Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 10/01/2023: Lots on Gaming and More Twitter Departures

  • GNU/Linux

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Jason RoseOpenZFS: the final word in file systems

      OpenZFS, arguably the heart of TrueNAS, is the open-source file system and volume manager based on Sun/Oracle's ZFS. ZFS development began at Sun Microsystems in 2001 with the aim of completely reframing how systems administrators manage their storage systems. Its original development team outlined several guiding principles that still shape the project today: storage should be flexibly-pooled, always consistent, self-healing, and simple to manage.

      In ZFS, disks are grouped into virtual devices (or vdevs) usually with some form of redundancy/protection against disk failure. A ZFS pool may have one or more vdevs; if a pool has more than one vdev, they're striped together to form one giant bucket of storage. A vdev's redundancy might be based on simple multi-disk mirrors or RAIDZ where administrators can pick from single-, double- or triple-disk parity protection.

    • Torrent FreakWarner Bros. Fights 'Mortal Kombat II' Source Code Leak [Ed: Microsoft censoring/banning Free software again]

      GitHub has removed a recent "Mortal Kombat II" source code leak following a request from Warner Bros. Discovery. The leak purportedly reveals unused artwork and an alternative storyline for the iconic arcade game, first released by Midway in 1993. Three decades later, the current rightsholder seems keen to plug the leaks.

    • Education

      • Felix CruxFeeds: The Only Civilised Way to Read Online

        There’s a better way — and there has been for decades! Amazingly, it seems underused even within tech circles, and almost completely unknown to the general public. It’s super easy to use, actually more convenient than social media apps, and leaves you in complete control of what you see.

        I’m talking, of course, about RSS/Atom web feeds, and I contend that they are not only a better alternative, but in fact I’d go so far as to say that a feed reader is the only tolerable and civilised way to read online! The system works really well and more in line with what (I think) most people actually want; it minimizes the use of harmful social media platforms; and it helps foster a more vibrant, independent, creative, and non-commerical Web. So drop your non-chronological algorithmically-obscured sponsored timeline, and let’s have a whirlwind overview of what feeds are and how to use them!

    • Programming/Development

      • Daniel StenbergMy weekly report on email |

        Starting this week, you can subscribe to my weekly report and receive it as an email. This is the brief weekly summary of my past week that I have been writing and making available for over a year already. It sums up what I have been doing recently and what I plan to do next.

        Topics in the reports typically involve a lot of curl, libcurl, HTTP, protocols, standards, networking and related open source stuff.

      • Exploratory DataXray Analysis (EDXA)

        Do you know how long EDA (exploratory data analysis) used to take me? Not hours, not days… A full week! Listen, you don’t know how good you have it. With this new R package I’m about to show you (plus one BONUS hack), you’ll cut your EDA time into 5 minutes. Here’s how.

      • Data Science TutorialsLottery Prediction-Comparison between Statistics and Luck

        Lottery Prediction-Comparison between Statistics and Luck, statistics and luck all go hand in hand.

      • Dirk EddelbuettelDirk Eddelbuettel: RcppTOML 0.2.0: TOML 1.0.0 rewrite with toml++

        A few years since the last release in late 2020, the RcppTOML package is now back with a new and shiny CRAN release 0.2.0. It is now based on the wonderful toml++ C++17 library by Mark Gillard and gets us (at long last!) full TOML v1.0.0 compliance for use with R.


        This package is a rewrite of the internals interfacing the library, and updates the package to using toml++ and C++17. The R interface is unchanged, and a full run of reverse dependencies passed. This involved finding one sole test failure which turned to have been driven by a non-conforming TOML input file which Jianfeng Li kindly fixed at the source making his (extensive) set of tests in package configr pass too. The actual rewrite was mostly done in a one-off repo RcppTomlPlusPlus which can now be considered frozen.

      • Dirk EddelbuettelThinking inside the box

        Another quick update to the still new-ish package spdl is now om CRAN, and in Debian. The key focus of spdl is a offering the same interface from both R and C++ for logging by relying on spdlog via my RcppSpdlog package.

        This release add support for the stopwatch() facility. One can now instantiate such an object, and referencing it in a log message shows the elapsed time. No more, no less, and it works the same way in R and C++.

      • Dirk EddelbuettelDirk Eddelbuettel: RVowpalWabbit 0.0.18: Maintenance

        A new maintenance release, now at version 0.0.18, of the RVowpalWabbit package arrived on CRAN. It improves several sprintf() calls by changing them to snprintf() (though there is a remaining one creeping in from a linked-to library).

        As noted before, there is a newer package rvw based on the excellent GSoC 2018 and beyond work by Ivan Pavlov (mentored by James and myself) so if you are into VowpalWabbit from R go check it out.

