous, vital journalism.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Podcast Episode: A Better Future Starts with Secret Codes
      • After Big Win in Buffalo, Starbucks Workers in Massachusetts File to Unionize
      • Union Battles at Amazon and Starbucks are Hot News, Which Can Only be Good for the Labor Movement

        In a closely watched Nov. 29, 2021, decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Amazon had committed serious violations of federal labor law during a union campaign at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. In the decision, the NLRB attacked Amazon’s “flagrant disregard” for election rules, saying it “essentially hijacked the process.” The online retail giant won the union vote, held earlier this year, by a 2-1 margin but will now be forced into a do-over election.

        Meanwhile in Buffalo, New York, baristas at Starbucks voted to unionize on Dec. 9, making them the coffee chain’s only unionized workforce in the United States in what has been touted as a “watershed” moment.

      • 'Absolutely Horrific': Candle Factory Bosses Threatened Firings If Workers Left Ahead of Tornado

        Multiple employees of the Mayfield, Kentucky candle factory that was leveled by a devastating tornado late Friday said that supervisors threatened firings if€  workers left their shifts early amid warnings of the impending storm, according to new reporting by NBC News.

        Sharing the new reporting, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called the revelations "absolutely horrific."

      • Are We Heading Toward Civil War?

        In 2004, Common Courage Press published my book “The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America.” These predicted the rise of fascism. Now I think something worse is headed our way: civil war.

        History Professor Heather Cox Richardson wrote about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Texas abortion case issued Friday.

      • How Do We Fix Abuses of Donor-Advised Funds?
      • Jobs for Men but Not for Women?

        Is sex discrimination in employment illegal? Congress isn’t sure. It enacted a Jobs for Men bill; however, it’s still waffling on the Jobs for Women follow-up. The nation knows we need the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s improved roads, bridges, green tech, and broadband services—and (coincidentally?) the hundreds of thousands of good jobs these things require will largely go to men, in the current work scheme.

      • In 'Huge Step' Toward Equality, Top EU Court Rules Same-Sex Parents Must Be Recognized Across Bloc

        A same-sex couple in Spain will be able to obtain citizenship papers for their daughter and same-sex parents across the European Union will no longer be denied recognition by E.U. countries including Bulgaria and Poland, following a ruling by a top European court on Tuesday.

        The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that all nations in the bloc must recognize same-sex couples and their children as families, saying that a failure to do so unjustly restricts movement within the E.U. for the children of LGBTQ+ parents.

      • Father’s Search for Missing Son Uncovers Two Sets of Human Remains — and More Questions

        That’s when David enlisted the help of Jeff McGrath, a former cop and vehicular crimes investigator, to take a look at Daniel’s car. When McGrath saw a photo of the car, “it immediately struck me as odd,” he tells Rolling Stone, because he says the damage to the vehicle didn’t match the location it was found in, a desert ravine. According to the police report, the Jeep had suffered significant damage consistent with a front impact that caused it to roll. The front window was shattered, and there was “substantial damage” to the lower front, as well as the windshield and roof. McGrath was skeptical of the roll theory, though, and he obtained the car’s black box, which allowed him to ascertain that the car was going about 30 miles per hour before the airbags deployed. That sent up alarm bells for the PI, who used his own vehicle to see if that speed was possible in the rugged terrain. His experiment indicated that it was not — also, the car had traveled 11 miles after the airbags were deployed. “It just raised my suspicions even further that this vehicle, whether it was by Daniel or somebody else, was crashed somewhere else,” he says.

        Police did their own investigation into the vehicle in November — months after McGrath’s — disputing his findings. The car attempted to drive up the other side of the ravine and rolled, their report concluded. And those extra 11 miles? “Similar discrepancies have been noted by Jeep dealership service departments and other crash reconstructionists,” the report read. McGrath isn’t buying it, though — and he’s frustrated, in particular, by the timing of the report. “What it says is that they hired an expert to rebut my findings, not really looking for what happened. That’s concerning,” he says. “They just don’t want to look bad.”

      • ‘God is faithful’: Mom neglected by husband for becoming a Christian receives support

        Habib never said why he wanted to marry a Christian widow, but a Ugandan church leader said it falls in line with a Muslim conversion strategy in Uganda. According to Brother Stephen, the church leader, Muslims are rewarded if they marry a Christian, with the highest rewards going to those who manage to marry a pastor’s daughter.

        While more than 80 percent of Ugandans consider themselves Christians, the work of Islamic missionaries as well as financial and educational incentives are persuading a growing number to convert to Islam. Since 2015, Islam has grown by 7 percent. “Especially in the north we have some areas where the Muslims are taking over,” Brother Stephen said.

      • Criminal cats? Iran's proposed pet ban sparks outrage

        The law, named Protection of the Public's Rights Against Animals, was proposed by 75 hardliner legislators and introduced in November, described people living with animals as a "destructive social problem," and bans "importing, raising, assisting in the breeding of, breeding, buying or selling, transporting, driving or walking, and keeping in the home wild, exotic, harmful and dangerous animals," according to AFP. However, the definition of "harmful and dangerous animals" does not strictly cover animals typically deemed as such.

        According to the AFP, the ban would affect "crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards, cats, mice, rabbits, dogs and other unclean animals as well as monkeys."

        Those punished by this ban, if it passes into law, would face a fine said to be equivalent to 10-30 times the minimum monthly working wage, loss of the animal and, for three months, the vehicles used to transport it, according to AFP.