      • Dirk EddelbuettelDirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSpdlog 0.0.12 on CRAN: Added Stopwatch

        Version 0.0.12 of RcppSpdlog is now on CRAN and in Debian. RcppSpdlog bundles spdlog, a wonderful header-only C++ logging library with all the bells and whistles you would want that was written by Gabi Melman, and also includes fmt by Victor Zverovich.

        This release adds support for the stopwatch object, a simple container around a std::chrono object. It makes (simple) time measurements of routines and code segments trivially easy. Instantiate a stopwatch object, and ‘formatting’ it in a logging string displays elapsed time. And given that the whole mojo of RcppSpdlog (and its sibbling package spdl) is to make use easy in both R and C++ we can do this nicely and consistently in both languages. The vignette has an added section with a concrete example.

      • Henrik WarneThere Is No Software Maintenance

        Every time I hear about software maintenance as a distinct activity, I cringe. That’s because it is based on the outdated notion that first software is developed, then it is maintained. But that is not how software development works today. Software development does not have the two phases development and maintenance – it is a continuous process. Software maintenance is simply software development.

        It is fairly common to come across the concept of software maintenance. Recently I have seen it in posts on LinkedIn (how developers leave if they have to do maintenance), in books (“it is well known that the majority of the cost of software is not in its initial development, but in its ongoing maintenance”), and in surveys (do you develop new features, or do you maintain existing features). But this is based on the false premise of the software project.

      • OpenSource.comHow to use methods in Java

        A method in Java (called a "function" in many other programming languages) is a portion of code that's been grouped together and labeled for reuse. Methods are useful because they allow you to perform the same action or series of actions without rewriting the same code, which not only means less work for you, it means less code to maintain and debug when something goes wrong.

        A method exists within a class, so the standard Java boilerplate code applies:

        A package definition isn't strictly necessary in a simple one-file application like this, but it's a good habit to get into, and most IDEs enforce it.

        By default, Java looks for a main method to run in a class. Methods can be made public or private, and static or non-static, but the main method must be public and static for the Java compiler to recognize and utilize it. When a method is public, it's able to be executed from outside the class. To call the Example class upon start of the program, its main method must be accessible, so set it to public.

  • Leftovers

    • Security

      • TechdirtIt’s 2023 And The FCC Only Just Proposed Rules Requiring Telecoms Immediately Inform Consumers When Their Data Is Compromised

        Back in 2015, the nation’s top telecom regulator attempted to create some very basic (by international standards) privacy guidelines for telecom providers, demanding they do things like (gasp) be transparent about the consumer data they were collecting and selling, while also requiring that consumers (gasp) opt in to the sale of any particularly sensitive data.

      • Krebs On SecurityIdentity Thieves Bypassed Experian Security to View Credit Reports

        Identity thieves have been exploiting a glaring security weakness in the website of Experian, one of the big three consumer credit reporting bureaus. Normally, Experian requires that those seeking a copy of their credit report successfully answer several multiple choice questions about their financial history. But until the end of 2022, Experian’s website allowed anyone to bypass these questions and go straight to the consumer’s report. All that was needed was the person’s name, address, birthday and Social Security number.

      • EFFEFF and Partners Call Out Threats to Free Expression in Draft Text as UN Cybersecurity Treaty Negotiations Resume
      • FOSSLifeFCC Proposes New Data Breach Rules for Telecoms

        The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed updated rules for how telecoms notify customers of data breaches.

        Specifically, the organization proposes “eliminating the current seven business day mandatory waiting period for notifying customers of a breach,” according to the press release.

        Current FCC rules, which were adopted in 2007, “require that carriers that have more than 5,000 customers notify the FCC of a data breach within seven days of discovery, while breaches affecting fewer than 5,000 customers must be reported no later than 30 days,” notes CyberScoop.

      • Bruce SchneierChatGPT-Written Malware - Schneier on Security

        ChatGPT-generated code isn’t that good, but it’s a start. And the technology will only get better. Where it matters here is that it gives less skilled hackers—script kiddies—new capabilities.

      • Ars TechnicaChatGPT is enabling script kiddies to write functional malware | Ars Technica

        Researchers at security firm Check Point Research reported Friday that within a few weeks of ChatGPT going live, participants in cybercrime forums—some with little or no coding experience—were using it to write software and emails that could be used for espionage, ransomware, malicious spam, and other malicious tasks.

      • Ruben SchadeRubenerd: Using scp(1) to transfer multiple files

        This came up during a customer call last year, where the engineer was running it a few times. On the backend it’s sftp(1) now anyway, as it probably should be.

      • LWNSecurity updates for Tuesday []

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (libtasn1-6), Fedora (nautilus), Oracle (kernel, kernel-container, nodejs:14, tigervnc, and xorg-x11-server), Red Hat (grub2, nodejs:14, tigervnc, and xorg-x11-server), Scientific Linux (tigervnc and xorg-x11-server), SUSE (systemd), and Ubuntu (firefox, linux-aws, linux-aws-5.15, linux-azure, linux-azure-5.15, linux-azure-fde, linux-azure, w3m, and webkit2gtk).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ScheerpostCaitlin Johnstone: Unprovoked!

        In the mass media you’re not allowed to talk about the U.S.-NATO actions that diplomats, politicians, academics — even the head of the C.I.A. — have long warned would lead to war in Ukraine.

      • Michael West MediaThe war powers inquiry - Michael West

        The Parliamentary Inquiry into War Powers heard the pros and cons of a parliamentary vote to go to war versus the status quo, that is, the Prime Minister alone can make the call.

      • The NationWhy the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Is Good for Democracy

        Not all that long ago, America was at war. The Vietnam conflict of the 1960s and ’70s meant the deaths of our young people, then subjected to mandatory drafts to fill quotas. Over 50,000 Americans and allies died, with many others suffering lifelong injuries. An estimated 3 million-plus citizens of North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia were killed. President after president got our nation more deeply involved, with no ending in sight—goaded in large part by the military-industrial complex.

      • The NationThoughts and Prayers… but€ No Action
      • ScheerpostPentagon Doc Reveals US Lied About Afghan Civilians Killed in 2021 Drone Strike

        One Amnesty International campaigner called the new report "more evidence that we need a huge change in how the U.S. uses lethal force and assesses and reveals its consequences."

      • ScheerpostOn MSNBC and ‘Authoritarianism’
      • ScheerpostItamar Ben Gvir Just Banned the Palestinian Flag

        The new Israeli Minister of National Security banned the display of the colors of the Palestinian flag in public spaces. It is the latest Israeli attempt to erase Palestinian identity.

      • TechdirtIndependent Reporting Shows Cops Are Still Killing People At An Alarming Rate

        Law enforcement agencies have no interest in tracking how often officers kill people. Despite all the talk about police reform, very few states require accurate reporting on deadly force deployments.

      • Counter PunchAn Interview With Jefferson Morley on the CIA, Nixon and the Assassination of JFK

        Jefferson Morley is a Washington intelligence expert and investigative journalist. He is co-founder and editor of JFK Facts and vice president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which sponsors the internet’s largest archive of records related to JFK’s assassination.

        His latest book is Scorpion’s Dance: The President, The Spymaster, and Watergate. The book€  reveals the Watergate scandal in a completely new light: as the culmination of a concealed, deadly power struggle between President Richard Nixon and CIA Director Richard Helms.

      • Counter PunchPrince Harry’s Great Afghan Shooting Party

        What to make of it?€  History is filled with the deeds of blood-thirsty princes bold in ambition and feeble of mind.€  Massacres make the man, though there is often little to merit the person behind it.€  The Duke of Sussex seemingly wishes to add his name to that list.€ €  In what can only be described as one of his “Nazi uniform” moments, Prince Harry has revealed in his memoir Spare that he killed a number of Taliban fighters. (In the same memoir, the weak-willed royal blames his brother for the uniform idea, though not for organising the Afghan shooting party.)

        The prince, wishing to show that he was no toy soldier or ceremonial ornament of the British Army, puts the number of deaths at 25.€  “It wasn’t a statistic that filled me with pride but nor did it make me ashamed.”€  He recalls being “plunged into the heat and confusion of battle”, and how he “didn’t think about those 25 people.€  You can’t kill people if you see them as people.”€  Doing so from the security of a murderous Apache helicopter certainly helps.

      • The NationThe United States Thinks It’s the Exception to the Rules of War

        Let me start with a confession: I no longer read all the way through newspaper stories about the war in Ukraine. After years of writing about war and torture, I’ve reached my limit. These days, I just can’t pore through the details of the ongoing nightmare there. It’s shameful, but I don’t want to know the names of the dead or examine images caught by brave photographers of half-exploded buildings, exposing details—a shoe, a chair, a doll, some half-destroyed possessions—of lives lost, while I remain safe and warm in San Francisco. Increasingly, I find that I just can’t bear it.

      • The NationMerchants of Death
      • Common DreamsMilitarized Japan and the Biden-Kishida Summit Signal Moment in the New Cold War

        "Japan in December adopted a set of three security and defense strategy documents that break from its exclusively self-defense-only stance. Under the new strategies, Japan vows to build up its counterstrike capability with long-range cruise missiles that can reach potential targets in China, double its defense budget within five years and bolster development of advanced weapons." —Asahi Shimbun

    • Environment

      • The NationGlobal Warming Is the Front-Page Story of Our Lifetime

        Let me start 2023 with a glance back at a December news moment that caught my eye. To do so, however, I have to offer a bit of explanation.