      • To think you can undermine women’s rights and disappear JK Rowling is magical thinking

        Rowling thinks for herself, pays a huge amount in taxes and gives to many charities, but she has not forgotten what it was like to be a poor and stigmatised single mother. She has written about being a victim of male violence in a past relationship – women don’t on the whole, “forget” male violence however successful they become.

        Rowling goes her own way – she courted controversy in 2014 when she was vocally against Scots Independence, she was also anti-Brexit. The SNP though, led by Nicola Sturgeon, who claims she “is a feminist to her fingertips”, clearly wants to appear more “radical” than Labour and is using trans rights as a totem.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Austin The Latest City To Try And Impose A Netflix Tax

        Hungry to boost municipal budgets, a growing roster of states and cities have spent the last five years or so trying to implement a tax on Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services. Sometimes (like in Chicago) this has involved expanding an existing amusement tax (traditionally covering book stores, music stores, ball games and other brick and mortar entertainment) to online streaming. Other times this has involved trying to leverage existing cable TV laws or ordinances to try extract their pound of flesh from Netflix. In both, it involves taking rules written for the physical world, and applying them to the internet. Often haphazardly.

      • Streaming is an arms race, with the same morals

        Disney+ has passed 100 million US subs. The gamble of going direct, cutting out the service provider middlemen, has paid off. Among its objectives now must be to make inroads internationally into the lead held by Netflix, the pioneer of D2C.

        The weapons in this war of attrition are: pricing, marketing and content. Disney doesn’t believe in discounting and is unlikely (beyond introductory offers) to do any price matches; it doesn’t want to emulate a business model where, for all Netflix’s market share, profitability is still a stretch, particularly if its debt becomes more expensive. On marketing, it starts with one of the world’s best known and most trusted brands, so it needs no lessons here. And on content; well, just like in football, talent, and its performance, is just a numbers game.

      • Terence Winter’s New Media Firm Plans Ad-Supported Streaming Network

        Terence Winter, the writer and executive producer behind The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, is launching an ad-supported streaming network next year under Infamous Media, a newly formed independent media company Winter co-founded with Joe Poletto, a former HBO executive.

        Infamous Media’s streaming offering will have free, ad-supported channels available to users; one of the first channels will be focused on mafia and other mob-related TV shows, movies and documentaries. The company currently has distribution deals with Plex, KlowdTV and LG Europe, and the first channel is expected to launch early next year.

      • Oh Deere, Is That Right To Repair Resolution Troubling You? | Hackaday

        Over the years a constant in stories covering the right to repair has come from an unexpected direction, the farming community. Their John Deer tractors, a stalwart of North American agriculture, have become difficult to repair due to their parts using DRM restricting their use to authorised Deere agents. We’ve covered farmers using dubious software tools to do the job themselves, we’ve seen more than one legal challenge, and it’s reported that the price of a used Deere has suffered as farmers abandon their allegiance to newer green and yellow machines. Now comes news of a new front in the battle, as a socially responsible investment company has the tractor giant scrambling to block their shareholder motion on the matter.

        Deere have not been slow in their fight-back against the threat of right-to-repair legislation and their becoming its unwilling poster-child, with CTO Jahmy Hindman going on record stating that 98% of repairs to Deere machinery can be done by the farmer themself (PDF, page 5) without need for a Deere agent. The question posed by supporters of the shareholder action is that given the substantial risk to investors of attracting a right-to-repair backlash, why would they run such a risk for the only 2% of repairs that remain? We’d be interested to know how Deere arrived at that figure, because given the relatively trivial nature of some of the examples we’ve seen it sounds far-fetched.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Hosting Company Defeats Filmmakers' "VPN Piracy" Lawsuit in Court

          Hosting company Quadranet has scored a crucial victory in a "VPN piracy" lawsuit filed by several film companies earlier this year. A Florida federal court dismissed the claims that the hosting company is liable for infringements of its customers' subscribers. The filmmakers are not allowed to amend their claims either, as that would be futile.

        • Lawmakers: Fix Copyright Law to Stop Gamblers "Beating the Bookies"

          The UK Parliament's House of Lords has heard calls for a significant tightening of copyright law to tackle a most unusual threat. According to several Lords, the law should be updated to prevent live sporting events from being filmed by the public. Not to prevent piracy per se, but to close a 'loophole' that is being exploited by some to win large sums in the gambling market.

        • Canada Threatens to Delay Copyright Term Extension in Response to U.S. Electronic Vehicle Tax Credit Plan

          The latest trade dispute opens the door to shelving the term extension altogether, a move that is clearly in the Canadian national interest. However, should the EV issue be resolved, Canada should unquestionably follow an implementation plan that it negotiated by establishing a registration requirement that would give rights holders the extension they seek and limit the broader harm to Canadian culture and education.

        • Digital Services Act: EU Parliament's Key Committee Rejects a Filternet But Concerns Remain

          In this week's vote, EU members of parliament (MEPs) showed that they listened to civil society voices: Even though the key committee on internal market affairs (IMCO) did not follow the footsteps of the ambitious DSA reports from last year, MEPs took a stance for the protection of fundamental rights and agreed to:

          - Preserve the liability exemptions for internet companies: Online intermediaries will continue to benefit from the "safe harbor" rules, which ensure that they cannot be held liable for content provided by users unless they know it is illegal and don't act against it (Art 5);

          - Uphold and strengthen the ban on mandated monitoring: Under current EU internet rules, general monitoring of information transmitted or stored by intermediary service providers is banned, guaranteeing users' freedom of expression and their rights to personal data as memorialized in the Fundamental Rights Charter, which enshrines the fundamental rights people enjoy in the EU. MEPs preserved this important key principle and clarified that monitoring should neither be imposed by law or de facto, through automated or non-automated means (Art 7(1));

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