      • The NationLetters From the January 23/30, 2023, Issue

        A Bridge Too Far… or Too Late?

        Kudos to The Nation for hosting a debate on whether governments should reinvest in nuclear power to fight climate change [“The Debate,” by Paul Hockenos and Jessica Lovering, November 28/December 5, 2022]. A key question among others that need to be addressed is whether there is a viable compromise position on nuclear power. Can it be used as a component of our energy system for only a few decades as part of the transition to clean renewables?Ferd Wulkan montague, mass.2

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • MeduzaOrthodox activists report Little Big leader Ilya Prusikin for skateboarding on crucifix — Meduza

        Orthodox Christian activists from the radical Sorok Sorokov movement have reported Ilya Prusikin, leader of the Little Big rave band, for a “blasphemous” Instagram video, in which Prusikin, dressed as a Catholic priest, skateboards on top of a crucifix.

      • MeduzaBisexual Dagestani teen reports 4 months in brutal ‘conversion therapy’ paid by her parents — Meduza

        Elina Ukhmanova, a bisexual 18-year-old from Dagestan, claims having spent four months in captivity at the Alliance Recovery “rehab center” in Makhachkala, undergoing a violent conversion treatment at the behest of her parents.

      • Telex (Hungary)Szijjártó: Hungary will vote against Kosovo's admission into European organizations
      • ScheerpostUnder Musk, Twitter Continues to Promote US Propaganda Networks

        Dozens of accounts that are part of US overt propaganda networks are given special treatment from Twitter, violating Twitter’s own policies

      • ScheerpostPatrick Lawrence: Europe and the Legitimization of Deception

        The U.S., having no need of or gift for statecraft, has long practiced what I’ve taken to calling the diplomacy of no diplomacy. You can’t expect much from bimbos such as Antony Blinken or Wendy Sherman, Blinken’s No. 2 at the State Department. All they can do is […]

      • ScheerpostMcKinsey’s Addiction Corporations

        Almost 30 years ago,€ tobacco CEOs€ were forced to answer questions –€ under oath. For the first€ time, corporate bosses had to admit that€ tobacco companies were designing cigarettes to sustain addiction€ – a dark day for corporate profits,€ tobacco corporations, and the ever supportive management consultancy firm:€ McKinsey. Yet, it was a good day for everyone else. […]

      • The NationUS Democracy Is Under Attack. These Human Rights Defenders Are Not Backing Down.

        If ever there was a year when progressives faced an uphill climb, it was 2022. Democrats had control of the White House and Congress, but corporate-aligned centrists stalled progress on major pieces of legislation. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, rising gas prices and inflation, and challenges posed by the lingering coronavirus pandemic contributed to a sour mood on the part of the electorate. Then, in June, the US Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and put abortion rights in jeopardy nationwide. It was easy to feel overwhelmed, yet progressives persevered. They played a pivotal role in preventing a Republican takeover of the Senate in November—and even flipped a GOP seat in Pennsylvania to John Fetterman. They thwarted the ambitions of election deniers and proponents of voter suppression in states across the country. And in cities like Los Angeles, they beat the big-money interests that now seek to control every branch of government—with grassroots progressives scoring victories against all odds. Here are some of the campaigners, activists, intellectuals, and artists who spoke truth to power, defended democracy, and bent the arc of history toward justice in 2022.1

      • The NationHannah Arendt Was Really a Prophet Against Conformity

        Hannah Arendt did more than anyone else to give the idea of totalitarianism the importance we accord it today. But like her contemporary George Orwell, in her subtlest trains of thought Arendt was seldom writing about the “-ism,” the social and political entity. She was more concerned with the implications of the adjective “totalitarian.”1

      • Democracy NowBiden Visits Border But Doesn’t Meet with Asylum Seekers as Administration Cracks Down on Immigration

        Immigrant rights groups are denouncing President Biden’s recent announcement that the United States will start to block migrants from Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba from applying for asylum if they’re apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The move is an expansion of the contested Trump-era Title 42 pandemic policy set to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. Over the weekend, Biden visited El Paso, one of the country’s busiest border crossings, in his first visit to the border as president. He reportedly did not meet with or see any migrants during his four-hour visit. For more, we speak with two immigrant rights activists who have been urging the Biden administration to drop Title 42 and create the infrastructure to welcome asylum seekers: Guerline Jozef, executive director of Haitian Bridge Alliance, and Fernando García, executive director of the El Paso, Texas-based Border Network for Human Rights.

      • The NationIn the Windy City

        Located in Chicago’s historic Pilsen neighborhood, 1831 South Racine Avenue is currently the site of a luxury shared-living complex. Advertised as having “eliminated things that make city living a challenge,” Pilsen Coliving offers its tenants private beds and bathrooms inside a completely furnished suite that they share with others. Outfitted with hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, washers and dryers, subway-tiled bathrooms,

      • Democracy NowBolsonaro Backers Storm Brazil’s Key Gov’t Buildings in Jan. 6-Style Attempt to Oust Lula from Power

        Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is condemning thousands of supporters of far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro who stormed the Brazilian Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace Sunday in a scene reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol insurrection. Rioters smashed windows, ransacked offices and set fire to a carpet inside the Congress building before authorities made over 400 arrests. Bolsonaro has never formally conceded the race to third-term President Lula and fled to Florida, where he has reportedly met with Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago, while his supporters have blockaded highways and set up protest encampments outside military bases and in the capital Brasília to protest what they falsely claim was a rigged election. We get an update from Brazilian newspaper columnist and professor Thiago Amparo in São Paulo and reporter Michael Fox, host of the “Brazil on Fire” podcast.

      • The NationFrom a Clown Coup to a Clown Speakership

        Last Friday, as Kevin McCarthy was nearing the end of his grueling, humiliating, multiday quest to become the new House speaker, former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted, “Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker by offering concessions to the pro-insurrection caucus on the two year anniversary of January 6th is just a perfect statement about the GOP.” As it turns out, Pfeiffer’s tweet wasn’t quite accurate, because McCarthy didn’t actually have all the votes he needed on January 6. It was only after one final round of begging Florida Representative Matt Gaetz to just vote “present” that McCarthy, in the 15th round of ballot counting, finally won the bare majority he needed to become speaker in the early hours of January 7. But Pfeiffer’s tweet remains poetically true: Two years and a day after the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the Republican Party provided fresh proof that it remains in thrall to its insurrectionist caucus.1

      • The NationKevin McCarthy’s Reign Begins—for Now

        Our long national nightmare is just beginning. After a week of futile posturing and trench warfare on the House floor, the House GOP caucus somehow managed to elect Kevin McCarthy speaker of the House on the 15th ballot. In the early hours of January 7, after the second anniversary of the 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol, McCarthy appeared doomed for more purgatorial humiliation as the 14th vote broke against expectations and failed to produce a majority for him. But just as the House was going to vote to adjourn, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, one of the hard-right ringleaders of the “Never Kevin” insurgency, buttonholed the speaker-in-waiting for an impromptu conference. Moments later, McCarthy rushed to take back his endorsement of the pending adjournment, and finally claimed his battered, tarnished, dubiously functional leadership prize.

      • The NationGeorge Santos

        George Santos invented an alternate life, With chutzpah we’ve seen only rarely. Mendacity in all his statements was rife. He beat Trump in lying, though barely.

      • TechdirtArizona Government Thinks It Should Be Able To Decide What You Wear And When

        Trying to legislate sexual identity is a fool’s errand. Plenty of Arizona state fools are backing a bill that attempts to do that, though. When you can’t figure out how to stop people from outward displays of their sexual identity, you start getting unconstitutional in a hurry.

      • Counter PunchWhich Government Does the United States Recognize in Venezuela?

        On January 3, 2023, Shaun Tandon of Agence France-Presse asked U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price about Venezuela. In late December, the Venezuelan opposition after a fractious debate decided to dissolve the “interim government” led by Juan Guaidó. From 2019 onward, the U.S. government recognized Guaidó as the “interim president of Venezuela.” With the end of Guaidó’s administration, Tandon asked if “the United States still recognize[s] Juan Guaidó as legitimate interim president.”

        Price’s answer was that the U.S. government recognizes the “only remaining democratically elected institution in Venezuela today, and that’s the 2015 National Assembly.” It is true that when the U.S. government supported Guaidó as the “interim president” of Venezuela, it did so because of his role as the rotating president in that National Assembly in 2019. Since the presidency of the National Assembly rotates annually, Guaidó should have left the position of “interim president” by the end of 2020. But he did not, going against Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution of 1999, which he cited as the basis for his ascension in 2019.

      • Counter PunchBiden Isn't Great for Latin America, But Trump Was Far Worse

        Two major developments can be inferred from the results of the November 8, 2022 mid-term elections in the United States. First, the voters did not punish Joe Biden after his first two years as president as the pre-election polls had predicted they would.€  Consequently, Donald Trump’s political standing has diminished along with the legitimacy of his leadership role in the Republican Party.

        All 435 seats in the House of Representatives were up for election, and Republicans now have control of the lower chamber, though by a narrow margin. Since the end of World War II, the opposition party has usually won at least one of the two legislative bodies in the first mid-term election after a new president takes over. Historically, however, the opposition victory margin is much higher than what the Republicans were able to obtain this time around.

      • Counter PunchHow Biden Can Resolve America's Immigration Crisis

        No pundit can predict what heated issue will dominate the presidential and congressional elections in 2024. However, aside from the Supreme Court making a historic decision to eradicate another established freedom, like marrying who you wish, regardless of gender or race, migration will remain a national issue.

        Public opinion polls have consistently ranked controlling immigration as a significant concern for Americans.€ For example, a Gallup opinion poll€ taken in July 2022 showed that 38% of Americans wanted a decrease in immigration, the highest percentage since July 2016, when Donald Trump was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate.

      • The NationProtect Democracy by Bolstering Organized Labor

        Twenty twenty-two was a decent year for democracy. Legislative districts remained gerrymandered, but the maps were not as extreme as they were in the 2010s. State governments were still engaging in voter suppression, but it was partly counteracted by pro-voter policies and mobilization by voter turnout groups. Perhaps most important, many candidates who were promoting “Stop the Steal” voter-fraud conspiracy theories lost in the 2022 midterms. Is American democracy out of the woods? The answer, unfortunately, is no. The events of 2022 certainly moved us away from the brink. But the threats remain. The situation is not hopeless, however, particularly if Democrats can focus on long-term strategies, such as rebuilding the labor movement.

      • The NationBen Jealous: Never Forget Our People Were Always Free

        My great-grandmother wrote my grandmother’s birth certificate herself, as she did for every Negro child in her Virginia county at that time. Back then, the county clerk would explain, “We don’t write birth certificates for cows, so we don’t write them for Negroes.” It was 1916, and my people were far from human in the eyes of the segregationist government that ran Dinwiddie County, Va.

      • Telex (Hungary)Orbán promises to make Hungary a ‘regional middle power’ – and keeps us guessing about the hows
      • Common Dreams'Disaster for Everyone Except Corrupt Politicians': House GOP Votes to Gut Ethics Office

        In one of their first acts in the majority, House Republicans on Monday approved a rules package that will dramatically hinder the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body tasked with investigating complaints about sitting lawmakers.

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

        • Democracy for the Arab World NowSaudi Arabia: Government Agents Infiltrate Wikipedia, Sentence Independent Wikipedia Administrators to Prison

          The Saudi Arabian government infiltrated Wikipedia by recruiting the organization's highest ranked administrators in the country to serve as government agents to control information about the country and prosecuting those who contributed critical information about political detainees, said SMEX and Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) today.

          Following an internal investigation in 2022, Wikimedia terminated all of its Wikipedia administrators in Saudi Arabia in December. DAWN and SMEX documented Wikipedia's infiltration by the Saudi government based on interviews with sources close to Wikipedia and the imprisoned administrators.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ScheerpostFree Speech and Academic Freedom in the American Corporate University

        Free speech and academic freedom € are under attack in American higher education. From the right the allegation is that wokeness and political correctness € have taken over, articulating€  a political agenda that is€  anti-white, anti-Christian, anti-capitalism, and pro LGBTQ.€  From the left€  the indictment is that schools continue to replicate stereotypes […]

      • MeduzaAlexey Navalny starts 2023 in punishment cell — Meduza

        Alexey Navalny, who is serving his sentence in Prison Colony No. 6 in the Vladimir region, has been placed in the punishment cell for the tenth time.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The NationAccess to Journalism Is a Human Right

        In 1974, when the Irish statesman and humanitarian Seán MacBride was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he delivered an acceptance speech emphasizing€ the urgent need for nuclear disarmament. But at a key moment, MacBride turned to the growing role of mass media in world affairs. The media’s exploding reach and speed, he asserted, could grant “a much greater degree of influence to public opinion in the world than it has ever had.” The US withdrawal from Vietnam proved it. For the first time, MacBride said, a country at war had been stopped in its tracks€ by public opinion—shaped through the media. But this shift in power was not yet fully understood. “Greater vigilance than ever will have to be exercised to ensure that the press and the mass media do not become controlled by governments or financial interests,” he warned.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The NationPakistan’s Transgender Community Rises Up

        Dr. Sarah Gill was just 14 when she ran away from home in Karachi. For most of her childhood, she had suffered the humiliation of feeling like a girl but being told she was a boy. She used to quarrel with her mother for making her dress like a boy and would refuse to study unless she was allowed to grow her hair long. “From my features, it was always very obvious that I wasn’t a guy,” she says. “People used to degrade me a lot because of my looks. They would come to my house and tell my parents all sorts of things about me.”

      • Democracy NowHarvard Faces Outcry for Rescinding Post to Ex-Head of Human Rights Watch over Criticism of Israel

        We speak with the longtime former head of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, about losing a prestigious position at Harvard over his criticism of Israeli human rights abuses. Roth was set to begin as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy after he retired as director of the renowned human rights organization in April. But the school’s dean, Douglas Elmendorf, vetoed the move over Roth’s and Human Rights Watch’s “anti-Israel bias,” The Nation reports. “We hold Israel to the same standards as everybody else,” Roth says of Human Rights Watch’s work. He adds that while it’s unclear what pressure the Kennedy School may have faced in its decision, reporting truthfully on Israel’s rights record often brings down the ire of pro-Israel groups who want to shut down all criticism. “They want us to exempt Israel from human rights scrutiny, and no credible human rights group could possibly do that.”

      • The NationYe Is a Right-Wing Tool—and Black People Know It

        Kanye “Ye” West has been spewing white nationalist talking points for a decade. His current anti-Semitic road show was preceded by years of evident anti-Blackness, from hawking Confederate flag merch in 2013, to declaring that Black enslavement was “a choice” in 2018, to appearing repeatedly at the White House during the Trump years, to attempting, in 2021, to coerce Black election workers in Georgia to falsely confess throwing the vote to Biden. Unsurprisingly, wariness of Ye among Black folks has been steadily growing for years, particularly among disappointed former fans. In 2018, the writer Channing Hargrove wrote a satirical obituary for West; Black Twitter declared him stuck in Get Out’s “sunken place”; and journalist and filmmaker dream hampton indicted him for pushing “the same old white supremacy.” Comedian Zachary Fox had the prescience to warn that we should all disembark from “the Kanye train before it inevitably reaches the ‘Hitler was a good guy’ stop.” In October 2022, an Economist/YouGov poll found that a greater share of Black Americans (40 percent) viewed the rapper very negatively than either Hispanic Americans (32 percent) or white Americans (33 percent).

      • Common DreamsMalignant Idiots Incoming

        Lesson from the clusterfuck that was the "once-in-a-century humiliation" of "Titan of Mediocrity" Kevin McCarthy bumbling through 15 votes to become Speaker of a shambolic House held hostage by a rabid band of insurrectionist wingnuts: Elect clowns, get a circus. The tragicomedy, years in the gerrymandering, confirms there is no GOP normal; this was MAGA eating its own. After days of concessions - he'll teach Boebert to read! - Kevin is now the feckless "mayor of Crazytown." Mazel tov, dude.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • TechdirtDecades Late, The FCC Might Start Cracking Down On Terrible Telecom Prison Monopolies. Maybe.

        However terrible telecom monopolies are in the free world, they’re arguably worse in prisons. For decades, journalists have outlined how a select number of prison telecom giants like Securus have enjoyed a cozy, government-kickback based monopoly over prison phone and teleconferencing services, resulting sky high rates€ (upwards of $14 per minute) for inmate families.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • [Old] The Register UKSoftware fees to make up 10% of John Deere's revenues by 2030

        US farm machinery giant John Deere has estimated software fees will make up 10 percent of the company's revenues by the end of the decade.

      • [Old] uni TampereParody And Copyright In The European Union Law

        Parody and copyright are both linked to fundamental rights in the EU law; parody to the freedom of expression and copyright essentially to the right to property even though it can be seen to advance the freedom of expression as well. The relationship between parody and copyright in the EU law is regulated essentially in the Information Society Directive (The InfoSoc Directive). According to it the Member States may set out a parody exception to copyright holders’ rights found in Articles 2 (right of reproduction) and 3 (right of communication to the public of works and right of making available to the public other subject- matter). The exception means that one can create and publish a parody without violating these rights. Setting out the parody exception is voluntary for the Member States. However, the InfoSoc Directive does not define parody. A change to the lack of definition was provided in the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) preliminary ruling Deckmyn and Vrijheidsfonds (Deckmyn) in which parody was established as an autonomous concept in the EU law and given a uniform definition in the EU law. The ECJ based the definition on its usual meaning. According to the definition ‘the essential characteristics of parody, are, first, to evoke an existing work, while being noticeably different from it, and secondly, to constitute an expression of humour or mockery’. It is argued in the paper that ‘humour’ refers to a humorous intent as opposed to a humorous effect because this is more in line with the freedom of expression and because of practical reasons.

      • TechdirtJohn Deere Once Again Pinky Swears It Will Stop Monopolizing Repair

        Once just the concern of€ pissed off farmers€ and nerdy tinkerers, the last two years have seen a groundswell of broader culture awareness about “right to repair,” and the perils of letting companies like Apple, John Deere, Microsoft, or Sony monopolize repair options, making repairing things you own both more difficult€ and€ way more expensive.

      • HackadayYou Can Now Fix Your Deere

        Over the last few years we have brought you many stories about John Deere tractors, and how their repair has been locked down such that only manufacturer-authorised technicians can work on them. They’ve become a poster child in the battle for the right to repair, a symbol of the worst practices. Finally now we can bring you some good news of sorts, as the agricultural giant has signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureau Federation to ensure that their products will henceforth be repairable by people without Deere approval.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

      • Copyrights

        • Creative CommonsCelebrate Public Domain Day 2023 with Us: The Best Things in Life Are Free

          This year ushered in a wealth of creative works published in 1927 into the Public Domain, which now contribute to our cultural heritage. Iconic authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf, silent film classics like the controversial The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson and Fritz Lang’s dystopian Metropolis, and snappy musical compositions like “You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream”.

        • Torrent FreakPolice Pay Home Visits to Warn Pirate IPTV Users

          Anti-piracy group FACT is helping UK police to deliver warning messages to alleged pirate IPTV users. Instead of simply sending letters in the mail, some cease-and-desist notices will be delivered in person. A recent IPTV crackdown resulted in the identification of over 1,000 subscribers, who will be asked to immediately stop any illegal activity, or else.

        • Torrent Freak370 Pirate IPTV Sellers Faced Legal Action After CJEU 'Filmspeler' Ruling

          When streaming became the preferred way for millions of EU-based pirates to consume video content, the name Jack Frederik Wullems would've meant nothing. For 370 pirate IPTV suppliers targeted in the Netherlands in recent years, Wullems' defeat in a landmark case back in 2017 is the reason their wallets are lighter today than they were before.

        • Public Domain ReviewArt Brut: The Scare-Fox (1910) – The Public Domain Review

          A mechanical device, designed to keep foxes away from pheasants, which opens onto a story about American gamekeeping in the early twentieth century.


          Lawyer, editor, and indefatigable leader of the “More Game” movement in America, Dwight W. Huntington published this photograph of the scare-fox in Our Wild Fowl and Waders (1910) as part of his campaign to raise American awareness of the devastating depredations caused by “vermin”: a word that Americans used largely to refer to bed lice, but which in British gamekeeping circles had long been applied to any animal — from foxes, weasels, snakes, and stoats to rats, moles, and even shrews — that competed with hunters. Enthusiastically introducing the term in his March 1908 Independent “Game Bird Enemies”, Huntington would routinely employ it for the next three decades while cheerleading for “MORE GAME AND FEWER GAME LAWS”. Two journals he edited — Amateur Sportsman (1909–1912) and The Game Breeder (1912 –1938) — are a unique chronicle of the antagonistic reactions of hunters and “shooters” (waterfowl and other bird gunners) to the early twentieth century growth of the wildlife conservation movement. While Audubon Societies and kindred organizations lobbied legislatures to protect mammals and birds from destruction by both hunters and habitat loss, the Game Conservation Society (founded by Huntington in 1912) marshaled a nationwide campaign to stymie the “naturalists”: his generic and largely derogatory label for all of those who impinged on his dream of making America the world’s leading producer of game animals.

        • CNBCABBA Voyage: Avatar show in London offers glimpse of future for live music

          Before the launch of "ABBA Voyage," the London concert performed by 3D digital avatars of the iconic Swedish band, member Björn Ulvaeus said they hoped audiences would "feel that they've gone through something that they've never seen before."

          Following its May 27 debut, much of the reaction from domestic and international critics, fans and industry professionals has been rapturous.

        • AdafruitCyberpunk 2077 Investors and Developers Settle Class Action Lawsuit
        • Walled CultureHow Minecraft's 'End Poem' ended up in the public domain - Walled Culture

          Minecraft is the best-selling video game of all time according to Wikipedia, with hundreds of millions of copies sold. The game concludes with the End Poem by the writer and musician Julian Gough, created in 2011. In December 2022, Gough wrote a post on his Substack site “The Egg and the Rock” in which he explains in detail how the poem came about. It’s a well-written, fascinating tale that touches on many aspects that are likely to be of interest to Walled Culture readers. It is, however, very long: some 10,000 words.


          As that indicates, when he wrote the End Poem, Gough did something that this blog has recommended for all creators: to retain copyright in their work, rather than assigning it to a company, whatever the pressure to do so. Admittedly, he did this passively rather than actively, since he never got around to signing or even reading the contract that had been sent to him. When he did read it, he found it full of the usual – outrageous – demands to hand over just about every right that a creator typically has under copyright.

          One amusing consequence of Gough’s oversight is that after Minecraft was sold in 2014 to Microsoft for $2.5 billion, the latter was almost certainly infringing on Gough’s copyright by selling the game without any licence from him. But rather than taking the obvious route of suing the company for a few million dollars or more, Gough did something remarkable.

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

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